Electric car benefits are great enough now (after 100+ years of history and development) that I think most car owners would be better off with an electric car. But transitions take time and can be quickened with good incentives. As we inch…
Originally published on 1Sun4All. Three days of racing launches this Friday, May 16 at Metropolitan Water District’s (mwdh20) 12th annual Solar Cup at Lake Skinner in Temecula Valley, California, reports mwdh2o. The nation’s largest solar-powered boat competition features nearly 700 students on 40 southland high school teams. Here’s some more info from mwdh20: 12th Annual Solar Cup 2014 The Official Solar Cup
Solar Cup: Largest Solar-Powered Boat Competition (VIDEO) was originally published on CleanTechnica.
A new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) shows quite clearly the huge differences in EV incentives around the globe. And also the pronounced differences in the effectiveness of some of the programs.
From sales-tax exemptions, to purchase rebates, to income-tax credits, to free-parking, it seems like good incentives for EV adoption can be found nearly everywhere nowadays — but which of these are the most effective?
That’s part of what the new report set out to find, but it’s a hard question to answer. One thing very clear in the report, though, is that a combination of many different incentives seems to be the most effective, as is clearly visible in strong EV markets like Norway and the Netherlands.
While total plug-in vehicle sales growth worldwide has been quite substantial in recent years (sales in 2013 were near double those of 2012, which were double those of 2011), much of that growth has been limited to the markets that have the strongest incentives. For instance, the previously mentioned EV haven of Norway. With the large tax breaks available in the country, it’s quite often cheaper to buy an EV than it is to buy a gas-powered car — which would on its own be enough to influence most buyers, but then there are also a number of other good incentives available — parking and roadway perks mostly — making the big EV sales in the Northern European country make a ton of sense.
In 2013, plug-in vehicles made up 6% of Norway’s total vehicle sales — a number that will very likely climb in 2014. The Netherlands is right in the same league, with plug-in vehicles representing 5.6% of total vehicle-sales. California is as well, with plug-in vehicles making up 4% of total vehicle sales last year. All these regions utilize a varied combination of incentives.
Contrast this with a country like Germany, where the incentives on offer just aren’t that substantial and EV sales are quite weak.
Of course there are also markets where incentives are quite good but sales still aren’t that great, like the UK.
There, plug-in cars account for only 0.2% of total vehicle sales. That’s despite a strong £5,000 subsidy (almost $8,500, at current exchange rates) per vehicle, exemption from the country’s CO2-based vehicle taxation system, and exemption from London’s CO2-based congestion charge scheme.
But, generally speaking, the findings of the report are that strong, varied incentives support sales quite well, but that they need to be well suited to their particular market.
For example, in countries with relatively high sales tax and vehicle registration fees (the Netherlands), exemptions from these fees can be strong sales drivers. Or in regions with substantial traffic problems (like LA), access to carpool lanes can be.
For more information on the reasons behind the high-demand in Norway, see our previous coverage that discusses the tax-breaks on offer, the road privileges, the free parking; the high taxes on gasmobiles; actual EV user findings on the top incentives; the highly developed charging infrastructure; and the opinion of Nissan’s head of corporate planning for Europe.
And for the most recent information on the fast-growing market — which saw nearly 1500 EVs sold just in a march — see: Norway’s Insane March Plug-in Car Sales
A representative of Soligent recently passed along an interesting note regarding a US movement away from solar PPAs and leases. Basically, as solar costs have dropped and banks have warmed up to solar, it has become more and more attractive for homeowners to go solar with cash or a bank loan. That trend is expected to continue. In the following Soligent graph of a home in California, you can see how different options turn out for customers over the course of several years.
I’ve previously looked at solar leasing/PPAs vs financing a solar system via a loan vs buying outright with cash and have found a split between leasing/PPAs and getting a loan (buying outright is always better in the long term, but that’s without considering opportunity cost). However, that was just a look at 10 houses in 10 different cities. Furthermore, it was a snapshot, rather than a look at prevailing trends.
Along the same lines as Soligent’s point above, analyst Travis Hoium on Motley Fool recently noted that SolarCity seems to be seeing a bigger % of its business coming from sales despite preferring to do leases.
I think cash or loan sales will become ever more common in the future, particularly as costs fall. If a consumer buys a system, he can keep the tax benefits as well as all of the cost savings from going solar. As solar loans become more prevalent, we’ll see rates fall to somewhere near SolarCity’s securitization deal, meaning homeowners will be able to take advantage of solar financing without giving ownership out to someone else.
I also think we’ll see installers compete on cost of installation as the number of installers grow, which will cut margins. It’s far easier to compare two cash offers from installers than a 20-year lease to a fixed cost to install a system, which may be the case today. Since SolarCity has better infrastructure in financing, it can offer better rates on leases, expanding margins, but won’t have the same advantage competing for cash sales.
No disagreement here, which is one reason why I’ve bought stock in SunPower but not SolarCity. Specifically regarding that topic, Travis writes:
That’s why I see SunPower, which makes the industry’s most efficient panels and sells through partners, and RGS Energy, which offers a suite of sale options, as better values in the current marketplace. With a $6 billion valuation, SolarCity is priced as if it will generate $2 in value from installations for years to come, but I think that number will fall, particularly as cash sales increase.
If the shift away from leases does happen, SunPower and RGS Energy will be better able to compete and offer more upside for investors with $4 billion and $200 million market caps, respectively.
SunPower is already profitable, RGS Energy expects to be EBITDA positive in Q4, and SolarCity is still losing money quarter after quarter and can’t generate positive margins on cash sales today. You’d have to assume leases continue to grow and margins remain high to think SolarCity is a value today and that’s not the way I think the market is headed.
To back up this one analysts thoughts and words on a potential shift away from solar leasing & PPAs, here’s a recent graph from GTM Research on the flattening out of these options as a percentage of all residential solar installations over the past few years:
Interesting stuff. But third-party solar is still clearly dominant. We’ll be keeping an eye on these things in the months and years to come.
Are Solar Leasing & PPAs Going To Suffer From Maturing Solar Market? was originally published on Solar Love!.
Riding in an electric car is quite a different experience from riding in a smelly, noisy, low-torque gasmobile, but driving one is a world of difference. As they say, “once you go electric, you…” Well, I guess someone needs to come up with a good ending there that actually rhymes, but the point should be […]
Get People To Try Electric Cars! New Electric Car “Guest Driving” Service Does The Obvious was originally published on EV Obsession.
Originally published on the ECOreport. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled that existing rooftop solar arrays can keep selling electricity to the grid at current rates for 20 years. This applies to all customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, and Southern California Edison Company. The CPUC’s decision was
California Grandfathers Existing Solar Arrays In, Rates Won’t Change For 20 Years was originally published on CleanTechnica.
Originally Published on the ECOreport. A new Department of Energy map is a bit of an eye opener for those of us getting skeptical about the Golden State’s wind potential. According to an article in the Wallstreet Journal, wind power makes sense in Texas, but not in California, “which isn’t located in the ‘wind belt.’” That may be
DOE Map Helps Tell The Story Of US Wind Development was originally published on CleanTechnica.
Originally published on Renewables International. By Craig Morris Did you know that Socrates gave lectures on solar architecture? But no, he’s not the one who invented it – that honor goes back at least to the Chinese, according to the update of John Perlin’s classic from the 1970s entitled “A Golden Thread.” The new version,
Originally published on the ECOreport. SolarCity spokesperson Will Craven said that about 500 of their California customers have agreed to install batteries for power storage, but the state’s three biggest utilities have only connected 12 since 2011. He decided to go to the press after Southern California Edison (SCE) said they were going to charge
By Vic Shao The past few weeks of sunny weather have been paying off, literally, for California’s solar companies. On March 16th the state set a new record by drawing more than 16% of our energy use from solar energy. But even that isn’t enough for those of us that want to see our communities reach net