The Week in Solar: March 5-11, 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 March 5-11, 2017; click on the red links for the highlighted article exclusive.

Clean energy is now as big as pharmaceutical manufacturing in the US

David Roberts of Vox writes how clean energy’s surge has passed several industries in revenue, such as pharmaceutical companies.  The clean energy sector is catching up on consumer electronics as well.  Further packaged as Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the sector includes:  building efficiency, electricity delivery and management, advanced transportation, fuel production, advanced industry, fuel delivery, and electricity generation, cites Roberts.  Solar falls into the electricity generation category, and Roberts asserts that the AEE outpaces the world economy.  Check out the report here.
The Florida Takeaway:  This is encouraging news, to hear that solar is part of a continuing booming market.  We as Floridians have a responsibility in promoting clean energy, and solar is certainly the right choice to go (and grow!).  We have an amazing opportunity in the “Sunshine State” to be forerunners in clean energy, helping the economy and the environment is a win-win for Florida solar!


Study proves (again) that net metering can undervalue solar

PV Magazine’s Frank Andorka is at again with another article on net metering and solar policies, this time featuring the state of Minnesota.  Andorka writes about the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has undervalued the net metering program, especially when connecting it with ratepayers and the grid.  The commission looked into a Value-of-Solar-Tariff (VOST) study as well, and compared it with net metering policies.  They will render a decision soon.

“Under net metering, solar customers get compensated by the utility for the excess energy they export back to the grid at the retail rate for electricity, Under a VOST system, it’s not a strictly one-to-one payment because a VOST takes into account other benefits of solar energy, such as its environmental, employment and other benefits. As a result, imposing a VOST system more often than not values solar more highly that a typical net-metering program does.”

–Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

The Florida Takeaway:  Although Florida does not have tariff programs with utilities as of now, most Florida utilities have net metering programs (each is different, however).  As states such as Arizona, Nevada, and Minnesota take net metering policies to task, it would be wise for Floridians to take notice, and fight for proper net metering policies.  Proper policies such as receiving retail rates instead of wholesale rates when there is a surplus.  Better net metering policies will ensure more solar customers; however it may be worth doing a VOST study to see how tariffs would affect the solar industry in Florida.

Tesla’s new solar energy station will power Hawaii at night

“Energy generated during the day will power Kauai when the sun goes down,” states Roberto Baldwin for Engadget.  Baldwin cites the use of Tesla’s Powerpacks as part of the energy station that will help Hawaii go solar at night.  Also known as the Kapai project, it will house a Solar City solar farm and the aforementioned Tesla Powerpacks in an effort to reach the island’s 70% solar initiative by 2030.
The Florida Takeaway:  This is the first major combination of Elon Musk’s companies, Solar City and Tesla.  This comes as huge news, and Musk will not stop at just Hawaii.  His Tesla Powerpacks, in helping store energy at night, are revolutionary in that sense.  Many are concerned with solar at night and how efficient such is, and Powerpacks provide one of the answers.  Power/energy storage is important for Hawaii, as its grid system is much different than Florida’s.  However, as Florida solar becomes more mainstream, the idea of energy storage will become more bankable and feasible as well.  We must combine efforts with utilities (just as Kauai Island Utility Cooperative did with Solar City/Tesla) in order to promote bankable energy for all.

untitled-designFrance ramped up solar ambitions after PV ‘overshot expectations’

Liam Stoker writes on PV-Tech’s behalf that France has higher solar ambitions than ever before.  This comes on the heels of surpassing industry expectations, as Stoker states the country has a “…target of 23% renewable generation by 2030.”  Alexis Duterte, at the Solar Power Summit in Brussels, made several strong comments regarding solar in France and the European Union.  Duterte is the deputy permanent representative of France to the European Union, and encourages both small and large-scale solar plants across France.

“[Solar] has overshot expectations, and we’ve acted accordingly to increase our ambitions.”

–Alexis Duterte, deputy permanent representative of France to the European Union

The Florida Takeaway:  It’s good to see solar growing on the world stage.  Solar is huge in Europe,  and strong in countries such as France, Greece, and France.  It’s time for a state representative to REALLY promote solar in Florida, to fight for solar as so many leaders across the world have and are.  The grassroots effort of solar has come a long way, and will continue to grow even more–especially if a prominent politician endorses it wholeheartedly.  Yes, we know grid systems are different in Europe, and so are many energy systems.  But so is solar, and Florida has the opportunity to grow now as well.  We must keep Florida solar ambitions high as well, and surpass them even the more!

California just hit an incredible solar power milestone


The duck curve, as illustrated by changes in changes net power demand in California. CREDIT: CAISO

“Want to see the future of energy?  Head west,” starts Jeremy Deaton in his article for ThinkProgress (Deaton writes for Nexus Media).  Deaton writes how California continues to study energy and and its demands, and how solar fits into the equation.  Using several graphs, Deaton also illustrates demands (forecasted, actual, net), net loads, and  renewable energy output to weigh solar and its effectiveness.  California is the nation’s leader in solar, and grid maintenance as well as supplying energy demand are key issues when discussing solar and energy.  Energy storage and investments must happen for solar to realize its true potential in California.  Deaton concludes with the taunting line, “Should Texas, for example, want to take advantage of its abundant sunshine, California can show the Lone Star state how to do it.”
The Florida Takeaway:  California is plowing ahead with solar.  We get it.  Or do we?  California’s energy demand is greater than Florida’s, but that should give us all the more reason to seize solar NOW.  To do in-depth energy studies now.  About how solar CAN coexist with utilities and power companies while the grid remains under control.  Utilities are notorious for raising rates while the cost for solar continues to go down.  And that is very true here in Florida–as energy demands rise (and therefore by extension utilities raise rates), solar keeps become more bankable.  No more dirty coal ash.  No more oil spills.  Just good, clean energy that you can own–Florida solar.



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