The Week in Solar: April 9-15, 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 April 9-15, 2017; click on the red links for the highlighted article exclusive.

untitled-design3 reasons to get charged up about energy storage

GreenBiz’s Heather Clancy gets us powered up on energy storage.  Clancy diagrams the hype regarding energy storage with 3 chief reasons:  demand response solutions, accelerated innovation, and ROI.  Clancy ends the article with questions the energy storage market must explore and answer, with topics regarding an ever-evolving technology and physical space.

“With emerging infrastructure becoming increasingly integrated, dynamic and complex, flexible resources like storage will provide added value to existing and new power-generating assets.”

–Ian McClenny, Navigant Research analyst

The Florida Takeaway:  Energy storage is happening, folks.  As technology continues to improve, customers win.  Last year, Hurricane Hermine wrecked the Florida coast, and many residents were stuck without power.  This resulted in a spike in energy storage purchases.  As more and more Floridians desire to seek energy independence, battery and energy storage systems will become more popular, especially with solar systems, a great combination!

Photovoltaic Cost and Price Relationship

“The photovoltaic industry has been low margin for so many periods in its history that the concept of a margin healthy enough to profitably run an entire company is anathema to it,” begins Paula Mints in her recent article for Renewable Energy World.  Paula’s piece covers photovoltaic (solar) quality, production, and price over the course of several decades.  She features graphs highlighting solar cost/price variables such as cost constant, cost current, and shipments.


Photovoltaic Costs and Shipments 2006-2016 (current & constant 2016 $)  Source:  Renewable Energy World

The Florida Takeaway:  The good news is that solar is here.  The great news is that Florida solar is here!  The price of solar continues to drop, while the manufacturing process and technology continues to improve.  More shipments of phtovoltaic panels are made each day.  As solar heats up in Florida and the US as a whole, we must continue to fight for a better product; in the manufacturing plants and on the rooftops, and in in our wallets.

More Subsidies than You Think Influence the Cost of Electricity

Lenae Shirley of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) sheds some light on subsidies and how they influence the price of electricity.  Shirley cites the coal and natural gas sector, and how they (as well as ratepayers) have benefited from subsidies.  Also included in the article are wind and solar as well as tax breaks for energy markets.

“Wind and solar power continue to advance in efficiency and cost-effectiveness, so the continued investments are bearing fruit, as they did for the coal and natural gas generation industry.”

–Lenae Shirley, EDF

The Florida Takeaway:  Florida solar enjoys subsidies on the national level, but not the state level.  Check out the solar federal investment tax credit (ITC) blog HERE for more information on this solar subsidy.  Over the years, subsidies have helped the fossil fuel industry by the billions, even in Florida.  Solar gets nowhere near the amount of subsidies.  Subsidies, whether one agrees with them or not, help lower energy rates.  It’s just time for CLEAN ENERGY SOLAR to get the same subsidies as their environment-destroying counterparts.

When Solar Panels Became Job Killers

Keith Bradsher writes for The New York Times chronicling the American and Chinese solar panel sector.  Bradsher specifically cites growing concerns with the exploding Chinese solar market and how American solar manufacturing companies are coping.  As China continues to lead the world in solar, it seems every solar decision they make has a ripple effect on the US, and for that matter, the world, alludes Bradsher.  Sadly, even though the US solar market is booming, China’s own boom has resulted in American solar companies force reduction.
Panel production in Chinese solar plant.  Source:  Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
The Florida Takeaway:  China is the world leader in solar, and because of their massive manufacturing solar plants, they influence the rest of the world.  I do not know how this has effected the Florida market and have yet to discover any force reduction due to Chinese panel production.  It may happen sometime down the road, and we must be prepared to withstand a dip.  We as Floridians must always focus on manufacturing premiere solar products, installations, and customer service.  If anything, Florida has an awesome opportunity to lead the USA in solar!

untitled-designSolar Briefly Topped 50% of California Electricity in March, Driving Rates Below Zero

“In a Friday update, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that for a brief period on March 11th, utility-scale solar accounted for 40% of net grid power produced in California,” writes David Z, Morris for, hailing California’s recent solar achievement.  Morris writes how such is great news for solar and renewable energy, and is reflective of California’s 2016 expansion capacity.  Although such numbers are sure to be highlighted, Morris points that energy demands for traditional forms of energy are in “off-season.”  Morris dabbles in energy storage for California as well (a viable option, indeed), and ends with Elon Musk of Solar City/Tesla fame indicating that innovative grid services are on the horizon.
The Florida Takeaway:  As mentioned before in previous blogs, it behooves Florida to pay attention to other states and their solar issues.  In this case, California’s solar issue is great one to have, pointing to perhaps another solar boom in the Pacific state.  Although Florida does not have the type of utility-scale solar as California, it is possible.  California’s incentive programs make solar a more bankable option, and Florida can certainly learn from California’s model.  Floridians–let’s top 50% of electricity with solar; after all, we are the “Sunshine State!”



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