Residential Solar Power plus Energy Storage looks poised to grow over the coming years as the technology improves, prices come down, and more financing models become available. With new advanced battery storage products coming from companies such as Tesla and SolarCity, Enphase, Sunrun and others, home energy storage will be a hot space and allow homeowners the opportunity to generate, store, and use their own power. Utility executives are keeping a close eye on both the risks and the potential opportunities.
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.
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.
Each year, Larry Sherwood of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) releases an annual report summarizing recent trends in the U.S. solar energy market. And guess what? (Get excited...)
His latest report, U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010, was released just a couple of days ago.
In it, you'll read about the phenomenal growth witnessed by the solar industry in 2010. Main highlights include:
- The capacity of photovoltaic (PV) installations completed in 2010 doubled compared to the similar figure in 2009.
- Much of this gain was due to growth in utility-scale solar PV projects,
The world of solar leasing just got a whole lot more interesting.
Last week, Google announced a plan to invest $280 million in SolarCity, a California-based company that offers solar leases in ten states across the U.S.
Hours after, news broke that Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd -- a large China-based manufacturer of solar panels -- was working on plans to offer a solar home energy lease option of its own. Both developments are likely to increase the availability of solar leases to qualifying homeowners in select states.
In recent years, Massachusetts has become a pretty good place to install a solar home energy system. The reason? A number of factors -- a statewide solar rebate program, a market for solar renewable energy credits, and relatively high conventional electricity prices -- combine to make a good financial proposition out of installing solar panels.
To help things along further, Boston last week launched a program to encourage residents to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
“Solar panels provide up to 90 percent of the annual electric usage and in days like today, with the longest period of daylight, the meter is running backwards, selling power back to the grid and to me that’s incredible,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
The Boston Herald has more:
SolarCity is a big provider of solar home energy leases in ten states across the country. Google is, well, Google. The news today is that the two companies are about to get a bit closer.
The Internet search giant made clear its intention to invest $280 million to create a fund that will enable SolarCity to finance more residential solar energy projects.
"We're excited to be making our first investment in distributed residential solar," said Rick Needham, director of green business operations at Google.
To date, SolarCity has to its name over 15,000 solar power projects,
Enphase Energy, a leading maker of microinverters, yesterday announced the launch of what is being billed as the company's "most efficient and power technology to date."
This may lead some of you to ask, What the heck is a microinverter?
Luckily for everyone involved, GetSolar's very own Annie Lindseth has already has a concise explanation:
Solar panels need (micro)inverters to convert the electricity they produce to a type that can be used at home. Solar photovoltaic panels produce DC (direct) electrical current, and household appliances use AC (alternating) electrical current.
Good news for Arizona residents who are customers of Salt River Project (SRP): the Arizona utility recently relaunched its popular solar rebate program after a months-long hiatus during which an interim rebate was available.
As of May 1, SRP customers who install a residential solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system will be eligible to receive a rebate worth $1.35 per watt (solar panels are sized in watts). The rebate will be capped at 5 kilowatts (kW), which means that a homeowner who installs a system that's 5-kilowatts or bigger in size could receive $6,750 in incentives.
Here is SRP's explanation of how it has restructured the program:
Last month, we profiled a new lineup of energy-efficient homes from Meritage Homes. Not to be outdone, KB Home today announced plans to make solar panels a standard feature at its new community in southern California.
Having recently acquired land in West Hills Village in Valencia, the company will build energy-efficient homes on 43 lots. Each home will come with a photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system that will reduce owners' electricity costs, saving thousands of dollars in the coming years. The PV solar panels will of course also benefit the environment.
Here's a requisite snippet from the press release: