Why is Solar Power Becoming Cheaper Throughout the World?

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A pair of decades ago, solar photovoltaic panels, commonly known as PV panels, were an experimental technology, with extremely high costs and hardly any business potential. But now, on the other hand, we’re getting to see solar power plants reaching energy costs under 6 cents per kilowatt-hour, in many cases before accounting for subsidies and incentives. There are many reasons that have contributed to turning photovoltaic technology into a competitive energy source.

The Technology Itself Got Cheaper – Solar modules now cost less than a dollar per watt of capacity. Of course, a functioning solar power plant costs more than that because complementary equipment is needed, and on top of that it is necessary to cover the construction cost and the financing cost. However, photovoltaic modules themselves are now cheaper than ever before.

Funding Sources Now Trust Solar Power – Banks can be very picky when it comes to funding. For example, you can’t expect to get a low interest loan if you haven’t established a credit record. The same can be said of businesses: banks and investors will offer the best terms if they trust the business. When solar power hadn’t proven its capacity to yield profits, nobody was going to lend low-interest capital to developers betting on the technology. Therefore, the higher interest had to be diluted into the cost of energy. Now that solar power is an established industry, capital for it is more abundant and interest rates have dropped.

Economies of Scale Have Made Projects Cheaper – A solar farm with multiple megawatts of capacity is much more expensive than your average residential PV system. However, the cost of one kilowatt is considerably lower for solar farms. While the price of solar modules doesn’t change that much, there are other system components that become much cheaper to install at larger scales, such as inverters and racking. Solar power is becoming more affordable for the simple reason that solar farms are getting larger.

Article is posted by XsunX – Commercial and Residential Solar Solution.

The Four Ingredients for Solar Power to Be Successful

Ever asked yourself why solar power is a thriving business in some locations, but is barely used in others? In principle, solar power is simple: photovoltaic panels are installed and wired, their DC output is converted to AC, and now they can synchronize with the power grid to provide energy. However, external factors may prevent a technology that works perfectly from being financially attractive. With solar power, four key ingredients must be in place.

Ingredients for Solar Power to Be Successful

1) An Abundant Solar Resource – If a project location does not get enough sunlight, you can install the most efficient solar panels in the market but will not make much energy from them. Any obstacle that blocks off sunlight diminishes the output of a solar array, and some examples are:

  • Hills or mountains
  • Trees
  • Buildings
  • Unipole billboards

The list goes on, but the basic rule is that anything capable of casting a shadow on top of a solar array is counterproductive. Geographic location can also have a negative impact on solar power. Days become shorter during the winter as you move far to the north or south, diminishing the energy output of a solar array. Solar energy production may become very low during the shortest days of the winter, precisely when the most energy is required for heating.

2) Affordable Technology – Residential PV systems are now priced at around three dollars per watt, while utility-scale projects are approaching one dollar per watt. For comparison, a solar PV system used to cost more than $10/watt in the year 2000. The gradual reduction in technology costs has been a key factor driving the solar industry. However, there may also be artificial factors influencing the installed cost of solar power:

  • An installed solar array will be more expensive in countries with higher wages.
  • Taxes can make or break a solar power project; high taxes may make the project unfeasible, while tax exemptions and credits may drastically reduce its payback period and make it more attractive.
  • Utilities trying to meet renewable energy targets may offer rebates, further reducing the cost of an installed and functioning solar photovoltaic system.

Sometimes, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) is a more useful metric than the upfront cost of solar power, since it provides a direct way to compare it against local utility rates. Assume a solar PV system offers an energy cost of $0.12/kWh: it saves money if local electric rates exceed that value, but offers no economic benefit if the rates are lower.

3) Low-Cost Capital – A residential PV system is a sizable investment, not to mention a utility-scale solar farm. For example, even if the $1/watt mark is reached, a 100MW solar farm will cost 100 million dollars, and few project developers will be willing to pay that kind of cash up front. Therefore, it is common for solar PV systems to be installed with loans, but the interest on a loan can determine whether the project is lucrative or not. Assume a solar PV system has a rate of return of 10 percent: any loan with an interest rate below that value is attractive for financing the project, but any loan above that rate actually means the developer loses money. Corporations have access to very favorable loan terms, and individuals with a great credit record may also apply. However, a solar PV system is not something you can buy with your credit card! The cost of capital does not affect the installed cost of a solar PV system, but it influences the LCOE: higher interest rates translate into a higher LCOE and less likelihood that the solar PV system in question will be able to compete with electric utility rates.

4) Favorable Regulations – For the solar industry, governments can be the best ally or the worst enemy.

  • Solar power can thrive in a country with a strong renewable energy portfolio, an electric sector that is open to private investment, and with tax incentives for renewable energy.
  • On the other hand, the industry is doomed to fail in a country where the electric sector is operated exclusively by the government and homes are not allowed to have net metering for solar power.

Argentina and Mexico are two clear examples of this, both countries recently opened up their electric sector to private investments, and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power have grown considerably in just a few months.

You can visualize the solar industry as a four-legged table. If any of the legs are cut, solar power ceases to be a solid investment. However, solar power is a lucrative business when there is an abundant solar resource, affordable technology, low-interest loans and favorable regulations.

How Combining Solar Power and Cooling Saves Energy ?

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Solar photo voltaic power has already proven it can be a cost-effective source of energy, and many of the largest and best performing utility-scale solar farms have achieved grid parity with established fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. In addition, solar power depends on a free input in order to produce a supply of electricity, and operates with zero emissions.

Concentrating solar power, or CSP, is an alternative technology to photovoltaic panels that can even integrate with the same turbines and generators used by fossil fuels for electric power generation. Despite its economic and financial benefits, however, solar power still has one key challenge to overcome: being able to provide energy on demand. For example, the only way to use energy produced by a solar power technology during nighttime is generating it during the day and storing it for later use.

Generation is no longer a problem, since some of the largest solar farms are reaching installed costs as low as $1,300 per kilowatt. On the other hand, storage is still a tricky topic: affordable lead-acid batteries have a short service life and are high-maintenance, while emerging technologies such as lithium-ion and vanadium-redox batteries offer superior performance but at much higher prices.

The area where fossil fuels still beat solar power hands down is in their ability to provide energy exactly when it is required. However, nobody said that you are forced to store the energy from solar power in batteries. Remember that energy can also be stored as temperature difference. This means that if you heat or cool a substance and then place it inside an insulated container, you have cost-effective energy storage. When you think about it, electric power is almost always converted to another form by electrical devices: lamps turn it into light, air conditioners use it to lower room temperature, fans turn it into air motion, and electric motors turn it into torque.

Solar power proves to be a very flexible technology, capable of integrating with various types of electrical devices, including refrigeration equipment. You can also get the benefits of solar power for your home, achieving a solid return on investment and long-term savings. Just have a chat with our experts to learn more about the technology and also to get in touch with the top solar contractors near you.

Importance of Favorable Regulation for Solar Power

Solar power becomes a very attractive investment when sunlight is available in generous amounts, since one obtains more energy and savings for a given PV system capacity. The southwest of the USA has excellent natural conditions for solar power, particularly in states like Arizona, Nevada, California and New Mexico. Some locations in these states receive more than six peak sun hours per day, which greatly increases the energy output a photovoltaic system while reducing its payback period. However, even with excellent site conditions and affordable solar panels, the local regulatory framework has a considerable impact on the financial attractiveness of solar power. The case of California and Nevada is a clear example of this; both states have plenty of sunshine throughout the year, but very different regulatory approaches to solar power:

  • In Nevada, the government has sided with electric utility companies and is creating less favorable conditions for solar power: On January 1, the fixed monthly fee for solar power customers was raised by 40 percent, while also lowering the payments received for exporting the surplus production of solar PV systems to the grid.
  • California, on the other hand, has plenty of government incentives for solar power, including generous rebates. The state also has a thriving entrepreneurial community, and thanks to these factors the installed solar power capacity in California is currently half of the total national capacity!

In addition, these changes are retroactive(!), which means customers using solar power can expect large bills this month… just for being users of photovoltaic technology. The new regulations were pushed forth mostly by NV Energy Inc, the owner of Nevada’s two largest electric utilities.

Trends Shaping the Future of Solar Power

Solar photovoltaic systems have already proven their financial viability, and their costs are rapidly declining. In utility-scale projects, for example, installed costs are about to drop below the $1000/kilowatt mark. Also, there are now plenty of solar farms in the world producing energy at prices below 5 cents/kWh, and an 800-MW project in Dubai just broke the price record for solar power at 2.99 cents/kWh. Cost is no longer an issue for photovoltaic solar systems, which means the future of the industry will be defined by other factors. According to industry experts, the trends that could have the most significant impact are the following:

  • Regulatory changes by governments and utility companies
  • Evolution of energy storage methods

The Role of Regulation – The regulatory framework for solar power is a wild card, which can have either positive or negative effects on the industry:

  • New York and New Jersey are two examples of how favorable regulations can boost the solar industry. Although sunshine is modest in both states, they’re currently among the top markets for solar power in the USA.
  • Nevada is an opposite example: In spite of the generous amounts of sunlight available, local regulations have slowed down a once thriving solar industry. Local utilities have placed hefty charges on customers who use PV systems, and compensation for energy exported to the grid has been drastically reduced.

How regulation changes in the future will play a significant role on the evolution of the solar industry. Favorable regulations can result in a smarter and more integrated power grid, while unfavorable regulations can result in more customers preferring off-grid photovoltaic systems.

Energy Storage – Solar power is already competing against established fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas in terms of price, but providing a 24/7 energy supply has proven to be a challenge. Considering that solar PV systems are only productive during daytime, energy storage is mandatory to achieve a 24/7 supply. Storage can be based on a few large-scale facilities or distributed among thousands of small-scale systems deployed by individual energy consumers. Of course, a combination of both approaches is also possible. The evolution of energy storage is strongly related to how regulations change in the near future:

  • Unfavorable regulations for small- scale PV systems will drive the construction of large-scale storage facilities, operated by utility companies themselves or by private investors. If small-scale energy storage becomes affordable enough, homeowners might consider going completely off the grid to avoid the extra charges on PV systems.
  • Favorable regulations for small- scale systems will incentive more home and business owners to deploy local energy storage, and all of these systems would be able to operate in a coordinated fashion with the use of automation (Internet of Things).

If distributed energy storage becomes mainstream, information technologies are expected to play a very important role. Control and automation will be required for tasks such as:

  • Allowing a storage system to determine the optimal times for storing and supplying energy.
  • Aggregating multiple systems to absorb surplus production from intermittent energy sources (wind and solar farms).

These new regulations have placed considerable pressure on the main players of the solar power industry in Nevada. For example, SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc. were both forced to cut down their staff by hundreds of employees. Governments throughout the world must realize that solar power is a booming industry which can create considerable economic growth and hundreds of jobs. When limitations are placed on the solar power industry to protect older business models, such as those of traditional electric utilities, the resulting damage far outweighs any benefit.

Of course, there has been backlash from solar power companies in Nevada. A group of 18 venture capital investors is pressuring the state governor to void the recent regulatory changes, and rallies to protest against the new fees are being organized in Las Vegas and Carson City. Regulations like those recently approved in Nevada cause great damage to innovation, but the greatest impact is suffered by homeowners who have invested in solar photovoltaic systems. They have to face reduced payments for the surplus energy they sell to the grid, while also being charged a retroactive fee. It is unfair to punish homeowners for using a technology which brings both environmental and economic benefits. The case of California and Nevada clearly demonstrates the importance of favorable laws and regulations for the solar power industry.

If you plan to install a photovoltaic system, make sure the make the most out of any benefits available in your location! You can have a talk and a discussion with our solar experts for guidance on this topic, or for any questions or inquiries you might have.

 

10 Reasons to Go Solar

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One thing is clear now, global warming is a very real aspect of our lives. The latest report from the IPCC confirms that average global temperatures have risen 0.85 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. That may not sound like a lot, but even the smallest rise in average temperatures across the globe causes significant changes to our planet’s climate, such as rising water levels and devastating weather events. If we want to leave the planet in a fit state for future generations, then we need to clean up our act, environmentally-speaking, but even if you are not overly concerned about environmental matters, there are plenty of reasons why you should go solar. Going solar has amazing benefits for your home, your family, and the world at large. Here are ten of the best reasons to go solar!

  1. Say Goodbye to Crazy Electric Bills

By going solar, you can greatly reduce or even totally eliminate your monthly electric bill.

  1. Increase Your Property Value

Solar panels can more than pay for themselves by increasing the value of your home. Solar panels will make your home more attractive to savvy home buyers.

  1. Help Create Jobs

By going solar, you are helping contribute to solar industry job creation.

  1. It’s Better for the Environment

Unlike conventional electricity, solar energy does not pollute. Lower your carbon footprint and gain peace of mind from knowing you’re doing the right thing for the earth.

  1. Tax Incentives

In order to encourage more consumers to go solar, the federal government offers great tax incentives. By having a solar system installed, you could be eligible for a 30% tax credit.

  1. Help the U.S. Become Energy Independent

Solar energy helps the country become less dependent on foreign oil.

  1. Protect Your Roof

Solar panels can help protect your roof from harsh weather, saving you money in roof repairs and helping your roof to last longer.

  1. Escape Rising Energy Bills

It seems that electric bills are always going up, sometimes in an unpredictably dramatic fashion. Your solar system comes with stable, manageable payment plans- no surprises here!

  1. Solar is Dependable and Reliable

Modern solar technology provides customers with consistent, dependable, and reliable energy.

  1. Be a Trendsetter!

In a few years, solar will be everywhere. Right now the leaders and early adopters are crucial in setting a good example to show their friends and neighbors the way.

Article is posted by XsunX -Commercial and Residential Solar Solution.

Can I Earn Money With Solar Panels?

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If you want to stockpile your money on the power supply bills, you can put into service for the solar panels. Once upon a time, solar panels were regarded as too exorbitant and incompetent. Now a days, solar energy is growing more feasible option for the consumers as well as businesses alike. When the price of fossil fuels becomes high, the energy resources are typically more in demand alternatively.But still there are many ways to earn profit from solar energy – both when oil prices are low, as they are now, as well as when the prices of oil rises in the future.

By redeveloping light energy from the sun into electricity, over there the solar energy works very typically. By using flat solar panels that can be glued to a structure’s roof or arrayed across open spaces,thus with the help of this procedure, photovoltaic (PV) energy is being engendered. A series of mirrors that is being used to focus on the sun’s energy to a single point, turning water into steam which then turns a turbine, is another kind of method, which is known as thermal solar. Photovoltaic solar panels are much more common than other types of solar panels, for both consumer and business applications respectively.

Most of the state governments offer some kinds of tax subsidy or accords to uplifts more widespread solar panel usage, and as a result, the endmost cost after installation may take the edge off from the sticker price. On top of that, tax credits that has been given for the solar power, could help for reducing annual tax bills. Although, the best way to earn profit from having solar panels installed on your roof is through net metering.

Utility customers who generate their own solar electricity to feed some of the energy that they don’t use back to the grid has been allowed by net metering.This billing method credits solar customers against their electricity consumption by lowering their monthly bills. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a typical residential 4 kilowatt PV system would reduce a homeowner’s utility bills by approximately $400 a year. Net metering laws have been passed by the most of the states, but the differences between state legislation and implementation means that the advantages of net metering can be dissimilar  for solar customers in non-identical parts of the country.

Depending upon the region, the system may be too expensive to earn a positive return on investment even after incentives. Profiting by producing solar energy may become more commonplace, if the price of the solar panels as well as Solar Panel Installation continues to drop.

The Differences Between Residential and Commercial Solar Power Systems

 

Currently, it is not only the individuals who are increasingly likely to embrace solar energy but more and more commercial enterprises are making the leap to power their buildings with electricity created by the free and evergreen energy received from the sun. Not only does making this switch save a lot of money, but such companies also hope that they will be viewed more favorably if they are seen to be displaying a commitment to more environmentally-friendly energy sources. Now the question that arises is, what’s the difference between residential and commercial solar power systems?

The most obvious answer is the scope of these solar power systems. While a home has only a small number of people using electricity, the amount of people at a commercial premises can easily number into the hundreds. Residential solar panels are usually smaller, and generate less power than the commercial ones. This is because the roof space of residential buildings is less than the roof space of commercial buildings, so while a residential solar energy panel typically has 72 cells, a commercial solar panel will be about twelve inches wider, and have 96 cells.

Solar energy is a black and white issue: Commercial solar panels are also like the Model T Ford – you can have any color you like, as long as it’s white. While most residential homes who go for solar are happy to accept white panels, if you do not want your panels to be so apparent, go for the black ones instead.

As commercial panels are likely to generate more power, they are usually more expensive per panel, although the actual price for solar energy is calculated by the power that they produce, and not the size or efficiency of the panel. Therefore, a 4kW system for a residential system will cost exactly the same as a 4kW system for a commercial system. Because commercial panels are larger than residential ones, they are more efficient at producing electricity. Commercial panels have an efficiency of just under 20 percent, making them two percent more efficient than residential panels.

A non-stalling installation: In the case of both residential panels and commercial panels, they are installed using a bolted racking system, but as the roof of a commercial building is more more likely to be flat than the roof of a residence, a mounting system using non-penetrating ballast can be used, making installation easier. This makes a commercial Solar system installation easier than a residential one, although because many commercial installations can involve upwards of one hundred panels, as opposed to between eight and sixteen panels for a residential system, a full installation at a commercial premises can take longer than a week, or even as long as a month.

It’s worth noting that if you are a residential customer who has decided to install a solar panel system, there is nothing to stop you from installing commercial-standard solar panels, especially if you have plenty of roof space, and you are not too bothered about how your panels will look on your roof. These are just some of the slight but important differences between a commercial and residential solar energy system installation. There is one thing that both types of system will have in common though – they allow the owners of the system to save money by using the free energy supplied by the sun, and they will both help to prevent global warming from becoming any worse.

Article is posted by XsunX -Commercial and Residential Solar Solution.

 

What does a full service Solar System Provider do for you?

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Solar panel installations had begun almost over 40 years ago, and many systems that had been used in the old times and now are decades old are still in operation today although they were built with far less sophistication than the today’s products. The solar panel system technologies offered in present today are eminently authentic and reliable. The panels now being used have been designed to produce about 85% of their inceptive power over the first 25 years. Having a solar energy system installed at your residence isn’t just a mere question of inculating a few panels to the roof. There is a lot more to consider, and dealing with all the predicaments if you want greener and cheaper energy that seem quite a little daunting. If you are wanting to save yourself from the hassles that come up when you want to install solar power at your residence, then you need to make sure that the company you select  to provide you with your system is a full-service solar provider. XsunX’s Residential Solar Solutions keep your cool packages come with a 25 year solar panel and inverter warranty. Adding to that, XsunX provides a warranty of at least 10 years on the materials and workmanship.

Many solar services providing companies show that they remain with you all the way from solar panel energy installation to beyond more. Once you have selected the company who would provide you with right services, they will arrive at your home, and discuss with you about the solar panel installation at your residence. They would draw up the blueprints of your residence, and in particular all of those areas of your home that will be affected by the installations of the solar panels. They will then design a custom installation for you, and further wait for your full approval. Xsunx is a full-service solar provider who are fully experienced with an installation team of certified employees. The team will project-manage the whole installation for you, and make sure you have are satisfied with their services. You can also ring back if you identify an issue that you feel needs attending to furthermore.

Going solar means taking advantage of all the three incentives – local, state and federal, that remain on offer to people who wish to encapsulate the greener methods of energy supply. Unfortunately, there are numerous on offers that it becomes difficult to find the right that are all available, and to work out for those that are the most serviceable and beneficial to go for. Xsunx will negotiate this potential minefield for you, and our team of experts will make sure you get the best deals that will make your decision easy to take. They will take your responsibility in their hands for your own energy needs. Once the installation gets complete, we won’t just shake hands with you and leave you with the panels and other devices installed. We would keep monitoring your residential solar panel system to keep a check on your solar power installation that its performance remains the way it had been expected. Our experts will keep informing you of its performance, and keep on advising you on what you can do to take care of the panels installed. It would be as simple as having the panels cleaned, or replacing any panels that have proven to be faulty.

Now, if you think about whether these installations would cost you over your financial budgets that remember that your solar company should be able to provide you with the finance for you, to cover the cost of the installation. The deals offered by your chosen supplier are usually much better than if you were to acquire your financial via a bank loan, for example. Although we, Xsunx, are not in business with Wall Street Bankers so we’ve selected lender options that would put you in the driver’s seat and not the Wall Street Bankers. Programs we offer through our lenders do not include costly dealer fees that can increase the cost of your system by as much as 15%, and remember that we won’t sell you a lease because when you lease a residential solar system you lose money! Yes, if you lease or enter into a PPA Wall Street typically increases the cost of your solar by about 2.99% or more per year, and a lease usually only provides about 20% in monthly savings. It’s a great deal for Wall Street. By installing the XsunX Keep Your Cool 25 package capable of eliminating about $225 per month in utility costs because lease payments go up every year by the end of about year seven your lease payment will actually be larger than a typical fixed solar loan payment. Typically, if you can qualify for a solar lease then one of the solar loan programs offered through our lender network is available to you. So don’t let Wall Street bankers put what should be your savings in their pockets.

Check how financing solar is a great way to invest in yourself:

  • Your investment generates a return in the form of valuable electricity
  • The value of that electricity increases over time making your solar system an appreciating asset
  • And, with our zero down, no hassle finance programs you own all of the savings and benefits without having to invest thousands upfront.

Our Programs Include: Low Interest Conventional Loans up to 15 years

  • No Money Down
  • You keep the Federal 30% tax credit
  • Fixed monthly payments – no surprises like you get with a lease
  • Terms from 2 to 15 years
  • No prepayment penalties

HERO Loans – Home Energy Renovation loans – HERO loans allow homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements through a tax assessment on the property.  The loans are fixed-rate, low-interest loans issued to qualifying homeowners who are current on their mortgages and property taxes. HERO loans are a great option offering benefits that include:

Not Based on Credit Score – Approvals for the HERO Program are primarily based on the equity in your home.

No Money Down – HERO finances 100% of your project cost, with fixed rates and flexible terms of 5-20 years.

Tax Benefits – You get to keep the Federal 30% tax credit, and the interest portions of your payments may be tax deductible.

Property Tax Assessment – HERO payments are made through a line item on your property tax bill so you make payments the same time you pay your property tax once or twice per year.

Transferability – If you sell, the remaining balance may be able to transfer to the new owner.

Installing a solar system may seem simple on the surface, but once you look deeper into it you’ll find that there’s more to it than you might have expected. If this turns out to be the case, then there’s no need to become disheartened – simply choose our services and our experts will take on virtually all of the hassle of installing a solar panel energy system for you.