Nevada’s big utility is about to strangle the state’s rooftop solar program:

Have you ever heard of “net metering?” Net metering is slightly different depending on your location but the basic idea is that utilities have to buy rooftop solar power from customers who produce it, at current retail electric rates. If someone generates as much power as he consumes, his utility bill can zero out. Currently 44 states and Washington, DC have mandatory net metering and utilities in three of the remaining states allow some form of it.

This is the debate in Nevada. It has been extremely popular and has helped established a thriving solar industry. According to the Solar Foundation, solar businesses employed 5,900 in Nevada in 2014. This is the most employees in the solar industry than in any other state. Tech companies and data centers have been seeking cleaner power in Nevada, the sunny dessert.  $569 million was invested in Nevada solar installations in 2014, a 427% increase from 2013.

Net metering is popular in Nevada; however, NV Energy is not a fan. NV Energy was recently acquired by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy and continues to pressure the state legislature to keep a low cap on the program’s size, which will likely halt growth in the industry.

The tension among players in the solar industry is not unique. Utilities have never been fans of net metering but as prices in rooftop solar drop, they see it as a threat. Legislation to make net metering illegal or more costly has been introduced in nearly two dozen state houses since 2013. Some of the proposals were virtual copies of model legislation tied to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

from The Solar Biz The Solar Biz’ Latest Post:

California Surpasses UK, France and Spain in Installed Solar Capacity

GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently released the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report citing some exciting news! If California was a nation, it would rank sixth in the world for installed solar capacity.

California currently has more solar assets than the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia and Belgium. It is the first state in the United states to top 10,000 megawatts of installed solar capacity. It first made history in the first quarter of 2015 by installed 718 MW of solar energy, increasing the state’s total capacity to 10,649 MW. This is enough to power almost 2.6 million homes. Of all the new capacity added to the state, 231 MW were residential, 88 MW were commercial and 399 MW were utility scale. This totals to $1.7 billion investment throughout the state in just the first quarter.

California is leading the nation by demonstrating how to create clean energy jobs and protect the environment. Just to get some context, California has 10 times more installed solar capacity today than the entire U.S. had in 2007. The legislative leaders of California as well as Governor Brown definitely deserve at least a pat on the back or a congratulations for taking the lead in America’s efforts to create a vivacious, growing, clean energy economy.

Public policies such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Net Energy Metering (NEM) have all been effective in contributing the California’s explosive growth in solar. Solar is still the fastest growing source of renewable energy in the nation. The completion of the Desert Sunlight project located in the Mojave Desert was a huge addition to the use of solar in California.  The project generated 550 MW of electricity, enough to power 160,000 California homes.

The residential market also boomed, in part because installed system prices dropped 4% year after year and is now down 50% since 2010. It is expected that residential installations will continue to boom according to a recent report by the California Energy Commission.  According to this report, a quarter of all new homes being built in Southern California are constructed with solar energy systems. There are currently 2,226 solar companies working throughout the state, employing 54,700 Californians.  The golden state is doing well for themselves and our planet.

from The Solar Biz The Solar Biz’ Latest Blog Post:

Record Breaking Q1 for Solar Power in Texas

The Solar Biz

According to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, Texas has recorded its best Q1 ever with 49 megawatts (MW) of newly installed solar capacity. This brings the statewide total to 379 MW, which is enough to power more than 66,000 homes, and nearly as much as the entire country had in 2004.

But that’s not all. Texas is still expecting to install more than 200 MW of new solar capacity by the end of 2015. For some perspective, that’s nearly three times more than was installed in 2013.

What’s inspiring the change? Well, the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), for starters. The ITC is a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties. The tax credit benefits both companies that install, develop, or finance the projects, as well as homeowners who have the projects installed on their homes.

It has also been a welcome boost to Texas’ economy, as the 404 solar companies in Texas are currently employing more than 7,000 people. $87 million was invested in new solar installations in Texas in the first quarter, and nearly $340 million has been invested since the beginning of 2014.

Finally, from an environmental perspective, solar installations in Texas are helping to offset more than 410,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions. That’s equivalent to removing 86,000 cars off the road or reducing gasoline consumption by 46 million gallons.

Texas is currently only trailing behind five states in new capacity: California, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. But you know what they say, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” It’s only a matter of time before they catch up.

from The Solar Biz The Solar Biz’ Latest Post:

Is Now The Time to Think About “Pie in the Sky”?

Sometimes environmentalists are perceived as though they are asking the rest of the world to make grand sacrifices and live on leaves, berries and tofu.  This tends to be the stereotype.  However, environmentalists are solely trying to come up with a plan that will provide a more promising future where if sacrifices are needed, it is for something even better.

What if the environmental movement could create an inventive plan that could possibly improve the lives of 99% of the population?  It is unlikely that we will ever be able to affect American politics or remove major corporations that control the government.  However, there must be a plan that can help and can have a positive effect.  There are a great number of people: scientists, environmental activists, “nerds”, and regular people who believe something needs to change.  If we can combine forces, there must be a way.

There must be a plan that meets the majority of Americans’ basic needs without existential want should not be difficult.

Obama is the first president in post-war history whose economy gave more money to the top 10% than the entire value of all productivity gains in his Presidency.

Increased productivity and the promise of automation mean that fewer workers are needed to provide the needs of our society.  This process has usually referred to the dislocation for workers caused by jobs and income loss. Economists call this “creative destruction.” However, people should be living in harmony with the earth with dignity and moderate comfort. Advocates of climate change mitigation will have to develop a plan that satisfies many and challenge the media- a daunting task. But it has been done before.

Environmentalists must reach out to people in the red states and to unions with plans that are comprehensive and compassionate, which raise the interests and power of the 99%. Then we have to make the 0.1% see the wisdom in fixing the solution.

from The Solar Biz The Solar Biz’ Latest Post:

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Introducing Roof-Tech® – Solar panel mounting systems for every roof!

Roof-Tech has introduced a new and revolutionary way to quickly and efficiently mount solar electric modules onto asphalt roofs. By way of their NO-RAIL design, they have done away with solar panel installation hassle and expenditure!

Gone are the days of waiting on truck freight shipments, this system is compact and totally UPS-able. Ship anywhere! This solar panel mounting system proves stronger and more robust compared to other mounting solutions on the market today.

What makes this mounting system extra special? Install simply by attaching the bases of the kit straight through your shingles with roofing screws provided, to the plywood or chip-board decking underneath. The base attachments already have butyl-mastic backing, as you install, you are also sealing and water-proofing any penetrations. NO ROOF FLASHING IS NEEDED!
ETL Integrated Grounding and wire management comes standard with the kit. If Micro-Inverters or DC Power-Optimizers are being used, Roof Tech has also developed a quick mounting bracket to allow for this!

All items are in stock and available now – no lead times! Your Installation time, cost, and total material needed is cut in HALF – WITHOUT sacrificing high quality and structural integrity!

Contact us for details!