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Solar Lease Availability Grows: SunPower, Citi to Finance $105 Million Worth

Posted by Adam Sewall In Friday, July 29 2011 under: SunPower, Citi, Cost and Financing, solar lease

Solar leasing is well on its way to becoming mainstream.

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

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Solar Power Leases, Ice Pops Coming to Five Northeastern States

Ah, nothing like a mid-summer promotion... lucky for us, this one is actually pretty cool.

Sungevity, a California-based company that bankrolls the option to lease solar panels for an increasing number of Americans, is coming to five northeastern states -- in an ice pop truck.

As part of the company's Rooftop Revolution campaign, Sungevity representatives will pile into a bio-diesel-powerd ice pop truck equipped with solar panels and tour New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and Delaware. Destinations along the route include events like music festivals, county fairs, farmers markets and minor league baseball games.

Two other solar lease providers, SunRun and SolarCity, are already active in parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic.

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Bye-Bye Heat Dome, Solar Panels Have Cooling Effect on Buildings

Posted by Adam Sewall In Tuesday, July 26 2011 under: solar roofs, Solar Power Info, Rooftop Solar

In light of the recent heat wave -- er, heat dome -- that has been blanketing the country, we thought it'd be fitting to share one of the interesting side benefits of solar panels: they can help keep your roof cool. Here's how it works, in general terms:

Solar panels are typically installed on a rack that stands off against the roof. The resulting gap between the panels and the underlying shingles allows air to circulate around the array. This setup is good for the solar panels, which perform best in cooler temperatures. It's also good for the roof, the ceiling and the residents inside.

It turns out that the gap and the panels create a thermal barrier that helps keep the inside of the building cool. Recently revisited by the Independent, a 2010 report confirms that buildings with rooftop solar panels are typically cooler than those without:

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Redskins to Install Solar Panels, As More Pro Sports Teams Embrace Renewables

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, July 13 2011 under: Commercial Solar, NFL, EV Charging Stations, Redskins, solar sports

In recent years, a number of pro sports teams have seen solar panels installed at their home venues. It appears the Washington Redskins aim to join the list.

According to the Washington Post, the NFL team will soon announce plans to install solar a big energy system at FedEx Field. Composed of 8,000 solar panels, the 2-megawatt (MW) system is expected to generate enough electricity to offset the facility's annual electricity consumption by about 15 percent. The array will also create a covered carport, featuring 10 electric-vehicle charging stations and enough spaces for 850 cars.

The Redskins organization will enlist NRG Energy, a New Jersey-based energy services company, to handle the design and installation of the project.

Speaking about the Skins' soon-to-be-announced solar plans, David Krichavsky, the NFL's director of media affairs, noted

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Solar Power 'Standard' in New Southern California Neighborhood

Posted by Adam Sewall In Thursday, July 7 2011 under: Lancaster, KB Home, Antelope Valley, Solar Homes, Homebuilder, California Solar

Judging from a 2006 survey, a remarkable number of U.S. homeowners have become interested residential solar energy in recent years.

As a result, more and more U.S. homebuilders are actively building out their solar-powered home offerings. Big-name builders like Pulte Homes, Meritage Homes and KB Home have all been jockeying for top spot as the provider solar-powered, energy-efficient homes.

KB Home is the latest to notch a success.

The Los Angeles-based homebuilder yesterday announced the grand opening of a solar home community in Lancaster, California. Situated in Antelope Valley, KB Home's Arroyo community is the first in the area to offer solar energy systems as a standard feature on all new homes.

To be sure, the standard systems on offer aren't particularly large.

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Arizona a Growing Hot Spot for Solar, Renewable Energy Companies

Posted by Adam Sewall In Wednesday, July 6 2011 under: Suntech, First Solar, Solar PV Panels, Solar Manufacturing

Blessed with lots of sunshine, Arizona is a great place to install solar panels. Thanks to a pro-business climate and its close proximity to big markets, like California, the state is turning out to be a great place to make solar panels, too.

Consider that the two world's two biggest solar panel manufacturers have Arizona-based operations: thin-film maker First Solar has long called Tempe home, while Suntech, a China-based company, opened shop in the Phoenix area last October. All told, Arizona is home to more than 100 "significant solar energy businesses," according to PV Magazine.

The uptick in business has been welcomed. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, many governors took up job creation as a top priority. Perhaps more than in any other state, Arizona officials have enacted policies intended to encourage renewable energy companies to set up instate operations.

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