Horizon Solar Power and Sunrun are reinventing energy.

Horizon Solar Power and Sunrun are reinventing energy. One roof at a time. Horizon Solar Power is an authorized partner of Sunrun, one of the nation’s leading home solar financing company, serving 11 states and more than 35,000 customers.

Sunrun makes going solar easy and affordable for homeowners. Sunrun purchases and installs the system for you. Sunrun takes complete care of the system for 20 years, including monitoring, repairs, insurance, and a performance guarantee -You pay for the electricity, just like you pay your utility today. Read more here: http://www.sunrun.com/solar-lease/solar-financing/companies/

The History Of Solar Power

Today, solar power is a hot topic. We’re installing solar panels on our homes, businesses, and even making solar cars and other products powered by the sun. But what’s interesting about the use of solar power is that it’s not a recent innovation. In fact, solar history spans from the 7th Century B.C. to today!

So what did our ancestors use solar power for and where are we today? Here’s a great timeline and information on the milestones of solar power provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

In the 7th Century B.C., humans used magnifying glass to make fire and kill ants. In the 3rd and 2ndCenturies B.C. Greeks and Romans used mirrors to light torches for religious purposes.

By the 1st to 4th Centuries A.D., solar power was used to warm Roman bath houses! By the 6thCentury A.D. sunrooms on homes and public buildings were so common that there was a “sun rights” code to ensure individuals had access to the sun!

In 1767 Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure was credited with building the world’s first solar collector. In the 1830s, Sir John Herschel used the solar collector technology to cook food during an expedition to South Africa.

Over the next 100 years, many inventions and milestones were recorded including the first solar powered engine invented by French mathematician August Mouchet. By 1891, Clarence Kemp patented the first commercial solar water heater. He was an inventor from Baltimore.

In 1905 Albert Einstein published a paper on photoelectric effect. Concurrently, he published his paper on the theory of relativity!

Just three years later, in 1908, William J. Bailley of the Carnegie Steel Company invented a solar collector with copper coils and an insulated box, which is roughly, its present design. In 1954 Daryl Chapin Fuller and Gerald Pearson develop the silicon photovoltaic cell at Bell Labs, the first solar cell capable of converting enough of the sun’s energy into power to run everyday electrical equipment. This is essentially the birth of photovoltaic technology in the United States

By the mid-1950s the world’s first solar water heating and passive designed commercial office building is designed by architect Frank Bridgers. The solar powered building has been operating continuously ever since and the Bridgers-Paxton Building is now in the National Historic Register.

In 1977 the U.S. Department of Energy launched the Solar Energy Research Institute “National Renewable Energy Laboratory”, a federal facility dedicated to harnessing power from the sun.

In that same year, total photovoltaic manufacturing production exceeded 500 kilowatts. By 1983 worldwide photovoltaic production exceeds 21.3 megawatts, with sales of more than $250 million. By 1993 Pacific Gas & Electric completes installation of the first grid-supported photovoltaic system in Kerman, California. The 500-kilowatt system was the first “distributed power” effort.

As solar power production and interest grew over the years, worldwide installed photovoltaic capacity reached 1000 megawatts by 1999! In 2002 the largest solar power facility in the Northwest—the 38.7-kilowatt White Bluffs Solar Station—goes online in Richland, Washington.

So with all this development and growth in the solar industry, where are we headed? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy we could be looking at providing for the electricity needs of the whole country by creating a photovoltaic array within an area 100 miles on a side! Our solar power future is bright!

For a more comprehensive timeline on solar history, visit the links below:

https://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/solar_timeline.pdf

http://www.californiasolarcenter.org/history_solarthermal.html

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Solar Jobs: Helping the Economy Grow

Over the last several years we’ve heard a lot about solar energy; it’s renewable, good for the environment, and who doesn’t like sunshine? We’ve also heard about how solar is helping grow our economy. But, what exactly does that mean?

Well, let’s break it down and take a look at how the solar industry translates into jobs and the growth of our economy. Here are some great facts from some reliable sources about the solar energy industry in the United States.
The U.S. employed 142,698 solar workers in 2013; that was a 19.9 percent increase over 2012, according to the Solar Foundation’s Solar Job Census 2013 report which was released in February 2014.

California led the nation in solar jobs last year employing 47,223 people.
The median pay for a solar photovoltaic installer is $18.22 an hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The projected job growth for the occupation from 2012-22 is 24 percent, which is much faster than the average for all occupations tracked by the bureau.

“The rapid expansion and adoption of solar panel installations will result in excellent job opportunities for qualified individuals, particularly for those with electrician experience.”  – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states on its website.                 

According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Q2 2014 U.S. Solar Market Insight Report the U.S. installed 1,133 MW of solar PV in Q2 2014, up 21 percent over Q2 2013. SEIA also forecasts that PV installations will reach 5 GW in 2014, up 36% over 2013.
Residential installations continue to post the most consistent growth of any segment in the solar industry. California continues to lead the nation in residential solar installations, according to the GTM Research and SEIA report.

“The increasing value of solar installations has injected life into the U.S. economy as well. In 2013, solar electric installations were valued at $13.7 billion, compared to $11.5 billion in 2012 and $8.6 billion in 2011.”  – The Solar Energy Industry Association.

Currently, more than 15,900 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity has been installed in the U.S.; that’s enough to power more than 3.2 million average American homes, according to SEIA. In the second quarter of 2014, there were more than 42,000 solar installations; that means there are more than half a million homes and businesses with solar power.

A new solar project has been installed every 3.2 minutes since the second quarter of 2014. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every hour, enough energy from the sun reaches Earth to meet the world’s energy usage for an entire year. The solar industry employs a variety of professionals including installers, administrative personnel, researchers, engineers, construction workers, solar power plant operators, maintenance workers, and more, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That means, the solar industry isn’t just limited to blue collar jobs, but rather employs a range of workers from office workers to manual laborers.
At the end of the day it’s suffice to say that solar energy is helping to power our economy.

Solar Rebates Solar Jobs

Solar power systems are all the rage. Everyone has seen the ads and most of us know someone already using the sun to power their home.  So what rebates and incentives can  help homeowners take full advantage of  the mean, green money-saving machine called solar power?

It all starts with the 30-percent Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) for residential and commercial properties installing qualified solar technology. The ITC expires on December 31, 2016 so there’s still time to take advantage and no reason to wait – homeowners without sufficient tax liability for the current year can roll the credit over to the following year!

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a great resource for information about federal incentives and renewable energy policies. Visit them at http://www.dsireusa.org.

Residential customers have a wide range of programs and incentives that promote installation of solar power systems, energy efficient lighting and heating, pool pumps, windows, etc. To find the right program, check out http://goo.gl/EnuQ7s

In California, the state rebate program for PG&E customers has been exhausted and the program closed. However, homeowners can still go solar for $0 down. There are many city and county programs that can help. For example, the City of Santa Monica waives permit fees for solar projects and San Bernardino County has a Green Building Incentive Program to facilitate the design, review, and inspection process for qualified photovoltaic solar projects.

Taking advantage of solar incentives can reduce the cost of installation and maximize savings. Installing a solar power system not only saves money, but it raises property values. Remember, these incentives, tax credits, and rebates have expiration dates but the sun never stops shining and neither do the solar savings!

How Solar Power Systems Work

Solar power is a hot topic. From solar systems for the home or commercial building to solar farms, this renewable, clean, green energy source is on everyone’s mind. The biggest thing we’re all probably thinking about as consumers is: How much will this save me? 

There are a variety of statistics. But the bottom line is a solar system pays back the cost of installation over time. You can realize savings on your electric bill within the first month and even get credit for the electricity your system produces! Benefits include more than just electric bill savings. Here’s what the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy and Efficiency & Renewable Energy says about the topic:

According to the Appraisal Journal, home value increases $20 for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills. So a solar energy system that saves $200 per year would also add $4,000 to the value of a home. Homes with solar systems sell faster than those without them. As prices fall, solar energy is becoming more of an economical energy choice for American homeowners and businesses. The biggest hurdle to affordable solar energy remains the soft costs – like permitting, zoning. Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth – 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use.

Meanwhile, the cost of installing solar has gone down in California which offers excellent rebate programs. For more information on California’s rebate programs, visit Go Solar California! The site also offers nifty calculators to help you make a decision about going solar in California.These calculators provide estimates of costs, paybacks, and electricity production for solar systems and may not be a true reflection of the costs or the pay-back period for a new solar electricity system, according to the site. Here’s the link: http://www.gosolarcalifornia.org/tools/calculators.php. Go Solar California is a joint effort of the California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission.Here’s a quick look at how

California is doing in the solar power market:
– California leads the nation in solar projects242,957 solar projects
– 2,284 megawatts installed

Here are some other amazing solar facts, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association Web site:

“The U.S. installed 1,133 MWdc of solar PV in Q2 2014, up 21% over Q2 2013, making it the fourth-largest quarter for solar installations in the history of the market.”

“Cumulative operating PV capacity has now eclipsed the 15 GWdc mark, thanks to three consecutive quarters of more than 1 GWdc installed.”
“Through the first half of 2014, more than a half-million homeowners and commercial customers have installed solar PV.”
“For the first time ever, more than 100 MWdc of residential PV came on-line in a single quarter without any state incentive.”
“53% of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S. in 1H 2014 came from solar.”
“Growth remains driven primarily by the utility solar PV market, which installed 625.”
“MWdc in Q2 2014, up from 543 MWdc in Q2 2013.”

“We forecast that PV installations will reach 6.5 GWdc in 2014, up 36% over 2013 and more than three times the market size of just three years ago.” “Q1 2014 was the largest quarter ever for concentrating solar power, due to the completion of the 392 MWac Ivanpah project and Genesis Solar project’s second 125 MWac phase. While no CSP plants came on-line in Q2 2014, commissioning work continues at Crescent Dunes and a total of 857 MWac is expected to be completed by year’s end, making 2014 the biggest year ever for CSP.”

Solar is a renewable source of energy. Going solar helps reduce the load on our public utilities, helps keep pollutants out of the atmosphere, and so much more. The bottom line is that a solar power system can save you in the long run.