ABCO Solar Blog

ABCO Solar Blog

We won the “Most Innovative Product” award from SAHBA Home Show 2017

ABCO Solar Inc. of Tucson, Arizona won “The Most Innovative Product” award at the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association home show in mid October.

ABCO Solar (ABCO) was selected from 12 applicants as presenting “The Most Innovative Product” award for their presentation of the Perfectly Green Corporation’s SMART FROG 23 SEER Solar Air Conditioning unit.

The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association (SAHBA) biannual home show features businesses involved in all aspects of home building, design and accessories and attended by 20,000 community members. The home show judges were all home building industry participants and “The Most Innovative Product” award is the most prestigious of the awards presented.

Designed For Reliable On or Off Grid (FROG) applications, the Smart Frog A/C operates on 4 kilowatts of Direct Current electricity generated by solar panels. The 3 or 5 ton units can be operated using grid power, solar power or power from an integrated 7 kilowatt propane or natural gas generator. The electricity sources can be combined for power mixing which can be useful for peak time of use period “peak shaving”, powering the air conditioner in times of grid failure as well as household power needs in the absence of grid power.

The integrated solar inverter and gas generator may be purchased separately as component parts if desired. The Smart Frog may use solar that is already in place on the residence. Commercial grade solar Air Conditioners will be available soon.

ABCO Solar Blog

Ten Tips For 25 Years Of Trouble Free Solar Power

Almost all solar panels sold in the U.S. carry a 25 year warranty, most inverters are guaranteed for 10 to 25 years, and as long as you get occasional heavy rain your panels do not need regular cleaning. So if you are thinking about solar for your home, the most important considerations – besides price – are the quality and reliability of the installation itself. With these factors in mind, here are my top ten tips for 25 years of trouble free solar power:

  1. Find an installer who has been in business for 5+ years and uses their own installation crews (not subcontractors).
  2. You get what you pay for – so be careful about selecting an installer based on the lowest price.
  3. Prices for battery storage systems are coming down fast, storage incentives in many states will be available soon, control software is being developed, and the reliability of this new technology is improving rapidly. My advice is to get a battery-storage ready system, while waiting for these improvements to settle down in the market over the next few years.
  4. Panels from the major manufacturers are all very reliable; the biggest difference is simply that higher efficiency panels cost more. In most cases it does not make sense to pay extra for highest efficiency panels if you have enough roof space for slightly lower efficiency panels.
  5. The most common customer service issue relates to inverter monitoring. A distant second is a problem with the inverter itself.
  6. Squirrels and rats like to nest under rooftop panels and chew wires. Pigeons prefer barrel tile roofs. If you have any of these pests on your roof, talk to your installer about installing screening around the perimeter of your panels.
  7. Make sure your installer uses the proper flashing and sealing techniques on your roof mounts. Flashings are mandatory on all composition shingle roofs.
  8. Heavy rain does a great job of cleaning off debris from rooftop panels. NEVER hose off your panels – mineral deposits from tap water can permanently damage the glass.
  9. Wiring should be securely tucked-up beneath the panels and racking. Contact your installer if there are any wires hanging down on the roof surface.
  10. To make sure your system is operating properly, keep an eye on your inverter display (or online display), as well as your monthly electric bill. Even if your installer is monitoring your system they might not always notify you if there is a problem – especially if there is a problem with your monitoring.

From Barry Cinnamon, Cinnamon Solar

ABCO Solar Blog

The Benefits of Choosing Solar Energy

Home improvement trends come and go. What’s popular among today’s homeowners may feel dated to prospective buyers a decade from now. But solar energy is one home improvement trend that does not figure to go the way of sunken living rooms or popcorn ceilings.

According to the Solar Energies Industry Association®, solar energy experienced a compound annual growth rate of more than 60 percent between 2006 and 2016. Solar energy has also done wonders to improve the employment rate.

According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, in the United States there were more than 260,000 solar workers in 2016, an increase of 25 percent from the previous year. Things are equally rosy in Canada, where the Government of Canada reports installed capacity for solar thermal power has experienced a compound growth rate of nearly 14 percent since 2004.

The search for a renewable energy source has led many people to embrace solar energy, but there are many more reasons for homeowners to embrace going solar.

  • Return on investment: Many people considering solar energy for the first time may experience some sticker shock when they learn the cost of installing solar panels on their homes. But data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace indicated that, in the first half of 2015, solar shoppers who compared their options achieved payback on their solar investments in 7.5 years. So in addition to the monthly savings on their utility bills, homeowners can expect to recoup their solar energy investments in a relatively short period of time.
  • Property value: Whether they plan to do so in the near or distant future, homeowners with an eye on selling their homes may be interested to learn that a recent study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that solar panels can significantly increase property value. The study analyzed the sales of more than 20,000 homes in California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania, suggesting the desire for solar energy among prospective buyers is not exclusive to a particular region of the country.
  • Energy independence: According to the U.S. Energy Administration, most of the energy consumed in the United States comes from fossil fuels like petroleum. The EIA also notes that, in 2016, the United States imported about 10.1 million barrels of petroleum per day. By embracing solar energy, Americans and citizens of any country that relies heavily on foreign oil imports, can take a big step toward increasing their energy independence.

The use of solar energy is on the rise, and there are many reasons for homeowners to embrace this increasingly popular energy source.

“Explore the Benefits of Choosing Solar Energy.” Dcourier. The Daily Courier and Western News & Info®, Inc., 21 July 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.

ABCO Solar Blog

Unstoppable: Why The Next Decade Belongs To Renewable Energy

The greatest challenge for mankind in the 21st century is powering the planet, while at the same time drastically reducing carbon emissions and continuing to lower the cost of energy. One year ago, GE published a Ecomagination report that examined the incredible acceleration of renewable energy development across the globe. We called upon businesses, investors and governments to further accelerate renewable energy innovation, build new solutions and create a truly sustainable energy ecosystem for the planet, its people and the world economy. Over the course of the year we learned that our optimism was well-grounded.

Some striking facts and figures — In 2016, wind and solar beat investment in fossil fuels by 2-to-1. Global capacity additions increased again in 2016; in the United States, renewable energy accounted for 60 percent of these additions. In 2016, Portugal powered the country with renewable energy alone for four consecutive days, clean power supplied Germany’s power demand for a full day, and Denmark could produce enough wind power to meet its domestic electricity demand and have enough to export power to Norway, Germany and Sweden. The U.K. generated more electricity by wind than coal – the first-time wind has outperformed coal for an entire year. In 2016, Hydro became visible as a storage solution and as an integrator of wind and solar. Small Hydro solutions grow as a source of electricity production close to the users. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy published a report stating that U.S. hydropower could grow from 101 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to nearly 150 GW by 2050.

We believe the business case for renewable energy remains strong today for several reasons:

First, the demand for new energy supplies around the world keeps growing at a significant pace. During the first half of 2016, clean energy investments reached $116.4 billion, and approximately $2 trillion is invested in the global energy sector per year.

Second, in many countries renewables can meet or even beat the cost of generation from conventional options. For example, in the United States onshore wind power is competitive with new natural gas-fired generation. Moving forward, GE’s research partner, the Joint Institute of Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) has estimated that by 2025, innovation will enable wind costs to fall by another 29 percent and solar PV costs to fall by up to 44 percent. Worldwide, Hydro is among the most competitive.

renewable energy ge reports

Image credit: GE Reports

Third, the renewable energy industry is a global jobs growth engine. Global renewable energy employment has reached 9.5 million and is increasing at a rate of 5 percent annually, which means that nearly 500 million new jobs are created every year. The greatest number of jobs are being created in the United States, China, Brazil, India, Japan and Germany.

There is scope for even more optimism. Technology innovation and policy commitments could lead to a world where wind energy accounts for one-third of electricity generation by the middle of the century. These are not “pie in the sky” estimates. Rather, they represent the range of what’s feasible given the current pace of innovation across the industry. Scientists at GE’s Global Research Center have developed innovations that place wind power on a pathway to produce power at 3 cents/kWh. Innovation is not confined to wind and solar power– innovations in hydropower promise to increase efficiencies in hydropower plants across the globe.

Innovations in hydropower efficiency are benefiting from the digital revolution. For example, GE’s Digital Hydro Plant is a unique blend of hydropower software and hardware, well-grounded in data analytics, and improving the performance of hydro plants across the globe. Data analytics provide greater accuracy about the performance of hydropower turbines, plants and equipment, which is helping control expenses and energy production.

The rapid pace of change in renewable energy is an exhilarating journey. We are seeing the evolution of new business models and power players. There are new investment opportunities – we can combine wind, solar and hydropower to change traditional energy models. Innovation in wind, solar, hydro, storage, hybrid technology, energy efficiency and digitization enable us to run the biggest economies and reach the most remote communities.

Just over 100 years ago, in a Scientific American advertisement, GE imagined a world where humankind could successfully harness the power of the sun, the wind and the sea. That vision, along with our relentless investment in technology innovation, has helped shape the renewable energy world that we live in today – imagine what the next 10 years will bring!

Debora Frodl is Global Executive Director at GE Ecomagination.

Yves Rannou is President and CEO for GE Renewable Energy, Hydro.

Original article by Yves Rannou & Debra Frodl via Manufacturing.net   www.manufacturing.net/blog/2017/03/unstoppable-why-next-decade-belongs-renewable-energy

 

ABCO Solar Blog

Four Reasons You Should Go Solar

Solar is on the rise with more solar being installed in the U.S. today than then it has over the last 30 years! Here are 4 good reasons why you should seriously consider solar for your home or business.

Reason #1 It Saves Money

This one is a no brainer. Everyone wants to save money…Especially when it comes to bills. Installing solar panels on your rooftop can cut your energy bill down to anywhere from 25-100 percent depending on the size of the system you choose. Some solar systems have even produced so much excess energy that homeowners are able to sell it back to their utility company and earn a credit. Now I know what you are thinking…This all sounds great but I don’t have the upfront cash to purchase a system. Yes the upfront price of solar systems can look kind of scary but there are financing options available that can cost you less a month than you were paying for your energy bill in the first place, so why not? This also brings me to reason #2 which is the tax incentives available to solar purchasers…..

Reason #2 Tax Credits

Depending on your location there are tax incentives and credits to help out those who would like to purchase a system. First is a federal tax credit that credits a third of the cost for a solar system. One third!!! So say your solar installation costs  $20,000.00. The federal government will pay for 6,000.00 of that leaving you with $14,000 net. But wait there’s more. On top of the federal credit, the state of Arizona will also give you up to $1000.00 credit for your solar installation. That brings your net down to $13,000. Now some systems will cost more and some may cost less but the credit stays the same. 1/3 federal credit and up to $1000.00 state credit. Not bad right?

Reason #3 Environment

Ok I’m sure anyone who reads this has already guessed by now that the environment was going to be on the list as a top reason why you should get a solar system. It’s true that getting a solar system installed reduces your carbon footprint and therefore has positive effects on the environment.  For example an 8 KW solar system is estimated to save over a lifetime 824,096.39 lbs in emissions and 20,602.41 gallons of water. This is the equivalent of planting 915 trees. From this day forward I hope you think of a polar bear every time you see a solar system since they reduce emissions into the atmosphere therefore reducing the effects of global warming, which then helps to keep the ice caps from melting, which is the polar bears habitat. Therefore getting a solar system saves polar bears and who doesn’t like polar bears. =)

polar2

Reason #5 It’s the New Trend

More and more I’m starting to hear that people are getting solar because it’s “the in” thing to do or their neighbor or family member has one so they want one.  Going green is rising trend and for good reason. With all the environmental concerns afoot for once a trend is for the better good. So if you don’t need to save money and don’t care about tax credits or sweet little polar bears, you can still get a system installed simply to be the coolest house on your block. I’m ok with that.

Sources:

http://www.pvsim.com/tep.html

http://www.seia.org/news/new-report-us-solar-market-grows-41-has-record-year-2013

ABCO Solar Blog

Earth Overshoot Day 2014

This year August 19th marked the day for “Earth Overshoot Day”…. Now i’m sure you all are thinking what in the world is Earth Overshoot Day and why do i care. Well let me enlighten you. Earth Overshoot Day is the day of the year when mankind has used up all of earth’s resources for that year. Meaning, everything we use of the earth’s resources from August 19th on will be in excess to what the earth can produce in that given year. Attached is an article via Clean Techies that can give you some insight onto how important all this really is.   

Earth

August 19th is Earth Overshoot Day

BY  ON ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE

13

It has taken less than eight months for humanity to use up nature’s entire budget for the year and go into ecological overshoot, according to data from Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

Global Footprint Network tracks humanity’s demand on the planet (Ecological Footprint) against nature’s biocapacity, i.e., its ability to replenish the planet’s resources and absorb waste, including CO2.  Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s Footprint in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Since 2000, overshoot has grown, according to Global Footprint Network’s calculations. Consequently, Earth Overshoot Day has moved from early October in 2000 to August 19th this year.

“Global overshoot is becoming a defining challenge of the 21st century. It is both an ecological and an economic problem,” said Mathis Wackernagel, president of Global Footprint Network and the co-creator of the Ecological Footprint resource accounting metric. “Countries with resource deficits and low income are exceptionally vulnerable. Even high-income countries that have had the financial advantage to shield themselves from the most direct impacts of resource dependence need to realize that a long-term solution requires addressing such dependencies before they turn into a significant economic stress.”

In 1961, humanity used just about three-quarters of the capacity Earth had available for generating food, fiber, timber, fish stock and absorbing greenhouse gases. Most countries had biocapacities larger than their own respective Footprints. By the early 1970s, global economic and demographic growth had increased humanity’s Footprint beyond what the planet could renewably produce. We went into ecological overshoot.

Today, 86 percent of the world population lives in countries that demand more from nature than their own ecosystems can renew. According to Global Footprint Network’s calculations, it would take 1.5 Earths to produce the renewable ecological resources necessary to support humanity’s current Footprint. Moderate population, energy and food projections suggest that humanity would require the biocapacity of three planets well before mid-century. This may be physically unfeasible.

The costs of our ecological overspending are becoming more evident by the day. The interest we are paying on that mounting ecological debt in the form of deforestation, fresh-water scarcity, soil erosion, biodiversity loss and the build-up of CO2 in our atmosphere also comes with mounting human and economic costs.

Governments who ignore resource limits in their decision-making might put their long-term economic performance at risk. In times of persistent overshoot, those countries running biocapacity deficits will find that reducing their resource dependence is aligned with their self-interest. Conversely, countries that are endowed with biocapacity reserves have an incentive to preserve these ecological assets that constitute a growing competitive advantage in a world of tightening ecological constraints.

Print

 

More and more countries are taking action in a variety of ways.

The Philippines is on track to adopt the Ecological Footprint at the national level — the first country in Southeast Asia to do so — via its National Land Use Act. This policy, the first of its kind in the Philippines, is designed to protect areas from haphazard development and plan for the country’s use and management of its own physical resources. Legislators are seeking to integrate the Ecological Footprint into this national policy, placing resource limits at the center of decision-making.

The United Arab Emirates, a high-income country, intends to significantly reduce its per capita Ecological Footprint – one of the world’s highest — starting with its carbon emissions. Its Energy Efficiency Lighting Standard will result in only energy-efficient indoor-lighting products being made available throughout the territory before the end of this year.

Morocco is interested in collaborating with Global Footprint Network on a review of the nation’s 15-year strategy for sustainable development in agriculture, Plan Maroc Vert, through the lens of the Ecological Footprint. Specifically, Morocco is interested comprehensively assessing how the plan contributes to the sustainability of the agriculture sector as well as a society-wide transition towards sustainability.

Regardless of a country’s specific circumstances, incorporating ecological risk into economic planning and development strategy is not just about foresight — it has become an urgent necessity

ABCO Solar Blog

Solar Sector Keeping Investors Busy

via RenewableEnergyWorld.com

In terms of investment dollars, corporate M&A, project funding and third-party capital, Q1 2014 was one of the strongest quarters on record.

Renewable Energy World Editors
April 08, 2014

New Hampshire, USA — Highlighting once again that one of the key stories for renewable energy in 2014 will be renewable energy finance, Q1 2014 shows high growth for investments in solar. Total global corporate funding in the solar sector, including venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), debt financing, and other equity financings raised by public companies, came in at $7 billion, compared to $5 billion in Q4 2013, according to a report just released by Mercom Capital Group.

The report dives into venture capital funding, project funding, corporate mergers and acquisitions and third-party lease funding. All sectors showed an increase in the number of dollars invested and/or number of transactions showing just how favorably investors view solar.

Global VC funding, PE and corporate VC in Q1 2014 was almost double what it was in Q1 2013, totaling $251 million in 26 deals, up from $87 million in 24 deals in Q4 2013, mostly due to one large deal. Solar downstream companies attracted most of the VC funding this quarter, with $182 million in 13 deals.

Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group, commented, “It was a robust quarter for solar as financing activity surged in almost all areas. The big story continues to be strong capital markets. VC funding was up with several funding deals involving investment “platforms,” while third-party residential/commercial funds continue to raise record amounts.”

For more of the story, please visit RenewableEnergyWorld.com

ABCO Solar Blog

The Tucson Solar Potluck: A Who’s Who of Solar in Arizona

via The Arizona Solar Center Blog:

On April 26, the Tucson Solar Potluck will be held in the desert north of Tucson. It is the 32nd straight year for the gathering of solar enthusiasts, a streak that some believe qualifies it as the longest continuously held solar event in the U.S.

The potluck was a focal point of a documentary film I produced about solar cooking in 1990.

In the early 1990s, CBS Sunday News did a news piece on the event as the highlight of its national Earth Day coverage.

People have come and gone over the years, yet every spring this “unusual gathering” takes place with an ever-changing cast of characters setting up the strangest of homemade contraptions and pointing them at the sun. Seemingly every sort of solar cooking device imaginable is on display, made from a variety of materials.

Phyllis and Bob Bright were potluck regulars more than two decades ago. The Brights had an oven that sat on the base of an office chair, thus allowing it to swivel to follow the sun. The Brights are gone now, but their office chair solar oven is still talked about and copied in design.

“Anything you can cook in a regular oven, I can cook in this [solar] oven,” Phyllis would boast in her thick New Jersey accent.

You know what – Phyllis was right. The solar oven is an all-purpose oven that can cook anything under the sun.

For more of this, and other great discussions and stories, click here

ABCO Solar Blog

SolarIndustryMag.com: Tucson Electric Resource Plan Calls For More Renewable Energy, Less Coal

SolarIndustryMag.com: Tucson Electric Resource Plan Calls For More Renewable Energy, Less Coal.

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has unveiled a 15-year plan to reduce its coal generation capacity by about one-third, acquire new natural gas-fired resources, and continue its expansion of renewable power and energy efficiency programs.

TEP’s plans are outlined in its 2014 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) the company filed with the Arizona Corp. Commission on April 1. The IRP describes how TEP plans to meet energy demand requirements through 2028, providing reasonably priced service to customers while satisfying regulatory requirements and improving the environment.

According to current projections, the company expects to add more than 50,000 customers over the next 10 years. Peak demand is projected to grow annually by about 1% – 1.5%.

TEP says the IRP describes a long-term portfolio diversification strategy that will reduce the company’s reliance on coal-fired generation. The company plans to reduce its overall coal capacity by 492 MW – about 32% – over the next five years.

TEP plans to diversify its portfolio through continued investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. By 2028, TEP anticipates that its combined solar, wind and biogas resource capacity will increase from 157 MW today to 788 MW. To replace some of the lost capacity from existing coal-fired resources, TEP and sister company UniSource Energy Services are planning a joint purchase of a 550 MW combined-cycle unit at the natural gas-fired Gila River Power Station in Gila Bend, Ariz.

TEP also plans to reduce its need for new generating resources through a range of energy-efficiency programs that it projects will result in a cumulative capacity reduction of 312 MW.

By 2028, TEP projects that its resource portfolio will consist of 43% coal-fired generation and 36% natural gas-fired resources. The remaining 21% will be made up of renewable energy resources and energy efficiency measures.

For more information about TEP’s 2014 Integrated Resource Plan, click here