Category: Solar Value

2013 and Beyond: Future of Renewable Energy

We’re all watching as San Diego’s local government, San Diego businesses, investors and home owners are making a financial choice to go solar in San Diego. Every indication is that they will continue to do so well into the future. With evidence showing that renewables such photovoltaic solar being the way forward, we look forward to meeting these challenges in the future with our San Diego solar alliance.

But where is the San Diego solar power industry headed, or on a larger scale, where is the renewable energy industry going? According to the new Renewables Global Futures Report 2013 by the global renewable energy policy network REN-21; the future of the renewable energy industry is dependent on ‘finance, risk-return profiles, business models, investment lifetimes and a host of other economic, policy and social factors.’

Okay, this is perhaps a standard bit of insight that is largely applicable to any other industry. Still, it’s worth examining this and other reports to understand what is in store for renewables in 2013 and beyond. Examining the final quarter of 2012, the latest Energy Industries Council Monitor report found that the renewable energy sector grew by 9%. Additionally, there were 295 new projects in the renewable sector worth around $165.3 billion in the latter half of 2012.

Contrasted with the power sector which saw new projects drop by 14%; an even stronger renewable sector picture is painted. Further, investors more than doubled their renewable energy sector investment in 2012, accounting for a third of renewable value last year generated by ever diverse groups of buyers. PwC global power and utilities leader Norbert Schwieters stated that outside investors now account for ‘37% of industry buyer share, attracted by long-term growth and steady-return potential.’

REN-21’s report further found that ‘finance challenge’ is the primary challenge. This can be met with greater external investment and investment models created by local government, services, and utilities. REN-21 also made projections of a massive $500 billion renewable energy investment by 2020. This is all highly encouraging to both the San Diego solar energy scene and the renewable energy industry in general. We’re excited to be a part of it.

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Electric Vehicles: The USA’s New Normal

minipanelsThe Stellar Solar Nissan Leaf parked under the SDG&E Innovation Center Solar Trees

Here at Stellar we’ve always been big proponents of electric and hybrid vehicles; with many of our employees and customers driving and thriving on electric vehicles powered by the sun.

Vice President of Sales & Marketing Michael Powers drives the Nissan Leaf, the world’s strongest selling electric car. Take a look at Peder Norby; San Diego Planning Commisioner and a Stellar Solar customer. The Norby’s power their BMW Mini-E, ActiveE as well as his home with his 7.5kW solar system we installed. They save $4000 a year in home electricity cost as well as over $3000 in gasoline costs.

When you look at the economics, it’s no doubt that electric car sales have tripled in size from 2012 from 2011. According to Pike Research, the USA will have the biggest electric vehicle market by 2020; with 1.8 million electric cars on the road. Charging networks are increasing in top metropolitan areas in the United States, even including places like Texas; the 4th most popular place for favorable EV opinion. With attitudes, education and infrastructure on electric vehicles changing, we look forward to participating in the evolution towards environmentally friendly vehicles.

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World’s Biggest Solar Project: Coming Soon to Southern California

buffetcommercial pinterestSouthern California’s Kern and Los Angeles counties are set to have the largest solar project in the world. At 579-megawatts, the development will be serving almost 1 million residents. It’s been reported that MidAmerican Energy Holdings, an electric utility owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet’s group, for around $2 to $2.5 billion.

Construction finishes in 2015, employing about 650 workers and selling electricity to Southern California Edison. The project is a step in the right direction for California’s goal of 33% of electricity being renewable based by 2020.

California businesses and residents can easily be a part of the renewable shift. Our clients such as the Salk Institute have gone solar and are reaping the economic rewards whilst providing their facilities with clean, green energy. Home owners in California now have access to no-money down solar leasing that immediately saves you money as well as providing added-value to your home.

 

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A Stellar Holiday Gift List

If you’re a fan of this blog, chances are that you and many of your friends are fans of solar & green energy. If you’re looking for some holiday reading or are looking for a gift for your friends in the industry, be sure to check out some of the new solar books being talked about this season.

In “Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy — and Our Planet — from Dirty Energy” by Danny Kennedy you can find a new take on the case for going solar as well as a list of action plans and activities at the end of each chapter.

The 2nd book is “Clean Break: The Story of Germany’s Energy Transformation and What Americans Can Learn from It” by Osha Gray Davidson. The book is the story of how Germany embraced clean energy and the informative low-down on their hugely successful feed-in-tariff. It’s available on kindle for .99¢, quite the festive bargain.

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Solar Gatherings Gaining Popularity Across Country

Solar companies these days are taking one out of the Tupperware playbook. Often times, the best sales people are the often eager customers who are willing to share their positive experiences with friends and neighbors. Solar gatherings allow home owners to show off their new solar systems while installers have an opportunity to spread the word on the economic benefits of going green.

People are often excited to share how they managed to cut their electricity bills with green energy and will be keen to collect any referral fees offered by the companies. These Solar installers are also excited to share how going solar doesn’t necessarily have to limited to those with a large amount of discretionary capital. New programs such as solar leasing, which allows home owners to install a system on their home for no money down and a monthly lease payment typically around half their current electricity bill.

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The Stellar Pinterest

Stellar Solar is now on Pinterest, the popular photo sharing website. We’re using the site to showcase some of our favorite solar energy installations as well as share our pictures of our cool solar projects. We’ll also upload and share info for those who appreciate renewable energy design and want to learn more about going green!

Check out our Pinterest account here.

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The Next Level of Solar Mapping

MIT’s Sustainability Design Lab has created a new mapping tool that shows the 17,000 rooftops of Cambridge, Massachusetts from the sun’s point of view. This enables the map to give an evaluation of the potential for solar; spotting out rooftops that are shaded by trees or buildings as well as those facing the wrong direction. This tool can even translate the solar potential into a financial cost, payback period, carbon emissions reduction, and the calculations of the equivalent amount how many trees you would plant or fewer miles you’d drive.

Check out more photographs of the mapping tool here. If this piques your interest, check out our page how solar power works and how you can go solar energy with the zero-down solar lease!

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Stellar’s Finest: 30 under 30 County Leader

Stellar Solar Service Manager & System Designer Evan Parent was selected as one of the 30 under 30 San Diego County Leaders. As regional director for the California Young Democrats, was elected to the 2012 DNC this summer. Evan plans to continue his involvement in activism with an emphasis on renewable energy.

When asked for advice for young people, he said: “Being a leader is not about who you hang out with, what organizations you’ve paid dues to, or what ‘leadership’ classes you’ve taken. Being a leader is about setting an example for those around you. It is about who you are as a person, and what you do as that person.”

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What Red & Blue States… They’re All Going Green…!

The Wall Street Journal has just reported, as we’ve always said, partisan politics simply doesn’t apply to solar energy. The sector’s job growth backed up by the masive growth of green jobs in so called “red” states led by numerous high profile Republican Governors indicates federal politicians shouldn’t dismiss this important sector of the economy.

The latest influential report ‘Red, White & Green: The True Colors of America’s Clean Tech Jobs’ by DBL Investors has highlighted growth of green jobs in red states, some 2.7 million clean tech jobs and counting across the country. One of the more interesting finds of the report conclude that green jobs are growing the most rapidly in less populated red states. Additionally, red states are in the lead for largest proportions of clean tech jobs in the total workforce. Not to discount ‘blue’ states, many of which hold the most green and solar energy jobs by the numbers.

Moving forward from the red-blue comparison, green technology and solar energy is simply no longer political. With national support for renewable energy moving state-by-state, businesses and home owners are looking at going green as an economic motive more so than political or even environmental. Check out the Wall Street Journal article right here. Stellar Solar is featured in the picture on at the top of the article.

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It’s Time to Run those Numbers Again


Green energy is growing in the USA- it’s doubled in only four years to a whole 6% of our electricity coming straight from renewable sources. Unfortunately for the industry, press has highlighted the bust of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra and paint green energy as a selfless rather than financially prudent endeavor. This tied with the cost of panels lowering due to the ‘China effect’, the plight of western manufacturers at first may seem to be a cause for concern.

However, these manufacturing sector problems are not necessarily a problem for the renewable sector. Students of business industry would note that mature industries often lack many large players and that solar cell manufacturers are only 3% of the 100,000 jobs US solar sector jobs. The solar business is growing at 30% per year and installers that sell and service solar count as the fastest growing players in the business.

Once technologies have matured, chances are doublings are bound to happen. If the industry grew only 19% in four years, a doubling would occur. With just three doublings the renewable sector would provide over 50% of electricity needs in the United States. Even struggling economies such as Portugal have transformed their electric grid to 45% renewable in five years. Strong players such as Germany have generated 50% of their electricity needs solely from solar power… as of this may! In less than one year this is on track to be 70%.

The industry is set to snowball from growth to growth, and with power purchasing agreements such as the SunPower lease people can go solar for no money down and halve their electric bill. For those in doubt about the payback on going green- these days would typically look at a payback of just 4-7 years.  For those naysayers out there, we would suggest it’s time to run those numbers again.

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