This week in Democratic Energy:
- Hawaii’s solar ranking drops
- Florida solar initiative faces pushback
- Battles over fixed charges proliferate across Midwest in wake of Wisconsin cases
The U.S. solar industry is shifting toward consumers by Katie Fehrenbacher, Fortune
The opening of the urban commons by Greg Kats, GreenBiz
The opening of the urban commons is inherently democratic. Decisions about resource use are fragmenting and distributing down to the individual level, where both buyers and sellers receive information enabling informed and mutually agreed-upon transactions. This shift has the opposite impact of the closing of the rural commons.
The opening of the urban commons creates greater job opportunity, flexibility and resilience. A direct consequence of this shift is to dramatically reduce the environmental damage on the real world — the ecosystems our species and economy is embedded in and entirely reliant upon for its existence and survival.
Federal Government’s ‘Go Solar’ Efforts Paying Dividends by Solar Energy Industries Association
6 Signs that ALEC is losing its war against solar by Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch
Watch Out Fossil Fuels: Costs Continue to Drop for Solar Energy by Travis Hoium, Motley Fool
Democratic Energy Across the Nation
AZ regulatory staff rejects solar net metering changes outside full rate case By Robert Walton, Utility Dive
California’s New and Improved Planning Platform for Net Metering by Jeff St. John, GreenTech Solar
NEM 2.0: CPUC says the final version of Public Tool has solved problems found in draft version.
Solar Jobs: Growing at the Grassroots by Bill Ritter, JR, Huffington Post
The solar-powered jobs engine is working across the United States. The latest census by the Solar Foundation found that the solar industry has created more than 705,000 jobs in companies that build, install, service and support solar energy equipment. Over five years, solar-related employment has increased by a remarkable 86 percent. More Americans work in the solar industry today than in the coal industry.
Want to weigh in about solar energy ideas for Florida? by Susan Salisbury, Protecting Your Pocket
PSC seeks comments on ways to boost solar energy by Doreen Hemlock, Sun Sentinel
Sides square off in fight over solar sales ballot initiative by Doreen Hemlock and Amanda Rabines, Sun Sentinel
Advocates in the Floridians for Solar Choice coalition say they’re pursuing a ballot initiative because the Legislature — influenced partly by utilities — has refused to act on the issue. The coalition spans groups as diverse as the Florida Retail Federation, conservative Tea Party Network and environmentalists Greenpeace USA.
This shiny state is the sleeping giant of solar by Reem Nasr, CNBC
“Solar gives consumers choice, control and financial savings, plus it stimulates the local economy by creating jobs,” Rive said. “The incumbent does everything possible to prevent disruption.”
The incumbents Rive is referring to are the electric power companies, many of which are monopolies in their respective states. Pushback against solar in Florida is not unique to that state—it’s part of a larger trend faced by a burgeoning solar industry that’s trying to crack the energy market.
“Solar will win eventually, it always does,” Rive added.
Solar energy ballot initiative faces major pushback by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida
Inside Georgia Power’s move into the residential solar market By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive
The utility says it will offer solar through an unregulated business, but installers fear possible anticompetitive impacts
Hawaiian Electric shareholders approve NextEra merger
American Savings Bank to be spun off as an independent public company
Hawaii drops out of top 10 in solar energy installations, new report says by Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business News
Centralized and decentralized power by Robert Vogl and Sonia Vogl Illinois Renewable Energy Association
WACO Community School Dist. uses solar energy to power schools by Courtney Yuen, KWQC-News
“Our plans right now are to figure out a way to go with another 400 KW at the high school so we can become at least 90% independent of energy and electrical needs,” said Supt. Smith.
It took the school district about a year and a half to plan the project. The district paid for it by bonding out $1.2 million against the one cent sales tax. Most of that money was used to install the solar panels.
Businesses warm to solar energy: Tax credits and USDA grants put investment within reach by Jennifer Van Allen, MainBiz
Kleban is one of a small but growing legion of small business owners who — even in the absence of state incentives — is installing solar power, saying that it’s never made more economic sense than it does now. Many are rushing to take advantage of lower prices, a federal tax credit and new USDA grant funding that take the sting out of the cost — which can be anywhere from $15,000 to $500,000.
Last year was the biggest year on record for solar installation in Maine: systems generating 4.5 megawatts were installed, up from 2.5 megawatts in 2013 and 1.7 megawatts in 2012, according to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, or IREC, a Latham, N.Y.-based independent nonprofit. While IREC does not break down what portion of those systems were installed by small businesses and no one tracks it, local solar industry professionals say interest has never been higher.
Letchworth plays waiting game on proposed solar energy facility by Matt Surtel, The Daily News
New York’s REV Business Model: Three Approaches to Spur Clean Energy and Innovation by Richard Kauffman, EnergyBiz
The good news is that our constraint is not technology. Instead, the constraint lies in outdated business models. Innovations in distributed generation, demand response, energy efficiency, microgrid and energy storage technologies can reduce waste and emissions while enhancing resiliency; providing economic solutions to each of these challenges. In publicly owned parts of the system, we are developing a robust smart grid backbone – from generation, transmission and distribution – to enable the State to capture the full benefits of these and other technologies. Yet today, the operators of our power distribution grid, the private utilities, have no economic incentive to support new clean energy solutions. In many cases, they have a disincentive to do so.
Possible Change In Solar Energy Regulation In North Carolina by Frank Stasio & Laura Lee, WUNC
The energy cloud could short-circuit the traditional electric grid by Chris Tomlinson, Houston Chronicle
Most of us know about the computing cloud. Now prepare yourself for the energy cloud.
Both ideas are based on the belief that decentralizing something makes it more reliable, efficient and ultimately less expensive… Just as cloud computing has transformed the information technology industry, the energy cloud will transform how utilities will operate. Big generators will compete with thousands of small generators ranging from wind farms to rooftop solar panels to batteries to natural gas fuel cells.
Roper: Solar energy is the future by L. David Roper, Roanoke Times
Solar energy becomes an affordable investment by Ray Still, Enumclaw Courier Herald
Battles over fixed charges proliferate across Midwest in wake of Wis. cases by Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter