We can do it: Portugal’s grid runs 4 days straight on only renewables

Climate news is generally dire, but real progress is possible. In fact, it is happening. The latest proof is Portugal’s new record for renewable energy supply: 4 straight days where 100 percent of its power came from renewables.

As renewable energy matures into an ever more popular and cost-effective source of electricity, we’re getting used to seeing some historic achievements from nations that have ramped up their clean energy infrastructure – and the latest glory goes to Portugal.

Recent figures show that the country ran on renewable energy alone for four days straight this month, completing an extraordinary 107-hour run between Saturday morning, May 7, and early Wednesday evening, May 11. During this record-setting window, Portugal ran on solar, wind, and hydro electricity entirely, without needing to fall back on power sourced from its coal and natural gas plants.

Full article.

New Hampshire re-opens net metering!

 

Governor Hassan signed the net-metering cap increase bill into law on Monday, May 2. Customers of Eversource, Liberty Utility, and Unitil can once again go solar. (Those with New Hampshire Electric Coop were not limited by the state’s previous cap, and continue to be able to go solar.)

The new limit on net metering is supposed to provide enough capacity for those who want to go solar this year. However, as happened in both NH and Vermont last year, the available cap easily could be hit sooner than expected. In other words, if you put off your decision to go solar until late in the year, you may find yourself out of luck and prevented from doing so by the new limit. Don’t delay! Contact us for a site visit today.

10th LEAP Energy Fair, Saturday, April 9, 2016

10th LEAP ENERGY FAIR
Saturday, April 9, 2016

9 AM – 3 PM    Event is FREE
Crossett Brook Middle School Gym, Duxbury, VT  (5672 VT Route 100)

TOUR 75 exhibits and talk with dozens of experts about solar power, heat pumps, weatherization, energy audits, geothermal, biomass, pellet stoves, electric vehicles, and much more

LEARN how to reduce fuel bills, save energy and shrink emissions

PARTICIPATE  in break-out discussions on: Sustainable Transportation; Air & Ground Source Heat Pumps; Going Solar; and Weatherization.

KIDS can enjoy a free show by Marko the Magician at 11AM

FREE electronics recycling onsite

Hosted by the volunteers of Waterbury LEAP.  Visit www.waterburyleap.org for more details.

NH House passes net metering increase

If you are in New Hampshire with Liberty, Eversource (formerly PSNH) or Unitil as your utility and have been waiting to go solar, you don’t need to wait hardly any longer. A friend in Concord writes, “The House just passed HB 1116 to expand net metering and to transfer regulation of the solar energy contribution to our state’s energy resources to the PUC. It was a strong voice vote. The same language has now been passed in the House and the Senate. Soon the House bill or the Senate bill will be passed through both houses and go to the governor for signing.”

You can track the bill’s status here, and read the text here.

FAQ: Does northern New England get enough sunlight for solar to make sense?

The grass is always greener on the other side, and the sun always shines brighter in retirement states. Even so, Vermont and New Hampshire have no trouble sustaining healthy yards and pastures, and we easily get enough sunshine for solar to be a sensible choice for energy production.

Consider this map of the solar resource, created by the National Renewable Energy Lab: Read more

Net metering rules to change in Vermont

Net metering in Vermont faces major challenges. If you care about the future of distributed, renewable energy in Vermont, please read on.

Vermont law (Act 99) requires net metering regulations to be revised as of January 1, 2017. The state’s Public Service Board (PSB) is charged with establishing these regulations. The PSB has released its draft of the new regulations. See http://psb.vermont.gov/statutesrulesandguidelines/proposedrules/rule5100 for the draft document and other details.

While subject to change between now and implementation, as written the draft regulations contain numerous problems. First and foremost is that the value of net metering for Vermonters will be significantly reduced once the new regulations go into effect in 2017. The silver lining is that the draft regulations grandfather current net metering values for any tracker installed in 2016. Additionally, the draft regulations hugely undermine the development of community solar. I’ll address that further down. Read more

Living la Vida Sola: Driving Solar

Many Solaflect customers drive plug-in hybrid or all-electric cars. They are extremely low cost to operate, since the electricity to run them costs less than the gasoline that would be required to drive the same distance in a non-electric car. This is particularly true for those who have gone solar and have spare net metering to share with their electric vehicle.

They are also a good way to reduce one’s carbon footprint. That advantage only grows as solar and other renewable energy contributes an increasing fraction of the electric supply. Contrary to some claims, an electric vehicle does indeed result in environmental benefits when measured over the lifetime of the vehicle, as compared to a traditional vehicle. David Roberts at VOX has a nice summary on this aspect.

(Photo by Paul Krueger.)

FAQ: What does solar do to property values and property taxes?

Many homeowners wonder what will happen to their home’s property value if they add solar. A number of studies have looked at this question. The largest and most thorough to date was conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and published in January 2015. It looked at data from eight states over a fifteen year time period. On average, home values increased by $4 per watt of installed solar capacity. One Solaflect PV Tracker has 4 kW (4,000 watts) of capacity. See the report here.

Note that in Vermont, state law exempts solar equipment from being assessed for property taxation, so long as the solar array is smaller than 50 kW in size (that is, fewer than 13 Solaflect PV Trackers).

In New Hampshire, each town has the option to exempt solar from property taxation. Details regarding the towns that have adopted an exemption are available here. New Hampshire residents interested in solar should contact their local government to confirm the exact details for their town.

See more FAQs here.

Community Solar Forum at VTC, Saturday 11/21/2015

CENTRAL VERMONT COMMUNITY SOLAR FORUM

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21
12:30 – 4:00 PM
Vermont Technical College SHAPE Campus Center (Google Maps)
Randolph Center, Vermont

Town energy committees from central Vermont are invited to learn about and discuss solar power development, siting problems and solar project types. The forum will focus on how to best expand solar electrical generation in the region on a community scale. Solar power is coming, but not every project is right for every site.

Town officials dealing with big solar siting issues will share their experiences. Community solar activists, solar developers, solar technical and legal experts and the Vermont Public Service Board will present information at this forum.

A panel discussion of solar development and community solar models moderated by Bob Walker will allow committee members to get questions answered by experts.

The forum is hosted by Randolph Energy Committee and Vermont Technical College.

For more information call 802-477-3189 or email randolph.home.energy@gmail.com

Hartland Farmers’ Market this afternoon

Looking for some fresh veggies to go with your solar? Drop by the Hartland Farmers’ Market this afternoon, Friday, November 20, 2015 from 4 – 7 pm. We’ll be there providing information on the Community Solar Park and PV Tracker, and can answer questions about the solar landscape going forward now that Green Mountain Power has hit its legal cap for net metering.

Location: Damon Hall, Hartland VT. (See in Google Maps.)

Access to solar at risk

The solar energy rules are about to change – much sooner than previously expected. We’ve put together this brief “Solar 101: What you need to know IMMEDIATELY” so as not to miss this brief window to save thousands of dollars in solar incentives. A fuller explanation is below the bullet points.

Background

  • The Federal government currently provides a 30% federal tax credit for residential solar. This credit expires at the end of next year.
  • Vermont provides a “solar adder” which currently increases the value of residential solar production by 25 to 35%, depending on the installation.

What’s Changing Read more

Why we go solar

Because we’re on a roll…

Carbon emissions fall in 11 of G20 members, in turning point

Greenhouse gas emissions per capita are falling in 11 of the Group of 20 major economies, a turning point for tackling climate change, a study showed on Tuesday.

The report, by a new organization of scientists and other experts called Climate Transparency, also said 15 of the G20 members has seen strong growth in renewable energy in recent years.

“Climate action by the G20 has reached a turning point, with per capita emissions falling in 11 members, and renewable energy growing strongly,” the group said in a statement. The G20 accounts for about three-quarters of world greenhouse gases.

Full article.

VNews: “Vt. Nears ‘Net Metering’ Cap With Solar Boom”

Vt. Nears ‘Net Metering’ Cap With Solar Boom

Solaflect wins Reader’s Choice Award!

Thank you to our many customers whose support has resulted in our being awarded the Valley News Reader’s Choice Award 2015 for best solar business!

Readers_Choice_Award_listing2

Solaflect’s mission is to design, manufacture, and install the highest-quality and most cost-effective solar technology, supported with the best possible customer service. In the end, it is our customers who deserve credit for leading the transition to a world that is powered with clean, affordable energy. Thank you.

FAQ: What are “Renewable Energy Certificates”?

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are an accounting mechanism to make it possible to keep track of responsibility for bringing renewable energy to the grid. When one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated from a renewable energy facility that is registered with the grid operator, a REC is issued to represent the renewable aspect of that energy.

Electricity on the grid is identical, whether it comes from a solar array or a coal-fired power plant. But we all know that energy from the sun has a different impact on the world than energy from burning coal. The REC represents that difference. It represents the reduction in soot, mercury, smog, acid rain, radiation, and carbon dioxide that we get from solar (or other renewable) energy as compared to traditional sources. Because we want a cleaner, healthier world, there is social value in the difference represented by the REC. Read more

Next information events

Websites are great, but if you’d prefer to meet us in person and ask questions directly, please join us at one of our next information events. We will be answering solar-related questions large and small—and providing homemade soup!—at the following times and places. We’ll be emphasizing the Community Solar Parks (currently under construction) which allow customers of Green Mountain Power to go solar with PV Trackers that are hosted on our Solar Park land. If you are interested in possibly having a Tracker installed on your own property, that’s great too. We can explain how that works and how to determine if your property has suitable conditions for solar.

  • Wednesday, October 21, 7 pm
    Tracy Hall, 300 Main St, Norwich VT
    Multipurpose meeting room (downstairs)
  • Monday, October 26, 7 pm
    Upper Valley Food Coop, 193 North Main St, White River Junction VT
    Community meeting room (entrance around back of store)

Why we go solar

From 1990 to 2014, residential electric rates in Vermont have grown at an average annual rate of 2.6 percent. One perspective on going solar is that it is like pre-buying decades worth of electricity, effectively locking in your electric costs below those from the utilities.

Cost of electricity in Vermont from 1990 to 2014 is shown in gray, data from US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. Projection of the historic trend is shown in red. Your cost of electricity from the Solaflect Community Solar Park--viewed as pre-buying 20 years' worth of energy--is shown in blue.
Cost of electricity in Vermont from 1990 to 2014 is shown in gray, data from US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. Projection of the historic trend is shown in red. Your cost of electricity from the Solaflect Community Solar Park–viewed as pre-buying 20 years’ worth of energy–is shown in blue.