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Nevada legislator pulls plug on solar incentives
Aug18

Nevada legislator pulls plug on solar incentives

  The Nevada Supreme court dealt its state solar industry a blow Aug. 4 after denying a ballot measure to halt recent rate hikes for solar users. Previous to the court’s denial, the chances for the measure to pass had looked promising, with it gathering more than double the number of needed signatures to place a referendum on the November ballot. According to FoxNews, until this year net-metering subsidies for Nevada’s 17,000 homeowners using solar totalled an annual $16 million. A state commission subsequently decided that since the state was a approaching a cap on the number of net metering participants, it would allow the Nevada Power and Utilities Commission to enact new rates for rooftop solar customers. Last spring the state legislature voted accept the PUC rates and end subsidies, nearly tripling fixed monthly fees for solar customers from $12.75 to $38.51. “What started as a legislative policy to kickstart the industry, now 18 years later, it’s time for that industry to stand on its own two feet,” Fox News quoted Paul Thomsen, chairman of Nevada’s Public Utility Commission. If there is a silver lining, however, it’s that Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has requested that next year’s bill “grandfather” existing customers back to their old rates. NV Energy took similar steps, pursuing an effort to do the same through the PUC. In other words, those Nevada citizens that seized the opportunity to convert their homes to solar before the subsidies were ended, will still get to enjoy the low, fixed energy rates promised to them by the state. As for the fate of the Nevada homeowners that weren’t quick enough to secure the grandfathered rates in time, advocates are looking to take a more long term approach to winning back subsidies by going through the state...

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Utah’s solar boom might be more than its rebate can handle
Aug11

Utah’s solar boom might be more than its rebate can handle

Utah’s lucrative incentives for its residents to go solar has ignited exponential industry growth in 2016, causing its state legislators to worry the rewards might be too good and call a preemptive end to applications for rebates when the clock strikes 2017. According to the Utah Daily Herald, the state, which now boasts approximately one solar panel for every three people, saw its solar capacity grow 14 fold from 2014-15, making it a national leader for renewable energy. “The growth curve is basically vertical right now,” the Governor’s Office of Energy Development Jeffery Barrett told the Tribune. Increasing fossil fuel energy rates in the past 5-10 years, coupled the decreasing cost of solar installation and state and federal rebates, has made it so that the per-kilowatt hour cost of solar is more than half as cheap. For homeowners in Utah, recognizing the financial benefits was a no-brainer. During 2016, approximately 7,700 residents have signed up for the Rocky Mountain Power’s net metering program. The number is more than double that of 2015, and there are still over 12,000 applications pending. The boom was clearly more than state legislators had bargained for, with some of worrying it could cost the government over $42 million. Others however, argue that the shift is a good thing and actually can save money in the long run. Ryan Evans, President of the Utah Solar Energy Association, pointed out that the incentive is more of an investment than a handout, as numbers show the state can quickly recover its $2000 incentive cost within the first year through new jobs, taxes, increased property and equipment sales. While legislators are yet to weigh in on a final decision to end the rebate program, one thing is sure–many Utahns are quick to make power while the sun is...

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Case Study: SolarEdge7600 Energy Production
Jul21

Case Study: SolarEdge7600 Energy Production

A 10.2 kW system using the SolarEdge 7600 Inverter was evaluated to compare the actual production against the production estimates produced by the layout design tool. The system evaluated was commissioned to operate since February, so the production values were compared from February to June of the year 2016. The results show that the estimates are very close to the actual production values. The system produced about 3.5% more than the estimates show overall in the time period from February to June. The results also show that the system actually produces about 3.5% percent more overall than the estimates in the PV layouts. This shows that the estimates attained via the PVWatts government website through our design tool are indeed accurate. The case study also shows that the SolarEdge 7600 Inverter is capable of handling a 10 kW system.   Equipment: 40x Gigawatt 255W Solar Panels 40x SolarEdge P300 Power Optimizers 1x SolarEdge 7.6kW Inverter w/ Zigbee Wireless Monitoring Location: Camaloa Avenue,Lake View Terrace CA...

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Why home solar works better than solar power plants
May27

Why home solar works better than solar power plants

If you’re thinking about making the switch to clean energy, but are waiting for a community solar farm to pop up in your area or a utility company to construct a massive project that harvests the sun, might want to think again.   But first, let’s talk about Blockbuster. Remember them? That blue and yellow chain of video rental stores that could be found in nearly every suburban neighborhood in the 90s?     Yeah, I barely do, either. And that’s because when the internet changed the way people consumed movies, the behemoth company stubbornly refused to shift its model of distribution.     With the conversion rates of people switching to solar becoming more common across the globe, we’ve begun to notice a similar flub on the part of large scale solar production plants.      While these grand undertakings are exponentially better for the environment than their carbon emitting alternatives, recent problems with such projects prove the energy source is much better suited to be captured by autonomous individuals than in concentrated areas on large tracts of land.   This past March a sector of Ivanpah, one of the world’s largest solar power plants, emphasized this point as it went up in flames.     With nearly 200,000 sets of focused mirrors superheating steam to generate electricity and tons of small moving parts, it was a difficult (and expensive) project to keep running smoothly. Add to this the sprawling 3,500 acres of land it takes to house the plant and you’ve racked up a bill costing nearly 20 cents per a kilowatt hour.   Photovoltaic home solar systems on the other hand are much more scalable, only require rooftops or backyards as necessary real estate and have the advantage of making electricity where it is used–reducing its kilowatt per hour cost down to 6 cents or less.   When it comes to solar, it’s not hard to imagine a future where the outdated energy production models of the 20th century have gone the way of Blockbuster, and the companies that come out on top are the ones that shift their thinking about how the public produces, access and consumes electricity....

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Documentary Shines A Light On The Solar Solution
May05

Documentary Shines A Light On The Solar Solution

What do an American worker, a Tea Party activist and a Chinese entrepreneur have in common? They’re all are racing to lead the global future of clean energy and their journeys are featured in Catching the Sun, a new documentary that showcases how doing good by the environment has created a boom in the renewable energy job sector.   “I was fascinated by the idea that solar power could democratize and decentralize energy in a way that creates economic opportunity for workers and entrepreneurs,” said Director Shalini Kantayya.   Kantayya’s film jumps between countries around the world that are fast-tracking solar production and follows some of the stories that have unfolded in its wake.   Among these stories are  Zhongwei Jiang’s , an entrepreneur in Wuxi, China, who grew up without electricity until he was 7. In 2003 Jiang took out a small interest loan from the Chinese government to start a solar company WesTech, which has grown by 50% every year and has expanded to Germany.   Other stories include those of solar installers in America who’ve found job opportunities in the burgeoning industry and a mayor who has fought tooth and nail against an oil corporation’s interests after a spill devastated her town.   The movie shows how one out of 83 new jobs created in the U.S. in 2014 was in the solar industry as a result from nearly 784,000 homes and businesses in the country embracing solar to save money and elevate property values.   Catching the Sun can be viewed on Netflix, downloaded on Vimeo or seen at select screenings taking place around the country....

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