Which solar panels should you choose?

Which solar panels should you choose?

Uncategorized
John wrote an excellent article over at Electrek today, discussing the virtues different types of solar panels could have for their owners. What's missing from it is "how does it apply to me?" For instance, homeowners (and business owners) who are building PV systems strictly to offset their power use through the generation, the overriding concern should be what system provides the best "bang for the buck", i.e. best potential generation per dollar spent. Overbuilding a PV system does no benefit to the owner of such an installation, as the net metering agreement they execute with their utility generally only allows for the application of net metering credits against their power bill, with no clause to receive separate payment for any excess generation. In that case, the benefit of using the…
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15,000 solar jobs, $600MM in salaries at risk in Massachusetts

15,000 solar jobs, $600MM in salaries at risk in Massachusetts

Commercial Solar, Community Solar, Opinion, Politics, SREC
Time to look at the wider benefits of solar to the MA economy The solar industry in Massachusetts has been cranking away for nearly a decade and is on the verge of grinding to a halt. With solar’s future hanging in the balance, we should examine what the wider benefits of solar have been for the state. The State’s main utilities, National Grid and Eversource, enjoy the monopolistic power in the territories that they control, and as such, whatever the price of electricity, they will ALWAYS make a profit. But what happens to the money that their customers pay them every month could have wider implications for the State’s economy. Three scenarios for solar in the state's future. In the “do nothing” scenario, where solar is left to flounder, we’re going…
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Is the outlook for Solar cloudy in Massachusetts?

Is the outlook for Solar cloudy in Massachusetts?

Commercial Solar, Community Solar, Politics
By almost every imaginable measure, Massachusetts’ solar movement has been a resounding success, yet its future is in doubt Pushed forward by a number of tailwinds, including the Federal Investment Tax Credit, the State-imposed Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (which created the SREC and SREC-II Programs), and some of the highest retail prices for electricity in the country - solar in Massachusetts has helped lead the way for the country in moving towards more environmentally sustainable energy generation. In addition, job growth in the Bay State has been robust. The state has added over 15,000 solar employees and almost 100,000 clean energy and efficiency professionals. In fact, Massachusetts ranks only behind the much more populous California among states with the most people employed in the solar industry. Unfortunately, this means that…
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Are Solar Subsidies Unfair?

Are Solar Subsidies Unfair?

Net Metering
The latest pushback against solar power has centered on the benefits that accrue to owners of solar panels, with the intent of making them appear to be “free riders”, unfairly extracting gains to themselves at the expense of their neighbors. Utilities have taken particular issue with Net Metering, and doing everything they can to quash it by pointing their fingers at the owners of solar arrays, accusing them of “leaching” from the system. Let’s be clear: they are not. As much as the utilities would like you to believe (and who else would be fomenting these arguments), the current array of benefits and incentives are not the result of the all-powerful lobby of “ordinary citizens”. Nor are they the result of the lobbying efforts of the likes of Goliath’s like…
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Amherst residents can still blaze a path to Solar for others to follow

Amherst residents can still blaze a path to Solar for others to follow

Community Solar
Based on feedback I've received from my letter which was published on the Gazette's website on Oct. 22, and which appeared in the Oct 26 print edition, I wanted to write a follow up. The short of it is that the Town of Amherst should be applauded for going solar, no matter which path it chooses. I also understand that my proposal came in far too late in the process to have adequate time to be vetted properly by the Town, and that there are numerous uncertainties (including debt-financing) that would need to be addressed before moving forward, where as SunEdison has provided a straight forward path to reducing the Town’s carbon footprint and to provide a meaningful savings in the process. However - the push to go solar doesn’t…
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My Uncle went solar, and is already seeing the results!

My Uncle went solar, and is already seeing the results!

Residential Solar
In residential solar-related news, last month my uncle made a triumphant post to Facebook, showing off his home, newly adorned with a PV array. [caption id="attachment_788" align="aligncenter" width="860"] A Massachusetts home with roof mounted solar panels.[/caption] The details are as follows: 10.8 kW installed and active as of September 10, 2015 Total cost of $44,900 Federal and State tax credits of approx. $14,500 Total cost down: $30,400 [adinserter block="1"] The installer, All Energy Solar of Amherst, MA, estimated that the system will generate 10 SRECs per year, and provided a guesstimated value of $325 per SREC, or $3,250/year. That might be a too rosy assumption, at least for the long-term, but he's looking at the long-term (life of system) benefits and not for the short-term. Anyways - his first electricity bill arrived recently…
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Open Letter to the Town of Amherst, MA

Open Letter to the Town of Amherst, MA

Politics
I wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper, laying out an alternative path for my town to take in its plans for going solar. It was published on October 22. On Tuesday, Oct. 27, Amherst will hold its second informational meeting about the town’s plan to go solar. While that is a laudable goal, it’s equally important we make certain we’re getting the best deal we can. Big dollars are at stake to the town and homeowners, property owners and business owners — and by extension to its tenants and patrons of local businesses. Assuming 2 or 3 percent annual inflation, the town will likely pay $35 million to $40 million to Eversource between 2017 and 2036. SunEdison has put forward a proposal that could reduce that…
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