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Are You Managing Your Solar Project Properly?

Are You Managing Your Solar Project Properly?

If Not, There’s Help.

January 2, 2014

Solar Asset Management (SolarAM) is the comprehensive scope of work necessary to ensure that a solar project performs contractually, technically and financially to provide the expected return on investment. It is more than “boots on the ground” technical maintenance. SolarAM requires a deep understanding of how the equipment, contracts and financial structure all work together to achieve desired results.

Savvy investors and owners understand that effective asset management is essential to achieving a project’s financial objectives. With proper SolarAM, it is possible to increase energy production and decrease operational costs to produce the expected return on investment (ROI). SolarAM requires leadership and accountability to reduce risks for project owners, investors and developers.
The solar industry has seen dramatic growth over the last decade. According to SEIA, 9.4GW of solar projects are installed and operational in the U.S. Thus far, the industry has focused primarily on how to build more projects more cost effectively. However, as the industry matures, there is a need for greater focus on how the existing base of operating projects can be managed to deliver the expected benefits.
Traditionally solar projects were promoted as low-risk investments with few moving parts, well warranted equipment and little technical maintenance. However, as the market has matured, maintenance requirements have been more challenging, there has been consolidation in the equipment sector and the investment structures used to finance the projects are more complex. In addition, the ITC structure has created disincentives for installers and developers to focus on long-term performance. While solar is a good investment, these factors underscore the importance of good, qualified management across all of the functional disciplines that are required for the asset – technical, contractual and financial.
SolarAM entails:
Strong Oversight Of Asset Operations – Oversight and management of operations and maintenance (O&M) activities and the O&M provider, good production monitoring and analytics for energy optimization, clear budgeting and cost/benefit analysis of capital investment requirements or repair work and regular onsite visits.
Contract Administration And Regulatory Compliance – Performance of obligations in the underlying project and financial contracts and compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks to keep the system and project entities operating sustainabilitly.
Project Financial Asset Management – Fulfillment of cash management activities for the project company (billing, paying expenses, setting aside required reserves); control and reduction of operating costs; management of SREC sales.
Financial Structuring, Administration And Tax Reporting – Fund reporting and loan servicing, audits, coordination and management of accounting and tax experts.
Special Situations – Resolution of unexpected events such as insurance casualty events, warranty claims, litigation, etc.
Currently, most owners and investors rely on in-house personnel to perform SolarAM, often relying on a patchwork of technical, financial, accounting and legal resources to implement their SolarAM, which work together with varying degrees of success. They often underestimate the internal time and misallocate the direct cost of using internal personnel. They also often forget the high opportunity costs of using their internal teams.
An external SolarAM provider can provide more expertise and cost-effective solutions, offering benefits of scale and comprehensive expertise that is derived from managing multiple portfolios for different customers rather than just a single owner’s individual portfolio. Outsourcing these services can enable owners to better use their in-house personnel to focus on new project development initiatives, which is typically the owner’s core business.
Whether internal or external, a successful SolarAM strategy will have the following attributes:
1) Comprehensive: Focuses on all interconnected project areas (equipment, operations, contracts, legal and financial).
2) Independent: Establishes transparent processes that avoid conflicts of interest and create clarity in scope and responsibility for all key tasks with appropriate coordination and controls.
3) Accountable: Provides owners with a single service partner responsible for measurable results.
4) Accretive: Focuses on financial performance to optimize long-term performance and operating expenses.
5) Scalable: Decreases the marginal costs over time as the portfolio grows.
With the proper SolarAM strategy and the effective implementation of that strategy, owners will significantly increase the odds that their projects will not only deliver the baseline expected ROI but also exceed pro forma expectations.
By: Chad Sachs

CEO at RadianGEN

How solar and EVs will kill the fossil fuel dinosaurs

How solar and EVs will kill the fossil fuel dinosaurs

How solar and EVs will kill the fossil fuel dinosaurs

27 August 2013

By Giles Parkinson

Stanford University energy expert Tony Seba predicts that by 2030, solar power will make the fossil fuel-based utilities redundant while electric vehicles will put the oil companies out of business. “Utilities as we know them are over. They are the land line telephone companies of 20, 30 years ago”, he says in an interview with Giles Parkinson, founder and editor of the path-breaking Australian website RenewEconomy.

Photo: dinosaur footprints by dapawprint

Several years ago, Tony Seba, an energy expert from Stanford University, published a book called Solar Trillions, predicting how solar technologies would redefine the world’s energy markets and create an investment opportunity worth tens of trillions of dollars.

Most people looked at him, he says, as if he had three heads. That was possibly because the book was written before the recent plunge in the cost of solar modules had taken effect, and before most incumbent utilities had woken up to the fact that solar – even with minor penetration levels – was turning their business models upside down.

Seba is now working on a new book, with even more dramatic forecasts than his first. His new prediction is that by 2030, solar will make the fossil fuel industry more or less redundant. Even more striking is his forecast that electric vehicles will do the same thing to the oil industry by around the same date.

The working title for the book is “Disrupting energy – how Silicon Valley is making coal, nuclear, oil and gas obsolete” 

The predictions are made on the basis that the cost of solar and EV batteries will continue to fall, while the cost to consumers of sourcing energy from fossil fuels through the grid or liquid fuels will continue to rise. Before the decade is out, Seba says, both technologies will pass a tipping point that will eventually sweep the incumbents aside, just as technology and cost developments have done in the computer, internet, media, photographic and telecommunications industries.

“I am incredibly optimistic that by 2030, nuclear, coal, gas, big hydro, and oil will be all but obsolete,” Seba told RenewEconomy in an interview in San Francisco last month. “The world will be mostly powered by solar and wind, and most new vehicles will be electric. The architecture of energy markets is going from centralized to distributed – in liquids and the electric market.”

The working title for the book is “Disrupting energy – how Silicon Valley is making coal, nuclear, oil and gas obsolete.” It is pinned on the theme that decentralised generation and storage will replace the centralised, hub and spoke model that has prevailed for the last century. The impact of decentralised generation is already being felt. The striking part of Seba’s prediction is the speed with which it will happen.

“By 2030, when batteries are at $100/kWh, gasoline vehicles will be obsolete. Not on their way out, obsolete”

First, on the technology cost issue. For EVs, Seba says the success of Tesla – in sales and in reputation – has changed the conversation around EVs, particularly after it won the 2013 Car of the Year award. “Basically, EVs were supposed to be expensive and underpowered and weak and 50 years away. Tesla showed all that was wrong. The EV will do to oil what solar will do to coal, nuclear and gas. EVs are a disruptive technology, there is no doubt about that.

“The propaganda says that it is too expensive and has little range. But if you look at the cost curve of batteries, even Detroit is saying that by 2020 lithium-ion batteries will be at $US200/kWh.

“The tipping point for the mass market to move from internal combustion engines to EVs is between $US250 and $US300/kWh. Once it gets to $US100/kWh, it is all over. I think we will get to $US250/kWh by 2020. By 2030, when batteries are at $100/kWh, gasoline vehicles will be obsolete. Not on their way out, obsolete.” Seba thinks that mass migration will start around 2018 to 2020.

“Coal is in pockets, gas is in pockets, oil is in pockets. The sun shines a little bit more in some places than others, but everyone gets sunshine”

On solar it is a similar story. “When I wrote my first book, a lot of people looked at me like I had three heads,” Seba says. “They thought I was way too optimistic because the conversation then was about grid parity for solar in 2060, or 2070. And what you hear is the same thing we heard 20 years ago, that this is not going to happen, that it is difficult, that power needs specialised scale, that it can only be done like this. When in fact, over the last few years, a country like Germany has pioneered the move from a few dozen central power plants to more than a million producers.”

“Australia has done the same thing. Bangladesh has a million solar installations. So the poorest people in one of the poorest countries are adopting solar unsubsidised. Solar is already cheaper than grid – what people are paying for electricity – in dozens of countries already. And that is despite huge fossil fuel subsidies.”

“The sun is more democratic than any other source of energy. Coal is in pockets, gas is in pockets, oil is in pockets. The sun shines a little bit more in some places than others, but everyone gets sunshine. And the thing about solar, is that it can be built on a distributed basis.”

“Markets will be redesigned, and there will be huge opportunities for new companies – the Ebays of the electricity world – that can aggregate and trade distributed production, and that can manage the process”

Can solar really be built on a scale that would meet the bulk of the world’s electricity needs? Seba points to the computer industry, where he worked in the 1990s, and to the internet and telecommunications. All three were dominated by huge, centralised technologies. All three industries have been turned upside down by new “distributed”, or hand-held devices. He says the same thing will happen in electricity. “This is not in the future. We are going from big centralised power plants to decentralised generation, to decentralised storage, and to decentralised distribution.”

“It is just a matter of policy makers understanding this and making regulations appropriately. In India, about $30-40 billion goes to subsidise diesel. The grid there is already obsolete. It went down and 500 million people didn’t notice, because they are not on the grid. If they stop subsidising diesel and put it into solar, they could bring 100 million people a year into solar. If all you do is stop subsidising diesel, you can, in five years, bring solar electricity to 500 million people who are not on the grid today.”

The biggest threat from all this radical change is to the traditional utility model, Seba says. “Utilities as we know them are over. They are the land line telephone companies of 20, 30 years ago. We will start using them as back-up, as the world goes distributed and every house has solar, and factories do the same, and they are stuck with these stranded investments.”

“Most consumers don’t trust utilities, but utilities don’t understand this, because they treat consumers like ratepayers”

“What they will try to do is to keep jacking up prices – which makes solar even more affordable. It will be this death spiral. You will see bankruptcies. Finally, it will not make sense.”

He says markets will be redesigned, and there will be huge opportunities for new companies – he dubs them the Ebays of the electricity world – that can aggregate and trade distributed production, and that can manage the process.

“You will need a market, but instead of assuming 10 or 100 producers, you will need market that assumes million or tens of millions of power producers. So you will need some companies that can do that. Markets will get interesting – storing, trading etc. there will be huge opportunities for innovative companies.”

“And then you need to know how to manage energy without thinking about it. Most of us don’t know enough. We don’t know enough about cars. Why ask same of consumers for electricity. So companies will do that – they will do that better than utilities do. The Nests, the Apples, Googles, Sungevity, and Suncity, are getting into the home, and getting trust of consumer.”

“Policy will be critical, and right now the conservative right is lined up against renewable and disruptive technologies, and firmly on the side of the incumbents”

“Most consumers don’t trust utilities, but utilities don’t understand this, because they treat consumers like ratepayers. When you buy a car, or a shirt you are treated well. But in the electricity industry, you are not. The big conversation is about solar panels, and storage and EVs, but that is just beginning of the conversation. We have so many other technologies that will change the way electricity is traded, used, stored. Utilities have no idea about that.”

So, what could possibly go wrong? Well, policy will be critical, and right now the conservative right is lined up against renewable and disruptive technologies, and firmly on the side of the incumbents. Seba, doesn’t understand why. “In ideological terms, there is no more libertarian energy source than solar. Why do libertarians, at least in the US, align themselves with conservative parties? “Why are they supporting coal and big refineries and power generation? Ideologically it makes no sense. Part of what is going on is an information war. $8 trillion can buy you a lot of information, and can help you spread a lot of misinformation.”

Giles Parkinson is the founder of the excellent Australian website RenewEconomy, which discusses the ideas and analyses the trends, the new technologies and the policies that will drive the global energy transformation. Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years’ experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Australian Financial Review, a former columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founder and former editor of Climate Spectator. This article was first published on RenewEconomy and is republished here with permission from the author. We highly recommend RenewEconomy as a great source of information if you want to follow what is going on in international (renewable) energy markets. You can start with this follow-up article to the interview with Tony Seba. This quotes the head of the US energy regulator saying that “solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything”. 

Cool and Informative Renewable Energy and Solar Power Links

Solar Energy Industries Association
Database of State Incentivies for Renewables & Efficiency
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
PG&E - Save Energy and Money

Sonoma County's Energy Independence Program
US Department of Energy
American Solar Energy Society
Build it Green
Find Solar
Appliance Rebate Finder
Energy Empowers
DOE Tips
Renewable energy state incentives database
50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth
Rooftop Revolution
Greenopia
The Daily Green
No Impact Man
Build It Green
Green Electronics
Carbon footprint calculator
Green Tech Media
Arizona Solar Center
Cal Finder
El Phoenix Sun
Voter Solar
Global Greens
Ecorazzi
San Francisco Green Map
SF Environment
The Thin Green Line
Grist
World Changing
Climate Progress
EcoGeek
The Green Grok
Joel Makower
Greentech
Earth2Tech
GreenExpo 365

  California Free Solar | Go Solar for Free

California Free Solar

June 8, 2013

solar farm

 

Edison solar quote

 

CALIFORNIA FREE SOLAR is http://californiafreesolar.net

 

YOU MAY BE ASKING YOURSELF

“HOW COULD I GET A FREE SOLAR SYSTEM ? “

or

“HOW COULD I LOWER MY ELECTRIC BILL WITHOUT SPENDING ANY MONEY ? “

or

“HOW COULD I TOTALLY ELIMINATE MY ELECTRIC BILL ? “

or

“HOW COULD I RECEIVE PAYMENTS FROM MY ELECTRIC UTILITY INSTEAD OF SENDING THEM MONEY ? “

We can help you if you are a residential or commercial electric utility customer.  We can also help you if you are a land owner and are interested in your very own solar farm !

We can help you if you live in CALIFORNIA or ANY OTHER STATE IN THE COUNTRY !!!

We have an extensive network of partners including all of the major companies in the industry and many local regional companies in your area !!!

We are a one stop turnkey solution for FREE SOLAR POWER !!!

This is the real deal and FREE SOLAR is available starting now !!!

Let’s say that today you’re spending $250 per month on average with your electric company. You’re pretty much stuck paying the utility for that electricity if you enjoy things such as lighting, refrigeration, air conditioning, washing and drying your clothes, etc.

Additionally, since 1971 (according to the CPUC – California Public Utility Commission) your electricity rates have increased on average 6.7% annually with the bulk of the increases concentrated in the three upper electricity tiers.

Using the magic of compound interest, if the current trend of the last 42 years persists you’re $250 monthly electric bill becomes $448 per month by 2023 – $250(1+0.067)^10=$448.

Even more startling, over the course of 10 years, you will have paid $40,866.64 to the electric company. With today’s home solar prices, that amount of money would buy you a 10-12 kilowatt high efficiency solar system – significantly more power than what is needed to eliminate a $250 monthly bill!

Consider this, if you are able to pay off a solar system in 10 years (considering a 25 year useful life for the solar panels and a 12 year useful life for inverters – though some today are 25 year products) you would avoid paying the utility another $135,903.52!! – [$250(1+0.067)^25]-$40,866.64 – $5000 (inverter replacement). If you can pay it off sooner, the savings become even more compelling.

So the question is: how do I get the Utility to pay for my solar system so that I can save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars? The answer is incredibly simple. I’ll use myself as an example.

In 2007, my monthly electric bill was $220 per month. Applying the same calculus to my own situation, I figured that in 10 years I would have paid $35,962.64 for electricity supplied by local utility. A solar system to suit my needs (after rebates and tax credits) came in at $21,500. Solar, therefore, seemed like a no brainer. In fact, six years in I’ve saved $18,742.45 with one year left for the system to pay for itself.

To be honest, I really didn’t feel like writing a check for $21,500, so I did what many of my savvy finance mentors recommended – I used O.P.M – otherwise known as ‘other people’s money’. 

I simply used my HELOC (home equity line of credit) to buy the solar system and DIVERTED MY MONTHLY UTILITY PAYMENTS to the bank that loaned me the money.  A few interesting things happened:

My loan payment was $157/month (saving ~ $63/month over the utility payment).
I could write off the interest since solar is a home improvement thereby increasing the monthly savings to ~ $118/month.  My home appraised for $22,000 more after the solar was installed upon refinancing it a year later.  The improvement did not increase my property taxes.

Due to some additional fiscal conservatism on my part, I diligently paid down the principal and now own my solar system outright and have an extremely low annual electric bill ($58 in 2012).

What does this mean for you?

The good news is that today there are many more financing options available than ever before.  More good news is that with home values coming back from the dead, home equity and other types of home improvement loans are once again readily available after half a decade of recession.

You options today include:

A Solar Lease or PPA from SunRun or another source that allows you to save some money out of the gate and increase savings over time as utility rates continue their unceasing march upward. You’re paying the utility anyway; why not take control of your power by redirecting utility payments into this money saving option. SunRun is perfect for those of you who can’t realize the tax credit and/or like the idea of a 20 year hassle free warranty and a low buyout or free removal at the end.

Diverting  your utility payments to a P.A.C.E loan like WRCOG HERO, Ygrene, etc enables you to own a solar power system in 6-8 years. Better yet, if you can’t take the tax credit or prefer to borrow less upfront, go with a pre-paid SunRun PPA and finance that with a PACE loan.

Obtain an Equity Line, Signature Loan, Home Improvement Loan or the like from your bank or credit union (as I did) and have the utility pay that loan off for you by redirecting electric bill payments and taking advantage of tax incentives.

In summary, if you enjoy the benefits electricity provides but would like to insulate yourself from inevitable future price increases and save yourself lots of money, redirecting your current and anticipated future electric bills into a solar system makes tremendous sense for most people.

With a solar power system in place, you’ll have a much more pleasant problem than your electric bills.  

What to do with all the money you have saved !

For free information and consultation, and with no obligation, please get in touch with me ! My name is Kevin and we are California Free Solar.  Thank-you for your interest in helping to sustain a greener and healthier planet while saving yourself a lot of money !

 

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ENERGY STORAGE INNOVATION KEY

Innovation key to solar advancement

 

Posted by Zeshan Rajput 

A new study from UK-based GlobaData reveals that energy storage innovation will be essential to the advancement of solar power generation.

Unfortunately, the study also found that there is little renewable energy storage innovation and few firms focusing on it. “Currently, there are no effective storage systems for megawatt scale solar power plants,” said GlobalData analyst Pavan Vyakaranam.

Concentrated Solar Power uses molten salts to produce power for a short period after the sun goes down, Vyakaranam said. But, while that technology is being used in large-scale solar projects, it’s not efficient enough to be applied on a larger scale.

Ideas for innovation include adapting the processes involved in the generation of thermal energy to solar and other intermittent renewable sources. Pumped hydroelectric storage is currently used as a grid energy storage mechanism. It stores power during off peak hours when energy is cheaper and can be used during peak hours.  “Pumped hydro storage is being used on large scale and it does hold hope for application on a larger scale,” Vyakaranam said.

There is little innovation happening in the renewable energy storage field, according to the report. Of 162 US patents issued for solar energy in the first quarter of 2012, only two dealt with energy storage. But there are likely other companies working on solutions, Vyakaranam said.

“Apart from solar energy companies with R&D facilities, storage innovation could also be expected from companies with pioneering research in other areas,” Vyakaranam said. “Companies dealing with advanced batteries and ultra capacitors are the important examples. There are a number of universities and research organizations with extensive research on fuel cell technology and Hydrogen-based energy storage systems, both of which can complement a solar power plant if there is a breakthrough in efficiency and cost.”

He said major energy companies like GE Energy and several battery companies are also doing research to see if battery storage could become more efficient and affordable.

“Currently, as solar energy is close to achieving grid parity in some locations, solar adoption is already increasing steadily,” Vyakaranam said. “However, a commercial storage technique would boost solar adoption in countries where there is excessive and intermittent generation of energy due to renewable energy sources like solar and wind.”

 

 http://www.cleanenergyauthority.com

Solar Farm Investment Opportunity

 

Top 10 World’s Most Efficient Solar Pv Modules (Poly-Crystalline) | Solarplaza | The global solar energy (PV) platform

Top 10 World’s Most Efficient Solar Pv Modules (Poly-Crystalline) | Solarplaza | The global solar energy (PV) platform.

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