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Solar Panel Loan Program in North Carolina

New Solar Loan Program in NC

Residents of North Carolina who are interested in solar panels for their home have an even better opportunity to make it happen with the new solar loan financing that is available.  Through the Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation’s program, eligible homeowners in certain parts of NC will be allowed a maximum loan of $10,000 that can be used towards either photovoltaic solar panels or solar hot water renewable energy systems.

This funding is available based on a few requirements of the solar that is to be installed, and the owners of the system will need to verify serveral things prior to the funding being completed.  The exact agreement regarding the loan is a low interest rate of just 5% and the term of the loan is 7 years.

For a solar home that is looking to spend $20,000 on a 3kw solar system, this will help out alot and along with the Federal Tax Credit for solar of 30%, the system is now going to be much more affordable to North Carolina residents.

NC Residents who are eligible for this loan and are looking to install a solar water heater unit are going to be in great shape as this size of a loan will more than pay for the whole solar water heating system.  The dollar savings of solar hot water is going to far outweigh the loan interest rate, so it really is a no-brainer for the NC solar hot water program.

Posted in North Carolina, Saving Money2 Comments

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) In New Jersey

New Jersey’s SREC Program Overview

NJ started a major push towards renewable energy back in 2001.  At that time, there was a goal to have 30% of the states energy use created by renewable technologies come the year 2020. Well, as you know, 2020 is not too far away now.  In order to meet that goal, the state put together some of the most advanced programs in the United States.  To date, New Jersey has more solar electricity installed than any other state except California which is very impressive.  In order to meet the renewable energy goal set out for 2020, New Jersey energy administrators knew that there needed to be some financing plans and incentive plans in place, otherwise people and businesses would simply not be able to afford solar panels.  The NJ SREC program is a key component to making the overall New Jersey Clean Energy Program work.

What Is A SREC(Solar Renewable Energy Credit)?

An SREC is a unit of measurement of electricity that is produced.  One SREC is given to a renewable energy operator each time 1,000 kWh of electricity is produced.  The actual SREC is not electricity, but rather a certificate marking another 1000 kWh’s of clean energy production.  And the SREC’s are quite valuable because they can be traded and sold at a later date.

How are SREC’s Tracked and Accounted For?

SREC’s are tracked by a tracking system which records all of the solar energy producers and the sizes of their systems.  There are several calculations that take place, and the overall goal is to either estimate or record the known production of electricity from everyone’s solar systems.  This tracking system also records each time a SREC is awarded to an operator of a solar system.  This centralized tracking system makes it very easy for owners of solar to understand how many SREC’s they have earned.

How Can You Sell Your SREC’s to the Utility Companies?

The sale of SREC’s is the biggest benefit to this entire program. When you have accumulated SREC’s, you are then able to trade or sell them to interested buyers.  The most common buyer of the SREC’s are the state utility companies.  As the utilities companies need to meet state laws regarding clean energy production, they are able to purchase SREC’s from the private sector to make up for any lack of clean energy production they have.  This is something that really benefits owners of solar because they are actually selling the credits right back to the utility companies.  The actual value of the SREC’s can and does fluctuate.  Since it is an open market to purchase SREC’s, everything is again based upon supply and demand.

What is the Value of a SREC in New Jersey?

The Value of Solar Renewable Energy Credits in New Jersey is always changing.  Here are some of the average prices that were paid for SREC’s over the past few months:

NJ SREC Dollar Value Chart:

(The actual dollar value per SREC is located in the far right column.  You can see they are usually worth about $500-$600 for each solar renewable energy credit.)

SREC Quantity Monthly Cumulative
Month Year Active kW DC Issued in Month Traded in Month High
# of SRECs Traded Weighted Avg Price
Sept 2010 168,254 2,978 63,249 $693 $215 248,030 $615.50
Aug 2010 157,129 1,107 49,872 $693 $175 184,781 $617.01
Jul 2010 151,850 5,024 43,358 $691 $170 134,909 $605.97
Jun 2010 140,709 26,275 15,636 $690 $170 91,551 $588.96
May 2010 132,956 16504 8,737 $700 $170 75,915 $578.80
Apr 2010 123,892 12,546 6,773 $700 $170 67,178 $573.95
Mar 2010 119,829 5,814 9,522 $700 $209 60,405 $568.66
Feb 2010 113,770 6,784 9,720 $685 $170 50,883 $552.69
Jan 2010 103,857 5,249 11,731 $675 $110 41,163 $533.15
Dec 2009 100,086 7,862 7,582 $700 $195 29,432 $566.91
Nov 2009 97,491 6,191 7,292 $688 $170 21,850 $559.45
Oct 2009 93,412 8,085 7,004 $680 $170 14,558 $549.84
Month Year Active kW DC Issued in Month Traded in Month High ($/MWh) Low ($/MWh) # of SRECs Traded Weighted Avg Price ($/MWh)
Sept 2009 92,015 0 9,761 $700 $170 115,188 $544.85
Aug 2009 89,660 836 14,761 $700 $250 105,427 $539.49
Jul 2009 84,576 435 14,041 $690 $100 90,666 $527.12
Jun 2009 83,695 16,911 25,090 $695 $110 76,625 $513.68
May 2009 76,043 9,940 6,911 $690 $170 51,535 $500.18
Apr 2009 69,796 7,857 6,732 $685 $200 44,624 $490.55
Mar 2009 65,642 4,638 3,900 $680 $170 37,662 $466.85
Feb 2009 65,293 3,668 4,177 $681 $100 33,992 $462.37
Jan 2009 63,933 3,710 4,654 $676 $165 29,815 $443.24
Dec 2008 59,144 5,471 9,497 $680 $110 25,161 $417.13
Nov 2008 59,144 4,785 5,259 $650 $170 15,664 $419.50
Oct 2008 58,831 4,880 4,873 $600 $170 10,405 $391.52
Sept 2008 58,158 4,897 2,410 $552 $170 5,532 $331.62
Aug 2008 56,644 5,866 2,285 $560 $170 3,122 $345.52
Jul 2008 55,657 4,016 837 $525 $175 837 $308.08

How Do You Register Your Solar System for the SREC Program?

People interested in taking part in the SREC program must register their intended solar system prior to constructing or installing the solar panels.  Once you have submitted your application for the SREC program, you will be notified within about 6-8 weeks.  If you are taking part in the New Jersey solar system rebate program as well, you will be automatically enrolled in the SREC program too.


New Jersey is by far one of the most advanced states with regards to their renewable energy programs and incentives.  The ideas and motivations behind the SREC program are definitely promising for the rest of the country to follow and recognize.  In order for anyone to be able to afford solar power, incentives right now are necessary, and long-term solar incentives like the SREC program are very valuable to everyone.

Posted in New Jersey, Saving Money1 Comment

New York Loans for Solar Water Heaters and Solar Space Heaters

UPDATE: NY Renewable Energy Loan Program

The state of New York is now offering several variations of loans for homes who start a renewable energy project.  There are several different types of technologies that are eligible for the loan that is being offered.  As for solar power, the types of solar that can obtain the loans are:

  1. Solar Hot Water Heaters
  2. Solar Space Heaters

NY Solar Loan Dollar Amounts:

The minimum loan available through this program is $1,500 and that is only allowed for income qualified people

The rest of the loans must be between $3,000 and $13,000.  The loan may fund the project completely.  Details regarding the repayment of the loan and the actual solar loan terms are based on the length of time selected for repayment.  The general idea is that the loans can take on a 3.50% to 4% interest rate which is very low.


If you are looking to take part in this green energy loan program in New York state, you should definitely look into the solar hot water technology.  This type of solar will give you the most bang for your buck, and will pay for itself well inside of 5 years.  Also, the typical costs for a solar hot water heater are just a few thousand dollars and sometimes even less than $2,000.

Posted in New York, Saving Money2 Comments

Mississippi Energy Investment Loan Program

Loans for Solar Power Projects in Mississippi

The state of Mississippi is currently offering a pretty good incentive for people to invest into solar panel systems.  They have agreed to offer to commercial and industrial groups loans in the amount of $15,000-300,000 and all the while the loans will have a very low interest rate.  They have agreed to a rate at 3% below Prime which right now very well could mean an interest free loan.

This incentive was sponsored in part by the United States Department of Energy.  The goal of course is to start utilizing renewable energy sources in the state of MS.  Often the biggest challenge for anyone to begin a solar energy program is getting over the initial hurdles of the system costs.  With something like this in place, it means that you can literally begin financing your system at no cost at all.  As long as you are able to pay back the loan within 7 years, that is all that is being requested by the solar program administering these loans.

Additional Federal Tax Credits For Solar

If this low interest loan was not enough reason to get started.  Everyone currently benefits from the federal tax credits and Department of the Treasury grants for solar.  This is an enormous advantage for someone in a state like Mississippi.  The main reason is that you can actually use the federal tax grant to help pay for the 7 year loan that is interest free.

Posted in Mississippi, Saving Money0 Comments

Community Solar Projects

People have many reasons for organizing or participating in a community solar project. Just as their motives vary, so do the possible project models, each with a unique set of costs, benefits, responsibilities, and rewards.

This section reviews several project models:

  • 4Utility-Sponsored Model, in which a utility owns or operates a project that is open to voluntary ratepayer participation.
  • 4Special Purpose Entity (SPE) Model, in which individual investors join in a business enterprise to develop a community solar project.
  • 4Non-Profit “Buy a Brick” Model, in which donors contribute to a community installation owned by a charitable non-profit corporation.

The authors of this guide hope to illustrate the pros and cons of different sponsorship models, as well as
the variations within project models, so that project planners can select the model and variations that best
suit their situation and goals. Before selecting a project model, every planner should consider the following

  • Allocation of Costs and Benefits.

Who will pay to plan, construct, and operate the solar system? Who
will have rights to benefits, including the electricity produced, RECs, revenue from electricity sales, tax
benefits, other incentives, and ownership of the project’s assets (such as the solar system itself)? A
table at the end of this section summarizes the options for allocating benefits within the structure of each
sponsorship model.

  • Financial and Tax Considerations.

Will money be raised through a solar fee on electricity bills, by equity or debt financing of a business entity, through charitable donations, or various other options? What kind of tax implications will there be for participants–e.g., will the project generate taxable income for participants?  Will it generate tax credits or deductions for participants?

  • Other legal issues.

How will the project design address securities regulation, utilities regulation, business regulation, and the complexity of agreements between various project participants?Financed by Utility, grants, ratepayer subscriptions , investments,
grants, incentives,Donor contributions, grants Hosted by Utility or 3rd party 3rd party Non-profit
Subscriber Profile Electric rate payers of the utility Community investors Donors Subscriber Motive Offset personal
electricity use,Return on investment; Offset personal electricity use

In most utility-sponsored projects, utility customers participate by contributing either an up-front or ongoing payment to support a solar project. In exchange, customers receive a payment or credit on their electric bills that is proportional to 1) their contribution and 2) how much electricity the solar project produces. Usually, the utility or some identified third party owns the solar system itself. The participating customer has no ownership stake in the solar system. Rather, the customer buys rights to the benefits of the energy produced by the system. Note that utility-sponsored community solar programs are distinct from traditional utility “green power” programs in that “green power” programs sell RECs from a variety of renewable energy resources; utility community solar programs sell energy or rights to energy from a specific solar installation, with or without the RECs.
Utility-sponsored programs can help make solar power more accessible by decreasing the amount of the purchase required, and by enabling customers to purchase solar electricity in monthly increments. Both Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Solar Shares and Tucson Electric Power’s upcoming Bright Tucson programs allow customers to participate in community solar on a monthly basis.

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5000 Watts of Solar

What Does 5000 Watts of Solar Equal

Most people are not scientists, and sometimes talking about electricity is strange to us.  So lets uncover some simple terms in the solar power language so everyone here can become more informed.  Often, when people are getting ready to purchase a solar panel system, they are trying to figure out what size is really needed.  One of the most common solar system sizes is a 5000 watt system.

Here is a breakdown of what a 5000 watt system may be:

5000 watts = 25 – 200 watt solar panels.  If you have 25 different panels and they are all 200 watts each, the total there will be 5000 total watts.  It is that simple.

What will this 5000 watt solar panel system do for the average person?  That is the most important question.  Because up to this point, we only know how many solar panels there are, but we know nothing about the expected energy output in terms of kilo watt hours. So again, lets try to understand what this size solar system will be expected to produce:

5000 watts = the amount of electricity the system is expected to produce in ideal conditions per hour in Direct Current or DC.

Ok, now we are confused once again.  What is DC, and what still does this mean to the average homeowner?

5000 watts in DC is basically 5 kilo watt hours in DC.  But, DC is not what we purchase from the utility company.  We purchase kilo watt hours in alternative current or AC.  So, the last step here is to convert the DC into AC.  That is pretty simple, because there is almost a 20% energy loss.  So that would mean that 5kwh  DC equals about 4kwh AC.

5000 watts DC = 4000 watts AC

4000 watts AC = 4kwh

So, at the end of the equation above, a 5000 watt system as the solar engineers like to call it, is going to produce about 4 kwh AC each hour of perfect sunlight.  A very good average number to use for the sunlight hours is about 5 per day.


A 5ooo watt solar panel system would be able to produce about 20kwh per day of the year on average.

The assumptions that are being made here are that there is no shading on the solar panels and that the panels are set to the best possible angles towards the sun.

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TVA Renewable Energy Systems Incentive

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Renewable Energy Buyback Program:

For groups that are eligible, there is a very good longterm program now in place for small, medium, and very large solar system and other renewable energy producing systems.  A list of the renewable energy systems is:

  • Photovoltaics (Solar Panels)
  • Landfill Gas
  • Wind
  • Biomass
  • Municipal Solid Waste,
  • Other forms of generation producing no pollution or greenhouse gases
  • Anaerobic Digestion
  • Biodiesel

Details of The Incentive Program:

The TVA will pay energy producers who are able to flow their electricity back into the utility company’s grid.  The exact amount per kilo watt hour that will be paid to producers of electricity will vary depending on the time of year.  During the winter months, the TVA will pay roughly 6 cents or $.06/kwh.  And during the summer months, the TVA will pay solar and other renewable producers roughly 15 center or $.15/kwh.  This is a major difference between winter and summer and for good reason.  During the summer months, all of the people are at home blasting their air conditioners, so the demand for electricity is much higher than during winter months.

Over time, there is also a 3% annual increase in the amount paid to solar and other renewable energy producers.  So, the amount that can be collected for making clean energy will continuously increase.

Renewable Energy Credits:

The TVA will retain ownership of all of the renewable energy credits.  This is something that will be surrendered by the owner of the solar system and given to TVA.  The contract for this agreement can be up to 20 years which is great, because solar systems are usually under warranty for 25 years.

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Government Funding For Solar Electric Systems

How Much Funding Exists for Solar Projects?

Take a look at this massive solar panel system and then you will want to know what the price is for such a thing.  The reality is that this solar system was paid for by the state of California and much of the actual costs of the system were recovered with tax credits and state solar rebates.

government funded solar energy

This type of system is composed of over 500 175 watt Suntech Solar panels and also 200 watt First Solar Thin solar cells.  The typical hourly output in kilowatt hours is over 200 kwh which is incredible.  If there is ever going to be a group of people who are saving money with solar electricity, it is going to be the owners of this system.  As you can see, it is totally out of the sight of any shade, and there is actually a pivoting tracking system on each panel so they will be moving throughout the day as the sun moves.  This will increase the energy productivity by about 25%.

Applications for Solar Rebates:

When you are getting ready to begin your solar project, you should be sure to fill out the appropriate paperwork as quickly as possible.  You want to make sure you can claim as much of the state funding as you are entitled to and quite often the funding dries up before some people can make use of it.  Get in early with solar rebates is key.

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Federal Credit For A Business Investing In Solar Energy

Maximum Dollar Incentive for Federal Credit for Solar:

Large investments or small investments by businesses are being welcomed for many years to come, especially when they are concerning solar energy projects in the United States.  The US government has put no limit on the amount of solar power incentives that businesses can receive on their solar panel projects.  This is very good news for many different reasons.  Most importantly, for individuals or groups who are thinking longterm, this will help keep our planet earth in better shape for future generations.

Large Scale Solar Projects Cost Less without Federal Credit Limits:

The simple truth of solar energy is that smaller scale projects cost more on a cost/watt installed basis.  When you have a much larger project, it will almost always cost much less per watt of solar power created.  When there were limits on the amount of federal tax or other credits a business could receive on a solar project, it made the financial equation very hard to swallow, and for that reason, many projects never even started in the first place.  With these new changes to the solar laws, it is for sure going to kick start many renewable energy programs that were put on hold for the past few years.

Examples of Cost Savings with Unlimited Federal Credits:

Example with a $50,000 credit limit:

100 kW Solar System for Company A:

Cost per watt prior to any incentives/rebates/tax credits = $6.50/watt

Total Cost For System before incentives: $650,000

With $50,000 federal credit

Final System Investment with Credits:  $600,000

Example with Unlimited 30% Federal Credit:

100 kW Solar System for Company B:

Cost per watt prior to any incentives/rebates/tax credits = $6.50/watt

Total Cost For System before incentives: $650,000

With $50,000 federal credit

Final System Investment with Credits:  $600,000

Summary of the Business Federal Credit For Solar Energy:

Their are absolutely no negative aspects of the government’s current solar program and how it affects small, medium, and large businesses in the United States.  Due to the unlimited credit amount that everyone is eligible for, the time is ripe to start investigating a solar energy project to start producing your own electricity for the future.

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