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Energy Management

The Debate Over California's Solar Energy Policy

California Solar Policy

In July, California Governor Jerry Brown, announced a plan to increase the state's renewable energy to a 12-gigawatt by 2020, by relying on “tens of thousands of little decisions” by residents and business owners. Brown cited the cost of routing large-scale energy farms in remote areas as a reason for focusing on smaller projects. He also cited the delays in previous large-scale desert projects due to litigation over natural resources, native animals, and Native American sites.

However, a recent article from Freakonomics.com points out several concerns with this plan, based on simple cost-benefit analysis:

-Individuals (such as homeowners and small businesses) do not make decisions based on what is “socially optimal”... read more

Walnut Creek, California Retirement Community Residents Go Solar!

Community Solar 

A 4-plex of residents in a Walnut Creek, CA retirement community decide to go solar. The result is a small solar community, with other residents watching on and catching the “solar bug.” - “It's a win-win situation.”

Solar Communities” are beginning to pop up around the country – especially in states such as California and New Jersey where financial incentives are strong. A solar community is a block of residents joined together to install solar panels – often receiving the same bulk discounts you might get on a 42-pack of socks at Costco.

Tim O. of Walnut Creek, California recently did just that in his retirement community. Rossmoor is a large retirement community which houses single-family homes, duplexes, four-plexes, and condo apartments for those 55+.... read more

San Francisco Promotes Financial Incentives for Eco-Friendly Home Improvements

The San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) is partnering with the city Assessor-Recorder's office and Energy Upgrade California to launch the SF Home Improvement & Performance (SFHIP) incentive program. The goal of the program is to increase the affordability of "green" home improvements for San Franciscans. San Francisco is one of the only cities in California that provides governmental incentives in addition to state and federal incentives for going solar.

... read more

Solar Panel Cost and Finance Options

In theory, going solar is a no-brainer. The amount of gas saved and emissions reduced annually is tremendous. And the long term financial savings are also clear. However, the initial Solar cost can be more than most homeowners are able to afford (the average out-of-pocket cost after government rebates is about $15k). Paying for solar panels seems out of reach... But it's not! There are many options that include solar loans with low interest rates and solar leases with no money down.

In the past decade, local and national government policies have driven private companies and public policy to make solar panels more affordable for Average Joe. Enter: Solar Loans. Power Purchase Agreements, and Solar Leases.

Solar panel leases are offered through private companies such as Sungevity and Solar City. They allow homeowners to borrow solar systems. The homeowner is often not required to put any money down and then pays a set amount of money per month. This monthly rate is almost always equivalent to the current energy bill, so the homeowner does not see an increase in monthly cost-of-living expenses.... read more

US Green Job Growth Amidst Struggling Economy - 10 cities that are leading the way

Green Job Growth

The Huffington Post and 24/7 Wall Street released articles today naming 10 US cities with the largest green job growth.  The statistics are based on a non-partisan Brookings Institute study.

While the overall US economy has struggled, green businesses added 565,337 new jobs in between 2003 and 2010. The median salary for a green job is almost always higher than that of a non-green job and many of these jobs are in the manufacturing sector, creating job growth in some older cities known for manufacturing that have been hit hard by the recent economy. The report also states that “on a per job basis, establishments in the clean economy export roughly twice the value of a typical U.S. job ($20,000 versus $10,000).“... read more

Solar Lease Versus Solar Loan

Solar LoanVersus Solar Lease

If you are considering solar panel installation for your home or business, there are many different financing options available to you. You can pay in cash, take a state-sponsored solar loan, take a private solar loan, lease a system, or enter a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

It is important to understand your options in order to make a decision that is best for you.... read more

Independent Study Finds San Francisco the Greenest City in the US

San Francisco Greenest City

An independent study conducted in June found San Francisco to be the “greenest” city in the United States and Canada. This doesn't come as much of a surprise – the city has made headlines for leading the way with policies such as mandatory composting and a grocery store plastic bag ban.... read more

What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

Solar Power Purchase Agreement

Over the past 3 years, California and other states have seen a large increase in Solar Lease programs and Solar Power Purchase Agreement programs. Both types of programs allow property owners (residential and business) to power their property with solar energy without a large upfront investment. But what is the difference between a solar lease and a power purchase agreement?... read more

Green Your Business: Cloud Virtual Offices Provides Solutions to Clean Up Your Carbon Footprint (and make employees happy, too)

virtual office

What is a virtual office?

Many small businesses and large companies alike are turning to “virtual offices” and professional business centers in order to meet ever changing demands. A virtual office, such as those offered by Cloud Virtual Offices, is “a combination of off-site live communication and address services that allow users to reduce traditional office costs while maintaining business professionalism." A professional business center often provides business space and services on as as-needed basis.... read more

Home Solar Panels: An Overview

Home Solar Panels

Guestblogger Bob LoCioro gives us an overview of home solar panels:

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Solar panels are the most recognizable component of a home solar electric system. The solar panels are installed on the roof of a home to collect sunlight and convert the sunlight into electricity. Homeowners install residential solar electric systems to save on electric costs and lessen their environmental impact.... read more

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