Archive for May, 2011

Should I Consider using a PPA for Installing Solar in my Residential Market?

May 23, 2011

Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs, are being found to be instrumental for many renewable energy installers when growing their business.  PPAs are allowing them to reach out to residential and businesses that do not currently have the lump sum capital to invest in a solar system equipment and installation costs.  Although coming up with the down payment to buy solar power from a specific provider may be more feasible for the consumer – could it affect your bottom line?

Are you new to this industry?

This is an important factor.  As with any new business, customers and vendors will be more skeptical of someone that is just starting out.  There is simply no history for them to reference with regards to quality, customer satisfaction and reliability.  The downside is that most PPA companies will only work with well-established solar installers with history and proven tracks records.  As a result if you are new to this industry you might want to wait until you have some history and references before trying to engage in partnering with a PPA company.

Will it increase your Customer Base?

If you do partner with a PPA company then your customer base can, and will, grow in the residential market because you are able to sell them a product that they want without all of the hefty initial start up costs.  Many people are interested in going green and the only thing that is holding them back from making this move is the expense to commit to the project. This growth will happen not only in the residential base but in the commercial customer base as well.

Will it affect your Profit Margin to use PPAs?

Depending on your existing practices partnering up with a PPA could create some financial challenges.  PPAs have very specific requirements for the type of equipment used and the techniques used to install it.  You may have a favorite product line or method of installation you prefer, however if the PPA is going to guarantee the equipment and the installation then they will likely have guidelines you have to follow even if they aren’t within your comfort zone.

It is believed that PPAs will become more commonplace as renewable energy becomes a necessity to consumers.  With standard energy costs anticipated to soar renewable energy will become the only affordable alternative. Either way the demand exists and this industry will continue to flourish.

Solar thermal training is being sought by many to learn how to install solar panels to become a member of this solar energy industry.  If you are wondering where to start with your solar energy training contact eRenewable Resource Institute at 480 446-0400 or info@erenewableresource.com.

References:

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2011/05/is-offering-a-residential-ppa-worth-it-for-new-solar-contractors

http://www.tiogaenergy.com/what-is-a-ppa.php

Cost Savings for Consumers willing to Invest in Solar Panels

May 14, 2011

Arizona is currently tied with Colorado and Nevada to share the #3 spot, with five percent, for states that have installed solar power.   Topping the list of course is California at 47 percent.  So what are Arizona residents waiting for?  Is it just a lack of education as to how much return on investment is involved?  If homeowners did their homework they would come to realize the time for this investment is now.

Greg Peterson, a Valley resident had solar panels installed over five years ago.  He says once they are installed, you can almost forget about them and enjoy the free power.  In an effort to educate others he offers a class at his house, The Urban Farm, to tour his solar power and answer any questions.

The average investment in installing solar panels on a home is $7 per watt of coverage.  Obviously the total cost will vary depending on the number of panels installed to cover the size of your home.  Many companies will handle the rebate process for you and provide maintenance plans, etc.  So what return will the consumer see for this investment?

  • Solar increases the value and resale opportunities of your home.
  • Unlike a swimming pool it can be moved – you could sell it or take it with you when you move.
  • Solar equipment protects you from rate increases & fuel cost uncertainties.
  • EPA/DOE studies indicate that the value of a home increases from $11 to $25 for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills.

All of these reasons relate directly to a pocketbook, but just like those that drive a Prius some people make the investment simply for the environment.  In that case the return on investment is measured by the decrease in air pollution problems related to burning fossil fuels.   In addition to the investment in the environment, there is a direct relationship to the growth of the economy and solar energy industry.

Regardless of which type of return on investment a consumer is seeking it is important to focus on the fact that it will be significant over the lifetime ownership of these solar panels.  Every homeowner owes it to themselves, their community and the environment to do their due diligence in educating themselves on the “cost” savings over a lifetime.

Solar thermal training is being sought by many to learn how to install solar panels to become a member of this solar energy industry.  If you are wondering where to start with your solar energy training contact eRenewable Resource Institute at 480 446-0400 or info@erenewableresource.com.

References:

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/lifestyle/your_home/arizona-not-using-its-full-solar-energy-potential

http://www.azsolarcenter.org/economics/quick-facts/solar-electric-quick-facts.html

http://www.ecogeek.org/solar-power/3492-top-ten-solar-power-states?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EcoGeek+%28EcoGeek%29

DOE Initiatives Support Solar Energy Growth Nationwide

May 6, 2011

When you are considering the possibility of solar energy as your next career path, or if you are looking to advance within the solar industry, your owe it to yourself to give the proper due diligence to determine if this is a viable and growing industry.

There are a number of initiatives that are supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to prove that solar energy is the most efficient and cost effective way for communities to use as their sole energy source.  You will find through various studies how much effort is being made to ensure that solar energy will be the next resource we are dependent on across the nation.

“Solar Cities” in America

For instance, Tucson, AZ was selected four years ago to be among one of the 25 Solar America Cities.  They are one of 25 cities across the nation that gathers annually to discuss findings on emerging trends in urban energy use.

The 4th annual Solar America Cities concluded their annual meeting on April 28th.  The objective of each meeting is to share successes in each area for possible implementation across the country.  More importantly they share the challenges with permitting issues and work together to find solutions that will benefit solar energy projects in urban areas across in the U.S.

During the last meeting, discussions of zoning, financing and permitting issues ensued under the DOE’s Acting Under Secretary of Energy, Dr. Arun Majumdar, who announced a request for information (RFI) specifically designed to address permitting issues in cities.  The ultimate outcome would provide potential solutions to assist in removing barriers to solar development in the current marketplace, increasing the acceptance of solar energy nationwide and saving time and money for customers.

Solar Demonstration Project

Just 90 miles outside of Las Vegas this will be the largest full-scale demonstration of solar technology primed for commercialization.  This initiative is only the beginning of the next-generation when concentrating solar power and photovoltaic technologies.  The DOE is funding this initiative with $50 million to test and demonstrate innovative concentrating solar energy technologies, with a goal to make these technologies cost-competitive.

The above are only two Initiatives that are underway to increase the usage and expansion of solar energy in our world.  Solar thermal training is being sought by many to learn how to install solar panels to become a member of this solar energy industry.  If you are wondering where to start with your solar energy training contact eRenewable Resource Institute at 480 446-0400 or info@erenewableresource.com.

References:

http://blog.energy.gov/blog/2011/04/27/25-cities-meet-discuss-how-eliminate-barriers-and-bring-more-solar-market

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/news_detail.html?news_id=16936

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/


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