California’s Top Solar Cities are Median-Income Cities

Originally published on Cost of Solar by Zachary Shahan

Sunible, a company started by solar market data resource PV Solar Report, has a report on which California cities are installing the most solar power.

Completely in line with the what I wrote yesterday when discussing California solar leasing, and the day before when discussing the $34,260 or so in savings that an average California solar homeowner can enjoy (over 20 years), the report found that it’s not just the rich who are going solar anymore. Many households with average incomes are also now going solar, especially through solar leasing.

California's top solar cities are inland, and with median income.
California’s top solar cities are inland, and with median income.

The cost of solar is so much lower than it was even 2 or 3 years ago that many people have realized it’s not great for their pocketbook if they switch to solar power. $0 down or close to $0 solar leases also don’t hurt.

Many of the leading Solar Cities in California are median-income communities like Fresno, Clovis, El Cajon, and Chico,” Rosana Francescato of Sunible writes.

According to the most recent census data, Fresno’s median annual income was just over $41,000. Yet Fresno is near the top of the Solar Cities list, at #3 in installs for Q1 2013.

Given that about 75% of new California solar homeowners choose solar leasing over ownership, it’s also not surprising that the top solar cities in California are also places where solar leasing has seen the strongest growth.

In the cities with the most solar growth since 2008, TPO solar has increased substantially — an average of more than 104% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013.

In that period, the city of Chico experienced a 153% increase in TPO solar installations.

Before rolling out the Top 25 California Solar Cities list, check out the following infographic, which Sunrun put together to display the rapid growth of solar in inland cities with median incomes… despite decreasing government incentives for solar.

It’s pretty clear — if you live in California and you own your roof, going solar is a no brainer (unless you’re insane… or have some unique issues with your roof that make going solar impractical).

Join the solar rooftop revolution! Just do it!

Now that we’ve done our best to get you to do the obvious, here’s the Top 25 California Solar Cities list for Q1 2013:

  1. San Diego
  2. Bakersfield
  3. Fresno
  4. Los Angeles
  5. San Jose
  6. Murrieta
  7. Clovis
  8. Corona
  9. Escondido
  10. Temecula
  11. Palm Springs
  12. El Cajon
  13. Santa Clarita
  14. Apple Valley
  15. Chico
  16. Palmdale
  17. Rancho Mirage
  18. Northridge
  19. Palm Desert
  20. Visalia
  21. Ramona
  22. Pleasanton
  23. Lancaster
  24. Riverside
  25. Rancho Cucamonga

This article, Top California Solar Cities Are Median-Income Cities, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary ShahanZachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

Hareon Solar Invests $1.6 Billion on 1GW Solar Project

by Nathan.

Hareon Solar
New $1.6 Billion renewable energy power project for Inner Mongolia.

Hareon Solar — a noted developer of renewable energy projects — recently announced its intent to invest over CNY10 billion ($1.6 billion) into a 1 GW solar energy farm to be built in Inner Mongolia.

The deal — which was formally closed with the signing of a Letter of Intent on the 20th of November — is between the Mongolia Alashan Civil Administration and Hareon Solar.

The initial 100 MW is planned for completion sometime in 2014. It is to be located on a 4,000 acre site in the desert. Currently, project plans are being finalized and the project is going through the government approval and feasibility process. Hareon will reportedly receive some incentives for the project, but no details have been disclosed as far as we are aware.

In case you aren’t familiar with this are of the world, the Alashan region is located about 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) to the west of Beijing.

Keep up with all the hottest solar power news here on CleanTechnica, or even subscribe to our free solar power newsletter.

Image Credit: Alashan via Wikimedia CC

This article, Hareon Solar Investing $1.6 Billion Into 1,000 MW Solar Energy Project In Inner Mongolia, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

NathanNathan For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 3:19

Toshiba To Build and Operate Solar Systems in Germany

by Nicholas Brown.

Toshiba Solar Power Systems
Toshiba has embarked on an ambitious scheme in Germany, where they will build, own, and operate (BOO) solar power systems, on commercial building rooftops.

Toshiba intends to utilize a new business model in Germany under which it will install and operate self-consumption solar power systems for residents of apartment buildings. It intends to sell the power to the residents of these buildings at a lower price than utility companies do. The system will consist of batteries and the μEMS micro energy management system.

Toshiba will launch this system in March and install 3 MW of solar panels for 750 apartments operated by GAGFAH, a German real estate company in Villingen-Schwenningen and Ostfildern. The apartment buildings are all located in Barten-Wuerttemburg. Toshiba also hopes to increase capacity from 3 MW at the start to 100 MW by 2016.

This is reminiscent of the business model solar leasing companies such as SolarCity, Sunrun, Sungevity, and others use. Residents can call these companies, have them install solar panels at no initial cost (or little initial cost), and then pay a fraction of what their electricity bill used to be for the solar-generated electricity. However, these companies serve single-family homes with their own roofs. Toshiba’s entry into the realm of apartment buildings, to be funded and owned by a group of pension funds, is potentially huge.

However, worth noting is that Germany’s electricity policies are important to the enabling of this option. Toshiba writes:

Although Germany introduced a feed-in tariff system for renewable energy in 2000, and while the adoption of photovoltaic (PV) power has increased, consumers have recently seen higher electricity bills every year, along with a lower feed in price for surplus solar power. Germany is seeking solutions to this by deregulating its energy market, separating power generation and transmission, and independent power providers can now participate and deliver electricity. Toshiba is responding with a new on-site consumption model that will operate independently of the feed-in tariff system, and that is expected to reduce burden on the regional gird and the environment.

But Toshiba and its partners don’t intend to stick solely with this solar power scheme. They also want to expand into the related energy management realm.

Going forward, it will also install stationary batteries and integrate a micro energy management system, μEMS, to realize an integrated solution. Toshiba’s goal is to develop a self-sufficient model for on-site consumption that delivers solar-power electricity day and night, and apply it to a service business that supports energy management on a real-time basis. In developing its smart-grid related business at the global level, Toshiba will promote the integration and use of dispersed power sources that match local needs and conditions.

Keep up with all the hottest solar power news here on CleanTechnica, or even subscribe to our free solar power newsletter.

Follow me on Twitter @Kompulsa.

This article, Toshiba To Build & Operate Solar Systems For Apartment Buildings In Germany, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, geography, and much more. My website is: Kompulsa.

The Seven Greenest Vehicles on Earth

The Seven Greenest Vehicles on Earth | 12/08/13
Originally published on Shrink That Footprint

According to Wikipedia, a ‘vehicle’ is a:

mobile machine that transports passengers or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats and aircraft.

But somehow, a ‘green vehicle’ is a:

road motor vehicle that produces less harmful impacts to the environment than comparable conventional internal combustion engine vehicles running on gasoline or diesel.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Wikipedia, but I do find it a little ironic that ‘green vehicles’ are pigeonholed as cars. Because on a full lifecycle emissions basis, cars really aren’t that green compared to other options.

greenest vehicles on earth
The World’s 7 Greenest Vehicles. Image by Shrink That Footprint.

 

Here’s my take on the world’s seven greenest vehicles.

7: The Nissan Leaf

I thought I’d be charitable and include a car. After all, a huge chunk of global passenger kilometers are from automobiles, so better cars are hugely important for the future. I’ve plumped for the Nissan Leaf as it is the leading all-electric car in Japan, the US, UK, Norway…. Using low-carbon electricity, electric car emissions are down around 50 g CO2e/pkm (passenger kilometre), almost all of which comes from vehicle manufacturing.

The nissan leaf
The Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle. Image by Shrink That Footprint.

6: The Intercity Coach

It may surprise you, but the typical Stagecoach or Greyhound diesel bus can often have lower emissions per passenger kilometer than the best electric car. That’s because intercity buses travel at efficient speeds on highways, have decent occupancy, and have tiny manufacturing emissions, as they are spread over so many passengers. I’ve seen a bunch of studies ranging from 35-85 g CO2e/pkm.

The Intercity Coach
The Intercity Coach. Image by Shrink That Footprint.

5: The School Bus

This one is probably even more surprising, but school buses typically have quite low emissions. Not because they are über efficient, or because they do smooth highway miles, but simply because they have such high occupancy. Emissions per passenger kilometer are typically in the 20-50 g CO2e/pkm range.

The School Bus
The School Bus. Image by Shrink That Footprint.

4: High Speed Rail

High-speed rail can be very low carbon, particularly with the right juice. We’ve taken the Eurostar and TGV from London down to the Pyrenees a couple of times with emissions about a tenth of what a flight would have been. The largely nuclear electricity in France means emissions of 17 g CO2e/pkm on their high-speed network. Typically, emissions are from 10-60 g CO2e/pkm depending on fuel source.

High Speed Rail
High Speed Rail. Image by Shrink That Footprint.

3: Light Urban Rail

Any form of electric train can provide very low carbon miles if it has the right juice. Busy trams, metro, or light-rail systems can also have low emissions. The example below is from Bergen in Norway, where hydro power is dominant. Lifecycle emissions can range from 10-50 g CO2e/pkm depending on fuel source, efficiency, and occupancy.

Light urban rail
Light Urban Rail. Image by Shrink That Footprint.

2: The Electric Bike

Guess how many electric bikes there are in China today? 200 million!! That number floored me when I first saw it. Almost 30 million e-bikes will be sold in China this year alone. That is about half the number of passenger cars globally. In coal-reliant China, an electric bike has average lifecycle emissions of 22 g CO2e/pkm. Depending on fuel mix, they are typically in the range of 5-30 g CO2e/pkm.

Electric bike
The Electric Bike. Image by Shrink That Footprint.

1: The Flying Pigeon Bicycle

The ‘Flying Pigeon‘ is the most popular [green] vehicle of all time. More than 500 million have been produced since 1950. Based on the 1932 Raleigh Roadster, the popular model came in black, with one speed, 28 in (710 mm) wheels, a fully covered chain, sprung leather saddle, rear rack, and rod brakes. This is an old-school classic. In China, where the diet is relatively low carbon and electricity carbon intensive, this bike edges the eBike at around 10 g CO2e/pkm.

The flying pigeon
The Flying Pigeon Bicycle. Image by Shrink That Footprint.

What is missing from the list?

This isn’t the most scientific of lists, and I get the feeling I must be missing some options? You can get a better grip of the data in our 5 Elements of Sustainable Transport post. The one thing that really surprised me in this post is the rise of electric bikes. It is about 90% a China story currently, but the rate of growth in Brazil, Europe, India, and even the US is really impressive.

This article, 7 Greenest Vehicles On Earth, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Shrink That FootprintShrink That Footprint Shrink That Footprint is a resource for squeezing more life out of less carbon. We are an independent research group that provides information to people interested in reducing their climate impact. Our core focus is understanding, calculating, and reducing personal carbon footprints.

China’s Installed Solar PV to Reach 10 GW By Year-End

by Joshua S Hill.

Solar Panels
Solar Photovoltaic Panels (Solar PV).

Chinese state news has announced that the country’s on-grid solar power capacity will reach 10 GW by the end of 2013, a 200% increase from a year ago, based on figures forecast by the National Energy Administration.

The total energy generation capacity of the Chinese power grid is expected to reach 1,235 GW by the end of this year, with solar’s 10 GW helping to reduce the thermal energy share to 69.9% — down from 2012′s 71.5%, despite overall growth. Hydro power is expected to make up 25.5%, on-grid wind power 6.1%, and nuclear power 1.2%.

The state news agency Xinhua noted that, “China has taken a number of measures, including increasing investment in clean energy to boost the share of non-fossil fuels in its power structure.”

NPD Solarbuzz projected in August of this year that China would top PV deployment in 2013, predicting that the combined demand from China and Japan was expected to reach 9 GW in the second half of 2013.

“The record level of PV shipments to China and Japan coincides with corporate margins returning to positive territory and the final shakeout phase of uncompetitive manufacturers nearing completion,” said Finlay Colville, vice president, NPD Solarbuzz.

“Having entered 2013 with a highly cautious outlook, tier-one suppliers are poised to exit the year with restored confidence, ahead of optimistic shipment and margin guidance for 2014.”

In July of this year, China also stated they intended to to add 10 GW of solar power a year over the next three years, boosting the country’s solar capacity up to at least 35 GW by 2015. China also recently announced that it intended to stretch its distributed-solar capacity target to 20 GW by the same time. In early 2011, China’s 2015 solar PV capacity target was just 5 GW.

Keep up to date with all the latest electric vehicle insight and news by closely watching our Solar Power channel or subscribing to our Solar Power newsletter

This article, China’s Installed PV To Reach 10 GW By End Of Year, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Joshua S. HillJoshua S Hill I’m a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we’re pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.  I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.