A new paper by NOAA and CIRES finds that with the deployment of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmisson lines, the US can seriously ramp up the use of solar and wind power to meet the nation's energy needs. The findings are significant on several fronts. One, the US could meet much of its future electricity needs through clean energy at costs comparable to or lower than what we are paying today for fossil-fuel generated electricity. Two, The recent carbon reduction goals set by the US at the December 2015 COP21 summit could be met. or exceeded using only the electricity portion of our overall carbon emissions footprint. Our take on the report is that by using a multi-pronged "blocking and tackling" approach to our nation's energy demands (as opposed to a single "silver bullet solution") we can transition the economy to a lower carbon, flexible, smart and energy independent system.
As the US solar industry grows, prices have fallen virtually across the board for the various customer sectors and regions. This is great news for solar shoppers and for the country as a whole. Like many high technology industries, as a product gets more mature companies get better at building and delivering the product to consumers. We have seen the fall in prices in computers, televisions, mobile devices, telecoms, automobiles, even air travel. Either the product has become outright less expensive to purchase, or the functionality and performance have been dramatically increased while maintaining a rough cost parity or decrease.
2015 is shaping up to have been a banner year for American solar energy, and 2016 looks to be just as good. With the extension of the US Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar, 2016 will almost surely see the One Millionth solar installation in the first half of the year. According to the research report GTM Research/SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight, over 7 GW (gigawatts) will be installed in 2015, and forecasts are for 2016 to almost double that number. This would put total US installed solar capacity at roughly 40 GW by the end of 2016.
It is increasingly clear that Americans want clean energy for their homes and for their country. The recent extension of the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) of 30% for solar power shows that this an important issue, for voters on both sides of the isle. The cat is out of the bag: clean, affordable energy from solar electric systems is an important tool for US energy security, for carbon reduction, and for long-term price stability.
Great news for solar shoppers! The 30% US Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar electric systems has been extended for the next four years through 2019, and then drops slightly to 26% in 2020, and then 22% 2021, finally capping out at 10% after that. What this means for solar buyers is that the price of a solar electric system is reduced by 30% on your tax bill, assuming that you have a tax liability to offset.
The folks over at Clean Power Finance sent us this press release earlier today indicating an expansion of their residential solar financing product to new markets. This is indeed good news as residential solar financing is an important enabler for making solar more affordable for more customers. With low money down or no money down down options becoming more widely available, and with more choice than ever before, potential solar customers can now get clean, long term energy right from their rooftop, without big upfront costs.
Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) sent us an email today talking about the Solyndra hearings taking place on Capital Hill. Apparently the company (Solyndra) is not providing much information on their situation, which has led to a partial information vacuum during the hearings around the current state of solar in the United States. With the media machine buzzing and looking for sound bites in a politically charged environment (GetSolar's opinion), surrounding a high-profile clean-tech failure, the SEIA is making all effort to set the record straight about solar in the US.
From the perspective of homeowners and businesses looking to go solar, the bigger the solar rebate the better. From the perspective of the utilities and government agencies that finance those rebates, often the opposite is true.
Usually, the decided upon rebate level ends up somewhere between these two parties' preferences.
That appears to be the case with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), which on Tuesday announced it will in September relaunch its solar energy rebate program at a new, lower level. Back in April, the utility suspended the program, citing record demand and dwindling coffers.
Once reopened, DWP's solar incentive program will offer residential rebates
What better place to host the biggest solar energy installation at a U.S. national park than Yosemite? Tucked in a region that gets more annual sunshine than just about anywhere in the country, the California park boasts nearly perfect conditions for solar power.
Officials several days ago inaugurated the 672-kilowatt (kW) solar array, which comprises a 500-kW parking canopy for employees and visitors; a 100-kW rooftop solar array atop a warehouse; and a 72-kW wall-mounted installation (pictured above).
As we reported over a year ago, it was originally speculated that the "solar panels are expected to generate electricity at a levelized cost of about 13 cents per kilowatt hour, reducing annual electricity costs by about $104,000." According to The Business Journal, however, those annual energy costs savings are actually projected to be closer to $50,000 -- equivalent to around 12 percent of the park's annual electricity needs.
All 2,800 solar panels were supplied by
SunPower Corp. and Citi today announced a new fund to finance approximately $105 million in residential solar lease projects. According to the announcement, the lease program will be available to qualifying homeowners in eight states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Here's a requisite sound bite:
"Citi's global financial leadership combined with SunPower's leading technology and quarter century of experience offer customers an unprecedented level of assurance that is vitally important when a homeowner enters into a 20-year lease agreement," said SunPower CFO Dennis Arriola. "We are proud to partner with Citi, and applaud its commitment to promoting the use of solar power."
Solar leases enable homeowners to pay a monthly fee for their solar home energy system rather than buy it outright. The approach makes good financial sense in those parts of the country where