Solar Grid Parity, The Break-Even Point For PV Is Beginning To Emerge

Solar in California is reaching that all important target of grid parity, or the point where photovoltaic electricity is as cheap or cheaper than conventional electric power. As solar capacity increases and demand in solar energy continues to be strong, the cost of installed photovoltaic systems continues to drop at an accelerated rate driving us closer to grid parity. The declining cost has averaged 4% per year over the past 15 years, but more dramatic is what has happened in the past 18 months as a result in increased capacity in PV panel production and the economic slowdown over this period.

In places like California and some parts of the North East they have already reached grid parity.  According to the U.S. Energy Department, residential rates averaged more than 16 cents per kilowatt hour in New England, 15.5 cents in California and 28 cents in Hawaii. Greentech Media reported that Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers said: “that power from crystalline silicon solar panels will be cheaper than coal power by 2012 when transmissions lines, utility bureaucracy and other factors are added in.  [continue reading…]


Middle Class Homeowners Are Buying Solar In Larger Numbers

With rising energy costs and solar home installation panel prices falling, governement solar tax incentives and rebates as high as they have ever been in history is it any wonder that solar ownership for middle America is rising? Maybe not.

In a recent statistic, 42% of upper middle class homeowners are considering installing solar photovoltaic panels in the next 5 years. When conducting online, survey-based market research through Zoomerang, 1BOG asked respondents from five regions in the America “How likely are you to consider installing solar panels on your home sometime in the next five years?”

People that were asked whether they would consider installing solar panels on their home in the near future were over the age of 35 with an annual household income of at least $100,000. Respondents were evenly divided male and female. Of the 332 homeowners that completed the survey, 140 marked “maybe,” “probably” or “definitely,” indicating that middle class homeowners appear to be considering solar in increasing numbers. [continue reading…]


Capturing Solar & Putting It To Work In New Ways To Make Electricity

The sun puts out enough solar energy in one hour to power the entire earth for a year. That is some serious power. That being said, why aren’t we universally using solar to power everything?

The fact is, usually, capturing the suns solar energy and putting it to work in the form of electricity is relatively expensive and the technology to make it cheaper is being slowed by big energy. There is something like 10 trillion dollars worth of dirty oil and coal left to realistically extract from the earth and that’s big money. [continue reading…]


With Power Outages On The Rise Across America, Do You Need An Emergency Battery Backup System?

Nothing makes me more nervous than when the power goes out here in Northern California. Non-disaster U.S. power outages are up 124% since the early 1990’s. The number of people on average affected on a daily basis by U.S. power outages are now up to 500,000. The cost of new utility lines run an average 2MM per mile. Add to those facts hurricane season, blackouts and winter storms on the way raises the question, should Americans look at the rising blackouts as unusual events or a warning sign and start to prepare at home? Is an off-grid solar or battery backup uninterrupted power supply important to you? [continue reading…]


California Christmas Gift From Voters. Victory For Solar Energy

Californians have a right to celebrate. Prop 23 went down in flames, with 61% of voters against it and 39% in favor. Additionally, California was handed triple victories with the defeat of prop 23, election of Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer. Solar and renewable energy jobs may only be a drop in the bucket in this economic recovery, but it is a step forward, not backwards towards more jobs, clean air and a better life for our children. Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer are true champions for solar and renewable energy. Governor elect Brown and Senator Boxer for a long time have been vocal about supporting a change to solar and wind energy, mainly as a way to get us out of the middle east politics of oil. It is gratifying to see that California recognizes that fact in a time of tough decisions rewarding their political courage and support of renewable energy and a sustainable future for California. [continue reading…]


Proposed Solar Farm Has San Benito California Ranchers Hopping Mad

The same mild temperatures that make San Benito, just south of the San Francisco Bay, an agricultural haven make it an ideal location for solar. Solargen Energy wants to build a 400 megawatt (Yea, that’s really big) solar power facility the area that supports several ranchers and organic farmers.

The project would deliver clean solar electricity to the regional transmission system by interconnecting to the existing Pacific Gas and Electric Company transmission line on site. The proposed solar project would be considered a renewable energy generation facility, and according to the applicant, would support California in meeting the Solar Renewable Portfolio Standard mandate.

Solargen Energy develops, owns and operates environmentally friendly, large scale solar and renewable energy projects to deliver electricity to utilities and industrial customers.

Both sides of the solar land dispute insist they are fighting for the same things protecting the environment and growing the local economy. [continue reading…]


Amtrak Orders 70 Green Locomotives With Solar Panels To Be Built In Sacramento

Sacramento Green Solar News – Whats cooler than a new Amtrak train that runs more efficient that cars or planes with regenerative braking? How about an Amtrak train with solar panels on the roof. Not cool enough? OK, how about 70 of them to be built in Sacramento California! Read More – [continue reading…]


Solar Feed-in Tariffs Could Be The New Clean Energy

A Feed-in tariff or FIT is a program largely accredited to and made popular in Germany driving their solar and renewable installations. The energy policy is designed to encourage installation of solar and wind renewable energy driving the technology closer to grid parity. Grid parity is an energy term that relates to the point at which renewable energy electricity is equivalent in cost or cheaper than grid power.

In the policy, electrical utilities are required to buy renewable electricity from all residential and commercial solar, wind and other renewable participants at a fair market price. Since power companies have a monopoly that was built on the back of local citizens, it only seems fair they be forced to level the playing field. This FIT policy is the driving force behind some Europeans huge leaps in locally produce clean energy.

Feed-in tariffs are a great idea when coupled with installation of better insulation and energy-efficient windows. Solar, wind energy and other forms of clean renewable technologies are the answer to localizing our energy demands and reducing our dependency on foreign oil. Reducing our dependency on foreign oil improves our national security.

In Germany, the program is wildly successful, but now threatens to overwhelm the countries grid. Sounds like a nice problem to have if you asked me. Read More – [continue reading…]


Investing Big In Green Business, Google Will Now Help Power East Coast

Google recently signed an agreement investing in electrical generation on a utility-scale in the Mid-Atlantic coast region. Wind and solar development is good for business and good for the environment were the key reasons Google cited. The Atlantic Wind Connection project will create thousands of jobs while improving consumer access to clean energy while decreasing our dependence on fossil fuel electricity generation.

The ownership is split between Google (37.5%), an investment company called Good Energies (37.5%), and the Japan trading company Marubeni (15%).

When completed, the new wind generators will stretch 350 miles off the coast of New Jersey to Virginia and will give 6,000 MW of offshore wind turbines. That equals 60% of the wind energy that was installed in all of America in 2009 or enough electricity to serve about 1.9 million households.  [continue reading…]


College Students Work to Bring Solar To Dorms & Green Awareness to The University.

College students across the country are looking green these days. No, not from last weekends frat party, from a greater awareness of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources and the positive impact they can have on their lives. This example of community leadership is no better exemplified by a group of solar engineering students at the University of Arizona.

The “Solar Cats” meet regularly to work towards installing solar panels on the dorms of the campus student housing, but thats not all. The group has expanded to focus on educating the community about sustainability and solar power. Boola-Boola we say to the Solar Cats for the fine work they are doing. [continue reading…]


Solar Manufacturing & Installation Up Green Technology Leading Economy

The San Francisco Chronicle published an excellent article demonstrating the importance of California’s focus on solar, wind and clean energy technology. The future of economic growth is continuing down the path of renewable energy. Solar energy costs are coming down as production increases. Look what happened to computers over the last 20 years.

On the converse, fossil fuel energy costs will only go up, and soon the non-subsidized cross-over point will lead to massive exponential clean technology growth. Green technology is the answer to fix our economy. If we open solar factories in every state then hire people to install them, it will create millions of jobs almost instantly. And, millions of people who have jobs, spend an awful lot of money. That is how we can make over the economy. [continue reading…]


Businesses in California Open and Expand At Much Higher Pace Than Close

The talking heads and some political candidates are blathering about the poor business climate in California, but the numbers paint a different picture. The facts are California is substantially gaining more businesses every year than are closing or leaving. Opportunities for growing our economy exist all across the green value chain with solar systems, wind and renewable energy leading the way.

While manufacturing employment is declining, alternative energy is emerging as a breakout technology creating new good paying local jobs. Jobs in the solar, wind technology and other green renewable fields, take technical skills. They need education. And they can pay better than the state average. Alternative energy installations are a more labor-intensive energy source A transition toward alternative energy thus promises job gains.

New data is showing California emerging as the global leader in green patents, VC (venture capital) investments, energy productivity and generation. Political pendents and candidates are railing about the poor business climate in California, but the numbers show that we are substantially gaining more businesses every year than are closing or leaving. Read More – [continue reading…]