Energy producing solar panels installed on homes and businesses are now common globally due to more factors then just social consciousness and the environment. There are now significant energy savings to be earned due to lower capital cost to purchase and install systems and substantial advancement of the efficiencies of solar technologies throughout the system.
GTM Research (a global advisory firm for electricity) has identified community solar as the next largest solar growth market in the United States. Over the next two years, community solar in the U.S. is poised to see its market size increase sevenfold, and by 2020 GTM Research expects U.S. community solar to be a half-Gigawatts annual market. According to the Union of Concern Scientists report, the US national growth rate is irrefutable: installed capacity for roof top solar tripled from 2010 to 2013 and continues to grow at an astonishing rate of more than 50 percent every year. Solar panel systems now adorn some 400,000 homes – 13 times more than just eight years ago. Upgraded intelligent metering systems installed in most homes today and the cost effective advance battery storage solutions has driven the growth of solar power and Distributed Power Processing for many communities throughout the world today.
The current concept of Net Metering is also fueling great growth in this sector. Smart Meters currently installed in many homes and businesses today monitor and manage both the energy being consumed from the hydro grid along with the energy that may be sent back to the grid. These Net Metering programs allow homes and businesses to connect a renewable electricity generating unit to the regional hydro grid. As part of this program, when you generate more electricity than you consume, you receive a credit to your account which is then applied against future consumption. Homes or businesses can also install the latest efficient battery storage solutions to access their own stored energy during the evening or during periods of limited sunlight. This Net Metering concept is a significant catalyst in making Distributed Power Processing systems viable.
FITs & PPA Agreements
In larger commercial and industrial applications, even if Distributed Power Processing is being used, the power produced by solar energy can be so significant that more and more utilities are entering into Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), also known as Fee for Input Tariff (FIT), where power continuously exceeds 100 Kilowatts per hour and the utility is willing to not only pay more per kilowatt hour but also enter into long term revenue sharing agreements that assist them in serving their client base. PPA and FIT Agreements shorten the return on investment/ payback period and create revenue streams lasting 10 – 15 years or more.
National and regional governments around the world have embraced the movement to solar power by offering incentives, subsidies and low interest loans. Governments are also changing policies to mandate energy saving procedures for new developments and allowing for power
purchase agreements for third party ownership solar power systems. This concept has the installer paying the costs to acquire, permit, install, finance and usually maintain, monitor and service the solar power system. The installer owns the system, has rights to the electricity generated and enjoys the tax benefits and rebates, if any. The company that owns the host property negotiates a set rate for electricity, typically a rate below current market, from the installer and gets the benefit of lower and more predictable energy bills.
EarthStar’s proprietary panel tracking technology, and software monitoring system that enhance the exposure of energy from the sun; advanced long-life battery storage solution that increases load captured and length of time it will maintain charge; and a proprietary power management technology that improves efficiencies and flow of energy throughout the complete process combine to produce up to 61.5% more clean energy for the customer.