Solar Power Information Resource

I gathered this information when I was trying to make a living selling residential solar systems. The job didn’t agree with me but this information is still valid. Check it out

Internal Rate of Return tutorial

Solar time of Use (local copy) A paper about Electricity Rate Structures and the Economics of Solar PV: Could Mandatory Time-of-Use Rates Undermine California’s Solar Photovoltaic Subsidies? – shown to Lee by his neighbor Oren Ahoobim

Federal Information Sources

  • SEIA Solar Roadmap(local) – Notably on page 7 it shows that they think solar prices will decrease slowly. No great breakthrough on the horizon.
  • I think this talks about long term net metering contracts. IE:

    Under PURPA, utilities are required to purchase electricity from QFs at the utilities’ “avoided cost.” (11) The Federal government, in formulating regulations, often delegates implementation to the States. This occurred with PURPA, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) delegated the authority for the determination of avoided cost to the States. In several States including California, avoided cost purchase contracts were very favorable to non-utility generators. For example, between 1982 and 1988, Standard Offer 4 (SO4) contracts written in California allowed QFs to sell renewable energy under 15-to-30 year terms.


Additionally, the new law makes a credit available to those who add qualified solar panels, solar water heating equipment, or a fuel cell power plant to their homes in the United States. In general, a qualified fuel cell power plant converts a fuel into electricity using electrochemical means, has an electricity—only generation efficiency of more than 30 percent and generates at least 0.5 kilowatts of electricity. Taxpayers are allowed one credit equal to 30 percent of the qualified investment in a solar panel up to a maximum credit of $2,000, and another equivalent credit for investing in a solar water heating system. No part of either system can be used to heat a pool or hot tub. … These items must be placed in service after Dec. 31, 2005 and before Jan. 1, 2008.

30% tax credit… $2,000 for a PV system and $2,000 for solar water heating

[edit] IRS Form 3468

  • IRS form 3468 for 2005 Taxes Use Form 3468 to claim the investment credit. The investment credit consists of the rehabilitation, energy, qualifying advanced coal project, and qualifying gasification project credits.

A very important tax form. Print the whole thing out and read.

There is mention of a credit for using solar illumination

? Increased the energy percentage from 10 to 30% for solar property placed in service after December 31, 2005.

There is mention of a credit for property that generates solar or geothermal power

For purposes of line 2, solar energy property is equipment that uses solar energy to: ? Generate electricity,? Heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or ? Provide solar process heat (but not to heat a swimming pool).

solar energy property includes solar energy property as defined in the line 2 instructions and equipment which uses solar energy to illuminate the inside of a structure using fiber-optic distributed sunlight.

California State Information Sources


Other (and unsorted) Information Sources

  • Good Book: “Got Sun? Go Solar” by Rex A Ewing and Doug Pratt. Excellent book. Practical. Covers the generalities very well.

Stuff from Charlotte


Rating systems


Campus initiatives

  • (book) Procurement Guide for Renewable Energy Systems IREC & U.S. EPA, 1997, 104 p. $15.00 The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), in cooperation with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Sandia National Laboratories, has developed this handbook to guide state and local government procurement officials in the specification and purchase of commercially available renewable energy systems. Includes basic information about renewable energy, product specifications, schematic designs and photos, installation details, and a directory of a wide variety of photovoltaics, solar water heating systems, and small wind generating systems.
  • (the local chapter of The American Solar Energy Society) Northern California Solar Energy Association (NorCal Solar) P.O. Box 3008 Berkeley, CA 94703 P: (510) 869-2759 e-mail: web site: Executive Director: Liz Merry
  • Agricultural Biomass to Energy Program
  • Alameda County – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • Anaheim Public Utilities – Green Power for the Grid
  • Anaheim Public Utilities – PV Buydown Program
  • Bay Area Solar Consortium – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • California Clean Energy Partnership (CCEP) – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • California Property Tax Exemption for Solar Systems
  • City of Palo Alto Utilities – Palo Alto Green
  • City of Santa Monica – Green Power Purchasing
  • City of Santa Monica – PV Ferris Wheel & SolarPort
  • Emerging Renewables (Rebate) Program
  • LADWP – Green Power for a Green LA
  • Los Angeles – Green Power Purchasing
  • Marin Solar Program – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • Net Metering
  • Renewable Resources Trust Fund
  • Renewables Portfolio Standard
  • Retail Electricity Disclosure Program and Green Labeling
  • Roseville Electric – Green Energy
  • SMUD – Community Solar(SM)
  • SMUD – GreenergySM
  • San Diego – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • San Francisco – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission – Million Solar Roofs Partnership
  • Solar or Wind Energy System Credit – Corporate
  • Solar or Wind Energy System Credit – Personal


  • US Department of Energy: Department of Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Seattle Regional Office Heather Mulligan, 800 5th Ave, Suite 3950, Seattle, WA 98104, ph: 206-553-7693
  • Alameda County Solar Partnership
  • City of Humboldt
  • Marin Coounty MSR
  • City of Sacramento
  • Bay Area Solar Consortium
  • Whatcom 1000 Solar Rooftop Project

And if all that fails, try getting Energy Film low e film. You could save 15% on your energy bills. Lasts 10 years. DIY. Costs $40 for a 4’x7′ sheet, maybe $500 for a whole house instead of $12,000 to install low-e windows. Energy Film blocks out 70% of solar heat in summer, retains 38% of escaping heat in winter and blocks 97% of UV rays while still allowing 77% of natural light into a room.

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