The Week in Solar: January 1-7, 2017

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 January 1-7, 2017; click on the links for the highlighted article exclusive.

Outgoing US Energy Secretary Lauds Obama Era Solar Boom

Recently, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz released a memo noting the gains of renewables under the Obama administration.  Although the Obama presidency is drawing to close and Moniz’s exit will occur as well, the solar industry has increased dramatically the last 8 years.  Moniz, a nuclear physicist, states that solar capacity has enjoyed a 25-fold increase during Obama’s presidency.  
The Florida Takeaway:  Florida has enjoyed a surge in solar during the Obama administration as well, due in part to the investment tax credit (ITC).  Although there may be some questions regarding solar during Trump’s presidency, the outlook for solar in Florida is extremely bright.  According to Solar Energy Industries Association, “Over the next five years, Florida is expected to install 2,315 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking the state ninth over that time span. This amount is more than 19 times the amount of solar installed over the last five years.”


Community Solar Comes to Coal Country

PV Magazine reports that solar is coming to Appalachia, a place where coal mines reign supreme.  Buckeye Power, out of Columbus, Ohio, recently announced a community solar installation of 2.1 MW.  The installation is part of the OurSolar project which allows cooperatives to give residents power options.
The Florida Takeaway:  As solar becomes a more viable power option for Floridians, more utility and power companies will invest in solar.  Florida at this point in time does not have power-purchase agreements (PPAs) that would be beneficial in such cases, but solar cooperatives do exist, such as FLSUN.  Florida may not have coal plants either, but it is encouraging to see utility companies back solar and at least give residents options.

China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020

The New York Times recently cited that,  “China intends to spend more than $360 billion through 2020 on renewable power sources like solar and wind, the government’s energy agency said on Thursday.”  The reporting agency also forecast 13 million jobs created by renewables by 2020 as well as a drastic reduction in soot pollution.  Over the last decade, China has been a leader in worldwide solar, and “may meet its 2020 goals for solar installation by 2018”, said Lauri Myllyvirta, a Greenpeace researcher.
The Florida Takeaway:  China’s desire to be the worldwide leader rings loud in Florida.  The great solar race has been won by China thus far, but the United States has an amazing opportunity going forward.  This of course, includes Floridians.  According to SEIA, Florida is expected to jump several states in solar capacity by 2020.  However, the “Sunshine State” has some ground to make in being #1, as Florida ranks significantly behind California, New York, and New Jersey in solar installations.  Floridians would be well served to keep an eye on China solar, as it may impact policies here in the US.

untitled-designSolar Industry Tackles Financial Barriers by Merging Two Key Organizations

Greentech Media reports The Solar Energy Finance Association (SEFA) and the aforementioned SEIA will be joining forces to accomplish joint solar goals.  One such goal, according to Julian Spector of Greentech Media, is “to break down barriers keeping solar companies away from the cheap capital they need to grow.”
“As a newer organization, sometimes it was a struggle to have the resources to implement our ideas…We can focus all our energies on the problems at hand in solar finance and not as much on the day-to-day running of the organization.”
–Mary Rottman, SEFA President
The Florida Takeaway:  Both organizations have been instrumental in solar data for Floridians.  Both organizations have been amazing resources for Floridians interested in solar as well as solar companies, and the merger’s impact cannot be understated.  A win for both companies as well as Florida!

How Will Rick Perry Run the Department of Energy?

UtilityDive poses the above question in a recent article.  Perry, the Texas governor, was recently selected by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Department of Energy.  The article features conflicting views on just how exactly Perry will run the DOE as well as his background in politics and energy.  
The Florida Takeaway:  Perry seems an odd choice for Trump, considering he once called for the end of the DOE.  This of course, should be some cause of concern, and monitored accordingly.  Although Texas has enjoyed massive solar and wind growth during Perry’s term, Perry also has strong relationships with big oil.  The general consensus is that Obama policies such as the investment tax credit (ITC)  may not be affected by Perry and Trump, though it remains to be seen.



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