Category Archives: Utilities

What is a kilowatt-hour (kWh)? The difference between kWh and kw

what is a kilowatt-hour?

If you’ve been thinking about your energy costs lately, you may be looking into energy efficiency upgrades for your home such as installing solar panels, adding smart thermostats or pursuing an EnergyStar home certification. And when comparing various energy solutions and the prices for new options, you’re going to hear one metric used incessantly: kilowatt-hour (kWh). So what exactly does a kWh mean and how does it differ from a kilowatt (kW)?

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How much do solar panels cost in San Diego?

cost of solar panels in san diego

San Diego is one of the best places in the country to for a solar panel install. Lots of sunshine and a year-round temperate climate create the ideal conditions for solar panels, and high electricity rates mean that a solar energy system is an even smarter investment for your home or business. This article will tell you everything you need to know about installing PV panels in San Diego, from the best solar companies in the area to SDG&E net metering policies and the cost of solar panels in San Diego.

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Which PG&E rate schedule is best for solar? Understanding peak hours

PG&E rate schedule increase and solar

PG&E rate schedule changes are happening across the utility’s entire coverage area in 2017. Whether you have solar panels on your roof, are considering solar, or don’t have any plans to generate your own electricity, the upcoming switch to time-of-use (TOU) rates will have an impact on your monthly electricity costs. Currently, all PG&E customers have the option of switching to TOU rates or remaining on their existing rate schedule. However, if you are a new PG&E customer or move to a new address, you’ll have to choose a new TOU plan. The best option for your home depends on your electricity use habits.

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Can I Go Off the Grid with Solar Batteries?

Going off the grid with solar batteries

Newer, more efficient solar panels and inverters have been in the news recently, but advancements in solar technology aren’t limited to standard equipment. Energy storage is also moving closer to mass-market adoption, and more installers are offering solar batteries and solar panel battery banks (a.k.a. solar-plus-storage) as an option for homeowners. Solar-plus-storage systems include a battery that captures and stores the excess energy generated by the system’s solar panels, opening up the possibility of going “off the grid” – a tempting proposition for homeowners who want to sever their connection with utility companies by using renewable energy.

Since solar battery technology is relatively new to the solar market, there isn’t significant solar storage capacity deployed in the U.S. That won’t be the case for long though: between utility and residential installations, solar battery deployment is expected to increase twelve times over in 2015. As solar batteries become cheaper and more accessible for homeowners, more people are wondering, “Can I use solar batteries to go off the grid with my solar panel system?”

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What Does it Mean to ‘Go Off The Grid’ with Solar?

off grid solar energy graphic energysagePeople say all the time that they want to get off the grid. Beyond just meaning getting away from it all for a while, getting of the grid has a specific technical meaning with regards to your relationship to your utility and how you get your power. So, what exactly does it mean to go off the grid? Continue reading

News Roundup: A Solar-Powered Super Bowl, Solar Maintains 60% Growth Rate

Massachusetts solar news EnergySage

If you’re starting to believe that 2016 might just be the #YearofSolar, you’ll love the news out of the solar industry this week: IHS forecasted that solar installations will grow by 60 percent in 2016, Sunrun and SolarCity announced significant investor backing and Massachusetts unveiled $15 million of funding for solar in low-income households. Find these exciting developments and more in this week’s Solar News Roundup.

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Net Metering Battles: Hawaii

Net metering HawaiiThis post is the second of a blog mini-series that will explain the various net metering battles occurring across the United States. The first piece in the series covered California.

As solar power becomes cheaper and more accessible, utilities, installers, and consumer advocates are working with state public utility commissions (PUCs) across the country to secure a sustainable future for solar energy. Each group has a different idea of how to ensure “solar sustainability”: utilities are focused on the cost of maintaining the electric grid as distributed solar generation grows, while installers and consumer advocates want to make sure that net metering policies will adequately compensate solar homeowners for the power they generate. Many states are beginning the negotiation process, but one state has already reached its conclusion – in a ruling released on October 12, Hawaii became the first state in the country to eliminate net metering.

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New York REV Initiative is Shaping the Future of Power

blog_solar in NYRenewable sources of energy are not only changing where we get our power from, but also how the fundamental economics of getting power work. This shift is creating challenges for utilities across the country, but New York is investigating using a system where utilities do a different job and it might be the next step towards making it easier to get solar panels in NYContinue reading

Wall Street Journal: Utilities Update Grid to Increase Rates

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the price consumers in New York are paying for electricity today is 40 percent more than it was a decade ago. At the same time the price of natural gas, the basic fuel that is most often used to produce energy in the state has fallen by 39 percent. So why are New Yorkers paying more for their power? The WSJ postulates that utilities have been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on updates to the grid in order to raise rates and make more money.  Continue reading

Solar Power Storage: The Next Step

5.01.15_HowDoYouStoreSolar (1)Can you draw power from your solar system when the sun isn’t shining? If you have a way of storing the electricity the system has produced you can. Batteries have long been used for solar power storage, but haven’t been popular until recently. With Tesla Motors announcement of a new battery for residential solar storage, it may be within the reach of many solar system users soon. Continue reading