David Kirkpatrick

November 19, 2008

Solar looks strong for 2009

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:51 pm

A release from twenty minutes ago:

Solar Shines Bright In Dark Economy

Industry Experts Predict 40% Growth For Solar Installations In 2009

LIVERMORE, CA, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ — Industry experts are predicting a 40 percent increase in demand for residential and commercial solar installations in 2009. The boom is due mainly to increased government tax incentives and subsidies for renewable resources.

As of January 1, 2009 all Americans will be eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit on solar technology. That’s in addition to individual state tax credits, which are as high as 25 percent in regions that are pushing for a greener economy.

“I am proposing we set the most aggressive target in the nation for 33 percent renewable energy by the year 2020,” California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced this week. “That’s a third of our energy from sources like solar, wind and geothermal.”

With a global economic crisis lingering, venture capitalists are now pouring billions of dollars into the renewable resource sector, stimulating a shift in North America’s labor markets. Roofers, electricians, and contractors in slowing industries are now turning to the alternative resource sector for professional labor jobs like solar installation.

Solar Universe, a solar installation company that started franchising in August has already awarded four franchises in California and plans to award five more before going nationwide in 2009. The majority of Solar Universe’s franchise partners are construction professionals looking to capitalize on the installation of solar technology.

“Solar is the bright spot in this economy,” said Joe Bono, co-founder of Solar Universe. “We’re grateful we can help contractors in slowing industries join a rapidly expanding one.”

For more information visit: www.solaruniverse.com

About Solar Universe: Solar Universe is the first to offer the safe, simple, and cost-effective SunGen solar packages. SunGen consists of solar panels and inverters that capture natural sunlight and convert it into electricity. The SunGen saves you money by directing excess solar energy into your utility meter, thus spinning it backwards and crediting your bill. Contact us today to find out why the S.U.N. works for everyone!

Source: Solar Universe

October 13, 2008

GE, SunPower and Hewlett-Packard

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:15 pm

Here’s a release on a solar power installation involving a couple of pretty big corporate names.

The release:

SunPower and GE Partner to Power-Up HP in San Diego

Residential SunPower Systems Available to HP Employees At Preferred Rates

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWRA)(NASDAQ:SPWRB), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems, and GE (NYSE:GE) announced today the completion of a 1.1-megawatt solar-electric power system on the roof of HP’s printing technology research and development facility in San Diego. The companies are jointly dedicating the system today at the HP site.

SunPower is also providing HP employees with preferred rates on solar power systems for their homes.

At the San Diego facility, SunPower installed a SunPower(R) T10 Solar Roof Tile commercial roof system, which is a non-penetrating product that tilts at a 10-degree angle to increase energy capture. The system will reduce more than 60 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 30 years, which is equivalent to providing electricity to 3800 homes or removing more than 5250 cars from the road.

“We applaud HP’s vision for the future as well as its understanding that solar makes good business sense today,” said Tom Werner, chief executive officer of SunPower. “For leading companies and individual homeowners, clean, reliable solar power will become a core energy investment over the next decade. Solar power can be delivered anywhere, at any scale, when and where we need it.”

As an alternative to purchasing the commercial system itself, HP is buying electricity from GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE that owns the system under SunPower Access(TM), a power purchase agreement program. HP owns the renewable energy credits and environmental benefits associated with the system, which it may retire or sell. The solar electricity is competitively priced against retail rates, providing HP with a long-term hedge against rising peak power prices.

“Collaborating with SunPower enables us to provide HP with an efficient and cost-competitive way to realize the financial savings and environmental benefits of solar power,” said Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services. “For us, this project diversifies our renewable energy portfolio with more solar assets and supports ecomagination, GE’s program to help its customers meet their environmental challenges while expanding its own portfolio of cleaner energy products.”

SunPower has also collaborated with HP to provide SunPower residential solar electric systems to U.S.-based HP employees at reduced rates. To date, more than 500 HP employees have signed up for the program, and about 60 have completed the installation of SunPower systems at their homes.

“HP has set aggressive goals to reduce the environmental impact of both our operations and that of our customers through product innovation,” said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and leader of environmental strategy for HP’s Imaging and Printing Group. “By generating clean, affordable solar power with this flagship installation in San Diego, SunPower and GE are helping us achieve those goals with no initial out-of-pocket expenses, offering us long-term savings on electricity costs.”

About SunPower

SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWRA)(NASDAQ:SPWRB) designs, manufactures and delivers high-performance solar electric systems worldwide for residential, commercial and utility-scale power plant customers. SunPower high-efficiency solar cells and solar panels generate up to 50 percent more power than conventional solar technologies and have a uniquely attractive, all-black appearance. With headquarters in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpowercorp.com.

About GE Energy Financial Services

GE Energy Financial Services’ 400 experts invest globally with a long-term view, backed by the best of GE’s technical know-how and financial strength, across the capital spectrum and the energy and water industries, to help their customers and GE grow. With $19 billion in assets, GE Energy Financial Services, based in Stamford, Connecticut, invests more than $5 billion annually in two of the world’s most capital-intensive industries, energy and water. In renewable energy, GE Energy Financial Services is growing its portfolio of more than $4 billion in assets in wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal power. For more information, visit http://www.geenergyfinancialservices.com/

About GE

GE (NYSE:GE) is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that is built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water, transportation and health to access to money and information, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. GE is Imagination at Work. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.ge.com/.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are statements that do not represent historical facts. The companies use words and phrases such as “will,” “can,” “may,” “providing,” “offering,” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, the companies’ plans and expectations regarding:  (a) reducing more than 60 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the next 30 years, which is equivalent to providing electricity to 3800 homes or removing more than 5250 cards from the road; (b) solar power becoming a core energy investment over the next decade for leading companies and individuals; (c) solar power being delivered anywhere, at any scale, when and where needed; (d) HP being able to retire or sell renewable energy credits and environmental benefits associated with the system; and (e) the electricity providing HP with a long-term hedge against rising peak power prices and offering long-term savings. These forward-looking statements are based on information available to the companies as of the date of this release and management’s current expectations, forecasts and assumptions, and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond the companies’ control. In particular, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ include:  (i) actual electricity generation; (ii) the actual energy consumption rate; (iii) unexpected changes in utility service rates; (iv) variations in carbon dioxide emissions reductions; (v) and economic conditions and growth trends in the solar power industry; (vi) the continuation of governmental and related economic incentives promoting the use of solar power; (vii) the continued availability of third-party financing arrangements for the company’s customers; (viii) construction difficulties or potential delays in the project implementation process; (ix) unanticipated delays or difficulties securing necessary permits, licenses or other governmental approvals; (x) unanticipated problems with deploying the system on sites; and (x) other risks described in SunPower’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 29, 2008, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the companies’ views as of any subsequent date, and the companies are under no obligation to, and expressly disclaim any responsibility to, update or alter their forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SunPower is a registered trademark of SunPower Corp.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Source: SunPower Corporation
   

Web site:   http://www.sunpowercorp.com/
http://www.geenergyfinancialservices.com/
http://www.ge.com/

September 25, 2008

Interested in installing solar in California?

Here’s some useful information.

The press release:

Residential Leases and PPAs; Questions for Homeowners to Ask If Considering a Solar Lease or a Solar Power Purchase Agreement

RIO VISTA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In 2008 new financing options for homeowners wanting solar systems were introduced in California. These options were designed to overcome the biggest obstacle to potential solar users: the first cost to acquire the system. For typical residential solar installations the cost is around $40,000 but after tax credits and state rebates it is usually around $25,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. Most homeowners pay cash or finance the purchase.

For homeowners who are considering one of the new leasing or power purchase methods, there are important considerations because these homeowners will not own the system. The system will be owned by the leasing company or the power purchase company.

How does a lease or power purchase agreement work?

A lease allows a customer to make a monthly payment over a fixed term, like 5, 10, or 15 years. At the end of the term the homeowner will have the option of paying for the remaining value of the system or having it removed. Interest is charged on the balance of the value of the solar system for the duration of the lease.

A power purchase agreement is a long term contract to buy electricity produced by the solar system. The term of the contract is typically 15 to 20 years. The site owner does not own the solar system during the term of the contract. At the end of the contract the homeowner will have the option to purchase the system for the remaining value of the system or having it removed. Some of these contracts also allow a customer to purchase the system before the end of the term of the contract. The cost of the electricity from the solar system will escalate over the term of the contract and the escalation rate will be specified in the contract. The escalation rate may or may not be at the same rate that the local utility will charge over the same period. The homeowner will still be a customer of the local utility and purchase electricity from the utility when the solar system does not produce electricity (such as overnight or on a cloudy day).

In both a lease or power purchase agreement, the company receives both the tax credit and any state rebates.

Do state or federal regulations govern these leases or power purchase agreements?

Not at this time. These financing options are a new development in the retail solar market. Power purchase agreements have been used successfully for transactions between wholesale power generators and utilities. They have also been used successfully in large commercial solar installations since 2006. The terms and conditions of the commercial power purchase agreements are negotiable and most commercial projects are reviewed by the customers attorney(s) and accountant(s).

Legislation recently sent to the Governors signature (AB 2863, 2008) will establish disclosure requirements for residential leases and power purchase agreements. If the bill is signed into law, it will require:

1. A good faith estimate of the kilowatt-hours to be delivered by the solar energy system.

2. A plain language explanation of the terms under which the pricing will be calculated over the life of the contract and a good faith estimate of the price per kilowatt-hour.

3. A plain language explanation of operation and maintenance responsibilities of the contract parties.

4. A plain language explanation of the contract provisions regulating the disposition or transfer of the contract in the event of a transfer of ownership of the residence, as well as the costs or potential costs associated with the disposition or transfer of the contract.

5. A plain language explanation of the disposition of the solar energy system at the end of the term of the contract.

AB 2863 will also require that the leasing or power purchase company:

– Record a notice on the title of the property. If the contract is terminated or sold, they must file a new notice.

– Must provide a copy of the contract to a prospective buyer of the home if the homeowner is selling their home.

Questions to ask if a homeowner is considering a solar lease or solar power purchase agreement

Since homeowners do not usually have an attorney and accountant to review the agreements, the following questions are good questions to ask if they are considering a lease or power purchase agreement to have a solar system installed on a home. Getting these questions answered in writing will help the homeowner in the event that a dispute develops later about the terms of the arrangement.

Installation

1. Who is the installation company? (Not all financing companies have a contractors license so they will contract with an installation company to perform the construction work.)

2. Does the contractor have a license to install solar?

3. Does the contractor have workers compensation insurance?

4. Is the contractor reputable and have a good track record for installations?

5. Can the contractor file a mechanics lien against the house?

6. Is there a separate contract for the installation of the system?

Contract terms

7. What is the assumed inflation (sometimes called escalation) rate for the solar electricity payments? (If the solar electricity payments escalate faster than the utility electric rates can the homeowner end up paying more for electricity over the life of the contract because they bought a solar system?

8. Does the contract obligate the homeowner to buy the system at the end of the contract? How much will the homeowner be expected to pay at the end of the contract? (Some contracts will state that the homeowner must pay the fair market value for the system. What is the value of the system after 10 years? 15 years? What is the actual cash price at the end of the term (not adjusted down for value of money)?

9. What happens if a homeowner refinances the house? Are there any clauses or language in the agreement restricting this? Are there any documents that the bank or appraiser will need?

10. Who is insuring the system in the event of damage (due to accidental damage to the home or vandalism, for example)? Does the homeowner have to pay for any or all damages? What should the homeowner report to their insurance company? Assuming the company insures the system; will the homeowner receive a certificate of insurance naming the homeowner on the companys insurance policy?

11. Who is responsible for the warranty of the system? Is the warranty to the homeowner from the installer or is the warranty from the installer to the leasing or PPA company? Who does the homeowner file a claim against if theres a problem, like a roof leak? Has the company had any claims? How have they been handled?

Terms of the Contract

12. Are there any costs to buy out the lease or PPA early in the first 5 years? If the homeowner buys out the lease or PPA in the first 5 years will they have to also pay the company for the loss of the tax credits and depreciation?

13. What is the implicit interest rate that the homeowner is paying in the lease/PPA?

14. What happens if the homeowner needs a new roof and the system needs to be moved? Who will cover the module warranties if the modules are moved? (Many module manufacturers void the warranty if the modules are moved).

15. Whose responsibility is it to restore the roof and replace shingles or tiles if the homeowner decides to have the system removed at the end of the term?

Sale of Home during term of Contract

16. What happens if the homeowner sells their home?

17. Can the contract be sold or assigned to someone else if the house is sold? What is the qualification process/what are the requirements for a new party assuming the lease/PPA?

18. What if someone who wants to buy the house but doesnt qualify to assume the lease/PPA?

19. What if someone who wants to buy the house but doesnt want the solar system?

System Performance

20. Does the company provide production guarantees? How is that tracked and does that affect the monthly payments that the homeowner makes (i.e., will the monthly payment be adjusted if the system underperforms?

21. Is the homeowner responsible for any of the maintenance or monitoring?

22. Assuming the homeowner monitors the system, if there are production issues what is the companys response time?

Fiscal condition of the Financing Company

23. Is the company financially sound?

24. Can the company sell the contract to a new entity? Will the homeowner be notified?

25. What happens if the leasing company or PPA company goes out of business?

26. Could the system be repossessed or removed if the PPA/leasing company gets into financial trouble?

27. Does the company maintain a reserve account for repairs? How much is set aside for repairs and are the funds kept in an escrow account?

About CALSEIA: Since 1977, California Solar Energy Industries Association has supported the widespread adoption of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems by educating consumers, supporting solar legislation and conducting business in a professional and ethical manner. www.calseia.org includes a list of solar companies that are members. Click on Find an Expert.

September 24, 2008

Largest single-rooftop North American solar installation

I’m posting two releases on this very subject, mostly because they arrived in the inbox at 7:16 am and 7:19 am this morning.

The header from 7:16? “Toyota and SunPower Complete Largest Single-Roof Solar Installation in North America.” How about 7:19? “Trina Solar to Power North America’s Largest Single Rooftop Installation.”

These are two different installations and I’ll allow you to sort through the details and decide which is really the largest.

Unintentional comedy or not with the timing, this is good solar news. The more viable installations out there, the better.

The release from 7:16 am:

Toyota and SunPower Complete Largest Single-Roof Solar Installation in North America

ONTARIO, Calif. and SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Toyota and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR), a manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, today announced the completion of the largest single-roof solar power installation in North America. The 2.3-megawatt SunPower system will begin operation in early October at Toyota’s North America Parts Center California (NAPCC) in Ontario, Calif.

Toyota expects the solar installation will provide nearly 60 percent of the total electricity needs for the 760,000-square foot NAPCC.  The system covers more than 242,000 square feet of the NAPCC’s roof and includes 10,417 solar modules, enough to cover more than four football fields. It is expected to avoid about 6.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is the equivalent to the emissions from the energy use of approximately 255 homes in a year.

“Toyota’s Earth Charter challenges the company to pursue all possible environmental technologies in the pursuit of sustainable mobility,” said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.  “That extends the company’s environmental responsibilities beyond products to include our manufacturing plants and other facilities where sustainable and renewable energy sources such as solar power are increasingly important.”

“Toyota is a global business leader in environmental sustainability,” said Tom Werner, chief executive officer of SunPower. “The solar power generated by this system will reduce Toyota’s operational costs at the Ontario facility immediately and over the long term, as electric utility rates continue to increase. Toyota understands that solar is affordable today as a means to improve the quality of our environment and promote local, clean, reliable power.”

SunPower installed SunPower(R) T10 Solar Roof Tiles at the Toyota facility, equipped with SunPower solar panels, the most efficient solar panels available on the market today. T10 Solar Roof Tiles are non-roof penetrating and tilt at a 10-degree angle to increase energy capture.

Toyota will purchase the electricity generated from the system from GE Energy Financial under the SunPower Access(TM) power purchase agreement (PPA) program. GE Energy Financial will finance, own and operate solar power systems, providing Toyota with immediate savings and a long-term hedge against rising peak power prices. Toyota owns the renewable energy credits associated with the system.

The NAPCC is not Toyota’s first foray into solar power.  The company’s South Campus headquarters building in Torrance, Calif., featured one of the largest privately funded systems of its kind when it opened in 2003.  Also built by SunPower, the system covers 53,000 square feet of rooftop.

About Toyota

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion.  Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of more than 1,450 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers.  Toyota directly employs over 35,000 people in the U.S. and sold more than 2.6 million vehicles in 2007.  For more information about our company, please visit http://www.toyota.com/, http://www.lexus.com/ and http://www.scion.com/.

About SunPower

SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) designs, manufactures and delivers high-performance solar electric systems worldwide for residential, commercial and utility-scale power plant customers. SunPower high-efficiency solar cells and solar panels generate up to 50 percent more power than conventional solar technologies and have a uniquely attractive, all-black appearance. With headquarters in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. For more information, visit http://www.sunpowercorp.com/. SunPower is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:CY).

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are statements that do not represent historical facts. The companies use words and phrases such as “will,” “expects,” “is expected,” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, the companies’ plans and expectations regarding: (a) the system beginning operations in October; (b) the solar installation providing nearly 60 percent of the total electricity needs for the 760,000-square foot NAPCC; (c) Toyota avoiding about 6.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is the equivalent to the CO2 emissions from the energy use of 255 homes in a year; and (d) the system reducing Toyota’s operational costs at the Ontario facility immediately and over the long term, as electric utility rates continue to increase. These forward-looking statements are based on information available to the companies as of the date of this release and management’s current expectations, forecasts and assumptions, and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond the companies’ control. In particular, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ include:  (i) construction difficulties or potential delays in the project implementation process; (ii) unanticipated delays or difficulties securing necessary permits, licenses or other governmental approvals; (iii) the risk of continuation of supply of products and components from suppliers; (iv) unanticipated problems with deploying the system on the sites; (v) actual electricity generation; (vi) the actual energy consumption rate; (vii) unexpected changes in utility service rates; (viii) variations in actual carbon dioxide emissions; and (ix) other risks described in SunPower’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 29, 2008, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the companies’ views as of any subsequent date, and the companies are under no obligation to, and expressly disclaim any responsibility to, update or alter their forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Source: SunPower Corporation
   
Web site:  http://www.sunpowercorp.com/
http://www.toyota.com/
http://www.lexus.com/
http://www.scion.com/

Find the second release after the jump:

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