Posts Tagged "national"

Community Solar across the US

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Community Solar across the US

It isn’t just in Vermont that Community Solar is taking off. This article touches on the benefits and challenges of community solar, as well as the various programs around the country. To read the full article click...

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FTC Won’t Investigate GMP

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In the past few years Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) have become a heated topic in Vermont. So much so, that it peaked the interest of Vermont Law School (VLS) and elicited a letter from the Vermont Attorney General. If you have been following the story about the sale of RECs within Green Mountain Power (GMP) territory, this update will be of interest to you. According to a February 10th article in Times Argus, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided not to investigate GMPs marketing of RECs, but said that communication to the public should remain clear. [A GMP Press Release from September 19th 2014 is available here] Kevin Jones, a VLS professor was not happy with these results. Last year VLS challenged GMP handling of their RECs, and specifically aimed this criticism towards Vermont’s SPEED law saying that, “From an environmental and electric rate (perspective), the SPEED program has been a failure”. Kristen Carlson, a GMP representative, addressed this issue by bringing to light that the sale of RECs allows for clean energy to be bought at a lower price. Thus boosting the sale of clean energy and allowing Vermont to become a leader in clean energy production. Rates are in fact lowered through the out-of-state sale of RECs. In turn the environment has greater protection through financial support, not greater pollution. [More about GMP on RECs can be found here] As the issue became more public, it morphed into a criticism of the definition of “credit”. While companies that sell energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydro are creating renewable energy, they are selling the “credits”. Thus, selling the right to call them renewable. This is no way negates the fact that these energy sources are in fact creating energy from a source that has renewable attributes, only that the jargon used, must reflect the credit exchange. In essence, this is what the issue has boiled down to. Meanwhile, those of us installing solar and wind generators in Vermont are happy to sell RECs out of state, to insure that Vermont resident’s get lower clean energy rates and that our environment is protected for future generations. Maybe we use “clean energy” instead of “renewable energy”, but the effects are the same. On Thursday a letter was sent from the FTC to a GMP lawyer saying, “Although no findings have been made that these claims [made by VLS] violate the law, we urge GMP in the future to prevent any confusion by clearly communicating the implications of its REC sales for Vermont customers and REC purchasers.” To this end, we attempt to clarify the issues here and educate our Vermont Community Solar participants on the function of RECs. Read the entire article...

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Welcome to the party CA!

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Welcome to the party CA!

UT San Diego just published an article announcing that California utilities will begin providing the community solar option to residents. This is due to a new program authorization approved yesterday. San Diego Gas and Electric is opening up options for participation in a few solar installations around the city. According to this article, Solar power shines on apartments; renters in California, the San Diego community solar billing system will be set up much like ours in the Green Mountain Power utility in VT. Participants can get up to 100% of their electricity covered by solar, and receive credit from their solar portfolio on their utility bill. There was some skepticism brought up by Mike Florio, the CA state utilities commissioner. He thinks that renters wont bite. Another trepidation, is the complexity of group net metered billing. From our understanding, it takes quite a bit of time for our dear friends in the utility billing department to set up credit for Vermont Community Solar Participants. This is especially true with the rising number of participants -let’s hope they get some reliable assistants soon! However, with community solar on the rise, and more and more people opting out of electricity from fossil fuels, it is an inevitable that renters, home owners and businesses will search out cleaner, more energy efficient options. In turn, we will find more efficient ways to bill group net metered solar. These issues are not games stoppers, and for CA they will be a cake walk. With such a high population, there is no reason that community solar will not be a hit. Welcome to the party California! We can’t wait to see how this turns out.   Below are maps of net metering policies by state. This information was found at the National Conference of State Legislatures website. Click here for more information on Net Metering policies throughout the...

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Indianapolis Freedom Fleet

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Indianapolis Freedom Fleet

  Slated to be deployed early next year, Indianapolis is preparing for its “425 EV (Electric Vehicles) or PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) non-police pursuit sedans”. In an article in CleanTechnica, James Ayre reports on the switch to hybrid electric vehicles in Indianapolis. This is not a new plan he says, but it is one that will save the city around $8.7 million over the next ten years, or about 53 gallons of gas per month. Along with reducing the amount of vehicles in the city’s fleet, the mayor hopes this will spur other cities to take similar action. This is most likely inspired by the huge amount of savings EVs and PHEVs will provide the city.  ...

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High value in Community Solar across the country!

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Colorado has been a hub of solar activity in the recent years. Amongst that activity are community solar gardens which have been deemed more cost efficient than rooftop solar. This was published in a recent article by the Denver Post, Take a Shine: solar gardens find room to grow.  Though some laws may be different in CO, the benefit of community solar is clearly laid out. It is a structure of energy generation which has been gaining momentum. Here, we have been building Vermont Community Solar projects since IRS language made it clear that individuals could benefit from the 30% tax incentive. Specifically in off-site PV arrays. Yay for Vermont Community Solar -we still have a few panels in our Townshend Community Solar project! Call 869-2500 or e-mail info(at)soverensolar(dot)com with an annual electric bill and we will send you a free proposal to offset your electricity with solar...

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