09:17:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 442 words  
Categories: Climate Change

Of Unicorns and Climate Change Deniers

Unicorns are a charming fantasy; mythical creatures from a world that never was.

climate deniers believe in unicorns

But to activists trying to bring reason to the Climate Change debate, Unicorns are just as real as the world inhabited by climate change deniers.  Noting that “one good fantasy deserves another,” yesterday, activists awarded Unicorn shaped statues to 135 members of Congress who deny that the climate is changing and that human activities are the cause.

Sadly, such mockery is well deserved.  Look at this collection of jaw-dropping quotes collected just from members of the California Congressional delegation:

The earth cools, the earth warms…It could be caused by carbon dioxide or methane. Maybe we should kill the cows to stop the methane, or stop breathing to stop the CO2…Thousands of people die every year of cold, so if we had global warming it would save lives…We ought to look out for people. The earth can take care of itself.

Rep. Duncan Hunter

One of the difficulties in examining the issue of the climate change and greenhouse gases is that there is a wide range of scientific opinion on this issue and the science community does not agree to the extent of the problem or the critical threshold of when this problem is truly catastrophic.

Rep. Darrell Issa

We’re all told of course the debate is over and that all the scientists agree… and as all of you know, that is succinctly [sic] not the case.

Rep. Tom McClintock

However, scientists admit that they cannot be sure whether the Earth’s temperature is rising due to cyclical warming and cooling processes, or whether and how much humans are influencing it.

Rep. Devin Nunes

Too often, when congress is asked to pass environmental legislation, the legislation is based on emotional junk science rather than data based on reproducible, rigorous, tested, peer-reviewed results. In no area has this been more obvious than climate change. Because the Kyoto Treaty and much of the suggested environmental legislation would decimate jobs in southern California, constituents may be interested to learn of the growing scientific consensus that global warming is not manmade, if it is in fact even occurring.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

Wow.  And because a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s some highlights (er, lowlights) of these wizards of Fantasyland in action:

Fortunately, we have our own antidote to this brand of concentrated stupidity.  It is called solar energy and it is a great way to do your part in reducing our carbon footprint, making the world a better place for our children to inherit.  Give us a call today and let’s start moving toward a cleaner world, no matter what the deniers say.



  09:17:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 1062 words  
Categories: SCE, Residential Solar, Ranting

Yet Another Solar Hurdle from SCE

SCE logoOne of the greatest impediments to continuing to drive down the cost of solar are so-called “soft cost” - the nickels and dimes extracted from solar companies by nit-picking regulations and hoops that we are forced to jump through to get permits, inspections and interconnections accomplished.  Now SCE has added yet another pointless hurdle that is simply designed to drive up the soft-costs for larger residential installs - but the question is, why?

On Friday we got a notice from SCE about the latest revision to their Net Metering Interconnection Handbook and calling attention to changes in their requirements for what is known as a “line-side tap.” Now to explain why this is an issue, please bear with me as this gets a bit technical.

Normally, when we install a residential solar power system, the power comes down from the roof, to a “solar only” subpanel, to a disconnect with a performance meter and then “lands” on a circuit breaker in your main electrical panel.  Most recently built or remodeled homes in our service area have 200 Amp services which means that according to the National Electrical Code we cannot attach a larger breaker for solar than a 40 Amp breaker because the sum of all power sources feeding the bus bar that runs through your service panel cannot exceed the rating of that bus by more than 20%.  Assuming that you have a 200 Amp main breaker, then your bus is already fed to the 200 Amp rating by the utility.  That leaves 20% beyond the 200 Amps rating for solar and that gets you to the 40 Amp limit.  (There are exceptions to this, but that is the general rule.)  But the code limits us further since a circuit breaker intended for continuous operation has to be derated to 80% of its listed value.  Which means that my 40 Amp breaker becomes a 32 Amp breaker for continuous use (defined as a source where the maximum current is expected to last for three hours or more).  Since residential systems are running at 240 volts, that limits the maximum AC power of a residential solar power system to 7.68 kW.

Now that is rarely much of a limitation since the overwhelming majority of residential systems are smaller than that.  But what about those that aren’t?  What about the household that has two EVs (we have such clients) and lots of roof space?  How can they interconnect a larger system if the Code won’t allow a breaker larger than 40 Amps?

The answer is a line-side tap.  When you use a line-side tap, you avoid connecting to the service panel bus at all.  Instead, you tap onto the wires feeding your service between your meter and your main breaker.  This satisfies the Code and works just fine but it is a more complicated means of interconnecting your solar power system.  As a result, SCE has required that systems that call for a line-side tap have a Professional Engineer review and approve the single-line drawing (SLD) that shows how the interconnection will be made.  This adds to the cost of the system - PE’s have to make a living, too - but most installers have accepted that as a reasonable cost to insure safety.

But now SCE is requiring that in addition to submitting a PE-stamped as approved SLD, we must also submit a form letter, signed by the local Authority Having Jurisdiction, approving what we are going to do before it is done.  Now what is the point of that?  After all, before we can commence work we need to pull a permit, which means that the AHJ will have reviewed our site plan and SLD and deemed it acceptable.  Once the project is complete, again we have to interact with the AHJ, having them come out to our job site and inspect our work.  It isn’t as if we were trying to slip something past the AHJ.

So what is the point of this exercise?

Here is an excerpt from SCE’s letter that they are asking us to get the AHJ to sign:

If customer choses [sic] to continue to interconnect the generating facility on the source side of the customer’s main circuit breaker (tapping ahead of the main as defined by SCE), SCE must insure that the interconnection facilities continues to meet SCE’s safety requirements. Therefore in order for SCE to accept the modified equipment, SCE will require that this letter be signed by the inspecting authority. The Inspector for the AHJ acknowledges the following:

1. That the existing customer switchgear has been altered to allow the interconnection of the generating facility to the source side of the customer’s main breaker.

2. That the altered customer switchgear continues to meet UL certification requirements or that the modified equipment has been recertified for its new configuration.

3. That the modified equipment meets all the required NEC code requirements.

To reiterate, SCE considers the modification of the switchgear to be a safety issue and thus in order for SCE to approve the proposed generating facility, SCE must receive verification of UL and NEC compliance from the local inspecting authority prior to approving the generating facility for interconnection to SCE’s distribution system. It should be noted that in addition to this endorsed letter from the inspecting authority, the customer must comply with existing requirements including P.E stamped Single Line, plot plan, equipment requirement, etc.

Now in the first place, as a general proposition this really isn’t a modification to the switchgear (i.e., your service panel) at all.  Instead, this typically consists of clamping on to the existing feeder wires coming into the service - the switchgear isn’t touched.  But how many AHJs are going to be willing to sign this document - particularly when the utility themselves is now declaring this to be a safety issue?  How much iteration is going to be required between the installer’s PE and the AHJ to convince them to sign onto this letter?  And isn’t that the entire point of having the PE stamp the drawing to begin with?  The PE’s stamp is her way of saying that the proposed plan is safe and complies with the Code.

In our view this is nothing more than an attempt by SCE to complicate the process of installing larger residential systems and to drive up our costs to do so.  We have requested comment from SCE about their justification for this new policy - if we hear anything we will update this post.


  07:23:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 1940 words  
Categories: Ranting, 2013

Outliers & Oddities - State of SoCal Solar 2013 - Part 3

Ok, listen up - you know who you are, you Outliers and Oddities - but now it is time for everyone else to learn your deep, dark secrets as we name names and tell all - at least all that can be told from the CSI data!  Grab your popcorn and let’s dive in, shall we?  (If you overlooked Part 1 of this series you might want to check it out to recall our Methodology.)


In looking at Outliers we focus on the Residential market since there is greater potential for consumers in that space to be exploited.  After all, if you are building a 500 kW commercial project and you don’t do your homework, well, shame on you.  But folks in the Residential space are more likely to be exposed to high-pressure sales tactics and other forms of abuse.

Another reason for looking at Residential systems is that the size range is very narrow: from 1 kW to 10 kW.  That limits the amount of cost variance you would expect to find (and we found) if you were looking at larger systems.  So the data here consists of Residential projects, both purchased and leased, but excluding MASH and delisted projects.  This subset of the larger overall data set consists of 454 companies, 13,619 projects with a total capacity of 75.8 MW and an average cost of $5.84/W.

(Full disclosure, projects by Run on Sun came in at $4.78/W - proving that sometimes you can save money when you go with the best! But I digress…)

Companies in this subset varied between having just one project in the data (152 companies appear only once) to SolarCity which has a whopping 2,326 projects.

To make any meaningful comparisons we have limited the companies in this analysis to just the very largest players.  Whereas last year we made that cut at 500 kW installed or more, today that filter still includes too many companies to readily compare, so this year we set the bar at an even 1 MW.  Even at that threshold, we still have 15 companies on this list. Surely companies that large can afford to pass along their savings to their customers, right?

Here’s what we found:

Installers by cost - 1H2013Reducing our sample size in this way brought the number of projects down to 8,555 (62.8% of the total), total installed capacity to 45.6 MW (60.2%) and average cost down to $5.82/W.  This last point is news since in the past, the average cost for the largest group was actually greater than the overall average.  Not this year.

The next thing to notice is that SolarCity - the largest player in this field with 28.9% more projects than their closest competitor, Verengo - now is right smack on average at $5.82/W.  It would appear that at least for CSI purposes, their cost data is no longer an outlier (though it may still be Odd - more on that later).  However, their smaller competitor Verengo (at least as measured in this data) once again beat them on price.

On the low end of the scale, Petersen-Dean has snagged the crown from two-time low cost leader HelioPower - and they did it by far, being the only company to show a price below $5/W.  Nicely done!

True Outliers Strike Again

Which leaves us with the high end.  The first thing to note here is that the industry seems to have cleaned up its act a bit from what we had found last year and the year before.  According to the data, the highest price charged has dropped from $13.32 in 2011 (49% above the 2011 average of $8.91) to $10.50 in 2012 (45% above the average of $7.23) to our present $7.50 (29% above our average today of $5.82).  So the data has really flattened out and our extremes just aren’t as extreme any more.

And yet, if relatively tiny Run on Sun, with no economy of scale going for it, can bring our projects in at $4.78/W, what is the possible justification for charging, on average, and over hundreds of installs, a price that is more than 50% higher than ours?

CSI’s cost cap as of today is $7.10/W for the Residential program.  That means that two companies, GCI Solar and American Solar Direct, are averaging costs that exceed the CSI cap.  American Solar Direct is huge - they have 675 projects in the data (ranking them third) accounting for a capacity of 2.6 MW (ranking them fourth).  And yet with all of that size - more than twice as many projects as cost leader Petersen-Dean - they are still $1.29 above the average!

And what can we say of GCI Solar?  That is the DBA of Killion Energy, Inc. which happens to be located at 15261 Connector Lane in Huntington Beach.  But somehow that DBA seemed awfully familiar.  And guess what, adjacent to 15261 Connector Lane is 15262 Pipeline Lane which is the home of perennial outlier, Galkos Construction.  Could these be one and the same, just with a subtle name change?  In the end, it doesn’t really matter - bottom line, $7.50/W is just too much for a large company to be charging.

Caveat emptor.

Not So Fast

Solar companies can also be outliers in ways other than cost - most notoriously, how long do they take to complete their projects.  To take a look at that, we limited our data to Residential projects that also showed a First Completed Date in the data.  We then averaged the number of days to complete projects as measured by the difference between the First Completed Date and the First New Reservation Request Date.  Needless to say, that yields a smaller number of projects, so we lowered our threshold to 500 kW  installed for inclusion on our list.  Our new “time-to-complete” list includes seventeen companies, 4,865 projects and an installed capacity of 25.9 MW.  Surely these folks must have their operational act together, right?

Here’s what we found:

Not so fast - average install time for major installers 1H2013The first thing we note is that, depressingly, the amount of time that it takes on average to get a project completed has gone up - from 157 days last year to 166 days now (a 5.7% increase).  We are getting bigger, but as a whole, we are getting slower - not a trend designed to please consumers.

But some companies have improved significantly - most dramatically, SolarCity, going from 212 days last year to just 157 now - a 26% improvement, and comfortably below the overall average.  Verengo, which actually has more completed projects in this data than does SolarCity, also improved from 134 days last year to 122 this year.  One surprise - GCI Solar, our most expensive installer, was also the fastest of any of these companies to complete a project, taking just 115 days on average.

And then there is Elite Electric.  Frankly we have no idea what is going on here but 320 days, on average, to complete a project is just plain crazy.

Last year we derived a somewhat novel metric for looking more closely at the impact of delay times in the overall industry.  We called it System-Years of Delay, or SYD, which is the product of the total number of systems installed by a company times their difference in average days to install compared to the overall average, divided by 365.  Thus companies that do better than average end up with a positive number, scaled by their impact on the industry in terms of the number of systems they installed, whereas laggards get a negative number, similarly scaled.  We see this as an indication of whether a company is propelling the industry forward, or dragging it backward.

Here are our results for the data from this year (some companies that are grouped around the average are omitted for clarity):

System-Years of Delay 2013As it did last year, Verengo continues to pull the industry forward and by a wider margin this year than before (172 compared to 111).  Last year’s laggard, SolarCity, is now moving things in the right direction.  But Sungevity continues to impede progress as do Burke Electric and Elite Electric.

Looking at this another way, assume that a system will produce, on average, 5 kWh/day for every 1 kW installed.  Then the delay caused by these laggard companies ends up having real environmental impacts since we are missing out on their energy production for every day that they are completed beyond the overall average.  Collectively, that amounts to more than 3 GWh of clean energy that were not produced and an additional 997 tons of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.


Which brings us to the Oddities section of this post.

In the past two years we found something really odd in how SolarCity was pricing its systems, at least as it was reported in CSI data.  We had noted back in 2011 that SolarCity’s price for its leased systems was far, far beyond the price it was citing for purchased systems, and far beyond what its competitor, Verengo was reporting.  Then last year we discovered that the two competitors were now charging exactly the same thing for leased systems and that meant that SolarCity’s price had plummeted in just a short time.  Going back and looking at all projects across the state resulted in this, rather startling graph:

SolarCity's prices over timeSo now that SolarCity’s IPO has come and gone, what are they - and Verengo - charging for leased systems?  (We are excluding sold systems because they are really a de minimus share of either company’s business.) Here’s the cost data for installed, Residential projects, along with linear trend lines:

Installed costs plus trend - solarcity vs verengo - 1h2013Interestingly, at the beginning of the year, SolarCity was actually reporting a lower cost than was Verengo.  But as the year has gone on, SolarCity’s cost has crept upward - not by a lot, but the trend upward is clear.  In contrast, Verengo’s costs have come down and their trend is equally clear.

Once again, Verengo follows a trajectory that mirrors the rest of the industry, while SolarCity pursues a course uniquely its own.  Perhaps that is no longer odd, but to be expected.

PsomasFMG Rules the Delist

Finally, we return to the strange case of that Ruler of the Delist - PsomasFMG.

In Part 1 we wrote about delisted projects. One company, PsomasFMG, LLC, had an astounding 79% of all of its projects end up being cancelled and thus ended up being “Delisted".  That’s 33 projects with a total capacity of 8.6 MW - or more than 260 kW apiece.  We thought that this was odd indeed and decided to look a little more closely at what was going on here.  (H/T Imogen!)

Of the 33 delisted projects, all of their rebate applications were submitted in a four day window between January 25 and 29, 2013.  All but one of those projects were submitted under rebate step 8b; the last one, on the 29th, missed the cutoff and fell to step 9b (it was later withdrawn). The 32 projects submitted under the higher rebate rate were apparently for Government entities in the cities of Pomona (29) and Diamond Bar (3).  (We have searched for news accounts announcing those projects but so far have turned up nothing.)

All 32 of these projects submitted under rebate step 8b were cancelled by SCE for failure to pay the CSI-mandated application fee by the due date.  Under the CSI Guidelines, non-residential projects that are larger than 10 kW are required to pay an application fee, based on the size of the project, to secure their rebate reservation (see section  Thus, to secure rebate reservations for these 32 projects that PsomasFMG submitted, they or their customers would have had to pony up $250,000 within 30 days of submitting the initial application.  The rebate reservations at issue here were worth nearly $3.9 million - which sounds like a pretty good investment: pay out $250,000 to secure $3.9 million.  But it never happened, and the applications were all cancelled.

So while we know why the applications became delisted - failure to pay the rebate application fee by the deadline - we still do not know why the company was submitting so many applications in such a narrow window of time that all ended up being cancelled.  Odd indeed.


  01:09:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 1469 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, 2013

Who's Hot and Who's Not?
The State of SoCal Solar 2013 - Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we laid out our methodology and identified some trends in the CSI data for the first half of 2013.  Here in Part 2 we are going to see who is hot and who’s not as we continue to assess the State of SoCal Solar, 2013.

For this analysis, we left out projects from the MASH program.  We also excluded delisted projects but included both pending and completed.  That leaves a total of 13,946 projects overall for these analyses.

Top Solar Module Manufacturers

We begin by looking at the leading solar module manufacturers as evidenced in the SoCal market.  We break this down by Residential and Commercial market segments and we will also look at sold versus third-party owned systems.

There are two ways to look at who’s on top - by number of projects using a particular manufacturer’s product or by total number of modules being used - we will report both stats.  (One caveat - CSI data allows for up to seven different module manufacturers to be associated with any one project.  However, for this analysis, we are only looking at the first manufacturer listed.  There is not a great loss of visibility from this choice; out of 13,946 total projects, 13,824 - or 99% - only specified one module manufacturer.)

Oh, and of some note, one particularly infamous module manufacturer is nowhere to be seen in the data - Recom - and how fitting is that?

Residential Market

In the Residential market segment, there are 13,619 total projects and 90 different solar module manufacturers represented (compared to 97 last year), accounting for some 337,476 modules being designated (compared to 228,372 last year - an increase of 47.7%).  Only 16 manufacturers managed to capture more than 1% of the total modules used (compared to 15 last year) - here they are:

Residential market module winners

Yingli Energy from China has snatched the top spot from SunPower (last year’s champ) even though SunPower continues to hold the edge in total number of projects using their products.  Sadly, Sanyo - now owned by Panasonic - did not even crack this list, reaching just 7/10 of 1% of the total.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Those are the results overall but does it matter whether you slice the data by purchased versus leased systems?  Indeed it does.  For purchased systems, beleaguered German module maker SolarWorld grabs the lead with 13% of all sales (10,411 units) followed by SunPower 12% (9,643 units), Canadian Solar 10% (7,396 units), SMX Capital 10% (7,912 units) and Sharp 5.6% (4,453 units).  For leased (i.e., third-party owned) systems the leaders shift again: Yingli Energy recaptures first place with 22% (56,843 units) followed by Trina Solar 20.7% (53,375 units), SunPower 19.1% (49,149 units), REC Solar 9.6% (24,718 units) and LG Electronics 7% (18,066 units).

As for specific models, here are the top ten:

Top ten module models residential market


Trina Solar breaks through with four of the top ten models (although two are functionally the same). But this year SunPower has the most specified module model in the Residential market as designated in the CSI data!

Commercial Market

Turning to the Commercial market, 48 different manufacturers are represented in the data (down from 60 a year ago), accounting for the sales of 291,227 modules (down from 350,360 last year - a drop of 17%). Showing greater diversity at the top of the heap than in the Residential market, some 21 different manufacturers made it above the 1% of sales threshold.  Here they are:

Commercial solar modules by salesMEMC Singapore takes the lead over SunPower, selling 40,830 units compared to SunPower’s 37,858 - despite SunPower having a clear advantage in the number of projects for which they were selected (10.4% compared to MEMC’s 6.4%).

So who is MEMC Singapore?  We had never heard of them before - and they did not crack the 1% mark in last year’s analysis.  Turns out MEMC Singapore is a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. - which also owns SunEdison.  We found this news report from last April indicating that Fox Energy - the PV arm of Foxconn Technology (of iPhone fame) - had entered into an agreement with MEMC Singapore for Fox to manufacture up to 350 MW of solar modules at a facility in Juarez, Mexico - for SunEdison.  Indeed, according to the data, SunEdison is the solar company using these modules.

Meanwhile, last year’s leader - Suntech - fell to fourth place this year as it deals with insolvency.

As for the most popular commercial solar module models, here are the top five: SunPower’s SPR-327NE (31,366 units), MEMC Singapore MEMC-M315 (23,554 units), Schuco USA MPE 240 (11,583 units), Suniva OPT315 (11,179 units) and Trina Solar TSM-240 (10,162 units).

Top Inverter Manufacturers

Analyzing inverter sales is a bit different since many projects have multiple inverters and, in the case of systems with microinverters there is one inverter per solar module.  So it is not too revealing to report that Enphase sold 17 times as many inverters as its nearest rival, Power-One.  Instead, as we did last year, we will look at this by the percentage of projects that designated a particular manufacturer’s product as Inverter #1 in the data.

Residential Market

Twenty-nine manufactures are represented in the data (up from 24 last year), but only 7 exceeded 1% of projects (down from 8 last year).  Here they are:

Residential inverters - 2013Hottest of the hot is Power-One with 31.5% of all residential projects (up from just 16% last year!), followed by Enphase at 26.5% (up from 21%), SMA at 16.3% (down from 31%), SunPower at 10.4% (down from 16%), and Fronius at 7.9% (down from 10%) rounding out the top five.

In the past SMA has observed, correctly, that you must add-in the market share from SunPower since those are all SMA inverters re-branded for SunPower.  True in the past, but somewhat less so today.  Looking at the specific inverter models designated under SunPower shows that only 8.3% of SunPower’s 10.4% share is attributable to SMA, with the rest going to inverters made by Fronius and AC modules (which use SolarBridge microinverters).

Once again, does the data change significantly if we compare sold versus leased systems?  It does indeed - in the sold category, Enphase dominates with 41.7% compared to SMA at 18.5%, Power-One at 13.3%, SunPower at 8.3% and SolarEdge at 6.1%.  For leased systems we get: Power-One at 36.9%, Enphase at 22.1%, SMA at 15.7%, SunPower at 11% and Fronius at 8.6%.

Commercial Market

Turning to the Commercial market, 19 manufacturers are found in the data, with 13 of them holding more than 1% market share.  Here they are:

Commercial inverter market share - 1h2013Wow - now that is a surprise: Enphase has taken over the Number 1 spot!  Enphase jumped to 13.2% of commercial projects with Power-One right behind at 12.5%, SatCon (last year’s leader but now in bankruptcy) at 11.6%, SMA at 10.7% and Fronius at 10.1% rounding out the top five.

As SatCon dropped 15%, someone had to pick up the slack and it appears that Enphase got the lion’s share - moving up 9% from last year.  Here’s your overall hot/not hot chart:

Hot/not hot - commercial inverters 1h2013

Popular Pairings

The data would suggest that we could have nearly 3,200 different pairings of module and inverter manufactures, but in reality, the combinations that actually occur are far fewer.  Here are the most popular pairings in the data overall:

module-inverter pairings - 1h2013

Collectively, these top five pairings account for just under 45% of all projects in the data, and SunPower continues to demonstrate the joy of vertical integration - but its advantage isn’t as strong as it was last year when its pairings accounted for over 19% of all projects.  As would be expected by its hot performance overall in the inverter category, Power-One was part of the leading pair for three manufacturers and Enphase cracked the top five with REC Solar.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?

Now let’s see what these products are commanding in price.  We will look across all projects (excluding delisted and MASH) to see what panels are involved with systems commanding the highest $/W.  Here are our results:

Price solar modulesKeep in mind that the overall average cost was just $5.24/W - and yet we have modules being used in project at two to three times as much.  Nor are the majority of these what you would call top-tier manufacturers - confirming once again, that spending a lot of money is no guarantee of getting quality in return.

Interestingly, the Sun Energy panels at the top of this list were also at the top of the list last year - only the system cost has actually increased from $16.02 to $16.38/W!

Who Uses What?

Finally, we shift our emphasis from equipment manufacturers to look at who is installing what.  Here’s a list of all installation companies with 100 or more projects and the modules and inverters they use the most:

Who uses what? CSI 1H2013Couple things of note here.  First, SolarCity has taken the number 1 spot from Verengo and by a comfortable margin. Second, SMA doesn’t crack this list until the 10th ranked installer.  Meanwhile, Power-One has four in the top ten and Enphase has three with Fronius making the top ten twice.

Altogether, overall inverter leader Power-One was the preferred vendor for 7 installers (average loyalty 58%), Enphase was preferred by 8 installers (loyalty 87%), Fronius by 2 (loyalty 74%), SMA by 4 (loyalty 58%) and SunPower by 3 (loyalty 59%).

Collectively, the 24 companies on this chart accounted for 9,805 of the projects in the overall data set - 70.3%.  But did that volume lead to better prices for their clients?  We will try to answer that question - and possibly raise a few more - in our next post: Outliers & Oddities.


  11:12:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 238 words  
Categories: Solar Decathlon - 2013

Solar Install at USC's fluxHome

Last Monday we joined the USC Solar Decathlon team to finish the solar power installation.  We installed 34 Enphase Energy M215 microinverters and 34 Bosch 265 Watt solar modules.  We got some pics and we wanted to share them with you.

The first challenge was to get the Bosch panels to the roof where the Enphase microinverters were waiting.  One fork lift later and that problem was solved:

going up via fork liftActually, as there were two pallets of solar panels, we got to repeat this particular exercise twice!

Once our panels were staged on the roof, we were ready to go:

Ready to installThe USC team benefited from kind donations of all of their solar equipment: modules from Bosch, racking from Unirac and the microinverters from Enphase.  In this photo you can see all three, ready for final installation.  Labor - from Run on Sun and other contractors - has also been donated, helping the Team make fluxHome a reality despite a tight budget.

Before actually installing a module, we always take time to test it:

testing a bosch solar module before installation Not surprisingly, all of our solar modules tested good and we could begin the methodical process of installing.

panel going inAfter several hours on the bright, white roof, the team of Chris, Allain and Tyler, was able to look over a good day’s work.

solar installation complete at USC's fluxHome

Next up - finishing the rest of the house and full system testing before dis-assembly in preparation for the trip down to Irvine in October.

Nice job, Team USC - Fight On!

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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