The Week in Solar: Dec 11-17, 2016

Each week, Bay Area Solar Solutions LLC takes a look at the world of solar and how it affects Floridians.  Below is the week of December 11-17, 2016; click on the links for the highlighted article exclusive.  Optimism in solar is gaining momentum as last week’s news attests.
Fortune Magazine takes a look at a new Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) study regarding solar power, renewables, and fossil fuels in terms of electricity generation.  Solar is poised to burn past wind by the end of the year as numbers come in, cites Bloomberg.  The cost of solar continues to drop as it outperforms coal and gas in the process.  
The Florida Takeaway:  Although China leads the pack in solar deployment, solar is also outperforming coal and gas in the Sunshine State as more installs lie on the horizon.  This is great news for Floridians, as the cost of solar drops while efficiency improves.
The University of Texas Austin’s Energy Institute has created an interactive map on types of power plants and how cheap they would be to build in all U.S. counties.  The University of Texas looked at such factors as construction costs, financing, operating costs, capacity factors, fuel, transmission and others when conducting the accompanying study and paper.  The US Energy Information Administration expects new capacity additions as well, as evidenced in the article.
The Florida Takeaway:  Florida’s rooftop solar capacity is strong and encouraging.  The interactive map provides evidence of cheaper costs for solar capacity in Florida and the promise of stronger growth as well when compared to other types of power plants.
The Washington Post reports Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and market analysis firm GTM Research published a new report recently on 2016’s 3rd quarter growth as well as forecasting a strong 2016 4th quarter and beyond.  This comes on the heels of President-elect Donald Trump’s precarious position on renewables going forward.
The Florida Takeaway:  Although Trump’s stance on renewables is not as favorable as fossil fuels, the solar sector is poised to grow well into the next decade.  Again, this is great news for Floridians; as other utilities rise, solar continues to drop in price.  Although subsidies such as the ITC may or may not vanish under the Trump regime, Floridians should expect to see top solar products and prices.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was selected by President-elect Donald Trump to join the Strategic and Policy Forum.  Musk’s contribution with solar is huge, as he recently introduced new solar technology with Solar City.  The Strategic and Policy Forum also includes business stalwarts such as Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.  
The Florida Takeaway:  Elon Musk is a solar giant.  His involvement in solar cannot be understated, as his company Solar City makes inroads to the state of Florida.  Floridians should pay attention to Elon Musk and Solar City; they are good for the industry regardless if one chooses another installer.  Musk’s involvement in the aforementioned forum should be monitored closely as well; if anything, he can positively affect Trump’s stance on renewables.
Harvard Business Review reports that while 2016 is a banner year for solar, antiquated regulations are holding the industry back.  Joshua M. Pearce and his research group conducted exhaustive studies on the solar market, and assert that if regulations such as plug-and-play solar were updated, the solar market would be radically altered to where a solar investment would be available to all.
The Florida Takeaway:  The concept of plug-and-play regulations is foreign to many Floridians as well as national residents.  An updated regulation of plug-and-play for Floridians would allow more consumers to save on utility bills.  Floridians may take part in this now by contacting their local and state representatives, urging them to adopt such regulations.

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