Archive for SPartin

German Solar Installations Coming In at $2.24 per Watt Installed, US at $4.44

What steps can the U.S. take to keep up with the Johanneses?

According to the BSW, average German system prices in the second quarter of 2012 were estimated at EUR1.776 per watt peak, or $2.24 per watt peak at current exchange rates. Since Germany is dominated by rooftop systems (72 percent of installations in 2011), this is an impressively low number. Assuming a module price of around $0.90 per watt peak, this implies an average balance of system cost of $1.34 per watt peak.

Title: "Solar Energy Systems since 2006 are 65% cheaper" Inside Text: "Average price for rooftop installations up to 100 kW"

GTM Research is currently estimating 2012 installations in Germany to come in at around 6.5 gigawatts, compared to 7.5 gigawatts in 2011.

On the other hand — as just detailed in GTM Research’s U.S. Solar Market Insight – the U.S. average system price was $4.44 per watt in the first quarter of 2011.

Residential system prices fell by 4.8 percent from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012, with the national average installed price falling from $6.18 per watt to $5.89 per watt. Non-residential system prices fell by 6 percent quarter to quarter, from $4.92 per watt to $4.63 per watt. Utility system prices declined for the eighth consecutive quarter in a row, dropping from $3.20 per watt in Q4 2011 to $2.90 per watt in Q1 2012.

This is an enormous discrepancy in the average price per watt in Germany versus the U.S.

Assuming the module and inverter pricing is roughly the same for both countries, the culprit for the high prices in the U.S. lies in the soft costs of permitting and financing, as well as in the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) process. Add in the potential increase in module pricing due to the China trade tariffs, and the U.S. market faces some headwinds in driving down the cost of solar.

Full Article at Green Tech Media

Scientists create spray-on battery paint

Rice University researchers have created spray-on battery paint, creating the potential for new gadget form factors.

One of the primary factors holding back the development of truly next-generation devices is battery technology. Yes, the lithium-ion power modules that energize most of our current flock of gadgets are fairly small and reliable. But they still take up a relatively large amount of space in our devices, and often dictate the form factor to a certain degree. Fortunately, scientists at Rice University in Texas have developed an interesting solution: spray-on batteries.

Neelam Singh, one of the Rice researchers involved in the project, says they will work to reduce the size of the paint needed to hold a meaningful charge, and hope to make their creation more user friendly. Singh tells New Scientist that he hopes to one day pair the spray-on battery with paintable solar cells, to create the next generation of home electrical systems. When exactly such a thing will be possible, well, we’ll just have to be patient.

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TSEA Sponsor ARiES Demos The New CHyP System

This 200 kW system was powering a generator with clean, renewable energy. Source: ARiES Energy

ARiES Energy hosted a special event called Demo Day, to demonstrate the bioenergy technology developed by Proton Power that takes biomass such as switchgrass and municipal solid waste and converts it to electricity.  The system uses biomass to produce a hydrogen-rich syngas that can be combusted to produce electricity in a generator, or converted into diesel fuel through another processing step.  The CHyP system can use up to 70% of the trash that goes into landfills, and emits only 9kg of CO2 per Megawatt of electricity generated (compared to 1110kg for coal).  Over 50 people attended this event.

Although the CHyP system isn’t solar energy, it uses the idea of producing hydrogen from abundant sources of energy (in this case, trash!).  HyperSolar is developing a concept of a solar-powered hydrogen generator using water and solar electricity to produce hydrogen.

ARiES Energy also provides turn-key solutions for solar installations and geothermal, and prepares professional grant proposals to secure all possible funding.

For more information, visit their website

$2.3 Million in Clean Tennessee Energy Grants Awarded

Seventeen Recipients to Receive Grants for Projects Benefiting Both the Environment and Bottom Line

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau today awarded more than $2.3 million to fund energy efficiency projects for local governments and municipalities, utilities, other organizations and private entities across Tennessee.

The Clean Tennessee Energy Grants were awarded to 17 recipients for projects designed to reduce air emissions, improve energy efficiency and create cost savings.  Today’s announcement in Memphis marks the first time these grants have been made available.  The grant program provides financial assistance to state and local government agencies, utility districts, and private businesses/organizations in Tennessee to purchase, install and construct energy projects.

Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Under the Consent Decree, Tennessee will receive $26.4 million over five years to fund clean air programs in the state (at approximately $5.25 million per year).  In addition to the $2.3 million in Clean Energy Grants announced today, $3 million was announced earlier this year for energy efficiency projects in state government.

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Happy Summer Solstice!

The sunniest day of the year!

For more information about the summer solstice, click here.

PV Tech Newscast – June 8, 2012

SACE Open House & Solar Ribbon Cutting – Knoxville

Knoxville, Tenn. (May 30, 2012) – The public is invited to attend the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Open House and Ribbon-Cutting ceremony on June 8, 2012 for our new 9.6 kW solar photovoltaic installation and to learn about our energy efficiency retrofits at our commercial facility. Our office improvements demonstrate SACE’s commitment to responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. It is also an occasion to thank our community leaders and partners for helping to complete these projects.

We are especially pleased to announce that the Honorable Madeline Rogero, Mayor of Knoxville, will be joining us. The City of Knoxville’s Office of Sustainability, together with Knox County’s Community Action Committee, designed the Green Building Incentives Program and those incentives helped fund a portion of our solar PV project.  To qualify for the program we made our building more sustainable with a geothermal heat pump, refurbished lighting including passive solar lights and building envelope improvements. In addition, SACE has on-site two Blink Network Level 2 charging stations and a Nissan Leaf vehicle as part of theEV Project, the largest single deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in history.

SACE staff and project partners will be available to discuss SACE’s solar installation and the importance of the solar industry to Tennessee as well as SACE’s ongoing efforts to promote energy efficiency and clean transportation options throughout our region. There will be networking and discussion opportunities for those who are interested in clean energy policy and excellent opportunities for filming and photographing clean energy infrastructure and energy efficiency improvements.

WHEN: Friday, June 8, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Mayor Madeline Rogero, City of Knoxville
John Noel, President of the Board of Directors, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Dr. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

COST: FREE, light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served

WHERE: Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Office, 3804 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN 37921

Sign me up for Green Power Switch Pure Solar!

Green Power Switch Pure Solar is a great option for customers who support solar power but do not have the ability to install their own solar panels (including those who rent, have a shaded roof, etc.). By participating in this program, customers know they are displacing traditional energy generation with regionally generated solar power.

This is a pilot program and is currently available in only six regions of the TVA service area from the local utility companies listed below. If yours is not on the list and you would like to see this solar option grow and become a Valley-wide program, send us an email at Your feedback will be considered when we evaluate the pilot.

To sign up, please fill out the form below. Green Power Switch Pure Solar is sold in 50 kilowatt-hour blocks, and each block adds $8 to your monthly power bill. After you’ve filled in the form, just hit the Submit button, and we’ll notify your power distributor of your interest in participating.

Pure Solar Sign-up Form

Germany Sets Solar Power Record: 50% of Electricity Demand


German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour—equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity—through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.

The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.

They will be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity needs.

“Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity,” Allnoch told Reuters. “Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks. But this was the first time we made it over.”

The record-breaking amount of solar power shows one of the world’s leading industrial nations was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed.

TSEA Business Manager Featured in Nashville Scene Article


We’re solar generation partners. We have the power — and so can you

Here Comes the Sun


Pay rays

First the good news: Solar panels are getting cheaper and more efficient every year. But they’re still expensive: A 4 or 5 kilowatt (kW) PV system will run you in the neighborhood of $25,000, says Steve Johnson, president of LightWave Solar. For those crunching the numbers, there are a few incentives: TVA buys the power generated at a rate of 12 cents per kWh above the base rate, which appears as a credit on your monthly electric bill. There’s also a 30 percent federal tax rebate and a $1,000 incentive from TVA when your system goes online. Beyond that, various grants for commercial and agricultural operations are available, but so far nothing for residential systems. Solar leasing, in which the cost of a PV system is shouldered by another company but homeowners get a piece of the electricity sales, has taken off out west. Stefan Partin, business manager for the Tennessee Solar Energy Association, calls it the future of solar. But the Tennessee state legislature’s threatened “solar property tax” effectively scared off anyone interested in bringing such a scheme to Tennessee.

So that means homeowners are still looking at shouldering some hefty initial costs. Alternately, you can change your perspective, says Partin. “Think of it as an investment. You can get 7-8 percent per year return on a solar system, whereas a mutual fund is 2-3 percent a year. That makes it look more attractive.” Indeed.

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