Archive for March, 2010
Solar systems stand up to Long Island storm
Last Saturday, March 14, Long Island was slammed by a massive coastal storm that recorded wind speeds over 70 mph. More than 260,000 LIPA customers lost power for various amounts of time. Naturally, we wanted to make sure all of our solar installations were doing fine after the bad weather. We monitored all of our clients’ systems remotely and could tell that everything was in order. To be sure, we sent out an email asking that clients do a visual inspection of their systems. In the end, all of our installations withstood the storm. One of our clients in Belle Harbor sent us the picture above – you can see that the shingles are coming off the roof but the solar system is still in place! Read what some of our clients told us about how their systems fared:
Raises for the guys that put on my system. We and our neighbors were super impressed that nothing flew off. – Neil and Jen F., Long Beach
All is fine, generating kWhs Sunday, pleasantly surprised no uplifting of the panels, with such high winds. Kudos, great installation and great product! – Peggy P., Massapequa
We’re glad to hear our clients are happy and that our systems can handle extreme storms!
NYSES Solar Financing
Last Wednesday, the New York Solar Energy Society (NYSES) hosted an educational solar financing event. The speakers included Stanley Fishbein (tax attorney and President of CapQuest Group), Rémy Trotabas (President of The Real Thing), and Richard Schoen (FTL Solar) each presenting on a different topic: equipment leasing, power purchase agreements, and feed-in tariffs, respectively. Each presenter did a great job on hitting the key issues related to their topic. The best part of the event may have been the duel (of words, unfortunately) between Fishbein and Trotabas, vehemently arguing over which is superior: equipment leasing or PPAs. Both had some good jabs, but I think it’s safe to say it was a tie.
Here’s a breakdown of the issues (click the chart for a larger image):
More good news from Fishbein: he says the 50% bonus depreciation for solar equipment should be back soon!
And a special thanks to Ameriprise Financial for kindly hosting the event.
56,000 Leafs Pre-ordered and Renewable Energy
At the Geneva Auto Show, the CEO and President of Renault-Nissan Carlos Ghosn said that there have already been 56,000 orders for the Leaf in the United States, according to Business Week. Ghosn went on to claim that the Leaf will be the only market-ready vehicle in 2011 and would have very little competition. The people working on the Volt may disagree, but it is true that Nissan is making aggressive moves including being part of the largest EV infrastructure project in the U.S.
Ghosn’s statement is most important because it demonstrates the level of interest in the U.S. in moving away from the use of petroleum. If 56,000 people have already pre-ordered a Leaf, many more are interested and many, many more may consider purchasing an EV in a few years. This represents a paradigm shift which will be beneficial for the economy, security, and public health of our country.
EVs present an opportunity for more of our transportation energy to be produced domestically. This means more secure lines of energy since we won’t be as reliant on oil imports. (For a great visual, check out the Rocky Mountain Institute’s oil imports map tool.) Bringing renewables like solar and wind into this equation means more jobs as thousands of new systems are installed. Renewables will also help to stabilize energy prices – since they provide predictable flows of energy, they will counteract the volatility of energy prices like that of oil. Read more…
Peak Load Limitation Lifted with New Legislation in NYS
On February 22, Gov. Patterson signed legislation which would improve net metering in New York State by eliminating peak load restrictions. Under the old regulations, commercial entities could not install renewable energy systems that exceeded their metered peak demand in the previous 12 months.
Peak demand is the highest amount of power a building draws over the course of a year. Most buildings in New York experience their peak demand in the middle of the summer, during the middle of a hot day. At this time, they have on their AC units plus all their other usual equipment – resulting in large power requirements. Power required is not the same as energy consumed. A measure of power is instantaneous (kilowatts, kW), while energy measures power used in a specific time period (kilowatt-hours, kWh).
It is possible in New York for a commercial building to have a peak demand of 100 kW (probably occurring in July or August) and an annual energy consumed of 300,000 kWh. The old net metering restrictions would limit this business to install a solar system of 100 kW. Based on the solar conditions of their location, their 100 kW system may produce around 120,000 kWh annually (1200 kWh per kW installed per year). 120,000 kWh is less than half of the energy that they consume each year.
Passing this legislation which lifts the peak demand cap is a big step forward for New York State. Businesses have thus far been unable to install solar systems designed to meet their energy needs. Larger entities will be able to take full advantage of the solar resource falling on their roofs by installing larger solar systems.
Now we await interpretation of the legislation by the Public Service Commission to learn how it will be instituted.
NY Solar gets boost with ARRA funding
On Monday, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the awardees of an ARRA funding opportunity (RFP 1613) for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean fleet projects. These projects will help to make New York a leader in clean technology, foster the development of new jobs, and improve the environmental quality of NY communities. The funding will help to launch the installation of commercial size solar installations throughout the state. Numerous fantastic projects will be completed as a result of this funding. On Long Island and in New York City alone, more than $3 million was awarded to install nearly ½ MW of solar.
For this opportunity, applicants were limited to municipal governments, public K-12 schools, public universities or colleges, public or private hospitals, and 501(c)(3) non-profits. Recipients submitted for the funding in November 2009 by completing applications that included cost-benefit and environmental impact analyses of their proposed projects. Funding was allocated to 7 different regions within the State, so applicants only competed against those within their regions.
Funding was exhausted for most regions, but $6.8 million remains for NYC and $1.6 million remains for Western New York. Applications for this remaining funding are due April 7, 2010.
Congratulations to all the awardees!