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The productions of solar photovoltaic cells are similar to semiconductors and enjoy cost reduction as production increases. Our analysis attempts to develop a what-if scenario for the solar energy market by comparing energy costs for different experience curves and market growth rates. The bottom line is that as solar energy reaches parity with hydrocarbon fuels, energy security is achieved for all countries.
Businesses are starting to make their data centers greener, and they are reaping benefits to their bottom line in the process. In addition to being better for the environment, these tactics have provided tangible energy savings to organizations implementing them. Interestingly, IT professionals also view cloud computing as a key to managing energy use, with 62 percent of respondents calling it an energy efficient method of data center consolidation, an increase of 15 percent since 2010. As a writer for NTTcom.tv, Amy Freeland scours news from the world of cloud computing to provide stories that are both interesting and important to today’s IT professionals. After hours, this certified foodie loves exploring the culinary wonders of New York City (with help from her constant companion, her beloved iPhone, and her favorite new food app, Chefs Feed). A little-known limit on how many customers can get credit for selling back excess solar energy to utilities could put the brakes on the residential solar market in California, the solar industry says. Net metering is a billing arrangement in which utility customers who have installed solar systems on their homes or businesses get credit for power they produce but don’t need. In comparison to conventional hydrocarbon fuels such as coal or oil in generating electricity, the cost of solar energy is significantly higher. In our example, a ton of coal on the average produces approximately 6,182 KWH of electric at a cost of about $36 per short ton (2,000 pounds). In comparison to solar energy, the hydrocarbon fuel costs are significantly lower without rebates, tax benefits nor the cost of carbon emissions.
Some of the considerations for a solar energy system include the 20-to-30 year lifespan of the system and the hours of available sunlight.
In order to compare the solar energy costs to conventional hydrocarbon fuels, we must covert the $8.95 per into KWH.
So a $45,000 5KW solar energy system produces about 119,246 KWH of electric over its lifespan meaning the average cost equals $0.38 per KWH. The relatively high solar energy costs in comparison to conventional fuels should improve with utility rebates and government tax incentives. We will explore the some of the advances in thin-film technologies, the declining costs of solar panels, and the improving solar conversion efficiencies that should continue to bring solar energy costs on par with hydrocarbon fuels. Not only is the brutal recession driving more Americans into McDonald’s for a cheap meal, but it has also dulled their appetite for McMansions. Home buyers have lost their enthusiasm for the sprawling houses that cropped up across U.S. Meritage, which gets most of its business from first-time buyers, is going along with the trend. Those cheaper houses are also easier for buyers to finance in an environment of stricter loan terms. Median new home sizes grew for much of the post-World War Two period, from less than 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) in the 1950s to 1,400 square feet (130 square meters) in 1970, then more than 2,400 square feet (223 square meters) in 2004.
The reversal reflects Americans’ nervousness about the economy and about the stability of their jobs, as well as restrictions lenders have imposed as a result of the ongoing financial crisis. Homebuilders say they watch unemployment figures for a clue to the direction of their business.
Wednesday’s weaker-than-expected report on May new home sales underscored the fragility of the market. Buyers remain price-sensitive and often find what they want in an expanding array of foreclosed properties. In terms of home size, a new survey from the American Institute of Architects supports the housing executives’ comments. According to the trade group, 50 percent of architecture firms find clients are choosing homes with smaller square footage, compared with 13 percent who said so in 2005. Rather than making a home look better for an eventual sale, home owners want to make their space more livable, by fixing up their yards or basements. The new roof tiles Bill Thomas installed on his home in Bermuda Dunes look just like any other Spanish clay tiles — except they’re dark blue and generate solar energy. Thomas’ home has become one of the first test sites in the nation for the new tiles, which integrate advanced solar technology into curved roof tiles. That means about 10 percent more solar power than flat-glass panels and more long-term savings on utility bills, she said. Exact figures for the Coachella Valley are not yet available, but SRS projects the tiles could save a home of about 2,900 square feet an estimated $1,700 per year immediately and about $2,650 per year after 10 years. The curved tiles also look a lot better than flat solar panels, said Thomas, owner of Roof Tile Speciality of Palm Desert.
The two companies hope the aesthetics of the product will be a major selling point in areas such as the Coachella Valley, a green-conscious region where tile roofs abound and residents are picky about what they put on their houses. McFadden, who designs custom, high-end homes, sees potential for using the tiles for retrofit jobs, especially for replacing roof tiles on the back sides of houses, where they would be less visible. Another key test result will be how well the tiles perform in the desert heat, said Patrick Conlon, director of energy management for Palm Desert. To win broad acceptance, the tiles will still have to prove themselves at least comparable to flat solar panels on the critical issues of size of installations and overall cost. A homeowner will need more than twice as much roof space for the tiles as for regular solar panels, said Vincent Battaglia of Renova Energy, who worked with Thomas on the installation in Bermuda Dunes. The 300 square feet of solar tiles on Thomas’ roof will generate about 2,400-kilowatt hours per year, versus about 6,000-kilowatt hours for a traditional installation of the same size, Battaglia said. In Bermuda Dunes, Thomas had the tiles installed in a few hours, and Sunshine Solar Energy of Costa Mesa finished wiring the panels to a converter and then to the electric power grid. Feinstein even sees the day when manufacturers figure out a way to produce the tiles in colors other than dark blue — the standard color for solar tiles and panels because it’s best for absorbing light.
More jurisdictions in California are joining the bandwagon of those who are reducing or deferring impact fees to help revive home building and their stalled-out local economies. On June 1, the California Building Industry Association reported that the city of Menifee in Riverside County had voted five to zero to lower its development impact fee by $2,585.70 per single-family home, down from a previous fee of $5,185. The council also reduced its staff hourly billing rates by 20% and said it would formalize a new streamlined entitlement process for development applications.
In an effort to further boost new home construction and sales, the city is working to establish a Menifee Money Program that will provide a gift card for buyers of new homes to be used at local businesses. The city’s fee reduction will go into place on July 1 and end on June 30, 2010, or upon the issuance of 500 permits, whichever occurs first. On June 4, the BIA added Santa Maria to its list of jurisdictions in the state deciding to reduce their development impact fees on home building.
The city council of Santa Maria voted unanimously to lower its fees by about 7%, which would reduce the cost of building a single-family home in the city, located in northern Santa Barbara County, by about $2,250.
The council also gave builders an additional five years to begin construction on previously approved projects.
In addition to reducing impact fees, more than 50 jurisdictions across the state have deferred their fees from the time the building permit is pulled until the home is sold, which reduces the up-front costs to builders and helps make more projects pencil out financially. While driven largely by a double-digit gain in the volatile multifamily sector, the uptick also reflected a substantial gain on the single-family side and applied consistently to all regions of the country. Single-family housing starts gained 7.5% in May, breaking the 400,000 mark for the first time since November 2008 to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 401,000 units. Building permit issuance, which can be an indicator of future building activity, rose 4% overall in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 518,000 units. The following are links to useful information from government agencies and NAHB that will enable you to monitor the housing market.
Full array of statistical categories available to NAHB members, a limited number available to non-members. Full array of analysis of factors affecting housing and the impact on the industry available to NAHB members, a limited number available to non-members.


With the news that Scottish Power has updated their business electricity and business gas tariffs , it is the ideal time to do a business energy comparison. To understand what is driving business electricity prices this year, you only have to look at one of the fundamentals of electricity generation , primarily Coal. The UK is now competing with an ever expanding and diverse set of country’s for a share of the worlds coal exports.
The coal market spiked in January due to the worst flooding in three generations in Australia , Queensland accounts for just under 60% of global seabourne coal.
Coal and Natural Gas are a large part of our generation mix , the price of these key commodities are the driving force behind the current painfully high business electricity prices.
Looking ahead to 2012 and 2013 , not many traders are showing confidence that the supply tightness of these key fundamentals will improve. A lot can happen in the space of a year , and nobody can be 100% sure where prices will be next year , but in my opinion it will take a big shift in world commerce patterns for the key fundamental commodities to weaken in price , thus lower business electricity prices. The credit score of your business will affect the competitiveness of your renewal offer from your current supplier as well as any prospective supplier.
Some customers may have been with a supplier for years and always paid by direct debit with no problem but on contract renewal the supplier suddenly wants a deposit or refuses to renew them, leaving them on very high out of contract rates. While we understand the commercial pressures on suppliers, we feel that a number of business energy suppliers are using this cynically as a way of renewing customers at higher prices. The irony is that at least one of suppliers stating poor credit as an excuse for expensive unit rates has a credit score that they themselves would not take. For each pound spent on electricity powering Information technology and office equipment in a business, up to 33% is wasted. 40 pence in every pound of an average business’s total electricity consumption is down to IT and information systems ,energy efficiency strategies could lead to substantial savings. In the 50’s we were told that nuclear energy would be so abundant and so cheap that the energy supply companies would not bother metering it! There is a big question mark over whether competition of only 60% of the energy price could deliver what the business energy market requires, which is aggressive competition.
Energy security should be undertaken on a national basis, the generating plant that powers our country should be owned by the state, not foreign governments or venture capitalists.
There was some volatility seen in power market on Wednesday, showing promise of some clawing back some of the previous sessions losses early on. The afternoon period of trading saw a reversal of these gains, the whole of the power curve closing the day down. Most of the losses were driven from the gas curve, which responded to a well supplied system and current demand levels being comfortably well supplied. Another good day of renewable generation was seen on Wednesday, wind and hydro generation combining for an overall 8% contribution to the generation mix. E.ON have finally followed the market and increased some of their business electricity tariffs. Prices of both Maximum Demand Connect and 3 year access tariffs have increased in line with the rest of the market.
E.ON still remains a competitive business electricity supplier and these increases reflect the recent rise in business electricity wholesale prices . The recent sharp rises in business electricity and gas prices have caught a few people off guard.
What has caught a lot of people out is the speed at which business energy prices has increased.
I’m afraid there is not much good news on the horizon and these prices are here for the foreseeable with every indication that they will continue to increase for at least the next 18-24 months.
Business electricity prices should also be looked at closely always  make sure you use a broker that is UIA accredited and  compares the whole business energy market, not just a select few suppliers.
Good luck and hold onto your hats, it’s going to be a bumpy year for business energy prices. Controversial energy company Business Energy Solutions is facing a class action from business customers who claim to have been misled into taking on hugely expensive energy contracts.Solicitor Christopher Newton, of Newtons Solicitors in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, told Financial Mail he had been contacted by several businesses unhappy about their dealings with BES and energy broker Commercial Power, both of which are owned by Andrew Pilley. Last week, Newton successfully defended a hotel business in court against attempts by BES to disconnect it in a dispute over bills.He has had previous court dealings with BES on behalf of a number of small businesses and is now looking to mount a class action. We are under no illusion; we understand the impact of high electricity prices on businesses. Bluemark believes it is time that the government really started to act on the issue of electricity prices within the business sector, not just pay lip service to it.
The underlying cause of this disruption is a phenomenon that solar's supporters call Swanson's law, in imitation of Moore's law of transistor cost.
Coal-fired plants, for comparison, cost about $3 a watt to build in the United States, and natural-gas plants cost $1. In the dog days of an East Coast summer, there is nothing better than having a pool in your backyard. Unfortunately, aside from the initial costs of building a pool, the ongoing costs of operating and maintaining the pool can add up rather quickly.
To save money, the Department of Energy recommends installing a pump that is as small as possible while still providing adequate circulation.
A good way to reduce operating time and still keep the pool free of debris is to install a timer. Modern variable speed pumps are also a good way to reduce energy costs because they can be set to operate at low power settings and then ramp up for short bursts as needed. Evaporation of water from the surface of the pool is responsible for the majority of the heat loss. Installing a UV-stabilized polyethylene, polypropylene, or vinyl pool cover will provide a vapor barrier that prevents surface water evaporation, and as an added bonus, keeps out debris. About Skovish Pools & SpasFor more than 30 years, Skovish Pools and Spas has been making our clients’ dreams come true. Our what-if scenario provides a framework to measure the number of years it will take before solar energy cost are at parity to oil and electric. In the most optimistic scenario of market growth of 60% and experience curve of 30%, suggest that it would take until 2014 or seven years before solar energy is equal to the price of electric. According to a new report from technology services provider CDW, 43 percent of IT professionals who have a data center consolidation strategy consider “green initiatives” to be a top consideration. For instance, respondents estimate that virtualized servers and storage in the data center have reduced energy consumption by 28 percent over previous power use. Greenbiz reported that cloud computing also can lead to indirect energy savings, which while less important to the business, can be significant to the environment overall. As a freelance journalist, she has turned out polished original copy on topics that range from tracking down a backhoe on a construction site, to the important role technology can play in securing personal property for insurance claims, to former Nuggets basketball player Marcus Camby’s annual Thanksgiving dinner for deserving children. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in public relations and corporate communication from New York University.
A two–Kilowatt (KW) solar energy system costs about $45,000 and covers roughly half of a typical American household’s energy needs. The hours of available sunlight depends on latitude, climate, unblocked exposure to the sun, ability to tilt panels towards the sun, seasonality, and temperature.
Let’s make two calculations to measure the total electric energy output over the lifespan of the solar energy system. In addition, solar panel prices should continue to decline as volume production increases. For example, it is selling a three-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot (102-square-meter) home in Phoenix for $95,000. A dearth of credit for all but the best-qualified applicants is also forcing many customers to choose smaller homes. They use fewer raw materials, less labor, and require a smaller lot, while inside the home, customers are cutting out luxuries.
Census data, the median size dipped in 2008 to 2,200 square feet (204 square meters), its first annual decline in 13 years, and has fallen further in 2009.
Next week’s report is expected to show a further rise, bringing the rate closer to double-digits, as another 368,000 people lose their jobs.


Sales slipped 0.6 percent from April to an annual rate of 342,000 homes, far below the pace of a year ago. The poll of designers about their clients’ tastes found that Americans increasingly prefer smaller homes and lower ceilings, in part because of energy costs.
Almost two-thirds of architects reported demand for better access within the home, reflecting the aging population.
Tile of Corona, a major producer of clay tile roofing, to market the solar tiles, which will be sold under the name Sole Power Tiles. Tile will provide special training to the company’s key contractors — which means faster and less complicated setup.
On a typical 2,000-square-foot home, this reduction of nearly 50% will reduce fees from $12,620 per home to $6,540. Meanwhile, starts in the much more volatile multifamily sector posted a 77% gain following a nearly equivalent decline in the previous month, for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 124,000 units. A signed hard copy of the Title-24 compliance report prepared, signed and stamped by a CEPE or CEA. Once the incentive funds are reserved, the applicant should work with the builder and HERS to coordinate the energy efficiency and PV verifications.
China and India are becoming ever more aggressive in their procurement of coal to drive their expanding manufacturing bases. Thermal Coal prices have surged since 2010 amid panic buying due to a softness of supply, prices have continued to rise with no sign of abating.
Many business electricity suppliers are still shying away from 24 month and above fixed price contracts for large industrial consumers , which only shows how uncertain everyone is of future prices.
We have also seen in the last few months an increase in the amount of customers who are being asked for a security deposit before the commencement of a new contract. Computer manufacturer are urging public sector organisations to scrutinise the energy efficiency of IT equipment. In my opinion, selling off of the UK’s nuclear infrastructure will prove to be the biggest mistake of a generation.
Regardless of issues with safety and nuclear waste, I do not believe that by having new nuclear power stations in the UK will reduce prices to the end user. Maximum demand meters have increased by around 6% while the access tariffs have increased by a similar amount.
For businesses that are coming up for contract renewal we would advise to compare business electricity offers closely from all suppliers and to use a business energy professional who understands how the differing pricing structure offered by business energy suppliers will affect your electricity costs. Prices had started to slowly drop month on month until the recent events in the Middle East and the natural disaster in Japan.
At a time when budgets are stretched to breaking point, the last thing that UK businesses need is double digit price increases.
It is now imperative for your business to compare business gas prices with a professional accredited energy broker and to make sure your broker achieves the best possible prices for your business. We saw with our own eyes in 2008 how many SME businesses were left reeling from the doubling or trebling of their business electricity tariffs. Moore's law suggests that the size of transistors (and also their cost) halves every 18 months or so. Instead of packing up bathing suits, towels, and an entire medicine cabinet’s worth of sunscreen into a bag and driving to the community pool, you can just walk out into your backyard and take a refreshing dip. One of the largest expenses of operating a pool is the energy costs involved in heating and pumping the water. Smaller pumps use less energy, and can usually save a pool owner up to 40% on energy costs compared to the average pool pump. Most people will be happy with the quality of the water even after reducing the operating time of the pump to 3 to 6 hours per day. By setting the timer to operate the pump in several short cycles throughout the day, you can keep operating time down while avoiding long stretches where the water is standing still. Heating the water in the pool makes up a large portion of the energy costs of operating a pool. Our assumptions are solar energy market growth rates of 40%-to-60% and experience curve of 10%-to-30%. Since cloud computing makes remote data access simple, it can reduce the need for employees to travel to a physical office, resulting in reduced “emissions from commuting, as well as lowering other environmental impacts associated with maintaining office space,” CDW told Greenbiz. I stop doing solar electric,” said Jeanine Cotter, CEO of San Francisco-based solar installer Luminalt, on the potential impact if the state doesn’t raise its cap on net metering.
Right now, net metering is capped statewide by the California Public Utilities Commission for investor-owned utilities at 2.5 percent. Back in our previous post, Coal: Fueling the American Industrial Revolution to Today’s Electric, we developed a framework to measure energy costs by converting costs to kilowatt-hours (KWH). On the average, approximately 3.6 peak sunlight hours per day serves as a reasonable proxy to calculate the average annual output of electric from solar energy panels. Sharp Solar provides a very useful calculator for system costs and electric generation by geographical location along with utility rebates for your area. Having learned that property values can go down as well as up, they are flocking to smaller homes that are cheaper to buy, furnish and heat.
To sell our infrastructure and then allow the purchaser to demand a minimum sell price for their competitors product seems absolutely crazy.
In fact I think they will push prices up and to market nuclear energy as green because it reduces C02 emissions is just plain rubbish! Commodity speculators have been blamed for the surge in Oil and Natural gas prices which in turn have forced electricity prices upwards.
We have seen a further round of price increases this morning and the prognosis for the coming year is not favourable.
Many high street butchers for instance, were put in a very difficult position, for many of these businesses, electricity became their biggest overhead. As this graph shows, the cost of producing photovoltaic cells has dropped two orders of magnitude over the past 35 years, bringing costs within range of fossil fuel energy production. Swanson's law, named after Richard Swanson, the founder of SunPower, a big American solar-cell manufacturer, suggests that the cost of the photovoltaic cells needed to generate solar power falls by 20% with each doubling of global manufacturing capacity.
In sunny regions such as California, then, photovoltaic power could already compete without subsidy with the more expensive parts of the traditional power market, such as the natural-gas-fired "peaker" plants kept on stand-by to meet surges in demand. In fact, the National Resources Defense Council estimates that the average pool owner spends $356 in energy costs per pool season.
Evaporating water takes a tremendous amount of heat out of the pool, heat that must be replaced by the pool heaters. Of those respondents who have a plan in place to manage data center power consumption, more than 70 percent in each industry sector (including business, nonprofit, government and education) say they have reduced their actual data center energy costs by at least 1 percent. Her point is echoed across the solar supply chain from the largest panel manufacturers like Suntech to all sizes of residential solar installers. And thanks to the California Solar Initiative, which provides incentives for installing solar, Californians are approaching that cap.The solar industry is backing legislation, AB 560, sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) that would raise the cap to 10 percent.
The $9,000 per KW for solar is not very helpful in comparing electric generation costs to other fuels like coal or gas. We could be approaching a situation similar to 2008 and prices may well even surpass the high prices of that point.
The upshot (see chart) is that the modules used to make solar-power plants now cost less than a dollar per watt of capacity. Moreover, technological developments that have been proved in the laboratory but have not yet moved into the factory mean Swanson's law still has many years to run.
I can tell you from the conversations I have on a daily basis with people in this sector, they are struggling and if electricity prices reach the highs of 2008, the local pub and bistro may become a thing of the past. Power-station construction costs can add $4 to that, but these, too, are falling as builders work out how to do the job better.



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