A look at solar panel installation figures from 2008 show that there were twice as many residential solar installations installed last year than in 2007. The California Business Journal highlights the fact that
Yesterday, the EPA released its Top 25 list of green power purchasers for 2008. Wells Fargo claimed the number one spot, buying 550 million kilowatt hours in certified renewable energy. This marks the first time in the program's history that a private corporation topped the list. As outlined in the press release,
The first week of the new administration has provoked a flurry of speculation about the status and future of American energy policy, from the efficacy of a carbon tax to the structure of new clean energy incentives. It is certainly an exciting time for the world of renewables, solar in particular.
So you've had a good solid week now of hearing about President Obama's support for clean energy and what this means for the solar industry. At least, we've been chatting about it a lot on this blog and amongst ourselves at GetSolar.com. Yesterday, Adam drew our attention to the new presiden'ts speech announcing the revival of long-ignored CAFE standards, among other things. Schwarzenegger must be swooning. (The feds have been suppressing state-sponsored initiatives for greater fuel economy for years, a wall against which California has been gleefully flinging itself for some time.)
The President's comments from yesterday on cars, climate and clean energy, courtesy of The White House Blog. It will be interesting to see how these issues -- particularly those relating to federal climate legislation -- are debated among states, a grouping that displays a wide range of resources, interests and capabilities. I foresee some pretty serious wrangling over policy specifics. Regardless, for now there's cause for optimism among solar-power enthusiasts.
As you may know, residents (and businesses) can take a 30-percent federal tax credit when purchasing solar PV systems. You also may know, however, that reading about tax rules is about as much fun as watching silicon degrade, molecule by molecule. Luckily, the freshly amended investment tax credit (ITC) is fairly straight forward. It provides a tax credit worth up to 30 percent of total system costs, with no dollar amount cap. But what, exactly, is a tax credit? And how is it different from a tax deduction?
With this week's inaugural festivities, there's been a lot of buzz in the news about who was at what party. One of the most buzz-worthy parties was the Green Inaugural Ball whose guest of honor drew dreamy-eyed admirers by the hundreds. While Wyclef Jean was there, I'm not talking about him--I'm talking about Al Gore. Host Gore, and a couple of the most influential renewable energy figures in the country--Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, and Rhone Resch, president & CEO of SEIA--hung out and talked shop on the green carpet for a while. The party itself was full of chatter about climate change legislation, what the economic downturn means for solar, and all sorts of other really fun things that you talk about at parties.
In October 2008, President Bush signed into law the The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008. The act extended, through 2016, the corporate and individual Investment Tax Credit (ITC). It also removed the cap that had previously prevented homeowners from taking more than a $2,000 credit when purchasing a solar PV system.
From NJ's Star-Ledger Business News comes this welcome announcement:
AltaTerra Research Network brings business acumen and sustainability together in a host of advisory services and quantitative analysis projects. One of their latest products is a report on Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs). The report looks at the performance of PPAs in 2008 and examines their performance in an uncertain market. Perhaps most importantly, though, for the solar industry, the report provides the first hard data on the numbers of PPA-funded solar installations nationwide in 2008.
As you've probably heard, 2009 marks the dawn of a new day in federal tax policy for residential solar PV systems. Specifically, the $2,000 cap has been removed from the 30-percent federal investment tax credit (ITC). In short, this means more $$ stays in your pocket.
When I dream, I like to dream big. I think we all do -- that's why we call it dreaming. To take an example, I envision a future when I can buy electricity for my home, and sell electricity from my solar PV array... On both spot and futures markets... On my iPhone. (Why? Because I am a geek.)
With the new year comes revised tax rules for individuals who purchase PV solar systems. In short, the residential investment tax credit (ITC) is no longer constrained by a $2,000 cap. This means that buyers can take a credit worth the full 30 percent of final project costs, which includes the PV modules, mounts, wiring, the inverter and labor. In effect through the end of 2016, the new rules bring some certainty to the solar market -- and make it easier for buyers to finance the purchase of a PV system.
Happy New Year! As we look forward in 2009 to a new administration and speculate on what changes we'll see in the solar marketplace this coming year, we have to take into account what has gone before. 2008 was a year of big news: the US economy crashed spectacularly from its more than decade-long high, we voted in a serious regime change in November, our strategy in Iraq officially changed from persistence to planned withdrawal, energy prices skyrocketed, and tantalizing advances in solar research were announced (cylindrical thin-film, paint-on, and printable organic solar cells, among them).