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Solar Industry News

05 September 2013

SEPA Report Reveals Annual Solar Capacity

Posted in Solar Industry News

Surpassed 2 GW for First Time in 2012

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) released the 2012 Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings Report, which ranks utilities nationally and by utility type for more than 260 of the most solar-active utilities, representing 96 percent of the U.S. solar electric power market. The sixth edition of the report, the 2012 rankings analyzes the amount of new solar power interconnected by U.S. electric utilities. 

Three key findings:
1. Annual solar capacity surpassed 2,000 MW-ac for the first time in 2012;
2. The market share for large-scale solar projects grew 160 percent to 1,130 MW from 2011; and
3. Net energy metering (NEM), or customer-sited solar, remains a large part of the solar market, accounting for 99 percent of newly installed projects, with the most growth concentrated in five states (CA, HI, AZ, NJ, CO).

30 May 2012

2011 SEPA Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings

Posted in Solar Industry News

120% growth in the megawatts installed over 2010

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) just released their fifth annual Utility Solar Rankings, which analyzes the amount of new solar power interconnected by U.S. electric utilities in 2011. It covers more than 240 of the most solar-active utilities representing more than 99% of the U.S. solar electric power marketplace. The research shows that utilities are adapting to solar as their fastest growing electricity source.

In 2011, utilities interconnected over 62,500 PV systems and conservative forecasts expect this number will grow to more than 150,000 interconnections in 2015. And for the fourth straight year, utilities integrated a record amount of new solar power, despite the recession. The nation's most solar active utilities integrated almost 1,500 megawatts (MW-ac) of new solar, equivalent to six natural gas power plants, with commercial rooftop installations accounting for more than 53% of the capacity.

These 2011 numbers represent a 38% growth in the number of installations and a 120% growth in the megawatts installed over 2010. SEPA expects continued growth in 2012, driven by sustained price decreases and a build-out of large solar power plant contracts. Today, the most solar-active utilities are no longer theoretically talking about solar in the future – they are engaged with solar today in substantial ways. As solar markets grow, these utilities are already adapting to this rapid growth and the operational and regulatory changes that it requires, and in the process laying a path that other utilities will soon follow.

25 May 2012

Solar Net Metering Expanded in California

Posted in Solar Industry News

Doubles the amount of solar systems to benefit from Net Metering

cpuc logo2 

On May 24th, 2012, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously voted to give more Californians access to net metering credit for solar power. Net metering makes sure solar customers get fair credit on their utility bills for the valuable clean solar power they put on the grid for others to use. This helps protect this important solar consumer right for tens of thousands of California homes, schools, businesses and municipal buildings.

The hike in the number of systems eligible for what is known as "net energy metering" (NEM) comes as a result of what the CPUC calls a "clarification" of state law. Previously, electric utilities were obligated to offer net metering credits to customers only until the amount of installed solar capacity equaled 5 percent the utility's total peak demand. That limitation could have left at least one big utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, turning away net metering customers as early as next year. Under the new legal interpretation, utilities will calculate their peak demand by adding together each individual customer's peak demand. "This clarification doubles the amount of solar systems that can benefit from NEM, providing the benefits of solar energy to many more homes, businesses, schools and public agencies that can offset their electricity costs by sending excess solar power to the grid.

The decision will enable more Californians to go solar, with the potential to add roughly two gigawatts worth of solar power—twice the amount currently installed on homes, schools, farms and businesses across the state. Commissioners highlight the many benefits of more rooftop solar to the California economy and energy grid. This important solar policy has already delivered tremendous benefits to California: supported 25,000 solar jobs, driven $10 billion in private investment in the state's clean energy industry, given thousands of homeowners, schools, water districts, industrial users, and cities control over their electricity bills, and installed 2 natural gas plants worth of valuable peak solar power generation that our utilities won't have to build and you won't have to fund.

See the instructional video below to learn more about Net Metering.

27 April 2012

Los Angeles launches CLEAN LA Solar

Posted in Solar Industry News

The city’s first feed-in-tariff (FIT) program

This is great news for property owners in LA.  The city of Los Angeles has more than 12,000 acres of prime space for solar development on the rooftops of local homes, businesses and multifamily buildings, with the potential capacity to create as much as 5 GW of locally generated power, according to a study by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC). This amount of solar-ready rooftop space is equivalent to nearly 20 square miles.

The recent approval by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to move forward with the city's first feed-in-tariff (FIT) program - CLEAN LA Solar - provides the opportunity to create the first 150 MW of rooftop solar in the next three to four years, with a goal of reaching 600 MW by 2020.

An LABC-sponsored study by UCLA found that a 600 MW FIT could result in 18,000 green jobs, spur $2 billion in investment, and produce long-term cost savings for businesses, ratepayers and the LADWP, the LABC adds.

Additionally, the city must meet a state mandate requiring local utilities to generate 33% of their power from renewable sources by 2020. The solar FIT is a proven program to help the utility meet that goal and help the city quickly see the economic and environmental benefits in the limited time frame, according to the LABC.

Source: www.solarindustrymag.com/

See http://www.labusinesscouncil.org/sustainability/ for more details and Contact Stellar Energy to get a solar feasibility analysis.

23 April 2012

California Utility Rebate Expiration

Posted in Solar Industry News

Bonus Depreciation Due to Expire by the end of 2012

A commercial solar energy installation on your roof or nearby land can greatly reduce your utility electric bill, yet perhaps you delayed the benefits of saving money with solar energy because didn't have the time to go through the process of exploring whether or not solar makes sense for your organization.

Imagine throwing away thousands of dollars of savings potential because you were too busy.

Solar rebates provided by the Federal government, the State of California, and your local electric utilities have been declining and will soon be completely gone. Find out why now is the best possible time to get all the benefits of solar power, before the rebates expire.

One of the Federal incentives, a "bonus" depreciation schedule for the solar energy asset, is still available, but due to expire at the end of 2012. Specifically, your solar photovoltaic (PV) system must "placed in service" before 12/31/2012 in order to qualify for this valuable incentive.

Discover your potential solar savings with a complementary solar and financial feasibility analysis from Stellar Energy. Our solar analysts and project development team are rebate specialists, who can walk you through the exact incentives available in your area as part of our free project evaluation.

It is fast and easy to discover your solar potential with a no-obligation solar proposal.

Contact Stellar Energy today and find out how much you could be saving ... before it's too late.

21 March 2012

US Solar Energy Installations Soared by 109% in 2011 to 1,855 MW

Posted in Solar Industry News

More than 2,800 megawatts forecasted for 2012

The U.S. solar energy industry installed a record 1,855 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2011, more than doubling the previous annual record of 887 MW set in 2010, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report. The record amount of solar installations is enough to power more than 370,000 homes, and represents a 109 percent growth rate in 2011. It is the first time the U.S. solar market has topped one gigawatt (1,000 MW) in a single year. In the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, the industry installed 755 MW, up 115 percent from Q4 2010, for a second consecutive record-breaking quarter. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA®) estimate the U.S. solar market's total value surpassed $8.4 billion in 2011.

This unprecedented growth was spurred in part by declining installed solar photovoltaic (PV) system prices, which fell 20 percent last year on the back of lower component costs, improved installation efficiency, expanded financing options, and a shift toward larger systems nationwide. In addition, the anticipated expiration of the U.S. government's 1603 Treasury Program, which ended Dec. 31, 2011, drove developers to commission projects before the end of the year.

The report also provides an update on the concentrating solar power (CSP) market. While no new concentrating solar thermal electric capacity was brought online in 2011, a total of 10 concentrating photovoltaic projects came online. The year also saw meaningful construction progress on a number of projects with some capacity expected to come online later in 2012 and a surge in 2013. Today, more than 1,000 MW of CSP are under construction, enough to power 200,000 homes.

As of year-end 2011, cumulative PV capacity in the U.S. reached nearly 4,000 MW and cumulative CSP capacity topped 500 MW. Together this represents enough solar capacity to power nearly a million households.

"In 2011, the market demonstrated why the U.S. is becoming a center of attention for global solar," said Shayle Kann, Managing Director of GTM Research's solar practice. "It was the first year with meaningful volumes of large-scale PV installations; there were 28 individual PV projects over 10 megawatts in 2011, up from only two in 2009. Furthermore, the market continued to diversify nationally; eight states installed more than 50 megawatts of solar each last year, compared to just five in 2010. These are all indicators of a vibrant market."

The latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report found 800 MW were installed in the commercial sector in 2011, led by the California and New Jersey markets, compared to 758 MW of utility PV and 297 MW of residential installations. Utility-scale project installations, primarily across states in the Southwest, nearly tripled 2010 totals. In the residential sector, California installed 114 MW, with New Jersey, Arizona, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and Colorado each contributing meaningfully to the residential total.

According to U.S. Solar Market Insight, 2012 will be another strong year for the PV industry, with installations of more than 2,800 megawatts forecasted. Beyond 2012, the report forecasts installations to continue their ascendancy at a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent through 2016.

"The solar industry is the fastest growing industry in America for the second year in a row. What we are seeing in the U.S. is that policies are working to open new markets and remove barriers for solar," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. "The industry is now poised for years of multi-gigawatt growth and the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs. But we face a number of challenges that have the potential to slow this growth. That is why SEIA now coordinating the industry's federal and state policy initiatives to present a unified, cohesive voice for the solar industry."

A separate report on 2011 growth of U.S. solar heating and cooling technology is expected midyear.

2011 Q4 U.S. Solar Market Insight key report findings:

• PV installations grew 109 percent in 2011 to reach 1,855 MW, which represents 7 percent of all PV globally, up from 887 MW and 5 percent of global installations in 2010.

• Cumulative PV capacity operating in the U.S. now stands at 3,954 MW.

• There were 28 individual PV projects over 10 MW completed in 2011, up from only two in 2009.

• Eight states installed over 50 MW each in 2011.

• Installation totals in 2011 increased in 18 of the 23 states covered in detail.

• Weighted average PV system prices fell 20 percent in 2011 as a combined result of lower component prices, improved installation efficiency, and a shift toward larger systems.

• There were over 61,000 individual PV systems installed in the U.S. in 2011, bringing the total number of operating systems in the U.S. to more than 214,000.

The U.S. Solar Market Insight: Year in Review 2011 report (www.greentechmedia.com/research/solarinsight) is the most detailed and timely research available on the continuing growth and opportunity in the U.S. The report includes analysis of photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies, identifying the key metrics that will help solar decision-makers navigate the market's current and forecasted trajectory.

SEIA

http://www.seia.org

18 January 2012

Seven Smart Reasons to Go Solar in 2012

Posted in Solar Industry News

If you think you can’t afford solar, think again.

Many organizations are both curious and confused about the prospects of using solar energy to their best advantage. Stellar Energy helps them discover what is possible for their unique situation.


If you think you can’t afford solar, think again.

Even with no budget available, you can you can still receive the benefits of solar with a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). In this case, you get the solar savings without the full responsibilities of ownership.
  • Third party ownership results in no upfront capital outlay
  • Lock in predicable cost of electricity for 20 to 25 years
  • No operations, maintenance, or ongoing expenses

School districts, municipal water treatment plants, and smart businesses of every type have already taken advantage of Solar PPA opportunities that are saving them money for the long run.


Stellar Energy is often asked about their client's motivations for going solar, so here are Seven Smart Reasons to Go Solar in 2012.

1. Take Control of Your Operating Costs
Eliminate or significantly reduce your energy bills by using solar power. A commercial solar power system will reduce your operating costs by producing electricity when your facilities are consuming the most.  And when you produce more than you consume, such as on weekends, you benefit from net metering which credits your electric account.

2. Capitalize on the Rebate and Incentives Available for Solar
In addition to potential solar rebates from your utility, you may be eligible to receive lucrative state and federal solar tax credits which reduce your system investment and accelerate your return on inventment. Let Stellar Energy's solar analysts help uncover all your possible incentives for going solar.

3. Make a Sound Investment
Make a worthwhile investment in your business with a commercial solar energy system with at least a thirty-year lifespan and a double-digit annual ROI.
Get a Solar Feasibility Analysis and find out if solar makes sense for your organization?

4. Reduce Your Electricity Bill
Solar energy can allow you to significantly reduce or even eliminate your electricity bills.  This way you can dedicate money to more important things. See a case study of Stellar Energy's headquarters at Sonoma Mountain Village, which is 100% solar powered.

5. Help Create a Healthier Community
Using solar power reduces your carbon footprint, our country’s reliance on fossil fuels, and pollutants expelled from power plants. It clearly demonstrates your commitment to creating a healthier place to live for everyone.  See how solar works for school districts that will be saving millions of dollars, thanks to Solar!

6. Lead a Green Energy Movement
Hosting a commercial solar power plant inspires your customers, employees, and partners to support businesses that invest in renewable energy and efficiency technologies. Consider Valley Fine Foods, a producer of pasta and gourmet foods "Made with Green Energy". Their business is proud of being green and it helps distinguish their brand.


7. Earn a Solid Return
Find out why many of the world's smartest businesses like Honda, are making investments in solar. And learn how to make the same worthwhile investments in your own organization by using a solar energy system with a guaranteed annual ROI.  Nothing offered on Wall Street today could be wiser for you than to invest in than solar.

What are you waiting for? Contact us today and see what is possible for your organization through a complementary solar evaluation.

 

03 January 2012

30% Grant in Lieu of Tax Credit Expired

Posted in Solar Industry News

Investment Tax Credit still valid through 2016

As it stands now, the wildly successful 30% Grant in Lieu of Tax Credit for renewable energy property (affectionately known as the 1603 or Treasury Grant Program) will not see the light of day in 2012, nor will 100% first-year bonus depreciation. This is not so much a policy development as a lack of policy development, but all is not lost. The clean energy industry will still be able to benefit from the 30% business energy investment tax credit and the residential renewable energy tax credit through the end of 2016, as well as 50% first-year bonus depreciation through 2012.  See DSIRE's Database for complete details.

01 December 2011

New: DSIRE Solar Incentive Finder Widget

Posted in Solar Industry News

Learn About All Possible Incentives for Going Solar

There are many Financial Incentives for Commercial and Industrial Solar Power Plants.

Stellar Energy can work with your Chief Financial Officer and help you maximize depreciation with the Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) + Bonus Depreciation. We can help explain the Corporate Tax Credits, such as the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the U.S. Department of Treasury - Renewable Energy Grants

The new DSIRE search widget  allows you an even easier way to search the DSIRE database for incentives in any U.S. state or territory. Simply click the image on the side to access the widget and follow the instructions provided. Enjoy!  

Link to the DSIRE system

24 October 2011

Record Growth in Solar Energy Industry

Posted in Solar Industry News

National Solar Jobs Census 2011

In October, The Solar Foundation (thesolarfoundation.org) released the results of the 2011 US Solar Jobs Census – and the results are sunny!

The solar energy industry boasts a 6% growth in the past year - growing nearly ten times faster than the overall economy. As of August 2011, the industry includes 100,237 jobs. The solar workforce is anticipated to continue growing with an increase of 24% by this time next year, which would create a total of 24,000 new solar jobs.

For the complete census report, visit National Solar Jobs Census 2011.