The average price of solar photovoltaic (electric) systems in Southwest Florida has continued to drop steadily for the last two years, and local prices are lower than national averages for both residential and non-residential systems. According the the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) U.S. Solar Market Insight Report for Q2, 2012, the average price of a residential solar electric system dropped to $5.46 per watt. Larger non-residential systems averaged $4.38 per watt. The comparatively lower prices in our local market result partially from lower than average labor costs and stiff competition, but the numbers are skewed in a way because some leasing companies in otherRead More →

Today I saw quite a few interesting products that can be applicable to our market in Southwest Florida. Here are a few highlights. Canadian Solar is coming out with a three-phase AC solar module with a microinverter integrated. Release is expected in January 2013 pending UL listing. This could greatly simplify commercial installations. QuickMount PV has a great looking roof flashing for small conduit up to 1″. This will be great for bringing PV wires into the attic. Exeltech has a true AC PV module with the inverter completely replacing the junction box. The cabling solution allows varying distance between modules. A company right downRead More →

Under the mantra, “what happens at SPI stays at SPI,” I’ll just say that the SPI Block Party was fantastic. I left with the obligatory swag, most notably my competing orange and white Enphase and SMA sunglasses. Let the micro inverter battles begin! Now it’s time to go see some bleary eyed exhibitors and learn what’s new.

For owners of solar electric systems with Enphase microinverters, the company has just updated its Enlighten system monitoring portal. The new design is great. The site uses intuitive tabs. All of the same great charts and reports are available. You can now upload photos of your system to the site to show in a gallery. There is also a handy download button to download charts as an image file or PDF like shown below. The site leads you into time-lapse views of your energy production over time more intuitively. Now I’m waiting for the ability to download a video of the time-lapse views. These wouldRead More →

According to The Solar Foundation, Florida ranked 6th among states for solar jobs in 2011 despite being ranked 17th for solar electric capacity installed. Many of the solar jobs in Florida can be attributed to the solar thermal industry. Solar pool heating and solar water heating installations are popular in Florida. California had more people employed in solar than the next five states combined, but was ranked #6 in the number of solar jobs per capita (Colorado was #1). Florida by comparison was ranked #15 in solar jobs per capita. Rank State Solar Jobs #1 California 25,575 #2 Colorado 6,186 #3 Arizona 4,786 #4 PennsylvaniaRead More →