This Thursday, Margaret breaks it down for us with a great introduction to residential solar. Here's the white paper (PDF) to read and share with your friends: "Getting Solar: 5 Things Homeowners Should Know About Solar Energy."
A recent USA Today article corralled details of the US airports that currently have, or are planning to have, renewable energy systems installed to help with their staggeringly high electric needs. Solar electric panels and innovative wind turbines are the two technologies the article considers. There are other ways to save energy--Boston Logan, for example, has a terminal that makes clever use of passive solar and gray water recycling--but these are definitely the splashiest.
We often remark that the right mix of state and federal incentives -- like tax credits, rebates and renewable energy credit (REC) schemes -- can make a HUGE difference in determining if solar PV is a cost-effective solution for individuals and businesses. These types of incentives help either, (1) by lowering upfront costs, (as is the case with rebates and credits), or (2) by guaranteeing that the PV system can generate respectable future cash flows (as is the case with REC purchase contracts, feed in tariffs, or FITs, and production-based incentives). Details aside, such incentives are key. In those states that offer scant support for solar energy, you're likely looking at a low (perhaps even negative) ROI and a looong payback period. We're talking, like, two decades here folks...
- National Park Service jumps into the enviro debate about solar in the desert: http://tinyurl.com/dh687w #
- Oregon bill brings the utillity-vs-consumer conflict about REC ownership into focus: http://tinyurl.com/davqzy #
- Geeking out on some real-time solar production data: http://tinyurl.com/dbpyhw (Courtesy of: http://rosssolargroup.com/) #
- Want some unique perspective on #earthday? Check out these cool cartograms from Univ. Mich: http://tinyurl.com/hp7mo #
- WalMart to double its solar energy capacity: http://tinyurl.com/d9orxq #solar #
- ...but "Arizona Public Service Co., which has similar incentive programs for businesses and residents, will not be lowering its rebates" #
- RT @JoshCherninRT via @stellacotton: SRP (in AZ) lowers solar rebates, caps size to spread out money http://tinyurl.com/d4jur6 #
- Waterproof solar phone from Sharp: now you never have to leave the pool! http://tiny.cc/6BNXz #
- Eos makes great wine; now they're making solar power, too, with three different Conergy systems: http://tiny.cc/MNqbR #
- RT @greenearldotcom: Sun Run Expands Solar Lease Program, Also A Twitter Nation, Lastest Renewable YESWECANSOLVEIT http://tinyurl.com/yu7dqb #
- New England's only team for the next Solar Decathlon is getting a move on--go team go! http://tiny.cc/Bazoz #
- After EPA's endangerment finding on Fri, Congress preps for big week of climate talks: http://tinyurl.com/czpfv8 + http://tinyurl.com/d7hzgm #
If you read this blog--or are otherwise invested in following solar in this country--you know that the cost of a residential solar installation can be intimidatingly high, even after the excellent incentives in many states have been applied. If you have a good site and live in a good state for solar, a PV system can be one of the smartest investments you can make in your home. But for many, they just can't locate the capital or take on the increased debt burden, even to achieve the energy savings and increased energy security that solar offers.
Interested in installing a solar energy system but not quite sure how to best finance it? In this white paper, we introduce five common approaches: low-interest loans; energy efficient mortgages (EEMs); power purchase agreements (PPAs); leasing; and collective purchasing.
Against the backdrop of Washington's furor about climate change legislation this week, Texas made the very welcome decision to jump into the solar game by voting overwhelmingly in favor of funding a state-wide solar rebate. A monthly surcharge on all electric bills ($0.20 individual, $2 small business, $20 corporate) will pave the way for the $500 million initiative. The rebate will pay for up to one-third of residential solar installations out of a dedicated $30 million per year. Another $70 million per year--at least--will go towards commercial projects.
For anyone interested in climate change, energy and/or the American economy, this is shaping up to be quite a week. Above all else, keep an eye on Washington, DC, where a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee begins hearings on a draft bill that addresses climate-change legislation. Here's a prelude, courtesy of House Minority Leader John Boehner, talking Sunday on ABC's "This Week," with George Stephanopoulos :
- EPA finds GGH emissions threat to public health, ups pressure on Congress. Read press release here: http://tinyurl.com/c9stwv #
- Think USCD & UC Davis, in their new collaboration, will work on getting the solar rebate raised again? http://tiny.cc/WuEb0 #
- What does "naturally raised" really mean... RT @TreeHugger 98% of Green Labels are Actually Greenwashed http://bit.ly/Ea9lK via @TH_RSS #
- "Now is the time to strike" ... The Vatican plans Europe's biggest solar power plant: http://tinyurl.com/dbx7rj #
- Talk of solar installation jobs in Philly: http://tinyurl.com/d67wzy #
- reading @ AltEnergyNews Solar tax break bill being revised - http://is.gd/sOOk - Lahontan Valley New #
- Two of our favorite things, via @SunEdisonPR - solar and beer: http://tinyurl.com/solarforbeer #
- RT @NREL: Want to know what goes on at DOE labs, and not just NREL? Visit: http://www.ornl.gov/info/news/pulse/ #
- Futuristic solar beamed from outer space? Sooner than you may think, via @greenwombat: http://bit.ly/apY5Y #
- Aside from overly rosy payback estimates, this is a decent list, RT @stephhicks 10 Fast Facts about Solar Energy http://tinyurl.com/coevfl #
- RT @JoshChernin - Josh's Solar Tweets: Spray-on solar cells? http://twurl.nl/rr5kqy #SOLAR #
- RT @ToSaveEnergy, RTing @sensiblecity: Fort Lauderdale to receive a $2M grant for energy efficiency. http://bit.ly/M1xTX #
- Follow on news from PA, via @RhoneResch: http://bit.ly/6dlAz - Great news about solar incentives in PA. Just in time for PV America #
- Free white paper on solar + real estate: http://tinyurl.com/d45xbo #
- Three cheers for Pennsylvania funding the solar rebate program (finally)! http://tiny.cc/PAsolar #
- CA looks to solar...from space! RT @dticorp California's new power source a solar farm http://tinyurl.com/yo7q8m/c... #
- Your company considering solar? Check out the 30% federal tax credit (or grant, for systems installed in 2009-10): http://tiny.cc/knDX5 #
- RT @GenGreenTweets Trying to reach 1000 people for our Earth Day app by end of day, we need 257 more! http://tinyurl.com/d26x5v #
- Ontario might be stealing Germany's FIT thunder: http://tiny.cc/Kbu4b #
- Make it if you can, RT @gulfcoastgreen - three days left until the Leading Regional Green Conference! follow updates here. are you coming? #
- Check out this heated debate in GA over solar and renewable energy standards: http://tinyurl.com/ceof22 #
While Vatican City has been enjoying the advantages of 2,400 solar panels since last fall, the Catholic city-state is looking to move into the big leagues of solar with a 100-MW solar farm. Since Italy currently has about 440 installed megawatts of solar capacity, that represents a huge increase in the nation's solar capacity. The solar farm would, in fact, be hugely superfluous to the Vatican's needs, so a large portion of the electricity produced would be fed back into Italy's national grid. The solar farm is planned for a multi-hundred-acre site near the Vatican Radio transmission center.
Continuing on our Thursday white paper series, I'm attaching a quick 5-point overview of topics related to commercial solar. By many estimates, a bulk of future growth in solar capacity in the U.S. will come from commercial installations. This has a lot to do with falling per-watt costs and a helpful corporate tax credit -- worth up to 30 percent of total installed costs -- made available by the federal government. Don't forget that for systems installed in 2009 and 2010, your company is entitled to receive a renewable energy grant from the Treasury instead of (but equal to) the 30-percent tax credit. We provide more information on these programs here.
At last, the moment we've all been waiting for! Pennsylvania has had its solar rebate program in the works for quite some time now, rumors and gossip circulating about when it would actually go active. And today it became official, as noted in a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:
A recent article on the Bay Area's SFgate.com raised the question of whether or not the cost of installing solar on your home can be recouped in its sale price--especially in this market. This is a question we hear a lot, and it's a good one. Continue reading here, to find out why a solar energy system is likely to boost your home's resale value.
- Via @BrentWMPA Details on Ontario's renewables plan, feed in tariff (link is PDF) http://bit.ly/e2Ht #
- Geeking out on diatoms (and feeling pretty stupid): http://tinyurl.com/dhpqlj #
- NM, Richardson sweeten tax credits, add low-cost financing and green jobs training: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2009/04/10/ap6279028.html #
- More evidence that solar energy systems increase home value: http://tinyurl.com/d75b7e #
- FL devlper plans all-solar city http://tinyurl.com/c6mvlt #
- Want to learn more about #solar and #realestate? Read/download our free white paper: http://tinyurl.com/d45xbo #
- Simple + cool, thanks @dmsolar Self-cleaning Photovoltaic Cells: http://bit.ly/CiAz #
- RT @AltEnergyNews FPL, developer to team up on solar-powered town in Florida - http://is.gd/rDhS - Miami Herald #
- Spanish solar firm Isofoton to build PV module plant in Ohio, of all places: http://tiny.cc/AlKse #
- Property value and wind power, both up, in TX. Via @CEBUX: http://tinyurl.com/dzl3rn #
- Love it: @GenGreen We're offsetting Facebook users' carbon for a day when they download our Earth Day app...available this Friday. #
- Buffalo to host ASES conference in May: "If it works here, it will work anywhere": http://www.buffalonews.com/258/story/633837.html #
- Looking for solar-related content for your site? Subscribe to our news feed: http://news.getsolar.com/?sl_view=rss #
- Palo Alto offering solar hot water rebate, RT @TheeAlchemist: http://tinyurl.com/co7elr #
- RT @stephhicks: Friends of the Forest will plant a tree for every thumbs up on Stumble Upon! http://www.stumbleupon.com/earthday/ #earthday #
- How to turn over old, less-efficient capital stock? Via @pickensplan: SoCal Ports Clean-Truck Program is Working http://twurl.nl/avwxhm #
- RT @greenbiztweets Not Enough Offsets to Meet Targets of Waxman-Markey Bill: Report http://bit.ly/SN8rI #
- Canadian solar's going to install 80,000 small solar systems in rural China: http://tiny.cc/8C7gg #
- RT JoshCherninRT @shantanu_1: North Carolina Solar farm lights way http://www.solarplaza.com/n... #solar #
- Summary of states' initiatives to make mandate solar for new construction: http://tiny.cc/2RV9A #
- "The first wave of federal efficiency spending is expected to employ 87,000 people," via @wattsyourplan: http://is.gd/qQyh #
- PA delay for 35% solar rebates fixed soon (hopefully): http://www.philly.com/inquirer/business/20090405_No_funds_yet_for_Pa__solar_plan.html #
- Sign of move to mainstream, USA Today - state solar incentives: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2009-04-06-solar-ready_N.htm #
- Peruse the solar news this Monday morning: http://news.getsolar.com/ #
- RT @dmsolar: Port Of LA Investing In Solar ... http://bit.ly/FaCGu #
- Art meets science? Boston's contemporary art museum is thinking about going solar: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/entertainment/ci_12070952 #
This week, Spanish solar firm Isofoton signed a contract to build a PV module manufacturing facility in Ohio, a happy conclusion to a two-year negotiation. The plant will have a capacity of about 60 MW. And now, Green Energy, a non-profit group in the state has announced it has acquired the funding to offer rebates of up to over $2,000 on the installation of solar hot water systems. Considering the relatively low cost of solar hot water systems (anywhere from $5-$8,000 for a standard system, rarely a lot higher in normal residential contexts), this is a big boon. The state currently does offer a solar photovoltaics rebate of $3/watt, which is very good (for comparison, most service regions in California are right now around the $1.50-$2/watt mark), but does not have a comprehensive program for single family homes.
According to a recent report, more than 80,000 solar energy systems were installed in the United States in 2007. Growth is expected to continue: the $2.5 billion residential solar market of 2007 is expected to approach $40 billion by 2014. With more and more homes and businesses going solar, agents and brokers will need to read up to stay relevant. Here’s a GetSolar quick intro...
A recent greentechmedia article brought up some very good points about the cost of residential solar panel installation, trying to answer the age-old question: when the heck is solar going to get cheaper?
Not that the recent economic downturn/crisis/recession/depression/whathaveyou has us in the best mood to be financing large purchases—like solar PV systems. But seeing as federal taxes are due next week (yay), I thought I'd make a quick note on why energy efficient mortgages—or EEMs, for short—make a lot of sense when it comes to bankrolling your solar purchase. The reason (discussed below) has to do with the deductibility of interest payments on home loans.
- Jersey gets a gold star for solar warm-fuzzies from all angles--businesses love it: http://www.njbiz.com/article.asp?aID=77737 #
- Via @JoshChernin: Solar Landcap Covers: http://bit.ly/c0VYH #Solar #
- Can register on-site for EIA's energy conf next Tues/Wed (Adam from GetSolar will be there): http://www.eia.doe.gov/eia_conference_2009.html #
- REC Solar cuts second quarter production by 50% http://tiny.cc/rec638 #
- RT @AchieveGreenNW Conference session details announced (June 1-3, 2009): http://achievegreennw.com/sessions.htm #
- Reading: @dmsolar Solar Trackers Gaining Ground: May Boost Efficiencies by 40% http://bit.ly/19JV6S #
- Via @CEBUX: This is a good blog/news magazine http://www.cleanedge.com/ #
- This rash of solar panel theft has got to stop! http://www.paradisepost.com/ci_12053235 #
- Bad news for solar panel assembly in Maryland as BP Solar cuts jobs: http://tiny.cc/879FJ #
- For all you Mainers out there, RT @energyactivist: energy auditor equipment loans up to $15,0000: http://yeswecansolveit.blogspot.com/ #
- Are you a solar installer in low-cost utility state? Check out SEPA's Knoxville event 4/13: http://www.solarelectricpower.org/?page=miscinfo #
- Akeena to install panels on low-income homes: http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_12039381 #
- Reading: @AltEnergyNews: a great look at utility-scale solar in less than ideal conditions-- http://spectrum.ieee.org/apr09/8447 #
- Of interest for MD residents and businesses, via @wattsyourplan: http://www.marylandcleanenergycenter.org/ #
- AZ and CA look at new solar legislation, including state-wide feed-in tariffs: http://tiny.cc/NWEzD #
- Just chillin with morning coffee, watching NOAA animated snow/ice charts: http://tinyurl.com/dffp5o #
- Portrait of a German solar thin-film startup: http://tinyurl.com/dlqrbv #
- Pennsylvania DEP's John Hanger urges PA solar PV and thermal contractors to register with the new Sunshine Program: http://tiny.cc/sunshine #
- (Clarification on last tweet: 90% of all PV installed in U.S.) #
- 5 states (CA, NJ, NV, CO, NY) = 90% of all grid-tied PV capacity in 2007: http://tinyurl.com/ckyuxv #
- Tons of $ + fame = good candidates for solar (from Jan): http://tinyurl.com/d4qp8o #
- Get plugged in to Arizona solar events: http://tinyurl.com/ckpraw #
- "... Earth Hour was a total bust in California." - http://tinyurl.com/chyh4b #
- Earth Hour in Toronto: demand graphs and pics: http://tinyurl.com/cambcr #
- EERE = good resource for understanding "energy payback" of solar PV: http://tinyurl.com/d5tmg9 #
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting two studies to examine how best to integrate solar steam with existing combined cycle (natural gas) and coal-fired power plants. A power plant in Florida broke ground not long ago on a pioneering example of this technology, but it might encourage more utilities to cosider following their lead if there's solid, accessible data on the pros and cons of doing so. The goal is to integrate solar so that the power load remains constant, as consistency contributes vastly to efficiency, and thus to cost-effectiveness, for power production on this scale.
Have you ever had your day at the beach ruined by your cell phone or stereo running out of batteries? Such annoyances may soon be a thing of the past. A Spain-based firm, Derma-Volt, is developing a suntan lotion that, when applied, will cause the underlying surface to generate electrical current.
Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed into law a package of three renewable energy bills that received legislative approval earlier in March. Sponsored by Senator Bob Smith, the passage of the bills is a political coup for New Jersey Democrats and very welcome news for solar and wind energy professionals in the state, regardless of their political leanings. Here are some details of the bills (direct quotes taken from the press release on the package):