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California Now Requires Solar Panels For New Homes
May09

California Now Requires Solar Panels For New Homes

The California Energy Commission got one step closer to upholding the state’s pledge to receive all its power from renewables by 2045, ratifying a mandate this week that requires solar installations on all new homes built after 2020. The vote has historical precedence, making California one of the first governments in the world to take such sweeping measures to encourage the use of renewable energy. The monumental decision which the commission passed 5 to 0, Wednesday, May 9, applies to homes, condos, and apartments, only making exceptions for buildings constructed in the shade. “Adoption of these standards represents a quantum leap in the statewide building standards,” the Wall Street Journal quoted senior engineer with the California Building Industry Association Bob Raymer. “You can bet every one of the other 49 states will be watching to see what happens.” Currently 15 to 20% of new single-family homes in California take advantage of solar. The legislation is expected to increase the cost of building a new home to code by $9,500. However research shows the extra costs will be recouped over the life of the home due to decreased energy bills, saving owners $50,000 to $60,000 in operating expenses over a 25 year period. New structures that are built with the mandated solar installations after 2020 would still be able to apply for the California Solar Initiative rebates. It is still unclear how hard this will impact the program’s funds that reimburses consumers based on system performance. It is likely, however, the forecasted increase in solar installments due to the legislation will exhaust the state’s incentivized rebate budget sooner than anticipated. While such an increase in solar installations will be good news for the environment and the homeowners that profit from the rewards, it will also increase pressure on those waiting for an economically opportune time to switch to solar....

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Top 5 DIY Solar Installation Mistakes
Apr26

Top 5 DIY Solar Installation Mistakes

Professional solar panel installers live by the phrase “measure twice, cut once,” to avoid waste and get things right the first time. But that may not work for a smart amateur. A homeowner should probably approach a solar panel installation DIY project by taking the original estimate and factoring in twice as much time and three times as much money if you don’t have support services from your solar kit supplier to get the job done right the first time. The reason? DIYers without the proper support mess up. These are the most common mistakes a solar panel installation DIYers might make — and how to avoid them. We’ve been helping DIYers successfully install solar panels  Mistakes such as not taking out the required permits, or starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies. Or not properly preparing the job site. Or just failing to get a clue. So lace up your work boots and read on for tips on how to get professional results installing your solar electric system. #1- Not taking out the required permits and utility interconnection Considered a bother at best by many DIYers, permits actually serve a greater purpose than just raising money for the government. People in permitting offices aren’t evil. They’re there to make sure the job is done right and you don’t hurt yourself. Plus, for solar installation, you need proof of the permit or your insurance carrier won’t cover it. This is exactly why our GigaWatt solar kits offered by GoGreenSolar.com offer permitting services which not only provide a full set of customized code complaint plans designed by our professional solar engineers but we provide our DIY customers the support they need to deal with their permitting office plan checkers and inspector’s questions and objections so you get your project done efficiently. Additionally our interconnection services deals with your utility directly so you get permission to operate your newly installed solar electric system as quickly as possible after your permitting office inspects and approves your newly installed solar electric system. Failure to file the correct paperwork with your utility can prevent you from turning your solar electric system on, every day that goes by that your system remains off is money down the drain. The utilities often make the process of filing and receiving permission to operate a difficult one because they know once you flip on the switch to your newly installed solar electric system they will lose revenue from you forever. We’ve filed thousands of utility interconnection applicaitons on behalf of our customers and have learned every trick in the books, when a customer purchases a GigaWatt...

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Extensive Solar Rebates Bring Sun to The Windy City and Illinois
Apr16

Extensive Solar Rebates Bring Sun to The Windy City and Illinois

New distributed solar incentives in Chicago, Illinois have recently gone into effect, stimulating a rise in home solar panel installations around the great lakes area.   The incentives are a byproduct of the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act, a legislative effort to help it pivot into a clean energy economy. The act sets forth the ambitious goal for Illinois to install 2,700 MW of solar energy by 2030, a significant increase from the 75 MW that currently exists.     To help the state reach its target approximately $30 million of the Renewable Energy Resources fund is earmarked to encourage the installation of home solar panel systems and small projects under 10 kW.   The Illinois Commerce Commission and state Power Commission are in charge of fixing the price of SRECs, which they hope to make enticing enough to encourage more solar installations.   “Built into the legislation is the ability to tinker with the pricing if it looks like it’s not set perfectly. There’s a lot of good thought and analysis going into getting it right.” EnergyNews.us quoted MeLena Hessel, a clean energy and sustainable business policy advocate for the Environmental Law & Policy Center.   The new law will award one  Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC for each megawatt hour MWh) of electricity that a home solar system produces. Home owners can then sell the SRECs to receive extra money, which will be in addition to the state’s already generous net metering rebates.   CHICAGO AVG COST & SAVINGS FOR SOLAR* SYSTEM SIZE AVG. COST AVG. SAVING 3 kW $8,877 $6,867 5 kW $12,195 $13,946 7 kW $16,349 $17,194 10 kW $23,386 $26,767 12 kW $27,281 $28,234 * 2016-2017 discounted prices and savings for a solar panel system in Chicago after the 30% Federal solar subsidy (ITC) is included.   When Illinois solar power generation reaches 5 percent of its utility load, the net metering incentives will end and regulators will re-evaluate how much utilities should pay back to customers that install solar.   While this means that there is only a limited window to procure all of the state’s incentives and install a home solar system for next to nothing, customers that complete the install before the 5 percent cap is reached will be grandfathered in with net metering for the life of the solar array.   To get an even better price on the cost of installing home solar, contact GoGreenSolar.com or call (888) 338-0183 to compare hardware prices and our network of installers....

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Trump’s Steel Tariffs Affect Solar Pricing
Apr04

Trump’s Steel Tariffs Affect Solar Pricing

Trump’s tariffs on steel aren’t only adversely affecting the livelihoods of American manufacturers and the food you eat, but will take a toll on the nuts and bolts of the clean energy industry as well — literally.     Section 232 proclamation, which Trump signed into existence last month, places a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. The proclamation is expected to have a direct impact on renewable component costs, increasing the price of everything from the nuts and bolts hardware, to the racking and solar panel frames used to mount PV panels, to the general electrical products such as wiring and transformers.     While manufacturers and installers are expected to bear the brunt of the tariffs, the costs will trickle down to customers installing residential solar as well. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEI) estimates that the steel and aluminum tariffs could add 2 cents per watt to both utility scale and residential solar projects.   The increase comes at a time when there is already significant pressure on the solar industry to stay above water in the wake of 30 percent tariffs on imported solar cells and modules earlier this year.   “Steel and aluminum tariffs would be immediately impactful to the U.S. solar market,” Scott Moskowitz, solar analyst at GTM Research said. “Most mounting structures vendors source steel and aluminum from numerous locations, both in and outside of the United States. Tariffs would likely make the cost of importing these materials prohibitive, while increasing the price of U.S.-made steel, which has already risen due to the threat of tariffs.”   America is the world’s largest steel importer, buying about 35 million tons in 2017.   While American steel mills hail the tariffs as a positive step towards bringing the fabrication of raw materials back to domestic shores, manufacturers that need steel to create their products are apprehensive about what the diminished metal supply will mean for business. According to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic analysis, the U.S. steel industry employed approximately 147,000 people in 2015 while manufacturers and construction industry needing steel employed 12.8 million.   Among those numbers are jobs supported by the solar industry. As it becomes more difficult to retain employees over the next few years amist a whirlwind of destabilizing tariffs and smaller profit margins it appears there might be dark days ahead in the near future of installing affordable home solar.   Contact GoGreenSolar.com or call (888) 338-0183 to learn how you can install home solar before prices go...

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California SGIP Provides Rebates for Solar Batteries
Mar23

California SGIP Provides Rebates for Solar Batteries

If you live in California and are only using your solar battery for backup, then you’ve been using it wrong. A subsidy program to encourage home energy storage has already paid millions to solar battery owners since last May in exchange for reducing the total demand on the state’s four largest utility companies. Named the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), the program is calibrated towards offsetting the costs of purchasing solar battery storage units such as the Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem ESS. “The purpose of the SGIP is to contribute to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reductions, demand reductions and reduced customer electricity purchases, resulting in the electric system reliability through improved transmission and distribution system utilization,” the program’s website states. In some instances the SGIP rebate covered up to 30-40% of the total battery system cost. Considered a win-win for both utility companies and people using residential solar, the SGIP has several more rounds of reimbursements to go before funds are exhausted. By offering homeowners generous per W/h incentives to purchase an energy storage unit, California’s four largest utility companies participating in the program hope to reduce energy demand by using customer’s homes a decentralized way to store power. The four utility companies participating in the SGIC — Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), Southern California Edison (SCE), SoCal Gas (SCG), and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) all offer five steps of reimbursements, which each step closing as the allocated funds run out. Currently PG&E, SCE, an SCG are nearing the end of Step 2, which pays small residential storage units $0.40/Wh.   CSE has been burning through its reimbursement funds at a faster pace and is waiting to announce the dates for its final Step 5. Because CSE did not get as much as the other utility companies they run a lottery for the rebate, which tends to get filled in 1 to 5 days. The four utility companies offer rebates based on reservation time. Each additional step up in the program reduces the per Wh subsidy by $0.05. While applying for a rebate can be a challenge, home solar companies such as GoGreenSolar offer assistance to customers looking to maximize the economic potential of their home units. Company reps will require a copy of the fully executed home solar contract with the make and model of battery, contract price, 10 year limited warranty, recent electric bill, and an application fee which is approximately 5% of the rebate amount.   Ready to start putting your battery to better use? GoGreenSolar can...

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4 Silver Linings in Trump’s Solar Tariffs
Feb21

4 Silver Linings in Trump’s Solar Tariffs

It’s no secret the solar industry has already faced some intense headwinds in 2018, as seen with President Trump’s aggressive tariff on imported solar panels at the start of February.   Incase you didn’t already know, about 80 percent of America’s solar panels come from imports, and while many spectators are wringing their hair on the sidelines, worried about solar’s future, there’s a few silver linings in the gathering clouds.   State Controlled Solar Incentives: Sure, the federal government might’ve put a squeeze on imported solar hardware, but luckily for us, states still have the power to offer financial incentives such as tax credits and net metering payments for excess power generation. While there are still a handful of states that offer such incentives, the outlook is questionable on how many will continue to provide them over the next few years. The domestic solar industry creates a significant amount of jobs and there will be a growing amount of pressure on legislators to use their authority under the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act to establish competitive rates for small, renewable power generation and keep the solar market alive. Rise of DIY Solar:  Any sailor worth his (or her) salt knows that when the headwinds start to blow, you bring in the boom and start to tack. The current administration’s stance against renewables will not equate to its demise, but rather its change of course. The beauty about home solar is that it’s decentralized, and puts the power of energy generation back into the hands of individuals. To offset the slightly higher hardware costs of solar, we are sure to see a trend of more people opting to install parts, if not all, of the solar rigs themselves. Afterall, necessity is the mother of innovation, and converting a home to run off the grid has never been easier. World Trade Organization Says Nah:  Trump’s tariffs have attracted opposition from environmentalists, free-market advocates, alternate energy advocates, and players in the renewable energy industries. The noise has already caused enough clamour to bring the dispute up with the World Trade Organization in Switzerland, where countries like China and others targeted in the tariff are likely to claim it is in violation of international law. A closer inspection of the provision Trump used to ratify his tariff shows it’s one rarely used by governments. In fact, the last time America tried to use it in 2001 to put a tariff on steel imports, the WTO overturned it with penalties. Exactly how things will play out in the next coming months, however, remains to be seen. Freedom: The attack on consumer solar will not be the first...

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