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News in Green Energy from Prior Years before 2019

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Status of Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit as of June 2018

Jun 2018

Geothermal is back ! 


As of June/2018, Geothermal costs now qualify for the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit.  This is also called an Investment Tax Credit or ITC.  A tax credit offsets / reduces the federal income tax you owe.


Here is the list of green energy that qualifies (is covered) for the
30% tax credit UNTIL the end of 2019

  • solar electricity,

  • solar water heating

  • wind electricity

  • renewable fuel cells             AND

  • geothermal heating/cooling.


Also, the new tax laws make all geothermal costs during 2017 retroactively qualify for the Energy Tax Credit.  So residents installing geothermal in 2017, DO get the 30% tax credit for this cost.


Even if you don’t have enough tax liability to claim the entire credit in one year, you can “roll over” the remaining credits into future years for as long as the tax credit is in effect.


See tax form 5695 for instructions.



for 2020, this tax credit goes down to 26%.

for 2021, this tax credit goes down to 22%.



2017 tax form 5695

{click on above image}

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California Leads the Way in Requiring Solar, by law, by 2020

July 2018

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, California is the first state in the nation to require solar panels with new home construction beginning in the year 2020.

A 5/09/18 vote by the California Energy Commission will add an estimated $9,500 to the cost of a new home.

Solar power generated just 1.3% of electricity in the United States in 2017. 

Source: Lifelong Wealth

2017 tax form 5695

{click on above image}

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When should I invest in a solar system
for my home?

Dec 2017

ANSWER :  To get the 30% Federal Energy Tax Credit,
you have until the end of 2019.


Solar panel prices are still falling.  In the 1st quarter of 2017, panels dropped 7% in price.  But remember, over ½ of your cost to install solar is labor. 


However, the renewable energy federal tax credit of 30% is set to expire at the end of 2019.  You are able to get back 30% of ALL costs associated with adding a solar system to your home by filing form 5695 with your income tax return.  This includes hardware & labor.  If you are not able to use up all the credit in the current year, you can “roll over” the excess into future years as long as the tax credit is in effect.  


This tax credit was extended at the end of 2016 for 5 years. 
Here is the current tax credit schedule

until end of 2019               deduct 30% of the cost

in 2020                                deduct 26% of the cost

in 2021                                deduct 22% of the cost

2022 onwards                    none for residential (but 10% for commercial)


Although there is only a 4% drop in the costs deducted in 2020, I feel there will be a “feeding frenzy” in the US, the last half of 2019 in solar system installations.  {This happened the last year that Geothermal Heating & Cooling systems qualified for the tax credit.}  The lead time to get a solar installer to install the system on your home will be much longer.  Plan accordingly.  Do your homework in 2018 and be prepared to start your solar system early in 2019.


In addition, now, the legislation allows you to claim it as soon as the construction of the system begins, as long as it is operational by December 31, 2023.


Form 5695 also includes a 30% deduction in costs associated with solar hot water heating systems.


NOTE -  making your house more energy efficient (such as insulation, windows, doors and roofs) will NO LONGER qualify for any tax credits.



Solar is Growing Way Faster than Predicted -

2 correlated articles

Nov 2017

WebMaster highlights of . . .

What are some facts everyone should know about renewable energy ?

- from Quora website


Apr 30, 2015

Michael Barnard Low-carbon Innovation Strategist from Canada


1. It's growing much faster than anyone predicts or expects.
2. Renewables scale much faster than alternatives, but traditional energy organizations don't understand this.

3. It's much cheaper than anyone realizes.
4. It's easy to integrate into grids.
5. It won't need massive new backup or storage for a long time.
6. Traditional generation has already been disrupted.

The International Energy Association (IEA) is the most trusted source of analysis and projections related to energy in the world. It has consistently and repeatedly been wildly low in its projections of renewable growth.


  • Smaller wind farms and the majority of solar power connects on the distribution side, not on the transmission side, disrupting the expectations and management.

  • Wind energy is consistently at or below 5 cents USD per KWH in the best locations.

  • Utility scale solar farms have hit that level as well.

  • Without subsidies and without factoring in negative externalities of fossil fuels, renewables are already cheaper than traditional generation in many places.

  • the average price of renewables is going to be the cheapest form of generation around in a few years, and already is in many places.

  • Texas frequently exceeds 25% of demand from wind alone.  Germany is frequently seeing hours when 100% of demand is from wind and solar.  {NOTE from WebMaster to web user – In 2017, Denmark generates OVER HALF of its electricity from wind.}

  • These countries and states aren't seeing diminished grid reliability they are seeing increased grid reliability.

  • … there isn't a lot of need for purpose built storage until we are into the last 20% of decarbonization of the grid. That is decades away ...

WebMaster highlights of . . .

Solar is Growing Way Faster than Predicted

- YOU TUBE            

by Alex Cequea ,


2 ½ minute video goes very fast


The ‘power’ of exponentiation -


  • Solar Installations in the world, in gigawatts, are growing at an exponential rate, NOT linear.

  • Actual PV installations beat projections at huge margins.

  • How :  PV costs decrease are driving up demand at a CYCLICAL exponential rate effect.

  • For the world, solar panels currently only meet 2% of the world consumption.  Critics say that this is too low to replace Oil, Gas & Coal any time soon.

  • Solar became cheaper than Fossil Fuels in 2016.

  • Actual PV installations are doubling every 2 ½ years.

  • Ray Kurzweil, a legendary futurist in the growth of technology, says at that rate, solar can be 100% of world energy in 12 years.

  • Although the US solar industry employs more people than the Oil, Gas & Coal Industries combined, given the US political climate, it is unlikely that America will be at the forefront of this solar trend.

  • There is no stopping the exponential growth trend of technology.

  • However, Oil Gas & Coal companies will do everything in their power to slow solar growth including misinforming public & undermine legislation.

  • BUT if we continue to be solar consumers & political lobbyists, we can make US leader in solar.


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Financing is available for Installing Solar Panels

The company that helps solar by arranging financing is Dividend Solar.  Their website is .  The person our President has communicated with most is Henry Bowling. The company (and Henry) can be reached at 844-805-7100. 

They have teamed with LightWave Solar, a solar installer in Tennessee.  Our Pres. gave Dividend Solar the names of several companies here in the Huntsville area in the hope of them establishing similar programs here in Alabama.  We are waiting on more info from Dividend Solar. 
LightWave has also established a financing program with BB&T that they are touting.
LightWave Solar contact information is

POC Brian Bickel    Office  615-641-4050 x103  Cell 615-973-2224
Their website is

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for those of you who

don't get HBO, here are my more detailed notes

Apr 2016




Vice on HBO, a weekly documentary TV-series created and hosted by Shane Smith of Vice magazine


  • At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, world leaders agreed that climate change is an urgent threat -- cementing green energy production as a new frontier of innovation. VICE takes an in-depth look at the future of how we make and use energy, and how we can meet growing demand as we cut carbon emissions.

  • If human beings are going to sustain our civilization long into the future, we have to cut our addiction to fossil fuels.  This is done with a combination of technologies:  renewable, grid storage & nuclear power.

  • Now, U.S. electricity is mostly generated from Coal, 34% (decreasing) & Natural Gas, 33% (increasing).

  • In 2-3 decades from now we could easily be 50% renewable.

  • With Tesla PowerWall designed to work very well with Solar, you can go completely off-grid.  It has the potential to replace power plants.

  • In 16 states, you can produce solar power at a rate that is lower than you can buy power from the Utilities companies.  The cost of solar power is now $4.29 / watt.

  • Our best hope for mass production is nuclear fusion (the sun has used for billions of years).  It is energy produced from a high speed collision of atoms combining.

  • The fuel is limitless & produces no carbon or toxic waste, no chance of meltdown.

  • Shane Smith :  “Humanity already has the technology to make clean & virtually limitless energy.  …  What we have to do now is keep pushing our politicians and our energy providers, as well as using our purchasing power, to make sure we speed up the adoption of renewable … before it’s too late.”

 Feb 2016


  • In 2015, 68 % of all new capacity installed was clean energy

  • second straight year that clean power eclipsed fossil fuels

  • biggest growth came from wind

  • U.S. clean-energy investments rose 7.5 % from 2014 :  The majority went to solar

  • Nearly one third of all electricity in the U.S. is now generated by gas, putting it nearly on par with coal

Jan 2016


  • Legislation extending the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was signed into law on Dec 18th, 2015 - leads to sustained growth in the U.S. solar industry

  • The bill extends the 30% Solar Investment Tax Credit through for 3 yrs.
    in 2020, the credit drops to 26%
    in 2021 the credit drops to 22%

  • then drops permanently to 10% for commercial projects and 0% for residential projects

  • By 2020, the industry will deploy more than 20 GW of solar electric capacity annually and employ more than 420,000 workers.

  • By 2020, solar will provide more than 3.5% of all U.S. electricity, up from just 0.1% in 2010, an increase of well over 3000% in just a decade
    In the next 5 years, due to the ITC extension:  
    - solar will increase 54% (enough capacity to power more than 20 million homes) over baseline expectations without the extension
    - will double solar jobs today
    - spur an estimated $132 billion in additional investment in the U.S. economy

Jan 2016


  • AEC, Alabama Environmental Council, is hosting their 4th POWER-UP Energy Forum

  • This year :  “Energy: Renewable & Efficient + Reliable & Economical”

  • Forum will be held on Feb 23 at Birmingham-Southern College

  • Cost for the Forum is $35 ($15 for Students)

  • General Topics by Expert Speakers :  Solar power, other renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency

  • More specific topics :

  • Setting the stage: producing and consuming electricity in a carbon-constrained future

  • View from Energy Efficiency professionals – large and small consumers

  • View from the Customers – Solar and Energy Efficiency

  • Alabama Conservation Awards - New this year! To nominate a project, person, or team, please download and complete the form at this link.

ASK July 2015 Press Release :

Alabamians overwhelming want the freedom to choose solar energy

  • survey, conducted by the Alabama Solar Knowledge Project, shows that nearly 8 in 10 Alabamians want their utility to use more solar

  • even more oppose fees that keep Solar from expanding

  • 78 % selected solar as one of the top two sources of energy they would like to see their utility use more of in Alabama

  • Arizona State University placed Alabama 8th nationally in terms of states that would benefit the most from expanding its solar energy

  • Georgia now has almost 3,000 solar-related jobs, six times as many as Alabama

  • much of Alabama is penalized for developing solar

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Sep 2015


A handful of some of the largest U.S. companies including Walmart, Nike, Starbucks, and Salesforce have committed to buying clean energy that comes from solar and wind.

The nine mostly Fortune 500 companies took a pledge on Wednesday to join what’s called the “RE100,” a campaign created by the non-profit advocacy organization The Climate Group and environmental data company CDP. The announcement coincided with Climate Week NYC, a weeklong event in New York focused on climate change, organized by The Climate Group.

The companies, which also include Johnson & Johnson JNJ, Goldman Sachs GS and Procter & Gamble PG, plan to buy clean energy to reduce corporate carbon emissions, as well as align their corporate image with the environment.

In addition, many of the companies are seeking to lower company carbon emissions as a strategic business decision. The U.S. could further stiffen carbon emission regulations, which would put carbon-spewing companies at a financial disadvantage.

By publicly pledging to buy electricity from clean sources, the companies are sending a signal to utilities and clean energy project developers that they are willing to be customers. The companies are also signaling the U.S. government that they support the reduction of carbon emissions.

Technological advances have made clean energy more attractive to companies. Electricity generated by large solar panel and wind farms has become much cheaper in recent years. In some regions with ample sun and wind, electricity from clean energy is competitive in price with that from fossil fuels.

Still, it can be difficult for individual companies to buy only clean power, particularly if they consume huge quantities of energy for factories or data centers. Some of the largest tech companies including Apple AAPL and Google GOOG have data centers powered entirely with clean energy, a change that took them several years to figure out how to do.

These pledges are also voluntary and are not enforced the same way legislation would be. Many of the commitments don’t identify how the companies will reach their goals, and companies sometimes use different metrics to track their progress.

It will take many years for these companies to deliver on their clean energy pledges. Goldman Sachs plans to hit the goal by 2020, while Nike aims for 2025. Johnson & Johnson is giving itself thirty-five years to enforce its pledge; the company’s goal is to buy all clean energy by 2050

Other large companies that have joined the RE100 in the past include European giants like IKEA Group, Swiss Re VTX, BT Group BT, H&M HM-B, Nestle NESN, Philips PHG and Unilever UN. Thirty six companies have joined the RE100.

Earlier this year Walmart, Apple, Coca-Cola and other U.S. companies committed to lower carbon emissions through a pledge to the White House

Apr 2015


  • As homemade electricity gains popularity, it puts new pressures on old infrastructure and cuts into electric company revenue, pitting solar companies against utilities

  • solar-generated electricity flowing out of houses and into a power grid designed to carry it in the other direction has caused unanticipated voltage fluctuations that can overload circuits

  • for over a year, the the Hawaiian Electric Company barred thousands of customers from getting solar panels on the roofs of their homes

  • 12% of Hawaii homeowners have solar panels, according to the federal Energy Information Administration, by far the highest proportion in the nation

  • the number of installed systems in the nation will reach 3.3 million by 2020

Jun 2015


  • the goal of Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia, the # 1 exporter of crude oil, is not just to install solar panels across Saudi Arabia but to export them

  • Although the kingdom has just 30 million people, it is the world’s 6th largest consumer of oil

  • the people of Saudi Arabia, a country so rich in oil, are very energy inefficient & might force the country to import, not export, oil in 3 decades -- they must find a way to use less oil

  • Saudi Arabia, being the primary market for oil, wants to continue to moderate global oil prices -- they see investing in solar energy as a way to remain a global oil power

  • Solar, they have decided, is an obvious alternative -- Saudi Arabia also has some of the world’s most intense sunlight

Jun 2015


  • Spanish start-up company, Vortex Bladeless, develops a bladeless turbine

  • oscillating /“wobbling” movement of a single long cone converts into electrical energy

  • costs 40% less than conventional 3 blade windmill with much less maintenance costs & safe for birds

 Jun 2015


  • fast growth in industry is due to 1) federal tax credit – it’s set to expire at the end of 2016, 2) increased Chinese factory production, 3) new breed of financing options which virtually eliminate upfront cost

  • typical residential installation yields 75% to 90% of the household's power needs

  • solar power system costs $10,000 to $30,000 after the federal tax credit

  • a solar lease pays for most, if not all, upfront costs and then you pay them a preset monthly discount price for the power the panels generate

  • after factoring in loan payments, you'll cut your electric bill by 40% to 60%, about $40 to $120 a month

accompanying   video – Twitter Interview  with Ehren Goossens :

  • demand for solar is policy driven, not really determined by the oil prices

  • solar industry stock is doing well, after a rough couple of years

  • most demand is from Asia & India

  • China is largest solar market

  • solar panel production is forecast to grow by a third in the next year

Jun 2015


  • Many Hawaiian homeowners already use the off-grid solar-and-battery systems

  • since Hawaiians pay 2½ times the average U.S. price for electricity from the Utilities Company, real estate agents use homes’ off-grid generating systems as a selling point

  • off-grid homeowners face 5 unique issues

  • 1) Initial costs, but Hawaiian homeowners recover the costs after about 5 years & are then powering their homes for free

  • 2) more expensive direct current major appliances

  • 3) monitoring equipment that lets homeowners watch their battery performance

  • 4) maintaining the systems

  • 5) Propane gas is the best way to fuel a solar home’s hot water heaters, clothes dryers, and cooking ranges

  • Hawaiian Electric Co. last year began restricting solar installations on parts of its system that can’t handle the extra power the panels produce

 Feb 2015


  • Tesla is working on a battery that can power your home and even help large-scale utilities store energy more efficiently

  • design complete & could go into production within 6 mo.

  • Storing renewable energy efficiently has been a big bottleneck for consumers and for utilities alike

Jun 2015


  • R & D:  solar cells are made from a new material called perovskite, vastly surpassing silicon

  • solar panels of tomorrow will be transparent, lightweight, flexible, and ultra-efficient

  • we'll be able to coat shingles or skylights or windows with them

  • scientists are doing incredible things with perovskite solar cells in the lab, achieving huge leaps in performance very rapidly

  • make solar power much, much cheaper

  • “biggest breakthrough since the original invention of the solar cell 60 years ago”

  • “Silicon goes through some pretty intensive processing  …  in order to make a pretty brittle wafer”, but makes the solar panel heavy

  • need a solar technology that’s much lighter, that you can produce on a roll-to-roll process, to make solar truly cheap enough to be deployed at scale and displace fossil fuel

  • no need for the tradeoff between performance & efficiency versus cost, flexibility, weight, transparency because you can stack multiple perovskite layers on top of each other, each layer harnessing  different parts of the solar spectrum

  • currently perovskites are not stable and are toxic

May 2015


  • Solar power is eventually going to dominate global energy. The question is not if, but when.

  • uniquely well-suited to 21st-century needs:  abundance, resilience, and sustainability

  • Every other commercial source of electricity generates energy through roughly the same means: by spinning a turbine; Solar PV works differently: it converts sunlight directly into electricity

  • First, a solar cell has no moving parts, so operation and maintenance costs tend to be very low.

  • Second, fuel costs are zero. Once the initial investment is paid off, the power produced is free.

  • And third, a solar cell generates power without any pollution.

  • Solar is the only truly distributed energy source, anywhere sun hits

  • Fossil fuels & nuclear power are energy-dense, but soon solar cells will be embedded into infrastructure

  • As we get more efficient in using energy and solar cells get more efficient in outputting energy, PV will be adequate to meet our needs in the future

Mar 2015


  • ranked 48th in the solar jobs per capita in 2014 despite the fact we are ranked 8th among states that would benefit most from solar energy by Arizona State University

  • Alabama can produce more electricity from solar that we use

  • nationwide, job growth in the solar industry was nearly 20 times greater than job growth in the rest of the economy

  • our state leaders rest in the status quo (and against change)

  • The Alabama Public Service Commission does not allow public input into Alabama Power's  plan like Georgia does

  • state leaders must have the courage to advocate for transparency in energy policy

Mar 2015


  • As a conservative, Barry Goldwater Jr. has become a vocal advocate for solar energy in recent years

  • He challenges utility companies for the right to choose solar over traditional forms of power as the as the chairman of "Tell Utilities Solar won't be Killed" (TUSK)

  • "We just want the government to stand out of the way and let the marketplace be free"

  • EEN approaches the subject of renewable energy from a free-markets perspective

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