Money talks: Utilities may be forced to go green to keep customers

Money talks: Utilities may be forced to go green to keep customers

Utilities
The central lesson for utilities in the talk of a death spiral is if they don’t give their customers what they want, they go elsewhere. To date, that talk is mostly about rooftop solar taking their revenues, but some utilities have begun to notice some of their biggest key accounts looking for greener pastures. Well, greener energy. “This is a new environment. You don’t just build it and shove it in the rate base. There is a more open dialogue. Renewable energy is at the center of that,” explained Altenex Managing Director Duncan McIntyre. Read the full Story
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Latest Report Shows Cost of Going Solar has Dropped Significantly for 5 Years

Latest Report Shows Cost of Going Solar has Dropped Significantly for 5 Years

Solar Power
The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab today released the eighth installment of the Tracking the Sun report series, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. The report shows that the installed price of distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States continues to fall precipitously, especially in the last 5 years. The report provides a comprehensive summary of installed price trends for residential and non-residential photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in the United States through year-end 2014, with preliminary data for the first half of 2015. Among other key findings, the report shows that U.S. distributed solar prices have continued to rapidly fall, declining by 10 to 20 percent in 2014, with similar trends persisting into 2015. The latest edition of Tracking the Sun, along with an accompanying summary slide…
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Has Solar Power in Florida reached a tipping point?

Has Solar Power in Florida reached a tipping point?

Growth
Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), the city’s electricity provider, signed a 20 year power purchase agreement (PPA) at $0.07 per kWh with American Capital Energy for the output of the 13 MW Curtis Stanton Energy Center, the Orlando Sentinel reports.  The new solar power, the utility reports, costs it less than the $0.08 per kWh cost the company incurs generating electricity from coal and natural gas. Read the full article.
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Massachusetts Solar Bill Raises Net Metering Caps, Looks to Replace SREC Program

Massachusetts Solar Bill Raises Net Metering Caps, Looks to Replace SREC Program

Incentives, Net Metering, Politics
// Greentech Media: Headlines This past Friday, Governor Charlie Baker filed a solar bill in Massachusetts. That fact alone -- the act of filing a bill, without regard to its content -- was welcome news for the solar industry and solar customers in the state. With non-residential net-metering solar development capped in the 171 cities and towns in National Grid service territory, and the ITC cliff fast approaching, legislative action this fall to lift the net-metering caps is the critical priority for Massachusetts solar advocates, and the clock is ticking. Now, after the Senate passed a net-metering cap increase two weeks ago, and after the governor acted on Friday, a bill appears within reach. That is great news. But what about the content of the Baker administration’s proposal?  What’s in…
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Support for Solar Power crosses political party lines

Support for Solar Power crosses political party lines

Environment, Politics, Public Opinion
Remember, while only five of the 54 Republicans in the Senate voted in agreement with the statement that "climate change is real, caused by human activity, and that Congress should do something about it", among their constituents, the numbers are much different, where 63 percent of Republicans think the federal government should “limit the release of greenhouse gases from existing sources in an effort to reduce global warming.” http://morningconsult.com/2015/08/republican-voters-generally-support-clean-power-plan-fundamentals
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Not all solar panels are created equal

Not all solar panels are created equal

Manufacturing, Solar Panels
Even though every panel is rated out to 20 to 25 years, that does not mean they are all necessarily equal, nor will a panel developed for use in warm, arid areas be the best choice in the colder Northern climates: Manufacturers can differentiate themselves from their competitors and optimize their module designs for the intended applications, according to a paper summarizing the efforts, "Three-Prong Path to Comprehensive Technical Standards for Photovoltaic Reliability." Modules built for heavy snow may need not only thicker glass but heavier-duty frames and support rails, all of which increase upfront costs. But money may be saved in the long run by the manufacturer who differentiates, building a hardier module for the most difficult climates and a slimmed-down, less expensive module for milder climates. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2015/04/assuring-solar-modules-will-last-for-decades?cmpid=rss
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