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What Upfront Rebates for Residential Solar Are Left Around the States?
Jul21

What Upfront Rebates for Residential Solar Are Left Around the States?

It used to be that homeowners could receive some very generous upfront rebates that could offset 30% or more of the cost of installing a solar system. But as the price of installing solar PV has dramatically dropped over the last three years, so has the upfront rebates offered by states and utilities. In addition to the wide spread decrease in rebate funding and amounts, many programs have switched from upfront payments that defer the cost of installing to performance based incentives that pay you a certain amount for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) produced by your solar system. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any upfront rebate programs left. In fact, there are many, but they’re just not as generous as they used to be, but then again, installed prices have significantly fallen too. (Also, keep in mind that all solar owners are eligible to receive the 30% solar investment tax credit until 2016 for even more savings and ROI!) With the above in mind, the following is a random sampling of upfront solar rebates that we found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiencies (DSIRE). The links for each program are to the updated information from the actual utility or state authority, so we assume that this information is accurate as of this writing in mid July, 2014. California Upfront Solar Rebates Most of California has exhausted the funds for the state’s California Solar Initiative (CSI) program for home solar, but the good news is that many of California’s municipal utilities are still offering some type of upfront cash rebate. City of Santa Clara’s Silicon Valley Power utility is offering $1.75/W AC for up to 10 kW. For a 5 kW system, that’s $8,750 off the price of installation. However, the amount is actively stepping down as systems go online, so the sooner you install, the higher your rebate. City of Palo Alto’s electric utility is on its last rebate step, so get it while it lasts. Its program gives solar homeowners $.80/Watt AC for solar systems as large as 30 kW. For a 5 kW average system size, that’s $4000 off the price of solar. City of Pasadena has its own Pasadena Solar Initiative (PSI) program that’s now offering an upfront residential solar rebate of $.85/Watt AC up to a 30 kW system size, which pencils out to $4250 in decreased solar install costs for a typical 5 kW home system. Los Angeles’ LADWP municipal utility is offering just $.40/Watt AC for its solar rebate, up to the average 5 kW system size. So, the maximum rebate amount is now just $2,000 and continues to...

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No CA Rebate without Solar Panel Monitoring?
Nov15

No CA Rebate without Solar Panel Monitoring?

Homeowners using the Enphase Envoy to monitor their solar panel output can qualify for an upfront, lump-sum rebate through California’s Expected Performance-Based Buydown (EPBB). What’s the EPBB Rebate? The Expected Performance-Based Buydown (EPBB) is one of two incentive options offered by the California Solar Initiative (CSI). The EPBB is an upfront rebate for small businesses and homeowners with systems 30kW or less (as opposed to systems greater than 30kW, which would qualify for 5 years of monthly payments through a Performance-Based Incentive).  If you qualify for the EPBB rebate, you’ll get the entire payment at the time of installation. The EPBB rebate is determined mainly by the expected performance of a photovoltaic system, which is based on factors including CEC-AC rating, tilt, orientation, location, and shading. To qualify for the EPBB rebate, you need to get a monitoring system like the Enphase Envoy Communications Gateway to track the output of your solar panels.  With a reporting accuracy of ±5%, Enphase monitoring is sufficient for the EPBB rebate, whereas revenue-grade meters with ±2% would be required for PV systems of 30kW or greater under CSI’s Performance-Based incentive.   Enphase monitoring systems include: Enphase or Siemens Microinverters Envoy Communications GatewayTM Enlighten® web-based monitoring and analysis software For more information about monitoring requirements, visit the CSI Website.   How does Enphase work? The Enphase Envoy is designed for PV systems with Enphase Microinverters, which attach behind each solar panel, turning the DC electricity from each solar panel into usable AC electricity. With each microinverter working independently, Enphase systems are optimized for locations prone to shading from nearby trees and make it easy to add solar panels to your system in the future. Each mircoinverter is connected to the internet with it’s own IP address, so the web-based software Enlighten provides data about your system’s output – whether you’re at home on your PC or using your the Enlighten app your iPhone.   Each microinverter operating independently means you can see the output of individual panels in your array, making troubleshooting issues much easier than a string inverter would. Enphase microinverter systems are recommended for small grid-tied systems, systems with multiple arrays, and systems with potential shading concerns. Benefits of Enphase Systems: Easy installation Design flexibility & scalability Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) Optimized for shading Remote monitoring capability...

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Going solar in California makes the most financial sense.

Let’s compare two states, both with lots of sun exposure. California and Nevada both have an abundance of sunshine, then why does going solar in California make much more sense than Nevada? The financial payback period for solar energy in California is much quicker than any other states. The purpose of this post is to compare two states that have equal sun exposure and demonstrate how much state incentives available for solar energy can do reduce upfront costs for a solar energy system. Residence: Los Angeles, CA – Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) System Size: 5kW Total Cost $40,000 Federal Tax Credits $(2,000) State Incentives $(20,086) ————————————- NET COST $17,914 Residence: Las Vegas, NV – Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) System Size: 5kW Total Cost $40,000 Federal Tax Credits $(2,000) State Incentives $(0) ————————————- NET COST $38000 In comparison, let’s look at commercial photovoltaic systems in both states……. Commercial: Los Angeles, CA – Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) System Size: 5kW Total Cost $40,000 Federal Tax Credit $(12,000) State Incentives $(15,782) —————————————— NET COST $17,584 Commercial: Las Vegas, NV – Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) System Size: 5kW Total Cost $40,000 Federal Tax Credits $(12,000) State Incentives $(0) —————————————— NET COST $28000 ** All calculations assume 30 degree pitch facing south, with no shading issues. As you can see commercial solar energy systems get the largest break from the federal government. The residential sector is capped at $2,000…this federal tax credit is set to expire on December 31st, 2008….unless congress renews it. The latest I have heard about the extension is the house just passed up a bill to extend the credit, hopefully it passes through the senate this time around, although President Bush has already threatened to veto it if the extension of the tax credit for renewable energy comes up to his...

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