Solar News of the Week: March 19-25, 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 19-25, 2017; click on the red links for the highlighted article exclusive.

GE to develop 13 solar projects in northeast US

Conor Ryan of PVTech writes of GE’s huge solar movement and upcoming projects.  GE’s solar subsidiary, Current, recently announced a 17mW project involving six states.  Facilities utilizing solar include a hospital, a rehab center, and life care provider center.

“The clean energy movement continues to surge ahead, and businesses all over the Northeast are leading the charge, including right here at GE. Smart companies are realizing that solar isn’t just good for the environment, but it can help their bottom lines too.”

–Erik Schiemann, general manager of solar at Current, GE

The Florida Takeaway:  Although the states mentioned are in the northeast, ANOTHER large company employing solar is encouraging.  We as Floridian’s have the opportunity to echo GE’s Erik Schiemann in helping our great Florida environment as well as padding our bottom lines!

Solar News of the WeekThe Wonder Material That May Make Spray-On Solar PV Reality

Bloomberg’s Chisaki Watanabe writes for Renewable Energy World regarding a substance that may change the future of solar.  The substance is perovskite, which is composed of several materials that harness light, chiefly calcium and titanium.  Applications may include spraying or printing on buildings and cars.  Several companies are racing to have the material ready for commercial applications.   Watanabe also mentions the challenges of perovskite solar technology, such as efficiency, price concerns, and means of applications.  Watanabe closes with the questioning of viablity of perovskites in solar by several in the solar industry.
The Florida Takeaway:  Solar technology is improving every day.  Although chrystalline panels provide the vast bulk of solar applications, other technologies such as perovskites are being developed at breakneck speed.  The questions remain about perovskites, whether their technology will catch on in time.  In the meantime Floridians, let us enjoy the great benefits of chrystalline panels (which are improving in their own right) such as harnessing the great energy from the Florida sun!
Nevada State Capitol; Source:  Amadscientist

Nevada Poised to Go Big on Clean Energy

“Nevada state lawmakers are back in Carson City, and they’re busy,” states Jessica Scott in her article for Renewable Energy World.  Vote Solar is an entity that has made its presence in Nevada known, as Scott leads their charge in the western state.  Scott writes of “…support lasting solar jobs, expand consumer energy options, and improve energy security” in Nevada by helping citizens understand and promote community solar, a renewable portfolio standard, and restoration of net metering.
The Florida Takeaway:  Although Nevada is some distance from Florida, we should keep an eye on other states and their solar policies.  Nevada, also known as the Silver State, has had an interesting past with solar policies, especially of late with net metering discussions.  In watching states such as Nevada and their solar policies, we as Floridians in the Sunshine State can also develop strong net metering policies, a great renewable portfolio standard, and huge community solar projects.  In doing so, Floridians, together we can support lasting solar jobs, expand consumer energy options, and improve energy security for our generations and beyond!

Critics say bill to authorize tax breaks is now a vehicle for solar barriers

The Miami Herald’s Mary Ellen Klas reports on the recent bill and how it may affect Floridians.  The bill, based on August’s Amendment 4, is undergoing language change before it exits the House.  It was recently passed by House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee, but much debate has ensued because of added language.  The language provides opportunities for the Public Service Commission to utilize more power for safety and performance, yet such rules are already in place.  The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues.

“At the end of the day, these are going to be confusing to consumers, potentially provide obstacles, and make it a little more difficult to purchase and install these energy saving devices on their homes.”

–Jeff Sharkey, lobbyist for Tesla, Solar City and the Energy Freedom Coalition of America, speaking on the bill’s “added language”

The Florida Takeaway:  This hits home and has largely gone unnoticed.  Floridians made 2 HUGE strides for solar in supporting Amendment 4 in August as well as defeating Amendment 1 in November.  However, it seems as several entities have a problem with Amendment 4 and are changing the language before it exits the house.  This is flat-out wrong, and bad politics by one Ray Rodrigues.  Rodrigues is certainly feeling the pressure from utility lobbyists as well as the Florida’s Public Service Commission.  We as Floridians must not tolerate this nonsense and expose this underhanded act NOW.  We voted loud and clear for Amendment 4, no change in language is needed.
Gulf Power employees.  Source:  Gulf Power

Florida’s Gulf Power drops rate hike proposal in crucial settlement

Gulf Power is pulling back a recent proposal, writes Danielle Ola, for PVTech.  The utility giant dropped a huge rate proposal which would have increased power rates by 155%; finally settling to an agreement with Florida’s clean energy industry.  The initial proposal was filed in January and would have charged all ratepayers a fixed “charge” of nearly $50, regardless of energy consumption (in other words, a mandatory fee just for using the utility).  The proposal was met with immediate backlash from the solar industry as well as ratepayers.
The Florida Takeaway:  Finally, a utility that listens to ratepayers.  “Fixed charges” on utility bills are nothing new, but they are separate from rates.  Customers are charged just for using the utility lines, grid, etc., and utility companies make serious bank on such.  Most utilities have low fixed charges amounts, usually in the $8-$15 range, thus the outcry of Gulf Power’s proposal.  Keep your eye on these charges, Floridians.  Even if you have solar, these charges will remain (unless you go off-grid).  We must fight to keep the charges down, Floridians.  We must also fight to keep rates from rising–and the best way is to choose Florida solar!



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