Posts Tagged "Utilities"

Why Spring is the best time to invest in solar…

Posted | 0 comments

Why Spring is the best time to invest in solar…

For many, the end of the year looks like a juicy time to invest in solar. You can squeeze in those tax credits to cover what you owe and make the books look nice and balanced for the coming year. For some this type of thinking isn’t even on the radar. However, when we use a renewable source of energy, the natural cycles come into play in a big way. Everyone who is thinking about going solar, or looking at the state of their solar credits should understand these cycles. Vermont Community Solar makes going solar so simple that many participants forget that their power is actually being generated by the sun. Here’s the scoop… Buying VCS panels is like buying stock in the sun except this market never crashes. It is always in the positive and will always make you money. How much money depends on the season. To put it simplistically, in the stock market, you buy low priced stocks, sit back, watch them grow, and sell them at a higher price. There are similarities when going solar. While the sunshine market is much less volatile, you will see your solar credits grow throughout the summer and dip in the winter. Knowing these cycles is useful when investing in solar. If you buy panels in the fall, you will have minimal return until the following spring when the sun rises higher in the sky and the days get longer. If you buy panels in the Spring, you will watch your return rise to its peak in the Summer. Starting out in the green (or the most green) can be helpful when taking the financing option. This way, you will start out with the maximum amount of credit to weather what minimal volatility there is throughout the year. So, buy panels in the spring and watch your electricity bill dissolve in the...

Read More

Petition for Free Market Solar in FL

Posted | 0 comments

A campaign sparked by Floridians for Solar Choice, has received 100,000 signatures. If put to ballot, and voted into law, Florida residence could buy and sell the energy they produce on an open market. Thus, eliminating the monopoly of electric companies. Currently under net metering laws (such as we have in VT), residents can exchange the power they produce for credit on their electric bill. However, all transactions of this kind are filtered through the utility and subject to company policies. If this door were to open, residents could sell their excess power to anyone, tenants, neighbors, churches etc. These would not have to be solar “credits”. On an open market, people could openly sell excess power for cash, allowing clean energy production to become individually profitable. This seems to be a likely future for clean energy. Smaller, more localized systems, where the participants have control over production and dissemination. As the options become more diverse, the potential is clear. Read the full article...

Read More

FTC Won’t Investigate GMP

Posted | 1 comment

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...

Read More

2014: 173,807 jobs and a new installation every 2.5 minutes

Posted | 0 comments

2014: 173,807 jobs and a new installation every 2.5 minutes

This is what the solar industry has brought us in 2014. An article published today highlighted the invaluable progress that the solar industry has had on the market in recent years. Imitating what the president said in his state of the union address, “America installed twenty-two times more solar in 2014 than in 2008”. That is a remarkable increase for an economy just on the brink of recovery. This growth is defined in detail in The Energy Collective’s new article.    The most excitement I get from this article are the numbers in job growth. 80,000 new jobs in the solar industry since 2008. Now this is by no means enough to keep up with the growth required by our current form of economics. However, for a relatively new industry, it begs attention. I am even inclined to argue that it is a step in the right direction for our investment in the future. It is a solid investment, whatever the intentions. Read the full article...

Read More

Utilities and Community Solar: A love Affair

Posted | 0 comments

Utilities and Community Solar: A love Affair

    While we are quietly plugging away at more and more Vermont Community Solar every year, it is important to note that we are not the only ones making this happen. All across the country community solar projects are popping up. Many are even being initiated by the utilities. In a recent article by UtilityDIVE, Herman Trabish explores the relationship that utilities have with community solar. He explains how it has trended from a mostly unknown phenomena, to an invaluable part of how the utilities operate. This is in part because community solar allows people who cannot  -or choose not to- install solar on their property, to benefit from photovoltaic technology. Utilities benefit because anyone can participate. In some cases they retain customers who would otherwise choose off-grid solar solutions. The diagram below shows the growth rate of utility-led community solar programs over the past 10 years. It is reasonable to say that 2015 with be an exciting year for community Solar. Learn more about how utilities are working with community solar by reading the full article here....

Read More