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interconnection agreement 101

If you’re considering to grid tie your wind turbine or solar panels, you need to understand the interconnection agreement. Since your clean energy system will interact directly with the grid it will require you to enter into an agreement with your utility company. The interconnection agreement covers the terms and conditions of the clean energy system which will be interconnected. Specifically these agreements contain information about the technical specifications, safety, power quality, building permit required and insurance information. To ensure success of your grid tie wind turbine or solar panel project obtaining and reviewing the interconnectionagreement at the start of your project. Each utility has their own interconnection agreement, so its best to call your electric utility and ask for a copy of their agreement. There is a national standard when it comes to connecting to the grid and many utilities are following the standards. The standards of connecting to the grid focus on the grid tie inverter meeting both UL and IEEE standards. An inverter that is listed UL 1741 has “utility interactive” printed on the case which signifies that the inverter is fully compatible with IEEE 1547...

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30% cash payment to install solar panels?

Is it really raining money for people who install solar panels? Yesterday, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science President Obama first toured the museum’s solar panel installation right before he singed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, into law. The 787 billion dollar stimulus package is very supportive of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The most interesting incentive in the energy section of the stimulus package is the federal tax credit of 30% for installing solar panels is now going to be offered as a 30% solar grant. This means, within 60 days of installing a solar electric system the U.S. Treasury Department will send you a check for 30% of the total installed cost. Isn’t that unbelievable?! For the first time ever the federal government will give you a cash payment to install solar panels! Sounds too good to be true. There is a lot of uncertainty behind how the “federal solar grant” is going to really work since the administration has not drafted the terms yet, which is expected to be completed within 30 to 60 days. Rumors are flying around as people are guessing how this incentive is going to be formulated. People are saying residential installations will not qualify for the 30% federal solar grant only corporations will be able to snap up free money to install solar panels, bummer for homeowners. Also the solar grant maybe taxable as income on the state level, but it’s all speculation until the administration clearly defines how it’s going to work. I sure hope everyone who installs solar panels both homeowners and businesses will qualify for the grant. It would be unfair to exclude individuals, since they’re taxpayers too. Don’t you agree? What have you heard about the historic solar grant? What do you think about the 30% solar...

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Oncor opens the flood gates on solar rebates

Oncor, an electric company that serves Texas launched their “Take A Load Off, Texas” solar rebate program to motivate homes and businesses to embrace solar panels. Oncor’ generous rebate of $2.46 per DC watt up to a maximum of $24,600 for homes and and up to $246,000 for commercial and public projects will stimulate the local economy due to the surge of demand for solar panel installations. The program is funded with 16 million dollars and will run for four years, Oncor expects to have 1,400 solar power systems installed by the end of their solar rebate program. Last time I posted about Oncor’s solar rebate program, a couple community members found out that Oncor does not extend the rebate to owner installed systems, the solar power systems would have to be installed by a solar contractor that is approved by Oncor. Later this year Oncor will also offer more incentives for energy efficiency, they’re on track to becoming the most aggressive electric company in Texas promoting energy efficiency and clean power. I say its about time, since Texas has above the national average electric rates and plenty of solar irradiation. What do you think about Oncor kicking off “Take A Load Off, Texas” rebate...

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6 new york utilities improve net metering policy

On Thursday, the NY State Public Service Commission made changes to the net-metering policies of six investor owned utility companies to encourage more homes and businesses to install solar panels or wind turbines to generate clean electricity. The term net-metering, means an agreement with your utility company that specifies the terms of what type and size of clean energy system you can connect to the grid and the value of the credit you will receive for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) from your utility company. The Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Orange and Rockland Utilities and New York State Electric and Gas Corporation will allow customers to sell back clean electricity generated at retail value. The changes included allowing non-residential entities to benefit from the net-metering policies and also increase the limit to 25 KW from 10 KW for residential solar power systems. These changes allow more people to participate, which encourages the community to support clean energy thus helping our country become more energy independent and provides new opportunities to create local jobs here in the US. What do you think about net-metering policies in general? How do you think we can get more people to contribute to the grid versus being a liability to...

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it’s unanimous! first feed in tariff in america is here

Gainesville voted unanimously to pass the first feed in tariff in America this week. A feed in tariff of 32 cents per kwh (kilowatt-hour) over a 20 year period will be given to homes and businesses who install solar power systems. policies like these will truly sitmulate the economy because it will create customer demand and provide new jobs in the area. what do you think? feed-in tariffs are a great incentive system because it evens out the playing field, the energy you contribute from your solar panels should be bought at a premium from the utility company. Don’t you agree? Germany, the world leader in solar power invigorated investment in solar panels by offering feed-in tariffs. Do you think this will happen in the U.S.? Will gainesville’s leadership in feed-in tariffs be contagious to other...

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tax refunds for solar and wind power?

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) had a conference call recently to talk about restructuring of the wind and solar tax credits to make them more favorable in today’s bear market. In October of last year, congress extended wind and solar power tax credits and removed the $2,000 cap on residential installations. Although the extension of the tax credits for wind and solar power was a positive step towards helping renewable energy become mainstream, not everyone can take a tax credit, you have to have a tax liability to take advantage of a tax credit and putting today’s economy into perspective, not many people are going to be able to take advantage of the credit. The solar and wind industry associations are encouraging Congress and the Obama administration to covert the tax credit into a tax refund. A tax refund is the mother of all financial incentives because it would mean the federal government would send you a check for installing a wind turbine or solar panels, the results of converting the tax credit into a refund are obvious. Do you think the solar and wind power can convince the federal government to pay you to install a clean energy...

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