L.A. to reduce solar-panel rebates in 2011

Los Angeles residents who are considering installing solar panels have an incentive to act quickly: On Tuesday, the city's Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved changes to the Solar Incentive Program that will reduce rebates starting Jan. 1. The Department of Water and Power's present rebate is $3.24 for every watt installed. A 4-kilowatt system, for example, would receive a $12,960 rebate. In 2011, that rate will decline to $2.20. That same 4-kilowatt system will see its rebate drop to $8,800 come Jan. 1. Further reductions -- to $1.50 per watt and, ultimately, to 60 cents -- will roll out as time passes and the utility meets goals for home-generated electricity. The DWP has been deluged with applications for residential solar rebates since 2009, when the U.S. Emergency Economic Stabilization Act kicked in, replacing a $2,000 federal tax credit cap with a dollar amount equal to 30% of the installation cost. The average residential solar system costs between $35,000 and $40,000. L.A. homes generate 22 megawatts each year, far less than 1% of the 25,000 gigawatt-hours used in the city annually. Source: LA Times

Panasonic Invests $30M In Tesla Motors

Panasonic has invested $30 million in Tesla Motors , building upon a multi-year collaboration of the two companies to accelerate the market expansion of the electric vehicle, the companies said. The investment was made through the purchase of Tesla common stock in a private placement at a price of $21.15 per share. Panasonic is a major battery cell manufacturer and a supplier to the global automotive industry. Tesla currently uses Panasonic battery cells in its advanced battery packs and has collaborated with Panasonic on the development of next-generation battery cells designed specifically for electric vehicles. While Tesla's current battery strategy incorporates proprietary packaging using cells from multiple battery suppliers, Tesla has selected Panasonic as its preferred lithium-ion battery cell supplier for its battery packs, the CE manufacturer said.

Going Solar On Your Shingle Roof? Think Again...

The lifetime cost issue of solar -- and one that many people never consider -- is that rooftop PV systems may have to be removed and reinstalled if the roof needs replacement or repairs, which is almost a certainty with asphalt/shingle roofs. While PV systems typically lose a small portion of their potential output (less than 1 percent each year), the systems can operate for decades longer than the typical residential or commercial roof (10-12 years in Georgia). In other words, roofs are likely to be replaced at least once during the typical life of a PV system.  According to a report from  GRIST.ORG , reinstalling a residential rooftop PV system could cost $6,250 or 25 percent of the installed cost of the system. In our investigation, we found that moving residential PV systems to accommodate a roof replacement could cost as much as 25 percent of the initial system cost (and over 35 percent of the net cost after the application of the 30 percent federal tax credit). Moving systems on a commercial roof was less expensive, on the order of 15 percent of initial installed cost (around 25 percent of the system cost after the tax credit). Source text.

Plug-in vehicles may make up 22% of US auto sales by 2030

Plug-in electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, have the potential to make up 9% of auto sales in 2020 and 22% in 2030 (1.6 million and 4 million vehicle sales respectively), according to research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Achieving such growth levels, however, will be dependent on two key factors - aggressive reductions in battery costs and rising gasoline prices. In the short term, price will be the most significant limitation to the uptake of both plug-in hybrid vehicles like the GM Volt and fully electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf. The median base price of autos sold between July 2009 and June 2010 in the US was $21,800. By comparison, the Nissan Leaf will cost $26,280 after federal subsidies (including an allowance for charger installation), which is a higher price point than three quarters of all new auto sales.

Does Owning the Meters make you Smarter?

Smart metering and sub-metering can be added to most buildings for relatively low cost and almost immediately. It is an investment that will keep paying for itself over and over and even when the smart grid does become a reality it will be a second source of opinion, and when the utility will not share their information, you can.

Japan Declares War on Canada

On Monday, September 13, the Japanese launched an attack on Ontario's Green Harbor, i.e. the province's Green Energy Act. Rather than attacking a naval base with hundreds of military aircraft, Japan has launched a suit against Canada and Ontario through the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The reason for the attack? The Japanese do not want to have thousands of new green jobs and companies manufacturing alternative energy components over here, supporting thousands of Ontario families, when these same jobs could be created in Japan.

Commercializing A New Solar Technology

Morgan Solar Inc. was founded in 2007 by brothers John Paul and Nicolas Morgan, with angel investment from their father, an experienced CEO in the field of global management consulting and information technology. In 2006, John Paul began to prototype Morgan Solar's Light-Guide Solar Optic - a novel way of capturing, directing, and concentrating sunlight. Soon after, Nicolas left his position as Business Development Manager at Fon Technologies, a Web 2.0 start-up in Spain, to join the company full-time. The Light-Guide is the fundamental technology behind Morgan Solar's Sun Simba concentrating solar panel, which is set for commercial launch in late 2011.

SolarWindow™ Technology

New Energy Technologies, Inc., publicly traded under the symbol NENE on the OTCBB, is focused on the research, development and eventual commercialization of emerging next-generation alternative and renewable energy technologies. Among our current research and development activities is the development of the first-of-its-kind SolarWindow™ technology, which enables see-thru windows to generate electricity by 'spraying' their glass surfaces with New Energy's electricity-generating coatings.

Solar Projects at MG&E - Video

Solar technology is on the fast track! In this report, see some exciting new projects that are putting the sun to work for all of us.

Back Up For Solar Hot Water System An Over Looked Area

Often over looked is the significant effect a back up system can have on the overall performance of a solar hot water system. In a recent letter sent to Solar Industry Magazine I point out some design considerations.

Comfort + Convenience = Waste

The Department of Energy estimates that 25 percent to 30 percent of all energy used in public schools across the U.S. is wasted.

7 Projects Paving the Way for Ocean Power

What if we could tap the power of the ocean to produce electricity? Companies including Lockheed Martin, Wavebob and OpenHydro are working on technologies to capture energy from waves, tides, currents and the ocean’s thermal gradients on a scale that could eventually make the sea a major contributor to the nation’s clean energy supply. Despite its promise, however, to provide continuous electricity — a benefit that solar and wind don’t offer — development of so-called “hydrokinetic” technology (relating to the kinetic energy of moving fluid) has run into technical and fundraising difficulties. For example, the California Utilities Commission rejected a power purchase agreement from utility Pacific Gas & Electric to buy electricity from a project by Finavera Renewables, saying the technology was too unproven and costly. So far, few studies have looked into the environmental impact of ocean and tidal power equipment worldwide. As researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State explained recently, some of the limited studies have taken place outside the U.S., focusing on wildlife not commonly found in the estuaries and oceans hugging this country. Source: Josie Garthwaite – GigaOM

Will India be a bigger concentrated solar thermal power than China?

As the founder of CSP Today and organizer of the 1st CSP Today India conference in New Delhi, Belén Gallego is often asked about the future of the CSP industry in India. She has written a piece about the opportunities in the Indian market published recently in CSP Today.  Having lived in India for 2 years, it is difficult for me to be impartial when assessing the opportunities in the CSP industry. I believe very firmly in the great capacity of Indians to learn fast and reduce costs –they are specialists in making things cheaper maintaining quality standards. Much as I try, I can´t think of anything that the CSP industry is more in need of.  While last year there was very little talk of India becoming one of the biggest markets for CSP, today the question on everybody’s lips is: Will India be a bigger CSP power than China?   From an economic and development perspective, India’s economy is performing very well, averaging 8.5% growth this year. Its growth rate could overtake China’s by 2013 - if not before - according to a recent article by The Economist.  While China’s growth has been largely state-directed, India’s is driven by 45m entrepreneurs. Private firms have had to compete with the world´s best - and many have discovered that they can. Read full article here.

US solar is poised for $100bn growth surge

Rapidly declining equipment costs combined with stronger government support have set the stage for explosive growth in the US solar market over the next decade, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the world’s leading provider of research and analysis in clean energy and the carbon markets. Solar-powered generating capacity – using photovoltaic and solar thermal electricity technologies – could reach 4.3% of the nation’s power capacity by 2020, depending on the industry’s ability to attract an estimated $100bn of investment. The US today has just 1.4 gigawatts of installed solar power capacity, ranking it fifth globally. But that could rise to 44 gigawatts by 2020, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In a new report, forecast capacity from large-scale solar thermal projects is projected to rise from 0.4 gigawatts currently to 14 gigawatts by 2020. For photovoltaics, the group anticipates a 34% annual growth rate to 30 gigawatts by 2020. Full Story.

Message from AWEA CEO Denise Bode regarding attacks on 1603 Program

Recently a number of news stories and politically motivated TV ads have run across the country that falsely attack policies critical to keeping Americans working in wind power -- a bright spot in the economy, which has kept 85,000 Americans working during the recession. These stories and campaign ads have challenged renewable energy tax credits (the 1603 tax credits) which have been one of the most effective public policies in existence for saving American jobs. In the recession, project development and financing was difficult to obtain and costly. Many wind projects in mid-development could not complete financing. As a result, wind investment stalled with some projects stopping mid-construction; laying off construction workers and leaving wind towers and blades on the ground. The 1603 tax credit program restarted stalled projects and saved thousands of jobs at risk. Every job saved was an American job. 100% of projects that receive investment tax credits through 1603 are built in the U.S. as required by the Recovery Act. The program also supports America’s growing manufacturing and supply chain industries. U.S. wind turbine domestic manufacturing has grown 12-fold, with an increase in domestic content from 25% only a few years ago to over 50% now, and nearly 400 American manufacturing facilities making wind components. Full Press Release.

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