Clean Electric

Community Solar Loved by Residents and Businesses

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Here at Soveren we know we have some great deals to offer, but there is a gap to bridge between us being able to accurately portray the opportunities we offer and a customer coming to understand how community solar is a hot ticket item. So, in lieu of going into depth about it here, I’d like to point you towards an article Forbes posted the other day about why they love community solar. Take a look at what Forbes is saying about community solar and its benefits. Here in Vermont we may be the some of the least capitalist-leaning Americans, but when a business magazine who’s motto is “The Capitalist Tool” decides to praise business models centered around community, we may do well to pay attention. Read More Here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/edfenergyexchange/2016/08/01/10-reasons-why-we-love-community-solar/#35cfad691c4d...

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Solar Boom Takes 2016 by Storm, More Brewing on the Horizon

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2016 has already been an enormous year for the solar industry. In the first quarter of 2016 the U.S. has installed 1.665 gigawatts (GW) of Solar — a 25% increase from the first quarter of 2015 — and is on track to seeing a 94% increase in installed solar capacity in the U.S. from 2015, with 64% of new energy generating capacity in the U.S. to coming from solar. For reference of scale, the average Vermont household requires about 12 kW of installed solar to offset their consumption, so the amount of solar installed in the first quarter would be enough to offset approximately 140,000 average Vermont homes. While the amount of domestic solar installed will have nearly doubled by the end of the year, this is comparatively small when compared to the solar behemoth emerging in China. China has reported that they’ve installed over 20 gigawatts in the first half of 2016, already beating their government mandated quota of 18.1 GW to be installed this year.   Read more here:   http://www.seia.org/research-resources/us-solar-market-insight  ...

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SolarCity & Tesla Officially Set to Join Forces

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Elon Musk has his fingers in a lot of pies, but now two companies he serves as chairman on will join forces as it’s been officially announced that Tesla is on track to buy SolarCity. As those in the innovative-know have been aware of for some time, Musk has a certain propensity for bold initiatives and out-of-the-box thinking. He’s the kind of innovator to reach for the stars, and literally has with Space X (a company he is bother founder and CEO of), so the tech world is curious to see what initiative will come out of the SolarCity-Tesla combination. Already Musk has revealed part of his plan to provide solar, battery storage and electric vehicles all under the umbrella of a single company in what he calls “end-to-end clean energy”, thereby making Tesla the one-stop shopping solutions for those with the financial liquidity to completely overhaul their lifestyles from fossil fuel to renewable energy. While expensive at the moment, with the opening of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada and their rolling out of the Tesla Model 3 at a fraction of the cost of the Model S or Model X, the cost to complete this transition could be affordable to many middle class Americans within the next few years. From there it is likely Tesla will seek to bring prices even lower — as seen in the transition from the Tesla Roadster to the Models X & S to the Model 3 — as their production capacities eliminate much of the soft costs associated with the creation of Teslas, home batteries, and the like. Now if we could just figure out renewable energy powered spaceflight… Read more...

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Solar Powered Drones Soon to Take Flight

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Here at Soveren, we are always interested in solar innovations, and as such we often pay attention to new initiatives even if they aren’t directly related to our operation. Facebook announced yesterday that they have successfully completed their first test flight of their new solar powered drone with the intent of constructing a fleet of them large enough to provide internet to the far reached of the world. It seems the Solar Impulse – the worlds first solar powered airplane to circumnavigate the globe – won’t be the only aerial craft harvesting the sun for long. The idea of a solar powered aircraft isn’t entirely new. In the 70’s American and British companies experimented with solar-powered flight with the creation of the AstroFlight Sunrise, the Mauro Solar Riser and the Solar one, none of which were very successful and the projects were all canned within a few years of the first models being produced. Today is a different story and the future of solar powered flight seems bright, especially when behemoths like Facebook decide to embark on what would once be considered far fetched missions such as using solar powered drones to provide internet globally. Read more...

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Solar Explodes Worldwide as Installations Expected to Grow Exponentially Over Next Five Years

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For those of us living in ecologically conscious communities, not secret that solar has been experiencing quite a bump in installations as we’ve seen panels appear on rooftops, over parking lots, large arrays rolling across green fields, and even unseen arrays now covering many warehouse sized buildings’ roofs such as Walmarts across the nation. The commitment to going green is no longer the expensive lifestyle choice it was in the the 80’s and 90’s — a time when the best argument for solar was the “eco-bling” factor — , but in the 2010’s solar has come down in price massively making it not only affordable but a sound investment. This is caused by a multitude of factors; demand worldwide has increased, increasing production and competition in the market which has brought prices down, technology has improved allowing solar PV to be more efficient than ever, and a general consciousness about the importance of moving away from a fossil-fuel-based energy economy has permeated conversations on governmental, utility, community and individual levels. Looking forward to the future we can expect to solar installations to increase exponentially as fossil fuel reserves dwindle, decentralized generation increases causing the need for a smart-grid which will be better equipped to deal with renewable energy production, and the impacts of climate change become increasingly undeniable to those who still have their heads in the sand. Read more about the economics of the future of solar here: http://www.rechargenews.com/solar/1439394/solar-on-track-to-reach-grid-parity-this-decade-frost-and-sullivan And here: http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-industry-data...

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Should Agricultural Land be Used for Solar?

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Should Agricultural Land be Used for Solar?

Vermont Community Solar focuses primarily on ground-based solar arrays. These arrays require space, both for the physical array itself and enough land to the south of the array to ensure that the array’s will remain unshaded for the duration of the array. Over the course of 30 years land that could consist of rolling meadows and open space could be transformed; trees could spring up, buildings could be erected, power lines could be built, and all of this would affect the shading profile of that field. For this reason, it is important to ensure that enough land is reserved to ensure that these potential shading hazards don’t affect our arrays. Farmland offers the ideal venue for solar, as it provides the availability of building an array to the north end of a piece of agricultural land, with the land south of the array being farmed year after year, never allowing shading hazards to arise. Building an array on farmland, however, comes with criticism. Let me explain how we at Soveren feel about harvesting the sun rather than harvesting vegetable on land equally suited for both. As you probably know, Vermont is a rural state with about 80% of its territory consisting of forestland. The remaining 20% is made up of urban areas, farmland, and other land used for the pursuit of human activities. When we consider building an array, deforestation is not an option, therefore we must look within that 20% of deforested land for our site. Sure, we may fell a tree if absolutely necessary, but by and large our model calls for the preservation of the land our array will co-exist within. We feel our solar model can actually help the land in a few ways. Allow me to explain: The arrays are temporary installations, and the industry standard for an array’s lifetime is 30 years. Once the array’s lifespan has been reached, the poles we’ve driven into the ground to support the array can simply be pulled out. In the mean time the land our array occupies — which would otherwise be farmed year after year — is given a chance to lie fallow, given the soil a chance to replenish as wild, native plants are given a chance to grow and refresh the nutrient content of the soil reducing the need for petrochemical fertilizers to be applied. We can think of this as a sort of long-term crop rotation, where the harvest of vegetables is replaced with the harvest of energy. Alternatively, the land under the array does not necessarily need be left fallow, but rather be used to grow crops which prefer shade that could otherwise not be grown there, or allow grazing of small mammals such as goats, sheep, or even llamas (added bonus of not needing to mow the field in these cases), countering the nutrient-deplenishing practice of monoculture crops being grown in the same plot of land year after year, leading to soil degradation and erosion. In these ways, we feel our arrays are able to function symbiotically with the fields in which they reside; they allow the owner of the field to generate income they might otherwise seek through farming of the land, they allow the land to be replenished for future generations, and they allow for a host of different potential uses that could be employed which were previously less desirable or unavailable. For those reasons, we tend to disagree with the neighbors in Californias’ opinions expressed in the article attached. Neighbors: Solar farms will make land ‘industrial...

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