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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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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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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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