IREC Report: Trends Shaping our Clean Energy Future

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 21, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

 

FOR RELEASE October 21, 2014Contact: Ruth Fein ruthw@irecusa.org  518.858.732 

Report: Trends Shaping our Clean Energy Future

Released by IREC 

 

(Las Vegas, NV) October 21, 2014 – Today’s release of Trends Shaping our Clean Energy Future, an annual report by The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. (IREC) presents information and an independent perspective on the year’s renewable energy and energy efficiency progress and challenges across the U.S., and the activities, research, publications, expert insight and recommendations that are helping shape our clean energy future.

“The report offers a collection of new models, best practices and resources, across IREC’s broad work in the national and state regulatory arenas and as a leader in clean energy workforce development,” says IREC President and CEO Jane Weissman. “Unique to this report, IREC’s nationally respected experts present independent insight on the current issues that face stakeholders, as spectacular growth continues throughout the renewable energy and energy efficiency marketplace, including stories of some of the successes and challenges of 2014.”

In addition to delving into the latest trends, and the next challenges and solutions playing out in the most progressive states, the report also shares highlights from the many IREC publications that guide and shape regulatory and workforce development policies, including helping the nation’s colleges and training providers prepare a skilled, job-ready workforce.

“All of these points of action are linked and promote a responsive, safe and resilient clean energy economy,” says Weissman, “ultimately, enabling more consumers to safely, confidently and affordably benefit from clean energy.”

Some key topics in the report include:

  • How best practices are growing smart shared renewable programs, interconnection policies and  quality workforce development.
  • How strategies to efficiently inspect and permit residential solar rooftop systems are bridging regulatory and quality workforce training initiatives. A look at the field tested, proven tools IREC has developed with guidance from code officials and solar experts.
  • Even with a perfect balance of good products, profitable pricing and proactive policies, poor workmanship can crash a market in no time. A look at what’s being done to ensure consumer confidence.
  • In the presidential limelight in 2014, IREC’s work with the Solar Instructor Training Network included helping SITN member colleges and training programs integrate solar skills into existing education and training programs, one way to ensure long-term workforce stability.
  • Now filtering into state procedures are the precedents set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s significant modifications to the federal Small Generator Interconnection Procedures late in 2013. These and other actions, and IREC’s outreach work in clean energy progressive and transitioning states, are shaping state and community conversations across the U.S.
  • Still a hot topic is IREC’s report Calculating the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Solar Generation, which presents standardized approaches and calculations for solar benefits and costs. IREC’s goal is to develop a consistent methodological framework that moves some of the headline debates into well-structured conclusions.
  • Nationally, there’s a vocal, cross-industry dialogue on competency-based training – on building a qualified workforce for tomorrow’s jobs. IREC is leading the clean energy sector with programs to accredit training providers and certify instructors for competency-based assessment of “learned” skills. This is among leading indicators that make recruitment, screening and hiring straightforward and result in less overtime, less downtime, fewer mistakes and callbacks.
  • IREC’s U.S. Solar Market Trends publication (July 2014 ) reports that residential photovoltaic capacity grew by 68 percent in 2013. This tremendous growth and other highlights from this report set the backdrop for the need for IREC’s work, state by state and nationally.
IREC’s Trends Shaping Our Clean Energy Future was released at Solar Power International this week in Las Vegas. The full report is available online at www.irecusa.org and in print or on USB flash drive by request.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE> IREC-Trends-Report-2014-10-15-14-L-1


About the Interstate Renewable Energy Council

IREC is a not-for-profit organization that believes clean energy is critical to achieving a sustainable and economically strong future. IREC works to expand consumer access to clean energy; generates information and objective analysis grounded in best practices and standards; and leads programs to build a quality clean energy workforce, including a unique credentialing program for training programs and instructors. Since 1982, IREC’s programs and policies have benefitted energy consumers, policymakers, utilities and the clean energy industry.

 

California Home Owner Association (HOA) Denies Solar Panels; Has your HOA denied your solar panels?

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 21, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Marin Homeowner Denied Solar Panels Over Fear That Neighbors Might See Them

Click title above to view video. 

October 19, 2014 4:47 PM

KENTFIELD (CBS SF) — Betty Segars’ Kentfield home is barely visible from the street but it’s got a great view of the sun, so Betty thought it would be perfect spot for solar panels.

“I’ve got a perfect position for solar. My house faces southern exposure,” Segars said.

In eco-conscious Marin, solar panels are a popular thing, so Betty was shocked when she got a letter from the Kent Woodlands homeowners association denying her request. Segars says she has a county permit.

“They rejected me because the panel has a white back sheet.  And I said, back sheet?  I’ve never heard of this before, what are you talking about?”

The Architectural Committee says the panels must have a black back sheet. Betty’s preferred solar provider, Sun Run, doesn’t carry those.

One neighbor thinks he knows the real reason for the rejection.

“Control. They just like to have total control over the area,” Paul Cooper said.

When Betty pointed out that none of her neighbors can even see her roof she got what Betty calls a petty response.  “You can see the roof over there, can’t you? Obviously, you can see the roof-they’re going to be able to see your panels.”

Betty acknowledges that she can’t move forward without approval from the association, but that doesn’t mean she’s giving up on solar.

“I’m gonna keep knocking on their door. I’m gonna keep calling and sending letters and figuring out what my rights are.”

Segars says she’s already spent about $900 on the project and expects an appeal to cost another $1,500.

 

NYT Real Estate: When an Insurer Shuns Solar Panels

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 18, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Has anyone else experienced this problem with an insurance carrier? Please let me know and tell me how you resolved the problem.

Laura.Arnold@IndianaDG.net or (317) 635-1701

From The New York Times

Ask Real Estate is a weekly column that answers questions from across the New York region. Submit yours to realestateqa@nytimes.com.

When an Insurer Shuns Solar Panels

Q. Four years ago I had solar panels installed on the roof of a building I own. I recently decided to look for a new insurance carrier to replace my existing coverage, hoping to get a lower rate. But when I requested a quote from a different carrier, I was rejected. The company said it would not insure the building because it has solar panels. The installation was done with all the necessary permits and inspections. I received federal, state and city subsidies. How can a company reject my application based on the solar panels? If I had known it could have been an issue, I might have reconsidered the installation.

Manhattan Valley, Manhattan

A. Solar installations on residential rooftops are hardly novel. There are about 1,373 residential arrays citywide, according to Sustainable CUNY, which promotes solar energy. A well-installed solar array, like the one you describe, should set even the most risk-averse insurer at ease. That said, who knows what makes an insurer tick? (After all, your current carrier does not seem to mind the panels on your roof.)

“To tell you the truth, it just sounds like they got one weird company,” said Bret Heilig, the founder of Fiveboro Solar, a solar installation company in the city. Mr. Heilig pointed out that his insurance company did not flinch when he installed a solar array on the roof of his own home.

Rooftop solar panels are “not an issue with very many insurance companies,” said Stuart Cohen, the founder of the City Building Owners Insurance Program, an insurance broker that specializes in small buildings. “There are some that won’t do it, but there are just as many that don’t care about it.”

Get back on that insurance-hunting horse and try to find an insurer who will embrace your green ways. Enlist an insurance broker who is familiar with the marketplace — perhaps one that specializes in small residential buildings. A broker should be able to offer you several quotes from competing insurance companies. This will not only ensure that you get adequate coverage for your property, but it also might help you fetch a lower price.

Ohio SB 310 (2014) Eliminated “in-state” requirement for renewable energy according to PUCO; Good or bad?

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 17, 2014  /   Posted in Uncategorized  /   No Comments

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Solar companies in Ohio have been delivered another blow.

Another blow to the solar industry as PUCO nixes in-state sourcing rule

Oct 16, 2014, 2:35pm EDT UPDATED: Oct 16, 2014, 3:04pm EDT
, Reporter-Columbus Business First

 

It’s official: Ohio power companies no longer have to get half of their renewable energy from in-state providers.

law signed in July made clear the state’s requirement that a 2008 law mandating alternative energy make up 25 percent of a utility’s power source by 2025 be frozen at current rates for two years. Half of that 25 percent must come from renewable sources like wind and solar.

But regulators were unclear if the 6.25 percent in-state renewable energy requirement would be wiped out by the bill.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has settled the matter: that provision will been eliminated completely. It’s another blow to an Ohio alternative energy industry that has been battered this year.

“Pure financial projects are on hold right now,” said Geoff Greenfield, president of Third Sun Solar in Athens.

The vague language of Senate Bill 310 meant the PUCO had to determine if the in-state requirement should be eliminated or pro-rated. Some commenters argued that legislators did not mean to eliminate the in-state requirement at all, but the PUCO rejected those arguments. Legislators like Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, had argued that the requirement is unconstitutional.

By getting rid of the in-state requirement, renewable energy companies, especially in solar, must now compete to sell renewable energy credits with other states. It’s an issue of supply and demand: A solar company in a nearby state like Indiana, which doesn’t have mandatory renewable energy standards, can now more easily sell to Ohio power providers that need to buy solar credits to comply with the standards.

So now companies from Indiana and whereever else can flood the Ohio market with their offers and lower the prices. The in-state requirement was seen as a boon to Ohio renewable producers; it provided a safety net, preventing power companies from seeking solar credits from other states, even if the credits went for less.

Solar companies have pretty much stopped doing large business and nonprofit projects in Ohio since Senate Bill 310 was first bandied about anyway, Greenfield said. His company only does residential projects in Ohio now, and goes to other states for commercial projects.

The in-state requirement impacts solar more than wind. But wind industry sources say another law passed this year to move back turbines from property lines will have an even bigger impact on its operations in Ohio.

 

NIPSCO files Settlement Agreement for Voluntary Feed-in Tariff (VFIT) in Indiana

Posted by Laura Arnold  /   October 14, 2014  /   Posted in Feed-in Tariffs (FiT), Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Uncategorized  /   No Comments

Clean Coalition logo

 

October 14, 2014

NEWS RELEASE: Indiana utility proposes expansion of its feed-in tariff program

Northern Indiana Public Service Company announces FIT 2.0 to support the development of local renewable generation

Merrillville, IN — On Thursday, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), an investor owned utility serving nearly a half million customers, filed a proposal to expand its voluntary feed-in tariff (FIT) program.

The proposed program, known as FIT 2.0, is a renewable energy purchasing program that enables NIPSCO to procure 16 megawatts (MW) of electricity from small-scale, renewable electricity projects within its service territory. This program is the successor to FIT 1.0, which created 30 MW of market capacity for local renewables.

“Given the success of NIPSCO’s initial feed-in tariff, it is natural to see an expansion of the program,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition. “Feed-in tariffs are the world’s most successful policy for deploying local renewable energy in a straightforward and cost-effective manner. In addition, given that feed-in tariffs avoid critical issues associated with net metering, by maintaining customer loads and eliminating multi-tenant complexities, utilities and communities across the country should be implementing feed-in tariffs.”

FIT 2.0 is the result of a months-long settlement process between NIPSCO and numerous parties including the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, Sierra Club, Citizens Action Coalition, and Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance, which the Clean Coalition advised.

“Indiana is unique to have voluntary feed-in tariffs to promote the development of renewable energy resources,” said Laura Ann Arnold, President of Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance. “We worked very hard to develop a logical continuation of the NIPSCO FIT that is fair to everyone, including non-participating ratepayers. We are pleased with the outcome of the settlement and encourage other electric utilities in Indiana and elsewhere to pursue this type of collaborative process to develop additional voluntary feed-in tariffs.”

Under FIT 2.0, NIPSCO will offer 15-year contracts to solar, wind and biomass projects. The standard offer contract price varies by both technology and project size, as shown below:

 

Technology

Capacity (MW)

Project Size

Price ($/kWh)

Micro Solar

2

5 kW and ≤ 10kW

$0.1700

Intermediate Solar

8

> 10 kW and ≤ 200kW

$0.1500

Micro Wind

1

5 kW and ≤ 10 kW

$0.2500

Intermediate Wind

1

> 10 kW and ≤ 200 kW

$0.1500

Biomass

4

100 kW and ≤ 1 MW

$0.0918

 

All capacity for Micro Solar, Micro Wind and Intermediate Wind will be made available when the program is approved. However, half of the Intermediate Solar and Biomass capacity will be reserved for a second allocation period, which will occur two years after program approval. Contract prices for the second allocation will decrease to $0.1380/kWh for Intermediate Solar, and the second allocation of biomass capacity will be contracted through a reverse auction with the purchase rate not to exceed $0.0918/kWh.

 

Projects submitted to NIPSCO within 90 days of the program launch date will be entered into a blind lottery. A Clean Coalition recommendation to require a non-refundable application fee of $25 plus $1 for each kilowatt of project capacity was adopted. This will ensure a more efficient program by deterring non-viable bids from clogging the lottery and project queue. However, other Clean Coalition and Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance recommendations regarding program capacity, project sizes, and pricing were not incorporated in the final settlement agreement.

A decision from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on theFIT 2.0 settlement agreement is expected during the first quarter of 2015.

For additional details on the FIT 2.0 proposal, please see the settlement agreement.

###

 

Contacts:
John Bernhardt, Outreach & Communications Director

Clean Coalition
john@clean-coalition.org
(703) 963-8750

 

Laura Ann Arnold, President

Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance

Laura.Arnold@IndianaDG.net

(317) 635-1701

 

About the Clean Coalition

The Clean Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and a modern grid through technical, policy, and project development expertise.  For further information on the Clean Coalition, please visit www.clean-coalition.org.

 

About Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance (IndianaDG)

IndianaDG is a nonprofit coalition of businesses, individuals, elected officials, local units of government, colleges and universities, labor unions, economic development groups as well as environmental and consumer organizations joining together to promote renewable energy and distributed generation. For further information on IndianaDG, please visit www.IndianaDG.net.

 

DOWNLOAD SUMMARY HERE> Cause No 44393 FIT 2 0 Overview 10 14 14

 

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