Tag: power

global solar

Solar – A Global Observation

Consumed by local solar events, it is easy to forget how global industry trends can also affect us. The US tariffs on the solar industry, for example, are a powerful reminder of the global economy and how closely tied we really are. With so much going on in the world of solar, we decided to explore a bit outside of our local industry, to understand what impacts the rest of the world might make.

USA

Two major events have occurred in the United States this year which have seen a ripple effect in the solar industry worldwide. No. 1 was California’s mandate to install solar on all new homes. No. 2 was the Tariffs imposed by the federal government.

Sunny California Goes Green

California committed fully to going green this year by mandating all new homes be built with solar panels starting 2020. While some argue that this command and control technique is not the best way to reduce carbon emissions (for any number of reasons), others think this will encourage the future development of the state commit to sustainability in architecture. Regardless of what side you are on, it means that homes will continue being built, and will require solar panels. Some homebuilders may consider pre-building and permitting homes to avoid meeting these new regulations, but homes will still be built beyond 2020. This will lead to an increase in solar module demand, and may increase the price of solar modules.

Trump’s Tariffs

The US solar industry has seen not one, but two sets of Tariffs to solar. The first was a 30% tariff on all solar cell and modules implemented in January 2018. Most recently, an additional 25% tariff has been imposed on imported products from China, including solar cells and modules. While it may be too soon to understand the full implications of these, two subsequent events have occurred. Following the initial imposition of 30% tariffs, $2.5 billion was lost in cancelled projects, not to mention the loss of jobs across the country. The second event that occurred was the increase in US based manufacturing plants. Some of these manufacturers are US based companies taking advantage of a higher barrier of entry to foreign firms; others are foreign firms seeking to circumvent the tariffs imposed.

Despite the increase in domestic manufacturing, the cost of foreign goods with high tariffs or the cost of domestically produced materials may have some influence on the price of solar in the US.

China

China continues to build solar cells and modules, in both China and the US. Recent Chinese government decisions to cut funding for solar could actually boost global panel production. Solar panels built in China are expected to see a significant fall in prices due to high manufacturing for current demand, but will likely not let up once domestic demand falls.

India

As India proposes to implement a 25% safeguard duty on solar panels from China, local solar companies are stockpiling solar panels from China. This stockpiling also contributes to an increased current demand for the Chinese solar panels.

Canada

So what does this all mean for us here in Canada? The US Tariff has already created reduced international solar cell and module demand, but has also increased local producers. China is currently encountering a high demand for solar cells and modules and has ramped up domestic and international production to keep up with the demand. These measures all create an increase in production and supply of solar panels. Furthermore, while the US pays more for imports and domestic products, Canadian solar installers can look forward to reduced prices due to the supply of modules and lack of tariffs.

 

Have other thoughts on global solar? Drop us a line! 

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solar relax

Can Solar Power my Home?

MYTH: Solar can’t power my home

Without a huge solar PV system and battery bank – you are right. Grid-tied systems, however, don’t have to.

How a grid tied system works

In a grid tied system, you are not actually powering your own home. You are producing power to send to the electrical grid which is known as micro-generation. When you produce more electricity than you consume, your utility provider will credit you for the additional electricity through net-metering (see Section 8 of the Micro-Generation Regulation). You will still have a utility bill because the grid is still being operated. Your fees may include your distribution charge, transmission charge, local access fee and delivery charge. If you do not produce quite enough energy to cover the amount of electricity you consume, you will also need to pay the difference for electricity use.

Why this works

This means that no matter how much electricity your solar panels produce:

  1. You will have full electricity if the grid is operational (example of non-operational would be a local power outage)
  2. Your lights will not be ‘dimmed’
  3. You will have full power for your electric water heater, electric vehicle charging station, computers, TV’s, Microwave, and other electrical needs
  4. You will have electricity at night and in the middle of winter

Your panels are intended to off-set your carbon footprint, so while you still are using the electrical grid, you are ensuring that the amount of electricity you consume is being provided by clean energy sources.

What about in the winter when there is less light

Alberta winters provide an ideal setting for solar panels to produce electricity. There will be times through the year where your panels do produce more or less electricity based on amount of daylight hours, shadows, and temperature. The reason micro-generation works is because you are credited when your panels produce more electricity, which you can carry forward for 12 months. These credits can then be applied to your bill during the months where your panels produce less electricity than your household consumes. This essentially zero’s out your electricity costs, so all you have to worry about is the utility company fees.

 

Now that you are ready to save on your electricity bills, build equity in your home, and help protect the environment, give us a call for a free estimate!

Gridworks Energy
587-405-9090
Free Estimate Form