Leased Solar Panels May Complicate Home Sales

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in photovoltaic

Leased photovoltaic (PV) systems that come with long-term contracts are proving to be a problem for some homeowners when they try to sell their homes, in some cases killing deals when potential buyers get cold feet, a report in the Los Angeles Times says. Although the article didn't quantify the problem, it suggested the number of problem real estate transactions is growing as the number of leased PV installations increases.

Maine Completes Value of Solar Study

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in distributed generation

A study conducted for the Maine Public Utilities Commission says that the real value of electricity generated by photovoltaic (PV) panels is more than twice what solar customers currently get under net-metering rules. The study, Maine Distributed Solar Valuation Study, was the result of legislation passed last year directing the PUC to calculate the value of "distributed solar generation" in the state. The report was turned over to a legislative committee on March 1, 2015.

Arizona Utility Imposes a New Solar Fee

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in Arizona

An Arizona public utility has voted to impose new charges on customers who generate some of their own electricity with photovoltaic (PV) systems, arguing the extra income will help pay for grid infrastructure and maintenance, ThinkProgress reports. Directors of the Salt River Project (SRP) voted in favor of the new fee late last month despite the appearance of some 500 protesters at their meeting in Tempe.

Can Solar Electricity Trump a Ductless Minisplit?

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in ductless minisplit

Ven Sonata's query is simple: If the falling cost of installing a photovoltaic (PV) system has killed off the viability of solar hot water systems, as GBA senior editor Martin Holladay believes, does it also represent a threat to the beloved ductless minisplit for heating and cooling?

Indiana Weighs a Bill Allowing New Solar Fees

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in Indiana

State lawmakers in Indiana are considering a bill that could lead to lower net-metering rates for customers who own photovoltaic (PV) systems and wind generators, and allow utilities to charge new fees to cover the cost of grid maintenance. The legislation easily cleared the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee and was headed for a full House vote later this month. The Senate has yet to act.

More Solar Ahead for Multifamily Buildings

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in California

Officials from California and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have outlined plans to increase spending on energy efficiency and solar energy for multifamily buildings in the state. In a news release, the White House said that a pilot program in California would tap into a type of financing called Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).

Blogs Prime Article The Evolution of Superinsulation

Wisconsin Alters Net-Metering Rules

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in distributed generation

Wisconsin utility regulators have approved changes in net-metering rules proposed by the state's largest electric utility that will lower the compensation for excess electricity sold to the grid, and change bookkeeping rules so homeowners with photovoltaic (PV) and wind systems can't carry solar credits for more than a month. We Energies says the new rate structure spreads the costs of maintaining the grid more evenly. Solar advocates say the changes will dampen interest in renewable energy.

Solar Beats Utility Power in Many Cities

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in grid parity

In 42 out of the country's 50 largest cities, electricity produced by fully financed photovoltaic (PV) systems would be cheaper than power purchased from the grid, researchers from the NC Clean Energy Technology Center said. Their report, Going Solar in America, also found that in 46 of the largest U.S. cities, a fully financed system was a better investment than the stock market.

Duties on Chinese Solar Panels May be Cut

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in Chinese solar panel

A Department of Commerce review of steep import duties imposed on photovoltaic (PV) panels made in China may result in sharply lower tariffs, but U.S. consumers aren't likely to see much benefit, Bloomberg reports. The International Trade Administration, part of the Commerce Department, suggested in a preliminary report on Jan. 2 that the 2012 anti-dumping and countervailing duties should be reduced from a combined 31 percent to 18 percent, Bloomberg said.

House Members Ask for More Scrutiny of Solar Leases

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in photovoltaic

More than a dozen members of the House of Representatives have asked two federal agencies to look into claims that solar leases are being oversold to consumers, according to published reports.

Electric Vehicles Hit a Pothole in California

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in electric vehicle

Some electric vehicle owners in California think they've been sideswiped by changes to a utility rate plan that helped them pay for their photovoltaic (PV) systems.

California Governor Ups Renewables Commitment

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in California

Already committed to producing 33 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, California's governor announced a new goal of 50 percent renewable power by the year 2030. Governor Jerry Brown said during his inaugural address that the new target was "exciting" and "bold" and essential in averting potentially catastrophic climate changes, but he didn't offer any specifics on how it might be accomplished, The Los Angeles Times reported.

An Off-Grid Solar Community

Posted on March 29,2015 by AjahnSona in insulating shutter

Birken Forest Monastery is a retreat center in the mountains of British Columbia. It's located at an elevation of 4,000 feet at Latitude 51, and experiences about 9,000 heating degree days (Fahrenheit) per year. The buildings are about 15 years old. We are off the grid. The nearest electricity line is 4 miles away, and it would cost about $200,000 to bring grid power in. (Then, of course, we would still have to pay for the electricity.) So off-grid it is, and will remain.

Solar Thermal Is Really, Really Dead

Posted on March 29,2015 by user-756436 in photovoltaic

Back in early 2012, in an article called “Solar Thermal Is Dead,” I announced that “it’s now cheaper to heat water with a photovoltaic array than solar thermal collectors.” Now that almost three years have passed, it’s worth revisiting the topic. In the years since that article was written, the cost to install a photovoltaic (PV) system has dropped significantly. Moreover, I’ve come across monitoring data that allow for a more accurate estimate of the amount of electricity needed to heat water with electric resistance elements or a heat pump.

Report Grades States on Energy Policy

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in Freeing the Grid

An annual survey that gauges renewable energy policies around the country shows that in the past year states have generally made it easier for homeowners to produce their own power with small-scale photovoltaic and wind systems. The report, called "Freeing the Grid," grades U.S. states in two key policy areas — net metering and interconnection, which is the procedure customers must follow to connect their renewable energy systems to the grid. The survey is produced by Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

Veterans Will Get Training as Solar Installers

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in photovoltaic

Beginning this fall, some veterans who are leaving active military duty will be able to get training at one or more military bases to become solar installers, the White House said. The effort is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Instruction Training Network, which hopes to train 50,000 installers of photovoltaic (PV) systems by 2020.

Big Companies Offer Employees a Solar Bargain

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in photovoltaic

More than 100,000 employees of several large corporations will get the chance to buy or lease photovoltaic (PV) systems for their homes at discount prices, thanks to a group-buying plan hatched by the World Wildlife Fund.

A New Ground-Mounted Solar Array

Posted on March 29,2015 by user-756436 in photovoltaic

I’ve lived in an off-grid house for the past 39 years. Since I make my own electricity, my electricity costs are much higher than those of most Americans. Because of my off-grid lifestyle, I often lack perspective when I try to help people who ask questions about ordinary energy choices. (I’ve had to compensate for my lack of relevant experience by undertaking anthropological studies of my grid-connected neighbors.)

Solar Energy Costs Fall in 2013

Posted on March 29,2015 by ScottG in distributed generation

Prices for photovoltaic (PV) systems fell by between 12% and 19% last year, and should drop another 3% to 12% this year, a joint report from two national laboratories says. The trend toward lower prices is keeping the country on track to meeting the targets of the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot initiative, the report said, which forecasts a price reduction of 75% in the cost of solar-generated electricity between 2010 and 2020, to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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