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Principal Solar Institute

A community for solar development professionals.

The Principal Solar Institute - Advancing the Solar Profession

Members of the Principal Solar Institute seek to learn:

  • How do you develop solar projects with long-term financial success?
  • What are the best solar technology products in the market - today and tomorrow?

If you are searching for these answers - whether from the perspective of technology, finance, or policy, then you should subscribe to our FREE email list to receive updates from the Principal Solar Institute here:

About the Principal Solar Institute

Our online reference center and resource guide is for solar development and installation professionals who make system component design recommendations and purchasing decisions in the commercial and utility scale market.

  • PSI Ratings - Unbiased Ratings for Solar PV modules
  • Webinars - Browse our list of online events for solar professionals
  • Resource Guide - Find organizations in the solar industry, and compare products by category
  • Whitepapers - Download whitepapers from industry experts
Webinars

Next Webinar Starts In:

Days
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Date & Time (EST) Title Presenters
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
9:30am - 7:30pm
An Introduction to NC Renewable Energy Project Development (North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association) -
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
9:00am - 1:00pm
Energy Storage Association 25th Annual Conference (Energy Storage Association) -
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Whitepapers 

  • Investing in the Power of the Sun - The Capitalist Case for Solar Energy By: Michael Gorton, Chief Executive Officer / Chairman, Principal Solar and Dan Bedell, Executive Vice President - Marketing & Corporate Development, Principal Solar

    This paper examines the recent past and potential future of photovoltaic (PV) solar in terms of how it has compared with traditional generation and how, even without government subsidies, solar utility scale projects will reach a price per KWh that will be at - or less than - traditional generation, possibly as soon as 2014. Now is the time for traditional conservative thinking to re-examine the facts about solar energy and explore its potential for not only delivering more efficient and less costly power, but also for creating jobs and opportunities that jump-start economic growth. This jump-start would be possible because electricity drives... More »

    Investing in the Power of the Sun - The...
  • Solar Industry Goes Mainstream: Revolutionary PV Module Rating System Empowers Solar Professionals By: Ken Allen, COO, Principal Solar; Rick Borry, CTO, Principal Solar; Dan Bedell, Executive Vice President - Marketing & Corporate Development, Principal Solar; Kirk Blankenship, Institute Development, Principal Solar Institute; and Matthew Thompson, Executive Director, Principal Solar Institute

    The Principal Solar Institute (PSI) has launched the PSI PV Module Rating, the industry's first and only comprehensive, independent rating standard for comparing PV modules. The rating method is constructed without bias: PSI has no affiliation with any PV module manufacturer and no interest in promoting one over another. The ratings are designed to allow large-scale solar consumers to make informed, intelligent comparisons and decisions when selecting PV modules. The PSI PV Module Rating is a comparative number that can be used with pricing information to provide power plant designers, buyers and financiers with a consistent basis for choosin... More »

    Solar Industry Goes Mainstream: Revoluti...
  • Solutions for the Texas Energy Shortage By: Ron Seidel, Principal, RBS Energy Consulting

    In the summer of 2011, Texas experienced extremely low reserve margin periods throughout the state…causing average wholesale electricity prices to skyrocket to more than twice their normal level. Given that Texas is expected to add another 14 million to its population between 2010 and 2030,1 these shortages raise alarms about the state’s ability to meet future energy demand. Success will depend upon finding the most effective way to incent the development of more capacity. Unlike many other states, Texas has had a competitive retail market for electricity since 2001, replacing the traditional cost of a service-based regulated ma... More »

    Solutions for the Texas Energy Shortage
  • Technological Niches: Concentrated Solar Thermal vs. Photovoltaic Solar By: Rick Borry, CTO, Principal Solar

    Concentrated solar thermal and photovoltaic solar technologies have evolved independently for decades, and both are approaching "grid-parity" power prices in many applications today. This paper will explore the different situations where each technology succeeds or fails in today's electric power generation marketplace, specifically excluding non-electric applications such as solar hot water heating. As of 2012, PV has come to dominate all smaller-scale solar electricity applications, while retaining the majority market share even in commercial and utility-scale applications. CSP retains a strong niche at the utility-scale and in combined hea... More »

    Technological Niches: Concentrated Solar...
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  • New PV and Natural Gas Electric Capacity - US

    This interesting graph shows the growth of utility-scale solar PV, as compared to natural gas. Download it now to see the details. You should also register for our free live/recoreded webinar: As Coal Dims, Will Solar Shine? Perspective on a Changing Electricity Industry Thursday, August 21, 2014 2:00pm - 3:00pm CDT More »

    New PV and Natural Gas Electric Capacity...
  • New PV compared to new coal plants in USA

    This graph dramatically shows the extinction of coal generation in the US. Solar continues to climb. Hear more about this at a free live/recorded webinar: As Coal Dims, Will Solar Shine? Perspective on a Changing Electricity Industry Feel free to download our analysis and use it in your presentations and discussions. More »

    New PV compared to new coal plants in US...
  • Texas and Germany: Energy Twins?

    There are surprising similarities in the way German and Texas think about their electricity markets. Both are fully deregulated and competitive. Both have large and growing amounts of wind and solar power. Both have economically-efficient “energy-only” markets, where power producers get paid for their energy, not for providing stand-by capacity. And both have questions about market structures and avoiding blackouts. Presented by The University of Texas Energy Institute, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Heinrich Böll Foundation, and CleanTX. Click the download button for more information and to register for this live ev... More »

    Texas and Germany: Energy Twins?
Documents

Turning Green into Greener
March 8, 2012 4:03pm

Documents

Introduction to PSI Ratings
August 31, 2012 10:44pm

Documents

U.S. EIA Forecast for Solar
May 25, 2014 9:37am

Documents

Webinar Slides: PACE Comes To Texas
September 26, 2013 4:12pm

Documents

Webinar Proposal Form
November 18, 2011 11:24am

Documents

Solar Calculators
May 1, 2014 9:47pm

Documents

EIA-860 Instructions
August 19, 2014 1:47pm

Documents

EIA-860 Survey Form
August 19, 2014 1:51pm

Documents

2014 SPI Poster
October 20, 2014 8:25am

News: Principal Solar Institute 
  • The Spill at Dan River December 8, 2014 7:30pm

    The Spill at Dan River: Lesley Stahl reports on how Duke Energy is handling over 100 million tons of coal ash waste in North Carolina I grew up in South Carolina with Duke as my utility and my impression was that they are well admired as a utility, community citizen, and employer.  But they clearly could do better with coal ash, and I think that solar will be part of their solution. They did a good job today of providing more information to those who want to solve the problem, and not just ye...
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  • A Deeper Look into Yieldco Structuring October 7, 2014 10:25am

    A Deeper Look into Yieldco Structuring: Yieldcos seem to be the renewable energy financing mechanism in vogue lately. As the newest 2014 headliners, TerraForm Power and NextEra Energy attract media attention, and NRG Yield continues to exceed expectations, many industry stakeholders are asking: what is a yieldco and why is it attractive from an investment and finance perspective?
    View this post

  • SEIA calls for investment tax credit rethink March 28, 2014 11:29am

    SEIA calls for investment tax credit rethink: The Obama administrations budget proposal allows the U.S. Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to expire on December 31, 2016.  The 30% ITC will be replaced with a Production Tax Credit (PTC) equivalent to $0.022/kWh. Fuel cell and small wind project investors will also lose out on the 30% tax redemption offered by the ITC with geothermal, microturbines and combined heat and power projects set to lose a 10% allowance under the credit, at the end of 2016. U...
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  • Solar Less Than 5¢/kWh In Austin, Texas! March 28, 2014 11:21am

    Solar Less Than 5¢/kWh In Austin, Texas!: Solar power is apparently going to be sold to Austin Energy for a tiny bit less than 5¢/kWh under a new 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SunEdison. It’s from two solar power plants totaling 150-megawatts of capacity — a 350,000-panel, 100-megawatt facility; and a 150,000-panel, 50-megawatt facility nearby. Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/13/solar-sold-less-5%c2%a2kwh-austin-texas/#3FQ4PQOmDw7piuBw.99 This is incredible new...
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  • Anatomy of a Deal: 4-Cent-per-Kilowatt-Hour Solar in Palo... March 21, 2014 11:56am

    Anatomy of a Deal: 4-Cent-per-Kilowatt-Hour Solar in Palo Alto “The PPA takes advantage of the usual 30 percent investment tax credit, plus a generous five-year, 29-cent-per-kilowatt-hour performance-based incentive (PBI).” “Rubin revealed that the project sold for $2.87 per watt and had a sub-$2.50-per-watt installed cost.” This project was 398 kW distributed on 12 rooftops.
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  • Why We Need Edward Snowden in Solar and The Market for Lemons February 28, 2014 12:06pm

    Why We Need Edward Snowden in Solar and The Market for Lemons: I’m glad to see things like Mercatus Single Point of Truth, TruSolar’s uniform credit screening, Energy Sage’s consumer research and Principal Solar Institute’s PSI ratings. These can all serve useful purposes,  in the same way the used car industry has Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds.com and Carfax these are all ways to decrease information asymmetry.  Nice to see the PSI Rating’s becoming part of the conversation!
    View this post

Network Information

Contacts

  • Matthew Thompson
    Matthew Thompson

    Executive Director
    Principal Solar Institute
    Austin, Texas


  • Laura Carabello
    Laura Carabello

    Media Relations
    CPR
    Elmwood Park, NJ


  • Dan Bedell
    Dan Bedell

    Executive Vice President - Marketing & Corporate Development
    Principal Solar
    Dallas, Texas


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