GRID Alternatives to head up California’s Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes program

GRID Alternatives

GRID Alternatives was selected by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to administer the Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program. The program builds on California’s long-standing and successful Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program, also administered by GRID Alternatives, providing long-term funding to bring solar power to households located in California’s most disadvantaged communities. The program will provide $8.5 million in incentives annually from 2019 through 2030.

Since it was launched in 2009, the SASH program has reduced the cost of going solar for over 8,000 low-income households, resulting in nearly 25 megawatts of residential solar installation. In addition, over 16,500 job training students have received hands-on solar installation experience through the program. The DAC-SASH program will similarly integrate job training opportunities into every project, creating ladders of opportunity for individuals from all backgrounds to access well-paid jobs in California’s solar industry, and ensuring lasting community impact.

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“Through DAC-SASH, more Californians living in disadvantaged communities will see concrete economic and environmental benefits from our transition to clean energy,” said Cathleen Monahan, vice president of program administration with GRID Alternatives. “Through our model as program administrator and implementer, we’re committed to making solar technology accessible to Californians in low-income households while also providing critical job training, employment opportunities, and consumer protections.”

Prompted by Assembly Bill (AB) 327, the Commission approved the new 12-year program to increase the adoption of clean, affordable solar by residential customers living in disadvantaged communities. To qualify for DAC-SASH, customers must meet income qualifications and live in the top 25 percent most disadvantaged communities statewide using the CalEnviroScreen. GRID Alternatives will host an informational webinar in March to collect stakeholder input on DAC-SASH program development. Registration information is forthcoming.

— Solar Builder magazine

Meet Renovate: SEPA’s initiative to evolve state regulatory processes in the power sector

smart electric power alliance

State regulatory processes in the power sector are often unable to keep pace with the needs of customers and evolution of renewable technology. The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) is teaming with a group of national nonprofit organizations on a new initiative, Renovate, to help change that by developing more effective ways of working together to identify and deliver new solutions.

The initiative’s vision is to enable the evolution of state regulatory processes and practices in order to address the scalable deployment of innovative technologies and business operating models that support the transition to a clean and modern energy grid.

“State commissions are focused on balancing the needs of many stakeholders and have constrained resources for developing processes to better understand emerging innovations and issues,” said NARUC President Nick Wagner. “That is why we are pleased, and find it important, to have partnerships such as we have with the Renovate Initiative and its wide range of stakeholders.”

To begin Renovate, a task force including commissioners, consumer and environmental advocates, legislators, and leaders from utilities, solution providers and state energy offices alongside initiative partners identified problem statements to guide the initiative’s focus. The problem statements include issues on the steep learning curve for all industry participants, managing system risk and uncertainty, managing increased rate of change and the balancing and cross-coordination of multiple priority sets.

“Our nation’s clean energy transition will go faster and more smoothly if we can change how utilities are regulated, so that rather than relying so heavily on trial-type procedures, final decisions reflect more flexible and collaborative approaches,” said Ralph Cavanagh, Energy co-director of the Climate and Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Otherwise costs and delays will remain excessive, and public involvement will suffer.”

SEPA, as a non-advocating convening group, seeks through this initiative to unlock a collaborative, transparent and more coordinated, productive path to scale solutions more quickly without sacrificing consumer protections. The Renovate initiative will be led by Janet Gail Besser, who recently joined SEPA as a Managing Director. Besser brings nationally recognized expertise and broad industry experience as a regulator, utility executive, developer, consultant, and consumer advocate to the role.

Working with a task force of stakeholder representatives and partners, the next phase of the initiative entails identifying a set of solutions to designated problem statements, and identifying, assessing and benchmarking existing regulatory innovations—both domestically and globally—which will include the development and publication of key illustrative case studies.

Renovate Partner Organizations

American Public Power Association (APPA)
Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC)
National Association of State Energy Offices (NASEO)
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
National Governors Association (NGA)
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)
Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP)
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)
Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA)


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The Residential Rooftop Report for the first quarter of 2019 is now available for download. The theme is “Heating Up Sales,” and we’ve teamed up with report sponsor Aurora Solar to examine ways for residential solar installation companies to lower customer acquisition costs, close more leads and overall run a more streamlined, efficient local solar business. Just fill out the form below to access your free report.



















— Solar Builder magazine

Richard Branson wants to fund renewable energy via a Clean Energy Dividend concept

richard branson

© Andrés Jiménez

Sir Richard Branson has shared his vision for a Clean Energy Dividend which he hopes will tackle climate change. Writing in his blog, amid scenes of climate change marches around the world, he states his belief that there will be an opportunity to create millions of jobs whilst also driving down the price of fuels in the long term.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder wrote:

“I believe there is an extremely simple way to whip climate change and I plan to set it out below. It’s wonderful to see children all over the world marching today for such an important cause and they are absolutely right that if we don’t implement ideas immediately then their lives and their children’s lives are going to be imperilled.

Many people working on this subject believe the world needs a carbon tax on dirty fuels – coal and oil – to solve the problem. However, the problem with a carbon tax is that it has so far been impossible to impose without governments falling. The Australian government tried to bring one in and they were kicked out – the new government cancelled it. In November 2018, the state of Washington voted against a carbon tax for the second time in two years.

Carbon taxes are of course well-intentioned. But others are skeptical that they will raise enough resources to tackle the problem, or if the money will actually even be spent on the issue. So aside from being unpopular with the companies, carbon taxes are also often unpopular with the public and unpopular with governments. There are really no winners – except ultimately the globe and the environment

So I would like to propose the following: a Clean Energy Dividend.”

The Virgin Group founder went on to add important points around why companies around the world should support this dividend adding:

“Every company in the world should accept a Clean Energy Dividend to be imposed on the fossil fuel they use and the carbon emissions they cause. The dividend could be the equivalent percentage that a carbon tax would have been, and based on cutting pollution at the rate the climate science shows is necessary. However, unlike a carbon tax, that money wouldn’t disappear into government coffers, but would be used specifically to be invested in generating clean energy through wind farms and solar panels, as well as the development of more low carbon fuels and other breakthrough technologies. The companies, through those investments, can get that money back, plus dividends (it would be wise to have some independent governance to make absolutely certain that all companies comply with this remit.)

The good news about this approach is that:

  1. Clean energy will have literally billions poured into it over the next few years – enough money to switch the world from dirty to clean energy. This is important because what climate change initiatives are still lacking at the moment is major investment.
  2. Companies investing this money should be happy because the investments they make should be secure ones.
  3. Millions of new jobs will be created through a climate change revolution.
  4. The public should be happy because although some fuel prices might increase in the short-term, the competition from clean fuel will rapidly drive prices of both dirty and clean fuel down very quickly and they will stay down forever.
  5. Governments should be happy because the lower fuel prices will result in a great boost to the economy. Lower fuel prices are politically attractive and politicians will also be able to say that by implementing this, they have made a major move towards getting on top of climate change.

“This is a win-win all-round. It’s a win for companies, a win for the people who work in them, a win for the public, a win for creating new jobs, win for governments, and most importantly of all a win for our beautiful globe.”


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The Residential Rooftop Report for the first quarter of 2019 is now available for download. The theme is “Heating Up Sales,” and we’ve teamed up with report sponsor Aurora Solar to examine ways for residential solar installation companies to lower customer acquisition costs, close more leads and overall run a more streamlined, efficient local solar business. Just fill out the form below to access your free report.



















— Solar Builder magazine

New York hits record solar installs but will fall short of clean energy goals without VDER changes

With New York state leaders negotiating this month whether to include Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed Green New Deal in the new state budget, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables released the 2018 Solar Market Insight (SMI) Report showing strong growth in New York’s solar market with 373 MW of new development last year. While the report shows steady growth to date, it also reveals that without further action from lawmakers, New York will fall well short of its clean energy goals outlined in Governor Cuomo’s state of the state.

“New data from the U.S. Solar Market Insight Year-in-Review shows New York is installing more solar than ever before,” Sean Gallagher, Vice President of State Affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association said. “However, the pace of installations is still far from the rate needed to achieve Governor Cuomo’s ambitious new 6-Gigawatt solar goal. To increase the pace of solar deployment, the New York Public Service Commission must quickly approve recommended changes to the Value of Distributed Energy Resources tariff, and the Legislature and the Governor should come together around the specifics of renewable energy legislation now pending in Albany.”

New York’s annual installment ranks No. 6 nationally, a 6-spot jump from 2017, but New York’s overall solar market ranks 10th in the nation, showing there is still room for improvement. New York overall jumped up one spot from 2017, generating over $4.7 billion in investments, and sustaining nearly 10,000 jobs at more than 850 companies across the state. That success underscores the potential for the governor’s proposed Green New Deal to continue accelerating the transition to a 100% clean energy economy.

“In order to hit the governor’s target of 6 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, the industry must deploy three times as much solar it has installed to date,” said Shaym Mehta, Executive Director of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association. “A stable, predictable market for solar investment is the best way to get there, making this the opportune moment for the New York legislature to codify achievable short, medium and long-term solar energy targets. Doing so would expand solar access for all New Yorkers, and put us on a path to meeting our climate and clean energy goals.”

Governor Cuomo has set a goal of 6 GW of solar installed by 2025. The report shows in 2018 the US installed 10.6 GW of solar, giving New York a roadmap to reach the Governor’s solar goals. States that saw growth created favorable environments to growth by committing to solar with codified incentives and using those to signal market favorability to solar industries. New York is expected to see growth in 2019 and 2020 due to strong community actions by state regulators.

Without legislative action, New York is unlikely to reach its goal of 6 gigawatts (GW) of distributed solar, or enough to power one million solar homes, by 2025. That goal would require significantly more annual solar development. In light of Solar Market Insight Report, the Million Solar Strong New York Coalition is calling on lawmakers to double down on its commitment to climate and clean energy leadership and codify into law Governor Cuomo’s 6GW solar goal in order to drive the regulatory and market changes needed to accelerate solar growth further.


roof top reportDownload the new Residential Rooftop Report to heat up your solar sales

The Residential Rooftop Report for the first quarter of 2019 is now available for download. The theme is “Heating Up Sales,” and we’ve teamed up with report sponsor Aurora Solar to examine ways for residential solar installation companies to lower customer acquisition costs, close more leads and overall run a more streamlined, efficient local solar business. Just fill out the form below to access your free report.



















— Solar Builder magazine

Florida Power & Light proposes new community solar program that would largest in the United States

community solar

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for a new community solar program that would offer FPL customers the opportunity to directly participate in Florida’s transformation to a world leader in solar energy. Through this voluntary program, participating customers will help accelerate the growth of solar in Florida by subscribing to a portion of new solar power capacity, and in return, they will receive credits that are expected to reduce their monthly bills over time. This will be another piece of the utility’s 30 by 30 plan.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s executive director Dr. Stephen A. Smith offered this statement:

“We believe this will be a significant move to provide low-cost solar power to a wider range of customers throughout Florida. We believe that this program, coupled with FPL’s previously announced 30 x 30 commitment to utility-scale solar, shows that the utility is serious about advancing solar power in Florida. This program appears to make clean, solar power more widely available in the Sunshine State.”

SolarTogether

FPL SolarTogether will significantly expand solar energy in Florida. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490 megawatts of new universal solar at 20 new solar power plants across FPL’s service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the program. Built cost-effectively, the new solar power plants attributed to the program are projected to generate an estimated $139 million in net savings for customers over the long term, primarily from avoided fuel and other system savings. Participating customers will receive direct credits for the savings on their monthly bills, and the program is designed to also contribute a portion of the savings to all customers, which will help keep fuel costs low for everyone.

If approved, FPL SolarTogether will be the largest community solar program in the United States. According to the Solar Energy Industry of America’s latest information, a total of 1,298 megawatts of community solar has been installed in the U.S. through the third quarter of last year.

“This program will more than double the amount of community solar currently in the U.S.,” said Silagy. “More importantly, FPL SolarTogether will allow individual customers to personally support Florida’s affordable, clean energy revolution while lowering their electric rates and bills over the long term.”

Key program design points

FPL studied community solar programs offered throughout the country, including Florida. The result is a next generation solar option for customers that offers flexibility, convenience and is not subject to the confines of their location. Program participants will not be tied to a long-term contract and can terminate or reduce their subscription at any time.

In addition, because the subscription is associated with a customer account and not a physical address, program participants who move within FPL’s service area can maintain their subscription benefits. FPL expects program participants to achieve a simple payback on their subscription within seven years. FPL also will retire Renewable Energy Certificates or RECs on behalf of participants who are looking to meet sustainability goals.

In order to gauge potential customer interest in a program like this, FPL has been working with its largest energy users, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. More than 200 of FPL’s largest energy users – including municipalities, large national retail chains, universities, banks, restaurants and schools – have committed to participate, providing the foundation for such a large program.

The first six solar plants, each of which will have about 300,000 solar panels and be capable of generating 74.5 megawatts of solar, are scheduled to be operational in early 2020, with the remaining 14 facilities planned for 2021. FPL has already secured enough land to build all of these plants and the company plans to announce the individual locations in the future.

“FPL’s SolarTogether program provides an innovative approach to addressing business and residential needs for embracing clean energy in Florida and cost-effectively expanding the Sunshine State’s renewable energy footprint,” said Tim Center, executive director of Tallahassee-based, Sustainable Florida. “This initiative chalks up major wins for Florida’s environment and sustainability.”

— Solar Builder magazine