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We’re in the midst of a massive cleantech revolution. Solar power is beginning to disrupt the hell out of the power industry. Electric vehicles are on the verge of putting gasmobiles to sleep. Wind power is already one of the cheapest options for new electricity generation in the world — if not the cheapest. The movement is exciting to watch. And, in a decade or so, we might need to change our name from Solar Love to Electricity Love. The solar revolution is certainly one of the more exciting things to watch. Below is some solar number fun that should get your blood pumping. Full disclosure: much of the legwork for this piece was done by one of our excellent readers — we’ll just call him Solar Love advisor #1.

Low Solar Prices Around the World

EU solar without subsidies as low as $1.20/watt: Deutsche Bank has reported that about ⅓ of small- to mid-sized solar installations in the EU are now going in without subsidies. Furthermore, “Multi-megawatt projects were being built south of Rome for €90c/W,” as RenewEconomy notes. “This was delivering electricity costs (LCOE – with 80 per cent self consumption) of around €80/MWh (€8c/kWh).” That’s about $1.20/W and 10–11¢/kWh.

UK solar down to $1.59/watt: The UK’s largest solar far, a new 34-megawatt solar farm near Leicestershire in the English Midlands, is said to cost just over one pound a watt ($1.59/W). That’s about 20% less than the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change number for large-scale solar in 2012.

Spain unsubsidized solar down to $1.47/watt: A completely unsubsidized 250 MW solar farm being developed in the northwestern region of Cádiz, Spain, is reportedly going to come in at €275 million, which would be about €1.1/watt or $1.47/watt.

Germany’s average solar PV price at $2.08/watt (unsubsidized): The Photovoltaik-Preisindex from has the average solar power system price in Germany (including utility, commercial, and residential solar PV system) at €1.56 ($2.08) in July. The lowest price it hit on that index was €1.50, or $2.00/watt, in February.

India solar farm comes in at $1.52/watt: Shifting over to India, the price is not all that different from the UK and Spain. A 100-megawatt solar farm in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu is supposed to cost ₹920 billion ($15.16 million at the moment), which would be about $1.52/watt.

Australia getting/giving rooftop solar for as low as $1.90(USD)/watt for residential solar (before subsidies): Since I’ve used USD above, I’m using it here, too. Solar Choice’s July Solar PV Price Index indicates a before-subsidy low of AUD$2.06/watt (USD$1.90/watt) for residential solar. After relevant feed-in tariffs, the low is AUD$1.38/watt (USD$1.27/watt). The AUD$2.06/watt low was in both Western Australia and Tasmania. The after-subsidy low of AUD$1.38/watt was in Western Australia (Perth). After incentives, the average price of residential solar down under was AUD$1.76/watt (USD$1.62/watt) in July. Impressive.

Translating To ¢/kWh, And The US Situation

The $/watt numbers are interesting, but what we often want to know is actually ¢/kWh. That helps us compare to our electricity bills and to other types of power plants. To do a location-based comparison, we also need a solar insolation map. Given that the largest number of our readers are American (as well as the two of us writing this article), we’ve decided to focus on the US in this section.

solar insolation US

Using 20-year, 5% financing, the EIA’s 1c/kWh projection for fixed O&M (no subsidies), and the US solar insolation map above, we get these numbers:

$1.20/W =

  • 7.3¢ per kWh in Zone 5 (4.2 solar hours, 17.5% capacity — Northeast/Midwest)
  • 5.8¢ per kWh in Zone 2 (5.5 solar hours, 23% capacity — Southwest)

$1.50/W =

  • 8.3¢ per kWh in Zone 5
  • 7¢ per kWh in Zone 2

$2.00/W =

  • 11.4¢ per kWh in Zone 5
  • 9.9¢ per kWh in Zone 2

To put that into better perspective, the average price of electricity in the US was 11.8¢ per kWh in May, according to the EIA. (And, assuming 3% inflation, the 20-year average cost of electricity would be 16¢ per kWh.)

  • In New York, the average price of residential electricity was 18.3¢ per kWh.
  • In Illinois, it was 10.5¢ per kWh.
  • In Michigan, it was 14.2¢ per kWh.
  • In Florida (which is in Zone 4 of that solar insolation map), it was 11.3¢ per kWh.
  • In California (which is mostly in Zone 3, but partly in Zones 1, 2, and 4), it was 15.8¢ per kWh.
  • In Texas (which is mostly in Zone 3, but partly in Zone 2), it was 11.2¢ per kWh.

In other words, the average price of residential electricity in the above states (and the US on average) is considerably higher than solar at $1.50/watt or even $2.00/watt over 20 years, and the case would get even better if you included the rising electricity prices that are projected by basically everyone in the industry. (For non-residential electricity prices or prices for other states, check out the full EIA spreadsheet.)

Basically, when we could get to Australia’s or Europe’s solar price level, solar will blow up across the US even more so than is happening today.


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What are the best US solar prices we’ve seen?

We’ve seen 5.8¢ per kWh in New Mexico after federal and state solar incentives, and about 10.8¢ per kWh before those incentives. Across all sectors, New Mexico retail electricity was 8.8¢ per kWh in May. In the residential sector, it was was 11.2¢ per kWh; in the commercial sector, it was was 9.2¢ per kWh; and in the industrial sector, it was 6.1¢ per kWh.

We’ve seen 6.9¢ per kWh in Palo Alto, California, after federal solar incentives, and about 9.9¢ per kWh before those incentives. Or, in a slight variation on those numbers, John Farrell writes: “the city of Palo Alto is buying subsidized electricity at 7¢, with an unsubsidized cost of 12¢ per kWh. For most residential electricity customers, this is still better than their marginal electricity price, which is between 13¢ and 17¢ per kWh. So Palo Alto, with relatively high rates and abundant sunshine, has already reached ‘Unsubsidized Solar Parity’.” (Notably, Palo Alto has seriously streamlined the “putting solar panels on your roof” process, and the city government has committed to purchasing 100% renewable electricity.)

I’m sure there are many more stories like these. The costs for many projects aren’t often revealed publicly. Notably, however, those two examples above are for large solar power plants. Still, in Q1 of 2013, US residential solar system prices were seen for less than $3.00/W. That would be less than 14.8¢ per kWh in a Zone 2 region, beating the 20-year average price of residential electricity (with 3% inflation) in all Zone 2 states (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas would be 15.9¢ per kWh; Utah would be 15.7¢ per kWh; Nevada would be 16¢ per kWh; and California would be 16.6¢ per kWh).

And, to be honest, your solar panels should last well over 20 years, even well over 30 years, and after a 20-year payoff the electricity becomes essentially free.

Ah, EIA Projections…

So, just to give a sense for how behind the times, the EIA can be, it is projecting US solar will be 13¢ per kWh in 2018, even using 30-year solar system lifespans.

To reiterate, Palo Alto got a solar farm for a cost of 9.9¢–12¢ per kWh (before subsidies) through a 30-year PPA, and New Mexico got one for 10.8¢ per kWh (before subsidies) through a 25-year PPA … 5 years before 2018.

Be cautious whose solar price projections you use.


Can You Have Too Much Solar Energy? – Energy Realities – A Visual Guide to Global Energy Needs

Can You Have Too Much Solar Energy? – Energy Realities – A Visual Guide to Global Energy Needs.

  California Free Solar | Go Solar for Free

California Free Solar

June 8, 2013

solar farm


Edison solar quote












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 !



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.

Rule 21

Sacramento, California. From the roof of the p...

Sacramento, California. From the roof of the power plant, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, approxim . . . – NARA – 521750 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rule 21 Enhances Renewable Energy Distribution in California

By Marsha W. Johnston
September 21, 2012   |

New Hampshire, USA — The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week handed developers of mid-sized, wholesale renewable energy systems, primarily solar, an important revision to its interconnection procedures, known as Rule 21.

The unanimously approved revision, say stakeholder participants in the year-long process, establishes several new national best practices, and removes barriers to continued growth of the state’s renewable energy market.

The new Rule 21 is, in effect, a settlement between California’s three major investor-owned utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Company — and 11 other stakeholders, including the Clean Coalition and Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC).

“It is, by far and hands down, the best interconnection tariff in the country,” says IREC attorney Sky Stanfield of Keyes, Fox & Wiedman, who helped draft portions of the revised tariff language with her colleague Kevin Fox.  “We made it clearer in almost every way, adding timeframes and explanations of what’s happening. We came to fast track screens, made a more robust Supplemental Review, and it is the first tariff where utilities have accepted 100% minimum load as the standard for determining whether a full study is required.”

Under the previous Rule 21 procedures, Stanfield explains, the utilities made all renewable energy projects that represented 30 percent of the minimum load (or 15% of peak load) in their geographic area go through a full approval process.

Now, she says, projects with a 30% minimum/15% peak load can get Fast Track approval through a quick, initial review. “If they fail the 15 percent screen, they will go to Supplemental Review, which used to be totally unclear,” she continues.  “It didn’t explain what it would study or what it would cost. Previously, not a lot of projects could get through that process and there was no pressure on the utility to get projects through Supplemental Review.”

In the new Supplemental Review, projects that are below 100% of minimum load and pass two screens on safety and reliability can still get Fast Track approval, she said.  The adoption of the higher penetration screen is significant for solar projects because it is more relevant than the 15 percent of peak load screen.  “We were getting more and more systems in California, and many systems were failing the 15% screen, so we had to move the bar up,” she says.

Ted Ko, associate director of stakeholder Clean Coalition, says critically important issues of cost allocation and certainty remain to be resolved, but, acknowledges that it is the best revision possible in the given time frame. “We were pushing to get it done really fast. We did get more transparency, more definition, more timelines, and better clarification of the rules,” he said.  One of the most useful wins, he said, is the Pre-Application Report.  “Now you can get a report from the utility telling you how much it will cost to plug in to a location before you even apply. It cuts down on the number of non-viable apps the utilities have to deal with,” he said.

Rule 21’s interconnection procedures had become untenable following the passage of two landmark pieces of renewable energy legislation–California Senate Bill 32 on curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and Assembly Bill 1613 on connecting combined heat & power systems to the grid. “The driving reason we had to move forward was SB32, which expands the feed-in tariff program that requires expedited procedures, and no path was available under Rule 21, because they were wholesale systems,” says Stanfield.

Indeed, says Ko, those bills specifically targeted the market for wholesale distributed generation systems trying to connect to the grid and sell to the utilities.  “SB32 said that systems up to 3 MW, we have to get them into the grid quickly, not just leave them hanging,” he said. “There has been a spike in interconnections of this type in the last 3-4 years; it has jumped by factor of 10. SCE has hundreds of megawatts of solar waiting to connect.” See the chart below.

Saying it supports the CPUC’s decision, SCE said, “The Rule 21 Settlement will benefit renewable developers and increase the eligibility limit for Fast Track evaluation to 3 MW from 2 MW. The revised tariff should also improve the efficiency of the interconnection process by replacing the one-at-a-time study process with a group study process and by adding deadlines that apply to both generators and SCE.”


Rule 21

Electric Rule 21 is a tariff that describes the interconnection, operating and metering requirements for generation facilities to be connected to a utility’s distribution system, over which the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has jurisdiction.  The Rule 21 tariff for each of California’s large investor owned utilities (IOUs) is available on each IOU’s website. Note that the posted Rule 21 may not reflect updates to the tariff that may be pending before the CPUC:

The CPUC’s open interconnection proceeding is R.11-09-011.  For information or to discuss a matter related to distribution system interconnection, contact Rachel Peterson, Energy Division, or (415) 703-2872.

Recent Events

September 25, 2012:  Assigned Commission Phase II Scoping Memo Issued

Assigned Commissioner Michel P. Florio issued a Phase II Scoping Memo in R,11-09-011, setting out the high-priority issues to achieve the Commission’s goal of ensuring a timely, non-discriminatory, cost-effective, and transparent process for interconnection to the utility distribution system.

September 13, 2012:  Rule 21 Settlement Approved

In Decision 12-09-018 the Commission approved the full set of reforms to Rule 21 proposed via a multi-party settlement.  The Commission anticipates that the significant reforms achieved in Rule 21 will advance the Commission’s goals of ensuring a timely, non-discriminatory, cost-effective, and transparent interconnection process for distributed generation in California.


March 16, 2012:  Rule 21 Settlement filed

On March 16, 2012, fourteen parties to the Distribtuion System Interconnection Settlement Process filed a settlement in CPUC Rulemaking (R.)11-09-011.

The settling parties are:  Aloha Systems, California Farm Bureau Federation, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, Clean Coalition, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Pacifc Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Sierra Club, solar Energy Industries Association, Southern California Edison, SunEdison, Sunlight Partners, Sustainable Conservation, and Vote Solar Initiative.

The centerpiece of the settlement is significantly reformed CPUC-jursidictional Rule 21 interconnection tariff.  Upon launching the settlement process for Rule 21 in August 2011, the CPUC’s goal was to craft transparent rules that provide a clear, predictable path to interconnection for distributed generation while maintaining the safety and reliability of the electric grid.

See here for the full Motion for Approval of Settlement Agreement Revising Distribution Level Interconnection Rules and Regulations.

September 22, 2011: CPUC approves Distribution Interconnection Proceeding

The CPUC approved an OIR (R.11-09-011) to “review the rules and regulations governing interconnecting generation and storage resources to the electric distribution systems of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E).”  The OIR is the procedural forum for the Distribution System Interconnection Settlement Process.

August 23, 2011: Distribution System Interconnection Settlement Process

The CPUC launched a multi-party Distribution System Interconnection Settlement Process intended to reach a global settlement on issues regarding distributed generation interconnection to the investor-owned utility distribution system in California.  The Settlement Process is subject to confidentiality rules, pursuant to CPUC Rule 12, and FERC Rule 602.

Rule 21 Working Group

The Rule 21 Working Group has served since 2000 as the source of ideas for maintaining and updating technical and other standards within the Rule 21 tariff.  The Rule 21 Working Group is not meeting in its usual format while the Distribution System Interconnection Settlement Process is underway. Future public meetings of the Rule 21 Working Group will be noticed in the Commission’s Daily Calendar.

August 2011 Working Group Workshops

  • August 19, 2011, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., CPUC Auditorium: Rule 21 Working Group Workshop.  Off-site participation: This workshop will be available via video webcast in real-time and archived.  Presentation available here.
  •  August 19, 2011, 1:00-4:00 p.m., CPUC Courtyard Room: Rule 21 Working Group Technical Subcommittee Meeting.  Offsite participation will be available by phone.   Phone-in information will be sent only to participants who have completed an rsvp form at the link below.  Presentation available here.
  • August 23, 2011, 1:00-4:00 p.m., CPUC Courtyard Room: Rule 21 Working Group Business Practices Subcommittee Meeting.  Offsite participation will be available by phone.   Phone-in information will be sent only to participants who have completed an rsvp form at the link below.  Presentation available here.

Download the full agenda for the above meetings

April 2011 Working Group Workshops

CPUC held a Rule 21 Working Group Workshop Friday, April 29, 2011 at the CPUC Auditorium.

Download a printable agenda here

Workshop presentation materials:

About the Rule 21 Working Group

The intent of the Rule 21 Working Group is to build consensus among the CPUC, IOUs, generators, and advocates for Rule 21 reforms to meet the technical needs and policy goals of interconnecting distributed generation.  The Rule 21 Working Group succeeded at this goal in its past work, making California’s Rule 21 a national model tariff establishing metering and operating standards for interconnecting distributed generation resources.  Following three years of extensive change in the statutory, technological, and generator context, however, Rule 21 is widely agreed to be in need of reconsideration.

The purpose of this kickoff meeting is to initiate discussion of the issues emerging under Rule 21 that may be hindering the achievement of California’s distributed generation goals.  Below are examples of such issues that CPUC has identified:

  • Need for transparency in terms of processing, queue information, and customer application information;
  • Need for review and potential reconsideration of technical screens within Rule 21 to ensure that the appropriate issues are being studied;
  • Need for articulation of cost allocation methodology where network upgrades are required;
  • Need for review of utility tariff consistency with each other and with state law;
  • Need for additional standard interconnection agreements to accommodate the different types of distributed generation projects anticipated to come online.

June 20 2008: Workshop on Rule 21

On June 20, 2008, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) held a workshop on the topic of the Rule 21 interconnection standard.  The primary focus of the workshop was to discuss the transition of Rule 21 oversight from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to the CPUC.

More Information

A more detailed history of the Rule 21 Working Group is available on the CEC website. For more information about past Rule 21 Working Group activities visit

Last Modified: 10/3/2012


Solar Without Subsidies

Market Update 2012: Installations Grow to 38.3 GW in 2017 as the Market Goes Global
April 5th, 2012
Lux Research
Print This Post 
After recent explosive growth capped by a 66 per cent surge to 26.5 GW in 2011, solar installations will grind to a near halt this year — adding a mere 0.4 GW, totaling 26.9 GW of new installations — while industry revenues drop from $110 billion in 2011 to $92 billion in 2012 due to crashing prices. However, new installations rebound to 38.3 GW in 2017 as the industry learns to navigate a global market fast losing its subsidies, according to a Lux Research report.A supply glut, caused mainly by Chinese manufacturers, speculation of incentive cuts in Europe and the end of the 1603 Cash Grant in the US, fueled the sharp growth in installations last year.Lux Research analysts ran a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) analysis in 156 separate geographies, accounting for 82 per cent of the world’s population, calculating internal rates of return, to determine the viability and competitiveness of solar in each market. That model and methodology is part of the Lux Research Solar Demand Forecaster. Among their conclusions:
  • Emerging markets more than quadruple in size. Emerging markets will be both a battleground for suppliers and a source of great strength with South Asia accounting for the majority of growth, rising from 1 GW in 2011 to 4.5 GW in 2017. However, ASEAN, Africa and South America take the reins from 2017 to 2022, hurtling toward gigawatt status.
  • Utility-scale application segment grows. In large emerging markets like China, utility-scale solar will gain as conditions favor fewer, larger-scale projects that allow more control over financing and regulatory factors. This segment will grow from 6.3 GW globally in 2011 to 13.8 GW in 2017.
  • Oversupply still a possibility. Even the boom of 2011 was not sufficient to utilize all of the world’s module capacity, which reached 50 GW and pushed prices down to $1/W. With China’s 12th Five-Year plan calling for major expansions in solar capacity, global markets will still see strong downward price pressure.
  • Securitization boosts smaller installations. Asset-backed securities are spurring growth of the small-scale segment in the U.S. residential and commercial markets. Securitization and “renewable bonds,” which have been tested in the past by SunPower (in Italy), and Wells Fargo (in New Jersey), are likely to see widespread growth in 2012 or 2013. Expect major commercial banks like Citigroup to lead this effort.

The report, titled “Market Size Update 2012: The Push to a Post-Subsidy Solar Industry,” is part of the Lux Research Solar Systems and the Lux Research Solar Components Intelligence services.About Lux ResearchLux Research provides strategic advice and on-going intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. Visit for more information.


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