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Homebuilders Seek Solar Contractors To Comply With California’s Newest Solar Mandate
Nov18

Homebuilders Seek Solar Contractors To Comply With California’s Newest Solar Mandate

Starting next year, California will require the construction of all homes to include solar systems that offset their expected energy usage.  California’s new home solar requirement is part of the state’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which the California Energy Commission updates every three years. The mandate is an attempt by the state to achieve Zero Net Energy in all new homes by 2020. Such demands will create new challenges and opportunities for home builders looking to comply with the state’s law while maintaining competitive prices and offering unique value propositions to potential customers.  As of 2019, approximately 15,000 solar systems were installed on new homes. By next year that number is set to quintuple to nearly 75,000.  To keep pace with California’s growing demand for residential solar, building contractors are looking to partner with established home solar companies such as Go Green Solar, which have both the experience and track record necessary to help them streamline the transition while keeping a lean budget. Offering a wide selection of solar equipment and roster of subcontracted roofers, electricians, and engineers to help get the job done, Go Green Solar has the following traits that building contractors will want to consider when working with a home solar installer: Comprehensive knowledge of California building code and Title 24 requirementsGo Green Solar started in California and has over 13 years experience in the solar industry. Its sister company Planet Plan Sets specializes in making the solar permitting process easy for any home builder in the nation — meaning that when it comes to the tedious details such as building codes and laws, the company has a long-standing track record of success. Flexible and easy to work withMost DIY solar companies sell the equipment for a person or company to convert their building to solar and the relationship ends there. Go Green Solar is a hybrid of sorts, offering the freedom of choice and ownership that comes with DIY along with the additional help and assistance of installing should it be something a customer requires. Quality workmanshipGo Green Solar’s reviews speak for themselves. Having helped thousands of customers nationwide make the switch to solar, the company has a roster of full time and subcontracted workers that have been stringently vetted to do their work, and do it well. A wide selection of BOMs Not every home is the same. Different locations and budgets require different materials. Go Green Solar has a variety of photovoltaic panels, inverters, microinverters, and energy storage solutions for contractors to choose from, knowledge of how to install them, and a nuts and bolts understanding of how they will perform.  California’s Title 24 requirements...

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California upholds its vision to build all new homes with solar in 2020
Nov14

California upholds its vision to build all new homes with solar in 2020

The ink has yet to dry on California’s paradigm-shifting new proposal, Title 24, which will require solar on all new homes, and, already, utility companies are looking for ways to undermine the decentralization of power. Unfortunately for utility companies, California state commissioners doubled down on their vision of a state powered with a more decentralized grid.  Most recently, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) submitted a proposal to the California Energy Commission (CEC) that would create a loophole in the state’s solar mandate making it ineffective. SMUD’s proposal attempted to exploit the community solar option in California’s Title 24 mandate, allowing new homes to use power from far-off centralized solar farms, rather than requiring them to be built with self-sufficient solar systems.  During a time when power utilities have begun shutting off electricity to millions of consumers to avoid wildfires caused by downed power lines, many believed that SMUD’s efforts were an attempt to hold on to power and keep consumers paying high-utility rates. “This will be the end of the new home solar mandate as we know it,” said Benjamin Davis, a staffer at the California Solar & Storage Assn. The CEC voted to turn down SMUD’s proposal on Nov 14, securing a victory for California’s distributed solar and storage. The decision sends a loud and clear message that the state is serious about seeing its new buildings outfitted with solar power, drafting a more restrictive definition of community solar as it exists under Title 24.  A projected 2020 increase in demand for solar systems in California, coupled with the 30 percent Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) which is scheduled to phase out over the course of the next few years, has inspired a sudden uptick in homeowners contacting solar installers such as Go Green Solar, hoping to become more independent from large scale utility...

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3 Big Benefits of Microgrids
Nov11

3 Big Benefits of Microgrids

Wildfire season in Southern California has become synonymous with rolling blackouts for homes relying on grid power, shinning the spotlight on microgrids as one of the best solutions to providing the state with its energy needs and spurring a significant increase in inquiries about solar + storage.  Solar microgrids work as a localized source of energy generation, which is connected to a more extensive energy network, but can disconnect, or “island off,” from the system.  While numerous benefits come with microgrids, we’ve condensed it down to the top three reasons they rock. 1. COST Installing an energy storage solution and microgrid along with PV panels allows a solar system to store energy during peak sunlight hours and ration it for when power companies increase the time of use rates for electricity. Not paying a premium for electricity can save homeowners up to $1000 a year or more.  The development of better and more affordable batteries, coupled with lower-priced solar systems and government subsidies, makes the homeowner’s cost of going solar competitive with paying for energy generated by a coal or nuclear power plant at a centralized location.  Because solar microgrids allow people to work as a decentralized network, producing power close to its point of use, they cut down on the need for long-distance infrastructure. Reducing the need to build new transmission towers, power poles, transformers, and power lines will allow utility companies to improve the infrastructure they already have. On a macro scale, the cost of utility-scale solar has dropped to around $36 per megawatt-hour, which is cheaper than the MWh cost of building new power plants and equivalent with the cost of running existing ones.  2. AGILE ENERGY SOLUTION TO CALIFORNIA’S BLACKOUTS AND FIRES Recently PG&E chief executive, Bill Johnson, said it could take a decade for the company to improve its electrical system enough to reduce the number of customer blackouts. California’s Energy Commission can read the writing on the wall and has invested over $100 million in microgrid projects.  Solar microgrids provide homeowners with enough backup power generated from the sun to continue with their lives as usual in the ever more frequent instances when energy suppliers such as PG&E and SCE need to shut down.  The change would be beneficial for utility companies, too. Currently, in California, such companies are caught between a rock and a hard place. If a high wind is forecasted, companies are incentivized to be overly cautious and shut off power to millions of people so that downed lines won’t cause another wildfire. But leaving paying customers in the dark is not a viable long-term solution. Smaller microgrids can be...

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California Homeowners Look to Solar Following Massive Power Shutoffs
Oct21

California Homeowners Look to Solar Following Massive Power Shutoffs

More Californians are looking to switch to solar after two of the state’s largest utility providers cut power to nearly a million of its customers with little to no warning on account of high winds — an incident which many experts warn will become more common.  “I suspect for the next few years these are going to occur,” said Severin Borenstein, faculty director of UC Berkeley’s Energy Institute to the LA Times. “No one involved in this thing thinks it was a one-time event.” The outages ranged from Humbolt to Ventura county and in some cases, lasted up to 72 hours.  Northern California was most heavily affected, with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) leaving an estimated 800,000 people without electricity.  Northern California was most heavily affected, with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) leaving an estimated 800,000 people without electricity.  “PG&E’s mismanagement of the power shutoffs experienced last week was unacceptable,” decried California Governor Gavin Newstrom following the event. “We will continue to hold PG&E accountable to make radical changes – prioritizing the safety of Californians and modernizing its equipment.” Likewise, Southern California Edison (SCE) shut the power off for nearly 30,000 of its customers.  Following last year’s deadly fire season, during which a PG&E caused fire destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people, California has given utility companies unilateral control for deciding when to shut off the power.  Legislators intended utilities to use the provision as a last resort. However, many worry the utility companies are being overly aggressive with outages since they will bear full liability for any blaze that occurs from their equipment.  “Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E’s greed and neglect,” Governor Newsom said, going so far as to suggest that PG&E give $100 to each of the hundreds of thousands of customers who experienced blackouts.  Rather than wait for legislators to resolve the issue or cross their fingers and hope that utility companies will solve it for themselves, October saw an uptick in Californian homeowners wanting to take their power supply into their own hands and switch to solar.  The trend comes nearing the end of 2019 when a lucrative 30 percent Federal Incentive Tax Credit for going solar is scheduled to be massively reduced for the next two years until it expires.  Realizing that such power outages due to increasingly arid weather and higher than normal seasonal winds will become an annual occurrence, the homeowners switching to solar are hoping to get ahead of the problem.  “Utility companies might randomly shut down the grid, but if you have solar panels, inverters, and batteries to store the excesses energy, you...

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ADU & Solar Go Together Like Peanut Butter & Jelly
Oct08

ADU & Solar Go Together Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

Accessory dwelling units (ADU), in-law apartments, laneway houses, backyard cottages, or just a good ol’ fashion granny flat — the home addition goes by many names, but one thing that remains standard throughout the nation is that building one with solar, makes a lot of sense.  That’s because residential solar and ADUs go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Sample Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) with Solar Take, for example, that the reason why the majority of people build ADUs is to provide an independent living provision for all of life’s necessities. ADUs act a self-reliant tiny home that is detached from a primary dwelling, but still on the same parcel of land, which can accommodate a person’s sleeping, cooking, and sanitation needs. Since land is usually the most expensive part of building a home, and the land costs of an ADU are already accounted for, each dollar spent building the unit has a direct Return On Investment (ROI) when generating additional rental income and is a great way to build passive income over time. Likewise, homeowners that install solar systems do so with the intent to gain independence from utility companies and take control of their electric bills. Much like an ADU, the addition of solar to a home will increase its value and can be viewed as a long-term investment, generating a net-positive ROI after the first 5-7 years it’s installed.  When it comes to do-it-yourself projects, again, both residential solar and ADUs attract the same type of go-getter. It might not come as a surprise to learn that both projects can be completed on or off the radar. To encourage more builds of both that are up to code, many municipalities around the nation have made them easier to install, rolling back legislation to address the housing and energy crisis. Nationally, Los Angeles was among the cities that saw the most dramatic jump in ADUs after changing its building code from 80 applications in 2016 to 1,970 in 2017.  Legislation has had a positive impact on residential solar installments, too. The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has increased solar installations by 1600 percent since it was initiated in 2006, giving homeowners a generous 30 percent back on the price of their systems. Starting 2020 the ITC will begin to roll back its credit to 26 percent and 22 percent in 2021, before dropping to zero.  Coupled with the sunsetting ITC, 2019 promises to be the most financially beneficial time in the foreseeable future for homeowners to start ADU and solar projects. The symbiotic duo is an undeniably beneficial...

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Solar is now cheaper than natural gas, new study shows
Oct07

Solar is now cheaper than natural gas, new study shows

Solar storage has reached an inflection point in cost with new Natural Gas Combined Cycle (NGCC) plants in many regions of the United States, competing both operationally and financially. The findings are part of a study by Fluence and a group of MBA candidates at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, which analyzed data from 435 NGCCs across America to see how solar financially measures up against natural gas.  “In recent years, a consensus has emerged across the energy industry – and among regulators –that utility-scale solar-plus-storage (S+S) is now an economically viable alternative to natural gas peaker plants, “ the report states. S+S is a battery that is charged and holds the energy generated by a connected solar system such as a photovoltaic one.  The study uses the levelized cost of energy as the standard unit of measurement for comparing different forms of energy generation and assumed a project lifetime of 30 years, beginning in 2020.  Factoring in a 30% federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), the researchers concluded solar is more cost-effective in four out of the five grid service areas it identified. Using an example of a hypothetical S+S facility in California, the paper shows that the energy generation cost per megawatt-hour (MWh) would only be $39-48 using solar, as compared to $60-116 per MWh when using natural gas.  While the 30% ITC rate is only available for systems placed in service through December 31, 2019, before its rates phase out to 26 percent, 22 percent, and then zero percent each subsequent year, the research claims that S+S can still compete with NGCC financially in locations such as California and mid-continental US, with high solar irradiance or attractive prices for ancillary services.  Unlike natural gas, homeowners can generate their energy with solar, allowing them to become more independent from the fluctuating prices of utility companies. GoGreenSolar has professionals and DIY assistance for those looking to enjoy the benefits of utilities and take advantage of the ITC and S+S energy...

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