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Californians leading the country in solar panel installations

image credit: “SMA Solar Technology AG”. In 2008, Californians installed double the capacity of solar power then the year before according to a report released today by the the California Solar Initiative (CSI). Homes and businesses installed 158 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, despite the recession there is still a strong demand for residential solar electric systems. In December 2008 a record number of Californians put in rebate reservation forms, to secure incentives for their solar electric systems. Solar energy is not only successful in California because of it’s sunny climate, but more importantly the rebates they offer. For example, even though Los Angeles has more solar irradiation then San Fransisco, SF has more solar panels installs than LA. Since SF gives out a rebate on top of the CA state rebate and federal tax credit. Incentives are driving the demand for solar panels here in California. Other states have not put together incentive programs that can match California’s rebate program, why do you think that is? With record corporate layoffs this week and the economy continuing on a downward trend, what do you think is in store for solar power in california this...

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Educate Yourself: Don’t Get Fooled by Renewable Energy Scammers

If you’re thinking about purchasing a solar or small-wind system, make sure you do your homework! There’s a good amount of work that goes into making such an important investment, such as doing research on your installer, knowing about the product they’re installing and, most importantly, understanding the rebates available to you as a proud producer of renewable electricity. There are an increasing number people overselling the benefits to solar and residential wind systems, so it’s extremely important that you know what you’re buying! Even worse – there are scammers out there trying to take advantage of this growing market. They’re looking to prey on uneducated, green-minded consumers, so don’t let yourself be one of them! You can help drive these people out of the industry by doing your due diligence. Earlier this summer, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) received numerous phone calls from buyers who had very large deposits for solar systems taken from them. In two of the cases, $40,000 was taken and in the most egregious case, over $105,000 was taken! Now instead of enjoying the benefits of solar, these people are mired down in legal battles to get their money back. Don’t let yourself get into a similar situation. There are a number of things to keep in mind when buying a renewable energy system for your home or business. Here are a few: – Make sure your installer is a licensed contractor. All installers need to be licensed by their respective state. You can simply call your State Contractor’s License Board or visit their website and search for the company doing the job. They will be able to give you everything you need to know about a company. – Know how much the contractor can legally take as a deposit. The cases mentioned above could have been avoided if the buyers knew that in California it is illegal for a contractor to take more than $1,000 for a deposit on a residential job. – Ask if your installer is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). You can go to their website and search for the installer’s name. NABCEP certification is not legally required, but it will show that the installer has had good training. – Compare at least two other quotes for an installation. – Request at least two references from the installer. – Know the various incentives that are available to you and how long it will realistically take to payback your investment. In some cases, sham solar companies are telling customers they will get a return on investment within 11 months! Unfortunately, that’s not going...

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An Abundance of Energy

The American southwest, in particular Nevada has an abundance of energy potential and it falls from the sky everyday for free from the largest nuclear reactor in the world, the Sun. If the United just used just 10% of the federal land in Nevada (the desert) we could meet the entire needs for Electricity for the entire USA through Solar Power. Isn’t that absolutely amazing? And yet our utility companies choose to ignore the most obvious resource and continue to burn oil & coal to keep our lights on. Concentrated Solar Power is booming in Spain and Australia, while we lag behind here in the USA. The Federal government does not support renewable at all. According to people at the National Renewable Energy laboratory, our Department of Energy, receives billions of dollars each year to spend on energy, only 3% is allocated to renewable energy research & development….guess where the rest (97%) of the budget is allocated? NUCLEAR...

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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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Solar Power Rebates and Tax Credits

Rebates and Tax Credits make renewable energy power generation (solar energy, wind power, hydrogen fuel cell systems) affordable. Rebates vary state to state and they can have a significant impact on the final cost of a renewable energy system, a consumer should study them carefully and understand what incentives are available. Typically a service provider who has experience installing in your state can advise you on the rebates, but it’s always great to double check what a service provider is telling you. I’ll tell you where the service providers go to learn about rebates and tax credits. DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. The website provides rebate & tax credit information for the following technologies; Solar Photovoltaic (Electric), Wind Power, Solar Water Heating, Biomass, Solar...

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