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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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How Much Will Solar Cost You?
Jan09

How Much Will Solar Cost You?

Infographic by Visual News

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Solar Energy, Electrons Sold Separately?
Dec21

Solar Energy, Electrons Sold Separately?

Introduction to Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), commonly referred to as “Green Tags,” help states meet their Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and other renewable energy mandates.  As state RPS requirements call for utilities to procure specific percentages of the energy they provide from renewable sources, RECs are gaining traction as a convenient opportunity.  This post will provide a brief introduction to RECs are and how they can be used.   Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) A Renewable Energy Certificate, also known as an REC, is the legal ownership of the “clean” qualities of 1 MWh of electricity that’s generated from renewable energy sources.   When electricity is generated by a qualified renewable source like solar, something really cool happens.  Two commodities are generated:  the electricity itself and the clean qualities of that electricity.   Electrons are the same whether they’re produced by photovoltaics or fossil fuels, so the electrons from the renewable source can be sold just like any other electricity.  The rights to the properties associated with this generation, however, can sometimes be traded independently.  This is where Renewable Energy Certificates come into play. One REC is equal to 1 MWh, or 1000kWh of the clean characteristics of electricity that’s produced by the renewable source.   In the case of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, or SRECs, this would be the “solar” attribute of the electricity generated by the solar panels.    A clean energy provider receives one REC for each MWh that their facility produces, which they can then sell.   After purchasing an REC, these clean characteristics can be legally claimed by the purchasing party.  RECs basically allow the customer to acquire the environmental benefits of renewable energy in measurable quantities.    Though the ownership of these certificates is tracked by renewable energy tracking systems such as M-RETS (Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System) and/or WREGIS (Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System), the qualities associated with RECs are intangible so they don’t have to be restricted by geographical location in the same way as the actual electricity.  The clean qualities of the REC will sometimes have to be bundled with the actual electricity, but in theory they don’t necessarily need to be.  The extent to which RECs transcend these physical limits does depend on legislation, but we’ll see how REC markets play out with legislation in the coming years. In renewable energy certificate markets, facilities are used to keep track of the certificates. Every MWh that is generated is given an identification number so it cannot be used twice or by more than one party.  After a certificate is claimed by its rightful owner, is considered to be “retired” and cannot...

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Solar Brings Down Electricity Costs
Dec14

Solar Brings Down Electricity Costs

Image Credit: PV Magazine

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Federal Tax Credit for Residential PV
Oct18

Federal Tax Credit for Residential PV

At GoGreenSolar.com, we are often asked about the federal tax credits that apply to customers who use solar electric systems to power their homes.  Though we’re not tax experts, we’ve spent some time gathering information about these federal tax incentives for residential PV installations.  Here’s what we’ve learned:  The federal government offers tax credits to encourage the adoption of renewable energy.  These tax credits are 30% of the net cost of your solar electric system.  What is a tax credit? Unlike a tax deduction that takes money off your taxable income, tax credits will reduce your taxes by a specific dollar amount, directly offsetting your bill.  Of course, you do have to be paying taxes to benefit from tax credits. Who qualifies for the 30% federal tax credit? If you have recently put a solar electric system in service on your property, you qualify for a 30% federal tax credit.  To receive the tax credits for a residential solar system, the home with the system doesn’t have to be your primary living place.   So if you put solar on a second home, you’ll still qualify for the 30% tax credit.   If you are renting your home, however, you would not qualify. Is that 30% of the total cost or do they calculate it differently? Total (Gross) Cost – Utility/State Rebates = Tax Basis for 30% Tax Credit   First, determine the gross cost of your solar electric system, including all equipment, labor, and qualified expenditures.  Next, subtract any rebates you received from your utility company and/or state.   The tax basis by which your tax credit will be determined is calculated after any state or utility rebates have been subtracted.  Unless they qualify as income on your taxes, these rebates need to be subtracted before calculating your 30% federal tax credit.  This will give you the net cost of your project, which will be used to calculate your tax credit.  Net Cost x 0.3 = 30% Federal Tax Credit Does this apply to DIY solar electric systems? Yes. Just like any other solar electric system, a DIY solar system qualifies for the 30% federal tax credit.    If you hire help for your DIY project, have them write you an invoice for their labor and bill you.  Just remember, as in any case, to save ALL your receipts for tax purposes! What form do I use? Use the IRS Form 5695 to claim your tax credit, and submit this document with your taxes.   Be sure to keep all receipts and Manufacturer’s Certification Statements for your records. For more information about incentives in your area, visit dsireusa.org.  ...

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Understanding Your Electricity Bill Part 1: The Basics
Aug27

Understanding Your Electricity Bill Part 1: The Basics

Hello solar drops and droplettes!  Electricity bills can seem quite cryptic to the uninitiated, so we are going to do our best to demystify the bills for our readers.  It is our hope that you will gain a better understanding of your electricity usage, utility rates and schedules, how you can reduce your personal usage and save money.  Once you understand how your electricity rates works, you’ll be able to determine whether or not replacing all or part of your electricity with solar makes sense in your specific situation. We’ll focus on the basics of the bill page-by-page, focusing mainly on the first and third page because the other pages contain no usage data.  Future articles will address other aspects of electricity bills, some of which were outlined above and others that will be generated directly from questions you may have.  Please post any questions in the comments and I would be happy to answer them in a later article.  Now, grab a copy of your bill to follow along, and without further ado, let’s dive in! *Please note that the example bill for this article is from Southern California Edison (SCE). Most bills have the similar information, but if there are some serious differences, feel free to ask about them.  I will address all questions in later articles or directly in the comments.* Page one is your account summary. Most of the important numbers on the bill are on this first page. The customer account number is in the upper right-hand corner. This number can be used to check your account history online or over the phone. The customer account refers to any properties signed up with the utility under the same name. The service account number is associated with specific addresses that are under the customer account. Underneath this number and associated address is the rotating outage number, which may be used to access information about scheduled blackouts for your outage group (this information is available online or by phone as well). Just below the top portion of the bill is the invoice summary of the previous bill amount, your payments, the current balance and any new charges that have accrued in the current billing period, which is listed in the top left-hand corner. Below the summary is the reading from your meter in kilowatt-hours (kWh). It provides a graph that shows your daily average electricity usage (kWh).  Use this tool to compare your daily usage as it varies month-to-month and season-to-season. The bill also offers data on your average daily usage by the year, so if you have been making efforts to reduce your usage, those...

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