Category: Solar News & Policy
As Solar Grows Faster, Policy Speed Bumps Need to be Cleared
It’s official: According to the just-released annual review from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 2021 was another great year for solar power.  The best ever, in fact.  And 2022 looks strong as well, with 22 gigawatts (GW) of new solar installations on tap across America. But just as solar is breaking into the lead...
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Putin’s War in Ukraine Offers More Reasons to Get Off Fossil Fuels
We all stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, a peaceful democratic nation that’s under brutal and unprovoked military attack.  Russia’s Vladimir Putin started this needless war under the grand illusion of restoring some bygone Soviet era.  Where this goes from here is anyone’s guess. Fossil Fuels Fund Putin’s War Machine What we do...
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With Solar Costs Falling, Why Are Energy Bills Rising?
Suddenly, inflation seems to be everywhere – including in our household energy bills.  Consider: Gasoline prices have reached $3.50 per gallon, about 60% higher than a year ago. Home heating oil is expected to cost 41% more this winter. Natural gas used for home heating is expected to cost 30% more, and propane, 54% more,...
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F-150 Lightning: a Game-Changing ‘Virtual Power Plant’ to Complement Solar Energy
Amidst all the hoopla about the Lightning, a nifty new feature is going relatively unnoticed.  But it could forever change how power is made and stored in America – and broaden the horizons for residential solar power.  It’s called bidirectional charging.
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Solar Policy in 2022: Can the U.S. Still ‘Build Back Better’?
What a difference a year makes! Last January, hopes ran high that Congress would pass landmark climate legislation in 2021.   But with Democrats controlling Congress by a razor-thin margin, President Biden had to walk a tightrope between competing interests within his own party.  In the end, Biden’s Build Back Better plan got pulled under objections...
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With Gas Prices Rising, EVs Are the Way to Go – Especially with Solar Power
With gasoline prices climbing back well above $3 per gallon, the economics of driving an electric vehicle have never looked better. It’s already true that EVs pay back their higher sticker prices with significantly lower fuel and maintenance costs.  Now, with gas prices approaching $3.50 per gallon here in northern New England, it costs twice...
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Solar Power Is the Holiday Gift that Keeps on Giving
Hard to believe there are only 45 shopping days before the holidays!  In a year when we’ve emerged from the darkness of Covid – and back into the light – it’s a great time to keep following the sun into 2022! Now is the perfect time to reserve a spot for solar panels on Santa’s...
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Solar Will Provide Nearly Half of U.S. Power Needs by 2050, Energy Department Says
The future belongs to solar – and its massive growth begins now.  That’s the upbeat forecast from the U.S. Department of Energy, issued in a new report on decarbonizing the nation’s power supply by 2050.  Here’s the roadmap: 2020, the U.S. added a record 15 gigawatts (GW) of solar, raising the nation’s total installed solar...
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Only a Few Weeks Left to Lock In the Best Solar Rates in Vermont
August 31st. That’s the last day you can lock in the best financial incentives to go solar in Vermont.  With net metering rates set to drop by 1₵/kWh on Sept. 1, the lost savings will add up to anywhere from $750 to $2,250 over 10 years. But your household doesn’t have to lose out.  All...
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NOAA Online Tools Help You Chart Global Warming in Your Area
Each decade, the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updates its analysis of U.S. weather patterns by comparing temperature, precipitation and other meteorological trends over the past 30 years against longer-term records dating back more than a century.  In a newly released update — comparing temperature increases in 1990 – 2020 against 30-year time...
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Colonial Pipeline Hack Is Latest Example of Fossil Fuel Frailties
The vulnerability of the nation’s fossil energy supply system was on full display again last week.  Hackers penetrated the computer systems of Colonial Pipeline, causing a shutdown of the 5,500-mile network that delivers nearly half of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel consumed on the East Coast.  While New England drivers were spared the worst...
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Five Reasons to Install Solar this Summer
Springtime feels extra special this year.  Not only are we shaking off a long winter, but we’re slowly, steadily escaping the clutches of a year+ of isolation and social distancing.  Now that we’re finally starting to reconnect and take on long overdue projects, here are five reasons to give solar energy serious thought: Tis the...
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What Are the Benefits of Charging Your EV at Home vs. Public Charging Stations?
One of the biggest questions owners of electric vehicles face is how to keep their EV batteries charged.  As a (conservative) rule of thumb, each mile of EV driving consumes about 1/3rd of a kilowatt-hour of battery power.  That means you need about 3,333 kWh of EV battery charging for each 10,000 miles you drive. ...
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Electric Vehicle Fast Charging and New England’s Highways – A Shot in the Arm from the Feds!
Last week, President Biden laid out a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that puts transportation upgrades at the top of a long national project list.  The $174 billion earmarked for electric vehicles and electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment actually exceeds the $115 billion budgeted for repairs to roads, bridges and highways. For those who own an...
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Spring Equinox at the 45th Parallel: Halfway to the Center of It All
At Solaflect Energy, today’s Equinox has us thinking warm thoughts about the long, sunny days ahead. For those who like living with a “sense of place,” northern New England has something really special to offer: a spot on the North American continent where the days start getting longer than the nights right as the vernal...
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Super Bowl Ads, Climate Change, and Vermont’s Lagging Regulators
The following commentary by Solaflect President Bill Bender was published by VT Digger, the Brattleboro Reformer and the Mountain Times in February, 2021 following the Superbowl. It is time for the Scott administration and Vermont electric utility regulators (the Public Service Department, the Public Utility Commission and the Agency of Natural Resources) to watch the...
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Now Is the Time to Sign Your Own Solar Executive Order
On Day One in the White House, President Joe Biden signed an executive order recommitting our nation to fight global warming under the Paris climate accord.  Now it’s your turn to step up to the plate with your own pledge to combat climate change by installing clean, solar power, the sooner the better! If you...
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Vermont Cutting Solar Net-Metering Again January 31st, 2021
For Homeowners Considering Solar, Congress Giveth and Vermont Taketh Away Homeowners looking to install solar power received welcome news from Congress over the Christmas holidays.  As part of an omnibus spending bill, Congress extended the federal Investment Tax Credit for solar energy by two years.  The 26% credit for residential installations now will remain in...
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VTDigger: Vermont Regulators Cut Incentives to Switch to Solar Energy
A new report says solar energy has saved Vermonters $79 million and New Englanders $1.1 billion in just six years.  That narrative runs counter to the long-running contention from utilities that solar development is driving up retail electricity prices for ratepayers. The study by Synapse Energy Economics, an environmental research and consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts,...
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Official Vermont Policy: Change Nothing and Hope Climate Change goes Away
This graph is the electric mix from the 2020 Annual Energy Report, prepared by the Vermont Department of Public Service (January 15, 2020). This is 95% from 20th century facilities. These do absolutely nothing to solve climate change; if we don’t do anything different, nothing will change.  Partly by historical accident and partly by conniving,...
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How Have the Koch Brothers Infiltrated the Scott Administration
Have the Koch Brothers really infiltrated Vermont? Yes, the main argument used by the Vermont Public Service Department, the Public Utilities Commission and the Vermont utilities to kill solar is “cost shifting”. This argument was pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Koch Brothers funded think tank, at least as far back as 2014....
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2020 US Climate Crises
• Colorado’s two biggest wildfires on record have occurred in the last three months.  • September 2020 was the warmest September (world-wide) in 140 years of records, and seven of the warmest Septembers ever have occurred in the past seven years.  • California’s largest wildfire ever exceeds one million acres, larger than Rhode Island. This...
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Vermont Greenwashing
What, isn’t Vermont “Green”? Of course it is, right?  Wrong. Green Mountain Power, which is owned by a Canadian natural gas distributor and supplies 70% of Vermont with electricity, claims that their energy supply is 94% carbon free and more than 63% renewable. This sounds great, except that 95% of this electricity is produced in...
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Tracker Mounted Residential Solar Panels
Solaflect Energy has now utilized its patented Suspension technology to introduce the world’s most efficient PV (photovoltaic) Tracker. The Solaflect PV Suspension Tracker uses much less steel than alternative designs, and is therefore extremely cost effective. A PV Tracker produces 40% more electricity than from the same equipment mounted in a fixed...
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