We’ve all heard it before.
The benefits of adding a photovoltaic solar system to your home are innumerable, but one that you always hear is that it adds value to your home.
That should be obvious, as the systems are expensive and save tons of money, but the question of just how much value they add to your home has mostly remained unanswered, up until recently.
In conjunction with Sandia National Laboratories, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory have recently completed the largest study on the effect of solar photovoltaic systems on home values in history. Researchers more than doubled the amount of solar homes evaluated from previous studies, looking at around 22,000 home sales, 4,000 of which had PV systems. In order to open up the scope of the research, researchers also looked at eight states outside of California where solar is not as prevalent. Considering all these factors, the study is the most extensive of its kind.
The research determined that home buyers will pay about $4 per watt of installed PV, which averages out to about a $15,000 premium per home. This value is averaged based on information gathered from housing busts, booms, and recoveries, so if projections are accurate, it should remain consistent.
The next step towards achieving this standard of value for PV systems is for realtors to be able to more accurately appraise homes with systems installed. Hopefully, researchers will continue to improve valuing methods that realtors will adopt, and the value of PV systems will remain consistent and measurable.
Have you ever wondered how solar power works?
How those weird looking solar panels convert sunlight into power for your home? We at Stellar have found that many people are in the dark about how the process of using solar power for your home works, so we put together this simplified info graphic to help you understand:
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.
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.
Southern 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”