Residential Solar

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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 Pool Heating – Swimming in March with No Heating Bill

By |April 26th, 2013|

by Lauren Dansey

We couldn’t be more pleased with our solar pool heating system.  We have been swimming since late March, and the pool has been 85 to 90 degrees without turning on the gas heater.  But there are some good reasons why we’ve been able to maintain that temperature.

The solar pool heating system heats up the pool during the day, but that heat will be lost at night if you don’t use a pool cover.  As you can see from the picture, we cut the bubble cover we got when we built the pool to fit the pool almost exactly.  We also bought a pool cover reel to make it easy to put the cover on and off.  Without the reel, I think the cover would be too difficult to deal with.  Now, it’s one man (or woman) job to put the cover on or off.

We usually end up swimming […]

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Solar Heating for the Pool – Working Great

By |September 27th, 2012|

by Lauren Dansey

The final installation for our two solar pool heating systems was completed last week, and we couldn’t be happier with the performance.  We installed two systems, a rooftop system (the dark panels below the solar electrical panels on our roof), and an in-deck pool heating system (underneath the concrete around the pool.)  The system begins to pump warm water into the pool as early as 8am, and continues until late in the afternoon. (We do have an ideal south-facing roof.)  We set the desired temperature, and a separate pump operates whenever the water in the solar panels is hotter than the pool temperature.  It shuts off when the desired temperature is reached.  The system pumps out an amazing amount of hot water — the kids are getting exercise by positioning themselves where the water comes into the pool and swimming against the current.

The in-deck pool heating system has […]

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Solar Heating for the Pool – Concrete is poured and pool is finished.

By |August 8th, 2012|

by Lauren Dansey

As the next step in our in-deck solar pool heating adventure, concrete was poured over the solar heating tubes.  When the concrete was poured, workers made sure that the tubes were approximately 2″ below the concrete surface.  This maximizes the heat that is transferred to the tubes, without the possibility of the tubes showing in the concrete.

To the right is the finished pool and deck.  The concrete gets very hot in the direct sun, so we’re looking forward to turning on the solar.  We can’t turn the heat or solar heating on until a  month has passed so the pool surface can cure, but the temperature without heating is a very comfortable 85 degrees.  The rooftop pool solar and in-deck solar heating will allow us to extend our swim season year-round, without increasing our utility bill.  I’ll bring you an update when the solar is turned on and […]

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Solar Power More Competitive than People Realize

By |May 24th, 2012|

Are the decision-makers entrusted with determining the future of energy infrastructure operating under an outdated understanding of the cost-competitiveness of solar power? In many cases, the answer is yes, according to a paper released last week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In “Reconsidering the Economics of Photovoltaic Power,” BNEF CEO Michael Liebreich and nine collaborators document the precipitous decline in the price of solar power since 2009. “Average PV module prices have fallen by nearly 75% in the past three years,” they write, “to the point where solar power is now competitive with daytime retail power prices in a number of countries.”

Those facts so quickly upended what had been conventional wisdom (i.e., solar power is prohibitively expensive) that the new economics of solar power apparently caught decision-makers flat-footed. Here are the authors’ conclusions:
• The shift in prices of solar technology carries major implications for policy and investment decision-makers, especially when […]

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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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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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Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Solar but Were Afraid to Ask

By |April 9th, 2012|

Q: How much does a residential PV system cost?
A: In general, the bigger and more complex the system, the more it will cost. PV systems with batteries cost about 30% more than systems without batteries. Grid power is reliable so most people get an on-grid PV system without batteries. For example, a home in Southern California Edison territory consumes $250 per month utility electricity.  A 3.23 kilowatt PV system with a 300 square feet PV array will save on average $150 per month. This PV system will cost $11,560 and save over $128,000 in electricity during its 25-year power warranty. A larger PV system will cost more but will produce more energy and save you more money. Call SES and get a free quotation for a PV system designed to meet your needs.

Q: How much money will a solar electrical system save me?
A: A properly designed and well installed PV […]

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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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