FIT Programs As Key Driver For Solar Development in North America

Posted by Admin on August 17, 2012

Both the government of Japan and the Los Angeles municipal utility, launched new feed-in tariffs (FITs) in 2012. Other jurisdictions that have already implemented FIT programs include Calefornia, Vermont, Washington, Hawaii, Ontario, Spain and Germany.

FITs generally require that all electricity output from the solar facility be fed into the grid. By contrast, under net-metering arrangments, the utility bills the customer for net energy usage. There are jurisdictions that offer both FIT and Net-Metering programs such as California, Hawaii, Vermont, Washington and Ontario. In Ontario one may have both a FIT project and a net-metering project on the same property.

FITs are particularly attractive to solar developers in jurisdictions where the FIT price is higher than the retail rate of electricity, such as in Vermont, Ontario and Japan.

Jurisdiction Maximum Project Size Pricing Mechanism
Washington 2MW Fixed-price based on average cost of generation plus 10% rate of return
Vermont 2.2MW Fixed-Price but adopting market-based mechanism by 2013
Hawaii 5MW Fixed-Price
Japan 10MW Fixed-Price with annual adjustment
Ontario 10MW Fixed-Price
Germany 10MW Fixed-Price with annual declines

For more information on Ontario’s FIT program click here.

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Solar Myths Defeated

Posted by Admin on June 29, 2012

Even though solar panel technology has been around for a long time, a lot of people find themselves hesitant in adopting solar technology on their roofs due to many misconceptions regarding solar panel systems. One myth argues that photovoltaic panels require constant sunlight. However, in reality, panels mostly require UV radiation over direct sunlight. Even when the sky is cloudy, the panels will function with full potential. In fact, panels work even more efficiently when they’re cooler.

Another myth is that pv panels cannot handle winter temperatures and precipitation. However, panels are almost maintenance-free even in the winter. South-facing panels even help melt the snow and keep it off and still collect a lot of solar energy. They also protect the roof from weather damage. Another myth concerns the visual appeal of installing solar panels. While some may think that panels will dampen the esthetic appeal of their property, in actuality, solar panels can even come as solar shingles for a sleek, black roof. They also increase the value of the property and protect the roof from weather damage.

Some people think that solar panels require a lot of maintenance. However, since panels can survive extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, normal weather will not affect the efficiency of the panel. The panels are easy to clean, all you need to do is hose them off periodically.

Solar energy is efficient, free, does not damage the environment, and will lead to savings in the long run. While the initial investment may seem excessive, they pay for themselves in the long run and save the homeowner a substantial amount of money every year.

To read more about these myths, click here.

To learn more about installing your own solar panel system, contact us today!

Scottsdale, Arizona Solar Energy Projects

Posted by Admin on June 28, 2012

The city of Scottsdale is creating shade and collecting solar energy simultaneously with their plan on installing solar-shade structures in the parking lots of many schools in the area. Through these structures and the installation of pv panels on the rooftops of schools, the school district will cover almost 25% of their energy needs and will save $300,000 every year.

Green Choice Solar, a company based in Scottsdale, recently completed a 1.32 solar system at the Jewish Community Campus, which includes rooftop panels and solar canopies covering 400 parking spaces. This system covers 90% of the campus’s energy needs and will save over $15 million over its lifetime.

All of the planned projects throughout Scottsdale should be complete by this September. This city has been advocating green energy, and specifically solar energy, for over a decade. Green energy is even a requirement in all the municipal buildings.

To find out about having your own solar panel system, click here to find out about Ontario’s solar programs.

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Dawson Creek: Taking Solar Energy and Their Green Movement Seriously

Posted by Admin on June 27, 2012

While being in the centre of nonrenewable energy producer areas in Canada, the small city of Dawson Creek ironically shows signs of a small green movement. The mayor even imposed a carbon tax of $100 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. All the money collected from this tax goes towards a carbon fund, used to fund green energy projects. Last year, the city emitted 3,600 tonnes, so they put aside $360 thousand towards green initiatives in the city.

Dawson Creek takes their green initiatives seriously, and has completed green audits on public buildings, and even installed solar panels on City Hall. They also reduced their use of natural gas by using solar thermal water systems on high energy-eating buildings such as City Hall, firehall, police station, and airport.

Similar to Dawson Creek, Edmonton is one of the sunniest cities in all of Canada and in 2010, it even began offering a rebate program for home and business owners who installed PV systems connected to the grid. This little city plans on becoming carbon neutral, even if they are located in oil and gas central.

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Net Zero Energy Buildings

Posted by Admin on June 25, 2012

Buildings consume almost half of all energy produced in the United States, and the number is growing. The IEA predicts that if India and China’s energy consumptions reach the same levels as the US, their consumption would be four and seven times greater than they have been in recent years.

There have been several plans on improving this consumption, including the plan to use a two-pronged approach. First, all buildings must be designed to consume less energy. Second, the buildings must have a way of generating some energy to offset their consumption. This concept is referred to as NZE (Net Zero Energy Buildings).

The IEA argues that the most effective and affordable method for the energy generation step of the plan is through PV solar panel systems. The decreasing costs of using solar energy have increased interest in this renewable energy generation source.

To find out how to make your property a Net Zero Energy Building, contact us today!

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Solar Energy: Beneficial to the Economy

Posted by Admin on June 14, 2012

National Petroleum Council released a report last year arguing that the development of both new and old oil and natural gas resources should create 1.1 million jobs in slightly less than 10 years. However, another report was prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute provides another perspective that shows that renewable energy could produce 2 million jobs in 2 years with the same amount of money as they would have put towards nonrenewable sources.

An example proving his hypothesis is solar energy. One hundred thousand Americans are already employed by the solar field in the United States and the industry’s job growth rate is more than 3 times higher than that of fossil fuel power generation. A 2011 census put together by The Solar Foundation indicates that solar companies expect to increase the number of solar workers by almost 25 percent by August 2012. When you factor in other renewable energy sources such as wind, biofuel, hydro, and geothermal, a high number of new positions in the renewable energy field can be predicted.

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Samsung and Pattern to Build 250 MW Plant in Ontario

Posted by Admin on June 4, 2012

Samsung Renewable Energy Inc and Pattern energy Group LP announced their plans on building a 250 MW PV plant in Ontario. Construction of this plant is expected to begin in September, and will be operational by the spring of 2014. The two companies are currently awaiting approval for their application from the province.

Samsung has plans to install 2.5 gigawatts of solar panels in Ontario over five phases. To date, three of the facilities have been opened. The solar energy products produced will be used both in Samsung’s projects and exported globally.

Samsung is investing a total of CA$7 billion in Ontario. As the spokesperson explained, all project financing is being arranged by Samsung and its partners, under the conditions of its Green Energy Investment Agreement, signed with the Government of Ontario in January, 2010.

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Sault Ste. Marie Solar Project Completed

Posted by Admin on May 30, 2012

Starwood Energy Group has announced the completion of their 69mW solar PV project in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. This project consists of over 300 thousand Q. CELLS Q. BASE modules across their three sites. Q.CELLS North America was the supplier of solar panels and other materials, engineer, and construction manager and built all three phases for solar power with a fixed budget and a turn-key method.

David Orazietti, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, stated that Ontario is an innovative leader of North America’s renewable, ans specifically solar energy movement. He argues that using solar energy projects created local jobs, helped the local economy, and significantly improved the environment. Their community saw almost $1 billion in renewable energy investments in recent years.

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The OCAA Opposes the Nuclear Movement Planned by Ontario

Posted by Admin on May 23, 2012

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) came out against the movement for nuclear power this past Tuesday. Nuclear energy is responsible for 45% of the increase in energy costs, while the use of solar panels, and other green energy manufacturing procedures accounted for only 6%.  Dalton McGuinty and Tim Hudak both are fighting towards scrapping green energy programs such as the Feed-In Tariff (an Ontario solar program), and plan to invest billions of dollars on new nuclear projects.

McGuinty is planning on spending $33 billion towards these nuclear-related projects, and Hudak is committed to a massive spending program as well.  The OCAA believe that the money would be better spent on renewable energy projects because they do not cost nearly as much and don’t carry the same environmental risk. There is also the concern of the budget. Completely refurbishing 10 nuclear reactors will not cost as little as 33 billion dollars, but the OCAA predicts of the spending of up to $80 billion due to the past trends in budget spending when it comes to nuclear energy.

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance was founded to encourage Ontario leaders to phase out nonrenewable energy sources and is working towards a sole use of renewable energy in Ontario by 2030.

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Dear Hudak, Cut the REAL Cause of the Increase in Energy Costs: Nuclear

Posted by Admin on May 18, 2012

Don Ross recently released an article in response to Tim Hudak’s potential strategy of reducing energy costs by cutting the Feed-In Tariff program. What Hudak’s nuclear-biased plan did not factor in, was that green energy only accounted for 6% of the increase in energy costs, while nuclear was the largest factor, accounting for almost 50% of the increase.

Ross responds to Hudak by stating that to reduce energy costs, the government needs to begin shutting down the inefficient and costly power plants and urges them to develop a better strategy in reducing costs. He specifically suggested doing so through the closing of the Pickering nuclear station.

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