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An Introduction to the Solar Electric Market . Presented by: Derek Coen Atlantic Electric Supply Black & Decker University October 23, 2009. I.E.C.- Chesapeake Renewable Energy Committee. Foad AlvandiSpectrum Energy

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An Introduction to the Solar Electric Market

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An Introduction to the Solar Electric Market

Presented by: Derek Coen

Atlantic Electric Supply

Black & Decker University

October 23, 2009

I.E.C.- ChesapeakeRenewable Energy Committee

Foad AlvandiSpectrum

Don BonnetRidgeway &

Derek Coen, ChairAtlantic Electric

Jim DealIEC –

Julie GolofskiBP

Mike FitzpatrickM & S

Jim HoltHolt

Tom HummelAztec

David LucierCrum

Jean MaiselJDL

Mathew MisterkaNew Age

John RossHawkins

Eric ShatzerHawkins

Grant ShmelzerIEC –

Mike YeakeyAnne Arundel

Despitethe environment, global warming, national security and job creation,

individuals will not make the move to renewable energies until it makes financial sense to do so.

The time is NOW!

This Region is Being Impacted by High Energy Costs.

The Region’s Electrical Future? Rate Increases, Shortages and Brown Outs

Since 2001

  • BGE rates have increased 74%.

  • PEPCO rates have increased 78%.

  • SMECO rates have increased 157%.

  • This region now pays some of the highest electrical costs in the nation.

  • As of June 2009, this region pays $.15/kWh (13.6% higher than the

    national average.

  • Due to population growth and increasing production costs, electricity rate

    increases are forecast to continue into the future.

Sources: Washington Post 2-3 & 7-1-08

Bureau of Labor Statistics 8-10-09

To reduce pressure on the grid, governments will increase incentives to encourage the switch to Renewable Energy.

What is Being Done About it?

The Federal Government Has Acted

The solar investment tax credit covers 30% of PV system costs.

The credit will be offered for a period of eight years (until 2017).

Over $800 million of clean energy bonds will be authorized for renewable energy generating facilities.

This alone is projected to create tens of thousands of new jobs.

Congress Passes Investment Tax Credit (10-7-08)

“… these tax credits have turned the solar industry from a small, cottage industry into an economic engine for America”Rhone Resch, President SEIA

State and Local Governments Have Acted

Prohibits unreasonable restrictions of solar energy projects.

Requires 2% of state’s energy from solar by 2011 and 20% from renewable power by 2022.

Establishes SREC program.

Establishes Clean Energy Loan Program.

Several counties now offer property tax credits.

Maryland Solar Grant: Up to $10,000 for systems under 20kWh

$1.25/ watt for the first 2,000 watts of capacity

$0.75/ watt for watts 2,001 - 8,000

$0.25/ watt for watts 8,001 - 20,000

Maryland – Solar Related Incentives

“We must do all that we can to secure Maryland’s energy future.” Gov. Martin O’Malley

What are Renewable Energy Credits?

Maryland has a program that offers Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).

One SREC equals 1000 kWh of electrical generation.

The value of an SREC is based on the Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) schedule (2009 = $400, 2011 = $350). This is the penalty that utilities must pay to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for not meeting target goals.

The value of an SREC in 2009 is about 60% to 70% of the ACP ($240 to $280).

To benefit, homeowners must register their systems with the Maryland PSC and the PJM Interconnection GATS program.

SREC Examples:

A 3kW solar system generates about 3.6 SRECs per year

A 5kW solar system generates about 6 SRECs per year.

Selling of SRECs is another way that Marylanders can offset the costs of solar systems.

State and Local Governments Have Acted

$3.00 for each of the first 3,000 installed Watts:$ 9,000

$2.00 for each of the next 7,000 installed Watts:$14,000

$1.00 for each of the next 10,000 installed Watts:$10,000

Maximum Rebate (20kW system):$33,000

Approved incentives will be paid in advance of installation.

District of Columbia Establishes New Incentives (2-2009)

Washington DC joins the ranks of progressive states and counties offering incentives to purchase solar systems

State and Local Governments Have Acted

Residents and businesses can receive rebates for installation of PV systems.

Residential Rebate: $2.25/Watt. Capped at 10kW.

Business Rebate: Varies by size. $2.25/Watt for 3 to 10kW systems. Capped at 200kW.

PA also participates in the AEC market (RECs).

“Today marks another exciting milestone in Pennsylvania’s efforts to achieve energy independence…,”Gov. Ed Rendell

Pennsylvania opens “Sunshine Program” (May 2009)

The Incentives are Adding Up

Federal Tax Credit: Tax credit covers 30% of system cost.

District of Columbia: Grants based on system size. Range from $3,000 to $33,000.

Maryland: Grants based on system size range from $1,250 to $10,000.

Montgomery County – Property Tax Credit of $5,000 of system cost.

Howard County – Property Tax Credit of $5,000 of system cost.

Pennsylvania: Residential rebates based on system size range from $2,250 to $22,500.

Net-Metering: All jurisdictions offer Net-Metering.

Renewable Energy Credits (RECs): Provide additional incentives.

Sales Tax Exemption: All PV systems are sales tax exempt.

Federal and local credits, grants and rebates add up to make the case for going solar very compelling.

Other Initiatives Exist The Solar America Initiative

The aim of the SAI is to achieve parity with grid electricity by 2015.

“By 2016, we expect solar energy to be the least expensive

source for consumers.”Rhone Resch, President SEIA

How is the Solar Electric Market Responding?

Global Forecast – Installed Megawatts

Source: BP Solar

Installations are Soaring

Global PV production & price comparison.

Source: BP Solar

Photovoltaic (PV) Prices are Dropping

Production growth rates have exceeded 35% annually.

With incentives, the solar market will continue to grow at impressive rates -- even in the current economy!

Solar Economics and Prospects

  • The global PV industry has grown over 30% yearly for the past 15 years.

  • Prices of solar panels have continually dropped to around $4.00/W today.

  • Forecasts are for continued gains in PV efficiencies and cost reductions.

  • Government tax credits, grants and loans are playing a crucial role.

  • Given the high and increasing costs of electricity in the N.E., solar electric will likely become cost-effective here before it does in many other areas.

A Summary of the Market

How Does Solar Energy Work?

Solar Electric Power - The Basics

How Much Sunlight is Required?

DC/MD/PA Average sunlight exceeds 4 hrs/day

This area is considered a good environment for solar energy.

What Direction are the Panels Pointed?

Solar will not work for every location. Panels must be ……

  • Facing south

  • Angled to latitude

  • In the sun (no shade)

What are the Configuration Options?

  • Grid-tied

    Represents 90% of solar PV market.

    Takes advantage of Net-Metering option.

    Simple system – modules, racks and inverter.

    Does not work when grid is down.

  • Grid-tied with battery backup

    Provides power when grid is down.

    Expensive - generators are often better option.

    Often used where grid interruptions can last several days and a generator is not feasible.

    Well suited for mission critical applications: medical, emergency services, computer systems.

What are the Configuration Options?

Direct power

Ideal for remote locations that only need power during the day.

Solar module(s) powers fan or water pump.

No battery or controller needed.

  • Off-grid

    More complex and expensive.

    Often used in remote off-grid areas.

    Or, where electricity is inconvenient.

    Batteries require regular maintenance.

Grid-tied PV System

To AC Grid

To / From AC Power Grid

Grid-tied With Battery Back-up

Solar System Components

  • Modules

  • Mounting systems and hardware

  • Combiner boxes and disconnect switches

  • Inverter

Solar Modules

Specifications (typical):

Size: 60” x 33” x 1.8”

Weight: 25 to 40 lbs

Voltage: 17 to 36 vdc

Watts: 170 to 205

Major Manufacturers:

BP SolarEvergreen


SharpSolar World

  • Roof mounts

  • Ground mounts

Mounting Systems

  • Pole mounts

Static Mount or

Tracking Systems

  • Combiner Box: Enables the wiring of multiple strings of modules into a single inverter.

  • Disconnect Switch: Disconnects power between array and inverter and between grid and inverter. Can be integrated into inverter.

  • Combination Box: Performs the function of the combiner box and disconnect switch.

Combiner Boxes, Disconnects and Combination Boxes


  • Converts DC power from solar panels to AC power for home use or Net-Metering uses.

  • Grid-tied inverters must match the frequency of the power grid and are more expensive.

  • Many inverters offer integrated combiner box and disconnect.

  • Manufacturers: Exeltech, Fronius, Kaco, Outback, SMA, Xantrex

What are the Costs vs. Incentives of Solar Energy?

“Rule of Thumb”-

Installed prices are around $8.00/Watt

Typical System Installed Costs

Electrical savings/M: 3kW = $60  Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)

Other credits could apply  Interest on loans is deductible

 Property value increases Provides Hedge against rate increases

Simplified System Costs with Incentives


District of Columbia


Solar electric systems in this size would save 75 tons of CO2 over 25 years.

What Is the IEC-Chesapeake Doing?

An Introduction to Photovoltaics:

NABCEP Certificate of Knowledge Exam offered

October 2nd, 3rd and 4th - Bristol, PA (BCCC)

Oct. 20th thru Dec. 15th - (9 wks) Odenton, MD (Tuesdays 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.)

IEC-Chesapeake – Learning Opportunities

  • PV Systems & The NEC (1 day course):

    November 3rd, 4th and 5th - Elkridge, MD / Newtown, PA

  • The Business of Solar PV (1 day course):

    November 17th and 18th - Elkridge, MD (U of M) / Wilmington, DE

  • PV Systems – Inverters & Batteries (1 day course):

    February 2nd and 3rd - Odenton, MD / Bucks Co, PA

IEC-Chesapeake is proud to be recognized as a NABCEP approved training facility.

IEC-Chesapeake - Learning Opportunities

  • PV Installer Certification (2 day course):

    February 12th and 13th – Odenton, MD

  • Solar Installation Lab (4 hour lab):

    By Special Arrangement – Odenton, MD

  • For the latest class schedule visit:

IEC-Chesapeake is pleased to have partnered with BP Solar for two functioning Solar Labs.

What Should Electrical Contractors Be Doing?

Things are changing in all of these areas and will further boost opportunities in the industry.

Watch Developments Closely

  • Solar is a natural industry for electrical contractors.

  • Solar systems require special skill sets and training.

  • The customers will be the same.

  • Interested contractors should be educating themselves and watching for:

    • Efficiency gains in PV panels.

    • Price reductions in PV panels.

    • Increasing electricity rates.

    • Increased government incentives.

Useful Websites - Database of State Incentives - Solar America Initiative - Solar News & Industry Information - Solar News & Industry Information - Solar Estimator - Education & Training - Interstate Renewable Energy Council – Education & Training - North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners - Solar Energy Industry Association, Lobbying & Education - Solar Electric Power Association - American Solar Energy Society - Baltimore Gas & Electric - PEPCO

Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931)

“I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy.

What a source of power!

I hope we don't have to wait 'til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Thank you

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