Solar Energy in the Midwest

Posts tagged ‘Solar power’

Green Growth Still Setting the Pace | Renewable Energy World Magazine Article

Green Growth Still Setting the Pace | Renewable Energy World Magazine Article.

By Janet L. Sawin, Contributor
October 18, 2012

REN21’s Renewables Global Status Report — an overview of renewable energy market, industry, investment and policy developments worldwide, relying on an international network of more than 400 contributors — reveals that the sector continued to expand across all its various segments.

Renewable sources supplied an estimated 16.7 percent of global final energy consumption in 2010. Of this total, modern renewable energy (as opposed to traditional biomass) accounted for an estimated 8.2 percent, a share that has increased in recent years, while the share from traditional biomass has declined slightly to an estimated 8.5 percent. During 2011, modern renewables continued to grow strongly in all end-use sectors.

In the power sector, renewables accounted for almost half of the estimated 208 GW of electric capacity added globally during 2011. Wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) accounted for almost 40 percent and 30 percent of new renewable capacity respectively, followed by hydropower (nearly 25 percent). By end 2011, total renewable power capacity worldwide exceeded 1360 GW, up 8 percent over 2010; renewables comprised more than 25 percent of total global power-generating capacity (estimated at 5360 GW in 2011) and supplied an estimated 20.3 per cent of global electricity. Non-hydropower renewables exceeded 390 GW, a 24 percent capacity increase over 2010. For full article

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Donna on Radio show last weekend – hear it here!

Listen to Donna as she sets straight the myths about solar in Michigan on The Inside Outside Guys Radio show last Saturday. Her segment starts around 30:08, in the third podcast.

The Inside Outside Guys Saturday April 21th, 2012 Part 3 http://blog.theinsideoutsideguys.com/?cat=5

Application fees set for Ann Arbor’s new PACE program

Application fees set for Ann Arbor’s new PACE program.

By Ryan J. Stanton
Political Reporter

The Ann Arbor City Council on Monday supported the final step to fully implement the city’s new Property Assessed Clean Energy program.

A resolution approved by council sets the application fees for the PACE program, which is a special financing mechanism to help commercial property owners in Ann Arbor undertake energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Through the PACE program, qualifying property owners are able to borrow money for energy efficiency projects ranging from $10,000 to $350,000 and then pay back the loans through special assessments added onto their tax bills for up to 10 years.

Andrew_Brix_April_4_2011_2.jpg

Andrew Brix

The program is a joint effort of the city of Ann Arbor and Clean Energy Coalition. City officials believe the availability of PACE financing will support economic stimulation across the city, create jobs and reduce operating costs for business owners.For full article go to: Link

Renewable Sources Continue Explosive Growth | Renewable Energy News Article

Renewable Sources Continue Explosive Growth | Renewable Energy News Article. By Ken Bossong, SUN DAY Campaign

January 4, 2012

Renewables now provide 12% of domestic energy production, 14% more than 2010; and renewable electrical output increased 25%, which contributes to 13% of U.S. power.

For the first nine months of 2011, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 11.95% of domestic U.S. energy production. That compares to 10.85% for the same period in 2010 and 10.33% in 2009. By comparison, nuclear power provided just 10.62% of the nation’s energy production in the first three quarters of 2011 — i.e., 11.10% less than renewables.

For full article

German Solar Output Increases by 60% in 2011 | Renewable Energy News Article

German Solar Output Increases by 60% in 2011 | Renewable Energy News Article.

By Stephen Lacey, Climate Progress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Just weeks after the solar industry installed the one millionth system in Germany, the country’s solar trade association announced that the technology accounted for three percent of total energy generation in 2011 — increasing 60 percent over 2010 to 18.6 terawatt-hours (18.6 billion kilowatt-hours).

Solar Gets Cheaper, but Not Equally

Solar Gets Cheaper, but Not Equally.

In January, I plotted the size of state solar markets against their average installed cost and found surprisingly little correlation.  When Lawrence Berkeley Labs put out their 2011 version of Tracking the Sun (IV), it was possible to update the chart, which I did in two stages.

The first chart simply overlays the 2010 average installed cost on the original chart, with arrows indicating the movement of the prices in most states (I ran out of room in the small market states).   It’s almost like a rainbow rain of falling solar prices.

The Grid Price

Utilities like to compare new electricity production to their existing fleet, which means comparing new solar power projects to long-ago-paid-off (amortized) coal and nuclear power plants that can produce electricity for 3-4 cents per kWh.  But this is apples to oranges, because utilities can’t get any new electricity for that price, from any source.  

A more appropriate measure of the grid price is the marginal cost for a utility of getting wholesale power from a new power plant.  In California, this is called the “market price referent” and it’s around 12 cents per kWh.  The figure varies from state to state.  

But while the market price referent provides a reasonable comparison for the cost of utility-scale solar, it’s not the number that matters for solar installed on rooftops or near buildings.  In those cases, the power is used “behind the meter,” and depending on the type of state policy for net metering, the customer can essentially spin their electric meter backward when their solar panels produce electricity.  That means that solar power is really competing against the energy cost on a utility bill, known as the “retail price.” 

The following map shows the average retail electricity price by state across the U.S.  It ranges from 8-10 cents in the interior to 15 cents per kWh and higher on the coasts.  

For full article go to: http://energyselfreliantstates.org/

Solar space heating in the snowy north.

This is the system (except bigger panels 4′ x 8′) we use when retrofitting a building for solar hot air.

A Letter from our CEO – Donna Napolitano

Energy, who has it? Who wants it? Who can own it?

In these days of economic uncertainty one thing is certain is our unquenchable thirst for more energy, a valued precious commodity that is not only in demand, but growing more precious every day.  Our life is built around the need for power from the moment we awake to the radio in the morning and step into the heated bedroom floor that warms our feet, to walking into the kitchen to grab a steaming cup of coffee set to be ready the night before, and that is just the first few minutes of our day.  Let’s face it; running our daily life is built around the need for power.  It is the one thing that brings us our secure life style, allows us to communicate, manage our household, our business, our social contacts, and our American life style every day.  Who has it? Who wants it?  Who can own it?  You can!

Since the day Thomas Edison invented the use of electricity with the light bulb, we have been on a journey to bring energy to our lives in a clean, reliable, cost-effective manner.  Available now is the technology to harness the power of the sun, the inexhaustible fusion plant, for use in our homes, businesses and everyday life.  Solar panels convert those light waves into usable energy sent through the power lines to our home or business.  By installing solar panels, you now can invest in our own energy plant and curtail the raising cost of energy in the future.

The dollars you sent to the utility company month after month and will never see again can now be directed to financing vehicles that allow you to invest in our own energy plant.  Think about it, where can you put your money today in a secure investment that grows at 8% – 15% a year, has a ROI of 8-10 years, and will actually pay you thousands over the life of the product, 25-30 years.  To make the pot even sweeter, Federal tax credits are available for investors at 30% of the entire investment until December 31, 2016.  Another opportunity is the production of REC (renewable energy credits), traded on the open market can add an income to your portfolio of $200 – $800 per kWh.  With many more states jumping on the band wagon to boost use of renewable energy they offer the options to purchase your REC’s and add them to their portfolio.

Many investors are holding on to their dollars or capital, unsure where to invest to guard against loss. This investment can offer you stability and put you in control as you monitor your energy usage and patterns and accumulate credits on your utility bill.  Spinning the dial backwards on your energy meter can bring a smile to your face.

Solar is one of the only products that I have heard potential buyers ask “What is the ROI” (return on investment).  Take a look around your home, what have you invested in that will pay you back in the next ten years? Surely not the new big screen TV, Bose surround speaker system, refrigerator, granite counter tops, or the new car in the driveway, in many cases these items will no longer operate and be long gone.  Solar is one of the only products you can purchase that appreciates over time as energy prices rise.    This investment will also add value to your home.  Fanny May and Freddie Mack have released statements that support investment in solar will add value to your home.  The installation of even a small system of     3 kW (3,000 watts) will add approximately $16,500.00 to the value of your house.  Compare 2 houses side-by-side, both have the same square footage, style, and design.  One has a solar system and no or low energy bills and the other pays high ever rising energy cost each month increasing your monthly operating cost, what would your choice be?

May I suggest you look to the clean, renewable, energy for your power?

As our demand for power grows and the resources of coal, nuclear, and oil release their toxic fuses and deplete our natural resources, a clean solution is at hand.  You may be the first one on your block to move forward with solar power, but you could be an example for energy independence with cash in your wallet and a positive influence on our children’s future.  – Donna Napolitano

 

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