Solar Profile – Solar Tribune https://solartribune.com Solar Energy News, Analysis, Education Sat, 03 Dec 2022 04:05:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.15 Answering the Internet’s Pressing Solar Questions Using The Open PV Project https://solartribune.com/answering-the-internets-pressing-solar-questions-using-the-open-pv-project/ Mon, 03 Dec 2018 14:08:04 +0000 http://solartribune.wpengine.com/?p=14323 While solar power continues its accelerated adoption in the U.S. market, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) tracks photovoltaic (PV) installations nationwide. As the sector evolves, this tool provides invaluable access to public data. The Open PV Project, run and operated by NREL, tracks and makes publicly available such solar data and provides vital information […]

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While solar power continues its accelerated adoption in the U.S. market, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) tracks photovoltaic (PV) installations nationwide. As the sector evolves, this tool provides invaluable access to public data.

The Open PV Project, run and operated by NREL, tracks and makes publicly available such solar data and provides vital information for any stakeholders across the solar energy industry. The dataset is undoubtedly massive, so a first glance proves intimidating. However, digging through Quora for the most common type of questions about the solar industry provides the ideal opportunity to walk through the data for anyone (even those who aren’t experts in solar) on how to take advantage of such a valuable resource.

Photo Source: Ridge

What is The Open PV Project?

As stated on the dataset’s homepage:

The Open PV Project is a collaborative effort between government, industry, and the public that continues to compile a database of available public data for photovoltaic (PV) installation data for the United States. Data for the project are voluntarily contributed from a variety of sources including solar incentive programs, utilities, installers, and the general public.

NREL’s data represents the best crowdsourced resource to identify the country’s solar installations, both large and small. NREL, one of the laboratories under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Energy, offers this information to the public to help people, government entities, and industry to understand past and current trends of the U.S. PV industry.

Keeping the data complete, up-to-date, and accurate is critical for The Open PV Project to retain its value, so NREL notes that data are collected from all contributors willing to offer data– including state-run incentive programs, utilities, PV businesses and installers, solar advocacy organizations, consumers, and more.

Photo Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Exploring the dataset

When opening The Open PV Project, the homepage you’ll find appears as follows:

Screenshot via The Open PV Project

Users have the option to “Search and Download” the data, “Upload Data” to contribute information, learn “About” the project, and see some of the visualizations created with the data in the “Gallery.” For the purposes of learning how to use this data yourself, let’s step through the “Search and Download” option.

Search and Download

The Search page appears as follows:

Screenshot via The Open PV Project

From here, you can search the dataset in the browser, download the full dataset for your own review, or download Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Tracking the Sun report that summarizes the important trends in the data for you. But, to answer specific questions you may have, you’ll likely have to search through the data yourself.

The “Solar Search” option allows you to zero in on the type of solar installations in which you’re interested. This option can be particularly useful if you want a quick answer to questions such as “How much solar capacity was installed in Virginia since the beginning of 2016?” Simply fill out that criteria and find the following view:

Screenshot via The Open PV Project

As we can see in the top right corner of the screen, this dataset includes 25 such installations for a total capacity of 1.39 megawatts (MW) with an average cost of $2.75 per watt (W). You can also download the information for each of the relevant installations to analyze them in more detail yourself. This “Solar Search” option is ideal if your question is brief and only concerns the criteria of: state, zip code, size, date of installation, or contributor.

However, the full data include many more details to sort through, so more in-depth questions will require you to download the full Open PV Dataset. To explore through the full data, click the download button, but be forewarned– this dataset has over one million entries and the file is a behemoth. Make sure you’re on a computer that can handle processing such a large file before diving in.

In collecting this completed dataset, NREL encourages contributors to include as much information as they have and find relevant, with categories including (but not limited to) the following:

  • State/city/county/zip code
  • Date installed
  • Incentive program used
  • Type of installation
  • Size, in kilowatts (kW)
  • Installation type (e.g., residential, commercial, or utility)
  • Installer
  • Cost per watt
  • Total cost
  • Annual production

Not every entry includes data for each category– the only data fields required to be filled out are date installed, size, location, and total installed cost (before any incentives).

Photo Source: Solar Energy Industries Association

Answering Quora’s pressing solar questions

To prove how useful this dataset can be, I’ll now answer some of Quora’s most pressing questions on the solar industry using just the information found on The Open PV Project. For those unfamiliar, Quora is an online question-and-answer resource where community members can seek out answers from experts to any question, with the top answer often ending up the top result on Google when someone asks the same question.

Equipped with the invaluable information from The Open PV Project, we can now provide the solar industry answers demanded by the Quora community:

Which U.S. state has the most solar powered homes?

This question is exactly the type that The Open PV Project was built to answer. By downloading the full dataset and filtering so only the residential installations are shown, we’re still left with over 908,000 entries from the original 102,000,000 entries, but where are those residential installations focused? By sorting the 908,000 residential installations by state, we get the following top 10:

Author created table; data courtesy of The Open PV Project

California is head-and-shoulders above the rest of the country with almost 600,000 residential solar installations for over 4,000 MW. Other states in the Southwest join California in the top 10 of residential solar, including Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. The Northeast joins as the other region of the country highly represented, with large solar installation counts in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

We must consider, though, that some of these states might only fall in the top 10 because they are populous states. To check for that, we can factor in each state’s population to find the top 10 states  in per capita installations:

Author created table; data courtesy of The Open PV Project

As this list shows, many states are represented in the top 10 when calculated on a per capita basis. Even though California is so populous, they are still kings based on one residential solar installation for every 69 residents. However, Texas, New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania fall out and are replaced with Delaware, Washington DC, New Mexico, and New Hampshire, who are each doing more with their smaller populations.

Why are there no solar panels installed on the Southwestern deserts?

Answering this question shows how publicly accessible datasets like The Open PV Project represent an opportunity to quash misinformation. Assuming this question is asking why the deserts of the American Southwest, with their abundant sunshine, are not being utilized for utility-scale solar power, then a quick analysis shows that there in fact are plenty of solar panels in these areas.

The Southwest almost always refers to Arizona and New Mexico and can also include California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma, depending on the context and who you ask. Given these states, a quick analysis of the data shows the following count of utility installations across the Southwest states:

Author created table; data courtesy of The Open PV Project

Based on this, we can see that most of the states do indeed utilize their solar resources on a utility scale, and in fact they’ve done so for going on a decade or longer. But the person who asked this question is correct to ask why more isn’t being done, particularly in Utah and Oklahoma where no utility installations of solar are recorded.

Are solar installations expensive?

After questions about the prevalence of different types of solar installations, the other most common inquiries are those asking about the costs. This question gets straight to the point, asking if solar installations are expensive.

Such a broad question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, but The Open PV Project provides us with the necessary data to describe cost trends. Focusing on the three most common installation types– residential, commercial, and utility– the range of total system costs are shown in the following table:

Author created table; data courtesy of The Open PV Project

Overall, residential systems appear the least expensive and utility the most expensive. Such a trend is unsurprising, as residential systems are typically the smallest, with commercial installations somewhat larger and utility-scale solar by far the largest. To gain further insight, we can look at the cost per watt information in the dataset:

Author created table; data courtesy of The Open PV Project

Based on the more informative cost-per-watt numbers, we can see that residential and commercial systems tend to be about the same price, as they use the same rooftop solar technologies. Utility-scale installations, though, are somewhat more expensive because they are not simple rooftop installations, but rather full-fledged power generating sites that must include additional features– cooling considerations, transmission and distribution systems, etc. However, those additional features reportedly do lead to higher utilization rates and capacity factors, meaning the ultimate cost for electricity generation is more economic for utilities than for residential or commercial operations. However, all types of solar are already cheaper than new fossil fuel generation projects in many parts of the United States.

Photo Source: Energy Innovation

Not only does The Open PV Project elucidate the affordability of installations, but we can also plot the data over time to see how prices have evolved:

Author created graph; data courtesy of The Open PV Project

As is evident from the scattering of data points, much goes into the determination of a solar installation’s cost– factors such as size, location, installer, and unique aspects of the rooftop. Thus, coming up with a one-size-fits-all answer to “How expensive are solar installations” is difficult. But the trend lines do demonstrate that, on the whole, the cost per watt of solar is consistently falling across these three most common sectors. The dataset would also let you separate data to see what trends pop up across different regions, time periods, rebate programs, and more. But I can’t have all the fun on my own, so dive into the data for your own analysis.

But in short: solar installations do have significant upfront capital costs, but those prices are dropping and becoming cheaper than other conventional energy generation sources. For residential and commercial installations, solar typically pays for itself in six to eight years through energy savings, with all savings after that point pure profit.

What’s the average cost of a 2-kilowatt solar installation?

Ending with a narrower question, this person wanted to specifically know how much a 2 kW solar system would cost. To answer the question we can focus on all entries of the dataset within 10% of 2 kW, of which there 32,788 installations (88% of which are residential, so we can also narrow our view into those entries since the person asking is likely asking about such residential systems).

Graphing the total system costs of residential solar installations between 1.8 kW and 2.2 kW gives the following:

Author created graph; data courtesy of The Open PV Project

Unsurprisingly, given our previous findings, the costs have been trending downward but remain spread over a wide range. Across data from The Open PV Project, the price range of ~2 kW residential solar installations extends from $1,800 (1.8 kW system installed in 2015 in California) to $62,608 (2.1 kW system installed in 2010 in Arizona). On average, 2 kW residential solar systems cost $13,968. To demonstrate how that’s changed over time, though, note that from 2000 through 2009 the average 2 kW system cost was $17,317 and that average cost over 2010 through 2018 fell to $12,540.

As you can see, The Open PV Project makes available countless opportunities for everyone to analyze the U.S. solar industry. The only question left is: what questions will you find the answers to next?

About the author: Matt Chester is an energy analyst in Washington DC, studied engineering and science & technology policy at the University of Virginia, and operates the Chester Energy and Policy blog and website to share news, insights, and advice in the fields of energy policy, energy technology, and more. For more quick hits in addition to posts on this blog, follow him on Twitter @ChesterEnergy.

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Ensuring Installation Costs Don’t Slow Down Solar Progress with Esdec https://solartribune.com/ensuring-installation-costs-dont-slow-down-solar-progress-with-esdec/ Mon, 05 Nov 2018 15:30:00 +0000 http://solartribune.wpengine.com/?p=14199 Most exciting innovations in solar energy relate to improved solar panel efficiencies or software solutions to improve the business case of adopting solar, but Esdec shows that saving time and money on installation of solar systems can provide a huge boon to the solar industry. Installation of rooftop solar panels can require one to three […]

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Most exciting innovations in solar energy relate to improved solar panel efficiencies or software solutions to improve the business case of adopting solar, but Esdec shows that saving time and money on installation of solar systems can provide a huge boon to the solar industry.

Installation of rooftop solar panels can require one to three days, with labor times averaging 75 man-hours and associated labor costs eating up about 10% of total system costs. While improving the rate at which solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can convert sunlight into usable energy will continue to make such installations more worthwhile, installation costs don’t typically receive the same degree of attention despite their significant contribution to upfront capital costs. As such, any innovation that can minimize installation costs will likewise decrease the payback period before residential and commercial solar systems become profitable and make solar energy accessible to more people. Such efforts encompass the goals that Esdec hopes to achieve by finally coming over to the United States.

Esdec, a European leader in solar rooftop mounting, has been operational for 14 years, having approached 2 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity as the leading market share holder in several countries. Featured as their initial U.S. product offering, the FlatFix system uses “self-levelling baseplates” and utilizes “innovative design [to] enable rapid assembly, allowing commercial projects to significantly reduce installation times compared with other systems on the market.” Esdec made a splash with this product at Solar Power International (SPI) 2018, the site of their U.S. coming out party.

The CEO of Esdec’s U.S. operations, Bart Leusink, graciously agreed to answer some questions I had about Esdec’s history, what finally brings them to the U.S. market, and how their products differ from other mounting and installation systems already commercially available:

Esdec’s Debut at Solar Power International

Matt Chester: Thanks so much for agreeing to speak with me today. To start at the beginning, what’s the origin story behind Esdec as a company?

Bart Leusink: Esdec was started by a group of rooftop solar installers who became increasingly dissatisfied with solar mounting and racking systems and the level of customer service– or, more accurately, the lack of consistent service– available at the time in the Dutch residential market.

Chester: You used Solar Power International (SPI) 2018 as your platform to officially launch into the U.S. market. What was the reception at the conference? How excited was your team to have such a large stage on which to debut?

Leusink: Frankly, the show exceeded our expectation. We had high hopes going into SPI, as we believe we’re bringing an innovative commercial and residential mounting system to the United States, offering installers a simpler, quicker-to-install solution compared with what is currently available. However, as with any debut, we were also a bit nervous as to how the U.S. solar community would respond.

Across the three days, we received more leads and higher traffic at the booth than we anticipated. Our commercial rooftop system, FlatFix, generated fantastic feedback from installers, distributors, and developers who were very enthusiastic about its clickable assembly, aesthetics, and durability. Among the most memorable quotes were “The product speaks for itself” and “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

People also loved the videos we created that helped tell our story, as well. SPI was a great way to start our U.S. journey and we can’t wait to build on it in the coming months.

Chester: Not only that, but you were selected as the official PV mounting system for the SPI Smart Energy Microgrid outside the convention center. How did you land that? What type of opportunities did that provide? 

Leusink: Yes, that was an excellent opportunity for us. We were approached by the organizers of SPI who knew our FlatFix product was very quick and easy to install. It ended up being an ideal way for us to demonstrate what our product can do in a real-life use case. My colleague and I, who are not installers, were able to install the 27-panel system adjacent to the convention center in just over an hour, which shows how quick and easy it is to install. The microgrid powered over 90 booths through SPI.

A two-panel FlatFix system was also featured on the Smart Energy Microgrid Marketplace inside the convention center, and I presented our products at the official MarketPlace, bringing further visibility to FlatFix and Esdec.

Esdec Changing the U.S. Market

Chester: Esdec has long been a force on the European market, but you are only now entering the United States. What felt right about entering the market at this moment?

Leusink: It’s true that Esdec has established itself as a leader in PV roof mounting systems in Europe. Since 2004, we’ve delivered nearly 2 GW of systems and worked with some of the biggest global corporate brands to deliver commercial solar systems in Europe. We’ve always known there was plenty of room in the U.S. solar market for an agile, customer-centric innovator like Esdec to help installers and EPCs (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) accelerate their installation velocity and improve their bottom line with a reliable, proven world-class product. And our experience at SPI affirms this belief. People at the convention had great feedback on our system, and the success of the product over 14 years in the industry provided U.S. visitors with evidence that we are a reliable partner.

Chester: Are there unique aspects to installations in the United States compared with in Europe that require an adjustment in how your products are made or marketed?

Leusink: The key difference between the U.S. and European solar markets is the various regulations and code compliance requirements for mounting solar panels, which are more stringent in the United States than in Europe. We incorporated these requirements into our specially designed U.S. systems. We have UL1703 Class A fire rating on all products and are also UL2703 listed for bonding, grounding, and loading. This gives us added credibility and helps us stand out as a new company in the U.S. market.

Esdec’s Products

Chester: Usually when new and exciting solar innovations are reported, they’re related to the efficiency of panels or the price of solar cells. What is it you think Esdec mounting solutions will bring that can excite people?

Leusink: Esdec is not an ordinary mounting solutions company. We’re driven by innovation. Unlike other PV mounting manufacturers, Esdec combines large-scale R&D, patented advanced technology, and customer input into rapid product development. We 3D print most of our prototypes and use lightweight space-grade plastics and self-repairing metals on our components.

I mentioned earlier that Esdec was founded by installers who were unsatisfied with the systems and customer service within the industry. Since then, we have worked closely with installers to identify improvements for our systems and their key points for residential and commercial installations. It is this collaboration that inspires our next generation of mounting system innovations.

Last month, we opened our innovation center at our Netherlands headquarters in Deventer, taking our installer collaboration to the next level, with the goal of delivering the most reliable, highest quality mounting systems on the market.

Chester: Within the mounting solutions arena, what do your products bring to customers that they haven’t seen before? What’s the differentiator?

Leusink: Esdec brings many key differentiators to the U.S. market. FlatFix features self-leveling baseplates unlike anything available to U.S. installers. Our one-tool design is completely unique, with integrated snap-on attachments that make installation quick and simple. FlatFix also provides a unique cable management approach that installers at SPI loved.

Add to that our flexible setup: single or dual; south; east-west; or north-south; and a 20-year warranty. Together it’s a complete package that U.S. installers have never seen before. We are also one of the few companies that offer both commercial and residential, flat and pitched roof solutions. This complete suite of products is another differentiator.

Chester: Among the advantages that Esdec touts are the speed and ease of installation. Can you quantify how much time and, more importantly, money can be saved on a typical installation by using your systems?

Leusink: FlatFix has been shown to significantly reduce installation time on rooftops across Europe, in some cases up to 40%. On one recent project in the Netherlands, 400 panels were installed using our system with just four people in only four hours.

We will soon be launching our calculator on our U.S. website that allows installers and developers to see just how much time and cost our mounting system can save them, based on the exact specs of their project.

Chester: Are there any misconceptions about your products or solar mounting in general that you’re eager to clear up? Anything people don’t know but they should?

Leusink: As we’re new to the market, and the majority of U.S. installers haven’t come across Esdec before, there aren’t any existing misconceptions about the company in the United States. One misconception we quickly quashed for any visitor to our booth at SPI, though, is that we are like every other mounting system supplier in the United States.

For more information on Esdec’s continued developments, visit their website for regular updates and follow them on LinkedIn.

About the author: Matt Chester is an energy analyst in Washington DC, studied engineering and science & technology policy at the University of Virginia, and operates the Chester Energy and Policy blog and website to share news, insights, and advice in the fields of energy policy, energy technology, and more. For more quick hits in addition to posts on this blog, follow him on Twitter @ChesterEnergy.

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Identifying Signs of the Solar Revolution Using Maps and Graphs https://solartribune.com/identifying-signs-of-the-solar-revolution-using-maps-and-graphs/ Mon, 01 Oct 2018 16:50:44 +0000 http://solartribune.wpengine.com/?p=14089 Utility-scale solar has experienced explosive growth in the U.S. in recent years, and the best years may yet still be on the horizon. While improvements to solar technologies have been among the most exciting renewable energy developments in recent years, solar energy is not without its naysayers who point out that “solar energy barely moves […]

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Utility-scale solar has experienced explosive growth in the U.S. in recent years, and the best years may yet still be on the horizon.

While improvements to solar technologies have been among the most exciting renewable energy developments in recent years, solar energy is not without its naysayers who point out that “solar energy barely moves the needle in the U.S. energy mix.” Such pessimism evokes the quote from Energy: A Human History regarding the Industrial Revolution, which states that the average Englishman:

“Would be in no doubt about the occurrence of a revolution across the Channel in France, but he would have been astonished to learn that he was living in the middle of what future generations would also term a revolution.”

The Industrial Revolution was the most significant transformation in energy use in human history, so the idea that those living at the precipice of it did not recognize its significance is eye-opening. Perhaps the recent rise in solar power is only beginning to move the needle, but like the Industrial Revolution we are in fact at the foot of a similar solar power (and, more broadly, renewable energy) revolution in the United States.

To test this idea, looking at the prevalence and growth trends of U.S. solar provides more than a handful of clues. Let’s examine this evidence through five sets of maps and graphs.

Important to note is that the data for these graphics comes from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and their detailed state data for the U.S. electric power sector in 2017— and this data thus does not include residential and commercial solar setups, which account for about 1/3 of the country’s total overall solar generation. This analysis focuses on utility-scale power to capture the applications most likely to displace fossil fuel baseload generation. 

1. Demonstrating current penetration of solar power across states

Overall, the United States saw over 53 million megawatthours (MWh) of solar generation in the electric power sector in 2017, accounting for 1.3% of total generation. To zoom in a bit, the following maps represent the total solar power generation in the electric power sector for each state.

solar power, electric power sector, united states

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

 

solar power, electric power sector. united states

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

These maps reveal the wide range of penetrations solar power has made in the electric power sectors among various states. While California leads the nation by a wide margin at over 24 million MWh generated (more than four times the generation of second place North Carolina), eight different states exceeded 1 million MWh of solar generation in 2017. For reference, the average U.S. household consumes about 10,800 kilowatthours (kWh) per year– meaning 1 million MWh is enough to power almost 100,000 homes for a year. On a percentage basis, solar power accounted for 11.8% of California’s electric power sector and 10.9% of Nevada’s, the nation’s leader in that regard.

On the other end of the scale, though, 5 states had no solar generation by utilities in 2017 and another 14 states fell below 50,000 MWh of solar generation, accounting for quite a small portion of the energy mixes in those states. In terms of portion of the energy mix, 12 states saw solar power between 1% and 6% of their electricity in 2017  and another 36 falling below 1%.

The breakdown of where solar generation in the electric power sector is prevalent or not as common largely lines up with the following map, generated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, that displays the strength and prevalence of solar irradiance (a proxy for how much sunlight hits a region during an average day and thus how much potential solar power could be generated):

solar irradiance, NREL, solar power, map

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The miniscule solar generation totals of certain regions are the numbers solar pessimists are seeing when pointing out the supposed non-viability of solar as a national energy solution (while ignoring the massive generation in California and other U.S. leading states). But like the Englishmen who failed to see how the nascent steam engine was about to change the world, these critics are only seeing part of the story.

2. Identifying age of solar power in each state

A chief aspect of electric power sector solar generation that too often gets overlooked is how young the industry is in most of the United States. To demonstrate that idea, the below map highlights when each state first saw solar generation contribute to the electric power sector, while the graph below the map shows the annual growth in number of states with solar generation and overall U.S. solar generation.

solar generation, electric power sector, united states, map

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

solar generation, electric power sector, United States, graph

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

The important takeaway here is how starting in 1990 (when EIA data on the state-by-state electric power sector is first available), only three states had any utilities with solar generation. From then through 2007, that figure remained below five states. The fact that solar did not account for a significant portion of the U.S. energy mix through then should thus come as no surprise. In the past decade, though, solar has expanded into about 4 new states per year, reaching a total of 45 states in 2017. With that presence in new states came an increase in total generation that averaged about 61% per year. That type of sustained growth is the harbinger of solar revolution, corroborated by further analysis of this data.

3. Comparing solar with other renewable energy sources in state electric power sectors

Another telling approach to the solar data is comparing solar generation with other notable generation sources. While some states generate a majority of their electricity from a single fuel (such as Rhode Island’s electricity sector being 92% reliant on natural gas and West Virginia’s 93% on coal), most states rely more evenly on numerous energy sources. Solar power is not yet the greatest source of generation in any state, and as of 2008 (the first year in which at least 10 states had solar generation in their electric power sectors) solar was not even among the top two most prominent renewable energy sources in any state. But, as the following maps show, that has changed in the years since:

solar power, renewable energy, map, electric power sector

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration                                  Click to enlarge

Among the six renewable energy sources tracked in EIA’s data (hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, wood and wood derived fuels, and other biomass), solar power went from the least prevalent across the United States to the third most prominent (behind only hydroelectric and wind). Meanwhile, on a state-by-state basis, solar power went from:

  • 41 states with no solar generation in 2008 to just 5 in 2017
  • 1 state where solar was present but below all other renewable sources in 2008 to 0 in 2017
  • 3 states where solar was the fifth most common renewable source in 2008 to 11 in 2017
  • 4 states where solar was the fourth most common renewable source in 2008 to 16 in 2017
  • 1 state where solar was the third most common renewable source in 2008 to 9 in 2017
  • 0 states where solar was the second most common renewable source in 2008 to 7 in 2017
  • 0 states where solar was the most common renewable source in 2008 to 3 in 2017

Given that 6 states rely on renewable energy generation sources for a majority of their electric power sector and 16 get at least a quarter of their total energy mix from renewables, solar’s rise in the renewable ranks is telling. Renewable energy is becoming critical to the grids across the nation, and solar is an increasingly vital part of that push.

4. Analyzing absolute growth of the solar sector on a state-by-state basis

In addition to seeing how solar power has grown in rank among renewable energy sources in each state, examining which states have seen their solar power grow most quickly in the electric power sector provides insights into different regions of the country. The top 45 states (excluding the 5 with no solar in 2017) in absolute generation growth over the past 5, 10, and 20 years can be ranked as such:

solar generation, solar power, map. United States

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

solar power, solar generation, map, United States

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

solar power, solar growth, united states, map

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

These different windows of time are typically useful to examining how trends have changed over the years, but what these three maps instead demonstrate is that the ranking of growth remains mostly uniform over the different time periods– 33 of the 45 states don’t move more than three spots in the rankings between time periods. Two aspects of the solar growth in utilities factor into this trend:

  1. The early solar adopters got ahead of the learning curve by entering the market a decade or two before many other states (the top 4 states in growth over each of these time periods– Arizona, California, North Carolina, and Nevada– account for over two-thirds of total solar growth and were each among the first 10 states with electric power sector solar generation) which got the ball rolling early and kept them in the lead.
  2. Almost 92% of solar generation growth in utilities across the nation has come online since 2012, so the states that added the most over that 5-year period are mathematically also the states that added the most over the 10-year and 20-year periods as well.

These facts are compelling proof about the quite recent nature of solar growth and the further room solar still has to grow in the electric power sector.

5. Breaking down the top years for solar growth across the country

The last evidence for the blossoming solar revolution comes in the following tables that demonstrate the most notable years of growth. Starting with overall U.S. solar growth in the electric power sector, the data shows the following:

solar power growth, solar power, renewable energy

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Looking at the top 10 years for electric power sector solar growth across the country, the 8 individual years of most significant growth have come over the past 8 years, with the growth increasing in magnitude in 7 of those years. That’s what forecasters (and future historians) might look at as an inflection point of revolutionary growth.

Investigating the data on a state-by-state basis, the following table lists each instance when a state added more than one million MWh of solar generation to the electric power sector:

solar power, solar generation, United States, electric power sector

Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Two notable takeaways jump out from this table:

  • Across the country, seven unique states have had a year of such tremendous growth, which shows that the revolution is not restricted to just one or two states.
  • Of the 14 times such growth has happened, 11 instances have occurred in the past two years and the other 3 happened since 2013, which shows that the most significant and important growth is happening today and such growth shows no signs of plateauing or dropping off.

In the end, the discussed data and graphs tell a story quite different from those who knock the potential of solar power. Solar only really gained significance in the electric power sector of the United States in the past decade, with no presence in 46 states until 2008. These new markets and this quickly advancing growth is the story to watch– not just where solar generation is today but how quickly and recently it has ascended and will continue to grow. The technology is only improving and the costs are dropping. As those characteristics of solar continue to be refined, future generations will look back at these several years and wonder how we saw anything but potential for revolution in solar power.

 

About the author: Matt Chester is an energy analyst in Washington DC, studied engineering and science & technology policy at the University of Virginia, and operates the Chester Energy and Policy blog and website to share news, insights, and advice in the fields of energy policy, energy technology, and more. For more quick hits in addition to posts on this blog, follow him on Twitter @ChesterEnergy.

 

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MREA: The USA’s Longest Running Energy Fair https://solartribune.com/mrea-usas-longest-running-energy-fair/ Sun, 19 Jun 2016 21:47:34 +0000 http://solartribune.wpengine.com/?p=10115 This weekend marks the 27th annual Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair, in Custer Wisconsin. You might be asking yourself, “Where the hell is Custer, Wisconsin?” If so, chances are, you are a greenhorn in the solar game. The granddaddy of solar pow wows, The Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair (or “MREA” as it […]

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This weekend marks the 27th annual Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair, in Custer Wisconsin. You might be asking yourself, “Where the hell is Custer, Wisconsin?” If so, chances are, you are a greenhorn in the solar game.

The granddaddy of solar pow wows, The Midwest Renewable Energy Association Energy Fair (or “MREA” as it is known by veteran attendees) is held each June at a converted horse farm in the rolling hills near the tiny burg of Custer, just outside of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Drawing 15,000 attendees annually, MREA somehow manages to maintain its grassroots attitude, and the location has a lot to do with it. The show sprawls across rolling rural countryside, and camping is available nearby in a forest of tall pines. The latenight campground parties at the “Back 40” are the stuff of legend… tales of full blown raves complete with professional lighting and sound systems may or may not be true. This author can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such midsummer pagan  carryings-on, but suffice it to say… fun was had by all. Except those trying to sleep in tents nearby…
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The days, however, are all business. The Fair features over 250 workshops and 200-plus  exhibitors. This year’s exhibitors include national firms like rack manufacturer Iron Ridge, solar thermal giant Caleffi, Kyocera, Midnite Solar, Morningstar Charge Controllers and Tesla Motors, and regional heavy-hitters like Next Energy, Lake Michigan Wind and Sun and Full Spectrum Solar. The delightful mixture is spiced up by sustainable living pioneers like regional dairy Organic Valley, Central Waters Brewing Company (a pioneer in solar brewery technology) and Gimme Shelter Construction….a high performance design/build outfit with the BEST COMPANY NAME EVER!

But I digress…. The workshop selection at MREA is really where it’s at. To be asked to do a workshop at MREA is truly and honor, and regardless of the topic– backyard composting to “Introducing the Sonnen Smart Energy Storage System”– presenters come with their “A” game. Chicago IBEW is represented, as is NABCEP…. Right next to yoga instruction and personal carbon reduction. You can up your game as a solar professional while opening your mind to living a healthier lifestyle.This year’s keynote speakers include Nomi Prins, a political-financial expert, journalist and author; J. Drake Hamliton, science policy director at Fresh Energy; John Farrell, director of democratic energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance; Sandrine Mubenga, CEO of SMIN Power Group and Professional Engineer at the University of Toledo; Tony Schultz, owner of Stony Acres Farm; Tom Wilhelm, professor and program coordinator of electrical technology, business and technology division at Kankakee Community College; and Mike Hornitschek, director of strategic development, StraightUpSolar.

Sandrine Mubenga

Sandrine Mubenga

Sandrine Mubenga of SMIN Power Group is an example of the global scope of the MREA lineup. Through SMIN Power Group she implements renewable energy solutions in Africa, particularly solar and she developed a fuel cell system for an electric vehicle and a solar-powered hydrogen generating station.  A native of Congo, Mubenga founded the SMIN Power Group in 2011, which specializes in providing affordable electricity to communities using renewable energy.

“Sandrine’s story and contributions to the advancements of renewable energy is beyond inspiring. She’s got the heart, brains and determination to make renewable energy solutions a reality,” said Kaitlyn Kohl, communications coordinator, MREA.

Adding the local focus to the “Think Globally Act Locally” equation, John Farrell, director of democratic energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis where his work focuses on distributed generation. John’s work appears most regularly on Energy Self-Reliant States, a blog with timely and compelling analysis of current energy discussions and policy.  The posts are frequently enriched by charts, translating the complex economics of energy into tools for advancing local energy ownership and have been regularly syndicated at Grist, CleanTechnica, and Renewable Energy World.

Finally, at the end of a long hot day of attending inspiring and educational sessions held in large outdoor tents, there is cold beer. It is Wisconsin, after all! Live music goes well into the evening on the grounds of the fair, and the assortment of great food available is impressive, and local watering holes in Stevens Point and Custer are packed with solar installers comparing notes and swapping stories.

Sunday Morning marks another “only in Wisconsin” tradition; the “Polka Breakfast,” featuring  Norm Dombrowski & The Happy Notes with amazing all you can eat pancakes, eggs, bacon and more, all prepared by the good folks at Organic Valley, and proceeds go to help support the MREA.

If you missed MREA in 2016, think about adding it to your schedule for next year. Either as an exhibitor, a presenter or just as an attendee. It is the most fun you can have at a world-class industry conference.

 

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The Little Utility That Could https://solartribune.com/the-little-utility-that-could/ Mon, 18 May 2015 13:29:04 +0000 http://solartribune.wpengine.com/?p=8976 Warren McKenna, the Manager of Farmers Electric Coop in Kalona, Iowa is a soft spoken fellow. However, it only took one sentence to bring an auditorium full of solar installers and electrical contractors to their feet for a standing ovation. After a full day of presentations from state and local leaders on solar energy at […]

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Warren McKenna, the Manager of Farmers Electric Coop in Kalona, Iowa is a soft spoken fellow. However, it only took one sentence to bring an auditorium full of solar installers and electrical contractors to their feet for a standing ovation.

After a full day of presentations from state and local leaders on solar energy at the Iowa Solar Installers Summit in 2009, McKenna presented on a panel along with representatives of investor-owned and municipal utilities. When McKenna took to the podium, he smiled, cleared his throat and said, “Well, I don’t have a powerpoint presentation. But I DO have a feed-in tariff!” The crowd roared with approval.

Warren McKenna of FEC  photo:presscitizen.com

Warren McKenna of FEC photo:presscitizen.com


Since 2008, Farmers Electric Coop (FEC) has been a national model for utilization of solar. The tiny, 650 person cooperative electric utility serves customers in the heart of Amish country and is the states oldest electric utility, but despite its long history, FEC is leading the way into the future. McKenna’s savvy, cost-effective approach to providing clean, locally produced power has caught the attention of much larger utilities across the country, and his start-small, pay-as-you-go business plan has proven to be a hit with co-op members as well as the solar industry.

FEC has a multi-tiered approach to reaching its goal of 15% renewable energy by 2025. First, co-op members can contribute $3 per month to a voluntary program that helps offset the cost of their solar feed-in tariff for local members who want to install solar. It also pays for biodiesel for their back-up generators.

Next, McKenna began training his own in-house team to keep installation costs low. FECs own licensed electricians started by installing some small projects, including 1.8 kW at two local schools, and at McKenna’s own home, proving that McKenna was willing to put his own money where his mouth is. “I might be the only utility manager in the nation that gets all of his kwhrs from the sun.”

The FEC feed-in tariff (FIT) was one of the first of it’s kind in the nation. Co-op members who own their own solar arrays get two electric meters, one to measure their consumption and the other to track monthly solar generation. For solar production up to 100% of monthly use, the credit is determined at the cooperative’s retail rate. Production above and beyond 100% of the members monthly use is paid a rate of $0.06/kWh. The FIT has a term of 10 years, which allows the producer to pay down the system faster, and guarantees the utility less expensive solar generation (between $0.08 and $0.10/kWh) in the future.

Members also have the option of using solar rebates rather that the FIT. The rebates amount to $0.50 per watt up to a maximum of $2,500. The rebate option adds flexibility to the individual member and how they choose to finance their project.

After six years of research, training, number-crunching, planning and careful investments, McKenna quietly lead FEC to the top tier of the nation’s solar utilities. Last year, (2014) FEC opened the largest solar farm in Iowa. The 2,900-panel solar array is capable of generating more than a million kilowatt-hours a year. With the solar array, Farmers Electric Cooperative is capable of generating 1158 watts of solar per customer, putting it among the highest per-capita solar generation rates of all the utilities in the country. In fact, it provides more than double its next closest competitor, and only recently was passed up by the Pickwick Cooperative in Tennessee, which now generates 1679 watts per customer. The ranking of utilities come from a recent report from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). But McKenna doesn’t plan on being #2 for very long. “By the end of 2015 we should exceed 2000 watts per customer.”

photo: 25X25blog

photo: 25X25blog


What’s in the future for Warren McKenna and FEC? “With the help of Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association we are working on passing Iowa PTC legislation to free up existing tax credits so that we can double the size of our solar farm… We started down this road doing experimental projects that proved successful. When we had consultants tell us the payback was 20 years and their recommendations weren’t favorable, the Board of Directors looked back at these first projects as proof that this technology worked and that we could count on it long term. The customer response and feedback has also supported our efforts to keep moving in the direction of adding even more locally sourced renewable energy. It’s been a win-win for the cooperative and its membership.”

FEC may be small, but their message is loud and clear. Like the innovators who started the Farmers Electric Cooperative to bring reliable electricity to rural residents in the last century, FEC continues to innovate, with a model that is leading the utility industry into the 21st century.

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Solar Profile: Beth Spence, American Solar Direct https://solartribune.com/solar-profile-beth-spence/ Wed, 18 Mar 2015 18:51:45 +0000 http://solartribune.wpengine.com/?p=8743 Beth Spence, American Solar Direct’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, prides herself on helping communities reduce carbon while improving the economy and creating jobs. Please tell our readers a little about your background, and how you got into the solar industry. I’ve been in the energy business for most of my career. Earlier on […]

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Beth Spence, American Solar Direct’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, prides herself on helping communities reduce carbon while improving the economy and creating jobs.

Please tell our readers a little about your background, and how you got into the solar industry.

Beth Spence: American Solar Direct

Beth Spence: American Solar Direct


I’ve been in the energy business for most of my career. Earlier on I worked my way up through sales support, sales management, marketing and operations for Energy Savings Group (now Just Energy), one of North America’s largest retail energy providers. I left that company and the energy space for a couple of years, but was drawn back in when the former CEO of Just Energy and current CEO of American Solar Direct, Brennan Mulcahy, contacted me about helping to build a solar power company in California. It was a great opportunity for me to employ my energy and direct sales background to the clean energy space. I jumped on board without hesitation. We started with a very small team in Los Angeles, and have now grown our staff at American Solar Direct to a little over five hundred, while receiving recognition for our noteworthy growth along the way!

How many years have you been with American Solar Direct?

September will mark 6 years at American Solar Direct.

Tell us a little about American Solar Direct and your role there.

American Solar Direct provides a full-service solar power solution for homeowners across California. We inspire homeowners to go solar for the benefit of saving them money on their utility bills and helping them reduce their carbon footprint. As Vice President of Sales and Marketing, I work with the executive team to establish goals, plan sales and marketing strategy and then oversee our corporate team and 5 field sales offices to ensure everyone is equipped with the proper tools to meet these goals.

What do you find exciting about the projects that you are currently working on?

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What I find exciting is seeing all of our collective hard work come together to support our overarching goal of providing the best residential solar solution homeowners. I work with an amazing team of capable and hard-working people and we strive to deliver the very best customer experience in residential solar. This industry is in a state of constant flux, so there’s never a dull moment!

I also find it exciting and rewarding that we get the opportunity to create meaningful work for people in their local communities through what we do. How amazing is it that when a homeowner chooses clean and affordable power, they’re also putting local residents to work in great jobs in sales, installation, customer care and administration? It’s an industry and an opportunity unlike any other in terms of what a contribution we can make to the economy, to the environment, and to families.

If you were to choose three words that you would like readers to associate with American Solar Direct and its products, what would they be, and why?

Reliable: we pride ourselves on doing the very best work in the residential solar business. Our systems perform and are backed by our guarantee.

Innovative: we stay ahead of the curve on the best equipment and financing options; we’re always looking for ways to bring more value to our customers and our employees. We also strive every day to be a little bit (or a lot!) better than we were the day before, and that means constantly innovating.

Enthusiastic: we always say that our people are our differentiator in the solar business; people can choose among many solar power providers, but we aim to be the one that builds a long-term, supportive relationship with the homeowners that choose us. We even have homeowners that have come to work for us after having a great experience with our people – that’s the enthusiastic reaction that we hope to inspire.

Where do you see American Solar Direct fitting into the solar industry now, and where would you like ASD to be in 5-10 years?

Now, American Solar Direct is a full-service major player amongst residential solar providers in California. Our explosive growth over the last few years has even been formally recognized by Inc. Magazine in 2014 (as 17th Fastest Growing Private Company according to their Inc. 5000 List) and we certainly plan to continue fueling this growth as solar continues its widespread popularity. In 5 to 10 years, I expect to that you will see American Solar Direct become increasingly visible on a national level.

Where do you see areas for growth in solar, and what are the roadblocks to achieving market growth?

Solar is a constantly evolving technology that literally knows no boundaries. Obviously, growth opportunities abound geographically where state legislatures and municipalities actively embrace it, and that progress has been increasingly rapid. We see continued development of these policies that support clean energy, bringing solar to more and more cities and states.

Political uncertainty is always a potential roadblock to solar progress; as we approach an election, there is always the possibility of a less favorable political climate for solar power. But we believe that consumer demand for clean energy will continue to create the conditions necessary to sustain continued industry growth, regardless of the outcome of elections!

If you care to, tell us a little about your passions outside of solar.

Never-ending self-improvement: reading, learning new hobbies, or continuing my education. Enjoying the California (solar producing!) sunshine outdoors. Great friends. Game of Thrones.

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Solar Profile: Wendi Zubillaga, PetersenDean https://solartribune.com/solar-profile-wendi-zubillaga-petersendean/ Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:54:38 +0000 http://solartribune.wpengine.com/?p=8677 Wendi Zubillaga is the Chief Sales Officer at PetersenDean Roofing and Solar and a 29-year veteran of the residential real estate industry. As Chief Sales Officer at the nation’s largest privately-held roofing and solar company, she oversees all facets of the company’s growth, marketing and sales. She also helped create the Builder Advantage program, a […]

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Wendi Zubillaga is the Chief Sales Officer at PetersenDean Roofing and Solar and a 29-year veteran of the residential real estate industry. As Chief Sales Officer at the nation’s largest privately-held roofing and solar company, she oversees all facets of the company’s growth, marketing and sales.

Wendi Zubillaga,President of the  Builder Group at PetersonDean

Wendi Zubillaga,President of the Builder Group at PetersenDean

She also helped create the Builder Advantage program, a rewards program that provides incentives to builders. Zubillaga has a proven track record of success that spans a wide variety of clients, allowing her to work with all styles, technologies, budgets and approaches. Her expansive network and industry background includes a focus on residential roofing and sustainability and she works with many of the nation’s top builders.

Please tell our readers a little about your background, and how you got into the solar industry.

I have been in the home building industry for the past 26 years.  My brother and I opened a fencing company fresh out of school.  After several years with my brother, I met Jim Petersen (Founder and CEO of PetersenDean) at an industry trade show and I decided to join his roofing company as the salesperson.  At that time, PetersenDean was a small roofing company located in Northern CA.  After many years of growth and success, it was a natural progression to move into the “solar world” as solar is a roofing product.

How many years have you been with PetersenDean?

This is my 21st year with this incredible company.

Tell us a little about PetersenDean and your role there.

Petersen Dean was started in 1984 by Jim Petersen and Joe Dean, two young roofers that decided to work for themselves after learning the trade.  The home building industry was attractive to Jim and when I was 202brought on in 1994, he made it clear that we would be in for a “wild ride.” We began to open offices all over California and then moved into other states.  We now operate in five states, CA, AZ, NV , TX and FL.  I have held many positions over the years, mostly in a sales capacity, sales rep to Chief Sales Officer and very recently was named President of the Builder Group.  This is quite an accomplishment that I am extremely proud of as there are very few women in this role in the entire construction industry.

What do you find exciting about the projects that you are currently working on?

I am excited about the growth in solar uptake on the builder side of the business and have recently partnered with some of the nation’s largest builders, DR Horton, KB Home, Standard Pacific, Richmond American and Taylor Morrison just to name a few.

Homebuilding is a very cyclical industry and we have reacted to the market shifts by expanding our consumer solar business.  I am very proud of our consumer teams  growth in revenues over the past few years.

If you were to choose three words that you would like readers to associate with PetersenDean and its products, what would they be, and why?

Quality – With more than 30 years in the business we have a proven track record that proves that we stand behind our warranty.
Innovative – Petersen Dean and our incredible family of employees prides itself on improving its procedures and practices to make sure we produce a product that provides a great value to our customer.
AmericanMade- Petersen Dean partners with US companies whenever possible.  We have an exclusive relationship with Solar World, the only American made panel on the market.  We are committed to providing our customers with the best products available.

Where do you see PetersenDean fitting into the solar industry now, and where would you like PetersenDean to be in 5-10 years?

Petersen Dean has proven to be a force to be reckoned with.  We compete against some well funded, highly marketed companies in the solar industry, yet our “small” privately held organization continues to make great strides in proving that a well managed, PROFITABLE roofing/solar company with a proven track record is the right choice. In the next 5-10 years, Petersen Dean will be installing roofing and solar on more homes in its current markets, as well as expanding our operation in several new states.

Where do you see areas for growth in solar, and what are the roadblocks to achieving market growth?

Currently solar is mostly installed in a handful of states.  The solar market has opportunities for exponential growth.

Some roadblocks the industry faces are the lack of support from governmental entities and local utilities.  Currently, there is a rebate in certain utilities and a 30% federal tax credit.  If/When these are no longer available, the solar industry will suffer.

If you care to, tell us a little about your passions outside of solar.

I am very fortunate to have found a career that allows me to travel and meet new people every day.  I am a mother of three ACTIVE teenagers and there is never a dull moment in our lives.

To learn more about PetersenDean, visit our pages for Orange County and the Bay Area.

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Solar Profile: Erica Johnson, Sullivan Solar https://solartribune.com/solar-profile-erica-johnson-sullivan-solar/ Wed, 11 Feb 2015 23:36:07 +0000 http://solartribune.wpengine.com/?p=8546 Starting this week, Solar Tribune will feature a series profiling committed individuals who are helping to lead the way to a brighter future, powered by clean, solar energy. The first in our series showcases the work of Erica Johnson from Sullivan Solar Power. Sullivan Solar Power is one of California’s top solar power companies. Based […]

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Starting this week, Solar Tribune will feature a series profiling committed individuals who are helping to lead the way to a brighter future, powered by clean, solar energy. The first in our series showcases the work of Erica Johnson from Sullivan Solar Power. Sullivan Solar Power is one of California’s top solar power companies. Based in San Diego County, Sullivan serves all of Southern California. Erica serves as the Marketing and Communications manager.

Erica was one of the nominees for San Diego Magazine’s “2013 Women Who Move the City,” and was responsible for the partnership that Sullivan Solar forged with the Non-Profit Grid Alternatives to provide free solar electric systems to low-income families.

Sullivan Solar's Erica Johnson - Alon David Photography

Sullivan Solar’s Erica Johnson – Alon David Photography

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Please tell our readers a little about your background, and how you got into the solar industry.

My educational background is in Business Administration and Public Relations. I found my passion for environmental sustainability at San Diego State University, where I was actively engaged in student leadership. I spent majority of my college years focusing on transitioning the campus to a clean energy future, and was responsible for chairing a board that allocated money to sustainable upgrades on campus. I learned about solar energy and became enamored by photovoltaic technology. With the abundance of solar radiation we receive in Southern California, I decided that I would spend my life’s work putting solar on every rooftop in the region.


How many years have you been with Sullivan Solar Power?

I have been with the company nearly 6 years.

Tell us a little about Sullivan Solar Power and your role there.

Sullivan Solar Power is a turnkey solar provider that designs each project from concept to completion, using the highest quality products and most well-trained employees that this industry has to offer. The company, which services all of Southern California, has installed more solar in the SDG&E territory than any other company. In 2014, Sullivan Solar Power celebrated a decade in business, and became the first NABCEP-accredited company in San Diego and Orange County; and the fourth in the nation.

At Sullivan Solar Power, I directly manage the marketing and communications efforts to promote our company’s services. I oversee the Community Development department and am responsible for coordinating market research, marketing strategy, advertising, promotions and public relations activities.

What do you find exciting about the projects that you are currently working on?

Currently, we are in an extremely interested time to be working in the solar industry. There are a lot of changes on the horizon with the Net Energy Metering cap closely approaching in the SDG&E territory, and the tax credit also expiring in 2016. I am very excited to be politically engaged, and being a part of the changing energy policy in California.

If you were to choose three words that you would like readers to associate with Sullivan Solar Power and its products, what would they be, and why?

Quality- Sullivan Solar Power only uses the highest quality products, installed by quality professionals to deliver quality systems. We do not subcontract our work, which is only done by state licensed electricians. Our skilled labor is the highest trained that the industry has to offer.
Reputation – Sullivan Solar Power has been serving Southern California for more than a decade. We have more than 3,500 residential, commercial and municipal customers. High profile clienst include the City of San Diego, the Port of Long Beach, UC San Diego, and even SDG&E has hire us to install solar for their facilities.
Proven- Sullivan Solar Power is one of the longest standing solar companies in Southern California, and we have proven that we can deliver. We do one thing – and we do it exceedingly well.

Where do you see Sullivan Solar Power fitting into the solar industry now, and where would you like Sullivan Solar Power to be in 5-10 years?

Sullivan Solar Power is the leader in San Diego, and is a powerful company in Orange and Riverside Counties. I see us continuing to grow our market share throughout Southern California, and expanding into other regions over the next 5 years.

Where do you see areas for growth in solar, and what are the roadblocks to achieving market growth?

As battery technology improves and becomes cheaper, I think we will see a lot more property owners looking to go off-the-grid. Roadblocks for growth are competing interests that do not wish to see people declare energy independence. Policy and legislation that support energy interests outside of renewables.

If you care to, tell us a little about your passions outside of solar.

I am passionate about scuba diving, yoga, travel and other cultures, music, and making the world a better place for future generations.

Erica Johnson - Alon David Photography

Erica Johnson – Alon David Photography

To learn more about Sullivan Solar, visit our page on solar companies serving San Diego.

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