Virginia As A Solar Leader – If The Policy Fits

Recently, GreenTech Media’s (GTM) Stephen Lacey, asked the question many Mid-Atlantic solar developers are hooked on – can a historic coal state like Virginia create a real solar market?

Matt RuscioVirginia As A Solar Leader – If The Policy Fits

Utilities Respond to "Disruptive Challenges" by Opposing PPAs

In July, journalist Ryan Tracy, highlighted a familiar dispute in solar development – the ability to sell electricity in territories where incumbent utilities have exclusive service rights to customers. The solar industry has heard this issue before, and in Iowa, the issue is at the heart of a lawsuit, expected to play out this year.

Matt RuscioUtilities Respond to "Disruptive Challenges" by Opposing PPAs

Solar Panel Prices Reversing Trends

Have the price of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels bottomed out? U.S. and European trade policy and international demand may be reversing the trend of decreasing prices for solar panels in the U.S.

Matt RuscioSolar Panel Prices Reversing Trends

Virginia To Begin Pilot PPA Program

Virginia shines a glimmer of light on renewables by passing a wind and solar “pilot” program, after a surprising about-face by Dominion Power in supporting PPA legislation in 2013.

Matt RuscioVirginia To Begin Pilot PPA Program

U.S. Solar Installations Increase 76% in 2012

2012 proved to be another great year for solar as installations increased 76% in the United States alone, according to a Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) report released last week in conjunction with GTM Research.

Matt RuscioU.S. Solar Installations Increase 76% in 2012

Summaries of Related Articles

To our readers, We want to develop something new for our blog that will work to further inform and educate. Since not everyone has the time to read the newspaper, blogs, news reports, etc., why not let us do the work for you? This is the inaugural edition of our bi-weekly summary of articles that we have pulled from a large array of sources throughout the our work. The articles are related to energy, solar and climate – information that is easily accesible and fast to read. This edition includes the AG’s report on VA’s energy law, new ways of marketing solar, and how climate skeptics are talking to state legislators. Links to the full articles are attached.

Matt RuscioSummaries of Related Articles

Panels on Park View Mennonite Church

The solar installation at Park View Mennonite Church was completed Friday afternoon – November 9. The 75 solar PV panels took three days to install and will be up and running soon! Below are a few pictures documenting our progress – keep checking our blog for updates!

Matt RuscioPanels on Park View Mennonite Church

New tax revenue for states generated by increasing solar capacity

Some state legislators have voiced concerns that increasing the use of solar power may reduce state and local tax revenue by cutting into collections of utility usage taxes. The more solar capacity generated throughout the state, the less energy”consumption tax,” as it’s known in Virginia, consumers are paying to state government.In an era of declining public revenue, the idea of a potential loss in taxes from an increase in solar capacity can carry a heavy weight and may dampen the enthusiasm of state legislators for solar power. However, increasing renewable power generates jobs and new forms of tax revenue that more than offset the potential loss in electricity consumption tax and sales tax. The Virginia legislature enacted an electricity consumption tax in 1999 as part of the Electric Utility Deregulation Act. Legislators intended the tax to protect incumbent utilities from new competition – to give incumbent utilities a “head start” on the market competition. In 2007, policymakers deemed Virginia’s deregulation experiment a failure, and returned to a regulated monopoly structure, where utilities received exclusive service territories – holding the exclusive right to sell electricity to customers within their given territories. Nevertheless, the electricity consumption tax remained intact. Customers today are …

Matt RuscioNew tax revenue for states generated by increasing solar capacity

Solar market grows without long-term subsidies

As major utilities attempt to push the solar industry back into the dark ages continue, you will find the most commonly used objection is that solar power cannot compete on cost with traditional sources of energy generation. Solyndra aside, this argument is beginning to lose its legitimacy as the U.S. solar market continues to grow, despite a lack of any serious long-term help on the federal level outside of the 30% investment tax credit. We shouldn’t forget the numerous federal subsidies that continue to push fossil fuel prices down even while future supplies are in question. Without three decades worth of federal subsidies (not to mention massive tax breaks accrued through oil depletion allowances that date back to the 1920s) coal and natural gas might not be considered the traditional sources of energy generation that we know today. Infrastructure & subsidies Initially, the cost of installing a PV or thermal system is more expensive than incumbent sources of generation, such as coal and natural gas.  A friendly infrastructure helps keep fossil fuel prices low –we are no longer paying for the capital costs of fossil fuels, simply for the operational and maintenance costs. Just in 2010, fossil fuel companies received $15.4 billion …

Matt RuscioSolar market grows without long-term subsidies

From intermittency to reliability

Many critics of solar energy claim that the industry cannot meet the generating capacity for an ever-increasing demand in electricity — that the increased use of renewable energy in the national grid will threaten reliability and a utility’s obligation to provide always-on base load power. However, the efficiency of renewables during peak demand and the combination of sources used to provide always-on electricity, prove that renewables have a place in our electrical grid. Solar is an intermittent energy source — it does not produce energy when the sun is not shining and storage batteries to hold the sun’s energy when the sun in unavailable can add unwanted cost to a project, and therefore are not widely used. Intermittent sources cannot provide a baseload generation capacity for the national grid that is constantly supplying a flow of energy for a utility’s customers. Therefore, these intermittent sources are labeled as unreliable A symphonic electrical grid However, the electrical grid runs using a statistical approach to reliability — it is the combination of sources that provide our electrical grid with enough constant, reliable energy for consumers. For example, while one coal plant is running in Virginia, a natural gas plant in Pennsylvania has …

Matt RuscioFrom intermittency to reliability