Tag Archives: market

Video: Solar panels, heck yeah! –Tom Fanning, CEO, at SO stockholder meeting 2017-05-24

Tom Fanning, our genial CEO host, said some things I’ve never heard him say before like Southern Company is “pivoting towards wind” and SO’s board soon has to decide whether to go forward with Plant Vogtle “or not” probably by August. Fanning gets the first and last word in this blog post, plus a complete transcript of what I asked and Tom Fanning’s response, along with summaries of the other questions and answers.

Well see how it develops --Tom Fanning
Please hear me! I think renewables are exceedingly important in the future.
— Tom Fanning, CEO, Southern Company

In SO’s own meeting video of the 25 May 2017 Stockholder Meeting, you can see much praise about solar power and wind and R&D and a smart grid, along with stockholders wondering: Continue reading

Tesla announces prices for home battery

Power generation for both traditional electricity uses and transportation is changing.

Michael Liedtke and Jonathan Fahey wrote for AP and Inc. 1 May 2015, Elon Musk Unveils Tesla’s Ambitious New Home Battery System: “Our goal here is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy,” Musk told reporters gathered in Hawthorne, California.

The batteries are likely to become more useful if, as expected, more utilities and regulators allow Continue reading

Broadband fiber correlates with increased house prices

Preliminary research indicates that broadband fiber results in about 5% increase in property values for connected houses. This would indicate that an MSA wanting to profit from broadband should want to deploy it as widely as possible, especially in new housing. Hm, what’s the Homebuilders’ Association’s position on this?

NCM 0268 fiber ... result in 5.1% change in real estate value

The authors report that “fiber presence is associated with a positive effect on property values”, in The Impact of High-Speed Broadband Availability on Real Estate Values: Evidence from United States Property Markets by Gabor Molnar, University of Colorado at Boulder; Scott Savage, University of Colorado at Boulder; Douglas Sicker, University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Farm bill would reauthorize USDA REAP grants

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) wrote for The Hill 5 March 2012, REFRESH Act: Strengthen rural communities and U.S. energy security
Reauthorize and reform the popular REAP program to demonstrate opportunities for economically viable energy investments and encourage loans rather than grants.
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) has long been working with local farmers and USDA to help with agriculture and rural jobs.

The Indiana Congress members continued:

Real commitment to rural growth requires that we put money where our mouth — or authorization — is. We offer basic mandatory funding that is more than paid for through cutting waste.

Renewable energy production creates jobs. Rural communities see potential for real economic growth in the emerging biofuel sector. Advances in technologies and agricultural techniques could offer economic benefits from coast to coast. Using the REFRESH Act as the basis for the next Farm Bill would help galvanize private investment in the sector, bringing jobs to a ready economy.

Indeed it can.

Obviously I like REAP grants, since we got one for Okra Paradise Farms. That 25% REAP grant plus an 35% ARRA NREL plus 35% GEFA credits will add up to 90% covered by grants and tax credits, which is a pretty good deal.

Now that remaining 10% is still a significant amount; like the price of a small car. But in 7-15 years (how long it will take to pay off this system, depending on how you figure it), what would the value of a car be? Much less than when you bought it. Meanwhile, these solar panels will be generating almost as much power as they are now, and they will continue to generate for at least a decade more, probably much more.

The big missing piece is up-front financing. Local banks will do it, but only for collateral. By which they mean real estate. Nope, they won’t take the solar equipment as collateral, even though it would still be operational many years from now.

Local banks or credit unions could see this as an opportunity and start accepting solar equipment as collateral. Beyond that, with a few changes to Georgia law, to deal with the power utility territoriality clause, and maybe to ban boondoggle charges for more dangerous and less job-producing power sources, we could get a commodity market in solar power in this state. You could put up solar panels like this, or more, on your house or business roof, and sell your excess power to somebody in Atlanta with less roof space. That would produce widely distributed energy, reducing need for foreign oil or dirty coal, lowering your electric bills, maybe even producing you a profit, and generating local jobs right here in south Georgia.

Private investment is ready to come in for utility-scale solar projects.

And companies like SolarCity that already do everything from financing to installation could do that in Georgia. Or home-grown companies could do that. Or local banks could finance while local companies installed.

Anyway, we have here on our workshop roof a proof of concept, operational right now, purchased partly via a USDA REAP grant.

-jsq

Enabling a commodity market in solar power: Dr. Smith’s electric meters

Dr. Smith’s electric meters enable a commodity market in solar power, with billing from generators to customers. And EMCs can take 1% or so for carrying the power, plus they can get advertising rights that could be worth more than selling electricity! If SB 459 or something like it gets out of committee and into law.

Dr. Sidney Smith explained how the electric meter he’s developed uses cellular technology to facilitate direct billing from solar generator and customer. Gretchen asked him what if they generate more than they use. Dr. Smith said they wouldn’t. I asked what if they added more panels. He said they could, but there are trees in the back.

Here’s Part 1 of 5:


Enabling a commodity market in solar power: Dr. Smith’s electric meters Part 1 of 5:
South Eastern Pathology Associates,
Selling Power, Lower Rates for Customers LLC (LRCLLC),
Richmond Hill, Bryan County, Georgia, 17 February 2012.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

He forgot about the parking lot out front where the panels he just connected are located: no shading there, and plenty of room for more solar panels.

Dr. Smith said the best places for solar are where there is no shade and near power poles. Gretchen asked how do you finance? Dr. Smith answered, Continue reading

Organic food market booming

What continued to grow right through the recession? Local and organic foods, especially sold through farmers’ markets and traditional supermarkets.

Carol Hazard wrote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 21, 2011, Organic, natural food catching on:

U.S. sales of organic foods and beverages grew from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.8 billion in 2009, according to the Organic Trade Association.

The sector saw double-digit growth — often more than 20 percent — every year over the past decade except 2009, at the tail-end of the recession. Even then, organic sales rose 5.9 percent from the previous year while total food sales increased only 1.6 percent.

The article didn’t link to the study, but here it is: Industry Statistics and Projected Growth.

Further from the Times-Dispatch article:

National grocers are pumping up their organic and natural food selections. Even Wal-Mart and its Sam’s Club warehouse division are paying attention.
Continue reading

Solar Booming Nationwide (so why not here?)

While the Wall Street Journal says biomass is a money-losing proposition, Stacy Feldman notes in Solve Climate News that U.S. Solar Market Booms, With Utility-Scale Projects Leading the Way:
America could add 10 gigawatts of solar power every year by 2015, enough to power 2 million new homes annually, industry and market analysts have claimed in a new report.
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Solar Companies Booming in Buffalo

There’s still time to lead the solar parade:
“The solar market is the fastest-growing market worldwide, bar none,” said Ryne P. Raffaelle, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Center for Photovoltaics in Colorado. “For the last half-dozen years, it’s grown at about a 40 to 45 percent compound annual growth rate per year.”

That growth is expected to accelerate next year, said Raffaelle, who was a Rochester Institute of Technology faculty member for 10 years. But the vast majority of that growth, both in the manufacturing and deployment of systems, is happening outside the United States. Asia has taken a “commanding lead” in manufacturing, and Europe leads in deployment, he said.

“But the rest of the world, they’re still watching the United States. They still see us as the 800-pound gorilla,” Raffaelle said. “It’s like, ‘When are they going to do something?'”

That was from a conference held in the Buffalo area recently.

In Buffalo, New York, they’re not just talking about solar power: Continue reading