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Will solar prices increase soon?
Jul23

Will solar prices increase soon?

Representatives from GoGreenSolar.com just attended InterSolar North America, one of solar’s leading networking events.  Businesses from more than 70 countries met in San Francisco to showcase new technologies, watch presentations, network, and discuss the future of solar.       Having had the opportunity to talk with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers, we’ve discovered some key information that suggests that the days of low solar panel prices might soon be coming to a close.  Though no one has a crystal ball, industry-insiders believe that the prices for solar modules will be going up soon, meaning that the days of  $0.72 / Watt solar panels may not be around much longer.  Over the last several years, the surplus of solar panels being manufactured drove margins down, consequently pushing multiple manufacturing companies out of business.  While solar panels continue to get cheaper to produce, this consolidation process is now helping manufacturers that are left in the game. If you recall the trade scuffle we talked about this last year, the Chinese government was found to be providing illegal subsidies, allowing their manufacturers to sell their products below fair market value in the United States. In response, the U.S. government imposed anti-dumping tariffs of roughly 30% on Chinese solar cells.  As you might expect, Chinese manufacturers have been circumnavigating these duties by manufacturing solar cells outside China.  Taiwan, which now manufactures these cells, is now having difficulty keeping up with the increase in demand.  This could cause prices to increase. As the dominant solar panel manufacturer in the world, China recently swung back at the U.S. by implementing their own import duties on polysilicon coming from the United States.  Because this is a raw material used to make solar panels, this new tariff could also drive up the cost of solar panels. Though these issues may indicate a coming increase in solar panel pricing, even manufacturers can’t foresee what will happen several months into the future.  As you might imagine, this can pose a problem for solar projects that are scheduled months if not years into the future.  Imagine a multi-MegaWatt solar project- even a matter of a few cents would make a massive difference.   For a homeowner looking into a residential application, several cents per Watt isn’t exactly pocket change. While prices are still low, request a no obligation solar quote or call 1 (866) 798-4435. _____ Tom Jackson...

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5 Companies That Are Making Huge Energy Pushes
Jul22

5 Companies That Are Making Huge Energy Pushes

Some companies are fine with the status quo. Others are making a huge push toward sustainability. Here are 5 companies truly focused on energy savings and sustainable practices. 1. Sierra Nevada Why not start the list of sustainable companies with a beer manufacturer? Image via Flickr by USFWS Mountain Prairie Sierra Nevada puts most companies to shame. The company generates 20 percent of its own electricity with 10,573 solar panels. It creates another 40 percent with hydrogen fuel cells. The brewery has also found ways to reduce energy consumption. Efficient lights, motion sensors, timers, and large windows for ample natural light help the company use less energy. The company has even built a train track, so it can bring ingredients right to its factory using the most energy-efficient transportation options. 2. Umicore Umicore has earned respect as one of the world’s most sustainable companies. If you haven’t heard of Umicore, it’s a Belgian company that works in the materials industry. It focuses on performance materials, recycling, energy materials, and catalysis. The company stands out because of its commitment to sustainability of all kinds. It has a company-wide program tasked with meeting standards that exceed those set by any government agency. Umicore isn’t just trying to brand itself as a “green business,” either. Its program holds the Executive Committee responsible for meeting objectives in energy use, greenhouse gas production, and product sustainability. It also has a team that monitors and follows up on claims to make sure the standards are met. 3. The Energy Detective The Energy Detective does more than try to reduce its own energy use. It helps others reduce the amount of energy that they use. This company creates products that let homeowners and businesses measure their electricity usage. The interesting thing is that it does this in a way you can actually understand. Yes, it will tell you how many kilowatt hours you use, but it will also tell you how much money that costs. It will even give you a projected bill for the month. Sometimes you need to see the numbers before you realize how much electricity you’re wasting. 4. Google Image via Flickr by apoyopublicacion This popular search engine requires a massive framework of data centers to withstand the workload of millions and millions of daily searches, most of which are completed in less than a second. These data centers can eat up massive amounts of energy, but companies like Google are taking an approach that works smarter. Not only does Google utilize renewable energy sources to power this operation, but they’ve taken innovation a step further. In 2009, Google purchased the Summa...

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All-New Enphase M250 Microinverter!
Jul09

All-New Enphase M250 Microinverter!

Enphase Energy, the world’s leader in solar microinverter technology, used Intersolar North America 2013 as a platform to launch their latest generation microinverter:  Enphase M250 The company’s first generation microinverter, the Enphase M175 is considered to be the world’s first commercially successful microinverter. The M175 was followed by the Enphase M190 microinverter, which has built-in trunk cables and is compatible with both 60 and 72-cell solar modules. Unlike the first two generations, the Enphase M215 microinverter featured a single mounting bracket and an improved cabling system, allowing up to 17 microinverters per branch circuit instead of 15 with the Enphase M190. The Enphase M215 is a lightweight microinverter designed for 60-cell solar modules. Enphase M215 has a maximum output of 215W AC – with a 96.5% CEC efficiency rating. It also features a single-bolt bracket for dramatically simplified installation, which has been passed on to the 4th Generation Enphase microinverter, the M250.  What’s different about the Enphase M250? Though its design appears to be nearly identical to the Enphase M215, the Enphase M250 microinverter is rated at 250W AC, meaning it’s compatible with solar panels up to 300W. But the key improvement to this model is that the M250 DC circuit already meets grounding requirements (NEC 690.35) because it’s isolated and insulated from the ground.  This improvement means that when you’re installing a Enphase M250s, you won’t need additional Grounding Electrode Conductor (GEC) in between each microinverter (copper). This not only simplifies installation, but enhances safety while saving material and labor costs. The Enphase M250 microinverter comes with comes with the industry standard 25-year warranty.  The Enphase M250 is rated at 96.5% CEC efficiency- the highest efficiency for microinverters available.  Like the M215, it’s also NEMA 6 rated for severe temperatures and humidity. When using Enphase microinverters (and an Envoy communications gateway), you can monitor the production of your system remotely with a web-based software called Enlighten.  The newest Envoy can handle up to 500 microinverters – or 100kW. Enphase now offers Enlighten in two versions of the software: Enlighten Manager for solar professionals to maintain the systems they’ve installed, and MyEnlighten for system owners to monitor the output of their systems. We’re excited to get some of these microinverters on some roofs. Check out the specification sheet for the Enphase M250!...

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Enphase Energy to Release 4th Generation System
Jul02

Enphase Energy to Release 4th Generation System

Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENPH) is keeping some big news under wrap until Intersolar North America 2013 on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Enphase has gained significant traction in the last half-decade since their first generation products were introduced back in 2008.  Enphase Energy, now a publicly traded company, was really the first to bring microinverter technology to the mainstream.  Enphase still dominates the solar microinverter market right now with their 3rd generation model, the Enphase M215.   The release of their 4th generation Enphase System is a now a highly anticipated announcement. The unveiling of the 4th Generation Enphase System will take place in San Francisco at Intersolar, a world-renowned event that brings together businesses to showcase new technologies in the solar industry. At this time, Enphase’s statement about the coming presentation is intentionally vague, so not surprisingly, we’re curious about what they’re bringing to the table.  GoGreenSolar.com CEO, Deep Patel, will be attending the Enphase’s “Exclusive 2-hour sneak peek training session” at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, California on July 9th. To register for the event, email pr@enphaseenergy.com or reserve your spot here: http://info.enphase.com/Intersolar2013. The introduction of Enphase’s 4th generation system will also be streamed live for investors on the company website (http://investor.enphase.com/events.cfm) Also- we’ll give you an update as soon as we have the specifications the 4th generation system!  Talk with you soon.   Anyone heard anything else yet? ______ Tom Jackson...

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Solar Industry Breaking Power Records, Laying Off Workers
Jun20

Solar Industry Breaking Power Records, Laying Off Workers

The solar power industry has come a long way from the days when solar-powered calculators were considered high-tech in the late 1970s. These systems, now totaling 3.3 gigawatts of power, were installed in 2012; enough to power a half-million homes, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association. The industry now employs 119,000 workers, an increase of 13 percent from 2011. The 76 percent increase in available power, along with the jobs being created as a result,  have not necessarily translated into a financial and industrial coup d’etat for solar energy. Several companies, large and small, have been forced to file bankruptcy as a result of declining prices for solar equipment and the subsequent contraction of profit margins. The lower prices can be credited (or blamed, depending on your viewpoint) on solar producers in China, who pass along cheap labor to the price of the finished products. Still, some of China’s largest solar panel makers are also filing for bankruptcy. Fallout From Bankruptcies Solopower, headquartered in San Jose, is the latest casualty in a string of solar companies that received federal subsidies, yet is still filing for bankruptcy. The company announced it will file bankruptcy, but did not indicate how many workers would lose their jobs as a result. The Daily Caller estimates the number of solar companies that have filed for bankruptcy is more than 50, despite all of them receiving federal funds. It is impossible to know the exact number of jobs that will be lost as a result of bankruptcies, since the Bureau of Labor Statistics no longer tracks green jobs in America. The government grants were meant to create jobs and reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil. But it has, so far, only created jobs that are subsequently lost when a company goes under. The U.S. continues to import more solar panels from China, while gas prices have finally steadied after rising everyday from late January to late February. The macroeconomic effects do not tell the full story of what is happening on Main Street. Those who have lost their jobs are not only contributing to the rise in unemployment claims, but are forced to apply for a cash advance or another provider to cover immediate expenses. Solar is Still Beneficial Despite all the issues within the industry, solar power is still a very good investment for home owners. Residents who install solar before the end of 2016 will receive a personal federal tax credit of 30 percent, on top of any municipal and state incentives. The amount of money you can save each year on utility bills varies, depending on the system you install and...

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