LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was formed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) as a rating system for green buildings.<br/><br/>It is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.<br/><br/>The LEED green building certification program encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. <br/><br/>Think of the rating system like the nutrition label on a box of ceral: LEED provides the same kind of important detail about the green aspects of a building that, taken together, deliver higher performance. LEED points are awarded on a 100-point scale, and credits are weighted to reflect their potential environmental impacts. Additionally, 10 bonus credits are available, four of which address regionally specific environmental issues. A project must satisfy all prerequisites and earn a minimum number of points to be certified.<br/><br/>LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. <br/><br/>Here’s a short video from ZDNet that talks about what is LEED?<br/><br/><br/><br/> For more information on LEED visit the USGBC site.
Sunetric Blog: Hawaii Solar News & Updates
Monthly Archives: August 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Y. Hata and Sunetric Team Up for One of the State’s Biggest PV Systems
(Honolulu, Hawaii) … Hawaii’s premier foodservice distributor, Y. Hata & Co., Ltd. will soon be distributing more than just food and restaurant supplies. Sunetric, the state’s largest locally owned-and-operated solar company, is set to install one of Hawaii’s largest roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar systems on Y. Hata’s warehouse on Sand Island, Oahu. The 600 kW installation stands to be the largest on Oahu in 2010, allowing Y. Hata & Co. to redistribute the sun’s energy for more than 25 years.<br/><br/> “We have continually upgraded our operations with the most sophisticated hardware, software, machinery and training,” explains Kurt Fey, vice president of operations at Y. Hata & Co., Ltd., “We are committed to maintaining a state-of-the art facility, so installing a photovoltaic solar system with the help of Sunetric, the industry’s experts, is right on target. In essence, our customers will benefit as we provide them with the most cost-effective reliable service available.”<br/><br/> Sunetric will begin installation this October. The $2.5-million system will include 2,616 230- watt solar modules on Y. Hata’s rooftop space. The system is estimated to produce an average of 2,636 kWh of electricity each day, allowing Y. Hata to offset 22 percent of its current electricity usage.<br/><br/> “Y. Hata is poised to save almost $200,000 a year on their energy bill, and that could offset their entire expenditure in less than four years,” says Marc Unowitz, Sunetric energy consultant, “This system will make a positive impact on Y. Hata’s business and a huge impact on Hawaii’s environment.”<br/><br/> Founder of Sunetric, Sean Mullen, adds, “Like Sunetric, Y. Hata is a great locally-owned company with leadership that understands that PV solar energy is a clean, renewable energy source that doesn’t pollute or consume natural resources.”<br/><br/> Over the next 30 years, Y. Hata’s PV system is estimated to prevent approximately 23,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering Hawaii’s air annually; this is about the same pollution generated by 15-million car trips to the local grocery store. The solar array will offset 48,000 barrels of oil that would otherwise be burned to make electricity during the next 30 years.<br/><br/> Headquartered in Honolulu and operating on Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii, Y. Hata considers itself to be a “brand new, century-old company.” The company, which distributes dry, chilled and frozen products, was founded in 1913 by Yoichi Hata. His grandson, Russell Hata, is the company’s current chairman and president.<br/><br/> Sunetric, founded in 2004 by Sean and Beth-Ann Mullen, specializes in photovoltaic system design and installation. A SunPower Elite dealer, Sunetric has access to the highest efficiency photo-voltaic panels available and has installed several of the largest photovoltaic systems in Hawaii, including Kona Commons shopping center on the Big Island and Wilcox Memorial Hospital on Kauai. sunetric.com.<br/><br/> Click here to download a PDF of the full press release.<br/><br/> On the web:<br/>Hawaii News Now<br/>Pacific Business News<br/>Renewable Energy World<br/>Don at Dawn<br/>Energy Central<br/>Daily Me<br/>Osmosus<br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The Fall semester of 2010 has begun at the University of Hawai‘i but that’s not the only thing in full swing.<br/><br/>Back in April of 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy has announced that teamhawai‘i, made up of representatives from UH Mānoa and Honolulu Community College, was one of 20 teams selected to compete in the 2011 Solar Decathlon. <br/><br/>Now you might be thinking what the heck is a solar decathlon?<br/><br/>Like the Olympic decathlon, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon consists of 10 contests. These contests are designed to gauge how well the houses perform and how livable and affordable they are. Each contest is worth a maximum of 100 points, for a competition total of 1,000 points.<br/><br/>Teams can earn points three ways:<br/>
- Task completion
- Teams complete household tasks such as cooking, washing dishes, and doing laundry.
- Monitored performance
- Team houses perform to specified criteria, such as maintaining a comfortable (71°–76°F) indoor temperature range.
- Jury evaluation
- Jurors who are experts in their field (such as architecture, engineering, and communications) award points for features that cannot be measured (such as aesthetics and design inspiration).
To find out more information on the ten solar decathlon contest please click here.<br/><br/>The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.<br/><br/> The Solar Decathlon:<br/>
- Educates student participants and the public about the many cost-saving opportunities presented by clean-energy products
- Demonstrates to the public the opportunities presented by cost-effective houses that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems that are available today
- Provides participating students with unique training that prepares them to enter our nation’s clean-energy workforce
The winning team produces a house that:<br/>
- Is affordable, attractive, and easy to live in
- Maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions
- Supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment
- Provides adequate hot water
- Produces as much or more energy than it consumes
According to teamhawai‘i’s website, the “project includes advancements in composite and renewable materials, photovoltaics, building-integrated heating and cooling systems, and house design tailored to tropical climates. The design incorporates innovative uses of material, energy, and systems, and promotes appropriate ways of living for a more sustainable future. The team now has until next summer to recruit the best and brightest students, organize and distribute the work, perform cutting-edge research and design, and construct the house.”<br/><br/>For more information on teamhawai‘i and the Solar Decathlon please visit their website:<br/>http://www.solar.hawaii.edu/
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Are you thinking about getting solar for your home? When you schedule a FREE solar evaluation from Sunetric, a trained representative will evaluate your home, its electric use and suggest to you a few financing and solar PV installation options according to your needs and your budget<br/><br/> A home survey/consultation will take anywhere from one to three hours depending on how much information and education you would like to receive. <br/><br/> A home evaluation takes about an hour and includes a detailed drawing of the entire roof surface of the area, an inspection of the home’s electrical system and detailed photos of the roof, the electrical system and the grounds surrounding the home. It is always good for the homeowner to be present for questions during the home inspection. <br/><br/> After the inspection comes the consultation where the Sunetric representative explains to you how solar works, how it is attached and feeds the home, the details of the purchase and the long term environmental and financial advantages. This will take anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours depending on how inquisitive and curious the homeowner is, and how through the Sunetric representative is as well.<br/><br/> We recommend to each customer that they block out at least a couple of hours of the day for the evaluation and consultation.<br/><br/> To schedule your evaluation please click on this link.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
More consumers in sunny Hawaii are turning to solar panels to help curb their electrical costs<br/><br/> (via StarAdvertiser)<br/>
At a little more than $8,000 per kilowatt installed, the Robinsons’ project comes with a hefty price tag of about $60,000. But the state and federal tax breaks brought the cost down to about $21,000, an amount Robinson figures he can recover in five years by cutting the electric bill on his two homes.
Sunetric, which installed the system, said the Robinsons can conservatively expect to cut the monthly electrical bill for the two homes by $290 with the system.
Installation of photovoltaic systems has exploded in the past five years, providing a boost to the local solar industry that was previously limited largely to installing solar hot water systems.
A record of 7,300 kilowatts of photovoltaic power was installed in Hawaii last year, compared with just 167 kilowatts in 2005, according to the Hawaii Solar Energy Association. Installations are on track this year to easily surpass 2009, said Mark Duda, association president and one of the founders of Distributed Energy Partners.
Installations or planned installations on Oahu through this month totaled 4,650 kilowatts, up from 2,849 kilowatts for all of 2009, Duda said.
Food wholesaler Y. Hata is preparing to install a 600-kilowatt system on its Sand Island warehouse, the largest such project on Oahu this year.
The economics of photovoltaic power makes more sense in Hawaii than just about any place in the nation, Duda said.
The state gets high ratings for insolation, a measure of solar radiation used in the energy industry to determine the size of a solar collector that is required. Advanced Energy Group, a mainland energy consulting company, calculated Honolulu’s average sun hours per day at 6.02. Besides Hawaii, most of the cities that were rated higher than 6 sun hours per day were in the Southwest. Phoenix, for example, was rated at 6.58 sun hours, while Chicago was rated at 3.15.
However, many photovoltaic installers in Hawaii use a more conservative estimate of sun hours when projecting how much electricity a PV panel will produce. Several companies use models assuming 5.2 sun hours a day.
“We have microclimates in Hawaii that you don’t have in other places,” said Alex Tiller, Sunetric’s chief executive officer.
“In a place like Death Valley, you get more consistent solar output with less cloud cover. But our Leeward Coast is on par with any of those areas. In areas like the Windward side, it will be less.”
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Howard Dicus of Hawaii News Now talked about Hawaii’s importing of oil and the Y. Hata & Co. announcement. Here’s the video:
Being a SunPower Elite dealer comes with its advantages. One of those is the ability to be the first to introduce new products to critical acclaim. Today, Sunpower and Sunetric announce that latest of high efficiency 72-cell modules available in Hawaii, the E19 238.
The 238 features 22.4% efficient cells with anti-reflective glass and module efficiency north of 19%. That’s right…it’s an E19, meaning 19.1% panel efficiency. It’s unmatched by anything in the industry, except it’s brother panel, the E19 318 (96 cell version).
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Sunetric: The Only Solar Company in Hawaii to Gain Top Honor
(Honolulu, Hawaii) … Sunetric, a locally owned and operated solar company, recently joined less than a dozen other companies from around the globe to earn the coveted Elite Dealer status from SunPower Corporation. Sunetric is the only company in Hawaii to have earned this pinnacle designation, which is rarely awarded and requires strict adherence to best practices and exceptionally high levels of customer satisfaction. The status requires significant scrutiny from SunPower, the world-renowned leader in developing high-efficiency solar solutions and technology.<br/><br/> “SunPower works with a number of solar companies in Hawaii, but in the end, Sunetric is the only dealer to meet SunPower’s challenging criteria. This really validates our commitment to training and absolute, 100% customer satisfaction,” says Alex Tiller, CEO of Sunetric. “If people want the top level of service and expertise, it only makes sense that they go to an elite dealer.”<br/><br/> Among the many qualifications to be recognized as an Elite Dealer, Sunetric is required to have 90% customer satisfaction and be above the 75th percentile rank for customer satisfaction for all SunPower dealers in the United States. Furthermore, Sunetric personnel are required to maintain a certification and training regimen more rigorous than any other SunPower dealer in Hawaii. Sunetric employees must not only complete the cursory SunPower training required of all ‘Authorized’ and ‘Premier’ dealers, but as an Elite dealer, Sunetric is required to have at least two full-time employees who maintain Advanced Design and Advanced Installation certifications. Additionally, all Energy Consultants at Sunetric are required to maintain Advanced Sales training from SunPower – training neither required nor available to most other dealers.<br/><br/> “It’s hard work to get to the top, and I am so proud of our dedicated staff and their achievements,” explains Tiller, “I know we all feel like celebrating but the truth is, this will truly benefit the folks in Hawaii. It’s an honor to pass down our hard work to our deserving clientele.”
The Kona Brewing Co. was featured in the Summer 2010 edition of the Green magazine and talked about the photovoltaic system we installed. Check out the article below:<br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Does Your Alternative Energy Installation Qualify for a 25-year Property Tax Exemption? In September 2009, the Honolulu City Council unanimously passed Bill 58 to create a real property tax exemption for alternative energy improvements for residents in Honolulu City and County. This bill became effective October 1, 2009. According to the language of Bill 58: The alternative energy property installed on a building, property, or land in Honolulu County or the City of Honolulu is exempt from property taxes for 25 years. For the purposes of this property tax exemption, alternative energy sources include solar, wind, hydropower, tidal, wave, solid waste and increased efficiency in fossil-fuel burning facilities. *Energy sources based on fossil fuels, nuclear fuels or geothermal energy are not eligible for this exemption. To find out if you qualify for this property tax exemption and for more information, visit: http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=HI28F&re=1&ee=1
* Please note: Sunetric does not provide tax advice. We can only describe to you the process and procedures that are in place at the time of this writing which may change without notice. Please consult professional tax counsel for your specific circumstance.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
You made the wise decision and invested in solar. Now, what?
If you reside in the State of Hawaii you are in luck. Currently, you have the chance to take advantage of significant renewable energy tax incentives, either in the form of a 35% state tax credit or a 24.5% state tax refund/rebate – you pick your own path. Here is some helpful information from the State of Hawaii Department of Taxation to help get you started on the path to reaping the financial benefits of going solar.
Pick Your Path:
35% Hawaii State Tax Credit
The Hawaii Energy Tax Credit allows solar customers to claim an income tax credit of 35% of the cost of equipment and installation of a solar photovoltaic system. A credit that exceeds the taxpayer’s income tax liability may be carried forward to subsequent years until exhausted. Credits are capped based on property and system type as follows:
- Single-family PV installations: The credit is capped at $5,000 per system
- Multifamily PV installations: The credits for multi-family PV systems are capped at $350 per system.
If you meet the requirements listed above and you installed your system and placed it in service before July 1, 2009, read instruction Form N–334.
Fill out these forms:
- Form N–334
- Form N–334A
If you meet the requirements listed above and you installed your system and placed it in service on or after July 1, 2009, read instruction Form N–342.
Among the changes for customers falling under this category, include:
- Removes the solar thermal and photovoltaic classifications, and provides a single solar classification.
- Applies a lower solar system cap to a system if the primary purpose of that system is to use energy from the sun to heat water for household use.
- Provides the taxpayer with an election to treat the tax credit as refundable.
- Allows residential home developers to claim the tax credit.
- Clarifies that the tax credit cannot be claimed for a solar water heating system that is required for new single-family residential property constructed on or after January 1, 2010. The tax credit also cannot be claimed for a wind-powered energy system that is used as a substitute for the required solar water heating system. The tax credit is reduced for a solar energy system that is used as a substitute for the required solar water heating system.
Fill out these forms:
- Form N–342
- Form N–342A
24.5% Hawaii State Tax Rebate
Senate Bill 464 offers incentives for renewable energy, in the form of income tax credits, for private entities. The bill makes the state renewable energy credit refundable for taxpayers who agree to accept a lower credit of 24.5%. Read the full bill here.
If you are electing to receive your incentive in the form of a tax rebate and you installed your system and placed it in service on or after July 1, 2009, please see Form N–342 line 42.
Please note: Sunetric does not provide tax advice. We can only describe to you the process and procedures that are in place at the time of this writing which may change without notice. Please consult professional tax counsel for your specific circumstance.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
These days, with wild swings in energy prices and the near certainty that the future will only bring increases, the idea of **owning your own electricity* is becoming more and more attractive. In the past, this revolutionary idea simply wasn’t feasible, but with today’s lower-cost solar technology, owning your own means of energy production can be made a reality. Let’s discuss the short-term and long-term benefits of this kind of such an arrangement.
First, to say that you can “own your own electricity” just means that you won’t have to worry so much about next month’s bill. It means that your solar installation will produce a certain amount of electricity–let’s say hypothetically $200 worth of electricity per month–and that will never change. This introduces a level of consistency and certainty to the very uncertain world of utility costs.
The short term benefits of owning your own electricity can be seen over the course of a 5 year period. A homeowner who decides to continue paying the Utility for electricity is really just renting. As with any rental, it’s money down the drain. After five years, the homeowner has nothing to show for the payments made to the utility. But a homeowner who decides to install a solar PV array is investing in the future. It’s equivalent to buying a home instead of renting. Now, over the course of that same five year period, instead of paying a monthly bill to the Utility, the homeowner is paying off a loan in monthly installments. That loan financed the original installation. When it’s all said and done, the first homeowner has nothing to show for five years of payments, but the second homeowner has a solar installation which is paid in full and ready to start making money in the long term
And so what are the long term benefits? Well, in the example above, the homeowner who chose to install solar is saving on their monthly utility bill–month after month, year after year. Once the system is paid in full, that amount can be deducted from utility bill. Essentially, you will no longer have a utility bill. The cumulative savings in this example can be extraordinary. A conservative estimate of savings over a 30 year period (solar systems last a very long time) is approximately $130,000. Depending on how much electricity you use and how big your solar installation is, that number can be multiplied many times. <br/><br/> The cost of producing electricity with your solar array will never go up. Your energy cost would be considered fixed costs. But the cost of electricity from the utility company will always go up. This is because the fuel they burn to make electricity is becoming scarcer. There is also a lot of volatility in the price of the fossil fuels they burn, this leads to price uncertainty. That means that without actually changing the installation or changing your usage in any way, you will save more and more money year after year. This is called hedging.
A hedge is an investment made in order to reduce the risk of adverse price movements. So, if energy rises at 5% per year, then you save money based on 5%. If energy goes up 10%, then you save even more. Compounding the savings means that over time you can save exponentially more. Each year that the cost of energy rises, the balance of your savings “rolls over” and grows. 5% of $100 would yield a $105 return. The next year it would be 5% of $105–and on and on.
You don’t have to be a cash flow analyst to see that over 30 years the savings would pay for the installation many times over. But perhaps a better way of describing the benefits of investing in solar is this: the higher the utility company raises its rates, the more money you’ll save.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
A clean energy economy makes senses. Check out their new commercial.<br/><br/>