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Is New Jersey’s latest solar incentive bill too baller?
Jan18

Is New Jersey’s latest solar incentive bill too baller?

A recently passed solar incentive bill to promote residential solar in New Jersey and cut down on grid congestion has recently come under fire for being too generous. New Jersey Rate Counsel DIrector Stefanie Brand critiqued Bill A441 for being “too rich” insofar that it offers large payouts to homeowners for making the switch to solar. Bill A441, which the New Jersey Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee voted in favor of this January, offers up to 15% reimbursement on residential solar arrays to homeowners in certain areas of the state. The bill designates five strategic zones in New Jersey that would benefit from reduced grid congestion if more people installed solar panels on their roof. “Families choosing to use solar panels are cutting energy costs, and most importantly, moving the state toward a greener, more environmentally responsible future,’’ the NJSpotLight quoted Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen), the bill’s sponsor. In the past, electrical congestion in New Jersey ended up costing consumers up to $1 billion. If the bill passes, it will seek to reduce such congestion and forgo having foot New Jersey constituents with the bill of installing more power-lines by encouraging enough people in the congested areas to switch to...

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$15 Million Minnesota Solar incentive program reopens for the start of the new year
Jan12

$15 Million Minnesota Solar incentive program reopens for the start of the new year

Winter. A drab time of year for many of the midwestern states–and perfect time to let in more sunshine wherever the chance arrives. For the fourth year running, now, Minnesota has opened the window for solar incentive applications, which will give residents up to 25 percent back of installed costs on proposed solar projects from Jan 1 to Feb 28, 2017 The Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, administered by the Minnesota Commerce Department, helps fund new solar and thermal systems for the state’s residents, busineses and communities. The program, which first began in 2013, has so far supported nearly 1,100 solar projects according to the state’s website and has a budget of $15 million for the course of its 10 years. The program is expected to last until 2023, with the goal to get the state’s investor-owned utility companies to obtain 1.5% of its power from renewables by 2020 and 10% by 2030. Applicants for the generous incentive offers to cover up to a quarter of a photovoltaic (PV) project’s installment costs, are randomly selected and will receive payments for 10 years based on the system’s electricity production. For owners of solar thermal systems, the program offers a one time rebate up to a 25 percent of the installed cost. Minnesota expects the program to help fund up to 4,000 solar installations over the program’s 10 year lifespan. The incentive program is available to state residents and businesses who install systems and/or collectors that are certified as manufactured in Minnesota. If you’d like to find a system that meets the state’s incentive requirements you can visit the state’s website  to find out more or contact GoGreenSolar via email or call (888) 338-0183....

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New Lodi City solar rebates finer than its wines
Jan09

New Lodi City solar rebates finer than its wines

The California city of Lodi, fondly known as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World”, just added another variety to its merits–but this time, instead of wine, it is turning heads with its latest solar rebate program. The sundrenched San Joaquin County city is offering residents up to $5,000 in solar rebates for new Photovoltaic system applications that are approved between Jan 3 to 31, 2017. The rebate program, which according to city’s website is meant to “incentivize the installation of high-quality solar PV systems” has a $185,000 budget. The price tag would theoretically allow nearly half of Lodi’s population to get massive financial incentives for going solar. Requirements for the rebates set forth by Lodi Electric Utility (LEU) mandate a system must produce the same amount or less than the home’s previous year of energy usage. To determine your home’s annual energy usage you can check out this helpful link provided by the city. Lodi City Council and LEU announced the program earlier this year to take advantage of the 2006 Senate Bill 1 (SB1), establishing a California goal to add 3,000 MW of new solar systems to the state in over 10 years. Once the city exhausts its rebate budget, rebates will then be determined on a lottery basis. Go Green Solar is an appropriately licensed contractor in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the State of California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) and City Building Codes and can help you install PV modules, inverters, and meters listed on the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Eligible Equipment List for the rebate. Call (888) 338-0183 today to figure out how you can receive the full amount of the city’s offered rebate and save up enough money for those extra crates of...

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Why 2017 might be the best year ever to go solar
Jan04

Why 2017 might be the best year ever to go solar

Despite the anticipated pushback against environmental policies by incoming President Trump and his fossil fuel friendly cabinet picks in 2017, a glance at this past year’s renewable industry trends and plummeting panel prices suggest that right now might be the cheapest time ever to switch to solar before policy changes and a slowdown in manufacturing drive costs back up.   Last year(s) for the Full Extended Solar Investment Tax Credit   The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the corner stone pieces of nation wide legislation supporting the development of solar in the United States. In a nutshell, the ITC is a 30 percent tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties. It was set to expire this year, but a rare act of bipartisan policy making extended it to 2023. The tax credit incentive will decline by a set percentage every year until its extended expiration date, with 2017 being the last year people can receive the full 30 percent write off. But let’s not be optimistic for a minute and assume the incoming Trump administration were to try and abolish this credit. There’s a dull silver lining in the fact that our government is a large machine that takes some time to change course, meaning that any potential changes might not take effect until a year or two down the line.   A Sudden Plunge in Hardware Costs   We’ve all heard the investment maxim “buy low sell high”–well, when it comes to the hardware costs of solar, it’s possible things are as low as they’re likely to get. At the end of 2016, Dec 28 saw the market price of solar panels fall by an additional 2.4% to $0.36 a watt according to PVinsights The plunge was due to an over manufacturing of panels and a lower than expected surge in demand. To move inventory, many manufacturer’s such a China’s Trina Solar Ltd. are most likely selling at a loss. The Fossil Fuel Industry is Fighting Back   2016 was a record year for solar. Domestically, utility-scale solar additions totalled 9.5 GW according to the US Energy Information Association, more than any single energy source–even fossil fuels! Globally, renewables fared even better, with the cost of solar and wind the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries according to a World Economic Forum report in Dec 2016. The report points out that as prices continue to fall two-thirds of all nations will reach a point know as “grid parity” even without subsidies. “Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and...

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Utility Companies’ Masochistic Policies
Dec22

Utility Companies’ Masochistic Policies

2016 was a good year for solar. The year saw a five year extension of the federal solar Incentive Tax Credits (ITC), allowing homeowners to write-off up to 30% of the costs of a home solar installation. Then there was a record number of solar installations, which beat 2015 by 191% according to a SEIA and GTM Research paper. Add to this the enjoyable stat that in 2016 a handful of countries saw the price of solar drop drastically below the price of gas and coal. Taking into account all of the solar industry’s positive achievements over the year, it’s no wonder that many of America’s state sanctioned utility companies have had a knee jerk reaction, pushing to increase their “fixed charges” fees up to 80% in some states. A 50 States Solar report for 2016 shows that utilities in 18 states outlined such proposals, attempting to charge customers more for fixed charges, despite the fact many of them consumed less energy either by switching to renewables or installing energy saving appliances. These backwards and short sighted tactics to subtly and dissuade people from switching to solar might have short term financial benefits for utility companies, but harmful long term consequences. As solar technology exponentially improves, and KW per hour energy prices decline, utility companies are turning a blind eye to the global trend of switching to renewable energies. As utility companies try and pressure consumers to stay by increasing fixed costs, these companies are only hurting themselves. Building new coal plants is a 30-50 year investment costing millions and one that is likely to pay less and less dividends in a future fueled by renewable energies....

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Utility companies are slowing the advancement of first world countries
Dec15

Utility companies are slowing the advancement of first world countries

Much in the same way many third world countries such as India and Africa leapfrogged building a landline infrastructure and switched straight to mobile phones, Bloomberg Technology recently reported that the same trends are now starting to happen with solar and other renewable energies. The difference? Landlines didn’t have powerful companies fighting tooth and nail to stop first world nations from advancing. When it comes to the majority of established utility companies in the US, most of these entities are doing their best to deter customers from pulling the plug and declaring their independence from fossil fuels. Take Florida’s anti-solar ballot, for instance, which utility companies misleadingly tried to advertise as “pro-solar” until grass-root movements of actual pro-solar advocates exposed the misinformation campaign. Luckily, such actions led for the ballot to be overwhelmingly defeated, opening the state’s flood gates to solar competitors to provide people with clean, affordable energy. Other states like Nevada, however, weren’t so fortunate. There, utility companies successfully won a court decision to repeal promised state incentives to people who had already switched to solar–effectively stunting the industry’s growth there for years to come. The result of such aggressive efforts by gas and coal-fed utility companies throughout the US and other first world nations has slowed the spread of solar energy enough to the point where, for the first time ever, second and third world countries have surpassed their first world counterparts for capital spent on emerging energy markets. A report entitled “Climatescope” by Bloomberg Technology shows the emerging markets of China, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, and India outspent wealthier countries on renewable energy growth by nearly half a billion dollars! This is due to the fact that oil pipelines and power plants aren’t as predominant in less industrialized countries, making the costs more expensive and volatile than the steadily declining costs of PV solar. Such countries didn’t install solar because they were trying to do good by way of the environment, but because the cost per a KW hour was, in some cases, nearly half as cheap. One can’t help imagining what it might have been like 20 years ago had there been powerful landline companies trying to restrain Americans from switching to mobile phones while the rest of the world advanced ahead. When it comes to renewable energy, however, that seems to be the case, and their motivation is no mystery: If everyone in the world suddenly became energy dependent, they’d be out of a...

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