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Win some, lose some — Fossil fuel industry spent big in 2018 midterms to beat clean energy in states where it mattered most
Nov07

Win some, lose some — Fossil fuel industry spent big in 2018 midterms to beat clean energy in states where it mattered most

Midterm elections can be a mixed bag. There are a lot of competing interests, with seats up for grabs and power shuffling from the left to the right or vise versa. 2018 was no different, but when it came to ballot measures supporting initiatives for clean energy, there were clear instances where utilities and big oil companies outspent their rivals and won. The news doesn’t bode well for the future well-being and health of our fragile little planet, however not all hope is lost. State specific incentives in areas such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which can help residents payback a 5 kW solar system in just 4 years, and incentives in New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C., California, Oregon, Connecticut, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which can help residents payback a solar system in less than 10 years, continue to remain in effect pushing the mass adoption of clean energy. LOSERS WASHINGTON Washington’s second attempt at a carbon tax has failed. Initiative 1631, which would have helped fund investments in clean environmental projects with a rising fee on carbon initiatives was slapped down by a 56% “no” vote, mostly from rural and suburban parts of the state. Perhaps it’s not so much that the majority of Washington residents don’t love their nature as it is they were swayed by the $31.5 million “No on 1631” campaign funding that came from oil companies outside the state.   ARIZONA Prop 127, which would have required Arizona utilities to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2050 was shut down by a resounding 70% vote “No!” Some proponents of the mandate have pointed to the biased ballot language written by the utility-friendly secretary of state for being one of the reasons the measure was so soundly defeated, while others believe it was the fact that the Arizona Public Service Co. spent nearly $22 million on ads (making it the most expensive ballot initiative in the state’s history) scaring consumers into believing the change would raise utility costs. One way to have avoided the scare tactics of such companies and broken free of their chokehold would have been to convert your home to solar, which is a trend many state residents are beginning to adopt. Who knows, perhaps in a few years more time, rising utility costs won’t be as much as concern to the majority of the population as more people switch to making their home’s energy needs more self reliant?   COLORADO Frack. You too Colorado!? Prop 112, which would have required oil and gas wells to remain 2,500 feet from any occupied building, such as schools,...

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Gov Jerry Brown Signs SB700, Providing Rebates for Energy Storage
Oct11

Gov Jerry Brown Signs SB700, Providing Rebates for Energy Storage

It’s been less than a month since California ratified its highly anticipated SB 700, and already the solar energy storage market is seeing a lively response. Jerry Brown Signs SB700 – California aims to be entirely green powered by 2045. The bill, proposed by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), extends the state’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) by an additional five years to 2025, paying rebates to customers for installing energy storage systems, just as California once did for solar panels. “We are one step closer to meeting our aggressive renewable energy goals,” said Senator Wiener about the bill. “By expanding our use of energy storage we will be able to use solar power every hour of the day, not just when the sun is shining. The California Solar and Storage Associate (CALSSA) estimates the passing of SB 700 will provide up to $800 million in additional incentives for batteries and other forms of energy storage. What that means for customers investing in solar energy storage is that their local energy companies will cut them checks for the energy they manage to store. The program is technology neutral so as to not pick winners and losers, and it is designed to lower over time to help drive down prices to the point where incentives are no longer needed. Renewable energy storage technologies range in price and are able to store more than enough excess power to keep a house functioning and EV charging when the sun isn’t shining. The current rebates offered by California’s largest energy companies are as follows: Small Residential Storage Step 5 Step 4 Step 3 Step 4 Energy Storage** $0.25/Wh $0.30/Wh $0.35/Wh $0.30/Wh Residential Storage Equity Step 3 Step 3 Step 3 Step 3 Energy Storage <= 10kW** $0.40/Wh $0.45/Wh $0.45/Wh $0.35/Wh Energy Storage > 10kW + ITC** $0.30/Wh $0.35/Wh $0.35/Wh $0.25/Wh [source: https://www.selfgenca.com/home/program_metrics/] The new funding for SB 700 will be made effective January 1, 2019. The CPUC is expected to implement the extended program and make changes to the rebate structure by late next year, to keep the market’s running smoothly. To learn which renewable energy solutions would be best for your situation visit gogreensolar.com or call (866) 798-4435 to speak with a solar...

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Why Go Solar Now?
Aug14

Why Go Solar Now?

You know solar is a good idea. You see the systems on your neighbors’ roofs and you may have even heard them brag about the savings on their electric bill. So why are you waiting? Now is the time to get your system installed. The cost of solar has been dropping each year, but this doesn’t mean you should wait for it to drop more. For one thing, the equipment costs are about as low as they can get. At this point more than half of the cost to install a system cost is labor and that is not getting any cheaper. You also need to think about the money lost while you wait. The overall cost of solar of a solar installation has dropped about 2% in the last year.  That means a $30,000 system is $600 less than it was last year. But that system will generate about $2,500 worth of electricity in a year. So, if you did not install last year, you lost $1,900 waiting for the price break. Don’t make that mistake again this year. Another reason to stop dragging your feet is that government incentives don’t last. If there is a state or local rebate you can get, take advantage of that now. Most rebate and SREC programs are designed to end when a certain number of megawatts of solar are installed. This means the sooner you get your application in, the more likely you are to get a piece of that pie. Even the federal tax credit is not forever. The current 30% amount is set to lower for systems installed after 12/31/19 before it ends completely in 2021. This means there is going to be a frenzy of installs next year as all the procrastinators get on board to get the full tax credit. Solar installers can only get so many installs done so it is best to call one now and beat the rush. If you are concerned because you don’t have a big tax liability this year, you should still get your solar installed now. Take what you can of the tax credit and the remainder can roll over to future years for as long as the tax credit is in effect. Also keep in mind, the tax credit matters even if you are planning to lease your system. When you go solar using a lease or PPA program, the lease or PPA company is taking that tax credit and factoring it into your cost, so it is still important to be mindful of the deadline on it. Some people put off solar because they are deciding about selling...

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What California’s New Solar Mandate Means for Home Builders
Jul20

What California’s New Solar Mandate Means for Home Builders

The future of solar in the golden state is shining much brighter now that that the California Energy Commission unanimously voted to require that all new homes built after Jan 1,  2020 have solar panels. Updates to the Title 24 Standards decree that builders who obtain construction permits issued after the mandate goes into effect must fit new houses with a solar array that has an annual electrical output equal to, or greater than, the dwellings annual electrical usage. If you’re a home builder in California, here’s three reasons this change will be advantageous for you:   LOWER MONTHLY HOME PAYMENTS In a market where home prices are already high, the requirements are estimated to add nearly $9,500 to construction costs or an additional $40 a month in mortgage payments. So how does that save the eager home buyer money, you might wonder? According Energy Commission spokeswoman Amber Beck, increased home energy efficiency will shave on average about $80 off monthly bills. Subtract that from the increased mortgage and you have a net gain of $40. Even better is the fact that it’s a pretty sure bet electrical rates will continue to rise over the next few years, and suddenly it becomes much more appealing to own a new energy efficient home fitted with solar than an older one that costs more money to power.     LOCATION IS EVERYTHING! Much like selling a house, location is everything when it comes to decking out a house with a solar array. The location of a home will determine how many panels it needs to satisfy the Title 24 Standards, and will make building in areas that have a higher Sun Number more appealing. For reference, California’s average system size accross its different climates comes to around 3.38 KW, or about twelve 3ft x 5ft solar panels. Location will also come into play when it comes to knowing where to source bulk deals on equipment to maximize profits. Wholesale online dealers such as GoGreenSolar will usually go the extra mile and help with contracting out the installation and offering advice on the best direction and angle to build a roof.   UPSELL The new building standards are also offering a credit for solar capacity combined with on-site energy storage. The credit is meant to encourage builders and/or buyers to include energy storage systems to increase the efficiency of their solar array and can be offset with monthly payments. Ultimately, while the code is might appear ambitious at first read, it leaves a lot of interpretation and wiggle room up to the builders to determine how they will implement it. If necessity...

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Duke Energy Attempt to Foot Home Solar With The Bill, Fails
Jun07

Duke Energy Attempt to Foot Home Solar With The Bill, Fails

A recent settlement brought an end to an attempt by Duke Energy Carolinas to shoulder North Carolina residents switching to solar with hefty fixed rate increases. To help fund a proposed $13 billion grid modernization program for the state, Duke Energy sought to foot North Carolinians switching to solar with the bill by increasing their utility costs up to 50% according to Vote Solar’s Regulatory Director Caroline Golin. Opponents against Duke’s fixed utility rate increases argued the charges would undermine customer’s ability to utilize net metering payments, where people make money for selling the excess power their home generates back to the grid. Duke’s $13 billion Power/Forward Carolinas grid proposal, which was introduced last February, set out to modernize the state’s power grid and “support renewable energy initiatives.” Upon closer inspection of the bill, however, solar supporters in North Carolina discovered it did the very opposite by targeting people who used net-metering with higher out of pocket costs to pay for the utility company’s upgrades. “…Duke’s plan puts solar out of reach for customers, makes it much harder for clean energy companies to survive, and makes it more expensive to do business in North Carolina,” Golin writes in her blog. The recent settlement with Duke has lowered the time period of the modernization initiative from 10 to four ears, and cuts spending down to $2.5 billion, reducing the potential rate increases that will be seen by customers. The decision comes as an added win for the state’s clean energy advocates as the energy company recently rolled out a $62 million solar rebate program in January, paying residents back up to $0.60 per installed watt. To learn more how to qualify for a solar rebate, contact GoGreenSolar.com or call (888)...

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Only 600 spots left for North Carolina’s huge home solar rebate
May29

Only 600 spots left for North Carolina’s huge home solar rebate

As summer ramps up on the east coast, people in North Carolina are lining up to get a chunk of the state’s $62 million solar rebate. Last month the North Carolina Utilities Commision approved Duke Energy’s rebate program, which is aimed at reducing the upfront costs of installing solar panels, shaving 40-50% off the cost of home solar installation when combined with the federal tax credit. The North Carolina Solar Rebate Program is capped at 5,000 kW for home solar, or roughly the equivalent of 600 homes. Under the program, residential customers will be able to earn back $0.60 per watt, and nonresidential customers $0.50 per watt. The typical North Carolina home is expected to make between $3,000 to $5,000, with the maximum rebate amount capped at $6,000. The North Carolina Utilities Commission decision to pass the rebate stems from House Bill 589, which passed last year in an effort to encourage more solar ownership. Upon success of the Duke Energy rebate last month, the company has filed two more renewable energy programs to expand renewable options for the 3.2 million customers it serves in the state. “Our customers want more renewable energy options and both these programs will provide alternatives to on-site solar power,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We look forward to working with our large customers as well as environmental organizations, municipalities and solar developers to bring these offerings to areas where they are most desired.” North Carolina is second in the nation for solar capacity. Sign ups for the rebate program begin at the start of summer, Monday, July 9 2018. To learn more how to qualify for a chunk of the change Duke Energy is offering solar homeowners in North Carolina before the program fills up, contact GoGreenSolar.com or call (888) 338-0183....

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