Posts tagged Arosa Solar

New Solar Initiative May Create Jobs

President Barack Obama  announced a new initiative in his weekly radio and online address late in June; according to new directives, the government will be handing out nearly $2 billion for new solar plants.   Two companies, Abengoa Solar (which will build one of the world’s largest solar plants in Arizona, creating 1,600 construction jobs) and Abound Solar Manufacturing, which builds plants in Colorado and Indiana, will be receiving a lions share of the funding.

Obama was quoted as saying the money is part of his plan to bring new industries to the U.S., and that the initiative will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs, and increase the use of renewable energy sources.

“We’re going to keep competing aggressively to make sure the jobs and industries of the future are taking root right here in America,” Obama said. His announcement  came a day after the Labor Department reported that employers slashed payrolls last month for the first time in six months.

This was driven by the expected loss of 225,000 temporary census jobs. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.5 percent, and private-sector hiring rose by 83,000 workers. New jobs in the solar energy sector are hoped to bring relief to towns in the Southwest and Midwest, where initiatives to create wind farms are also in progress.

The capacity for generating solar power in the US is as follows:

United States map showing annual average daily solar radiation per  month
Annual average daily solar radiation per month, using a flat-plate collector facing south at a fixed tilt equal to the latitude of the site. Capturing the maximum amount of solar radiation throughout the year can be achieved using a tilt angle approximately equal to the site’s latitude.

The initiative in Arizona should prove extremely efficient not only in bringing jobs to the region, but in productiveness alone.

Elsewhere, solar power use is still on the rise.  New Jersey continues to inch up on California for usage and companies like Arosa Solar are doing everything they can to encourage ordinary home and business owners to branch out into solar generation to save money and even turn a profit once the system has paid for itself. With generous rebates and stimulus packages being offered by state and federal government agencies at regular intervals, the cost of installing a system can often be almost completely recouped.

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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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New Jersey PV More Accessible than Ever

Home and business owners in New Jersey and other leading solar energy states can look forward to yet another drop in pricing for photovoltaic systems in 2010.

PV systems have been increasing in number as the benefits and incentives become available to home and business owners. However, although the rate of growth has been tremendous over the past ten years, it has been constrained by the shortage of manufacturing capacity for purified polysilicon. This material is what makes up the semiconductor chips in PV systems, and in 2006, for the first time, over 50% of the world’s polysilicon was used to produce solar PV cells.

Supply shortages have forced many manufacturers to develop ways to use polysilicon more efficiently. New technology that does not depend on purified silicon allows thin film cells and amorphous silicon to be used instead, reducing overall costs. Thin film cells were initially not efficient enough to compete with conventional cells, but have been redesigned to make PV panels cheaper to manufacture.

In 2008, polysilicon supply to the solar industry grew by 127% in megawatt terms. The US contributed substantially to this figure; over 43% of the world’s supplies came from the United States.

For New Jersey, where alternative power is becoming the avenue more and more business owners are taking, PV costs continue to drop. Thanks to the reduction in cost for thin cell materials and the generous incentives offered by state and federal agencies, photovoltaic systems can now be installed with small upfront investments, and be completely paid off in short order (recent projections showed that a business installing a 40+ kw system could be free and clear in less than five years.

“The average price for a PV module, excluding installation and other system costs, has dropped from almost $100 per watt in 1975 to less than $4 per watt at the end of 2006. With expanding polysilicon supplies, average PV prices are projected to drop to $2 per watt in 2010.

For thin-film PV alone, production costs are expected to reach $1 per watt in 2010, at which point solar PV will become competitive with coal-fired electricity. With concerns about rising oil prices and climate change spawning political momentum for renewable energy, solar electricity is poised to take a prominent position in the global energy economy.” *

(* Earth Policy Institute)

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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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