Archive for July, 2010

KB Homes and Chinas BYD showcase affordable solar homes development

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
KB Homes and China’s BYD showcase affordable solar homes development

California-based KB Homes and Chinese solar firm, BYD, have partnered to develop affordable solar homes in Lancaster.  

BYD Co. is known for producing plug-in cars, solar equipment, and batteries.  Now they have entered the renewable energy-real estate industry.  Combining powers with KB Homes has allowed for traditionally off-grid solar technologies to be introduced into a densely grid-tied residential area.

These modestly priced homes will be pre-equipped with solar modules and lithium-ion battery storage systems.  Normally, this technology is used in off-grid properties, but KB Homes and BYD hope that this new development will help pave the way for new impressions on residential solar energy and plug-in vehicles.

As opposed to traditional lead-acid batteries in off-grid electric systems, the lithium-ion battery storage systems will be located in the garage in dark, sleek housing units that flash led lights communicating performance levels.  They will be capable of storing up to 16 kWh of electricity.  The average Southern California household usually uses about 20kWh of electrcicity per day.  These lithium-ion ferrous phosphate batteries are the same that are used in BYD’s plug-in electric vehicles which they will premiere later this year in Los Angeles.

Executive VP of KB Homes in Southern California, Thomas DiPrima, explained their goal was to first provide the solar panel-battery combo to the model home and four other production homes at no upfront cost to the homeowners.  The package would then bec ome optional to other homes in the West Lancaster subdivision and others.  These homes have starting prices from $210,000 to $257,000.

“Our long-term goal is to get to where we can do this nationwide,” said Mr. DiPrima. “Our hope and our goal is to make it so affordable that it can be offered in a new home as a standard feature.”

US Solar Market Grows Despite Difficult Economic Conditions

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Despite the global economic downturn, the solar market in the United States grew by 36% in 2009. To date, the United States is the third largest photovoltaic market in the world (behind #1 Germany and #2 Spain). 

The solar market is undergoing constant changes. Also the idea of photovoltaics has been around for over a century, only recently has it become mainstream. In 2009, changes include new companies entering the market, lower-cost panels, and changes in incentives and regulation. Solar companies need to be on top of these changes in order to remain competitive.

California leads the United States in solar installations. It has 53% stake of photovoltaic output. Most of the growth in 2009 came from utility and residential solar installations. Price cuts with minimal declines in incentives provided incentives to homeowners to install solar. In addition, new programs, such as the Pennsylvania Sunshine Solar Program, provided incentive for new companies to enter the solar playing field.

With so many states offering incentives to install solar, the United States is able to keep funding sources relatively disperse. This means that the United States solar market does not have the same risk as the national policies of Germany or Spain.

In addition, 16 states have enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard. The Renewable Portfolio Standard gives the source of electricity production and requires a set amount of electricity production from renewable sources. Part of this standard is solar electricity production. 

In the next 5 years, the solar market is projected to grow to 4.5-5.5 gigaWatts. One gigaWatt is enough electricity for 70,000 homes. This is 10 times the size of the current solar market. With market growth like this, it is extremely tempting to enter the lucrative (and growing) solar market. 

Wanting to enter the solar market but do not know how? Contact Rich Hessler Solar (949) 208-0221 for ideas on how to enter the solar market.

Core Steps of the PV Sales Process

Monday, July 26th, 2010

A core competency is an essential piece of the advanced pv sales process that impact success. All of these sales pieces are measurable, controllable, and trainable. Unfortunately, many pv solar sales organizations do not utilize these techniques.

Without a foundation of essential sales elements or pv advanced sales training, organizations have a difficult time closing deals. By working through each of the items of the sales cycle, solar companies can strengthen their sales team.

The most important task is to determine which activities are directly linked to revenue. Revenue is the way success is measured in sales. With this in mind, it is easier to determine what is and is not an essential component to sales. 

The sales process begins with lead generation. This includes lead referral programs, vendor collaboration programs (lead exchange), informational seminars, and other programs.

Once a company has a lead, it needs to be converted into an appointment. The Lead-to-Appointment ratio is an important indicator on the quality of the leads. A quality lead will turn into a sale while a poor quality lead will waste sales representatives’ time. 

The next step is for the salesperson to achieve the next step objective. Measuring this step will give the company information about the effectiveness of the salesperson. Finally, the salesperson needs to close the pv solar system to deliver the most important metric, a paycheck.

Each of the steps is measurable, allowing companies with advanced metrics to focus on the area needing the most improvement. With adequate pv advanced sales training, companies can obtain a quick improvement in their target metric. 

DWP Solar Finance Would Increase Solar and Create Jobs in California

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

The Los Angeles Business Council promises excellent jobs and 600 MW of electricity if the city can institute a solar finance program. The proposed solar finance program would be funded by the Department of Water and Power. It would allow Los Angeles to create 3% of its electricity from the sun and attract solar companies to the area to create jobs.

The program, which has been implemented in Florida and Germany, is already a success. It will encourage business owners and homeowners to install solar on their homes and commercial buildings.

All excess electricity generated can be sold back to the utility company at a set rate for the next 20 years.

Solar has already created 4,300 local jobs, but investment by the city of Los Angeles through solar financing would further propel the solar industry.

The program will be paid by the Department of Water and Power. It is estimated that the program will cost $35 million a year from its $4 billion budget. Already, the budget includes $800 million for renewable energy programs. By teaming up property owners, Los Angeles can deploy solar with this robust finance program.

Looking for Solar Finance for your business?
Contact Rich Hessler Solar 

Creative Solar Finance Options

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

The United States Recovery Act has been bolstering up solar after the 2008 market slide (due to the world-wide recession). This is partially due to new solar financing options.

Advanced Green Technologies is working hard to put solar panels in with business owners. They are offering a 0-0-3 program, no down payment and interest free for 3 months. This would allow business owners to purchase a solar system, take advantage of tax credits, and pay down the loan before interest payments begin.

Tennessee Valley AUthority proposed adding nuclear reactors, but it is warming up to solar. It created a program, TVA’s Generation Partners program, which will provide a $1,000 incentive for small solar projects. It has also guaranteed a price for buying excess electricity.

California started it’s PACE program, allowing homeowners to pay back the city for a solar installation through property taxes.

When homeowners meet specific criteria, solar can be added to a mortgage during a refinance. This will decrease interest rates and increase the return on investment (ROI) of a solar system. 

Solar finance are starting to pop up all over the United States to encourage deployment of photovoltaics. Solar panels provide renewable, reliable electricity with no emissions after production and no moving parts. They have a 20-30 year electricity production warranty (and will continue to produce electricity for decades after that).

With these types of programs, it is inevitable that the price of solar will continue to decrease as demand for cheaper renewable energy grows stronger every year.

PGE Finances SunRun Solar Installation

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

PGE Finances SunRun Solar Installation

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is planning to spend $100 million to help SunRun, a San Francisco solar company, to finance solar panel installations.

SunRun will use the money from PGE to fund more than 3,500 residential solar installations across multiple states. Unlike many solar companies, SunRun pays for solar installations up front and continues to own the system afterward. They sell the electricity produced by the solar system to the property owner.

Customer payments are split between SunRun and PGE. PGE will receive the federal tax credit for the solar installation.

Banks used to provide solar financing, but this has slowed down since the credit crisis of 2008. 

This is not the first time PGE has made this sort of agreement. Earlier this year, it agreed to make a $60 million deal with SolarCity.

SunRun plans to install solar systems in California, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. This will create jobs as the solar systems require installation and maintenance.

PGE Finances SunRun Solar Installation

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

PGE Finances SunRun Solar Installation

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is planning to spend $100 million to help SunRun, a San Francisco solar company, to finance solar panel installations.

SunRun will use the money from PGE to fund more than 3,500 residential solar installations across multiple states. Unlike many solar companies, SunRun pays for solar installations up front and continues to own the system afterward. They sell the electricity produced by the solar system to the property owner.

Customer payments are split between SunRun and PGE. PGE will receive the federal tax credit for the solar installation.

Banks used to provide solar financing, but this has slowed down since the credit crisis of 2008. 

This is not the first time PGE has made this sort of agreement. Earlier this year, it agreed to make a $60 million deal with SolarCity.

SunRun plans to install solar systems in California, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. This will create jobs as the solar systems require installation and maintenance.

Solar Financing

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Solar Financing

Using solar financing, homeowners have the option of switching to photovoltaic solar power without the necessary large up-front investments. Recently, General Motors used a solar financing model known as a solar lease to pay for a solar installation on top of a warehouse.

Here’s how solar leasing works:
– Solar contractor and customer agree on a solar installation
– The customer contracts to buy solar from the installer at a competitive rate
– Steady income stream to the installer make it possible to finance the project

This solar leasing model of solar financing has benefits for both parties.

Customers can switch to solar at competitive rates.
Eliminates up-front investment of customer.
Protects customers from future rate-hikes by utility companies

Businesses get more business.
Businesses save money by negotiating for tax incentives.

SunWize Residential Solar Finance Option

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

SunWize Residential Solar Finance Option

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010