Archive for the ‘Solar Equipment’ Category

New Jersey Revenue Grade Meter Requirement

Posted September 28th, 2012 by SRECTrade.

In late spring 2012, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) mandated that all photovoltaic facilities participating the in the New Jersey SREC market have revenue-grade meters installed to monitor system production. Previous to the ruling it was possible for systems with a nameplate capacity of less than 10 kW create SRECs from production estimates derived from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s  PV Watts production calculator. This ruling impacts thousands system of homeowners in New Jersey who have gone solar over the past several years. You can read more about the decision at the New Jersey office of Clean Energy website. The two key aspects of this ruling are:

1. In order to be eligible for SRECs, all NJ customers must have a revenue-grade meter by November 30, 2012.

2. Customers who have had SRECs created by estimates will have to begin reporting readings by November 30, 2012.

Revenue-grade Meters

Revenue-grade meters are power production meters that measure to +/- 2% accuracy per the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) rule C12.1-2008. Inverters often have power production meters but they are often only accurate to  +/- 10%. The revenue-grade meter is the device that measures the output of your solar system, not the utility meter that measures how much power you take from the power grid. Many residential installs in New Jersey have used cheaper, non-revenue-grade meters because the state originally did not require them. If your meter is not a revenue-grade meter or you are unsure about whether or not you have a revenue-grade meter, you will need to contact your installer. If you are unable to reach your installer, you can use our directory to find a local installer. We have seen price quotes in the $300 to $1,000 range depending on equipment requirements and facility location.

Switching from Estimates

Many of our customers already report their readings to SRECTrade each month. If you have not been reporting to us because you are on “Estimated Generation”, your SRECs will no longer be created automatically after November 30th.  On that date, we will switch all customers who are currently on “estimates” to “reported readings”. If you are on estimates and are able to begin reporting your readings from your revenue-grade meter sooner than that, please email customerservice@srectrade.com with the date that the meter was installed and your current meter reading. We will then update your account and explain how to report your readings directly to your www.srectrade.com account moving forward.

***If you have questions about revenue-grade meters, please contact an installer. We won’t be able to answer questions regarding your solar equipment.

Finally, it is very important that you comply with this change, otherwise you will lose thousands of dollars in potential SREC revenues in the long run. We understand that the BPU ruling is unfortunately retroactive for systems that did not have a meter already installed, however, we hope that this information will make it easier for you to comply with the change.

 

US-China Trade Dispute Update

Posted March 23rd, 2012 by SRECTrade.

Back in January we put up a blog post on the US-China solar module trade dispute.  The schedule of events has changed somewhat since the January posting. SolarWorld, a German-owned, module manufacturing company with operations in Oregon asked the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to investigate the fairness of subsidies provided to Chinese manufacturers by the Chinese government. The complaint set in motion two types of investigations. The first is a countervailing duty investigation (CVD and the second is an anti-dumping (AD) investigation. On Tuesday, 3/20/12, the DOC levied tariffs on crystalline silicon modules produced in China of between 2.9 and 4.37 percent. On May 17th, the DOC is scheduled to issue a finding on the AD investigation. It’s possible that the AD ruling by the DOC will be for additional tariffs.

The CVD tariffs specifically discuss Suntech and Trina solar. With Trina modules receiving the highest tariff and Suntech modules a lower tariff than the rest of the solar products impacted by the ruling. Click here for an official DOC summary of its CVD ruling.

  • Trina- 4.73%
  • Suntech- 2.9%
  • All others- 3.59%
  • Click here for additional analysis of the ruling written by James Montgomery of Renewable Energy World, an online renewable energy forum.

    Update on US-China Trade Dispute

    Posted January 17th, 2012 by SRECTrade.

    We’ve received a lot of questions over the last couple of months about the on-going trade dispute with China over the price of Chinese-made crystalline solar modules. Crystalline modules are by far the most commonly installed module type in the United States. Currently the trade dispute doesn’t include thin-film or other solar equipment. Given the central importance of equipment affordability to the solar industry we figure it’s high time to put a quick blog post together summarizing the trade dispute so far.

    On October 19th, 2011, SolarWorld and unnamed companies under the newly formed Coalition for American Solar Manufacturers (CASM) file a lawsuit with the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the International Trade Commission (ITC) asking for 100% import duties on crystalline modules imported from China. Two types of investigations are on-going by the DOC/ITC. The first type is a countervailing duties (CVD) investigation. If the DOC/ITC find merit to the SolarWorld lawsuit then the US can impose counter-tariffs to offset the unfairly priced Chinese modules. The second is an anti-dumping (AD) investigation. In a “dumping” investigation the DOC/ITC investigate whether low-priced Chinese modules have caused “injury” to the US economy. If the investigations find “injury” then strong fines could be imposed on China for any crystalline solar modules that they export in addition to countervailing duties. If both CVD and AD fines are imposed module prices exported from China would increase dramatically, forcing Chinese manufacturers to find alternative channels to distribute their products. Many China-based modules manufacturers have preemptively begun to invest in production facilities in Taiwan and other southeast Asian countries not subject to the threat of US import tariffs.

    Below timeline acquired from GTM’s Solar Power Year in Review 2011 article.

    October 19th, 2011- SolarWorld and unnamed companies under the newly formed Coalition of American Solar Manufacturers (CASM) file an AD and CVD claim with the DOC and the ITC, setting in motion a timeline for the DOC and ITC to form separate investigations.

    November 8th, 2011DOC initiated investigation

    December 5th, 2011 ITC made preliminary determination of injury, confirming that they will continue investigation

    March 27th, 2012- DOC to make determination in its AD and CVD investigation

    May 11th, 2012- ITC to make initial determination on CVD investigation

    May 18th, 2012- ITC issues orders on its CVD investigation

    June 11th, 2012- DOC final determination on its AD investigation

    July 25th, 2012- ITC final determination on its AD investigation

    August 1st, 2012- DOC final determination on AD investigation

    The DOC/ITC schedule is staggered so that the DOC can follow the ITC’s lead on its determinations on the anti-dumping allegations, but the DOC will make a determination before the ITC on the CVD investigation. In candid discussions with some industry experts we’ve been led to believe that some CVD determination will be made by the Department of Commerce in March.  If either CVD or AD fines are imposed, crystalline module prices will increase for both China-derived modules as well as modules made in the US and other countries.