Is the outlook for Solar cloudy in Massachusetts?

Is the outlook for Solar cloudy in Massachusetts?

Commercial Solar, Community Solar, Politics
By almost every imaginable measure, Massachusetts’ solar movement has been a resounding success, yet its future is in doubt Pushed forward by a number of tailwinds, including the Federal Investment Tax Credit, the State-imposed Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (which created the SREC and SREC-II Programs), and some of the highest retail prices for electricity in the country - solar in Massachusetts has helped lead the way for the country in moving towards more environmentally sustainable energy generation. In addition, job growth in the Bay State has been robust. The state has added over 15,000 solar employees and almost 100,000 clean energy and efficiency professionals. In fact, Massachusetts ranks only behind the much more populous California among states with the most people employed in the solar industry. Unfortunately, this means that…
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Next Step Living reaches over 10,000 reservations for community solar gardens

Next Step Living reaches over 10,000 reservations for community solar gardens

Community Solar
Even amid the strong growth of the U.S. solar market, community solar, where customers sign up for shares in remote utility-scale solar projects, stands out as an area of particularly rapid expansion. In June GTM Research estimated that the U.S. community solar market would grow five-fold this year to reach 115 MW, and would grow to over 500 MW annually by 2020. An announcement today by Massachusetts-based Next Step Living is in line with these trends. The company reports that it has reached nearly 11,000 reservations for community solar gardens, with more than 1,500 contracts for gardens expected to go live in late November in Western Massachusetts. Next Step Living says that at these rates, Massachusetts residents are signing up for around 2 MW of solar PV per month. In Massachusetts, community…
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The backlash against solar companies by California’s public utilities

The backlash against solar companies by California’s public utilities

Uncategorized
Transitioning from the old way of doing things to the new way proves difficult when opposing parties having different interests. And when the government is involved, situations can grow even more stressful. Recently, public utilities in California have lashed back against solar panel companies. Companies like Southern California Edison who have long enjoyed near monopoly power in California, argue that they face financial hardship as solar power becomes a more economical source of energy for homeowners. Less residences rely on the utilities for their power because solar energy is much more affordable. With a slight upfront investment, solar companies can lower home owners’ energy bills in California by an average of 20%. Throughout October, California utility companies are proposing an increase in cost of using solar for homeowners through fees and cutting back how much homeowners can…
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The time to raise solar net-metering caps in Massachusetts is NOW

The time to raise solar net-metering caps in Massachusetts is NOW

Politics
Massachusetts State Representative Robert DeLeo (follow him on Twitter), Senate President Stan Rosenberg (also on Twitter!), and others should all be applauded for separating the States net-metering caps from the rest of the energy-related legislation that's currently winding its way through Capitol Hill. The filling of the caps has stalled several solar projects across the state, due to the lack of certainty on the issue, so the sooner there is clarity on that, the sooner they can proceed. That net-metering, on its own, can not break Massachusetts’ dependance on fossil fuels, is certain. What it can do though is dramatically reduce our consumption of those fuels - Bloomberg recently confirmed that solar and wind power are LOWERING the amount of time fossil fuel plants are running - and we can push this success even further…
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My Uncle went solar, and is already seeing the results!

My Uncle went solar, and is already seeing the results!

Residential Solar
In residential solar-related news, last month my uncle made a triumphant post to Facebook, showing off his home, newly adorned with a PV array. [caption id="attachment_788" align="aligncenter" width="860"] A Massachusetts home with roof mounted solar panels.[/caption] The details are as follows: 10.8 kW installed and active as of September 10, 2015 Total cost of $44,900 Federal and State tax credits of approx. $14,500 Total cost down: $30,400 [adinserter block="1"] The installer, All Energy Solar of Amherst, MA, estimated that the system will generate 10 SRECs per year, and provided a guesstimated value of $325 per SREC, or $3,250/year. That might be a too rosy assumption, at least for the long-term, but he's looking at the long-term (life of system) benefits and not for the short-term. Anyways - his first electricity bill arrived recently…
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Hawaii ends net metering for new residential solar installs

Hawaii ends net metering for new residential solar installs

Net Metering, Residential Solar
Advocates of Net Energy Metering call it the most successful method so far to get people off fossil fuels. Now the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has ended the program for new solar customers. [adinserter block="1"] "The energy industry is not static. We have to continue to evolve our policies, our initiatives and our programs," PUC chairman Randy Iwase said. The PUC's order cuts the credit new PV customers will get for sending excess energy to the grid from 26.8 cents per kilowatt hour to about 15 cents under a new Grid Supply program. "That 15.07 cents on Oahu is an incentive," Iwase said. [caption id="attachment_754" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Net Metering. Image from energypedia.info[/caption] But RevoluSun's Colin Yost believes it will make it harder for consumers with low to moderate incomes to…
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Community Solar: Two Paths forward in Massachusetts

Community Solar: Two Paths forward in Massachusetts

Community Solar
Massachusetts has created a legal structure that says investor-owned utilities must allow Community Solar via Virtual Net Metering. There are two basic models – the Participant Ownership model and the Public Lease model. However a project is legally structured, the basic mechanics for delivering benefits to the projects participants is the same, thanks to virtual net metering. Once a community solar project has been commissioned, the utility measures how much electricity is produced, and then credits the accounts of the beneficiaries (owners or participants) based upon their amounts of ownership. Seems simple enough on the surface, but it took a lot of legal work from the State Legislature to create that benefit. Participant Ownership of Community Solar Projects "Participant Ownership" is the term used when a system is constructed with monies from, and will be owned by,…
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