We do all know the desire for solar power to rise during the recession. Demand continues to grow throughout the world. Recently released was, the SEIA published The US Solar Industry Year in Review 2009. The opening sentence of the report stated: ”Despite the Great Recession of 2009, the U.S. solar energy industry grew— both in new installations and employment.” Reuters reported that the “industry surged on incentives.” In February, Todd Woody provided inside information of how California and New York utilities are playing a key role in solar growth in the New York Times Green Inc. blog. “Over the past few weeks, some 1,300 megawatts’ worth of distributed solar deals and initiatives have been announced or approved. At peak output, that is the same of a big nuclear power plant” wrote Woody. Yes, it’s only one big nuclear power plant, certainly not “As Big As Coal” which needs to be the rallying cry of the Solar revolution, but, nonetheless, in the midst of the fiscal meltdown, it’s something.
Isn’t it all overwhelming, There is alot to do. As much credit as some will give to the utilities, the truth remains that the Solar Revolution is a grassroots cause. The efforts of the cause as a whole depend on each and every one of us doing what we can to educate and promote the beneits… even the imperitive…of creating solar As Big As Oil. We cannot settle for less! Along these lines, in order to be most effective, we’ve all got to understand the magnatude of undecided issues that stand in the way of our goal.
What Is Net Metering?
“Net-metering” is a simplified method of metering the energy consumed and produced at a home or business that has its own renewable energy generator, such as solar panels or a wind turbine. Under net metering, excess electricity produced by solar or the wind turbine will spin the existing home or business electricity meter backwards, effectively banking the electricity until it is needed by the customer. 30 states demand at least some utilities to start net metering.
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)
In the Solar Industry Magazine (April 2010, Volume 3, Number 3~it is only available via “deadtree media”) that I lately receved, Michael Coddington, Kate Anderson and Benjamin Kropski are no morons, and did great by summarizing a New York City case poll assessing grid-level effects of distributed photovoltaics. The article identifies many of the technical issues that stand in the way of rapidly connecting distributive PV to the utility networks. right at the start of the same Solar Industry issue, Bob Powell presents a look at utility-scale financing components. The NYC Study article describes that utilities use two types of electrical distribution systems. By far the most common is these is the simpler radial system, which is designed for electricity to go just one-way. In such a distribution system, a lot of hardware and software is devoted to detecting and protecting against “ counter power flow,” which is “indicative of an upstream supply feeder fault.” Needless to say, this is not good from a net metering and feed-in-tariff point-of-view. The article also discusses the problems caused by the highly variable nature of solar energy supply and the grandness of the development of solutions that will make this source of energy more reliable (such as battery technology or eventually a national or universal smartgrid). The Powell companion piece reminds us that regulators and legislators are driving the utilities to do the right thing, “either through mandates such as enacted renewable portfolio standards (RPS)…or via less formal expectations that a utility has in response to climate change.” Failure to meet RPS standards will hit the utilities where it hurts them most: earnings. The challenge for the utility becomes, how to finance all the change required to achieve the RPS?
What Can We Do?
Find a solar or renewable energy meetup group in your area. If you can’t find one, start one. Join Vote Solar and other similar organizations, where our numbers create “power to change power.” And please encourage others to join you in signing the Solar Bill of Rights Edit this text.