Useful Links

Short Informational Videos
Great Guides and References for Residential Consumers
General Info
Solarize (Neighborhood group/bulk purchasing)
  • See information about our prior Solarize Plano Projects - 2013 and 2014
  • Solarize Guidebook - a community guide to collective purchasing of residential PV systems. Watch this great accompanying Youtube video - Community Shared Solar with Solarize
  • Summit Community Solar - while called community solar, this website is about a group purchase program taking place in Utah.  The website is full of very useful information about group solar purchases organized over a large community area. It is a great reference.
  • Delivering Solar: Group Purchasing is Driving Down Costs for Customers - This article from the National Renewable Energy Lab gives a basic introduction on the bulk purchase concept and outlines different models used groups around the country.
  • Purchasing Power: Best Practices Guide to Collaborative Solar Procurement - A best practices guide designed to assist commercial and government entities in executing a collaborative solar purchase.
  • Two good examples of groups helping neighborhoods organize group purchases - Solar United Neighborhoods - DC SUN and Florida SUN
  • For Texas - see what Public Citizen Texas and the Texas Solar Energy Society has available at www.solarizetexas.org. On their "Solarize Resources" page, the have developed a Solarize Texas presentation to provide an overview with some Texas specific information, as well as a shorter Solarize Texas brochure that’s perfect for sharing with interested friends, neighbors and community organizations.
  • Example - Check out the Solarize South Carolina program. It is a community program that makes it easy for citizens of South Carolina to go solar.  The program puts citizens in touch with local installers, great financing and state of the art technology, so they can take control of their utility bills.
Community Solar (also known as Solar Gardens and Shared Solar)
  • Consumers who rent their homes, live in an apartment, do not have unshaded or otherwise well-oriented roof space, or may not qualify for a lease now have the ability to choose community solar in an increasing number of states. Entering into a community solar agreement is a significant decision and consumers should understand the basics of solar energy, where community solar is available, key terms in agreements, and the right questions to ask solar professionals. While there are not yet many options in Texas, the potential is growing. So when community solar does become available in your area, be sure to review this July 2016 publication from the Solar Energy Industries Association, Residential Consumer Guide to Community Solar
  • The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is a business-led trade organization that works to expand access to clean, local affordable energy nationwide through community solar.
  • Shared Solar: Current Landscape, Market Potential, and the Impact of Federal Securities Regulation - April 2015 - The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released this report that paints a bright picture for the future of shared solar. Read the blog post for an overview of the report.
  • “Community shared solar” is generally defined as a solar-electric system that provides power and/or financial benefit to multiple community members. There are a number of different models or approaches for developing a community solar project. Check out this great overview and resource page at Community Power Network
  • Shared Solar - Creating Universal Access to Solar Energy - February 2014 - Presentation by Hannah Masterjohn with Vote Solar on the concept of shared solar and how it can open up access to a large portion of Americans who can’t install solar on their own homes. 
  • Guide to Community Solar - a resource for those who want to develop community shared solar projects
  • Community Renewables - model program rules for community-scale renewables that consider many of the basic issues facing community renewables programs - by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council
  • The Solar Garden Institute - A Solar Garden is a community shared solar array with grid-connected subscribers. Homes and businesses, even if shaded by trees, receive a bill credit as if the panels were on their own roof using “virtual net metering”.
  • What is Shared Renewable Energy? - SharedRenewables.org is the information center for shared renewable energy projects and policy across the U.S. We aim to provide a forum for advocates, policy makers, and solar developers to collaborate on shared renewable energy policy and projects to bring clean local energy to more Americans.
Solar Energy Myths
Net Metering


Solar Fees? What? Electric Utility Rate Design
While the electric utility industry broadly embraces solar energy, they embrace it best when they own and control it, and not as much when individuals generate their own electricity. Some utilities are concerned that rooftop solar will put them out of business (or at least greatly alter their 100+ year business model).  Some are trying to put special fees on their customers that have invested in solar to generate local clean energy.
Cost Trends
  • Jan 2015 - Cities where solar is cheaper than the gridDallas/Ft. Worth made the list at #15.
  • Cost of Solar - check out this Jan 2014 one minute video about the cost of solar.
  • For an in depth report on cost trends, see this published report in August 2015 by the DOE Berkeley Labs, Tracking the Sun VIII: The Installed Price of Residential and Non-Residential Photovoltaic Systems in the United States. This report provides data up through 2014. Earlier versions of the report are available by searching the internet, e.g. Tracking the Sun VII
    • (from VIII, page 29, figure 19) Residential Systems Installed in 2014 Median Installed Price - $3.4/watt Texas
    • (from VII, page 24, figure 16) Systems ≤10 kWDC Installed in 2013 Median Installed price - $3.5/watt Texas
    • (from VI, page 25, figure 19) Systems ≤10 kWDC Installed in 2012 Median Installed price - $3.9/watt Texas
  • Macquarie says rooftop solar juggernaut is unstoppable
  • Why generators are terrified of solar
  • Solar PV will do to grids what mobiles did to telephony
  • Check out the first couple of pages of the NRG Energy 2011 Annual Report. A few excerpts are included below.
    • "...a picture of solar as an energy superstar that is pervasive, affordable, flexible, zero-emission and domestically produced."
    • "The potential benefits of solar power have been known for decades, but the obstacle has always been the price. However, from 2010 to the beginning of 2012, the price of solar modules has halved and then halved again. And, looking forward, we think the effective price of installed solar will soon halve yet again. Not only will this make solar more affordable in absolute terms, but this precipitous drop comes in stark contrast to the cost to build almost every other traditional form of generation, which has risen inexorably over the past few years. And even as the falling price of natural gas has made wholesale power cheaper across the U.S., the price paid by the average American to their local utility for retail power has risen above the overall rate of inflation for the fifth year in a row."
Local and Statewide non-profit organizations
Solar for Schools/Education
Policy & References related to HOAs (Home Owners Associations)
  • While HOAs may place some restrictions regarding installations of solar panels on homes, in general, they cannot prevent solar installations. The related Texas statute is in Chapter 202 of the Texas Property code, Sec. 202.010.  REGULATION OF SOLAR ENERGY DEVICES. The key item for a homeowner to know is in the extract given below which has these keywords - "prohibits" ... "unless"...
    • (d) A property owners' association may include or enforce a provision in a dedicatory instrument that prohibits a solar energy device that:
      (5) if mounted on the roof of the home:
      (B) is located in an area other than an area designated by the property owners' association, unless the alternate location increases the estimated annual energy production of the device, as determined by using a publicly available modeling tool provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, by more than 10 percent above the energy production of the device if located in an area designated by the property owners' association;
    • Unfortunately, most HOAs don't include the "unless..." clause in their published documentation. So be sure to have your solar installer include the extra calculations in the first HOA submission to reduce the chances of having to re-submit a second time and incurring the additional time delays.
  • The related legislation related to this statute is given below.
    • 2015 Legislation - The "neighborhood in development" loophole had allowed residential developers the option to block solar installations until the last lot was sold.  Due to 2015 state legislation SB-1626, this loophole by has been reduced to only apply for developments with fewer than 51 planned residential units (effective 9/1/2015).
    • 2011 Legislation HB-362 passed in the 82nd Legislative session (2011), limits HOAs and POAs from restricting solar devices outright. This bill updated the Texas Property Code, Sec. 202.010 & 202.011.
  • information from Solar San Antonio (now Build SA Green) - HOAs and Solar Technology
  • A report by the Solar Foundation titled "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Encouraging Solar Development through Community Association Policies and Processes"
  • Homeowner article about installation in Plano with HOA and CoServ Electric Utility - First Solar Panel Project in Ridgeview Ranch, August 2014
Local Planning and Ordinance Reference Information
Home Values & Appraisal with PV Solar
Buying or Selling a Home with solar PV
Solar-Ready Homes - Net Zero Energy Homes
  • As Texas continues to grow and more homes are constructed over the next decades, we have a great clean energy stewardship opportunity to encourage and promote the expansion of on-site, or rooftop, solar energy.  The good news is more and more homes are being built more and more energy efficient. The bad news is many of the new roof designs are so chopped up that it would greatly complicate future solar panel installations. However, there is very low cost way combine new energy efficent homes with "solar-ready" homes. With the release of the 2015 International Residential Building codes, solar-ready provisions are now defined - Appendix U of the 2015 International Residential Codes   To help build awareness and promote the design and construction of solar-ready homes, it is recommended that local municipalities and organizations reach out to home builders in their areas to initiate discussions about solar-ready homes. Beyond promotions, local jurisdictions might consider a low cost builder incentive program like the one described at this URL - http://energytrust.org/trade-ally/programs/solar/incentives/solar-ready
  • Watch - The Home of the Future…Today
  • Check out this website - Solar Energy Resources for Homebuilders
  • Learn about Net Zero Energy Ready Homes
  • See the DOE's Building America Solution Center Solar Photovoltaic Checklist page
  • Accomplish savings on the cost of future solar installations by following provisions from the Consolidated Renewable Energy Ready Home (RERH) checklist for climates with significant solar insolation. This checklist references EPA's solar electric guide and the solar thermal systems guide.
Funding for Business and Commercial Properties
Solar Energy and Jobs
Around Texas

Texas Legislation/Policy
Example New Home Builders in Texas offering Solar Energy

Solar Installation Data
Oncor Useful Links
Presentations/Webinars
               


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