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National cost of solar installation might be as low as it can go
Oct13

National cost of solar installation might be as low as it can go

It’s likely the cost of switching to rooftop solar might be nearing its lowest possible point the market will allow according to a recent report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The LBNL’s Tracking The Sun IX report illustrates that the the costs of home solar installations declined again in 2015, though not as dramatically in years past. While the soft cost of solar installation has been quickly decreasing, performance based incentives such as state utility rebates and net metering programs are on a trend to becoming less generous. The good news is that while many of the revised government incentive programs across America are still being discussed, quick actors are still able to slide into the programs before their windows close. Such people will reap the dual benefits of PV technology with better efficiency and at lower costs than in years past, compounded with the offsets from the state and federal...

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Nevada brings back net metering rates for grandfathered solar arrays
Oct06

Nevada brings back net metering rates for grandfathered solar arrays

It seemed the law shinned favorably on solar proponents in Nevada Friday, Sept 16, as state regulators voted to restore net metering rates for residents that had already own solar arrays before the Nevada Public Utilities Commision increased fees and lowered compensation last year. The vote reverses a decision by the Nevada PUC to add on fees and lower the compensation paid to solar homeowners–at least for those who were quick enough to outfit their rooftops with panels before the PUC changed its rates in December 2015. A ruling by the Nevada district court, which found the 2015 new tarrif increase violated existing solar customes’ Constitutional due process rights, spurred the state regulator’s to take action, re-establishing the previous lower utilities rates for about 32,000 customers, according to Fortune 500. While future homeowners in Nevada will be subject the PUC’s higher rates and lower compensations, the case sets a precedent for protecting the rates of homeowners in states who manage to get grandfathered into beneficial rates, before the utility companies make a...

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Massachusetts’ newest solar incentive proposal offers better rates to those who act first
Oct06

Massachusetts’ newest solar incentive proposal offers better rates to those who act first

The future is looking a bit more bright for Massachusetts residents who want to switch to solar following Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal to incentivize an additional 1.6 GW of solar PV in the state. The Next Generation Solar Incentive Straw Proposal comes on the heels of the the state’s successful Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC -2) incentive program, which successfully increased solar deployment across the state and is set to expire at the end of 2016. As has been the trend with the newer incentive programs that are getting green-lighted all over America, the payback rate is less than the early days when solar installation wasn’t as prominent. Following suit with the trajectory of this trend, Massachusetts’s proposed incentive program rates are constructed to decline as more solar is generated. That means that people seeking the incentive earlier on will lock in more favorable rates than those latecomers to clean energy. Currently Massachusetts’s SREC-2’s program uses solar credits and a tariff program that fluctuates payback rates with the market and other factors. Under the newest proposal, incentives will have a single, fixed tariff rate for the life of the entire project and pay out over the course of 10-15 years.  This rate will factor in the state’s other incentive program of net-metering–giving a project a cap of a maxim payback rate it can apply for. The amount of the incentive is more generous for smaller projects such as home solar than larger, commercial ones. Contact GoGreenSolar.com or call (888) 338-0183 to learn how you can receive the state’s best incentive rates under the newest...

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California upholds rates and proves a shining beacon for home-solar benefits
Oct04

California upholds rates and proves a shining beacon for home-solar benefits

In a major win for residential solar in California this month, the state’s Public Utilities Commission rejected attempts by Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric to make rooftop solar more expensive. The 3 to 1 decision against the investor-owned utility companies brings to close a three year battle where these companies lobbied to significantly lower the net metering rates paid to solar residents. Currently the private utility companies have to compensate solar powered homeowners and businesses for the excess electricity they supply back to the grid. Like many private utility companiess rallying against net metering in America these days, they claimed the payout to people generating their own solar power would increase the rates they charged non-solar residents. In a scathing condemnation to the Palm Springs Desert Sun, the policy director for the California Solar energy Industries Association Brad Heavner, called the utility company’s case “not that strong” at all, claiming the vigor with which they attacked home solar was “almost harassment.” Part of the utility company’s appeal for commissioners to review the low rates for solar residents was the extension of a 30 percent tax credit issued by Congress earlier this year for solar installations past the end of 2016. Anti-solar advocates argued the tax credit makes rooftop solar cheaper than it otherwise would have been and that the utility companies should no longer need to provide such generous net-metering compensation. While the state’s commission currently ruled in favor of upholding the favorable net-metering rates, keeping the cost of installing home solar at a historic low, commissioners are set to review the policy again in...

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Future dim for home solar incentives in Maine
Sep19

Future dim for home solar incentives in Maine

Maine homeowners contemplating converting to solar just got more motivation to make the change sooner rather than later, following a new proposal, which hopes to phase out state funded solar incentives over the next decade.   The good news is that current solar homeowners and those who manage to make the switch and get grandfathered into their rates before the proposal is voted on, will retain their net metering benefits for the next 15 years.       The Main Public Utilities Commission (PUC) proposed the solar incentive change at a state commission hearing on Sept 13, claiming that since solar energy powers about 1 percent of the state’s usage it’s time to reconsider the decades old program   According to the Portland Press Herald the PUC’s plan is to cut compensation for homeowners that aren’t grandfathered into the old rates by 10 percent a year for a decade until homeowners will shoulder the costs of solar themselves, without any net metering or other state benefits.   Compared to an alternative plan sought by Maine’s Republican Governor LePage, the PUC’s timeline is viewed as much more lenient. Earlier this year, LePage’s office filed a recommendation to phase out benefits for solar homeowners over the next three years.   The PUC’s recent proposal comes as a starting point for reopening compensation discussions regarding Maine’s solar market. Later this year, new legislation is scheduled to be discussed regarding how new incentive models might help stimulate solar growth in the state, while also alleviating some the financial burden from its power company.   The recent discussions on solar incentives in Maine is indicative of the trends in the rest of the New England region. According to the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University, nearly two thirds of the states with net metering policies are reconsidering them, with seven looking to impose caps on net metering capacity....

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Arizona decides to keep net metering…for now
Sep02

Arizona decides to keep net metering…for now

Solar homeowners in Arizona breathed a collective sigh of relief this August as the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted to maintain full net-metering incentives and reject mandatory demand charges for solar customers.   The vote ruled against the state’s rural electric company UniSource Energy (UNSE), which sought the approval of legislators to increase the fees on approximately 100,000 solar customers by an additional $31 a month.     The ACC’s decision to hold off on rate increases aligns with an Administrative Law Judge’s recommendation to wait until an analysis of a docket entitled “Value of Solar” is completed, before making any decisions that would impact solar customers. The Value of Solar docket is scheduled to be concluded by October 2016, with a final decision on net metering for UNSE customers to be concluded by March 2017.   The outcome of the UNSE case is being closely monitored by solar proponents and detractors, as the rural utility company is one of five in Arizona that are looking to eliminate...

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