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White Paper #4: Five Things Homeowners Should Know About Solar

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, April 30 2009 under: white paper, Solar Homes, homes, residential, solar

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."

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Solar airports

Posted by Margaret Collins In Wednesday, April 29 2009 under: Solar Power Info, airports, transportation, transit

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.

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Evergreen Solar Debuts Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Germany

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Virginia sets aside $39 million for renewables

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...

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-04-24

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Friday, April 24 2009 under:, Solar Power Info, Twitter, tweets
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Solar leasing on the rise

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.

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White Paper #3: Financing Options for Solar

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, April 23 2009 under: white paper, Commercial Solar, Solar Homes, purhase, financing, Cost and Financing, solar

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.

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Texas to offer solar rebates

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.

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Solar Power From (Literally) Out of This World

Posted by Connie Zheng In Tuesday, April 21 2009 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Technology, California Solar

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Draft climate legislation debated this week

Posted by Adam Sewall In Monday, April 20 2009 under: emissions, climate legislation, Energy Policy, carbon, EPA

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 :

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-04-17

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Friday, April 17 2009 under:, Solar Power Info, Twitter, tweets
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Vatican goes solar

Posted by Margaret Collins In Friday, April 17 2009 under: international solar, Vatican, large scale solar, Europe, Italy

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.

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White Paper #2: Commercial Solar

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, April 16 2009 under: Solar Power Info

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.

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Pennsylvania announces funding for solar rebate program

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:

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Can you recoup the cost of solar when you sell your home?

A recent article on the Bay Area's 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.

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Good news for solar amidst the general bad for clean tech

Posted by Connie Zheng In Tuesday, April 14 2009 under: Solar Industry News, Solar Homes

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-04-10

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Friday, April 10 2009 under:, Solar Power Info, Twitter, tweets
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Ohio unexpected locus for solar activity

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.

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White paper #1: 5 things real estate pros should know about solar

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...

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The truth behind the cost of residential solar

Posted by Margaret Collins In Wednesday, April 8 2009 under: incentives, Solar Homes, solar cost, Cost and Financing

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?

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With Little Fanfare, South Korea Forays Into Solar: A Peek at the Country’s Solar Ambitions

Posted by Connie Zheng In Tuesday, April 7 2009 under: international solar

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A brief note on EEMs

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.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-04-03

Posted by GetSolar Staff In Friday, April 3 2009 under:, Solar Power Info, Twitter, tweets
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Chinese Solar Subsidy Seeks to Mitigate Downturn

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Using solar to boost power plant efficiency

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.

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New lotion "electrifies" skin in tests

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, April 1 2009 under: Solar Technology, solar

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.

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New Jersey Governor signs new solar bills

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):

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