Friday, November 16, 2012

Electric Vehicle (EV)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hawaii Solar Tax Credits Going Away

Yes the story is true. 
How is really plays out, remains to be seen.
It appears that the "big systems" will be hurt the most.    And that is kind of funny, because the way the tax "temporary rules" are wording a big system would be anything over 10 panels.

Just about everyone needs more than 10 panels, 10 panels is around $120.     Most people are in the $250 to $400 range.

Get a system BEFORE your right to energy Independence is curtailed.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hawaii Eliminating Solar Tax Credits

From "EarthJustice"

State Tax Proposal Would Slam the Brakes on Solar Energy, Jobs in Hawai'i

November 9, 2012
Honolulu, HI — 
Today, Governor Neil Abercrombie announced a drastic, potentially devastating cut to the Hawaiʻi's successful tax credit for solar energy. The proposal would reduce by approximately 50 percent the tax credit for homeowners and businesses that install solar energy systems. The solar industry is one of Hawaiʻi's strongest growth sectors, and the state’s proposal threatens the future of thousands of workers and jeopardizes recent progress in weaning Hawaiʻi off dirty, imported fossil fuels.


What does this mean to you, the homeowner?    It means that the window for energy independence is closing.   The end of the year rush was already on before this post election bombshell hit.  

If the tax credits go away, the economics of solar will be vastly changed.    And it is not just the tax credits that put you at risk, it is the amount of solar on the grid.    HECO sets the rules when it comes to the amount of solar they will "allow".     On Kauai, no one can do solar anymore.....they have "too much".

ACT NOW, if you have a proposal in hand, sign it and fax it or scan it in.    We will accommodate everyone possible, keeping in mind that panels are going to sell out.    Also, prices are likely to go up as demand outstrips supply.

IT is still POSSIBLE to get a system this year, but don't lose even a day at this point.

Call us 671-5566

Here are the real notices for the State.     This is the real deal.

This is the real "rules".    They were created without industry input, and are overly complicated and restrictive.     Doing PV in 2012 is simple.     Next year will be a nightmare, and consumers will lose out on a lot of money.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Inspection pass rate from Hawaii Energy

We are rated as 100% pass rate in last 3 months!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

TESLA, the future is here.

TESLA, this ain't your granpappies Electric Car

Over 400 horsepower, and a 300 mile cruise range.    And you can charge it with your own PV panels.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

HECO May Restrict PV by Street Name

HECO seems to move this link around all the time, so it is always hard to find it.

If that link doesn't work, you can search on the HECO site and/or call HECO.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tariffs against Chinese Panels

This tariff thing has been playing out all year.   The "process" is kept quite secretive.   Just when you think that you know something, they pull a new rabbit out of the hat, and the issue drags on.

What is the issue?

The Chinese has been instrumental in driving down the cost of PV panels, which used to be a HUGE part of the project cost, and is now just a large part of the project cost.  

They cheated and the government gave them money to sell below cost.   That did bankrupt some US companies.    Think Hoku solar, bankrupted, and then taken over by the Chinese.    Think Solyndra.    Of course there is more to the story, but the incredible dropping pricing is part of it, a big part of it.  

Canadian solar panels are really Chinese panels.
In fact if the product literature doesn't clearly point out the factory and wafer production facility in the US, you can pretty much rest your hat that the product is Chinese.

The importer of record will have to pay the tariff.    Even 3 months retroactive, maybe more, they make these rules up on the fly.   Could you be the importer of record?   How would you know that you are not?

The tariff rate was decided in Spring to be 31% or more.

When does the tariff go into effect, it was supposed to be early October, now they are talking next week, or Nov 7.

What does it mean to you?

When prices go up, they aren't announced in advance, they go up overnight.    Our proposals state that if the prices go up, our offer is void at our discretion.    

There are a ton of reasons to not drag your feet on PV solar.

  1. The tariffs
  2. Utilities hitting a "limit" and stopping further PV.    Utilities don't like PV, it is direct competition to their main product.   In Kauai they hit the limit, no household can do PV anymore, how sad.
  3. Solar tax credits could be eliminated at any time, legislators are continously introducing bills to eliminate solar tax credits.    They want to increase tax revenue by killing the only growth industry in the US.   Does it make sense?  No.   Is it possible for a bankrupted tax system, sure, they can eliminate the tax credit.   
  4. Every month that goes by, is a month that you didn't make money on your roof.    Truly a loss, a loss that cannot be recaptured.
  5. Prices naturally go up towards the end of the year as the procrastinators jump in and sign up at the last minute.

Solar has accounted for 20% of the construction jobs in Hawaii last year.   Solar increased 109% year over year in 2011 across the US.   

The article below shows the divisiveness within the industry.   They make the absurd claim that prices haven't gone up, therefore the tariffs amount to "nada".   Well the tariffs have not been put into effect, so of course prices have not gone up.

When prices do go up, they will go up overnight.
The year-long trade case has divided U.S. solar companies — from manufactures to installers and project developers — over whether imposing tariffs on Chinese manufacturers will reverse a sorry streak of factory closures and bankruptcies. The case is now before the U.S. International Trade Commission, which held a final hearing on the case yesterday and plans to issue a decision by Nov. 7. The U.S. Department of Commerce is due to issue its final decision next Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

EMU Envoy How to Hook Up and Bridge Also

The EMU is a confusing piece of equipment, starting with it's name, Electronic Monitoring Unit, but then to make it even harder, the manufacturer came up with the nickname Envoy.    Whatever.   Here is what you need to know.    Everyone else tries to make believe that the EMU is simple in setup and function, and it is not and pretending that it is simple, we believe is a dis-service to customers.

Before we dig into the details, LOOK at this diagram and follow it, spend 30 seconds here, OK?    I made this for you.   Read the notes too, please.

The manufacturer highly recommend that you avoid plugging into a power strip or a GFCI electrical receptacle (aka outlet or plug). This can increase the "noise" and make it so your EMU won't communicate as well or at all.

Yes this does mean you may need to plug your existing stuff in, in some other way. You can try it, just don't complain to us if it doesn't work out. You know what a GFCI is right? That is the special type of outlet that has a test and reset function on it. But you can also have a GFCI that is located somewhere else, like at another plug upstream of the plug you are using, or even at the circuit breaker panel.

One reason that the customer must be involved in some of this stuff, is because there is some trial and error involved, and every time you plug the EMU in, you may have to hit the "Menu" button which is on the back of the EMU.  

To make matter more complicated than they really need to be, they molded the button into the back plastic so that you can't even see it.    Well look close, and you will see it.  

The EMU has to "scan" to find the microinverters, and you have to tell it to scan by pressing the back button a few seconds until you see "enable device scan" and then let go.   Now it will search for all the microinverters, and we hope the communications is good.   The search might take 5 minutes or 3 hours, it just all depends.    

The EMU will show 0 to 5 bars depending on how good the communications is, 0 being none, and 5 being great.  

3 and 4 work fine, and 2 is usually satisfactory and 1 sometimes works, however, you may have times when extra noise on the line makes the communication fail.   You will lose data during that time, but you won't be losing kWH energy produced, because the EMU is only a monitor, the EMU is NOT a controller, the micro-inverters run themselves.    So just saying, don't get all bent out of shape, in all likelihood you aren't losing any actual power, just the communications.

 Now, if you have to use the bridge, DON'T OVER THINK IT, just follow the diagram.

This is the box that the bridge comes in.

This is what the stuff inside the box looks like, as you might imagine there are 2 sides to a bridge.

And here is how to hook up the bridge, don't over think it, just plug it in as shown.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bridge Wiring

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hawaii Energy requires "CONTACT ID"

Hawaii Energy requires the customer's Contact ID number when requesting work orders.

Customer can find the number on their bill statement as in the above picture.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Satisfied Customer!

Here is the message from very happy customer.  We will add in "testimonial".

Thanks for the ‘aftermarket service check’.

The key information that we are both interested in is the system is working every bit as well as you said it would.   I received my first (after solar panels) electric bill and it was the $18+ administration fee.  The nice thing is the bill also reflected how many Kw of credits were generated last month.  Not a huge amount, about 3 day’s work of credits based upon past historical use.

I’m really pleased with the system, the care with which your folks worked and the professional manner throughout the entire process.

I brag about the system and your company every chance I get and encourage neighbors and friends to contact you and either add to their systems or do a complete install.

I’m hoping after paying income tax I’ll be even more enthusiastic about the whole thing.

Place me in the very satisfied customer stack and being able to monitor the system, even when in Thailand or the Philippines gives a real sense of security.

Great job!

Kap khun mahl krab, as is said in Thai.  Thank you very much.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Certificate of Outback Training

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Smart Grid

What is a Smart Grid?

The main factors that concern us is the ability of the grid to accept renewable energy mostly via Solar PV and some Wind.   These sources are low cost and clean, but when the sun goes away, the incoming power goes away.  

So a method to make up that power supply is needed, because the demand will not change quickly.    At lower levels of renewable, it hardly matters, but when you get to say 30% renewable, it will matter quite a bit.     The utility generation rolling reserve has to be ready to quickly pick up the load, AND/OR energy storage devices need to be built into the system.

More on all this later, for now, I just found this Smart Grid write-up under "Governing" which is a good periodical:

I haven't read  this yet, but a quick skim showed it to be better than 90% of the "Internet Fluff" which is out there related to renewable energy.    Seriously, it is that bad ---- 90% of what is on the net is either just plain opposite wrong, non-applicable, or just someone writing stuff who has no engineering or practical application experience.    Much of what is written is done by parties with a vested interest and they have some point to prove or some ax to grind. 

Considering that this is one of the major issues facing humanity right now, all the Fluff is curious at the least.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Read a Dial Electric Meter

How to Read Your Meter
Your electric bill contains all the information you need about your power usage. However, if you would like to read your own meter, here's how to do it.

As you can see from the arrows in the illustration below, the dials on your meter move alternately clockwise and counter-clockwise.

Always read from right to left.

When a hand points between two numbers (as in A, B, C and E) always read the lower number.

Sometimes a hand appears to be pointing directly at a number (as in D). To find out if that number has actually been reached yet, look at the dial to its immediate right (in this case, C). If the hand on dial C has passed zero, then write down the number on dial D to which the arrow is pointing (4). If C has not passed zero, as is the case in this example, write down the number that is lower than the one on dial D to which the arrow is pointing (3).

The correct reading for this meter is 13924 kilowatt-hours.

For information on how to read a net meter, see meter handout.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Solar for around 3 Cents per kWH

Solar a Real Life Study, 1 year Operation 20 Panels PV, Mr. Row

Real System, Full Year of Energy Production Data, Day by Day

Solar is incredibly cheap, less than 10% of the cost of buying power from the utility here in Hawaii

This Actual 20 panel System produces at 3.3 cents per kWH.    Larger systems like 30 panels can be under 2.9 cents.

You can download the Excel here----

Here it is Embedded into this post.