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Important Solar Bill Signed by Gov. Brown

By |October 10th, 2013|

Brown vows to protect existing solar customers while creating an unlimited solar market to meet
California’s growing need for clean energy

October 7, 2013

Sacramento   – AB 327 (Perea) was signed into law today by Governor Jerry Brown. In  signing the bill, the governor issued a rare statement clarifying that he expects AB 327 to protect existing solar customers while continuing to encourage more consumers to invest in rooftop solar through continued robust incentives for renewable energy.

“California is once again making history and setting a new bar for solar power,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of CALSEIA (California   Solar Energy Industries Association). “With this law, Governor Brown paving the way for truly capturing the vast potential of solar power in California.”

AB 327 (Perea) began 2013 legislative session, largely under the radar, as a residential rate reform bill. After significant amendments driven by Governor Brown’s office late in the session, AB 327 was passed by the California […]

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Solar Electrical Systems Completes Two Solar Installations for Multi-Tenant Complexes

By |August 20th, 2012|

by Lauren Dansey

Solar Electrical Systems of Westlake Village, CA, has completed solar carport installations for two 500-unit apartment complexes in the area, eliminating their $2,000 monthly electric bills.
 New carports totaling 75kW were installed at the Biltmore Apartments in Thousand Oaks, CA.  New carport structures were built, taking advantage of the 30% federal tax credit for the solar electrical system, carports, new lighting and paving, and new electrical systems.  In fact, rebates and tax incentives paid for 85% of the project.  The solar electrical system will save the owners over $4 million over the system’s lifetime, and also improve parking, security, and storage on the property.
 At Oakview Apartments in Westlake Village, CA, 53kW of solar panels were mounted on existing carport structures.  Leaky roofs on the structures were removed and replaced with new roofs when the solar system was installed, again taking advantage of the 30% federal tax credit, with rebates […]

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California Launches Solar Hot Water Public Awareness Campaign

By |May 7th, 2012|

For many Californians, taking action to help the environment is already a way of life, from recycling and using low-flow showerheads to weather-proofing their home and driving a low-emission vehicle. Now the California Solar Initiative (CSI) – Thermal Program is encouraging all Californians to take the next step in their green routine with solar water heating.
“The time is now to learn more about solar water heating and the CSI-Thermal Program.”
The four Program Administrators — California Center for Sustainable Energy® (CCSE) in the San Diego Gas & Electric Company® territory; Pacific Gas & Electric Company® (PG&E); Southern California Edison Company® (SCE); and Southern California Gas Company® (SoCalGas®) — have launched a statewide outreach campaign to educate the public about solar water heating technology and spread the word about the rebates that are available through the program.

“Earth Month is the perfect time of year for people to think about what more they […]

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More Small Businesses Are Taking the Solar Plunge

By |April 25th, 2012|

Installing solar power at their Shelter Island, N.Y., Ace Hardware store seemed like the right thing to do for the planet, say owners David Gurney and Meredith Page. But now that the brother-and-sister ownership team have the system, they’re finding that it’s also good for their wallets.

Solar power was once just a luxury for well-funded corporate citizens like Wal-Mart and Google. But with the price of solar components plummeting, and rebates and other financing sweetening the pot, more small businesses are considering whether to run on the oldest form of energy. That’s especially the case for those that have hefty power needs and operate in states where power is pricey. “Solar was once for a tree-hugger-type mentality,” says Scott Maskin, president of solar installer SUNation Solar Systems in Oakdale, N.Y. “It’s evolved to a financial decision.”

China has blasted into the solar industry in the past decade, and while that’s been […]

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Solar Power Has High Return on Investment, report says

By |April 16th, 2012|

According to a report by SBI Energy, the return on investment for solar power is better than for any other source of renewable energy, thanks to big technological improvements expected to drive down costs. The report said the cost of solar energy is expected to be $1 per watt by 2020, with the typical payback period down to three to five years instead of seven to 10 years.

The “Global Solar Inverters Markets” report by SBI said the cost of large solar power will decrease by half about every 10 years. Solar energy could get as low as $0.50 per watt by 2030, according to SBI, with the widespread adoption of photovoltaic inverters and an increase in low cost production by Asian markets.

“During 2011-2012, we expect a short-term lull in the European Union PV market, primarily due to FiT rate cuts and regulations on farm land usage for ground mount installations,” […]

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Feed-in-Tariffs: Europe’s Way of Encouraging Solar Power Arrives in the U.S.

By |April 10th, 2012|

With the news that the LA City Council has granted LADWP the power to enter into feed-in-tariff agreements, here is some news on how FIT’s are working in Europe and other parts of the U.S.
 

Solar cells adorn the roofs of many homes and warehouses across Germany, while the bright white blades of wind turbines are a frequent sight against the sky in Spain.
If one day these machines become as common on the plains and rooftops of the United States as they are abroad, it may be because the financing technique that gave Europe an early lead in renewable energy is starting to cross the Atlantic.

Put simply, the idea is to pay homeowners and businesses top dollar for producing green energy. In Germany, for example, a homeowner with a rooftop solar system may be paid four times more to produce electricity than the rate paid to a coal-fired power plant.

This month […]

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LADWP Approved for Solar Feed-In Tariffs

By |April 5th, 2012|

The LA City Council said yes to LA DWP for 150 megawatts of solar.

After years of contention, the Los Angeles City Council has granted the city’s utility, the biggest municipal utility in the U.S., the power to enter into contracts with solar power producers at above retail rates.

The council delegated to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LA DWP) the right to enter into up to 150 megawatts of feed-in tariff (FIT) contracts with commercial and residential solar power producers.

Like a similar program proposed by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2008, the contracts pre-approved by the City Council allow the DWP to purchase, at an above retail rate (tariff), the electricity fed into the utility’s grid by solar system owners over a pre-designated number of years.

A demonstration FIT plan previously approved by the City Council and already budgeted by DWP allots $58 million over twenty-two years to support […]

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New Study: Solar Grid Parity is Here Today

By |April 3rd, 2012|

A definitive new LCOE study says solar has achieved parity.

Solar materials prices are down, financing is more accessible and technology has extended solar system life. The result:  The price of solar energy-generated electricity, calculated by a legitimate levelized cost of energy (LCOE) method, is now competitive in many regions with the price of electricity generated by conventional sources.

To be clear, this review of solar photovoltaic LCOE is not one of those “if coal and nuclear paid for the real harm they do” analyses. It is a hard look at the actual numbers.

The study’s biggest surprise, said co-author Joshua Pearce, Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering Professor at Queen’s University and Michigan Technological University, was how much outdated information and misinformation there is about the price of residential and small/medium system solar energy. “We have reached a tipping point,” he said. “Solar has gone past grid parity.”

Parity, according to the study, is “the lifetime generation cost […]

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Nuclear Failure in California Could be a Big Test for Solar

By |April 3rd, 2012|

Solar has suddenly become much more important in Southern California because of the outage at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), California’s third biggest investor owned utility, could lose fifteen percent to twenty percent loss of its base load electricity. “SDG&E, along with the California transmission system operator and Southern California Edison (SCE), are working together right now on contingency planning for the possibility that those two large units could be offline this summer,” said SDG&E spokesperson Jennifer Ramp.

SDG&E, Ramp added, will bring its new 500-kilovolt Sunrise Powerlink transmission line into service in early summer. Designed to deliver 1,000 megawatts of regional solar and wind that are not yet in service, Sunrise will carry extra fossil generation this summer — if it is available.

But, Ramp said, “you could be looking at a very unique situation,” adding, “We could be asking our customers to conserve […]

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Solar Electrical Systems Completes Two Solar Installations for Caltrans

By |March 12th, 2012|

Solar Electrical Systems of Westlake Village, CA, has completed two solar system installations for Caltrans, one in Altadena and one in Camarillo.
The 35.3kW solar installation in Camarillo boasts some impressive numbers.  The $220,000 system will cost the facility just $28,000, with rebate income and tax benefits paying for 88% of the project.  The system will save Caltrans almost $9,000 in electrical costs the first year, with system lifetime savings (30 years) of $974,500.
Cal Trans, Altadena, wanted to go solar, but their open web truss roof wouldn’t support a PV system.  Solar Electrical Systems came up with an ingenious engineering design to support the new solar system, strengthen the roof, and add 3 inches of new insulation.  The Altadena numbers are impressive, also.  Rebates and tax benefits paid for 90% of the total cost, with electrical savings of $6,000 the first year, and lifetime savings of over $665,000. 
Solar Electrical Systems is […]

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