Gretchen picked up a rainbarrel when she stopped by the Valdosta City Hall Annex to drop off okra (Okra Paradise Farms has customers everywhere).
You might think these solar panels covered with snow weren’t generating anything:
But they are. Not much, true, but they are generating: Continue reading
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.
Please hear me! I think renewables are exceedingly important in the future.
— Tom Fanning, CEO, Southern Company
Ever wonder what goes into the few seconds of video you see on TV news? As I promised reporter Colter Anstaetts when he interviewed Gretchen for WALB TV Friday May 2nd about Valdosta Farm Days (coming up again this Saturday 9AM to 1PM at the historic Lowndes County Courthouse in Valdosta), here’s The Making Of…, including birds singing, dogs rolling in the grass, Brown Dog frolicking and bouncing across, Yellow Dog prancing, red potatoes, and red, white, and blue corn at Okra Paradise Farms.
After some initial discussion Continue reading
9AM to 1PM Valdosta Farm Days at the old Lowndes County Courthouse, first and third Saturdays, starting today.
City of Valdosta Pr 24 April 2014, Downtown Valdosta Welcomes Back Farm Days,
On market Saturdays, vendors offer a variety of goods for sale such as locally-grown, locally-raised, locally-produced fruits and vegetables, plants, herbs, meats, farm-fresh eggs and dairy products, organic produce, baked and prepared foods, snacks and coffee. Patrons will also find a variety of artisan and natural products including products made from recycled goods, birdhouses, handmade soaps and body products, candles, and honey products. Those who arrive early to shop have the advantage of beating the heat and getting the best picks of the season.
The market also serves as a venue to educate the community on healthy local options. Cooking demonstrations and Continue reading
9 AM to 1PM today at the historic Lowndes County Courthouse, 100 West Central Avenue, it’s Valdosta Farm Days, and every first and third Saturday from May through October.
Come downtown to find the delicious taste of farm fresh food picked just for you, at Downtown Valdosta Farm Days! The market showcases locally sourced produce, food items, and arts and crafts from surrounding areas.
Come for the freshness and stay for the fun at Downtown Valdosta Farm Days!
We Accept EBT, CREDIT, and DEBIT!
Gretchen with rosemary and Yellow Dog:Continue reading
At the end of 2003, Austin Energy (AE) suddenly went from very anti-solar to very pro-solar. Formerly coal-smoking Cobb EMC is doing it right now. If AE and Cobb EMC can do it, so can Georgia Power: change in one year from opposed to aggressively promoting solar power.
Mike Clark-Madison wrote for the Austin Chronicle 5 December 2003, AE drops a solar bomb,
In a near-complete turnaround from its public position just a week ago, Austin Energy has announced plans to adopt specific, highly ambitious, and undeniably expensive goals for adding solar energy to the Austin electric and economic mix. At a town hall meeting held Tuesday night to discuss the AE plan — also the subject of a public hearing at City Council today (Thursday) — AE’s Roger Duncan announced the utility’s commitment to develop 15 megawatts of solar generating capacity by 2007, escalating to 100 megawatts by 2020. The AE plan also calls for a study of the “comprehensive value” of solar power — putting a dollar amount on the economic and environmental benefits to Austin, in addition to the cost of solar-generated electricity itself. This would determine the price Austin Energy would pay for electricity generated by privately owned solar installations, just as AE now buys wind power from third parties.
Georgians tend to think Georgia Power’s foot-dragging and disinformation campaign about solar is so entrenched it will never change. But I’ve seen it happen, and it happened despite people’s expectations set by the power utility, and it happened very quickly and very big:Continue reading
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.Indeed it can.
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.
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.
Actually, you may not want to try this at home, unless your panels have strong steel supports like these. Still, most solar panels are very sturdy.
More later on what’s going on here.
Back in 2009 we installed solar panels on our farm workshop. At the time the closest certified solar installer I could find was in Marietta. Four years ago there were 4 in the state. now there are forty. And that’s in a state that’s trailing North Carolina and even New Jersey in solar installations.