How to Save $1 Billion on Solar in America

SunRun, the nation’s leading home solar company, has released anofficial report on how local governments can save $1 billion over thenext five years and make solar affordable for 50 percent of Americanhomes.  The report, “The Impact of Local Permitting on the Cost of Solar Power,” reveals that inconsistent local solar permitting and inspection processes add an average of over $2,500 per home installation. A direct response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) request for granular dataon non-equipment solar costs, the report specifies how the DOE can takeimmediate action to solve local permitting problems and reduceunnecessary costs.

“Every city and town has its own set of regulations and requirementsfor solar installations. Our research identifies inconsistencies inlocal permitting as one of the most critical roadblocks to asustainable, subsidy-free solar industry,” said SunRun CEO andCo-founder Edward Fenster. “To tackle this challenge head-on, the DOEcan use existing guidelines it has already funded to standardize localpermitting and deliver the equivalent of a new $1 billion solar subsidyover five years.”

In the report, solar installers nationwide say repeatedly that localpermitting is the most stubborn cost they face, preventing them frommaking solar affordable for millions of Americans. By comparison,countries such as Germany have simpler processes that keep solarinstallation costs 40 percent lower than in the United States. Germanyreports about one million new home solar power installations in the past two years alone, whereas the total number of homes ever to go solar inthe United States has just broken 120,000. SunRun’s report recommendsthe DOE lead a new Residential Solar Permitting Initiative, startingwith high-volume cities that impact more than 50 percent of the solarmarket. The recommendations include a contest with grant rewards forcities that make the most effective and comprehensive improvements.

“Local permitting red tape keeps solar off of millions of Americanhomes and businesses and seriously jeopardizes our ability to becompetitive with entrenched fossil fuels,” said Rhone Resch, presidentand CEO of SEIA. “Policymakers need to recognize that these additionalcosts put an undue burden on new, clean technologies like solar that are trying to create jobs in the U.S.”

Endorsements for SunRun’s report underscore the industry’s sense ofurgency when it comes to standardizing the permitting process. Acoalition of 22 leading installers from across the country endorse thereport, including HelioPower, as well as industry organizations such as The Sierra Club, SolarTech,and Vote Solar. The report is currently under review with the DOE andavailable at www.sunrunhome.com/permitting.

Source: SunRun

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Orphaned Solar

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The inspiration for this blog comes from the increasing number ofphone calls HelioPower has received recently from orphaned solarconsumers.  An orphaned solar power system is one abandoned by theoriginal installation firm.

A few years ago, an orphaned solar power system would have seemedunlikely if not impossible. The marketplace was swelling with well over a thousand solar companies and new entrants were popping up almost daily. Business was booming and bankruptcy was the furthest thing from solarcompanies’ minds. Fast forward to 2011, and the solar world, at least in California, is changing rapidly.  We can see this playing out in thenumber of calls our service center receives daily from solar consumerswhose solar companies are missing in action or simply out of business.As the company goes, so goes the warranty on a solar power system.

Warranty Mandates
Warranty and service are critical elements of the value add that SolarEPCs (this stands for ‘engineering, procurement, and construction’ aka‘solar integrators’) offer to their customers. If you’ve gone solar inCalifornia, the California Solar Initiative mandates that the Solar EPCprovides a 10 year warranty on all products and workmanship related tothe installation of your solar electric system. Such a lengthy warrantyprovides peace of mind to early adopters who are taking a risk on boththe technology and the company that they select to install it.

While government mandates can force companies to comply with allmanner of regulation, including warranty terms, they can’t guaranteethat those companies will remain in business throughout the term of themandate. So, what happens if a company goes out of business during themandated warranty timeframe? Keep in mind that in the solar businessthere is no such thing as ‘too big to fail.”  While solar electricityadoption is growing at rates exceeding 20% annually, the solar industryis quite small compared to traditional energy businesses and the economy overall. Thus, it would be foolhardy to expect that your local solarcompany might receive a bailout should it go under prior to yourwarranty expiration.

The Solar Business in California
As the California Solar Initiative (CSI) enters its fourth year, we inthe solar business find ourselves humbled.  With rebate money all butexhausted in PG&E and SDG&E, and on hold in LADWP until July2011, the go-go days of the early solar market are grinding to a halt.The result is that fewer new companies are entering the solarintegration space as overall demand for solar electricity in Californiaflattens out. Beyond this, many established firms are going bankrupt for a host of reasons. The San Diego region’s sudden drop off in demandafter the latest rebate drop and the killing of PACE in early summer2010 caused some well-established names to close their doors. Manycompanies had gotten ahead of themselves either in marketing spend, high end office space, market expansion, and accounts payable. Other largecompanies have pulled out of the residential space altogether whilestill others are closing offices to get expenses in line with revenues.Regardless of the reasons a firm might fail, the failure almost alwayshas the same result: the warranty, which is only as good as the companystanding behind it, goes away forever. What does this mean for you ifyou’re two years into a ten year warranty?

What We Hear from Orphaned Solar Power System Owners
While the casual solar energy consumer shouldn’t be expected to followthe ups and downs of the solar industry, the company you choose toinstall your solar power system will have huge implications on yourability to receive prompt, reliable, and consistent service in thefuture. The increasing number of phone calls HelioPower receives fromorphaned solar customers follow this typical dialogue:

Solar Customer (SC) – “Hi, I’m a solar consumer and I don’t think my system is working”

HelioPower (HPI) – “Ok, when did we install your system?”

SC – “Umm, actually you didn’t install my system, but I need someoneout here right away to troubleshoot it. I just got a $600 electric billfrom my utility!”

HPI – “Have you tried contacting the solar company that installed your system?”

SC – “Yes, but his number is disconnected and his emails are bouncing.”

HPI – “Ok, we’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot your system. I can have a technician out at your house tomorrow afternoon. You’ll need tohave a $200 check ready for the technician before he starts work.”

SC – “Two hundred dollars!! But I have a ten year warranty with CSI. You need to fix my system for free!”

HPI – “Actually, sir, your ten year warranty is with the company that installed your solar system. If they are unable to service your system, you’ll need to pay another company to perform the work whether that’sus or someone else.”

SC – “This is unbelievable! I got a bid from HelioPower when I wasshopping for my solar system, but chose the other company because theywere cheaper than everyone else.”

HPI – “I’m sorry that we weren’t able to earn your business earlier,but providing service after the sale is one of the reasons we need tocharge a little more for our products. So would you like us to come outand fix your system? If the problem is related to inverter or solarpanel warranty, the manufacturer will cover all parts and labor.However, we still need to charge you $200 to get the process going. Howwould you like to proceed?”

SC – “I guess I don’t have a choice. Everyday my solar system is down I’m paying the utility more and more money. I was told by my  installer that my system would be maintenance and hassle free because it had ‘nomoving parts’.”

HPI – “Ok. Tomorrow then?”

SC –  “Ok. Tomorrow.”

This call script is playing out in our offices with ever increasingfrequency. The issues range from downed inverters, underproduction, roof leaks, and the like.

Pete in the Pickup
Most of the calls we receive are from consumers who chose to have theirsystems installed by what we in the industry call “Pete in the Pickup”,“Chuck in the Truck”, or “Dan in the Van.” These are industry labels for the one man electrician or roofer working out of his garage or condo.

While Pete’s material costs are higher (because he has to buy through distribution) his overhead costs (including insurance, workman’s comp,warehousing, benefits, service department, etc.) are substantially lower than large established companies. As a result, Pete can undercut all of the big guys. Sometimes he’s able to do this by hundreds or thousandsof dollars.

In the four years I’ve been designing and selling solar electricsystems the story has played out with remarkable consistency.  Petesells a few systems, installs them, and exits the business. For the‘Petes’ that stay in business, the service burden can soon overwhelmthem as more systems get installed and need service. Pete simply doesn’t have the resources to create a dedicated service department. This canresult in lengthy waits for system service.

While you may consider the Petes, Chucks, and Dans an easy mark for a blog of this nature, what’s startling is the number of well-established solar businesses closing offices, residential divisions, or shutteringtheir operations altogether. This is where multiple layers of warrantyprotection can benefit consumers long term.

CSI & Third Party Ownership Warranty Protections
If you live in California, your first layer of protection is CSI’s 10year warranty. Should your solar installer go under, you still can makewarranty claims to your equipment manufacturers. Your inverter or solarpanel manufacturer will dispatch an approved installation partner andpay for the service call if the problem is related to their equipment.In our experience, inverters (especially SMA) and solar panels rarelyfail. The failure is often in the B.O.S. (this is industry talk for‘balance of system’). BOS is everything else. It comprises racking, feet (we call these stanchions), conduit, wire, fuses, breakers,disconnects, etc. Unfortunately, these items are the ones coveredexclusively by the CSI warranty.

There is a third layer of protection available to solar consumers:third party ownership. Third party ownership is often associated withPPAs (power purchase agreements) and solar leases but have the advantage of making the solar energy system someone else’s problem.

The third party insures, warranties, and maintains the solar powersystem. You get to enjoy the benefits without the hassle. Third party‘solar as a service’ companies provide warranties up to 20 years. Onecompany, SunRun, has taken an interesting step toward long term customer protection. SunRun has set up a special purpose fund to maintain thesystems they own in the event they go out of business. Thus, withSunRun, your warranty is 20 years all inclusive. Should SunRun fail, the special fund covers all warranty and repair work for the remainder ofthe term of the agreement. In the event the special fund evaporates, the 10 year CSI/installation warranty takes over.

Lastly, should the first three layers of protection fail, you canalways fall back on the manufacturer warranties for your solar panelsand inverter(s).

When dealing with an industry in its infancy, the more layers ofprotection you afford yourself, the better the return you’ll realizeover the life of your solar panel system as you’ll avoid potentiallycostly out-of-pocket repair and maintenance work down the road.

Tips to Protect Your Solar Power Investment
While there’s no guarantee any company will remain a going concern inperpetuity (think Lehmann), here are a couple of tips that will help you to avoid the weakest players during this time of upheaval inCalifornia’s solar industry:

  1. Choose a company with lots of installations. Most solar companieshave fewer than 10 installations according to CSI data. You’d be wellserved to set the bar at 100 or greater.
  2. Don’t hire the ‘one and done’ fly by night solar installer. You’llknow who he is because he’s usually a couple thousand dollars cheaperthan everyone else.
  3. Take a hard look at third party ownership. After all, why not letsomeone else shoulder all of the technology and installation risk whileyou save money every month on your electric bill.
  4. Only consider third party owners who have established a maintenance fund in the event of their own mortality.
  5. Always check your contractor’s references, licensing, and insurance.
  6. Consider adding monitoring (standard with third party ownership). Monitoring is a critical performance review maintenance tool.

As the solar industry enters 2011, we expect a year of changes andsurprises. Some companies will be well positioned to capitalize on themyriad changes while others will fall by the wayside. More than ever you need to protect your solar electric investment from joining the everincreasing ranks of solar orphans permeating the marketplace. Towardthis end, a multilayered approach to warranty protection may very wellbe the best solar decision you make.

By Scott Gordon
Vice President, Sales Residential
HelioPower

You can reach Scott Gordon directly at SGordon@HelioPower.com

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The Solar Generation Road Trip

See foryourself how solar is working for America. Following the sun across thenation, the SEIA film crew take a first-hand look at how solar isworking for America and meet today’s solar generation: the projectdevelopers, manufacturers, installers and of course, the clients – thepeople who are using solar power in its various forms for their homes,businesses and public buildings.

This 4-minute film highlights the Solar Generation USA Road Trip asthe team discovers how widespread solar energy has become from the EastCoast across the Midwest to the West Coast. Learn more about the rolesolar plays at a boat marina, fire station, New York City rooftop andthe Crayola Crayon manufacturing plant, a zoo (with ‘solar bears’), agas station converted to a solar charging station for electric vehicles; and see how solar is putting people to work at a manufacturing site and a solar rooftop installation in the West; features a Crayola Crayonfactory, Denver International Airport, a Garbett Homes community wheresolar comes standard, Colorado State University, the San FranciscoGiant’s ballpark and a Napa Valley vineyard.
Learn more and take the solar quiz to win a limited-edition tour cap. Visit https://www.solargenerationusa.org

 

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Palm Desert Solar Event Kicks off Holiday Season!

A near capacity crowd is expected at tomorrow’s HelioPower Palm Desert dedication and holiday open house all promising to make the solar event a successful kick off to the Desert holiday season.  Over70 guests are registered to date, a contingent of Chamber of  Commerceambassadors are set to "cut the ribbon" on the new Palm Desert solarproduction facility and many walk in attendees are expected at theHelioPower facility located at 75178 Gerald Ford Drive – Suite 3A, PalmDesert, CA 92211. The Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce ribbon cuttingceremony starts at 4pm.  The Coachella Valley solar event and open house runs through 7pm.

Attendees will have several opportunities to learn about solarenergy, get a hands on view of the types of roof top installationscommon in the Coachella Valley and learn about energy saving tips.  ThePalm Desert Set-To-Save program will have representatives present tohelp local residents learn how to save energy on their electric bills.Photos and information about the many HelioPower solar energyinstallations in the Coachella Valley will also be available.  

A presentation on the Smart Grid and Its Impact on Your Utility Bills will empower residents with information on the changes now rolling outthrough the local utilities.  Presented by Scott Gordon of HelioPower,this Smart Grid presentation has been very popular across California and with homeowners making changes to hedge rising utility rates.  Plentyof holiday open house refreshments will help attendees welcome theseason.

Information on the group solar discount program now available through the HelioPower and One Block off the Grid (1BOG) will also beavailable.  This solar discount buying program ends February 8, 2011 and will only be installed by solar company, HelioPower. 

Rancho Mirage homeowner Cecile Morgan went solar through last year’s IBOG program. “The system wiped out 100 percent of my electric bill. It makes me feel better about the environment, and I like that the system will pay for itself soon and add value to myhome,” she said.

Several HelioPower managers and its local Desert team will be on hand to wish local residents Happy Holidays.  Ty Jagerson, President, isattending from the company’s headquarters.  Scott Gordon, Vice President of Residential Sales is presenting later in the evening.  GlennaWiseman, Vice President of Marketing will be on hand.  The company’sDesert solar energy experts, Matt McPherson and Matt Rifkin, will begreeting many of their customers who are attending.

More information is available at the HelioPower Palm Desert Solar event page.

 

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Go Off the Grid

With the plethora of renewable energy technologies hitting the market andtheir steady decrease in price, more corporations and businesses arebeginning to consider on-site renewable energy generation. Companies ofall sizes, with varied electricity needs, can tailor one or acombination of several renewable energy installations to fit the needsof the enterprise. There are multiple technologies to consider duringthe evaluation process and an in-depth cost/benefit analysis should beperformed. Post-installation requires ongoing monitoring andmaintenance, and thoughtful publicity to capitalize on the environmental and social benefits of the project.

HelioPower President, Ty Jagerson, will participate in the Agrion “Go Off the Grid: On-Site Renewable Energy Generation” conference exploring on-site renewable energy generation and considerations for its success.

The conference will be held on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, CA.  Bloom Energy’s,  Asim Hussain, Director of Product Marketing and Michael Bangs, PE, Directorof Global Facilities of Adobe are also on the agenda which will bemoderated by Jon Guice, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Researchof AltaTerra Research Network.

For more information and registration, see the Agrion registration site.

 

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Solar Santa in the House at HelioPower

HelioPower today announced a holiday solar savings program for California homeowners.  The Solar Santa program offers $0 down and $500 cash back solar terms to credit qualified homeowners and immediate savings on their electricity expenses.

“California homeowners can see immediate savings on their electricbills,” said Scott Gordon, Vice President of Residential Sales forHelioPower.  “Electricity rates will continue to rise in our state.  Families arehit with covering an ever growing cost of energy.  Paying largeelectricity bills impacts a family all year long and is especially feltaround the holidays. We’re excited to offer a holiday season programthat keeps giving back well past the season, in fact for 20 years.”

The HelioPower Solar Santa program includes a free solar siteevaluation.  The solar power system is designed and installed byHelioPower and financed by SunRun.  SunRun also takes complete care ofthe system for 20 years, including monitoring, maintenance and repair,insurance, and a money-back performance guarantee. The clean energygenerated from solar power systems is a great gift for the planet aswell.

For more information on the terms and conditions of the offer please see https://www.heliopower.com/promotions/solar-santa-stuff-your-stockings-with-solar-savings.

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Energy Incentives Worry Valley Farmers

By Mo Rousso
Chief Technology Officer, HelioPower

John Cox, Californian staff writer, recently highlighted the growingconcern over energy and energy related incentives for growers in theCentral Valley.

His article, Energy incentives programs worry valley farmers, illustrates how important energy costs are to the agricultural community and how difficult it is to manage those expenditures.

HelioPower has been specializing in the agricultural andfood-processing sector for some time.  Out of our work to cut energy use and create new energy solutions, we have gained a pretty good sense ofwhat drives farmers.  We have listened to their concerns includingpractical solutions, cost sensitivity, strong rate of return, andminimum impact to their business operations.

The article points to a key issue regarding time of use energy demand and the need to lower energy usage during peak hours. These are thesame hours that growers most use water irrigation equipment, as anexample of one of the critical issues.

From the article: “Adjusting to the time-of-use incentive may require farmers to invest in new irrigation equipment and rework their laborschedules.

Even more worrisome for farmers is the critical peak demand program.Agricultural companies are not always able to reschedule workers, andturning away water already on order may mean they won’t get it back fordays — and that may be too late.”

This calls attention to the need for new power generationapproaches.  These technologies must generate energy during the critical peak demand.  One such example is the installation HelioPowerengineered for Sunnyland Mills in Fresno, CA. 

Sunnyland Mills is the first company in the U.S. to utilize solar power to make bulgur. According to Mike Orlando, Chairman of the Board:

HelioPower on site at Sunnyland Mills solar installation, Fresno, CA.

HelioPower on site at Sunnyland Mills solar installation, Fresno, CA.

“Sunnyland started in 1935 using the sun to dry wheat for bulgur.  We are going back to our roots by utilizing the energy of the sun toproduce our products.”  HelioPower was the consultant and contractor for the project.  Since the Sunnyland system was commissioned in 2007, ithas produced 102% of expected energy.

This is just one example of how new approaches to energy reductionand generation can serve the farmers in the Central Valley meet the newenergy incentives in California.

HelioPower has created a solutions approach that blends energyeconomics (costs and returns, as well as financing options) and energyengineering (practical design, integrated technologies, and O&M). The cornerstone to our approach is our PowerAdvisor energy analyticsengine that allows us to model potential solutions within the context of our client’s operational needs and that hit the mark with respect to the decision drivers above.  So,when we propose a solution, we will have considered time-of-useelectricity rates versus the farmer’s need to schedule water andirrigate his crops.  Only solutions that address needs in this mannerbecome practical and provide value to the agricultural community.

Editor’s Note: Mo Rousso is the Chief Technology Officer for HelioPower. He is a true clean energy veteran, having installed his first solarpower system in 1975.  He started the company in 2001 and is nowresponsible for the engineering of innovative energy solutions andtechnologies that deliver increased return on investment.

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Solar and Federal Tax Credits for Residential Systems

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So, you’re thinking about installing a solar system on your home. Depending upon where you reside, you may be eligible for state rebates, state tax credits, utility rebates, SRECS (solar renewable energycredits), and even local city cash grants, low interest loans, zero cost permits, and property tax assessment waivers. The incentives aredizzying in their breadth and depth and vary widely from locale tolocale across this great nation.  However, regardless of where you livein the United States, anyone installing solar photovoltaics (PV) and/orSDHW (solar domestic hot water) as part of their energy generation mixis eligible to receive the Federal Residential Energy Tax Credit. Thisblog examines the Residential Energy Tax Credit and how it applies tothose seeking to take advantage of it.

If you’ve looked into solar with any conviction, you’ve undoubtedlyreceived bids from solar contractors showing both gross system cost, aswell as, net system cost after all available incentives are factored in. The breakdown typically looks something like this, using arepresentative 5KW system with $1.50/AC watt rebate:

Solar PV system gross cost:                               $30,000            

State/Utility Rebate:                                            -$7,500 

Federal Tax Credit:                                              -$6,750

Solar PV system net cost:                          $15,750

This breakdown looks pretty good, doesn’t it?  Heck, the governmentand utility are paying for 47.5% of your solar system!! But is this true in every case?  Let’s take a closer look.

Chances are that your state/utility rebate is locked in.  Most of the time, your solar contractor will ‘float the rebate.’ This is industrytalk for charging you the gross system cost LESS the rebate.  In theabove example, your ‘out of pocket’ net cost (used to calculate theFederal Tax Credit) is $22,500.  Thus, we can consider this rebatelocked in provided that your contractor calculated it correctly.  Wildvariations in rebate amounts between solar contractors should be seen as a red flag warranting further analysis. However, if all of thecontractors are showing similar amounts you should feel confident thatyour rebate is all but assured.

The Federal Residential Energy Tax Credit is another matter entirely.  Before assuming that you qualify for this ‘tax credit,’ you shouldspeak with your tax professional.  Why?  The solar federal tax credit is exactly that: a credit against taxes owed.  In other words, to qualify, you must owe federal taxes.  Let me repeat that: YOU MUST OWE FEDERALTAXES.  This credit is NOT a line item deduction to lower your tax basis nor is it an automatic refund from the federal government.  If you arenot paying taxes to the feds   you cannot take the federal tax creditfor solar. Period. This is why it is so important that you have a solidunderstanding of your tax situation before moving forward with a solarpower system.  Unfortunately, many solar contractors make theircustomers believe that the federal tax credit is a done deal.  It’s not.  Your tax professional will let you know how much tax credit you’reeligible for and how to go about filing for it (more on this later).

Another oft misunderstood element of the federal tax credit is thenumber of tax years one can roll the credit forward should one not beable to take the entire credit in the first year. For residentialcustomers, you have two years to take advantage of the credit.  If youcan’t take it all in the first year, you can roll it forward to the next tax year.  If you have any left over at the end of the second year, you lose it. That’s right: use or lose it. Under current tax code, thecredit expires December 31, 2016. This expiration date could haveserious implications for those who go solar in 2016 and can’t utilizethe entire tax credit in the first year.

I want to cover one last thing before I move on to your optionsshould you not be able to take any or all of the tax credit.  Thefederal tax credit only applies to solar photovoltaic (electricityproducing) and solar domestic hot water (heating water for showers,kitchen, etc). It DOES NOT apply to thermal solar for pool or spaheating.  In fact, very few, if any, incentives exist for pool/spa solar thermal.  I guess the powers that be feel that heating pool water is aluxury unworthy of incentives.  Whether you agree or disagree with thislogic, you’ll be hard pressed to find incentives to heat your pool using solar technologies.

So, what if you don’t qualify for the federal tax credit?  The goodnews is that there are entities that are happy to take the tax creditfor you.  The result of this arrangement is that you pay the NetNet price (line four in the above example). One such entity is SunRun. SunRun provides residential Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) forphotovoltaic solar systems. When customers sign up for SunRun, SunRuntakes the rebate and the tax credit right off the top line beforecalculating either your monthly payment or pre-pay price.  Even better,if one elects the pre-pay option, the final price is discounted anadditional 10%.  In our example above, you’d take 10% off line four toarrive at your new ‘out of pocket’ price ($15,750 – 10% = $14,175.90). Additionally, SunRun provides twenty years of maintenance, monitoring,and warranty for all of their customers.  SunRun can even help those who CAN take the tax credit but would like to take it now rather than wait.  In summary, SunRun not only allows customers who cannot take thecredit to take it, but instantly monetizes the tax credit for those whootherwise qualify for the credit but don’t want to wait.  This is alsotrue of the myriad photovoltaic lease products currently available onthe residential solar market.

Finally, if you do qualify for the tax credit and elect to take it,you’ll need to let the IRS know of your intent when you file your taxes.  You’ll need to fill out IRS Form 5695 available for download from theIRS’s website: (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf). Currently only the 2009 version is available.  The 2010 version of IRSForm 5695 should be available shortly for those filing an April 2011return. This form contains explicit instructions about who qualifies,eligible technologies and improvements, and other general guidelines for claiming your tax credit.

If you’d like to learn more, additional information and FAQs areavailable on the Solar Electric Industry Association’s’ (SEIA) website: https://seia.org/galleries/pdf/SEIATaxManual_v3-0_FAQ.pdf

In closing, I’d like to reiterate the importance of seekingprofessional tax advice if you plan on making solar or other energyimprovements to your home. This is the only way you can be certain ofyour eligibility. Options such as SunRun allow one to take advantage ofthe tax credit even if one doesn’t qualify and can also be a good option for those who do but don’t want to wait to receive the benefit. Thatlast thing you want is to install a solar system only to discover laterthat you can’t take the tax credit. Be diligent in your examination ofthe issue.  The Federal Tax Credit is a big piece of the solar energyincentive pie that you definitely want to take advantage of fully.

By Scott Gordon

Vice President, Sales Residential, HelioPower

You can reach Scott Gordon directly at SGordon@HelioPower.com

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“Bridging Energy Gap” Forum Brings CA Energy Leaders Together

HelioPower’s Ty Jagerson joins the panel for The EcoGreen Group’s Sustainability Forum "Bridging the Energy Gap,” tonight at the CiscoBuilding in San Jose, CA.  The program starts at 5:30 pm and featuresCalifornia energy leaders and new technology entrepreneurs. 

Moderated by Eric Wesoff of Greentech Media, the panel includes MikeArenson, President, Arenson Solar; James Hoffman, President of solarstartup, Sun Synchrony; Noah Long, Energy Program Attorney, NationalResources Defense Council; Marc St Raymond, Recurve and Mary Tucker,City of San Jose Environmental Services Department. 

The panel will explore the investment and innovation opportunitiesneeded for California to meet the state’s energy needs and the RPS goals for 2020 at an ‘affordable’ price.  It will explore:  What are the 2010 California needs vs. projected 2030 needs? What part of the gap willrenewables be able to fill?  What policy and legislation are needed tobridge the gap? What is the impact of delaying the implementation ofAB-32?  What are the investment and job growth opportunities in bridging the gap?

Ty Jagerson, recently named president of energy solutions firm, HelioPower, will address “Integrated Renewables: Building and Financing Profitable New Energy Solutions.”  As part of the panel, “Forward Looking Analysis of the Energy Gap” his subject will cover : Why and how a more integrated approach torenewables is needed;  PV: a key building block in the renewables mix; Energy Efficiency: the lonely stepchild;  The role of finance inexpanding clean energy and On the horizon for new technology solutions.

Startup company Sun Synchrony will talk about their solar-energyproducts based on their revolutionary ArcSol modular architecture ofself-orienting CPV (concentrating photovoltaic) elements.

For more information and registration including onsite ticket sales, please go to the EcoGreen registration page at https://ecoggfallforum.eventbrite.com/

 

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HelioPower joins SunRun Solar Industry Rally to Support “No on Prop 23”

HelioPower, an integrated energy solutions company with over 1600 solar and cleanenergy systems engineered and installed since 2001,  joined SunRun, the nation’s leading home solar company, in its rallying demonstration at Solar Power International(SPI) reaching hundreds of voters and raising thousands of dollars tosupport the “No on Prop 23” campaign.  If passed, Proposition 23 willthreaten the environment and California green job creation.   The rallywas a guerrilla demonstration, emphasizing the need for continuedindustry collaboration to reduce our dependence on fossils fuels.  Aspart of the effort SunRun donated $100,000 to the Sierra Club California No on Prop 23 Committee, and HelioPower and SunRun will host voluntaryphone banking events.

When the SPI exhibit hall opened to the public last night at 5:30 pm, SunRun and its team of participating companies draped theirbooths in black netting, posted “No on Prop 23 signs,” dressed inblack, and passed out fact sheets, stickers and ribbons about Prop 23 to educate consumers.  The black theme symbolizes the environmentaldestruction Prop 23 would cause, and the Proposition’s threat to thegrowth of California’s clean economy.  SunRun brought extra blacknetting, flags and educational materials to encourage more companies tojoin the cause on the spot.  The Sierra Club also joined the cause,providing No on Prop 23 fact sheets, on-site support and strategic guidance.

“Defeating this proposition requires financial contributions,grassroots efforts, and collaboration across industry sectors such asbusiness and non-profit, and our demonstration at SPI was designed tobring those elements together,” said Lynn Jurich, president of SunRunand a recent appointee to the Sierra Club Foundation Board ofDirectors.  “Prop 23 is another example of how the industry needs tocontinue to collaborate to build a stable solar infrastructure, and this campaign is a critical starting point.” 

 “Companies like SunRun are leading in the development of a cleanenergy economy here in California,” said Sierra Club Executive DirectorMichael Brune.  “The Sierra Club is committed to defeating Proposition23 so that this economic growth, and the job creation that comes withit, remains in the golden state.”

“It is incredibly important that voters in California hear about thedamage Proposition 23 will do to clean energy job creation in California and there isn’t a better spokesperson to deliver that message than acompany like SunRun,” Brune continued.

SunRun offers additional information on Prop 23 on the company Web site here: www.sunrunhome.com/no23.  To help stop Prop 23, anyone can:

Voting takes place on Tuesday, November 2, 2010.

Source

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HelioPower Announces New Solar Financing Fund

Power Purchase Agreement Fund Will Finance Solar Photovoltaic Projects inUnited States; Funding Not Dependent on the Federal ITC Grant

HelioPower, an integrated energy solutions company with over 1600 solar and cleanenergy systems engineered and installed since 2001, announced at theSolar Power International industry show, a new power purchase agreement(PPA) fund to finance solar photovoltaic projects in the United States.  The fund offers attractive solar financing terms and is not dependenton the Federal Grant in lieu of ITC under Section 1603 of The AmericanRecovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ITC Grant).   

“This is our second fund and it allows us to specifically focus onthe 350 kilowatt (kW) to 3 megawatt (MW) project range,” said TyJagerson, President of HelioPower.  “It’s also good timing for thoseprojects that are at risk of losing funding from the federal tax grantat the end of this year.”

The HelioPower solar fund is available to solar integration firms,commercial property owners, and municipal or educational institutionsfor solar photovoltaic projects from 350 kW to 3 MW in size. The energyoff taker must have an investment grade debt rating.  The program isparticularly well suited to projects that require flexible terms up to20 years. 

This is HelioPower’s second project fund. The company’s initial fund, the Green Energy Community Investment Fund, was a joint financingprogram of HelioPower and Citi Community Capital, a division of Citi, to finance solar power systems on qualifying commercial and public sectorfacilities throughout the U.S.  The fund had an emphasis on underservedcommunities and included such high profile installations as the solarphotovoltaic system on The Tech Museum of Innovation (The Tech), located in San Jose, California.

For more information contact Sue Sparks, Vice President of Project Finance, SSparks@HelioPower.com

 

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HelioPower Solar Event Part of 350.org’s 10.10.10 Climate Action Day

350.org is organizing a Global Work Party across the world on Sunday 10/10/10 to celebrate climate solutions and send our politicians a clear message: "We’re getting to work—what about you?"

So far, there are 5127 events planned in 174 countries.

HelioPower will be supporting our clients, Barbara and Steve inMalibu, to host a solar electric system information event this Sunday,10/10/10 at 5pm.   

Said Barbara, “Our concern for our environment led Steve and I tolook into things we could do to help. Solar was a logical option for usbecause of its positive impact on the planet as well as our savings onour utility bills. We recently installed panels on our roof with amonthly payment program and want to share the good news.  Our HelioPower representative will be on hand to answer any questions you may haveabout solar.”

The HelioPower solar energy expert on hand will be Derek Girling. For more information, contact Derek Girling at DGirling@HelioPower.com  or go to the solar event in Malibu registration page on 350.org.

 

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HelioPower Announces Key Management Changes

HelioPower,  an integrated energy solutions company with over 1600 solar and cleanenergy systems engineered and installed since 2001, today announced thepromotion of Ty Jagerson to President and the appointment of ToddLindstrom as Chief Operating Officer. 

Jagerson, formerly co-founder of SolFocus and CEO of Simple Energies, joined HelioPower as executive vice president of commercial sales whenHelioPower acquired Simple Energies in early 2010. 

“Ty’s performance since he joined HelioPower speaks for itself andthis promotion is well deserved,” said Ian Rogoff, HelioPower’sexecutive chairman.  “We’re also excited that Todd has agreed to joinHelioPower.  Todd brings extensive sales, engineering and constructionexperience in solar and renewable energy to our management team, and welook forward to his contributions to the company’s continued growth.”  

Lindstrom joins HelioPower from Solar Power Inc., where he was afounding executive and led numerous activities including businessdevelopment, construction, engineering, financing and franchiseoperations. Lindstrom joined Solar Power Inc. in 2006, and was mostrecently executive vice president. He drove over 16 megawatts (MW) ofcompleted solar power construction and developed the renewable energypipeline of awards and contracts to over $150 million.

“Todd joins us at a key juncture and we’re expecting his energyindustry experience to be an important growth accelerator for us,” saidTy Jagerson, President of HelioPower, Inc. “ Todd is an establishedfigure in the industry and it’s a strong validation that he’s chosen tojoin HelioPower.”

 

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Solar Education Event, Oct 5 in Rancho Bernardo, CA

By Paige Strohson

HelioPower Solar Energy Consultant

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) has just mailed out notices for Smart Meter installation, did you get yours? 

What do Smart Meters mean to your household?  Recently, SDG&Eannounced it has requested approval from the Public Utility Commissionfor approval to charge higher rates for daytime electricity use.  Because of the new Smart Meter technology, SDG&E now has thecapability to bill for daytime usage for all homes in San DiegoCounty.    History shows us that our bills double ever 10 years.  Nowwith daytime billing increases could be substantial.   

San Diego homeowners can find out if solar can assist them in beating high electric bills at a free one hour educational meeting. HelioPower, a leading solar design and installation firm that hasoperated in San Diego for a decade, will offer the solar informationsession, scheduled on Tuesday, October 5  from 6:30 to 7:30pm.   The solar informational event will be held at the Rancho Bernardo Library at 17110 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego, CA  92128.  Topics include:  Smart Meter Technology, San Diego County PACE Program, how to determine if solar is right for you, eliminating your electricbill and financing solar.

The solar information event is free of charge, however seating islimited. To reserve your space, please call HelioPower toll free at1.87.SOLAR.888 / 1.877.652.7888.

Or call Paige Strohson directly at 858.427.6146.

 

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