Archive for PV (photovoltaic)

New Jersey Solar Installations Still on the Rise – But For How Long?

New Jersey has been forging ahead on the solar scene. The New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program was boosting employment for contractors and sub-contractors in the state, according to recent reports from the NJ Spotlight; however, budget cuts with funds being diverted from the clean energy program to solve other budgetary issues has caused that spike to drop off sharply. A portion of the story, published in March, related:

Ed Hutchinson figures his heating and air conditioning business would be a lot less robust. He might even employ up to 60 fewer people than the 200 now working for Hutchinson Mechanical Services in Cherry Hill. That’s why he and at least a dozen other contractors showed up in Trenton today to protest deep cuts in the program, an initiative that gives rebates and other incentives to homeowners and businesses to dramatically curb how much energy they use. “We should further invest here because we’re putting people to work,” Hutchinson told the Board of Public Utilities commissioners at the state Department of Environmental Protection building.

These comments were made at a hearing concerning the diversion of $158 million in funds from the clean energy program; although the state’s precarious financial position is understood by most, the prevailing majority who spoke up at the meeting  protested the move and said there had to be a better way to balance the state budget. In addition to the confiscation of clean energy funds, $128 million was diverted from the Retail Margin Fund, which was earmarked to build more energy efficient power plants, and another $65 million taken from a fund designed to combat greenhouse gases.

The BPU will rule on whether or not to downsize the state’s energy efficiency program later this year, but in the meantime the latest round of funding for photovoltaic installations was claimed inside of a week. Many local New Jersey players are concerned that the state’s previous commitment to clean energy may be faltering; New Jersey is solidly at #2 among the states in terms of solar installations, and was anticipated to eventually pass California (currently #1). Quotes include a vast array of contractors, clean energy advocates and concerned citizens:

  • Bruce Grossman, program manager for South Jersey Gas: [sic] reducing incentives in the energy efficiency program will have a “chilling effect on economic momentum in the marketplace.”
  • Grace Sica, Sierra Club of New Jersey: “We’re setting New Jersey’s green economy to flounder.”
  • John Conforti, of Air Group in Whippany (HVAC company:  “This program is working excellent.”
  • Sara Bluhm, a vice president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association: [sic] more money needs to be invested in commercial solar installations and industrial projects where an $11 ROI is common compared to only a 4% ROI in residential installations.
  • Matt Elliott, clean energy advocate for Environment New Jersey: “It sends a signal that maybe we are not as serious about clean energy as we say we are.

With utility prices continuing to climb, and rebates and incentives for solar installations still to be found elsewhere, many are still moving towards photovoltaic installation – but cutting funding will cause a slowdown. Arosa Solar in Lakewood New Jersey is already offering a ‘rebate’ to customers who missed the latest funding cycle, to keep customers coming in.

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Solar Stampede in New Jersey

New Jersey’s second phase of the Clean Energy program that offered rebates to those seeking to install photovoltaic panels for energy savings went well – almost too well. The program which opened again May 3, is already closed again – the huge flood of applications that inundated the state program in just one short week exhausted resources.

Fortunately, the program is set up for this possibility, with plans for funding to be done several times this year in expectations that cycles would see this type of response.The Clean Energy Programs’ website now says:

“In just three days, an entire cycle worth of applications were submitted for residential and nonresidential solar projects through the Renewable Energy Incentive Program… The Office of Clean Energy anticipates having a recommendation for consideration of additional funding or potential program changes at the June 7th board meeting… Please check this website on a weekly basis for updates and additional information.”

The new cycle should open September 1, instead of applicants having to wait an entire year. In the meantime, there are still plenty of rebates and incentives available at the state and federal level. These include a federal energy-efficient property tax credit for homeowners of up to 30 percent of the cost of a solar photovoltaic installation, as well as the renewable-energy credit program, which is designed to serve as a long-term inducement for installing solar PV systems.

According to data from the federal Energy Information Administration, New Jersey residents pay nearly 16 cents per kilowatt-hour as of January 2010, one of the higher average residential rates nationally. No wonder hundreds of residents are stampeding to apply for funding, making New Jersey second only to California in solar use; the state has 5,582 solar-electric projects installed as of March 31, totaling a capacity of about 149 megawatts.

While some residents may be waiting for the new cycle of rebates to begin, others are moving ahead with installation plans. Arosa Solar, a PV installation company operating out of Lakewood, New Jersey, anticipates a rise in client requests over the coming year thanks to the support being provided to make the switch to clean energy affordable for the average homeowner.

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New Jersey Renewable Energy Incentive Program Continues

On May 3rd, 2010, New Jersey began once again accepting applications for  its Renewable Energy Incentive Program (REIP).This is welcome news for residents of Lakewood and surrounding areas, as well as for local installer Arosa Solar, a leader in photovoltaic system installs in New Jersey.

The second cycle of the popular state run program offers rebates of USD$1.35/watt residential and USD$0.80/watt commercial rebates for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems up to 10kW and 50kW respectively.This is an incredible benefit for homeowners and business owners alike, especuially when applied in conjunction with various federal programs designed to lower the up-front cost of installing a clean energy system such as PV panels.

New Jersey has rapidly become the second strongest solar market in the United States, with only California boasting more installs. In the previous cycle of the REIP program, over $17 million in rebates was awarded at higher rates.  The REIP program is one of two rebate programs for solar in the state of New Jersey, where $318 million has been awarded and  5,364 projects supported. Overall, 57MW of new PV was installed in New Jersey in 2009, bringing the total amount installed to date up to a staggering 149MW, according to state officials.

The SREC program is also doing well in New Jersey, and solar installations over 50kW may qualify to receive solar renewable energy credits. These can be sold to further offset the cost of new systems, and after the systems are paid off, they continue to bring in income. The SREC program was created through the state’s renewable portfolio standard policy.

Arosa Solar is a premier provider of photovoltaic installations in New Jersey, and can help customers qualify for many of these programs to defray the cost of new systems.

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Need for Photovoltaic Installations can Create Jobs

A new report released late last year indicates climate change as a leading net job creator for the U.S. economy. According to the report, the burgeoning need for renewable energy and energy efficiency is creating a flood of deployment towards the goal of creating up to 4.5 million new U.S. jobs by 2030.

The ultimate aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emission in an amount necessary to actually tackle climate change. Among the six possibilities to work towards this goal are photovoltaic solar installations, which is already a booming market in pales like New Jersey.

The report entitled, Estimating the Jobs Impact of Tackling Climate Change, was released by the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) based in Boulder and Management Information Services, Inc. (MISI) based in Washington, D.C.

According to the report, renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment costs would be offset by savings from lower energy bills. The report states:

Tackling Climate Change initiative differ dramatically among technologies and over time.  For example, in 2020, energy efficiency has net savings of $85 billion, and all of the  renewable energy technologies except for biofuels have net costs. By 2030, energy efficiency’s savings attributable to the initiative have declined to $17 billion, and all of the RE technologies except wind and biofuels have net costs.

In early 2009, we projected this 2007 data to 2030 under three scenarios—
base case, moderate incentives, and an aggressive scenario
involving a national sustained commitment to a green economy. In the
aggressive scenario, we forecast that by 2030, industry sales could
reach $4.3 trillion, and the EE&RE industry could be an economic
driver responsible for nearly 37 million jobs—about 17 percent of the
2030 American workforce.

Brad Collins, ASES’ Executive Director, said “The twin challenges of climate change and economic stagnation can be solved by the same action—broad, aggressive, sustained deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency -the solution for one is the solution for the other.”

The jobs created would not be limited to certain regions or sectors, but would be widely dispersed throughout virtually all industries and occupations in the US, including the professions of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, administrative assistants, machinists, cashiers, management analysts, civil engineers, and sheet metal workers.

The report also claims that 57% of carbon emissions reductions would be from energy efficiency and 43% would be from renewable energy, such as solar PV systems and wind power installations. Specifically, the report reveals that ‘The greatest numbers of renewable energy jobs are generated by solar photovoltaics, biofuels, biomass, and concentrating solar power sectors.’ The report assessed six renewable energy technologies: concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, wind power, biomass, biofuels, and geothermal power.

PV installations are now subsidized by state and federal funding, grants, and rebates to allow nearly anyone to reduce emissions, save on power costs, and contribute to the Climate Change effort.

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PV Costs Dropping in 2010

With New Jersey, California and other heavy alternative energy states causing PV installations to double and triple over the last five years, the US is poised to take the lead in the race for the most solar power produced. Costs continues to be an issue, but new grants from the federal government make initial setup a viable investment for many – and more financial relief is on the way.

In 2005, it was predicted that the solar industry would see a rapid decline in costs by 2010, making PV a mainstream power option. *

Global production of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells doubled almost twice between 2000 and 2005, and grew an additional 41 percent in 2006 alone. Grid-connected solar capacity provides less than 1 percent of the world’s electricity, but this figure is set for rapid expansions as the US surges to the forefront making PV easier and more cost effective to obtain.

US federal incentives, loans and grants along with state funded rebates for homeowners and businesses which install photovoltaic systems have boosted the country’s move towards alternative energy sources, with states like New Jersey leading the way.

Those who install photovoltaic systems can now see their costs cut up front by both loans and tax breaks, allowing them to set up systems with little cost up front. Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, or SRECs, can further defray the cost, paying down the loans and providing a free and clear system in less than five years in some cases.

At that point the SRECs become a source of income (they trade on the open market for prices ranging from $585 to nearly $700 in New Jersey) – plus electricity costs continue to be largely defrays be the energy output of the system. The benefit to business owners is tremendous – a one time investment can yield up to 20 years of service from a dependable PV system that actually earns money.

All of this has led to the rising number of business owners who opt to install PV systems, and the cost as defrayed by the many incentive programs has effectively dropped approximately 40% as detailed by the 2005 report.

(*Assessments made by the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Prometheus Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts).

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New Jersey Solar Loan Program Funded Through 2012

Last November, New Jersey regulators approved a proposal from utility Public Service Electric and Gas to expand its solar loan program by $143 million and 51 megawatts. What does this mean to New Jersey home and business owners seeking to install photovoltaic systems to defray heating and electricity costs? A lot.

The program expansion brings the loan totals up to a projected $248 million, which means about 81 megawatts worth of solar systems have become available across the state. Even municipalities are getting in on the action, converting publick works such as streetlamps and city buildings over to solar power.

The first loan program approved by PSEG for installing photovoltaic panels kicked in back in April 2008. The program resulted in about $105 million in loans (30 megawatts worth of solar systems) being applied for. This new expansion falls under new regulations, and is expected to kick start another wave of interest in PV by residents of New Jersey.

The Solar Loan II Program is expected to run for 2 years or until an additional 51 in solar systems have been installed; people who apply for the loan can expect to have half the cost of a photovoltaic system installation covered. The 10-year loans for residential homeowners, and 15-year loans for commercial or municipal customers can be repaid in cash or via earned Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs).

Since SRECs currently trade upward of $600 in New Jersey, this allows the loans to be paid pack with virtually no burden on the loan holder, edpending on the size of system installed.The second half of photovoltaic system costs may also be covered in part by New Jersey Clean Energy Program rebates and federal tax credits or grants.

Arosa Solar is doing its part to install as many solar systems as possible while the loan program exists, creating custom photovoltaic systems for home and businesses in the New Jersey area.

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US Set to Lead in Global PV Output; New Jersey Catching up to California

According to GreenTech Media Research, the United States is closing in on the front runner position to head the global solar photovoltaic (PV) marketplace. The US is poised on the brink of growth explosion, and sales are expected to double by 2011.

German solar industry association BSW states that Germany is currently the largest solar PV market worldwide, but the report (titled ‘The United States PV Market Through 2013: Project Economics, Policy, Demand and Strategy’) indicates that the U.S. will sweep past Germany to take first place globally in the field of solar sales and installation.

The reason? US demand for solar has skyrocketed thanks to federal mandates, and is expected to keep growing, with a rise of about 50 percent, from 320 megawatts in 2008 to a projected 1,212 megawatts (1.2 gigawatts) in 2012. There is even the possibility of topping  2 gigawatts by that date if federal, state and regional incentives keep expanding.

California currently holds the title for US solar PV leadership, but rising solar PV demand puts other states (Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada and Massachusetts) in play. These are expected to  collectively support 376 megawatts of PV generated electricity by  2012.

The growth is expected to occur primarily in residential and utility-scale sectors. Investors are increasingly willing to support utility-scale solar as a reliable, long-term investment thanks to state renewable portfolio standards, or RPSs. These mandate higher limits of renewable energy in a utility’s generation mix. Utility or power companies unable to comply can make up the deficit by buying credits from residential and commercial owners of PV systems through SREC programs like the one available in New Jersey..

New Jersey offers solar renewable energy credits, or SRECs, for energy produced through PV. These trade in excess of $600 on the market, and cqan be purchased by private investors against rises in future value, or by power companies to help satisfy their alternative energy quotas.

In addition, the grants available to commercial installations make it easier for mom and pop stores to install and run PV systems – the average time to pay off a system is four years, and all SRECs generated after that time are pure profit.

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