The Week in Solar: February 12-18, 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 February 12-18, 2017; click on the red links for the highlighted article exclusive.

donald-trump-1041129_640Energy experts give Trump the hard truth: You can’t bring coal back

Joe Romm of ThinkProgress writes how Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) issues a stern message to President Trump that coal is not coming back.  Energy experts from BNEF have issued a report tearing down Trump’s claims for coal revitalizing the economy.

Coal power is just too costly and inflexible, explains BNEF: “Super-low-cost renewable power — what we are now calling ‘base-cost renewables’ — is going to force a revolution in the way power grids are designed, and the way they are regulated.”

The Florida Takeaway:  Although there are no coal plants in Florida, parts of Florida are indeed powered by coal plants.  Trump’s siding with coal for the time being puts a slight damper on Florida solar, but as the article indicates, coal may be eventually phased out.  As a former employee in the coal industry, I saw the dirty effects of coal up close and personal.  I know how much the coal industry affects the community and its economy, but a better, cleaner, more financially viable solution is at hand NOW–Florida solar.

untitled-designIt’s Valentine’s Day. I’m Finally Ready to Fall in Love With Community Solar

GreenTech Media shows lots of solar love, this time evidenced by their latest article on community solar.  Corey Honeyman writes on their behalf, chronicling a Valentine’s Day request for all to embrace community solar as much as he does.  Honeyman visits community solar of 2016 and forecasts and even stronger relationship for 2017.
The Florida Takeaway:  Community solar is a concept that is pretty new nationwide, even in the Sunshine State.  However, it is gaining traction, especially with the momentum caused by recent co-ops.  Several groups have sparked Florida co-ops such as The League of Women Voters and FL SUN.  Although leasing programs and PPAs are still not available in Florida, community solar in the form of co-ops certainly is, and with more legislature, leasing programs and PPAs may become available.  Floridians deserve to choose the best options for their energy needs, and more options in solar provide win-win situations.

Duke Energy customers could see higher bills to pay for coal ash cleanup

The Charlotte Observer’s Bruce Henderson posits the idea of Duke Energy raising rates to cover an ash spill.  The cleanup’s proposed $5 billion hike will cover over 3 million North Carolinians under Duke Energy.  The proposal must be passed by the North Carolina Utilities Commission in order to take effect, and the state will hear public comments until April 5.
The Florida Takeaway:  Coal/ash spills are nasty, and more often than not, ratepayers see its nastiness in the form of rate hikes.  Again, no coal plants operate in Florida, but Duke Energy’s presence in Florida is large.  Duke Energy is no stranger to Florida rate hikes, even proposing a rate hike as recent as last September.  Unlike coal, there are no rate hikes in solar.  There are no solar spills.  There are no solar cleanup costs.  Bankable, clean energy in the form of Florida solar.  A safe, effective bet for all Floridians.

we-all-wonFlorida Senate committee passes bill to implement Amendment 4

PV-Tech’s Danielle Ola recently wrote of the passing of Amendment 4 by the Florida Senate.  SB90 (the named bill) was unanimously approved Amendment 4, which was voted upon in August.  The bill will allow tax exemptions for solar on commercial buildings starting in 2018 and lasting for 20 years.

“This bill will further encourage growth in clean energy jobs in our state,” said Jeff Brandes, bill sponsor. “We will be in a better position to take advantage of increased energy diversity while addressing environmental concerns. Florida should be a leader in solar, and the passage of this bill brings us one step closer to tht reality.”


The Florida Takeaway:  Amendment 4’s passing is great news for Florida solar.  It, however, somehow disappeared amidst the Amendment 1 fight that endured until its bitter end in November (to the happiness of all Floridians for solar no less!).  With the passing of Amendment 4 and the failure of Amendment 1, Florida solar is in great position to be a national solar leader.  A better environment, better energy options, better affordability–now is a great time to put Florida on the solar map!

UPS Announces $18 Million Investment In Onsite Solar Energy, 5x Onsite Solar Growth

UPS is getting a HUGE solar makeover, writes James Ayre, of CleanTeachnica.  A makeover to the tune of $18 million.  The 10 megawatt system project will be composed of approximately 26,000 panels and should be installed on various buildings by the end of the year.  UPS currently uses solar in locations across the U.S., and will be involved in the design and implementation of said project.
The Florida Takeaway:  Although the locations of the UPS facilities incorporating solar has not been formally announced, Florida does house many UPS buildings.  Let’s cross our fingers.  In the meantime, let us rejoice in commercial solar and its presence in Florida.  Several business such as IKEA have installed massive solar arrays in Florida, and more are coming.  As solar becomes more mainstream–not just in name, but also in efficiency and bankability, more residential and commercial applications will follow suit.  Commercial applications tend to attract residential owners to pursue solar.  With each additional installation, albeit commercial or residential, the power of solar grows.  The power of Florida solar, in your hands, Floridians!



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