The Week in Solar: January 8-14, 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 8-14, 2017; click on the links for the highlighted article exclusive.

Former Exxon CEO ‘not aware’ of the existence of fossil fuel subsidies

In a recent ThinkProgress report, Rex Tillerson somehow claims that fossil fuel companies do not receive subsidies.  During a recent Secretary of State confirmation hearing, the former Exxon CEO stated that:

“I’m not aware of anything the fossil fuel industry gets that I would characterize as a subsidy…Rather it’s simply the application of the tax code broadly, tax code that broadly applies to all industry.”

However, Oil Change International reports that Exxon receives government subsidies, sometimes to the tune of $1 billion per year.  Subsidies may be for exploration and “intangible drilling costs,” ThinkProgress cites.
The Florida Takeaway:  As future Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson’s ties to big oil cannot be understated.  His reluctance to call a spade a spade may mean he is overlooking solar.  Solar’s main government subsidy is the investment tax credit, although it is not solar specific.  Perhaps Tillerson and Rick Perry and the rest of the Trump team can ramp up solar subsidies, if they can admit such, or “not” admit such.

untitled-designWith a Record $1.4 Trillion in Sustainability Assets, Investors Bail on Fossil Fuels

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) addresses the fact that more investors are turning from fossil fuels and to renewables.  Developments are many, such as Bill Gates launching a new fund for greenhouse energy and investors dropping trillions from portfolios.  This change on fossil fuels and renewables is due to two main ideologies:  risk and return, per report.
The Florida Takeaway:  Each day, more and more are seeing the value of renewables.  When Wall Street talks, we can surely listen.  The moving of portfolio funds from fossil fuels to renewables in such large amounts is telling.  Florida is sure to benefit from such, as investors see the real value of solar soaring and shining above fossil fuels.  This, in turn, should make solar more bankable for all Floridians.

Enphase receives much-needed influx of cash

Enphase, a leading microinverter company, recently shared the news that they received $10 million from two investors, PV Magazine reports.  Enphase has a hard time meeting quarterly goals in the recent past, but the added capital should help the brand refocus.  Enphase’s competitor, SolarEdge, has surpassed them of late in the inverter/power optimizer arena.
The Florida Takeaway:  This is good news for both Enphase and SolarEdge as well as Floridians.  According to the report, Enphase’s cost per watt is higher than SolarEdge’s, and this investment may spur Enphase to lower their costs for Floridians.  This also includes marked improvements in product performance, which for Floridians, is a better, more efficient solar system.

untitled-designSolar can provide key grid services: California ISO report

Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and First Solar recently conducted a study on how renewable energy generation affects grid operations, Platts features.  The study was conducted in California, the leading solar state, and showcases encouraging numbers in grid services for renewables compared to conventional power plants in grid operations.  Some services that may be included are frequency response and frequency regulation to power quality, per report.
The Florida Takeaway:  Florida can learn a few things from California regarding solar.  This study is encouraging on many levels, perhaps none more so than bettering the relationship between utilities and solar.  If solar can convince utilities that it is actually helping the grid become better by providing better services than conventional power plants, everybody wins.  Especially Florida solar!

Here’s Every Company That Entered the US Energy Storage Game in 2016

GreenTechMedia recently published companies that have products in renewable energy storage, specifically solar.  From Sunrun to Lockheed Martin to Swiss battery maker Leclanche, companies are increasingly seeing the value in energy storage in the US.
The Florida Takeaway:  More companies entering the energy storage arena in solar will hopefully make Florida solar more bankable in terms of overall energy desires.  Although most solar installations in Florida are tied to the grid, energy storage such as central inverters and batteries have increased of late.  Energy storage components are on the rise, and Floridians going solar now have more options than ever.



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