Welcome to the
Run on Sun Monthly Newsletter

In this Issue:

August, 2011

Volume: 2 Issue: 8

Solar Install: Step-by-Step

No doubt you have thought about installing a solar power system at your home or business but perhaps you were a bit confused about the process - how long would it take, how much disruption at your site would there be while the system was installed, and so on.

Well this post is for you - stick with us and we will walk you through the entire process, step-by-step.

Preliminary Steps...

The first step for any installation starts with an analysis of your electric usage. We will review your bills - you might be surprised at what is hiding there - and use that to understand how big a system you would need. Once that analysis is complete, we will schedule an appointment to come to your site.

typical customer bill

When we come to your site - home or business - we will start by looking at your service panel. According to the electrical code, we can install a breaker for the solar power system that is 20% of your service panel's bus rating (normally the same as the value of the "main" breaker). Which means that if you have a 200 Amp service, we can install a 40 Amp breaker to handle the solar power system. On a residential system, we will need a breaker that covers two slots (making it a 240 Volt breaker) so we may need to move some things around to make it all work. In some cases, the client may need to upgrade their service panel.

Inspection starts on the ground

As you can see, this service panel is crowded, but we can make it work. We will also need to make sure that there is sufficient wall space for whatever equipment we will need to mount near the service panel - at a minimum an AC disconnect (so the utility can lock the system off if they need to for safety reasons).

Next we check out the roof and take photos for a pathfinder analysis

The story continues on our blog, you can read it here...

“The first step for any installation starts with an analysis of your electric usage...”

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LADWP Solar Incentive Program Relaunched

On August 2 we received word that LADWP had gotten approval to relaunch their residential Solar Incentive Program (SIP) starting September 1, 2011.

We have their complete August 2, 2011 press release on our blog - here is the opening:

LADWP to Relaunch Solar Incentive Program with Revised Incentive Levels and Streamlined Customer Service

Applications Will Be Accepted Starting Sept. 1, 2011, 10:00 AM
FY 2011-12 Budget Expanded to $60 Million

LOS ANGELES – Under a plan approved by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners today, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will relaunch its Solar Incentive Program (SIP) next month with double the budget for the next three years, a faster and more transparent customer experience, and revised incentive levels that are more in line with market pricing and allow greater participation...

Read the rest of the story here...

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Will the Debt Deal Derail Solar?

The recently signed debt deal is about to create the greatest competition for federal budget dollars ever seen. How will that impact renewable energy in general and solar power in particular? The exact answer is still anyone's guess, but if the predictions in a recent Politico article are accurate, the future is far from rosy for solar tax credits.

will commercial solar projects lose their tax credits due to debt deal? As most folks know, Congress approved and President Obama signed a debt deal that raised the so-called debt "ceiling" - thereby preventing the federal government from defaulting on its obligations - but requiring off-setting spending cuts. In the short term solar tax credits came through unscathed.

That's the good news, and that will likely last through the end of this year. But a "Super Committee" will be created to put forward a host of new measures to cut the deficit by an additional $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. Since Republicans refuse to consider revenue increases, where will the necessary cuts fall?

The Politico article quotes Republican strategist Mike McKenna who says:

"They’ve set up a structure in which the Republicans are going to have maximum incentive to blow up loopholes and credits because the other choice is to cut defense,” he said. “So this is where all the mayhem on energy tax credits is going to get done."

Oil and gas subsidies would also be potentially on the chopping block - but there can be no doubt that those industries will have much more money to spend to preserve their decades-old tax favors.

President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu have previously voiced strong support for federal incentives to spur on renewable energy sources, including solar. The question is, when push comes to shove, will they and the other supporters of renewables have the political will to save those programs from the budget axe? Given that Spring has turned into Summer which is headed rapidly toward Fall with no sign of a promised solar power system showing up on the White House, solar fans are apprehensive, at best.

“Republicans are going to have maximum incentive to blow up loopholes and credits because the other choice is to cut defense... So this is where all the mayhem on energy tax credits is going to get done.”

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