SolarCity’s New York Gigafactory

SolarCity 8-KSolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) has entered into a HUGE agreement with the State of New York under which SolarCity will receive $750 million subsidy which it will use to build an initial 1 gigawatt capacity, 1 million square foot facility.  In return, SolarCity commits to spend $5 billion in the state over 10 years AFTER the facility reaches full production.

  • $750 million New York investment will fund the facility’s construction ($400 million) and equipment ($350 million).
  • SolarCity’s will rent the $750 million facility and equipment for $1 per year. No typo, that’s one dollar.
  • SolarCity will use the newly acquired Silevo Triex technology.
    • Triex is described as a “tunneling junction” solar cell comprised of 1) N-type crystalline substrate, 2) Thin Film Passivation, and 3) semiconductor oxide to optimize cell and module performance.
    • Efficiency 22%+, 5%+ thin film arid climate advantage, and initial manufacturing costs competitive with today’s c-Si cost.
  • SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR), a leading competitor, also uses n-type monocrystalline.  As reported in this Motley Fool story, there is risk associated with the supply of n-type monocrystalline in the future due to the material’s lower degradation and higher efficiency.

You can read the SEC Form 8-K disclosure here.

The Solar Power Evaluator Apple iOS App is now FREE

SPE Icon 512x512Evaluate Solar developed the Solar Power Evaluator (SPE) iOS application for the iPhone.  The application was priced on Apple iTunes or the App Store for $1.99, but is now FREE.  You can download the SPE application at iTunes here.   The first day the application was offered for free, downloads increased 100 times over the previous week!

The market for residential solar is hotter than ever and this is proof that people all over the US are evaluating solar.

Visit the Solar Power Evaluator page to gain a deeper understanding of how the SPE app uses a few basic inputs to generate a full residential proposal that you can use to compare to what you local retailer/contractor is offering you.

You even have the option of requesting a competitive proposal right from within the application.

Evaluate Solar Seeks Installation Partners

Evaluate Solar is in the process of establishing residential and commercial installation partners first in the south central region, expanding west and then nationwide.

The Evaluate Solar residential solar evaluation application is downloaded over 100 times a month.  The application includes links for solar proposals which are then forwarded to certified installation partners.


Evaluate Solar is the premier iOS app for the iPhone which allows users to created a custom solar proposal and determine payback based on their current electrical usage and rate.

Contact us If your firm would like to partner with Evaluate Solar.  John

Buy a Chevy Volt Now!

Buy a Chevy Volt – Especially If You Own Anything That Gets Less Than 20 MPG

The 2012 and 2013 Model Year Leases Make A Lot Of Sense

First, the Chevy Volt is an AMAZING VEHICLE.  I purchased a 2013 Volt just two weeks ago and I am saddened that I didn’t believe the marketing messaging over the past two years.

Extreme savings in fuel costs and Chevrolet is offering amazing leases! Continue reading

Stop! Don’t Overpay for Solar Power

Solarbuzz Module Pricing Trends Feb 2012Don’t overpay for solar power!  Use this post and the Evaluate Solar website as your reference for the best possible prices.

As consumers, it is our responsibility to be informed about what we are buying and how much is should cost.  However, very few of us work in the renewable energy industry.  I attended my son’s basketball season wrap party this past weekend and was surprised when none of the parents really understood solar power.  This is not an indictment on them, I think it highlights that the industry is 1) relatively new to consumers, and 2) more complex than anything they’ve purchased besides possibly a computer. Continue reading

Residential Solar Power Proposal Repository


We are building a repository of U.S. residential solar power proposals.  Generic versions of each proposal will be included in a reference database, highlighting the technology and price.   The intent is to build a repository of current proposals so that each consumer has an opportunity to compare his proposal with hundreds nationwide.

Send your proposal and we will review it, provide an analysis to you, and post a generic version of the proposal in the database.  Thanks.  Contact us with any questions.

Solar Power Incentives: Where Can I Find Them?

U.S. solar power incentives for electricity including local and federal incentives listed here by state!  If you are like me, you struggle to find a source for accurate information about what incentives are available for installing Solar Power.

I love the Internet.  At times I come across information that would not exist with out it.  Information that takes a lot of effort to compile, but is presented in an easy to use format. Continue reading

How to Evaluate a Solar Power Proposal

Evaluating whether solar or photovoltaic (PV) power is right for your home is easy to do.  If you have a proposal (see my proposal here) from a local firm, the process is extremely easy. If not, you simply need to collect some additional information.

During  2011, the question of whether solar power makes sense has been answered due to the drastic decrease in the cost of solar equipment.  Yes!  Solar power makes sense for most people given the current federal and local rebates and credits.  Here’s what you need to know. Continue reading

First Solar and Their Changing Cost Advantage

First Solar (FSLR), a leading manufacturer of thin cell (thin-film) photovoltaic (PV) semiconductor modules has lost it cost advantage and must be rethinking its corporate strategy.  Just as extreme price pressure from Chinese competitors crushed Solyndra and forced it to shut down amid the US Government grant scandal late last year, those same market dynamics coupled with dramatically decreased polysilicon prices will force First Solar to make changes.

As reported by Trefis for MSN Money, there have been significant decreases in the price of polysilicon, “…prices for polysilicon fell from a record $475 per kilogram in 2008 to around $33 per kilogram in Q4 2011.”  Coupled with an increase in production estimated to double capacity within 3 years, it is obvious that there will be significant changes. Continue reading

Evaluating My Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power Proposal

What does a typical residential solar power proposal look like? What are the costs? Is photovoltaic (PV) solar power cost-effective?  Which manufacturer’s panels are the best?  Which company’s solar power proposal is the best for me?  Does the solar power system have a payback or ROI that makes sense?  All good questions that every consumer needs to answer before signing a contract.

Below is a proposal from a local company for a 5.8kW PV system.

 Should I spend $26,850?  Here’s a look at a recent proposal I received. Continue reading