Archive for April 25, 2012

LightWave Solar Completes Tennessee Project

LightWave Solar has completed the installation of a 1 MW PV project at Agricenter International in Memphis, Tenn. Silicon Ranch, which provided the funding for the project, owns and maintains the system.
Covering five acres, the array incorporates 4,160 Sharp 240 W solar panels that were locally manufactured in Memphis. The panels are mounted on Array Technologies’ DuraTrack single-axis tracking platform. Other components include a PV Powered MV1040 kW inverter and a SPX Arguson Solar Power Monitoring system.
According to LightWave Solar, the system will produce more than 1.6 GWh annually.


Will Solar Projects Need Tax Equity in the Future?

If you have a business and are contemplating installing solar panels on your business, then do it soon. Major tax abatement laws will be changing that will dampen your desires to invest in solar for future years. You may want to communicate your opinions to your Congressperson or Senator (Stephen Levy)

You may know that the investment tax credit (ITC) declines from 30 percent to 10 percent of eligible capital costs in 2017. In addition, at the end of 2012, the current 50 percent “bonus” depreciation expires, further alleviating the need for tax equity. While those circumstances lessen the need for tax equity, they likely don’t eliminate it.

So, how much tax equity will be needed after the tax benefits shift? The analysis in Table 1 attempts to answer that question by calculating the value of tax benefits under the current and future incentive structures for a $100 solar project. The value of the tax benefits is about $52 under the current incentive levels, or 52 percent of the initial project costs. In 2017, after the ITC and depreciation benefits revert to their former levels, the value of the tax benefits drop to $35, or 35 percent of the initial project costs.


Senate Farm Bill Zeros Mandatory Funding for REAP

As the Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill gets further digested by groups – it is a 900-page document – reaction continues. And not all of it is positive.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center has issued a call for farmers and interested folks to contact their lawmakers to to take action. They point out that the Senate version of the bill contains zero mandatory funding for the Farm Bill Energy Title, which includes such programs as the Rural Energy for American Program and other programs aimed at promoting domestic energy.


EPRI Knoxville Testing Communication Protocols for the Smart Grid

The following article was originally published Solar Novus Today website: and is important to the advancement of the integration of new energy sources to the future electrical power system under development (Stephen Levy)

: Four Advanced Energy 260kW’s inverters were installed at this 1 MW ground mount PV Project in Knoxville, Tennessee. Photo courtesy Advanced Energy Industries

The term “smart grid” means many things to many people, but for solar and utility engineers, the effort around perfecting solar smart grid tools has focused on refining the grid-capable properties of inverters and storage components. Communications protocols are being drafted and harmonized, and component manufacturers and utilities are entering a new phase of testing these protocols with the grid’s next-generation hardware.
“We’ve gone as far as we can on paper, as far as we can in a committee room,” says Brian Seal, technical executive at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). “Now we need field results, tangible results from field demonstrations that would shed light on how well these paper efforts actually work.”


Buy an Electric Car, Get Rooftop Solar for Under $10,000

Ford has partnered with SunPower, one of the nation’s largest solar companies, to offer Focus Electric buyers discounts on home solar installation. Which makes for a intuitive pitch: Buy an EV, get a discount on a solar array that will power the car for under $10,000.

The discount SunPower offers varies from state to state, depending largely on where there are tax incentives for clean energy. But the company guarantees that the bill will come to less than $10K, before taxes, for the array and installation. Then your car will be running on 100% clean power no matter where you live.

The cost might seem a little steep, but look at it this way: The average American driver guzzles 558 gallons per year, costing him/her $2,100 when gas is $3.80 per gallon. Using a home solar array to power your EV, you’ll break even in 5 years—and the solar system is guaranteed for 25. Plus, when you’re not driving as much, you’ll be saving on general electricity costs.

For more info on this great deal, please click here