E3 Innovate & LightWave Solar: Partners in Creating a High Performing Home

This video features E3 INNOVATE and LightWave Solar working together to provide a comprehensive energy makeover for local homeowners. LightWave Solar installed solar panels to provide 85% of their energy needs, and E3 provided spray foam insulation, air leaking sealing, bathroom ventilation and other services to bridge the remaining energy consumption gap. These services will improve the energy savings, health, durability and comfort of their home.

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Solar Power in East TN – A Gift for the Kids

Story published: 12-26-2012 By Frances Lamberts
Original Link: http://www.heraldandtribune.com/Detail.php?Cat=OPED&ID=60461

For clean, alternative energy, our town and the metro area don’t look like some European counterparts yet, but we are heading there.As visiting journalist Christian Roselund reports from Freiburg, Germany, when its children go to school in the morning and its residents to work, they pass dozens of solar installations.

They see solar panels on homes, churches, the soccer stadium, the roofs of schools and the façade of the main train station.

There are “solar housing” developments and a “solar business park.”

All told, the city’s photo-voltaic installations “produce enough electricity to meet the needs of tens of thousands of homes.”

Wind turbines on hilltops within city boundaries contribute more natural, pollution-free electric energy.

Grover Hickman’s solar PV installation in Gray, preceded and aided by a small roof-mounted wind turbine, in 2007 became the Johnson City Power Board’s first “Generation Partners” clean-energy supplier.

Alternative energy installations such as his, sponsored under Green Power Switch, unfortunately were halted early in 2010 by a TVA imposed moratorium.

As the Tennesseean then reported, “costly mega-projects by opportunistic investors” were depleting the allocated funds whose principal, intended target had been “smaller solar installations [that] homeowners and businesses want.”

Paul Sutton, manager of a local installation company (Lightwave Solar), states that TVA supported systems now are designed to “zero out an owner’s electric bill.”

TVA purchases all the electricity the system produces, at a favorable 19-cents per kilowatt hour reimbursement, while the residential electricity rate is currently less than 10 cents.

To assure adherence to all grid-connection, safety and other relevant guidelines, applications must be approved by the Power Board and the TVA.

For small systems, from first site visit, consultation and design by a certified installer, to “commissioning” when the sun begins powering the home, the process typically takes less than three months.

Under the TVA contract, the owner locks in the favorable power-purchase reimbursement for 20 years.

For very large systems (above 50 kilowatt generation capacity), Sutton indicates that large down payments and high financial assurance requirements must now be met, TVA pays a less favorable premium price for the power produced, and the certification process takes longer.

A new residential solar installation on Cherokee Street in Jonesborough is about to join some 30 others that VA now helps fund under the “Green Power Provider Program,” in the JCPB service area alone.

As home owner Ignacy Fonberg sees it, with the JCPB “essentially paying for our monthly use, under this program,” the previous electric-bill payments can go toward payment for installing the system.

With federal funding support of 30 percent of installed cost now available, and an added TVA sum for the installation, it will be paid off in a decade or less.

But power production is guaranteed for at least 15 years longer, making the investment payback for a solar-supplied home, Fonberg adds, “better by far than any interest you can earn at the bank.”

Solar power for our buildings makes a lasting gift, as well, to the planet’s children.

Tennessee Has a Solar PV Potential of 20 Times the Amount of Electricity Used

Latest NREL Report Suggests that Tennessee Has a Solar PV Potential of 20 Times the Amount of Electricity Used in the State

In a government report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrates the tremendous potential for solar energy generation in Tennessee. The report estimates the technical potential of solar PV as well as other renewable power sources for the production of electrical power. It is a study of the potential based on renewable resource availability and quality, technical system performance, topographic limitations, environmental, and land-use constraints only. The study does not consider the economic, political or market constraints. In 2010, Tennessee used 103,522 GWh (103,522,000,000 kWh). The report estimates that the total solar potential including rural and urban utility-scale PV as well as roof-top solar would amount to 2,295,918 GWh.

The full report can be found here.
Via Tennessee Solar Energy Association

Infographic On The Energy-Water Collision: How Hot, Dry Summers Impact Water and Power Generation

Every year, the United States consumes more than 3 trillion KWh of electricity. This power is generated by coal-fired power plants, nuclear plants, solar panels, hydroelectric damns, wind turbines, geothermal wells, and other sources and it requires water to produce.

As much as 41% of all water used in the United States goes to power plants to produce electricity, making them the single largest water consumer in the nation.

via Infographic On The Energy-Water Collision: How Hot, Dry Summers Impact Water and Power Generation.

Solar PV Installations Increased 85% in Q1 2012 Over Q1 2011

US-Solar-Installations-Q1-2012

Growth in solar photovoltaics (PV) markets in the U.S. is maintaining its breakneck pace from 2011, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q1 2012, a report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Led by strong growth in the commercial market segment, the U.S. installed a record of 506 megawatts (MW) over the first three months of this year, more than any other first quarter on record.

Furthermore, Tennessee ranked 5th in the US for Q1 2012 growth with about 9 MW installed.

This quarter’s activity brings the total amount of solar PV across America to 4,427 MW. In addition, concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities are providing 516 MW of electric power to the U.S. Together, solar electric capacity reached 4,943 MW in the U.S., enough to power 775,000 households.

“The U.S. solar industry continues to lead the U.S. out of difficult economic times,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Installations have grown by 85 percent in the last year.  This growth is coming from consumers who are turning to solar to reduce their energy costs.  In states across the country, Americans are waking up to the realization that putting solar on your home or business is a better investment than the stock market.”

Overall, 2012 is shaping up to be another banner year for the U.S. solar market. Tomorrow’s U.S. Solar Market Insight report forecasts total 2012 annual solar PV installations to exceed 3,200 megawatts, 75 percent greater than last year’s total and 15 percent higher than previous annual forecasts for 2012.

To read the executive summary, please click here.

Report: US Solar Installations Continue to Surge in Q1 2012, but Domestic Manufacturing Woes Continue

Solar PV installations increase 85% in Q1 2012 over Q1 2011 according to US Solar Market Insight Report.

Source: U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q1 2012 (SEIA and GTM Research)

WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q1 2012, a report released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA®), finds that growth in solar photovoltaics (PV) markets in the U.S. is maintaining its breakneck pace from 2011.

Led by strong growth in the commercial market segment, the U.S. installed a record of 506 megawatts (MW) over the first three months of this year, more than any other first quarter on record.

This quarter’s activity brings the total amount of solar PV across America to 4,427 MW. In addition, concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities are providing 516 MW of electric power to the U.S. Together, solar electric capacity reached 4,943 MW in the U.S., enough to power 775,000 households.

“The U.S. solar industry continues to lead the U.S. out of difficult economic times,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Installations have grown by 85 percent in the last year.  This growth is coming from consumers who are turning to solar to reduce their energy costs.  In states across the country, Americans are waking up to the realization that putting solar on your home or business is a better investment than the stock market.”

Overall, 2012 is shaping up to be another banner year for the U.S. solar market. Tomorrow’s U.S. Solar Market Insight report forecasts total 2012 annual solar PV installations to exceed 3,200 megawatts, 75 percent greater than last year’s total and 15 percent higher than previous annual forecasts for 2012.

The increase in forecasted installations for 2012 is due to accelerated timelines for large-scale utility projects, greater-than-expected first quarter growth in the New Jersey commercial market, the number of safe-harbored projects that will still qualify for the U.S. government’s expired 1603 Treasury Program, and overall positive outlooks for the California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii markets.

“We remain bullish in 2012 on all market segments in the U.S. and most of the 23 states we cover in this report,” said Shayle Kann, Vice President at GTM Research. “However, 2013 is an open question. The impacts of an import tariff on solar cells imported from China, as well as the expiration of the 1603 Treasury Program, will be felt most next year. This could coincide with a trough of demand in New Jersey and California’s adjustment period into a post-California Solar Initiative (CSI) world to create a temporary slowing of growth. However, we expect the U.S. market to regain momentum thereafter and continue along its path to become a global PV market leader by 2015.”

While the demand for solar energy in the U.S. grows, and the cost of solar falls, U.S. solar panel manufacturers continue to face increased global competition and uncertainty surrounding global trade disputes. In Q1 2012, U.S. solar panel production amounted to just 160 MW compared to 335 megawatts in Q1 2011.

Key Findings for PV:

  • PV installations in Q1 2012 reached 506 MW, up 85 percent over Q1 2011.
  • New Jersey was the largest state market, with 174 megawatts of installations in Q1 2012.
  • Pricing for polysilicon and PV components continued to exhibit softness in Q1 2012 due to the persistence of the global oversupply environment that the industry has faced since early 2011.
  • Blended module prices for Q1 2012 were down to $0.94 per watt, a staggering 47 percent lower than Q1 2011 levels of $1.78 per watt.
  • Installed prices fell in every market segment year-over-year compared to Q1 2011.
    • Residential installed prices fell 7.3 percent, commercial installed prices fell 11.5 percent, and utility prices fell 24.7 percent over Q1 2011.
    • The overall blended average installed price fell 17.2 percent year-over-year.
  • Cumulative operating PV capacity in the U.S. now totals 4,427 megawatts (direct current).

Key Findings for CSP:

  • Abengoa’s Solana Generating Station received a $125 million investment from Capital Riesgo Global, a subsidiary of Banco Santander, for an equity stake in the project.
  • Construction of the power tower at the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project was completed in February 2012.
  • A total of 1.1 gigawatts (alternating current) of CSP are now under construction.

Some states saw their rankings improve significantly this quarter compared to where they stood in 2011: Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Florida, and Tennessee all moved up in the rankings. Others states that lost ground in comparison were California, Colorado, New York, and Pennsylvania.