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What a Trump Presidency Means For Solar
Nov14

What a Trump Presidency Means For Solar

In the wake of the 2016 presidential elections, there’s been endless speculation on what the future of solar energy will look like in America. With President elect Trump soon at the helm of our country’s clean energy policies, it doesn’t seem like over reacting to assume the worst–to envision an America where oil derricks, pipelines and fracking operations spread from coast to coast like a black mold and renewable energies like solar and wind are all but consumed in smog choked inferno. After all, this is the same candidate who is on record claiming that climate change is a hoax, who has a trail of legal battles with environmental groups over constructing his hotels and golf courses and whose lead choice for the head of the EPA is fellow climate change denier Myron Ebell. But in spite of these dangerous patterns by our soon to be leader in chief, many analysts believe the renewable energy sector will continue to grow remain on its path to overtaking the fossil fuel industry, and here’s why: THE STATES HAVE SPOKEN: Donald Trump has made it no secret that while he doesn’t care much for environmental policies, he has an even less favorable view on federal oversight. That means that while his administration will be seeking ways to lesson the federal  government’s role in promoting clean energy, states will be given more leeway to create and enforce their own clean energy policies. If this election has given any indication as to which direction these policies might trend, a look at the promising outcomes on propositions in Florida and Nevada, might give reason for some guarded optimism. In both states the controlling utility companies spent millions of dollars and fought hard to decrease subsidies to homeowners seeking solar only to be defeated on the ballots. THE COST OF SOLAR IS DECLINING: While sound bites and video clips have inundated our lives with politicians making bigger than life promises regarding the future of energy in America, the truth is that at its core, the energy sector is controlled by market forces and consumer demand–and there’s nothing more enticing for a consumer than paying less for a superior product. Over the past two decades the cost of energy per a KW hour from solar has been on a rapid decline and will win on its own merits (especially with current incentives, but even without). Utilities around the country have been shuttering coal plants in favor of cheaper energy alternatives and it’s no accident that the solar industry has overtaken the coal industry in the number of people it employs. FEDERAL SOLAR INVESTMENT TAX CREDITS ARE ATTAINABLE...

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Dark days ahead for solar incentives in Florida?
Nov07

Dark days ahead for solar incentives in Florida?

The Miami Herald recently reported that Florida electric and utility companies have quietly been spending nearly $50 million during this election cycle to slow the growth of consumer-owned rooftop solar in the state. The money is being spent promoting Amendment 1 on the state’s ballot, and funding the campaigns of legislative leaders who have been outspoken against solar incentives and net-metering benefits. Amendment 1 titled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice” changes language in the state’s constitution to keep solar competition out of state and lower subsidies paid to households generating excess power with rooftop solar. Proponents of the amendment have confusingly dubbed it “pro solar” in an attempt to confuse voters to thinking they are supporting clean energy expansion throughout the state. But a look at the companies bankrolling the advertising and political efforts–Florida Power & LIght, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power, Exxon Mobil and a few other oil supporting nonprofits–makes it clear the amendment has the environment’s best interest in mind. “In all my years of public service, I have never seen such a thinly veiled attempt to intentionally mislead Florida voters,” Mike Fasano, a Republican and former state Senator, decried to The Miami Herald. Misleading verbiage and big spending this election cycle by utility companies in Florida is not an isolated incident to the state, but has occurred in many other states throughout the country as well. For many solar advocates keeping a watch on the matter this comes as no surprise. A 2013 Edison Electric Industry report titled “Disruptive Challenges” identified the ability of rooftop solar owner to generate excess power as a significant threat to the gas and electric utility industries, outlining plans to reign the movement in. The language, spending and efforts seen in this year’s election cycle is a direct result of these regulated monopolies reacting to such external threats and the outcome of their efforts and millions in campaign spending will become clear once the dust settles after Americans take to the polls on November...

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Florida Electric Utilities hijack environmental language to confuse people to vote against solar
Oct28

Florida Electric Utilities hijack environmental language to confuse people to vote against solar

At first glance, a new amendment proposed to Florida’s constitution by its electric utilities might seem like they are having a change of heart when it comes to supporting solar. After all, the amendment title “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding their Solar Choice”  reads as though it’s an attempt to empower consumers with more autonomy and fiscal freedom when it comes to choosing where their get their electricity. But if you were to make such an assumption, you’d be wrong. The electric utilities seemingly beneficial amendment is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hijacking popular environmental catchphrases to confuse Florida constituents into supporting a law they might actually be against. The amendment, which is backed by a $22 million publicity budget, starts out innocently enough, summing up an existing law that allows “consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property.” It then adds an additional twist to the statement by going on to clarify that customers who do not install solar “are not required to subsidize the cost of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.” Solar supporters, contractors and opponents of the amendment claim the added language is an attempt to overturn an existing 2008 law requiring energy companies to pay for excess energy customers generate from their solar panels, also known as net-metering benefits. According to a recent article by the Miami Herald,  the Florida Public Service Commision ruled in 2008 that every Florida electric utility is required to provide customers with renewable energy systems the chance to sell their excess energy through a net metering program. By getting rid of net-metering benefits in Florida by passing a law that pretends to be in favor of supporting solar, the utility companies are trying to confuse voting constituents by making rooftop solar take longer to pay off and more expensive to install.   The electric utilities have rallied for the voting support of lower income households to pass the bill, claiming the burden of subsidizing a solar homeowners net-metering costs will fall on their shoulders. Opponents of the utility companies however point to an economic analysis by the Brookings Institution, which shows that when people add solar it actually reduces the costs of electricity for everyone since no new power plants need to be built and companies don’t need to buy expensive power during peak energy times. For Florida homeowners thinking about installing solar, the future is unsure, making the best time to get grandfathered into the state’s net-metering incentives now. Contact GoGreenSolar.com or call (888) 338-0183 to learn about switching over to solar before the state’s net-meteirng policies...

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South Carolina solar rebates sweet, but could end soon
Oct21

South Carolina solar rebates sweet, but could end soon

Homeowners in South Carolina have been quick to make the switch to solar, cashing in on $5 million in solar rebates since the state enabled the program a little over a year ago. “The response to the rebate program has been fantastic,” Duke Energy’s South Carolina State President Clark Gillespy told the Palmette Business Daily. “This shows our customers want options to help them participate in a sustainable solar energy marketplace.” To date, approximately 750 residents and 35 commercial customers have signed up for the state’s rebate program, Act 236. Act 236 offers solar homeowners that use Duke Energy a whopping $1 per a watt-dc rebate on systems of to 20 kw–reducing upfront solar costs by nearly $1,000 kw. For solar homeowners that use the states other utlity company, South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), such residents are able to receive approximately 4 cents per kWh or about or about $250 per year for a typical 5-kW solar system. While South Carolina’s rebate program is one of the more cushy ones being offered in America, the state has a minsicule Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 2 percent. This means that utility companies are only required to source 2 percent of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like solar panels–which isn’t much. For residents switching to solar in South Carolina, there’s good money to be had, trouble is, no one is sure how long the incentives will last. For residents using SCE&G, the incentive amount is scheduled to drop by a penny each time a few new megawatts are installed. At the current rate of installation, that puts the time frame for getting higher priced paybacks at a little over a year. For those residents considering taking advantage of their rooftop and eventually turning the extra space into a profitable resource that produces energy for the grid, Go Green Solar has experts that can give you a free quote and estimate of how much money you can get back with rebates, tax incentives and net metering programs. Call (866) 798-4435 for more...

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National cost of solar installation might be as low as it can go
Oct13

National cost of solar installation might be as low as it can go

It’s likely the cost of switching to rooftop solar might be nearing its lowest possible point the market will allow according to a recent report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The LBNL’s Tracking The Sun IX report illustrates that the the costs of home solar installations declined again in 2015, though not as dramatically in years past. While the soft cost of solar installation has been quickly decreasing, performance based incentives such as state utility rebates and net metering programs are on a trend to becoming less generous. The good news is that while many of the revised government incentive programs across America are still being discussed, quick actors are still able to slide into the programs before their windows close. Such people will reap the dual benefits of PV technology with better efficiency and at lower costs than in years past, compounded with the offsets from the state and federal...

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Nevada brings back net metering rates for grandfathered solar arrays
Oct06

Nevada brings back net metering rates for grandfathered solar arrays

It seemed the law shinned favorably on solar proponents in Nevada Friday, Sept 16, as state regulators voted to restore net metering rates for residents that had already own solar arrays before the Nevada Public Utilities Commision increased fees and lowered compensation last year. The vote reverses a decision by the Nevada PUC to add on fees and lower the compensation paid to solar homeowners–at least for those who were quick enough to outfit their rooftops with panels before the PUC changed its rates in December 2015. A ruling by the Nevada district court, which found the 2015 new tarrif increase violated existing solar customes’ Constitutional due process rights, spurred the state regulator’s to take action, re-establishing the previous lower utilities rates for about 32,000 customers, according to Fortune 500. While future homeowners in Nevada will be subject the PUC’s higher rates and lower compensations, the case sets a precedent for protecting the rates of homeowners in states who manage to get grandfathered into beneficial rates, before the utility companies make a...

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