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The idea of storing energy has become a major topic of discussion in 2016. As technology for renewable energy advances, sustainable storage solutions appear to bring a whole new level of innovation to the energy market. As we enter 2017, affordable storage can result in more renewable power sources and create the opportunity for customers to become more energy independent by leaving the grid to be their own self-sustaining energy provider.

A couple years back, energy storage didn’t have financial validation. Although the idea of its design is to bring more independence to energy users, it didn’t make any financial sense. It wasn’t until utility companies began to design rate structures that can accommodate when customers use their energy. Battery storage allows homeowners to control how and when energy is distributed in the home so that they can better manage their consumption. Now with utilities accepting the fact that energy storage is trending among residential and commercial property owners, it’s become more economically feasible for them to put specific rate structures in place.

Initially, energy storage gained popularity with commercial buildings because such a property can use storage to get relief from high demand charges. The storage system captures energy during the low peak hours of the day then discharges it to the property at high peak hours when utility cost is most in demand and more expensive than the cost at low peak. Even utilities have began implementing storage capabilities to their infrastructure. Southern California Edison (SCE) for example, asked Tesla to build an 80 MWh (mega watts per hour) energy storage system to provide excess energy at specific times and occasions when an over load of demand is required..

A Peak Into The Future

As technology progress, costs will fall which in return will bring more affordability in the energy storage market. GTM Research estimates that 478 Mega Watts of energy storage in the United States will be built in 2017 and 2,045 Mega Watts by 2021.

LA Solar Group has been recently announced by the Los Angeles Business Journal as the 9th fastest growing private company in Los Angeles.An accomplishment that can only be achieved by happy property owners that chose to go solar with LA Solar Group. The Journal conducted their 100 Fastest Growing Private Company List by reviewing 3 years of revenue growth for local companies. So how was LA Solar Group able to be on the list by acheiving such growth? The answer is simple: we add value and solid customer experience. As renewable energy pros, we’ve always have had a focus on knowledge, expertise, and service. What has attributed to our growth is our close attention to detail. We have a dedicated team for every aspect of the solar process from consulting to engineering, operations to installation.

The ranking was developed based on the revenue growth of 2013-2015 time period. As stated in the report: “The Van Nuys solar installer reported $12 million in revenue last year, a 1,233 percent increase from 2013”.

It is worth mentioning that the ranking includes 50 private companies representing various and truly fast growing industries, such as information and communication technology, entertainment, staffing, event management, automotive dealership, food, etc.

Solar energy is a praiseworthy decision that our customers have made since the very first day of our operation. By going solar, all of us not only benefit from low bills but also help the Earth in its everyday battle for the cleanness of our environment.

#1 in San Fernando Valley

Our company began 5 years ago in Van Nuys as a referral based company which to this day, we continue to be committed to. And since then, we’ve learned how to adjust our efforts to have a competative edge in the market. With the rate of growth LA Solar Group has been achieving, our momentum is taking us into new market around the country. In additional to our locations in San Jose and Bakersfield, we’ve also expanded nationwide into Texas, Arizon, Oregon, New York, and Colorado.

“Key to our growth was and continues to becustomer service. Every customer is treatedwith great attention and care,” Ara Petrosyan, the founder and CEO of LA Solar Group answered the question of Los Angeles Business Journal which also published a ranking of fastest growing companies. Our company scored the 9th position among 100 companies based on the reported revenues and growth rate in Los Angeles area.

“Solar was becoming a major decision-making trend for real estate property owners to incur in their businesses and in their personal lives,” San Fernando Valley Business Journal quoted our Business Development Manager Robert Sarai.

By catching the clean power trend together with our customers we come closer to our goal – an unpolluted world for us and future generations! Thanks for helping us in fulfilling our mission.

Read the Article Here

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“Behind-the-meter” energy storage, encompassing both small business and home retrofits as well as communities, could be worth $16.5 billion by 2024 according to Navigant Research.

Storage for homes is the most embryonic sub-segment of this next wave. Thus far, home storage is mostly being marketed as an add-on to rooftop PV for up-market Energy Prosumers, and as a backup for blackouts. Rapid drops in the price of Lithium Ion packs is also a factor.

No less than four such solutions were on view at GreenBuild 2016, US Green Building Council’s annual show, this year held in Los Angeles. Famously, USGBC pioneered the LEED standard for sustainability in the built environment. GreenBuild has always been about energy-efficient materials, systems, and solutions, with the battle-cry of “Zero Net” added to this year’s tsunami of green education and vendors.

Systems were on display from Tesla (the PowerWall, recipient of a large amount of media exposure, as is anything associated with Mr. Musk); SonnenBatterie; Adara Power; and – surprise! – Mercedes Benz — not a brand normally associated with home appliances.

This appears to be just the start, as residential storage product offerings are being announced weekly, often incorporating “intelligent” or “smart” software layers on top of Lithium Ion battery packs. This added controls layer may include remote monitoring by cell phone, or capability for the local utility or a third party aggregator to “call” the battery for services. Or the unit could be part of a community-wide microgrid.

Other names in this hot new innovation space include Panasonic, SimpliPhi, GreenCharge, Advanced Microgrid Solutions, STEM. Even financiers are getting involved with funding deployments of multi-unit distributed storage systems.

Of the four battery systems, the Tesla Powerwall, Mercedes Benz and Adara packs were embedded into prefab “concept homes” at opposite ends of the expo floor. One was a high-end 1800 square foot space dubbed “ProjeKt” by KBHomes, the other a prefab Tiny Home, “The Arc House”, presented by System Dynamics and GreenBuilder Magazine.

Both demos invoked the concept of “Zero Net Energy”. Zero Net or just ZNE has been called an “aspirational mandate;” it is a sort of standard-in-progress being developed by California energy regulators, with the goal of getting all new homes and buildings Zero Net by 2020 – meaning the buildings are capable of producing all or most of their own energy on-site, on an averaged net basis (i.e. – the total of energy derived from the grid and produced by the building net out over time – not that the building is meant to be 100% severed from the grid.

According to Jacob Atalla, VP of Sustainability for KB Home, the sixth largest home-builder in the U.S., “With ProjeKt, we are going beyond code compliance and even beyond ‘Sustainability 2.0’. We want to show not just what you can do today, not what you could do in 2020, but to bring a collaborative group of our partners together with some big thinkers and demonstrate what could be.” In effect, the concept home represents a sort of clean-sheet attempt to re-imagine an affordable home for the ‘Sharing Economy’ demographic (note: no garage (think Uber/Lyft), add drone port and veggie wall in the kitchen).

Atalla was kind enough to give Stratton Report a mini tour of the utility room which features both a PowerWall and an Italian natural gas fuel cell, and an inverter from Schneider Electric tied to SunPower panels on the roof. ProjeKt allows the home-owner go to fully off-grid if desired (with the fuel cell unit providing baseload power and heat). However, according to Atalla, the main overall value proposition is to push the home energy use as low as possible, and meet that need as cleanly and efficiently as possible.

(Side note – SolarCity intends to offer PowerWall –from sister company Tesla — as part of a solar+storage package, but it is not yet priced.)

On the other side of the Expo, “The Arc House,”sported an equally elaborate energy package. At 432 square feet, it veers perhaps more to a hippie beach esthetic than KBHome’s ProjeKt, with an Adara Power stack stashed invisibly in a kitchen cabinet. “Adara’s initial customers are early adopters,” According to Neil Maguire, CEO of Adara Power. For the moment, “the price point is relatively high and the savings from time of use peak-shifting do not fully pay for the system. All of our customers, which now include eight states, place a value in resiliency and back-up power. A lot of customers feel helpless with the utilities introducing rate structures that penalize solar customers. If we fast forward five years, battery prices will be down another 60% and the packaged products from companies like Adara will contain more energy. This will make back-up generators obsolete, and there will be a less than five year payback.”

SonnenBatterie a German import, introduces an intriguing new benefit on top of blackout back-up– the ability of the battery to supply juice to particular functions or parts of a home – basically feeding sub-circuits on the breaker box – a concept described as “Critical Load”. It also sports an impressive touch display with multiple User Friendly readouts.

According to Robert Sarai, Business Development Lead at local re-seller/installer solar energy company LA Solar Group, the sonnen systems can range from $10-30K, from 4-16 KW in capacity. One model features a back-up capability and the other is grid-tied.

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Sonnen, Inc. claims to be leading Tesla in sales of home batteries, with 13,000 working systems in Europe and the states. In addition, they’ve racked up an impressive string of partnerships in the last few months, including investment from GE Ventures; a North American partnership with microgrid developer Enbala; a collaboration with Demand Response platform AutoGrid; as well as SolarWorld, PetersenDean and Spruce, for sales channels.

(We should also note that, while most storage systems are based on electrical batteries, thermal storage is also an emerging option. IceEnergy, also at GreenBuild, just announced an “IceCube” model for homeowners.)

Though still incipient, home-based energy storage is expected to be an integral part of the coming decentralization of the energy grid. Policy-makers in states like California, Hawaii, New York and Massachusetts are developing mechanisms that will further enable and incentivize home-owners to provide monetizable benefits to the grid, which in turn will improve the payback time and drive greater adoption.

What is it about a solar pv system that makes it such a worthwhile investment? Simple – Production. That’s what it is all about. Asking how much production the system will bring to the property to offset the consumption of electricity that is delivered by the utility company is an important question.
HOW DOES SOLAR PRODUCTION WORK

In order to get the most productivity from a solar system, our engineers consider the following factors:

– Property location / climate
– Time of year / season weather
– Solar array azimuth and angle
– Potential shading and obstructions
– Solar module size and efficiency
– Annual solar panel degradation

Property and Location

The type of property that will be installing solar will determine how and where the system will be installed. Since about 85% of residential installations are roof top solar, the roof structure may be a complex hip roof with dormers, vents, skylights or maybe as simple as a straightforward gable roof.Location is also important as well because the annual climate and weather patterns will have an effect on the productivity. Homes in Malibu will have different production estimates than homes in Palm Springs.

Time of year / season weather

Solar production will never be constant throughout the year. That’s due to how much sunshine we receive from the summer months compared to the winter months. The most sun we can get in a day is during the summer solstice when the sun is higher in the sky and sets later in the day. During winter solstice the sun path is shorter, sets earlier in the day and shines lower in the sky.

Solar array azimuth toward the sun

To the get most optimal production with a solar system, the pv array should absorb as much solar energy in a day as possible. So with the sun rising from the east and setting in the west, there’s no question that a south facing solar system is best direction for an installation. Some roofs have a perfect (180°) south facing roof toward the sun. Yet, the majority of roof tops have an azimuth in various directions toward the sun. With such homes, the goal is to evaluate the most ideal locations to install the solar system. Now since the sun shine’s all day, that’s 90° to 270° of sunlight. Hence, as long as there’s roof space that is southing facing, we’re taking full advantage of the solar panel’s capability to capture sunlight and convert it into energy for the property.

Tilt degree of the array

Many roof tops have a variety of angles ranging from flat to steep. Majority of homes will have roofs angles between 15° to 25° which is perfect for a south facing solar system. Solar systems on flat roofs will need to be directed toward the sun so by tilting the array 10° to 15° such properties will be able to maximize on the production.

Potential shading and obstructions

Trees, chimney, a/c unit, a second or third story roof, a hilltop, a mountain range, an adjacent building are examples of how shade may interfere with a solar system’s production. Ideally, it’s best to avoid any potential shading issues, however that is not always possible so a system’s production estimate will have to reflect that amount of shading that is present and during what time of day and how long the shading occurs.

Other obstructions are elements that restrict solar panels to be added to the array. This leads to a smaller solar system size which will produce less solar energy. Plumbing ventilations, heat/exhaust ventilation (T-top, Turbine, J-vents).

Solar module size and efficiency

The amount of photovoltaic cells on a single solar panel (Module) dictates the panel’s size. Despite such a wide variety of solar panels available, the most popular contain either 60 or 72 cells in each solar panel. Manufactures design solar panels that vary in power that’s translated in Wattage. Wattage is the sum of how much electricity the panel can generate. For example, a 300 Watt panel is capable of producing that more electricity than a 250 Watt panel.

Soiling is another component that will determine a panel’s production. Soiling happens when pollution, dust, dirt, collect on top of the panel over a long period of time. This will reduce the systems efficiency. What’s great is that panels are 100% water proof so a rainy day or a hose down will improve its energy production.

Annual solar panel degradation

Manufactures know that the design of the panels are not meant to last forever. Every photovoltaic panel in the market has a degradation factor meaning that over time the panel will eventually lose its efficiency and production. Although a panel at year 10 will not produce at the same amount of electricity at year 1, manufactures provide customers a guaranteed production based on how much a panel degrades over time. For example, a panel that degrades .07% per year and produced 10,000 kW/h in the first year, it will produce 7000 kW/h at year 10.

How LA SOLAR GROUP calculates solar production

With so many solar companies out there, how can one trust that they are receiving the most accurate production estimate? These key factors can help make the difference:

– Solar Contractor License (C-46)
– Production Guarantee
– Business Track Record
– Algorithms determined by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Although many solar installers exist, it’s important to differentiate them from one another. Many solar companies in the industry sub contract their installations because they don’t carry the appropriate license to property install a solar. They’re not experts, they’re not engineers. They’re facilitators that distribute a solar installation to an outside source. Many of these companies are focused on sales acquisition – over promising, only to under deliver. They may intrigue a property owner with a high productive system without taking into account the factors highlighted in this blog. Our recommendation is to check a company’s license (visit www.cslb.ca.gov) to ensure a property owner is dealing directly with an expert.

To earn Premier Dealer accreditation, a SunPower dealer must achieve a 90 percent or greater customer satisfaction score on past installations, and successfully complete two advanced certification courses in topics such as the installation and design of high efficiency systems.

“SunPower Premier Dealers are selected for their commitment to providing customers with outstanding service in delivering the most efficient and reliable SunPower technology available today,” said Ryan Pickering, SunPower Regional Manager of North Los Angeles. “We are very pleased to welcome LA Solar Group as a member of our Premier Dealer network. With this new phase in our partnership, we are raising the bar in the industry with unparalleled, high-quality solar energy products and services.”

“SunPower and LA Solar Group have a lot in common,” says Ara Petrosyan, senior engineer and co-founder of LA Solar Group. “We believe in exceptional service and performance, and smart sustainability. Our engineers, in-house installers and customer care team are the best rated in Los Angeles. Customers can count on us for the perfect custom installation time and again. SunPower is a market leader and LA Solar Group is proud to be a Premier Dealer and to include SunPower in our leading suite of products and services.”