Tag Archives: GSEA

Solar tariff damaging to solar growth in Georgia –GSEA

GSEA PR of yesterday about Georgia Power’s attempt to tax rooftop solar generators. Proposed Solar Tariff Unfair and Damaging to Solar Growth in Georgia,

Atlanta, GA — The Georgia Solar Energy Association Chairman Mark Bell said today that the tariff on solar installations proposed in the Georgia Power rate request now under consideration by the Public Service Commission is unfair to solar customers.

The tariff, which will add roughly $22 a month to residential solar customers’ bills beginning in 2014, will have a significant “chilling effect” on the robust growth of solar development now under way in Georgia. Solar investment currently is providing jobs and new infrastructure throughout the state, including its rural areas where economic investment is badly needed. Solar energy is making Georgia farms more cost-effective and productive, and high-demand manufacturing more efficient.

“This proposal penalizes solar at the exclusion of other energy saving methods, which Georgia Power supports. Georgia Power has traditionally Continue reading

Sun dancing as a Georgia Trend

GSEA, GaSU, Georgia Power, and even me are quoted in a Georgia Trend feature about solar power in Georgia. As Mahatma Gandhi is alleged to have said when asked his opinion of western civilization: “that would be a good idea!”

Jerry Grillo wrote for Georgia Trend July 2013, Sun Dancing: As Georgia’s solar capacity shoots skyward, a new state utility is proposed,

It’s the sun, the sol of our solar system, to which everything that lives and moves, including the wind, owes its existence. Without the sun, there is no us, no Earth. You can’t miss it. It’s the biggest thing in the sky, the biggest thing for at least 24 trillion miles, and at 4.5 billion years old it is middle-aged and remains the most abundant source of power between here and Alpha Centauri, zapping our planet every minute with more energy than humanity can consume in a year.

The best thing is, the sun is free. Still, for most of those eons, capturing the sun’s energy for human consumption has been like picking crops with a catcher’s mitt.

But over the past few years, photovoltaic technology (“photo” for light, “voltaic” meaning electricity) has gotten way more efficient, and the previously prohibitive price has fallen dramatically, setting the stage for what’s happening now in Georgia: Solar deployment and interest are increasing dramatically.

“This is a very dynamic time for solar energy, and it demonstrates a pent-up demand and interest in solar energy for Georgia,” says Mark Bell, chair of the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA) and president of Atlanta-based Empower Energy Tech-nology. “There’s a great potential here for real, sustainable economic development.”

Grillo was pretty thorough in getting a range of points of view (with the notable exception of Georgia Sierra Club), and the whole article is well worth reading.

Among the things I told Grillo back at the beginning of May, I’m especially glad he included this:

Continue reading

The solar train is leaving the station, but the nuclear buggywhip is in the way

The president of the Georgia Solar Energy Association Solar Energy Industries Association says the solar train is leaving the station nationwide, but Georgia remains enmeshed in tangled legislation. We could have changed that last year with SB 401 if Georgia Power and Southern Company’s vested interested in new nuclear plants at Plant Vogtle hadn’t gotten in the way. We can change it next year with a similar or better law. The time to contact your Georgia legislator or candidate is now, while election season is on.

Update 14 June 2012: Fixed Rhone Resch employment attribution.

Rhone Resch wrote for the Saporta Report, 3 June 2012, It’s time to put solar to work in Georgia

There are now more than 100,000 Americans employed at over 5,600 solar businesses in all 50 states. Many of these are small businesses that have been hit hard by the recession, but they are finding new opportunity for growth in the solar industry.

In Georgia, there are more than 80 companies in the solar value chain including Suniva, MAGE Solar, Inc. and Enfinity Corporation. I will be joining representatives of each of these fine companies — and many others — at the Southern Solar Summit on June 15 in the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center in Midtown Atlanta to talk about the strides solar is making, and what remains to be done.

These companies are leading rapid innovation — across the entire value chain, from manufacturing improvements to new financing and sales mechanisms, that are allowing more and more Americans to go solar.

He points out that more solar was installed in 2011 than the total installed in 2008 and 2009, which shows that Moore’s Law continues to work for solar: the price per watt continues to go down, causing demand to go up. He projects forward:

The U.S. is on pace to install nearly 3,200 megawatts of new solar capacity this year with an annual growth rate of 30 percent through 2016.

At that rate, the United States would add more than 25,000 megawatts of new solar capacity between now and 2016. That is roughly the size of 25 coal-fired power plants and represents a significant opportunity for states that aggressively move to obtain a share of this exponentially growing market.

Hm, at Plant Vogtle the operating nuclear reactors produce about 2,430 megawatts and the two new ones under construction are supposed to produce about 2,200 megawatts. So that 25 gigawatts of new solar capacity by 2016 would be about 20 nuclear plants, a number that may be familiar from what Germany has already deployed. Somebody remind me again: why are we building any new nukes? How about if we end the nuke boondoggle and get on with clean green jobs for community and profit?

Rhone Resch says what Georgia can do:

Continue reading

Financing for renewable energy projects

Most of the cost of a corporate or personal renewable energy installation can be funded through federal and state rebates, but the remainder is what stops most people. Here is what I know about that. There are many other sources of information.

Federal 30% and Georgia 35% rebates add up to 65% (see below under DSIRE). That’s for solar (PV or hot water), wind, and some other related items.

The other 35% is what stops most businesses and people. 35% of a $25,000 house solar system is still $8,750. People like that it will pay itself off in 9-15 years, but most people don’t have $8,750 to invest.

That’s a business opportunity for some enterprising local bank or banks. As Dr. Noll has explained, if you pay for that remainder yourself, the system will pay itself off in about 9 years. If you get a bank to finance it, more like 15 years. And local banks currently require collateral other than the system itself (they like real estate as collateral). The simplest business opportunity is for a local bank to accept the solar equipment itself as collateral. After all, it’s worth 65/35 or 185% of the total loan amount.

The Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA) can probably tell you more.

Other ways to finance renewable energy projects include: Continue reading

Solar Lowndes County Commission?

While GSEA is promoting statewide solar businesses and lobbying the state government to do what other states have done to promote solar, local governments and businesses don’t have to wait on the state. For example, the Lowndes County Commission has opened a discussion about solar energy in response to a presentation by Bill Branham. Now that they’ve learned the Lowndes County Commission could lead by making one of their famous position statements, this time in favor of solar, or by putting solar on the roofs of their buildings (solar on the jail! imagine that), bringing in money to do so by or by applying for grants, or by making a project big enough to apply for private venture capital from the at least two firms that are looking for such projects.

If the LCC won’t do it, how about solar Valdosta fire departments, or solar Hahira tobacco barns?


Solar works for Georgia —GSEA

Back in June, the Georgia Solar Energy Association (GSEA) held a Solar Summit in Atlanta, in which we learned there were four certified solar installers in Georgia four years ago, and now there are forty; that oil for energy is a national security risk (Col. Dan Nolan), and that “Solar is great for diversity, independence, research, and business.” (Chuck Eaton), and that Georgia is the third top state “that would benefit from solar deployment through generating and exporting energy to other states” (Richard Polich). Sounds like a business opportunity to me!

GSEA chair Doug Beebe elaborates in a column in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on 11 September 2011, Solar energy already works in Georgia, but it can do so much more for our state’s economy,

This has been a great year for the Georgia Solar Energy Association, too. Our membership has swelled to almost 300 corporate and individual members. This number includes manufacturers, installers, integrators, consultants and advocates who want to see Georgia benefit from an industry that contributed more than $5 billion in economic activity to the U.S. gross domestic product since 2008 and now employs more than 93,000 workers nationwide.

Our annual Southern Solar Summit in Atlanta this summer sold out, filling the auditorium at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center with Georgians eager to learn what innovations are making solar power more accessible in Georgia and beyond. Another annual Solar Summit in Savannah last month doubled its attendance this year, proving that interest in solar has spread beyond metro Atlanta.

The 2011 Georgia Solar Tour will feature sites statewide. We hope that some of the participants in this year’s tour will become hosts in next year’s.

Great, huh? So what’s the problem? This: Continue reading

GSEA Solar Summit Savannah 24 August 2011

This event has some of the same speakers as the one June in Atlanta; see the writeups on many of the sessions.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 24 August 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Savannah:

The Georgia Solar Energy Association is proud to present the Southern Solar Summit 2011 as we bring together an outstanding group of industry leaders to demonstrate that Solar Works in Georgia though job creation, economic development and energy security. You are cordially invited to attend this FREE session to inform and prepare you for the expansion of solar energy in Georgia. Agenda: 8:15-8:30A Networking & Welcome by Joy Kramer, GSEA Director- Sponsored by Suniva and Power Partners Solar. 8:30-9:30A Solar 101. A review of solar thermal and solar phovoltaic systems for utility-scale and rooftop applications. Speakers: Lee Radney, MAGE Solar Deborah Purcell, Power Partners Solar 9:45-10:45A Financing Solar Projects: A discussion of the tools and methods that get Wall Street investors interested in Georgia solar projects and new ideas for generating revenues for County and school administrators. Speakers: Lee Peterson, Reznick Group TBD 11:00-12N The Economic Impact of Solar Energy in Georgia. A panel discussion on the skilled jobs and revenues that can be created by supporting an industry that is growing at an annual rate of 26%. Speakers: Tim Echols, Public Service Commissioner, Pete Marte, Hannah Solar, Joy Kramer, GSEA

PSC lining up to vote for solar

Previously PSC Chair Lauren McDonald said he wanted Georgia Power to “come up with options in the next 30 days for expanding the tiny amount of electricity generated from solar power”. Yesterday, PSC Commissioner Chuck Eaton said “Solar is great for diversity, independence, research, and business,” and added that until recently he had discounted solar, but now he had seen it. And it turns out that Friday PSC Commissioner Tim Echols wrote an op-ed saying
It wasn’t until I entered the training room of Mage Solar in Dublin and saw 40 subcontractors in their solar academy that I got it. The growing solar industry is not just about funky collectors on a roof or left-leaning environmentalists who hate fossil fuel. It is about skilled jobs in manufacturing and construction, about economic development in Georgia, about consumers saving money on their power bill so they can spend it somewhere else, and about empowering people to essentially create their own power plant. This could eventually be big.
That’s three out of five commissioners. I’d call that a majority shaping up to do something in the PSC Energy Committee meeting of 16 July 2011. I couldn’t say what, exactly, since there nothing on the energy committee’s agenda about this. But something solar seems to be in the works.


Solar conference in Birmingham, U.K.

Birmingham lures solar conference from London. Maybe soon we’ll read Valdosta lures solar conference from Atlanta.

Solar Power UK wrote 15 December 2010, Sun Shines on Birmingham’s Solar Industry:

Birmingham is to host the annual Solar Power UK Conference and Exhibitionin October 2011. Over 3000 solar industry participants, 30% of which will be overseas visitors, are due to descend on the city during the conference following sell out events in Munich and London in 2010, generating a predicted £4.15m for the city.
That’s about $6.7 million U.S. dollars.
It is the only time the event has been hosted outside of London in the UK and the first time the conference will be lighting up the city. The decision comes as Birmingham is increasingly recognised as a hub for the developing UK solar industry…
So becoming a leader in solar netted Birmingham a major conference, which brings income in addition to the jobs and energy generated directly by the solar projects.

Continuing: Continue reading