photovoltaic panels


But it appears that the world is changing.

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/big-utilities-push-into-booming-home-solar-market/

 

Big Utilities Push into Booming Home Solar Market

By Nichola Groom (Reuters) – For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat.

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – For years, the utilities responsible for providing electricity to the nation have treated residential solar systems as a threat. Now, they want a piece of the action, and they are having to fight for the chance.

If utilities embrace home solar, their deep pockets and access to customers could transform what has been a fast-growing, but niche industry. Solar powers only half a million U.S. homes and businesses, according to solar market research firm GTM Research.

But utility-owned rooftop systems represent a change the solar installation companies who dominate the market don’t want, and whether the two sides can compromise may determine if residential solar truly goes mainstream.

In Arizona, the state’s largest utility has proposed putting solar panels on 3,000 customers’ homes, promising a $30 monthly break on their power bills. In New York, regulators are weighing allowing utilities to get into the solar leasing business to meet the state’s aggressive plan to incorporate more decentralized, renewable power onto the grid.

 

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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I find this all very charming. Not the utility company rasing rates, but the idea that the utility companies think they can fend off solar this way.

 

http://grist.org/climate-energy/utilities-to-battery-powered-solar-get-off-our-lawn/

Utilities to battery-powered solar: Get off our lawn

In Wisconsin, utilities are jacking up the price to connect to their electrical grid. In Oklahoma, utilities pushed through a law this spring that allows them to charge the people who own solar panels and wind turbines more to connect to their electrical grid. In Arizona, the state has decided to charge extra property taxes to households that are leasing solar panels.

Welcome to the solar backlash. In Grist’s “Utilities for Dummies” series last year, David Roberts prophesied that solar and other renewables could “lay waste to U.S. power utilities and burn the utility business model, which has remained virtually unchanged for a century, to the ground.” And lo, it is coming to pass — though not without a fight from the utilities first.

This May, Barclays downgraded its rating of America’s electricity sector from “market weight” to “underweight.” Its rationale? Solar — or, more specifically, the great leaps that are happening or expected to happen in technology for storing the energy that solar generates. While the solar industry took a roller-coaster ride over the last decade, the R&D that went into electric cars created the killer add-on it was waiting for: really awesome batteries.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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My friend, Margie Vicknair, lives in Southern Louisiana and recently leased a solar system for her residence. That is all I will say about Margie or the company she leases from. The purpose of this post is not to “out” Margie ashe is a single gal, nor to advertise a company, because we do not do that here. But it is to show that real people can get real benefits from solar leasing. (sorry i did not post this last week but I got on a tear about silly humans and i just could not let it go. and even sorry about the death of Robin Williams – nanoo nanoo)

http://solarprofessional.com/articles/finance-economics/the-evolution-of-residential-solar-leasing

 

The Evolution of Residential Solar Leasing

The introduction of the solar lease financing model and third-party system ownership has rapidly and fundamentally transformed the residential solar market in the US. One could argue that the advent of high-voltage string inverters in the US market in 2001 was the last transformative event of this magnitude. The solar lease is a once-ina- decade industry-changing product that has created vast opportunities for some integration firms, and competitive challenges and disadvantages for others. Examining the evolution of the residential solar lease, its current status, and likely future developments can assist integrators in navigating these often complex and quickly evolving system-financing mechanisms.

Solar Lease History

Many people contend that the residential solar lease was born in 2007 when Sunrun, a start-up finance company led by two Stanford business graduates, introduced its residential lease product. Lynn Jurich and Ed Fenster believed that the number one, two and three obstacles to the propagation of residential solar were—no surprise—money, money and money. Sunrun’s financial model was simple: Leverage investor resources and tax equity to purchase PV systems on behalf of residential homeowners, providing a financed solution with no or low up-front costs. The solar lease effectively simplifies a homeowner’s path to investing in solar. Under this model, the lease provider—not the residential homeowner— receives all rebates, tax credits and depreciation. The lease provider in turn offers a warranty on all aspects of the system and provides some degree of system monitoring and O&M over the typical 20-year lease term. At the end of the term, homeowners have three options: renew the lease, purchase the system at fair market value or have the system removed at no cost.

Residential solar lease providers typically offer two plan options.

Monthly payment plan. A monthly payment plan allows for zero money down or a low up-front investment, usually in the $1,000–$4,000 range. The homeowner agrees to purchase all the electricity produced by the PV system for the next 20 years at a rate lower than or equal to the local rate of conventional power per kilowatt hour. Depending on the specifics of the financing, the new rate may include an escalator that can be more beneficial to the lease provider than to the customer. The general lease approach provides the homeowner an opportunity to switch to solar power without having to come up with the system’s total cost out of pocket. It also streamlines the homeowner’s transaction by eliminating the need to claim the 30% federal tax credit.

Prepaid plan. Under this plan, the homeowner makes a large payment (typically about 65% of the total system cost) at the initiation of the lease term, but does not need to make another payment over the lease’s 20-year term. This approach enables the customer to have a PV system installed without shouldering the tax liability necessary to take full advantage of available tax credits. A prepaid plan may be ideal for a homeowner such as a retiree living on a fixed income, who is prepared to make a large investment in solar but does not have the tax appetite required to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit. The system owner also typically benefits from an extended warranty, O&M services and system monitoring provided over the 20-year term.

Both of these options have proven to be very appealing to a large number of consumers who want to make the switch to solar. According the 2012 U.S. Solar Market Insight report published by GTM Research and SEIA, as of Q2 2012 solar leases finance approximately 70% of residential installations in the major markets of California and Colorado, 80% of the installations in Arizona and more than 45% in Massachusetts. The increase in third-party–owned residential systems is expected to continue across all mature solar markets.

Early on, solar lease providers faced challenges from a regulatory standpoint. Existing rebate and interconnection processes were based on the concept of sole ownership. However, Sunrun and other solar finance companies have worked diligently to resolve these issues. Residential solar lease financing is now available in at least 12 states. The primary limiter on these products is generally not regulatory issues, but regional financial viability based on available financial incentives, electricity costs and the region’s solar resources. Currently only a few states explicitly prohibit third-party residential financing.

Current Lease Models

As residential lease products continue to evolve, providers are developing and refining a range of business models. There are currently three solar leasing models.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holy Cow. There are really two sides to this issue and opinions are very strong. I think it actually depends on the company and their integrity but maybe that is just me. I start with the NO sayers and next week I will post the YES sayers.

 

http://solarleasedisadvantages.com/

 

Solar Leasing

 

FACT: If you owe federal income taxes, then there’s absolutely no such thing as a $0 down solar lease or PPA.

And here’s why: A mandatory condition of both of these rental programs is that you forfeit the 30% federal tax credit and any cash rebate to the solar lease or PPA company.

The 30% federal tax credit alone is typically worth anywhere from $3,500 to well over $10,000.000 at the leasing company’s much higher pricing.

Before signing any contract, always demand to be shown, in writing, both the amount of the tax credit and any rebate that you’re providing as a down payment as well as the total system price.

If your solar lease or PPA salesman refuses to provide you with this information, then it is in your best financial interest to ask your salesman to leave.

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Go there and read. More next week

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All the criticisms of alternative power sources were just a bunch of bullshit put out by the fossil fuels industry to try to prevent the widespread use of the. And the proof by god is in the numbers.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/california-electric-grid-sets-solar-231527788.html

California electric grid sets solar generation record

Reuters

March 10 (Reuters) – California set back-to-back solar power records last week, the state grid operator said on Monday.

The amount of electricity produced from carbon-free solar facilities connected to the grid reached 4,093 megawatts on Saturday, surpassing the day-earlier record of 3,926 MW, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) said in a statement.

With 5,231 MW, California leads the nation in installed solar generation, including thermal and photovoltaic facilities, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Power generated from solar has more than doubled from June 2012 when the ISO recorded 2,071 MW of peak production, the ISO said

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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I thought I would start us out with a song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOMaqe0LOmo

The days when all the lies are proven false is right here and right now. Wind, solar and geothermal can replace coal gas and oil. And hthey can do it in the industrial heartland. It is the future and ain’t it grand?

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/10/17/us-germany-renewables-boom-idUKTRE79G0N420111017

 

Analysis: Renewable “gold rush” powers Germany’s north shore

 

 

ROSTOCK, Germany | Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:04am BST

(Reuters) – Renewable energy has created a “gold rush” atmosphere in Germany’s depressed north-east, giving the country’s poorhouse good jobs and great promise.

The natural resources attracting investors and industry are of a simple variety: wind, sunshine, agricultural products and farm waste such as liquid manure.

The rush to tap green resources in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state is reminiscent of the frenzies that came with gold or oil discoveries in past centuries. The buzz can be felt in towns and sparkling new factories across the Baltic shore state.

“Renewable energy has become extremely valuable for our state,” said its premier, Erwin Selling, in an interview with Reuters. “It’s just a great opportunity — producing renewable energy and creating manufacturing jobs.

“From an industrial point of view we’d been one of Germany’s weaker areas. But the country is abandoning nuclear power. That will work only if there’s a corresponding — and substantial — increase in renewables. It’ll be one of Germany’s most important sectors in the future. We want to be up there leading the way.”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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China is having smog days in some cities that have pollutants 50 times higher then allowed in the United States. Rates that can cause lung damage in mere minutes. So everyone in Asia is well aware that they need to switch from carbon fuels to renewables. Unfortunately, India has not learned the lesson yet.  But Taiwan definitely has.

http://solarbusiness.com.au/rise-rise-taiwan-solar/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SolarBusinessServices+%28Solar+Business+Services%29

The rise and rise of Taiwan Solar

21 Oct, 2013

(I skipped the first couple of paragraphs)

Either way, this beautiful, mountainous, island nation has become a technological powerhouse in Asia. Driven initially by Japanese influences prior to World War 2, it has developed a highly successful semiconductor industry including wafer foundries, Integrated Circuit (IC) packaging and testing industries and was considered the world’s number one in 2011 in terms of IC revenues.

The Taiwanese semiconductor industry developed an early vertical integration model (upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors) including silicon materials and silicon wafering; midstream IC design, IC manufacturing, and IC packaging industries; and downstream computer, cellular phone, and consumable electrical product companies. The transition from semiconductor to photovoltaic industries was a therefore a logical and natural progression for Taiwan and explains why it has become so enormously important.

Fast forward to 2012 and the beginning of trade tariffs on Chinese made PV products in some countries.  With deep historical and business ties to China but technically an independent status, the importance of Taiwan’s PV manufacturing sector took a huge leap forward.

One example of the Taiwanese PV industries rise to PV success is WINAICO.  WINAICO’s parent company is Win Win Precise Material Co Ltd who established themselves in 2003 as a supplier and marketer to the semi-conductor industry. By 2007, it had created Winergy Solar and soon afterwards WINAICO, establishing a network of global sales offices and joint ventures to develop, market and deploy its PV technologies.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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That is a very interesting question. At one level is is just a case of a bad attribution. It would be like saying if Jane’s stopped publication then there are no airplanes. At another level, as all the authors say that were involved, they may have just run out of new and bright things to say. It could also be that with many other things predicting the END OF THE WORLD, when it never happens, the readers got bored. That several major religions have preached that for thousands of years and nobody has gotten bored yet would speak against that. I have always been skeptical about the doom and gloom nature of the blog itself but when the CIA and the Defense Department believe something then, you have to believe it has some credibility and really oil is a finite resource. So with deep water drilling and fracking we may just be buying time. Then there is global warming. Anyway I drivel on.

http://peakenergy.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/our-clean-energy-future.html

Aug 19

Our Clean Energy Future

Posted by Big Gav

Following on my recent post bidding Farewell to The Oil Drum, I’d like to have a look at what I view as our longer term future for energy production and consumption.

As noted in my previous post, for the time being the combination of unconventional oil extraction and the ramping up of extraction of natural gas (from both conventional and unconventional sources) has continued to push the point of peak oil production out into the future, defying the predictions of the more pessimistic peak oil observers. During this period we have seen a boom in the research and development of solutions to help us eliminate our dependency on fossil fuels, which I’ll explore in this post.

Solutions can be divided into 3 groups :

 

  • Renewable energy – solar power, wind power, geothermal power, hydro power, ocean energy and biomass derived power (including biofuels)
  • Distribution of renewable energy – energy storage and the electricity grid
  • Adopting alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels – electric transport, bioplastic, alternatives to fossil fuel based fertiliser and new models for manufacturing, construction and agriculture

 

Renewable Energy

The graphic below shows the energy available from renewable energy sources annually compared to global energy consumption. The numbers are intended to give a rough idea of relative scale – for any given energy source a wide range of estimates can be found in the literature so the numbers are indicative.

 

These numbers in some ways understate the amount of energy potentially available (ignoring solar power potential at sea or in space, for example, or wind power at high altitudes or far offshore, or geothermal power deep below the surface of the earth) but still serve the demonstrate that the renewable energy available to us is orders of magnitude larger than our current global energy consumption.

The contribution made by renewable energy to our energy needs is expected to exceed that made by gas (and double that made by nuclear power) by 2016, though progress needs to be accelerated if we wish to create a sustainable energy system.

Solar power

Solar power is the largest energy source available to us, dwarfing all other sources – renewable and non-renewable. Approximately 36,000 Terawatts of power could be captured by land based solar power generation – compared to current global energy use of around 16 TW. As a result, most of the plans floated for shifting to 100% renewable energy (examples include proposals by Mark Jacobson and Stuart Staniford and local plans for countries like Germany and Australia) rely primarily on solar power.

Solar power is not only the largest energy source available to us but it is also the fastest growing energy source, with solar power generation increasing by over 58% in 2012.

There are a number of options for harnessing solar power – power generation using solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and solar thermal arrays along with passive solar techniques such as solar hot water heaters.

I have been of the view that solar thermal power generation (also known as concentrating solar power or CSP) would become our most important source of power in the longer term. This view was based on a number of advantages that solar thermal possesses – it does not require rare or expensive materials (enabling it to scale without hitting resource limits), it can be built on (and is best suited to) arid land that has few other uses, it can incorporate energy storage (thus avoiding the intermittency issue), it is compatible with the existing centralised generation model and it can be combined with traditional sources of power generation (coal or gas) in hybrid power plants that allow an easy transition using existing connections to the electricity grid.

An area of desert around 250 km by 250 km covered with solar thermal power generation could supply all the world’s current electricity demand.

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Go there and read a really long article. More next week.

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I mean really if they are going to drop their insistence on solar panel installations as part of a retrofit then why keep the name? Are they now a software company or are they now a software and then install whatever company? Good questions with no answers. It would be like Tide if it were to stop making soap and started making dishwashers. Would they keep the name and why?

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-peak-at-solarcitys-new-energy-efficiency-software?

Has SolarCity Created the Amazon 1-Click for Energy Efficiency?

 

“We believe SolarCity has the best database of residential energy use of anyone in the world.”

 

Stephen Lacey: June 28, 2013

 

After SolarCity shifted its energy efficiency strategy and pulled back from doing residential retrofits in-house, the solar services behemoth is moving straight into intelligent efficiency.

 

GTM’s Eric Wesoff recently reported on SolarCity’s evolving business plan and the resulting changes that company executives say will scale residential efficiency in the same way solar services have scaled residential solar.

 

But solar is very different from efficiency. For the most part, solar is very standardized and installations are uniform from home to home. Efficiency retrofits encompass an extraordinarily broad category of activities and skills. Incentives are also quite different for efficiency, making it more complicated from a financial perspective. That’s why only a handful of U.S. solar contractors have offered efficiency as an in-house service.

 

SolarCity decided that doing the retrofit work itself was not the best way to scale. Instead, it has turned from manpower to the power of big data.

 

The secret sauce is a “simulation engine” that shows homeowners exactly how much they’re spending on energy everywhere in their house. The initial database was created using information from 16,000 home energy audits performed over the last five years. It relies on an algorithm developed at the Department of Energy that crunches 100 million calculations per home for each individual energy efficiency audit (which is still performed by SolarCity when installing solar).

 

“The simulation software looks at every component in a home in relation to one another,” said SolarCity COO Peter Rive. “Every ten minutes, it thinks about what one thing is doing and about its effect on the rest of the systems within the home.”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This story makes me so proud.

http://business-news.thestreet.com/sj-r/story/petersburg-school-nominated-solar-energy-program/1

Petersburg school nominated for solar energy program

PETERSBURG — The PORTA School District could soon add more solar power to its alternative energy portfolio.

Thanks to a wind turbine, solar panels and geothermal heating installed in 2009 at PORTA High School, the district has been saving about $350,000 a year in energy costs, School Superintendent Matt Brue said.

Now, a former student who works for Joule Solar Energy in New Orleans has nominated PORTA Central School for a program that aims to bring solar panels to schools through crowdfunding

Oakland, Calif.-based Mosaic offers an online platform for individuals to invest in solar projects.

When Bob O’Hara received an email from Mosaic saying that the company was looking for schools to work with, he thought of PORTA Central.

O’Hara, 29, attended PORTA schools through eighth grade before enrolling at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield. He moved to New Orleans after graduating in 2002 to attend Tulane University, but he still visits his parents in Petersburg regularly.

He likes to check out the wind turbine at the high school on his visits and thought PORTA Central would be a good candidate for solar panels because of its long, south-facing roofline.

O’Hara said he also knows the district has been facing budget cuts due to dwindling state funding.

“One way to be able to invest in a school is to help them with their energy costs,” he said.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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