Thursday, January 30, 2014

Virginia: Dominion’s plan to hijack community net metering

Want to quadruple the potential market for solar in Virginia? The answer is to open up the benefits of solar ownership to renters, people with shaded roofs, and others who can’t install solar panels on their own property. Several legislators have been working with the solar industry to take a step in that direction this year. Senator Edwards (SB 350) and Delegates Krupicka (HB 906) and Yost (HB 879) introduced bills that would allow residents of multi-family housing communities like condominiums to band together to purchase a solar system, with all the participants able to claim a credit on their utility bills for their share of the energy generated.

Virginia’s utilities don’t want to see this happen. When people install solar systems, they buy less power from their utility, which otherwise has a monopoly on the generation and sale of electricity.

Now Dominion Virginia Power thinks it has figured out a way to hijack the bills. It proposes to scrap the community net metering language that’s in there now and substitute language that would give the utility the exclusive right to build and own community systems and sell the power to the customers.

Read more:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Warming up to community solar projects | Solar Outreach Partnership

With winter in full swing, energy costs have entered the forefront of many people’s minds.  Heating costs have risen exponentially in the last decade, and many communities feel the need to take action.  Whether they are looking to lower fuel costs or become more energy independent, the idea of community solar projects have captured the imagination of many.

While the biggest market for solar technology remains residential, more communities have begun to develop solar projects.  Community solar projects are just what the name implies — projects with an installation scope capable of addressing the particular needs of a community.  Whether they are utility-sponsored, a public-private partnership, or the innovation of a local nonprofit effort, community solar projects are demonstrating their long-term viability as a safe and renewable form of energy.

 Read more:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Solar Forward - Crowdfunded Solar in Portland, Oregon

The revolving loan model for funding community arrays is catching on!  Solar Forward is using a Crowdfunded model to help schools and other community buildings go solar!


Solar Forward gives Portlanders a way to help fund the development of new, local renewable energy systems. Grant funds from the Oregon Community Foundation kickstarted installation of the first 10-kilowatt solar electric system at Southwest Community Center, and more projects on public-owned buildings are in the works. Your contribution will make it possible.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Everybody Solar and RE-volv: Solar Crowdfunding Pioneers

Andreas Karelas and Youness Scally, founders of RE-volv and Everybody Solar, have been busy. Since founding their solar crowdfunding nonprofits in 2011, they’ve shown that their ideas are more than just ideas by making actual projects happen.
I’ve been following both organizations since before they started their first projects. Not only have they progressed along a similar trajectory, but their founders maintain a collaborative spirit. Given their mission-driven goals, it’s no surprise that they’re happy to share ideas and see others copy what they’re doing.
From first projects to continuing successes
A lot has happened since I spoke with Scally and Karelas last summer about their successful launches. Both organizations completed their first projects last year and are on to the next ones.

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

ILSR | The High Cost of the Solar Middleman

 John Farrell tells it like it is!


If there’s no such thing as a free lunch, then how can Americans get solar on their roof with “zero money down” and lower their electric bill?  Solar leasing, as it’s often called, is a clever market solution to poor federal and state policy design that otherwise requires Americans to do financial acrobatics to power their home or business with solar.

But solar leasing adds significantly to the cost of solar energy.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014 | Community-Owned Solar Gardens Make Waves

It's like a community garden, but with solar panels!

Photo: Abi Skipp/Flickr
Photo: Abi Skipp/Flickr
For years now, communities have been taking advantage of public lots to built community gardens, allotments, and other community spaces where those without room to garden at home can have a place to do so. These initiatives have been extremely successful in many regions, helping people stabilize their food supply, get more fresh fruits and vegetables, connect directly with their food, and get out and about. So it's not surprising to see the tactic applied to farming other things. Like, say, electricity.

Read more:

TreeHugger | Fort Collins embraces community-owned solar gardens

Solar power is all well and good, but what if you don't own your house? Or your neighborhood is too shady? Or you simply can't afford the up-front costs of a large solar array?
That's where solar gardens can come in useful—allowing communities to club together to invest in a large, collective solar array—and then investors get a credit on their electricity bill for any energy generated. It's just one way to grow the kind of community-owned renewable energy capacity we've seen mushrooming in other parts of the world.

IREC | Location, Location, Location: How much does it matter for shared solar participants?

It turns out that people really do want their panels close to them!
- Joy
Across the country, shared solar programs and facilities are creating pathways for new groups of customers to participate in local solar generation. But just how much does that “local” aspect matter? Should customers get a choice in the location of their shared solar facility?  IREC continues to investigate these and similar questions as part of our efforts to assist stakeholders around the country in developing successful shared solar programs.
To further this effort, IREC has been engaging in discussions with investor-owned, cooperative and municipal utilities, third-party developers and competitive electricity suppliers to get their views on this topic. Collectively, the shared solar programs of these entities comprise thousands of customers and over 30 megawatts of shared solar capacity.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Don't Think of a Cleantech Elephant

Don’t think of an elephant. No, really, don’t think of an elephant. Whatever you do, do not think of an elephant.
What are you thinking of now? Can you get that picture of an elephant out of your mind? If you can, you’re a stronger man or woman than I.
I have an elephant in mind now. It’s an elephant called “Cleantech Crash,” a much-discussed 60 Minutes segment that’s being called everything from a "hit job" to a "debacle" to "Dumb & Dumber Part 3." It has the blogosphere livid, and rightly so. After all, a lot of people watch 60 Minutes. And those people are going to get a very wrong idea about solar power and other forms of “cleantech.”

#SolarChat: Serious Solar Networking at Your Fingertips

Originally published on Women in Cleantech and Sustainability
Where can you find a solar community with a shared mission, shared information, and shared resources — without even leaving your home or office? All that and more are packed into one quick hour a month at #SolarChat, a virtual networking opportunity hosted by Raina Russo.
#SolarChat is a Tweetup, or a Meetup conducted virtually over Twitter. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I attended my first #SolarChat in October 2012. What I found was a fun and exciting place to exchange ideas and information with solar enthusiasts everywhere — and even a place to meet new people.
Two years since its founding in November 2011, #SolarChat has become the cool party that everyone wants to get into. And all are welcome. This cool party consistently trends on Twitter, generating over 1500 tweets and an average of 4.5 million impressions each time.