Here’s a short video highlight of the event.<br/><br/>
Sunetric Blog: Hawaii Solar News & Updates
Monthly Archives: November 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunetric installing 100 kW System at King Windward Nissan
<br/><br/> Kaneohe, HI – sunetric.com – With Hawaii’s first shipment of Nissan LEAF vehicles just around the corner, King Windward Nissan is taking yet another step to protect the environment. Sunetric workmen descended onto the dealership yesterday to install more than 460 solar modules onto King Windward Nissan’s rooftop. The 100 kW system will produce an estimated 362 kWh each day. Over the next 30 years, this solar array will offset approximately 6,620 barrels of oil that would have otherwise been imported to Hawaii and burned for electricity.<br/><br/> “Bringing zero-emission vehicles to Hawaii is just the beginning for us,” said King Windward Nissan General Manager Bill Mickelsen. “We are constantly looking to innovate our business in meaningful ways. When we can positively affect our community while increasing efficiency, we know we are on the right path.”<br/><br/> “We’re installing 468 modules which will save King Windward Nissan nearly $30,000 per year,” said Sunetric CEO Alex Tiller. “In today’s economy, saving that kind of money on a permanent basis adds up not just for the dealership but for all of Hawaii. “ Tiller adds, “As King Windward Nissan attracts local and national attention, all eyes will be on the dealership. Their solar array will stand as a beacon to the community that they are serious about conserving our islands’ resources.”<br/><br/> To read the full press release please click here.<br/><br/> On The Web:<br/>StarAdvertiser – Breaking News<br/>Renewable Energy World<br/>7thspace
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime. With the simple wisdom of this Chinese proverb, Sunetric offered incredible learning opportunities when it installed a PPA at Hawaii’s famous Hongwanji Mission School (HMS). Sunetric knew it had a treasure before it — a captive audience of tomorrow’s leaders. These youngsters were eager to learn how the schools’ new PV panels would save over $200,000 and prevent 13,500 barrels of oil from being shipped to Hawaii.
Sunetric teamed with Hawaii’s top environmental nonprofit group, Blue Planet Foundation, to call for global change in a public ceremony on HMS’s campus. They sponsored a green fair and mobilized 16 other environmental groups — including Hawaii Conservation Alliance, Nature Center, NOAA Marine Debris Program, University of Hawaii’s Sustainability Initiative, and the Hawaii State Clean Energy Office — to staff educational booths on the grounds. The event was held on Sunday, October 10th (10/10/10) alongside hundreds of events worldwide aimed at raising environmental awareness.
Leading up to the Green Fair celebration, Sunetric energy consultants and Blue Planet Foundation staff taught energy awareness classes to the students for two weeks, engaging them on the importance of sustainability on our Islands and in our world.
In the end, Sunetric demonstrated to an entire community just how tangible the environmental and financial benefits of solar energy can be — and sent the K-8 students on their way knowing how to “fish” energy from the sky with clean, renewable solar energy.
View our slideshow of photos from the event:
Hongwanji Mission School, under the auspices of the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin Buddhist Temple
1728 Pali Hwy Honolulu, HI 96813-1613
- System Size: 692 module, 160 kW Photovoltaic system
- Project Completion: December 2010
- Designer and Developer: Sunetric.
- Panel Manufacturing: Trina Solar TSM.
- Financier: Sunetric Capital, a financing arm of Sunetric.
- Roofer: Surface Shield Roofing
Environmental and Educational Partners:
- Blue Planet Foundation
- Hawaii State Energy Office
- Surfrider Foundation, O‘ahu Chapter
- Apollo Kaua‘i
- Malama Kaua‘i
- Malama‘ula Mauka Homestead Association
- Laulima Kuha‘o
- Kanu O Ka A‘ina
- Maui’s Community Work Day Program
- Maui Community College’s Go Green Club
- Sustainable UH
Now that the installation is active, Honwanji Mission School is paying 12.5% less than HECO’s current electric rates. If you know of a school or charity that might benefit from a similar program, visit our commercial solar financing partner Sunetric Capital.
What is PPA?
Simply put, a PPA is an agreement between a power producer and a power buyer. This agreement can be between a large utility and a major power producing facility, or between a small-scale power producer and an individual buyer.
The main way in which PPAs are used in the solar power industry today are as a financing method for large installations. The basic structure for financing a solar installation with a PPA involves the installation of a solar power system on the customer’s property (host) zero out of pocket cost to the customer. (the large nature of the installation favors the expanse of a commercial rooftop or parking lot, but there is always room for creativity when designing an installation). The customer then agrees to buy the electricity which is produced and sold at a discount rate over the span of 20 to 25 years, thereby insulating the customer from rising energy costs and paying back the initial investors who financed the installation in the first place. In short, the customer/host benefit is: zero out of pocket for investment and discount priced energy.
Sunetric’s solar installation at Hongwanji School is set up under PPA. A solar array was installed on top of the school at Sunetric’s expense, and the electricity which is now being produced will be sold back to the school at a rate which is (and will continue to be) considerably lower than HECO. Current tax laws make this an even more attractive arrangement, because as a nonprofit, Hongwanji School was unable to take advantage of the current tax incentives for installing renewable energy systems. As a for-profit company, Sunetric Capital can take advantage of those incentives and pass the savings along to the school!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Two weeks ago we wrote about a new clarified construction law (HB 1464) that requires a renewable energy technology on all new residential construction – whether it be solar water-heating or photovoltaics.<br/><br/> This new law is a great stride towards sustainability but only applies to new residential construction. What about condominiums?<br/><br/> In the past, condominium associations and cooperatives would have to adopt rules facilitating the placement of the solar energy system and the law did not provide the boards of directors broad authority on behalf of their associations to install solar energy devices, even though associations can benefit from installing solar energy systems on the common elements. However, this is not the case anymore.<br/><br/> On April 23, 2010, Governor Lingle signed into law Act 053 which amends sections 514A-13.4 and 514B-140, Hawaii Revisited Statutes, to specifically provide boards of directors with the authority to install or allow the installation of solar energy or wind energy devices on the common elements under appropriate circumstances.<br/>
- The board of directors of an association shall have the authority to install or cause the installation of, or lease or license the common elements for the installation of solar energy devices and wind energy devices on the common elements of the project; provided that solar or wind energy devices shall not be installed upon any limited common element without the consent of the owner or owners of the unit or units for which use of the limited common element is reserved; and
- The installation of solar energy devices and wind energy devices on the common elements of the project by the board shall not be deemed to alter, impair, or diminish the common interest, common elements, or easements appurtenant to each unit or to be a structural alteration or addition to any building constituting a material change in the plans of the project filed in accordance with section 514A-12; provided that the installation does not directly affect any nonconsenting unit owner.
This is yet another step the state is taking towards reaching 70% clean energy by the year 2030 and you can help Hawaii reach this goal as well.<br/><br/> If you’re on the board of directors or know of someone who is on the board, let them know about Act 053 and start engaging in conversations to have the installation of a solar energy system installed on the common elements.<br/><br/> It takes a team to paddle a canoe, and we all need to do our part to help Hawaii end our dependance on imported oil!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Have you ever wondered why your electricity meter may spin backwards after installing a PV system? If you haven’t seen it before, a customer sent this video of his electric meter spinning backwards.<br/><br/><br/><br/> When the sun shines and your solar panels are generating more energy than you’re using, you “deposit” energy in the power grid, running your meter backwards. At night, you withdraw – and any extra solar energy you don’t use is “rolled over” into your account at no cost.<br/><br/> At the end of the month, if you deposited more electricity than you used, you’ll receive a credit from the electric company. If you used more than you deposited, you’ll receive a bill. This is what is called Net Energy Metering (or NEM).<br/><br/> NEM allows you to offset all or part of your electricity bill from the electric company from the energy produced by your eligible renewable energy generation system.<br/><br/> According to Hawaii state law (Hawaii Revised Statues (HRS) Section 269-101 – 269-111), all residential and commercial utility customers who own and operate an eligible renewable energy generation system, up to a generating capacity of 100 kW, and intend to connect to the utility grid, must register their systems with their electric company by executing a NEM agreement. <br/><br/> The executed agreement allows the NEM customer to connect their photovoltaic system to the utility grid, allowing it to export surplus electricity into the grid, and to receive credits at full retail value that can be used to offset electricity purchases over a 12-month period.<br/><br/> NEM customers are billed for net energy purchased, which is determined by subtracting the excess energy exported to the utility grid from the total energy supplied by the electric company. Here is the formula:<br/><br/> Energy Supplied by the utility (kWh) <br/>- Excess Energy exported to the utility (kWh) <br/> = Net Energy Billed to the Customer (kWh)<br/><br/> In Hawaii, eligible renewable energy sources are solar (photovoltaic), wind, biomass, or hydroelectric power or a hybrid system of two or more of these technologies, with a capacity up to 100 kW.<br/><br/> The Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company, and Hawaii Electric Light Company support Net Energy Metering and recognize their roles to help Hawaii transition from fossil fuels to more renewable energy resources.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
We encourage you to check our wide array of solar financing options.
Today’s video is courtesy from one of our partner SunRun. The Story of Coal does an excellent job of explaining the effects burning coal for electricity can have on our environment. Enjoy!<br/><br/>
Friday, November 12, 2010
Hawaii is making great strides towards the goal of achieving 70% clean energy by the year 2030. Significant progress in reaching this milestone will surely come from a new, clarified construction law that requires a renewable energy technology on all new residential construction – whether it be Solar Water-Heating or Photovoltaics.
Though this new law is a great stride toward sustainability, there is some confusion amongst Hawaii homeowners and homebuilders as to what the legislation truly requires. The mandate has been generally publicized as endorsing (and requiring) only solar water-heating on new homes, but upon closer analysis, photovoltaic arrays can also satisfy the legislative requirements.
Back in June of 2008, Hawaii enacted legislation, SB 644, with the intent to require solar water-heating systems to be installed on all single-family new home construction, with a few exceptions.
This legislation had several errors that were corrected by legislation passed during the 2009 legislative session. In June 2009, HB 1464 was signed by the governor and addressed the errors in the previous solar water-heating requirement.
As of January 1, 2010, building permits may not be issued for new single-family homes that do not include a solar water-heating system.
BUT, homebuilders can now substitute Photovoltaics for solar water-heating through what is called a “variance.”
Solar water heating has proven to be a tremendously valuable technology in the past, but there are only a few uses for solar-heated hot water in your home – laundry, dishes and bathing. Conversely, solar electricity can power your TV, run your A/C, cook your dinner, wash and dry your clothes, charge your cell phone, power your computer, clean your house and more! As Photovoltaic technology has improved in efficiency and costs have come down, Sunetric believes that in nearly all cases, an investment in a photovoltaic system will provide better return than one in a solar water-heating system (Click here to view our white paper).
We know heating water uses lots of electricity, so we recommend you use the newest heat pump technologies that are incredibly efficient, easy to install and use very little electricity.
So how does the variance work? Well, the State energy resources coordinator may provide you with a variance for this requirement if:
- Installation is impracticable due to poor solar resource;
- Installation is cost-prohibitive based upon a life cycle cost-benefit analysis that incorporates the average residential utility bill and the cost of the new solar water-heating system with a life cycle that does not exceed 15 years;
- A renewable energy technology system is substituted for use as the primary energy source for heating water; or
- A demand water heater device approved by UL is installed; provided that at least one other gas appliance is installed in the dwelling. (A “demand water heater” means a gas-tankless instantaneous water heater that provides hot water only as it is needed.)
The legislative intent is that the demand water heater provision should only apply if the variance applicant is the individual that will be paying for the energy costs (the homeowner). A variance is automatically granted if not approved within 30 days or if a Hawaii licensed architect or mechanical engineer attests to one of the allowed exemptions.
To get a variance you must submit a Request for Variance from Mandatory Solar Water Heater in New Single-Family Residential Construction form. Under section IV. Reason for Variance request, you may check the “A substitute renewable energy technology is used…” and the photovoltaic line as well.
The form takes approximately one and half weeks to approve under “normal circumstances,” max of three weeks with furlough Friday backups.
Dean Masai, DBEDT Energy Office, can be reached at 587.3804 with any questions you may have. His office is available on the web through DBEDT, then Energy, and the Variance form is found almost at the bottom of that page.
To download the Request Variance form please click here.
You only have so much space on your roof, so make good use of it. Use it to create electricity.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
While we didn’t win, we were extremely honored to have been one of the finalist for the Innovative Company of the Year by Pacific Business News.<br/><br/> Congratulations to Kai Medical for winning the award as well as all the other finalists: Geo Force Horizons, Westin Kaanapali Queen Resort and Villas and TH!NK.<br/><br/> Here are some photos from the event.<br/><br/>
To read more about this event please click on the following links:<br/><br/> PBN announces 2010 Business Leadership Hawaii award winners <br/>Innovative Company of the Year Finalist: Sunetric uses technology to harness the sun<br/><br/>
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Sunetric to Install 113.8 kW System at Kailua-Kona Dealership
<br/><br/> Kailua-Kona, HI – sunetric.com – BMW of Hawaii, the state’s premier luxury car dealership, will temporarily take its eyes off the road to look up toward the sun. BMW’s 34-year-old dealership, a longtime anchor of Kailua-Kona, is installing a solar array on its rooftop. The state-of-the-art system will be designed and installed by Sunetric, the state’s largest locally owned and operated solar company.<br/><br/> BMW of Hawaii will install a 113.8 kW roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system at the Kailua-Kona Loloku Street dealership. The solar panels will soak up Kona’s steady, dependable sunshine while generating an estimated $47,536 savings to the dealership per year. Construction is set to begin in December.<br/><br/> The $706,000 system includes 495 SunPower 230 W modules and a Solectria 95 kW inverter. The panels will kick off an average of 449kWh of electricity each day which will allow BMW of Hawaii to recoup its investment sometime during its fourth year of operation,” said Dave Felice, Sunetric energy consultant. “Not only is BMW investing in the environment, it’s investing in its own business.”<br/><br/> Sunetric’s CEO Alex Tiller adds, “BMW of Hawaii is doing more than installing solar panels. They’re making a bold statement for the environment which will be seen everyday in Kailua-Kona’s tight-knit community.” <br/><br/> Over the next 30 years, BMW’s new system is estimated to prevent approximately 3,858 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering Hawaii’s air. The solar array will offset 91% percent of the dealership’s electrical usage, offsetting 8,198 barrels of oil that would have otherwise been imported to Hawaii and burned to make electricity. BMW of Hawaii’s use of the solar array is equivalent to saving 66 acres of forest.<br/><br/> To download the full pdf please click here.<br/><br/> On The Web:<br/><br/>Hawaii 24/7<br/>BMW The Only News<br/>Ethiopian Review<br/>Green By Design Hawaii
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Sunetric was at Solar Power International last month in Los Angeles reviewing all the latest and greatest new technologies and sourcing the very best solar solutions on the market for our customers.<br/><br/>
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
We encourage you to check our wide array of solar financing options.
<em>Midweek article by Alex Tiller, CEO of Sunetric</em><br/>
The good news is that Hawaii now ranks third in the nation in per-capita photovoltaic generation. The bad news is that some Hawaii residents haven’t switched to solar because they believe it’s too expensive. That may have been true in the past, but now residents can switch to solar at no cost.
No, that wasn’t a typo. Residents on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island can now switch to solar energy at no charge. Sunetric, Hawaii’s largest locally owned and operated solar installer, recently partnered with SunRun, the nation’s leading home solar company, to offer Hawaii residents a chance to go solar with zero money out of pocket.
How does it work? Sunetric designs and installs the system and SunRun owns, insures and maintains it. Instead of paying for the solar panels up front, you simply pay SunRun monthly for the electricity your solar panels generate. You avoid the up-front expense of switching to solar but still get to generate your own clean, renewable energy.
In the few short weeks this program has been available, Sunetric’s SunRun customers are expecting to offset approximately 120kW per week, which translates into hundreds of dollars of savings in the first year. The beauty of the program is that as time goes on, the solar electric rates stay fixed and low while the utility rates continue to rise. Additionally, SunRun insures and monitors your system around the clock. If something isn’t working, SunRun detects it and Sunetric fixes it – at no cost to you.<br/><br/> What’s the catch? In short, there isn’t one. It’s truly a case of win-win-win: Sunetric is paid to install and maintain the panels, SunRun receives a predictable long-term return on its investment through monthly solar energy sales, and customers go solar for nothing out-of-pocket. Customers save money now and into the future, and together we build a sustainable future for Hawaii.<br/><br/> Renewable energy isn’t just a business for Sunetric – it’s a passion. Our islands are the most beautiful place on earth, yet we rely on fossil fuel to generate almost 90 percent of our electricity. That’s the worst record in the nation – and also why Sunetric partners with environmental leaders such as Blue Planet Foundation to raise awareness about clean energy alternatives. We believe our partnership with SunRun is yet another step in the right direction.<br/><br/> To read the full article, please click here.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
When the light bulb was first invented in the late 1800s, it was nothing less than a revolution. With Edison’s long-lasting filament of carbon and ready supply of electricity, the incandescent light bulb became a viable source of light. The bulb was cleaner than gas lamps or candles, far less dangerous, and—at least for the time—efficient. <br/><br/> Now, 120 years after Edison’s patent, our definition of efficiency has changed. Because of rising energy costs and an increased awareness of environmental impacts, consumers today demand far higher levels of efficiency from light sources while at the same time expecting a higher quality of light in warmth and spectrum. <br/><br/> In 1980, that demand was met by Phillips with their model SL screw-in fluorescent replacement. This was the first true CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) in a form factor that we know today. It took another 15 years for General Electric to produce the spiral fluorescent lamp that most of us think of when we think of a CFL. <br/><br/> The benefits of the CFL over traditional incandescent bulbs were immediately apparent. The amount of light produced by a bulb is measured in units called lumens. A 100-watt incandescent light bulb can produce 1,600 lumens. That same 1,600 lumens can be produced by a CFL with only 30 watts—and the efficiency just keeps improving. <br/><br/> But lighting technology had one more revolution in store—the LED lamp. LEDs are “light-emitting diodes” and have been in common use in electronics since their development at General Electric in 1962. First there were just green and red LEDs, which limited their potential uses. With the advent of blue LEDs, colors could be mixed to create a full spectrum of colors including white light. The technology for blue LED lights was introduced around 1998. Since that time the brains in the lighting business have been working diligently at all kinds of LED applications including recent advancements that create brighter LEDs for residential and commercial environmental illumination purposes. Now clusters of LEDs are bundled to create replacement “bulbs” which can fit in the same Edison screw that any of the old incandescents can fit into. <br/><br/> While laboratory tests have shown that some LED lamps can produce an incredible 200 lumens per watt of power, most produce approximately 30 lumens per watt of power, and that’s comparable to a CFL bulb. But an older incandescent bulb produces, on average, only 15 lumens per watt of power. And that is, by our 2010 standards, very inefficient. <br/> <br/> So what are the real numbers? A study done by the online journal ProductDose.com compared LEDs, CFLs, and incandescents. While simple math can demonstrate that incandescents are losers in the efficiency category, the LED and CFL comparison resulted in some very interesting findings. <br/><br/> In a household using 30 bulbs for an average of 5 hours per day, incandescent bulbs would cost $750 per year. All factors remaining equal, if the homeowner switched to CFLs, that cost would drop to $175 per year. And LED lamps? The cost for lighting the house would plummet to just $75 per year. <br/><br/> ProductDose provides an interactive spreadsheet so that you can input your own specific numbers and get actual savings. <br/><br/> http://panasonic.productdose.com/LightBulb_Comparison.xls <br/><br/> Whatever bulb you choose, both CFL and LED are superior to incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are the cheapest to produce, and so that low cost may be tempting when staring at your options on the shelf, but just remember that over the long term, those inexpensive incandescents are far and away the most costly option. <br/><br/> Here is a local retailer of environmentally sound lighting technology:<br/>
Light Bulbs Hawaii is a LOCAL established and known leader in LED replacement lamps. These fit your other bulb fixtures including halogens, MR16′s, recessed lighting, parking areas both indoors and outdoors, and T8 LED’s. Call them at 531-5483 for details. There are some rebates available and LBH can discuss this with you. They also provide CFL bulbs.
Here is a short list of some of the leading manufacturers of environmentally sound lighting technology:<br/>
The C. Crane Company has long been at the cutting edge of electronics. Famous for high quality radios and other consumer electronics, C. Crane is now producing some of the most innovative LED bulbs in the industry.
EarthLED from Advanced Lumonics is an LED lighting solution which was developed with a specific interest in environmental stability. The design of these bulbs has been touted as “industrial art”.
High Sierra Lighting is a Nevada company that specializes in all kinds of illumination, though their business has shifted toward consumer-grade LED lighting products. Lights can be ordered directly from their website.
<br/> So now solar powered homes and businesses in Hawaii can operate even more efficiently by making use of Solar Powered LED Lighting.<br/>