Future solar business

Renewable Energy

A THEnergy analysis exemplarily shows the mining sector why the timing is excellent for intensive energy consumers to commit to solar and wind energy The price for crude oil is falling, and the diesel price is following. This development is triggered partly by the demand side, as China’s economy is not growing as quickly as expected. We can however see a more interesting development on the supply side. OPEC is sitting on the driver’s seat of the recent oil price tumble. The price of the OPEC basket of twelve crudes recently fell below USD 28.50 per barrel.

A dumping-like strategy by OPEC seems to be aimed at preventing long-term investment by other oil producing nations. An oil price in the twenties means hardly a dozen nations can produce oil economically. Similar consequences arise for related energy forms, such as renewables.
In solar– and wind–diesel hybrid applications, the business case consists of partly replacing expensive energy from diesel with inexpensive solar or wind energy. As diesel prices are falling, the equation seems to be no longer valid. On closer examination, we see that mining companies that typically have huge energy needs for their production processes can actually take advantage of the situation. More and more investors are willing to finance large solar and wind power plants at remote mine sites and sell diesel reductions or electricity back to miners in so-called power purchase agreements (PPAs).

When the oil prices were high, the investors were looking at much higher electricity prices in these long-term PPAs. High diesel prices gave the appearance that there was a large piece of cake to share between the mining company and the investor. In PPAs, the electricity price is often fixed over a period of 20 years or more. Many experts see oil prices recovering very quickly because, amongst other reasons, OPEC leaders such as Saudi Arabia need the revenue from oil for their national budgets. Against this background, it is obvious that it is clearly in the interest of intensive energy users, such as mining companies, to lock in low electricity prices over a long period of time. Their negotiation positions for renewable energy PPAs have improved considerably through the recent oil price drop. Clever anti-cyclical decision-making often allows for high profits in the long term. The business case for renewables at mine sites is often still very advantageous. Long-term investment decisions must take into consideration expectations about long-term developments.

“In reality, we still see that more and more renewable projects are now being developed at mine sites,quot; observes Dr. Thomas Hillig, CEO of THEnergy. “At the same time, falling oil prices appear to be slowing the project implementation. Mining companies want to see considerable cost savings immediately.” With the current oil price development, it would very often make sense to commit to long-term PPAs even if renewable energy prices can only match diesel prices. The cost savings will come in later, as soon as the oil price recovers. If mining companies wait to make their decision, it is likely that they have to pay more for electricity from renewable resources – for the whole contract duration.

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Solar fight

Big Solar Fight Breaks Out

It’s a closely watched fight with broad implications for the solar industry and the push by the Administration to go green. An Arizona utility that generates and distributes electric power in one of the country’s sun-drenched areas has asked the state’s Corporation Commission for assistance in its fight with homeowners who have installed their own solar power panels, typically on house rooftops.
Tucson Electric Power Co. asked the agency, which sets utility rates, to let it double its basic monthly service charge for residential customers, from $10 to $20 per month, as well as assess new fees, penalties, and charges on rooftop solar customers. A study done by the utility says that customers with solar panels, on average, shift $67 a month in costs to non-solar customers because they pay less for grid upkeep.

The fight has the potential to go to the courts and set standards nationwide, with environmentalists like the Sierra Club arguing solar homeowners should be able to take a free ride on a utilities’ network, while the Arizona utility argues those without solar panels will have to pay for that crowd with rate increases. Tucson Electric Power “is singling out solar customers with their proposal to increase fees – which is not only wrong, but unprecedented,” said Chad Waits, president and owner of Net Zero Solar, in a statement. “Rural customers don’t have to pay more to be connected to the grid, yet the infrastructure to take power to them costs exponentially more per customer. Winter visitors don’t have to pay more to be connected to the grid, yet their houses use minimal amounts of power while they are away during the summer.”

Waits also says: “When determining costs of solar, TEP should also recognize the value that solar adds in reducing carbon emissions, reducing line losses, and mitigating costs of building new power plants. Only then will solar customers be credited the true cost of their investments in generation capacity that TEP uses every day for free.”

The same battle is now being waged in states like Oklahoma and Utah. For instance, Utah’s Public Service Commission recently took public comment and expert testimony on how to charge utility customers a “sun tax” for their solar power use. A group of Utah customers cut their electric bills via solar power panels on their rooftops. Those solar power panels generate excess power during the day, and the customers then get credited for that power when they draw electricity at night. But the state’s biggest utility, Rocky Mountain Power said wait a second. It effectively is argued those solar customers are free-loading off the electric grid by not paying for their use of the electric grid’s fixed costs, like the wires and poles that deliver electricity to their washers and dryers. So, last summer, the utility proposed a new “sun tax” charged against solar customers to cover those costs. But the Utah Public Service Commission nixed the new tax, until further notice, asking for more analysis of the cost-benefits of rooftop solar.

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New Solar Policy

New Policy Lets You Save $100’s On Your Energy Bill Every Year
If you currently own a house and live in specific zip codes the government is giving $1000’s to each consumer to install solar panels and consumers are reducing their energy bill by as much as 70%. New subsidies and rebates help to cover huge costs associated with installation so there is significant savings for the homeowners thanks in part to companies like NationalSolarProgram.com. With as little as $0 down, you could be on your way to significantly reducing your electric bill in a matter of weeks.

So here’s the deal. You no longer have to buy solar panels, the new policy let’s you lease solar panels for as little as $0 down. Until now, solar panels cost $10’s of thousands of dollars to purchase and install and unless you were building a new home or had that much extra cash sitting around, so the cost was more than the benefit. The solar panels had to be purchased. It was impossible for companies to offer rent or lease agreements because they would lose money.
Almost a million homeowners could still save money, but sadly, most of them think this program is too good to be true. Remember, this is a free government program and there’s absolutely NO COST to see if you qualify. Our solar contractor California are ready to install the lowest solar panel cost.

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Tax credit for solar installation

Tax Credit for Solar installation

Several years ago, the New Mexico Legislature passed a new tax credit to incentivize homeowners and businesses to install solar energy systems. And it was incredibly successful. The state Energy Conservation Division estimates that more than $31 million was spent by New Mexico businesses and homeowners on solar panels and heating systems in just the past year. But, the tax credit is set to expire this year unless the Legislature takes action to renew it.
Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque, and Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, have both introduced legislation to restore the tax credits. Both bills would maintain the current benefit of as much as 10 percent of the total cost, up to $9,000, in the upcoming years, with that amount being reduced incrementally starting in the year 2019.

We have argued before, and continue to believe, that New Mexico’s tax code has far too many exemptions and credits benefiting specific special-interest groups. We believe the state would be better served by a simpler, fairer tax system without all the loopholes and special benefits. But we don’t believe that effort should start by eliminating solar tax credits. The tax credits continue to make good sense for the state on a number of levels. Maestas Barnes notes that the solar industry in New Mexico includes 98 companies that employ some 1,600 workers. And, it is a growth industry, with those numbers continuing to increase every year.

More than $140 million was invested by owners in solar panels between the years 2008 and 2014, according to state officials. On top of that, another $29 million was spent on labor to install the systems. Nearly $14 million in tax credits were issued. “These jobs are homegrown and cannot be outsourced,” Stewart noted. Increased use of solar energy has also reduced our state’s reliance on energy produced through burning either coal or natural gas, limiting the environmental damage caused by those traditional sources.

There are those who will argue that the solar energy industry does not need the same boost it did several years ago when it was still developing, and that the state should not give up the revenue that is now lost to the tax credits. Certainly, the industry has matured in recent years. But the investment to purchase a solar system is still out of reach for many New Mexicans without some kind of assistance.

The solar energy industry in New Mexico would surely survive the loss of the tax credits, but its momentum would be stalled. Fewer new companies will locate in the state, and fewer workers will be hired. We think the better option is to phase the credit out slowly and predictably over several years, as is called for in the Maestes Barnes and Stewart bills

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