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BILL TO LOWER COST OF SOLAR PASSES ASSEMBLY

AB 2188 (Muratsuchi) Aims To Cut Byzantine Permitting Procedures For Homeowners Wins Bipartisan Support

                                                                 

May 27, 2014

Update 4:11pm, May 27. Final vote count is 58-8.

SACRAMENTO - A bill establishing a streamlined permitting and inspection procedure for small, residential solar energy systems passed out of the State Assembly today. Assembly Bill 2188 takes aim at the patchwork quilt of costly ‘red tape’ permitting procedures in 500 cities and counties statewide promising to lower costs for homeowners and local governments alike. 

“Many jurisdictions in the state have adopted best practices that have significantly cut down on permitting wait times, while maintaining important public health and safety standards,” said Al Muratsuchi (D –Torrance), author of the bill. “It’s time that we expand these practices statewide, which will help make solar more affordable and increase access to more California homeowners who want to control their electricity bills and generate their own clean energy.”

In much the same way as cell phones a decade ago, the price of solar has fallen 50% since 2006 mainly due to economies of scale in manufacturing. However, the “soft costs” of solar, including the cost of getting a permit from a local building department, remains a stubborn thorn in the side of the solar industry desperate to keep lowering costs and achieve parity with fossil fuels.  

“Your typical home solar energy system has become practically cookie-cutter,” said Kelsea Jones, deputy director with the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). “From Chico to Chula Vista, we’re talking about the exact same product, design, and installation, yet many building departments require byzantine permits as if they are installing a nuclear power plant up there.”

Research has shown that costs associated with attaining a building permit for a residential solar energy system can be significant. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs concluded that streamlining the permitting process could potentially reduce the price of a typical residential solar system by $1,000 or more, on average, and cut development time by about a month.

Approximately 158,000 solar roofs were installed on California homes in 2013, double the number from 2012. The growth in homeowners going solar, fueled by financial incentives and a desire to cut energy bills, has led to a backlog of work at local permitting offices. Advocates of AB 2188 point out that streamlining the permitting process for solar not only helps homeowners but also cuts workloads for cash-strapped building departments.

“Streamlined permitting doesn’t mean weaker consumer protections,” said Tom Butts, city council member in Richmond, which has already adopted a streamlined permitting procedure akin to that envisioned in AB 2188. “Local governments run more smoothly by applying practical, tried and true efficiency measures to the permitting system.”

AB 2188 passed the Assembly with a vote of 52-5. It now moves to the Senate where it will be heard in Governance and Finance Committee in June.  The bill is supported by a coalition of business associations, solar companies, environmental groups, and local elected officials. 

 

CONTACT:

Kelsea Jones, Deputy Director

(916) 228-4567

 

SolarCraft Completes Installation of Solar Power System on Hess Production Facility
  Energy Independent Napa Valley Winery Enjoys Flat Energy Costs


Novato, CA (May 2014)—Novato and Sonoma based SolarCraft announced the completion of a 649 kW solar power system at Hess Collection Winery providing nearly 100% of the electrical needs for its Napa, CA production facility.  Designed and built by SolarCraft, the new system will reduce Hess’s utility costs by thousands every year, while reducing the load on the local utility grid.

The solar photovoltaic system is roof-mounted, spanning 44,555 square feet.  The system consists of 2,200 Hanwha Solar 295-watt solar panels, powering their offices and production facilities with clean, renewable energy.

Utilizing solar power is part of Hess Collection Winery’s commitment to environmentally conscious and sustainable business practices.  By going solar, they will reduce their carbon footprint while saving millions in utility costs in the years to come.

The system’s solar electric panels are expected to generate approximately 945,450 kilowatt hours of energy annually, providing 100% of the winery’s annual energy consumption.   The new solar energy system enables Hess to generate enough electricity each day to power 148 average homes.  It will spare the air nearly 272 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually.  Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to eliminating almost 16 million miles of driving.

About The Hess Collection Winery
Donald Hess established his first Napa Valley vineyard on Mount Veeder in 1978, and from the beginning, under his stewardship The Hess Collection has been a leader in sustainability.  Certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and for both winery and vineyards by Napa Green, The Hess Collection is well known for combining twin passions under one roof at its historic home on Mount Veeder, where both The Hess Collection Winery and the world renowned Hess Collection Art Museum welcome visitors.

SolarCraft is one of the most trusted and experienced solar energy contractors in California.  Since 1984, this certified Green Business has been providing high quality solar electrical, solar pool heating and solar water heating services to homeowners and businesses, employing licensed and certified solar installers.  With more than 5,000 satisfied customers and over 2.5 million square feet of solar collectors installed, SolarCraft is committed to Quality Design, Quality Materials and Customer Service. www.solarcraft.com

 

New Report: Ranks Top U.S. Cities for Installed Solar – California Cities Lead the Way

 

Sacramento – Today, Environment California Research & Policy Center released a new report: “Shining Cities:  At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution.”  The report ranks Los Angeles  #1 among major cities nationwide for the amount of installed solar power, and provides a first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar in major American cities.  Closely following Los Angeles is San Diego in the 2nd spot, San Jose - 4th,  San Francisco - 9th and Sacramento - 12th (Top 20 list below). 

“Solar power is booming across the country and cities are at the forefront,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate at Environment California.  “And with several of the nation’s top shining cities, California is leading the way.” 

Environment California released the report at press conferences in San Diego with Mayor Ken Faulconer and San Jose with Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen. News of California’s solar cities was celebrated by California leaders across the state.

Los Angeles:

"I'm proud that L.A. is leading the nation on installed solar, but with the release of the disturbing new IPCC report on climate change and the increase of severe weather events around the world, it is clear we need to do more, faster, to address the climate crisis and move away from fossil fuels," Councilmember Paul Koretz said.  "From the top of City Hall, I want to see solar panels built across the rooftops of Los Angeles and I want us to put Angelenos to work building them."  

"Environment California's report confirms that Los Angeles is leading the way toward a brighter future," said Councilmember Mike Bonin. "Our success in developing clean energy fueled by the sun has come from our neighborhoods and the grassroots activism of an environmentally sensitive population that is hungry for clean energy, and which is creating a market for sustainable energy solutions in L.A."

“As a City we have made great strides towards reducing our dependency on coal, moving away from centralized generation toward a more distributed model while creating thousands of local jobs in the process,” said Councilmember Mitchell Englander. “We are continually striving to make the process of going solar more user-friendly and cost efficient. The future for solar in Los Angeles will only get brighter.”

San Diego:

“As a pollution-free energy source with no fuel costs, solar energy can help us to meet many of our city’s environmental and economic goals,” San Diego Mayor Ken Faulconer said. “It makes perfect sense for San Diego, one of the sunniest cities in the country, to lead the way in solar energy.”

“Solar energy is renewable and clean, which is why I’m such an advocate for its role in our national energy portfolio,” Congressman Scott Peters said. “The solar industry is creating jobs, including more than 675 in my district alone, and powering our economy toward a more sustainable future. I’m proud that San Diego and California are leading the way as an example for the rest of the country.

“California cities are leaders in creating solar energy capacity,” said Senator Marty Block (SD-39). “Of the top 20 American cities listed for this clean and safe energy alternative, California has five cities ranked in the top 12 – Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento. It’s leadership that means a cleaner environment, better jobs and a stronger economy. I applaud the cities for their foresight and commitment.”

San Jose:

“Going solar isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also an excellent investment,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who has solar panels installed on his own home. “San Jose is pleased to be recognized for its solar efforts. Since adopting our Green Vision in 2007, San Jose has become a national leader in solar installations, including putting solar on city buildings to save taxpayer dollars and energy.” 

“I’m so proud of San Jose for being one of the national leaders in clean, renewable energy,” said Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-San Jose). “Solar power helps Californians meet its conservation goals. I’m looking forward to continue working with our community to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The report highlights the benefits of solar energy, including: 

Solar energy avoids pollution—Pollution-free energy from the sun reduces air pollution that contributes to urban smog and global warming.  It also helps save the massive amount of water that’s normally consumed during the cooling of fossil-fuel-burning power plants.  

Solar energy protects consumers—Since solar has no fuel costs, it can protect us from the rising cost of fossil fuels.

Solar energy helps the economy—California has over 47,000 solar jobs, accounting for approximately one-third of all solar jobs in the country.

The top 20 solar cities in this report have more solar power within their city limits than was installed in the entire U.S. just six years ago. 

The report pointed to policies that encourage investment in solar PV installations, which have been adopted by local leaders in solar cities:

  • City leaders can set ambitious and achievable goals and citizens and businesses can work with local governments to meet them.  Cities can lead by example by putting solar on public buildings.
  • Cities can adopt policies to advance solar power in their communities, including tax incentives, low-interest loan programs and solar-friendly zoning and building codes.  Cities can also run “Solarize” programs that use bulk purchasing and educational campaigns to help neighbors “go solar” together.
  • City leaders can work with state governments to ensure that they have strong programs to expand solar, including renewable energy standards, solar carve-outs or feed-in tariffs, net metering and community solar programs.
  • City leaders can also demand a strong partnership with the federal government to ensure that federal incentives such as tax credits are continued.  And, that federal programs, such as the Solar America’s Cities and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant programs continue to provide support and technical assistance to cities seeking to expand solar.

“The sky’s the limit on solar energy and California cities are a shining example of solar leadership,” said Kinman.  “But, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential to capture this pollution-free energy source.   By committing to bold goals and expanding on the good policies we’ve adopted, we can take solar to the next level.”    

Top 20 Solar Cities by Total Installed Solar PV Capacity, End of 2013[1]

Principal City

State

Cumulative Solar PV Capacity (MW)

Cumulative Solar PV Capacity Rank

Los Angeles

CA

132

1

San Diego

CA

107

2

Phoenix

AZ

96

3

San Jose

CA

94

4

Honolulu

HI

91

5

San Antonio

TX

84

6

Indianapolis

IN

56

7

New York

NY

33

8

San Francisco

CA

26

9

Denver

CO

25

10

New Orleans

LA

22

11

Sacramento

CA

16

12

Jacksonville

FL

16

13

Albuquerque

NM

16

14

Portland

OR

15

15

Austin

TX

13

16

Las Vegas

NV

13

17

Newark

NJ

13

18

Raleigh

NC

12

19

Boston

MA

12

20

 

Environment California Research & Policy Center is a statewide nonprofit environmental advocacy organization working to protect California’s air, water and open spaces. More information, including copies of today’s report, can be found at www.environmentcalifornia.org/center.


[1] This includes all solar PV capacity (rooftop and utility-scale solar installations) within the city limits of each city. 

 

New Report: San Jose Ranks 4th Among Major U.S. Cities for Installed Solar

San Jose – Today, Environment California Research & Policy Center was joined at the Tech Museum of Innovation by San Jose Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) and local renewable energy advocates to release a new report: “Shining Cities:  At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution.”  The report ranks San Jose fourth in the nation for the amount of solar installed and second for per capita solar installations, and provides a first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar in major American cities (Top 20 list below).

“Solar power is booming across the country and cities are at the forefront,” said Mac Farrell, global warming organizer at Environment California.  “As one of the top ranking cities, San Jose is leading the way.” 

With the cost of solar coming down, there’s growing awareness of solar power as a mainstream energy solution with widespread benefits for our health, our economy and the environment.  

“Going solar isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also an excellent investment,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who has solar panels installed on his own home. “San Jose is pleased to be recognized for its solar efforts. Since adopting our Green Vision in 2007, San Jose has become a national leader in solar installations, including putting solar on city buildings to save taxpayer dollars and energy.”

“I’m so proud of San Jose for being one of the national leaders in clean, renewable energy,” said Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-San Jose). “Solar power helps Californians meet its conservation goals. I’m looking forward to continue working with our community to reduce our carbon footprint.”

The report highlighted the benefits of solar energy, including: 

Solar energy avoids pollution—Pollution-free energy from the sun reduces air pollution that contributes to urban smog and global warming.  It also helps save the massive amount of water that’s normally consumed during the cooling of fossil-fuel-burning power plants.  

Solar energy protects consumers—Since solar has no fuel costs, it can protect us from the rising cost of fossil fuels.

Solar energy helps the economy—California has over 47,000 solar jobs, accounting for approximately one-third of all solar jobs in the country.

The top 20 solar cities in this report have more solar power within their city limits than was installed in the entire U.S. just six years ago. 

“Of course Silicon Valley has embraced solar power. High-tech embraces high-tech. California’s goal is to make rooftop solar power as commonplace as the PC, and forward-thinking cities like San Jose, along with strong public policies, are making that vision a reality,” says Kelsea Jones, Deputy Director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA).  

The report pointed to policies that encourage investment in solar PV installations, which have been adopted by local leaders in solar cities:

  • City leaders can set ambitious and achievable goals and citizens and businesses can work with local governments to meet them.  Cities can lead by example by putting solar on public buildings.
  • Cities can adopt policies to advance solar power in their communities, including tax incentives, low-interest loan programs and solar-friendly zoning and building codes.  Cities can also run “Solarize” programs that use bulk purchasing and educational campaigns to help neighbors “go solar” together.
  • City leaders can work with state governments to ensure that they have strong programs to expand solar, including renewable energy standards, solar carve-outs or feed-in tariffs, net metering and community solar programs.
  • City leaders can also demand a strong partnership with the federal government to ensure that federal incentives such as tax credits are continued.  And, that federal programs, such as the Solar America’s Cities and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant programs continue to provide support and technical assistance to cities seeking to expand solar.

“We are pleased that a significant number of San Jose home and business owners have adopted solar to generate clean energy, reduce their carbon footprint and lower their electricity bills,” said SunPower President and CEO Tom Werner.  “As a San Jose-based solar company, and founded almost 30 years ago, we continue to support the City’s environmental goals and congratulate its leaders on this achievement.”

In 2008, SunPower installed a 185-kilowatt solar system atop the roof of the San Jose Tech Museum, the first commercial solar system on a downtown San Jose building. 

"The partnership between The Tech, the city of San Jose, and SunPower is a great example of how communities can pave the way for clean, renewable energy," said The Tech President Tim Ritchie. "The Tech is proud to be part of San Jose’s recognition and exhibit the benefits of solar power.”

"Clean Solar is the second largest residential installer in San Jose, where it was born, nurtured, and is now thriving,” added Randy Zechman, CEO of Clean Solar. “San Jose’s leadership in green building and infrastructure has been a key part of our success and happiness in this market. We are not surprised to see San Jose thriving as one of America’s top solar cities." 

“The sky’s the limit on solar energy.  San Jose is a shining example of solar leadership,” said Farrell.  “But, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential to capture this pollution-free energy source.   By committing to bold goals and expanding on the good policies we’ve adopted, we can take solar to the next level.”     

Top 20 Solar Cities by Total Installed Solar PV Capacity, End of 2013[1]

Principal City

State

Cumulative Solar PV Capacity (MW)

Cumulative Solar PV Capacity Rank

Los Angeles

CA

132

1

San Diego

CA

107

2

Phoenix

AZ

96

3

San Jose

CA

94

4

Honolulu

HI

91

5

San Antonio

TX

84

6

Indianapolis

IN

56

7

New York

NY

33

8

San Francisco

CA

26

9

Denver

CO

25

10

New Orleans

LA

22

11

Sacramento

CA

16

12

Jacksonville

FL

16

13

Albuquerque

NM

16

14

Portland

OR

15

15

Austin

TX

13

16

Las Vegas

NV

13

17

Newark

NJ

13

18

Raleigh

NC

12

19

Boston

MA

12

20

 

Environment California Research & Policy Center is a statewide nonprofit environmental advocacy organization working to protect California’s air, water and open spaces. More information, including copies of today’s report, can be found at www.environmentcalifornia.org/center.

 

Contact: Michelle Kinman, 310.621.8935, michelle@environmentcalifornia.org


[1] This includes all solar PV capacity (rooftop and utility-scale solar installations) within the city limits of each city. 

 

KYOCERA Solar Modules Successfully Pass TÜV Rheinland’s Salt Mist Corrosion Test

IEC61701:2011 Edition 2, Severity Level 6 is highest testing level in the industry

03/17/14

Kyocera announced today that its entire product line of solar modules has passed the Salt Mist Corrosion Test, IEC61701:2011 Edition 2, Severity Level 6, administered by TÜV Rheinland in Tempe, Arizona, demonstrating that Kyocera’s modules maintain performance even under very severe environmental conditions. Successfully passing this independent, third-party test indicates that Kyocera’s solar modules, which are the product of more than 38 years of continuous research and development, are ideally suited for long-term deployment in marine and coastal areas.

Salt mist is a corrosive agent that can reduce the output of solar modules that are not proven salt-mist resistant. Salt-laden humidity and rain conditions can adversely affect key module components, including the frames, junction boxes and glass surfaces, thus potentially reducing a module’s performance and lifespan.

TÜV Rheinland performed the test to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61701 standards, Edition 2, Level 6 -- the most severe testing conditions, involving eight weeks of intensive cyclical, sequential days of corrosive salt spray and damp storage, to simulate a harsh marine environment.

In 2011, Kyocera solar modules passed the rigorous Edition 1 Salt Mist Test of the Japanese Electrical Safety & Environment Technology Laboratories (JET). Kyocera modules are also certified PID (Potential Induced Degradation) resistant, exhibiting no performance degradation after high-voltage stress testing by the Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics. Kyocera solar modules were the first in the world to be certified by TÜV Rheinland’s Long-Term Sequential Test in 2010. In addition, Kyocera solar modules have shown to be the best long-term-performing modules in the systems that were installed and began operation in October 2008 at Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre (DKA), a government-funded public showcase of solar installations, demonstrating a range of solar power technologies from many of the world's leading manufacturers.*

“This ongoing battery of tests provides world-class evidence of the quality and reliability of Kyocera solar modules,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar Inc. “Kyocera has proven time and again, both through independent testing and through solar modules actually performing in the field uninterruptedly for decades, that our modules are able to produce clean, renewable energy reliably, in even the harshest conditions. 

To learn more about Kyocera Solar Solutions for both residential and commercial projects in the U.S. and Mexico, please contact infosolar@kyocera.com or 800-223-9580.

*Desert Knowledge Australia, the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government and the project managers, CAT Projects, do not endorse, and accept no legal liability whatsoever arising from or connected to, the outcomes and conclusions associated with the use of data from the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre



About KYOCERA 
Kyocera is one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of solar photovoltaic modules and systems. With a 38-year history of innovation in solar technology, the company is recognized as an industry pioneer and has set repeated world records in multicrystalline silicon cell efficiency. Kyocera serves thousands of residential and industrial customers in both developed and developing regions, with more than 4 gigawatts of solar collection equipment installed since 1975.

Kyocera Solar, Inc. is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona with regional sales affiliates in the Americas and Australia, and solar module manufacturing facilities operated in North America by Kyocera Mexicana, S.A. de C.V. of Tijuana, Mexico.

Kyocera Corporation (NYSE:KYO) (TOKYO:6971), the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of fine (or “advanced”) ceramics. Kyocera specializes in combining these engineered materials with other technologies to create solar power generating systems, printers, copiers, mobile phones, electronic components, semiconductor packages, cutting tools and industrial components. During the year ended March 31, 2013, the company’s net sales totaled 1.28 trillion yen (approx. USD13.6 billion).

 
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