The Week in Solar: January 22-28, 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 22-28, 2017; click on the red links for the highlighted article exclusive.

Renewable Energy Is Creating Jobs 12 Times Faster Than the Rest of the Economy

Kate Samuelson of Fortune posts a report on the expedient job creation in the renewable energy sector.  Solar and wind are outpacing the U.S. economy by 12%, per report.

The renewable energy sector has seen rapid growth over recent years, driven largely by significant reductions in manufacturing and installation costs. Building developers and owners have been fueled by state and local building efficiency policies and incentives, the report explains.

–Kate Samuelson, Fortune

The Florida Takeaway:  Solar’s growth in the last decade has been amazing, and continues to have an effect on the economy.  As solar and wind outpace national and state economies, the consequences are great.  More job creation, a better economy on the state and local level.  More affordability for homeowners and businesses.  Florida wins all the way around.

untitled-designAmerica is torn apart by partisan politics—except when it comes to buying solar power

A new PowerScout study features increasing solar installations on both sides of the political spectrum, writes Michael J. Coren, for Quartz Media LLC.  PowerScout showcases installations in red and blue states alike such as Arizona and California, respectively, with partisanship being a non-factor when purchasing solar.
The Florida Takeaway:  Florida, in national terms, is a purple (or swing) state, featuring red and blue county/city strongholds.  In the 2016 general election, Florida had more red counties although highly populated counties such as Orange, Miami-Dade, and Hillsborough were blue.  However, solar installations rose across the state and will continue to do so.  As Coren states, “When it comes to solar, practicality seems to trump partisanship.”

SunShot $1 per Watt Solar Cost Goal: Mission Accomplished, Years Ahead of Schedule

Another solar goal planned, another solar met.  This time in smashing fashion, as SunShot was able to surpass a solar goal 3 years early, writes Eric Wesoff, of Greentech Media.  The SunShot Initiative, developed by Steven Chu and Dick Swanson (of U.S. Department of Energy and SunPower, respectively), reached the goal of $1 per-watt pricing for utility-fixed solar systems by targeting the following 4 areas:
  • Technologies for solar cells and arrays

  • Power electronics to optimize the performance of the installation

  • Improvements in solar manufacturing processes

  • Installation, design and permitting for solar energy systems

    (source:  Greentech Media)

The Florida Takeaway:  Although utility-fixed solar systems are not as common in Florida as other states, the news is encouraging for all of solar.  As the SunShot Initiative focused on technology, electronic optimization, manufacturing improvements, and system design, improvements across the solar board should help all forms of Florida solar.  By reaching a goal 3 years in advance, the lowering price of solar for utilities should be a shining sign for residential and commercial solar as well.  It’s a great time for Florida solar!

untitled-designElon Musk Has Trump’s Ear, and Wall Street Takes Note

Solar mogul and pioneer Elon Musk has the attention of Wall Street and President Donald Trump, cites James B. Stewart of The New York Times.  Although the relationship of Trump and Musk has not been smooth altogether, it has improved as of late.  Musk’s recent criticism of Trump has been negated by his acceptance into Trump’s strategy and policy group as well as Musk’s endorsement of Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (of Exxon-Mobile).  Wall Street’s reflection of Musk’s companies, Tesla and Solar City, have been generous as of late as stock prices in both have grown.
The Florida Takeaway:  It will be interesting to see how this relationship develops, as both are renowned businessmen.  With Solar City’s introduction to the Florida market, Elon Musk and company are poised to make a dent.  Hopefully, Musk can convince Trump of solar’s value, especially here in Florida.  Musk’s companies already receive government subsidies on the federal level, and Floridians currently enjoy the federal investment tax credit when purchasing solar.

Week 1 of the Trump Presidency: Infrastructure Plans, Budget Cuts, Appointees and More

Julia Pyper of Greentech Media records Trump’s shift in policy during his first week as President and going forward.  Much has happened under the radar according to Greentech Media.  Per report, a few of the developments include:
  • An America First Energy Plan

  • Trump lists infrastructure priorities, including in wind, solar and energy storage

  • The return of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines

  • Massive budget cuts at the EPA?

  • Major budget cuts at the DOE?

  • DOE Nominee Rick Perry defends research, responds to budget cuts

  • Interior Nominee Ryan Zinke defends fossil fuels, opposes public lands transfer

The Florida Takeaway:  With budget cuts, appointees, and policy reform, the Trump Administration has major plans underway.  This will no doubt affect Florida solar, but how and when may not be known in the near future.  Trump’s thoughts on solar have not been flattering in the past, as he has favored fossil fuels much of his business career.  However, with Rick Perry and the aforementioned Musk on board, solar’s best days may be ahead in the Trump Administration.  With or without Trump, however, Floridians have the power to switch to solar today and enjoy great savings!



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