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Power inverter maintenance becomes a concern with the recent bankruptcy of Satcon Technologies

08e dunlopbigphoto 953863209A mainland company that supplied a key component for many commercial and utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects in Hawaii has gone out of business, leaving its customers scrambling to come up with contingency plans for servicing the devices, which are critical to the operation of PV systems.

headscratching1It makes more economic sense for the state to promote private-sector initiatives to help Hawaii residents pay for rooftop solar systems than to rely on tax credits, which are a drain on state revenues, according to a study released Tuesday by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

UHERO researchers estimate that installing a solar photovoltaic system on every owner-occupied single-family home statewide could theoretically cost the state as much as $1.4 billion in lost tax revenue based on new renewable energy tax credit rules that went into effect Jan. 1. Under the older, more generous rules, lost tax collections could have been as high as $2.1 billion. The study did not take into account technical constraints on PV installations, such as circuit capacity issues.

tax-creditThe stampede by local homeowners and businesses to install solar photovoltaic systems maintained its blistering pace in 2012 with Hawaiian Electric Co. reporting more PV installations than in the six previous years combined.

HECO customers in Oahu, Maui and Hawaii counties installed 92.8 megawatts of PV-generating capacity last year as they looked for ways to blunt the impact of the state's high electric rates, which are triple the national average.

Question: I have an average-size home. How much more will I have to pay for a solar photovoltaic system now that the solar tax credit has been reduced?

Answer: The short answer is $5,000. In 2012 you may have been eligible for $10,000 in state tax credits. In 2013 it is limited to $5,000. For larger systems the reduction number is $10,000-plus. 

Q: Should I wait to see what the Legislature does this session before installing solar at my home? Is it possible they will increase the tax credit?

A: There is no need to wait to see what the Legislature will do because a PV (photovoltaic) system is still a solid investment within your control. Investment payback is currently in the five- to six-year range depending on the inflation rate of electricity, and these systems should last well over 25 years. An interest-only loan through a home equity line of credit will net you positive cash flow.

gordon ier onpageHighlighting the fact that a global switch to renewable energy is not just necessary, but doable, a new report released by the WWF concludes that the solar arrays necessary to meet all the world’s projected energy needs in 2050 would cover under one percent of global land area. Obviously this is a theoretical exercise, and 100 percent of the planet’s electricity needs are not actually going to be filled through solar.

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Capital Electric & Energy Solutions, LLC, Inc.
PO Box 25506,
Honolulu, HI 96825

Ph. (808) 988-wire (9473)
Fax: (808) 791-4124
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