Tag Archives: Grid Alternatives

Nicole Steele: Solar power offers a cleaner, better energy future

Guest Columnist, The Virginian-Pilot

Dominion Energy recently announced a request for proposals for up to 500 megawatts of wind and solar under Virginia’s Grid Transformation & Security Act, and the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan — released by Gov. Ralph Northam on
Oct. 1 — calls for the addition of 3,000 megawatts of solar and wind in the state by the year 2022. It’s an exciting turning point, but as we move forward, we need to make sure Virginia’s transition to clean energy includes and benefits all of our communities. Equitable solar policies targeting low- and middle-income households will keep money in the local economy, allow communities to build wealth and create local jobs. Read more here.

Nicole Steele is the executive director of nonprofit GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic. GRID Mid-Atlantic, serving Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, is a leader in making clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income communities and communities of color.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Minnesota’s largest solar farm project moving ahead in far southwestern corner, Duluth News Tribune. A Minneapolis-based renewable energy development company continues to work with landowners in Rock County in far southwest Minnesota on what could be the state’s largest solar farm covering 1,600 acres. Geronimo Energy is proposing a 150- to 200-megawatt solar farm. The largest solar farm currently in operation in the state is 150 megawatts. 

Kansas’ Cloud County Community College adds 200-kW solar array to pro-renewables campus, Solar Power World. The installation of an on-campus solar site commences new solar energy classes of Cloud County Community College’s Solar Energy Technology program. The site will service the campus’s energy needs, and will be installed by students enrolled in the program. Historically focusing on wind energy, solar was a natural transition. 

Residential solar co Freedom Forever enters Colorado market, Renewables Now. According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar energy production is expected to surpass 1,800 MW in Colorado in five years.

Related:
 Clean Energy Experts: 100% Renewable Energy Could Come Before 2040, CBS Denver

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

America’s Wind Farms Are Ready to Go It Alone, Bloomberg
For a quarter-century, the industry has been supported by federal tax credits that helped it attract $250 billion in investments and create 100,000 jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That support ends next year, but analysts and executives say the credits have done what they were supposed to do: make the industry competitive. AWEA Public Domain Photo.

The Vision for U.S. Community Solar: A Roadmap for 2030

Despite clear consumer interest and immense market opportunity, the model hasn’t yet achieved scale because most states lack community solar policies – and those that do are still largely not adequately reaching and serving a diverse customer base.  Transformative growth of community solar will not happen overnight. But improvements in program design and implementation, financing solutions, and customer-focused offerings can expand solar access to all customer types.

To help state policymakers, market participants, and advocates address these gaps and expand community solar options, GTM Research conducted a study to evaluate the community solar market potential and identify pathways for community solar adoption nationwide by 2030. The study was supported by Vote Solar, GRID Alternatives, and Coalition for Community Solar Access. Read more here.

Photo: South Sioux City’s 2.3-megawatt array (1,200 panels) located on a 21-acre solar park south of the city, alongside C Avenue. The array generates enough energy to provide 5% of South Sioux City’s electrical needs. This is the first Nebraska project for California-based developer Solar City, a Tesla Motors subsidiary. See Solar Examples for more information.
Recently posted: $1.6 million 2 megawatt energy storage unit project in South Sioux City
Credit: Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Top Distributed Solar Policy Actions Of Q2, by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry

According to the report, The 50 States of Solar, the greatest number of actions related to residential fixed charge or minimum bill increases, net metering policies and community solar policies:

The report identifies three trends in solar policy activity taken in Q2 2018: (1) states working to increase low-income customer participation in community solar programs; (2) state legislatures considering bills effectively undoing or amending regulatory decisions; and (3) regulators approving residential fixed charge reductions. NCCETC says regulators in three states approved residential fixed charge decreases in Q2 2018 – representing a notable departure from previous quarters. Read more here.

Solar industry, NAACP partner for more than 30 installations

Posted by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

GRID Alternatives, Solar Energy  Industries Association, Sunrun, United Methodist Women, Vote Solar joined the NAACP to kick off a solar equity campaign focused on low-income communities and creating jobs . . . Called the “Keeping it Green While Living the Dream”, the coalition has made a year-long commitment to train 100 people, install solar on 20 households and 10 community centers and strengthen laws in at least five states that strengthen equity in solar-access policies. Read more here.

Photo: Grid Alternatives

NAACP’s JUST ENERGY TOOLKIT
Just Energy Policies and Practices Action Toolkit
The toolkit contains modules to help guide individuals and communities move towards an energy economy that is sustainable, equitable, and just for all its members. It includes a section on how to pass net metering, distributed generation and community shared renewable energy policies, a fact sheet on advancing equity, inclusion, and leadership in the solar industry, and a fact sheet on solar consumer protection. The toolkit is designed to operate in conjunction with the NAACP’s Just Energy Policies: Model Energy Policies Guide, which contains specific information for people wanting to change policy.

Updated low-income solar guide designed to accelerate deployment

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

National non-profits GRID Alternatives  and Vote Solar  have updated their online tool, the Low-Income Solar Policy Guide, which they first released last year as a one-stop resource for those interesting in democratizing solar energy. Read more here.

Low-Income Solar.Org

ALSO IN THE NEWS

State-Backed Community Solar To Help Low-Income Families In Colo.

By Joseph Bebon, Solar Industry Magazine

gov-hickenlooped

On Friday, Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., joined project partners and volunteers to help install a community solar array that will provide 50% of the power demand for up to 20 qualified low-income families served by Fort Collins Utilities. Last year, the CEO awarded GRID a $1.2 million grant to add low-income community solar with utilities across the state.
Continue reading.

Photo: Governor Hickenlooper

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Solar Power World Interviews Erica Mackie, Grid Alternatives Co-Founder and CEO

Making solar accessible for low-income communities.
Click image to view the YouTube Video.
gird-alternatives-founder

RECOMMENDED READING

Grid Alternatives Supports Low-Income Access to Solar Energy, Planetsave
The U.S. Solar Market Continues to Grow, Solar Power International Reaffirms, AltEnergy Magazine
Provo mayor to veto new solar energy fee, Deseret News
Georgia Republican Champions Solar, Yale Climate Connections
Stanford’s solar expansion project moves ahead, Stanford News
After a banner year, energy storage on track to best 2015’s record-setting year, Utility Dive
Missouri regulator approves major utility’s community solar plan, Midwest Energy News
Community Solar: How to go Solar Without Rooftop Panels, Mother Earth News
Women in Energy POWERing Growth & Profit, Heatspring Magazine
Taxpayers in Nevada deserve a fair return for renewable energy development on public lands, Opinion: Las Vegas Review-Journal
World moves to offset airplane emissions in landmark deal, Think Progress. The industry will offset its pollution through carbon credits or funding green projects.

Grid Alternatives will install 92 solar projects on U.S. tribal lands

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

grid-alternatives-3

Six tribal communities in California, Montana and South Dakota will receive 394 kW of solar energy in the form of 92 installations, courtesy of non-profit installer Grid Alternatives and a more than $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE created an initiative in March to provide clean energy and energy efficiency projects for 24 tribal communities. Continue reading.

Photo Credit: Grid Alternatives

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
Sheridan school district switches buildings to solar energy, The Republic
School District To Save Millions With Solar Carports And Storage, Solar Industry Magazine
Could nursery school farms be the way of the future? Treehugger
Science ministers from around the world gathered at the White House yesterday for the first-ever Arctic Science Ministerial
WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET: United States Hosts First-Ever Arctic Science Ministerial to Advance International Research Efforts
Tenaska buys 470 MW of wind projects in Minnesota, North DakotaPublished by Platts
Solar option would save money at new sewer plant, Sauk Valley.Com

Low-Income Solar Policy Guide

Photo Credit: Grid Alternatives

Photo Credit: Grid Alternatives

The Low-Income Solar Policy Guide was developed by nonprofits GRID Alternatives, the Vote Solar Initiative, and the Center for Social Inclusion, to help drive the proposal and adoption of new low-income solar policies and programs, both as stand-alone efforts and as part of broader renewable energy programs. It is meant to be a tool for policymakers, community leaders and others who are working on solar access at the Federal, state and local level.

There are many effective policy tools for supporting solar adoption among consumers at large, and nearly all of them help expand low-income access to solar power to some extent. However, fully enabling low-income solar participation requires policies and programs that are specifically designed to address the unique barriers faced by these communities. This guide provides an overview of those barriers, as well as underlying principles for successful programs, existing policy tools that can be used to create programs, and examples of state and local models that have successfully improved access.

Low-Income Solar Policy Guide.Org www.lowincomesolar.org

About GRID Alternatives
GRID Alternatives is America’s largest non-profit solar installer bringing clean energy technology and job training to low-income families and underserved communities through a network of community partners, volunteers, and philanthropic supporters. GRID has installed over 6,500 rooftop solar systems with a combined installed capacity of 22.6 megawatts, saving $174 million in lifetime electricity costs, preventing 484,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and providing over 5,400 people with solar training. For more information, visit www.gridalternatives.org

About Vote Solar
Vote Solar is a non-profit organization working to combat climate change and foster economic development by bringing solar energy into the mainstream nationwide: www.votesolar.org

About Center for Social Inclusion
Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) works to identify and support policy strategies to transform structural inequity and exclusion into structural fairness and inclusion. CSI works with community groups and national organizations to develop policy ideas, foster effective leadership, and develop communications tools for an opportunity-rich world in which we all will thrive no matter our race or ethnicity: www.centerforsocialinclusion.org

“Solar Spring Break” Connects Students With Clean Power In Underserved Communities

By Glenn Meyers, CleanTechnica

All-women engineering team from UNR Oroville, California, Solar Spring Break 2015

All-women engineering team from UNR – Oroville, California 2015

In the 2016 “Solar Spring Break,” over 100 students from 10 US colleges will be taking on the task of installing rooftop solar for low-income families, and learning as they work.

The program runs through March 25. Students will connect with clean energy at Solar Spring Break — an alternative spring break program hosted by GRID Alternatives.

Teams of 10–12 students will travel to different sites in California and Colorado, where they will spend a week learning about solar array design, installing rooftop residential systems, and meeting with solar industry employers. Most participating students have taken solar or sustainability courses and tentatively expect to join the clean energy industry upon graduation.

Click here to continue reading.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report, “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want”

Colorado utilities to test 5 rural, low-income solar models

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Image Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Image Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Continuing to grow solar energy resources will ultimately mean finding ways for all utility customers to have access, not just those with a perfect roof or credit score, according to Colorado stakeholders.

“Colorado has always been a leader in renewable energy, and now we take another innovative step forward as we create community solar models that are more affordable and available to Colorado rural electric cooperatives and the low-income communities they serve,” Colorado Energy Office (CEO) Director Jeff Ackermann said in a statement.

Read more here.  

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Clean Technica: 5 Low-Income Community Solar Projects Announced In Colorado