DFW Solarize Networking Event

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1 DFW Solarize Networking Event January 2014 The North Texas Renewable Energy Group Plano Solar Advocates planosolar.org File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 1

2 First Things First What is the least expensive and cleanest source of energy? File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 2

3 Answer Energy we don t use the NEGAWATT! Conservation (turn off the light) Efficiency (use LED light) File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 3

4 Plano Solar Advocates (PSA) Who we are: A volunteer grass-roots group of Plano citizens (non-profit) Our Mission: To increase the awareness and expand the use of Solar Energy for electricity generation in Plano. Our Long Term Goal: Put Plano on the map as the solar energy leader of North Texas! File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 4

5 Today s Outline Background on the Solarize Concept using the Solarize Plano Project as an example Identify & list potential communities and neighborhoods that could start their own solarize project Move into groups to network and pass around volunteer signup sheet Solarize Q&A File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 5

6 Group Solar Purchase All across the United States, groups are using this "solarize" approach to enable the installation of clean and cost effective solar energy for distributed electricity generation. Accelerates PV Solar adoption Purchasing Solar Collectively with Solarize 3 min video about "solarize" concepts is available at this URL - File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 6

7 In collaboration with Live Green In Plano Key Point Lot of people want to do solar, but they don t know where to get started With Solarize/Group Purchase Simplify the process educate consumers discounted pricing limited time offer For a good overview, watch the short 3 min video olar_collectively_solarize File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 7

8 Start Your Local Solarize Project! Encourage neighbors, groups, and organizations to join together What can you do? small group - find 3 or more interested persons in your neighborhood and obtain quotes from 3 companies, choose and then install for larger group - form or find group or organization to sponsor and run a solarize project Where to start? Review existing information from across the country Review the Solarize Plano Project information on the web PSA available to share our experiences File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 8

9 Today s Outline Background on the Solarize Concept using the Solarize Plano Project as an example Identify & list potential communities and neighborhoods that could start their own solarize project Move into groups to network and pass around volunteer signup sheet Solarize Q&A File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 9

10 Group Solar Purchase Key Point Lot of people want to do solar, but they don t know where to get started With Solarize/Group Purchase Simplify the process educate consumers discounted pricing limited time offer Good Reference Material: 1. Solarize Guidebook - a community guide to collective purchasing of residential PV systems ( e_center/resources/solarize_guidebook_community_ guide_collective_purchasing_residential_pv_systems) 2. Community Power Network website - See and Solar Group/Bulk Purchase - File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 10

11 Basics of a Solarize Program Program Setup Initial planning, develop partnerships with trusted organizations, meet with local utility (Oncor, Muni, Co-op), local solar installers, and city inspectors. Discuss financing options (City loan programs, Credit Unions, Solar Installer options, etc.), Define timeline, Establish a web/blog site to capture information and report information Volunteer recruitment, for RFP (Request for Proposal) and Outreach committee established Outreach committee determines methods to get the word out to the community. Also plan/host information workshop for prospective/enrolled homeowners to discuss solar 101, local utility incentives, federal investment tax credit, financing options, etc. RFP committee should begin drafting the RFP Begin participant enrollment! Outreach and Education Continue community outreach via various marketing options including, website, blog, s, print materials, flyers, local festivals, farmers market, press release, etc. Final Workshops with participants to discuss completed RFP pricing, selected Solar Installation Company, technical details of the solar PV installation, and installation timeline Complete customer enrollment, decision time for participants, and schedule site assessments Installations Status updates, monitor installations, periodic team meetings, problem resolution and correction when needed Install solar systems! Tour of new installations, Celebrations! File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 11

12 Getting Started Solarize Plano Example Plano Solar Advocates (PSA) volunteers helped educate, coordinated and provided technical support for homeowners (and all other stakeholders) throughout this process. In collaboration with Live Green in Plano Lead, manage Sponsors, partners, collaborators Utilized Plano s Smart Energy Loan Program ( as an option for participant financing and the program as a communication channel for Solarize Plano Established website for information, enrollment, and links to PSA website for ongoing communications Communication channels File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 12

13 Early Project Advice Volunteers involved with the project should not include persons from solar integrator/installer companies. This helps (1) avoid conflicts of interests, (2) ensure an ethical project, and (3) protect the privacy of participants. Project participants that volunteer for the RFP review process and company selection should complete a short questionnaire to screen and disclose any potential conflict of interests Note: As a grass-roots volunteer solar advocacy group, Plano Solar Advocates encourages involvement of solar companies in many of our activities, however, not serving as volunteers for group purchase projects. File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 13

14 Tools Solarize Plano Example Leverage free and easy-to-use tools! For example, Plano Solar Advocates and the Solarize Plano Project used: Google blogger for simple webpage and blog features Google Docs for collaboration of documents, spreadsheets, and forms (sharing and file protection) Google Forms to create online enrollment forms Google hangouts for audio and video collaboration FreeConferenceCall.com for hosting call-in information session Youtube to post on-demand information session recording File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 14

15 Solarize Plano Solarize Plano Example Highlights and Timeline Pilot Project Announced - May 31, 2013 (completed) Held first Information Meeting for enrollees - June 27, 2013 (completed) Surpassed pilot project enrollment target of 20 enrollees - July 8, 2013 (completed) Issue RFP (Request for Proposal) - July 29, 2013 (completed) Participant Enrollment period to close (had been August 31, 2013) - August 5, 2013 (completed) RFP responses due - August 7, 2013 (completed) Two shortlisted companies selected - August 12, 2013 (completed) Shortlisted company interviews - August 14 - August 15, 2013 (completed) Solar company selected - August 16, 2013 (completed) All contracts completed with individual customers - September 15, 2013 or earlier (completed) All installations - to be started beginning Jan 2014 Make a project schedule with milestones File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 15

16 Residential Solar 101 The basic principles of solar power generation are easy to understand, but beyond the actual technology, there are several questions Solarize participants need to consider before deciding to install rooftop solar on a residential home. The following topics should be included in a Solarize education/information session: What size solar system do I want/need? Available roof space, condition, orientation (south facing/tilt angle) & potential shading (not all homes are a good fit) Percentage of annual energy consumption homeowner wants to offset with solar Net-metering potential (AC power sent back to the grid), special considerations for Texas Budget How much does it cost? Installed cost (typically quoted in $/DC Watt) normally includes equipment, labor and all installation related costs (permits, inspections, design, etc.) Cost can be lowered with utility incentives/rebates (Oncor, Municipal or Co-op and 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit - i.e (Retail installed cost utility incentives Federal ITC = Final customer out of pocket cost) Include discussion about lifetime cost benefits per kwh, which is often below current utility cost per kwh Additional details on these topics can be found in the addendum File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 16

17 Participant Process & Key Decisions Solarize Plano Project enrollees will have three main decision points and decisions to make during the project timeline. Solarize Plano Example Decision Point 1 (DP1) - After learning about the Solarize Plano Project, decide whether to enroll at the project website - Yes or No Decision Point 2 (DP2) - After participating in the project information sessions, learning about PV solar, home orientation and shading considerations, roof age and building structure considerations, potential PV solar system sizes (in kw) that meets your objectives, and estimated system costs and calculations that affect installed costs, you must make the decision to proceed to the next step of having the selected solar company perform an on-site assessment and provide total system installation quotation. Yes, Maybe, No Decision Point 3 (DP3) - After receiving and reviewing a quotation from the selected solar company, understanding the range of final prices based on the final project total capacity, arranged funding, then the final decision to sign the contract with the solar company to proceed with installation. Yes or No File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 17

18 Today s Outline Background on the Solarize Concept using the Solarize Plano Project as an example Identify & list potential communities and neighborhoods that could start their own solarize project Which cities, communities, neighborhoods, and areas are represented here today Move into groups to network and pass around volunteer signup sheet Solarize Q&A File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 18

19 Today s Outline Background on the Solarize Concept using the Solarize Plano Project as an example Identify & list potential communities and neighborhoods that could start their own solarize project Move into groups to network and pass around volunteer signup sheet Identify person from each area to take the action for setting up a first meeting in their area with other persons on the signup sheet Solarize Q&A File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 19

20 Solarize Q & A additional questions to: or FYI See PSA Working Groups File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 20

21 Appendix Backup Slides File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 21

22 Let s Set the Stage Solar Energy in Texas Don t You Wonder? File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 22

23 PV Solar Key Benefits Abundant & local energy resource Local generation means less energy waste Clean Energy electricity generation with no air or water pollution (and no water required) So what else will we learn? No moving parts low or NO maintenance Cost competitive for distributed generation Considerations for residential installations File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 23

24 Learning Together Solarize Plano Example Enrollees assigned homework E.g. estimated annual electricity usage, desired % electricity to be offset by local generation, calculate various PV system sizes (kw) for given % offsets We held multiple Information Session Meetings From late June thru the end of July On-demand, online version also made available File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 24

25 Residential Solar The basic principles of solar power generation are easy to understand, but beyond the actual technology, there are several questions to be answered before deciding to install solar on a residential home. What size solar system do I need? How much does it cost? Purchase or lease? Roof condition, orientation, and space? Let s answer some of these questions! File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 25

26 Solar Power Converting sunlight to power your home Making a long term INVESTMENT in LOCALLY generated power Example Grid-tied PV Solar Electric System Inverter could be central or micro File: Solarize Networking Event Reference: Slide 26

27 What size Solar PV system do I need? Size of solar PV (PhotoVoltaic) system determined by: Available roof space, orientation (south facing/tilt angle) & shading Percentage of annual energy consumption homeowner wants to offset with solar (also consider summer/winter highs/lows) Net-metering potential (AC power sent back to the grid) Budget File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 27

28 Roof space, orientation, shading Oncor Incentive Information 20 deg 20 deg South File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 28

29 What percentage of annual energy consumption do you want to offset with solar? Note: assume 1kW installed PV solar = four solar panels, 250 Watts each File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 29

30 Net-metering Sometimes PV systems produce more energy than you are using (inflow), so electricity flows back to the grid (outflow) and is used by closest consumers/neighbors on the grid Texas does not have a state mandated net-metering provision in place, but some Retail Electric Providers (REP) will pay you for the outflow (limits may apply) See PSA blog post for more info PV system size and energy production should be considered (avoid oversizing) Net-metering example using annual data - Inflow from grid -> 7818 kwh - Solar energy produced -> 3551 kwh - Outflow -> 1232 kwh (net-metered) - Net consumption = Inflow + Solar - Outflow = 10,137 kwh Note: Contact your state legislators and ask them to establish statewide net metering policies (like the 43 other states that already have net metering policies in place) File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 30

31 Equipment and Installation Costs Are Upfront NO ONGOING FUEL COSTS Making a long term INVESTMENT in LOCALLY generated power Total PV Solar system costs = Equipment costs + Installation Related costs Equipment related Solar panels Inverter(s) Mounting hardware Wiring, disconnects, junction boxes, monitoring devices, misc items Installation related Site assessment System design for specific installation Installation drawings Permits, inspections Labor to install and commission system Total PV Solar systems are generally priced as $ per installed Watt $ per installed kw (kilowatt) File: Solarize Networking Event Reference: Slide 31

32 Example system sizes Small Medium Large PV Solar Cost Example $9,000 Total Installed Cost -$3,000 utility incentive $6,000 sub-total price paid -$1,800 30% Federal ITC $4,200 net system cost Key Assumptions: o If installed retail cost of $3.75/watt (example price per watt) o South facing exposure for solar panels (typical panel (3' x 5') is rated at about 240W dc) o In North Texas area, 1 kwdc-p creates about 1,400 kwh per year o Annual electricity usage for this example is 10,000 kwh Then some example system size/production calculations would be: o 10 panels - approx 2.4kW PV solar, produce 3,360 kwh, approx 34% of your annual usage o 15 panels - approx 3.6kW PV solar, produce 5,040 kwh, approx 50% of your annual usage o 20 panels - approx 4.8kW PV solar, produce 6,720 kwh, approx 67% of your annual usage System Cost Calculations for SMALL system (10 panels): o 2400 Wdc-p (2.4kWdc-p) installed system at $3.75/W = $9,000 o Less $1.25/W approx Oncor incentive for 2013, then = $1.25 x 2400 = $3,000 o Apply 30% tax credit to total installed cost less incentive, $6,000 *.3 = $1,800 o Net cost to customer = $9,000 - $3,000 - $1,800 = $4,200, or $1.75/Wdc-p Using 25 years lifetime, a 2.4kWdc-p system will produce: o 25 years x 3,360 kwh = 84,000 kwh o Net installed system cost $4,200 divided by 84,000 kwh = $0.05/kWh (not including O&M or module time degradation, which are really not significant to this cost calculation) o Already less than the $0.08-$0.13/kWh typical utility cost today, and then FREE! Note - PV solar systems produce electricity for a long time years or more File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 32

33 Other Considerations/Notes Micro-inverters can help with shading Lack of south facing roof area may limit system size Roof condition and structure (age, adequate bracing) Electrical panel age and available breaker locations PV system (retail value) should be added to homeowners insurance policy Property tax exemptions are in place for renewable energy systems Hail damage? Financial and economic considerations - solar purchase is a long term investment, leasing is an option Operations & Maintenance HOA HB-362 passed in the 82nd Legislative session, HOA's can't prohibit homeowners from installing solar Review the HOA Checklist on the Solar San Antonio website Notify your HOA if you plan to install PV solar, then proceed unless the HOA attempts to block. Contact Plano Solar Advocates for assistance! See Solarize Plano FAQ for more details regarding financial considerations, roof condition, hail, maintenance, etc. File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 33

34 Not a good candidate for PV Solar right now? What are your options if your current house layout is not good fit? o consider a "shared"/community solar program in the future o Switch to a Renewable Energy rate plan through your Retail Electric Provider increase demand for renewables! If not ready for other reasons, financial or otherwise o consider re-evaluating next year, lease? Consider helping schools, churches or faith-based buildings, and other buildings in the community to go solar File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 34

35 Solar Company Selection Solarize Plano Example Researched and collected valuable information from the various solarize projects across the country and together an RFP document was prepared. RFP pricing tiers were based on ranges of total installed capacity. lowest discount tier of <15 kw highest discount tier of 80+ kw Screened potential installers with a short survey and chose 10 with good reputations and references. 7 companies provided responses. RFP Review team consisted of 5-7 individual chosen from homeowners who make a commitment to install solar and answered a short survey. The ultimate legal/contract agreement is between the solar company and the homeowner. File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 35

36 Solarize Plano Project Solarize Plano Example Why do solar companies offer lower installed prices for solarize project? Some examples: Volume equipment purchases Smaller and known geographical area Single project permitting jurisdiction (city of Plano) Reduced customer acquisition costs Get Together, Learn Together, Lower costs together = Local Clean Energy Together File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 36

37 How do I find a PV Solar Company? To find a list of companies that install PV solar systems in the surrounding areas, go to the Oncor website - then select the "Find a Provider" tab on the far right of the upper window area enter your zip code (or the closest zip code to yours that is in an Oncor service area) in the appropriate field in the "Select Program" pull down, select "Solar Photovoltaic Residential" (or "Solar Photovoltaic Commercial" for business installations) in the "Select Service" pull down, select "Solar PV" click on the "Submit" button Note It is recommended to obtain quotes from at least three companies. Also see the link below for additional guidance: File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 37

38 Solarize Plano Project Stats Contracting COMPLETED - Surpassed goal of 80 kw+ (status of 09/23/13) Number of site assessments completed - 49 total Number and size of proposals submitted to enrollees - 46 total, kw total Number and size of contracts committed by enrollees - 23 total, kw total 200+ Initial Enrollment 175 persons participating in Information Sessions PSA mission increase awareness! 49 site assessments 23 installation contracts Solar company very pleased with contract closure rate > 45% Overall results in line with other communities first solarize programs Lessons learned being developed Solarize Plano Example File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 38

39 2-Jun 9-Jun 16-Jun 23-Jun 30-Jun 7-Jul 14-Jul 21-Jul 28-Jul 4-Aug Enrollment Data Solarize Plano Example Enrollment signups per week 89 per week total Count of reference How did you learn of the Solarize Plano Project reference Get the word out Met with City of Plano staff who helped with Live Green in Plano Newsletter, Facebook, Water bill insert notice, meeting rooms, link to Smart Energy Loan Program Campaigned with website, facebook, NTREG, Rotary clubs, nextdoor.com, neighborhood lists, LinkedIn, to friends, family, colleagues, etc. All of the above helped get newspaper interest then two newspaper articles File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 39

40 Enrollment Data Solarize Plano Example DP1 Data Analysis (cont) Do you have a HOA Count of Please enter your name Utility Provider No Who is your Utility Provider Not sure Yes CoServ Oncor Electric (blank) Would you like financing information Conditions of your roof No Not sure Yes (blank) Excellent (less than five years old) Fair (eight to twelve years old) Good (five to eight years old) Poor (more than twelve years old) (blank) File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 40

41 Learning Opportunities North Texas Renewable Energy Group established in 2001 with the primary goal of educating North Texans about the power of renewable energy ("RE"). Monthly meetings at REI Store in North Dallas Learn more about energy conservation, energy efficiency, solar electricity, solar hot water, and related topics For more info - DFW Solar Home Tour - Oct, 2014 opportunity to tour innovative green homes and buildings to see how you can use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies Learn more at - Watch for next year Oct 2014 File: Solarize Networking Event Slide 41

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