Tag: SolarFeatured

Making Sense of the ITC Extension for Wind, Solar (and Bioenergy, Too)

Tuesday December 15 was a good day for U.S. renewable energy companies. In a landmark deal that could mark the first time the Senate and House democrats and republicans were able to compromise on anything at all, the two parties released an omnibus spending bill that lifts the 40-year U.S. oil export ban and gives a five-year extension of renewable energy tax credits for wind and solar.

Solar Industry Exuberant

The bill extends the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar until 2021. It was originally expected to sunset at the end of 2016, which was forcing developers to rush to finish projects. In a session last week during Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo, Julie Ungerleider of Coronal Group explained that because of the hard stop that the ITC created, solar projects that were not already “fully baked” were unlikely to be able to be built by 2016.  She said material shortages were rampant with the rush to build now.  This extension should relieve some of that pressure.

The ITC will be extended until December 31, 2019 in its current form. After that projects that start construction in 2020 and 2021 will receive 26 percent and 22 percent, respectively. All projects must be completed by 2024 to obtain these elevated ITC rates. For residential solar, a similar tax credit phase-out applies until December 31, 2021, after which the tax credit scheme ends.

A Cap on Solar Is Not the American Way

As a conservative, I’ve got my eyes on New Hampshire right now, a state that is buzzing with presidential hopefuls and the energy of a burgeoning solar industry. But the Granite State needs strong conservative leadership to ensure its energy future remains poised for jobs and economic growth.

Outlook for Solar Net Metering in New England Lacking Legislative Clarity

Net metering policies, which allow solar owners to receive the full retail credit for any solar energy they produce, are undoubtedly what have helped spur the growth of solar power throughout the country. From an outsider’s point of view, the policy seems fair and square: ‘if I produce one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar energy, I should be credited for one kWh on my bill,’ is how the argument goes. For utilities, however, that argument starts to break down as more and more solar goes on the grid. After all, if certain customers are purchasing less energy from the utility and getting credits for extra energy they produce then it falls on the rest of the ratepayers to pick up the slack.

New Hampshire Finally Gets Serious about Solar

On a warm November morning about 200 people gathered in the small town of Peterborough, NH to officially inaugurate the state’s largest PV solar array.  The almost 1-MW project (942kW) was initiated by Borrego Solar, approved by the town by unanimous vote in July 2014, and completed by SunEdison, which purchased the project in 2015.

The energy generated by the array will meet 100 percent of the electricity needs of the town wastewater treatment plant with more to spare. The excess energy will be used to power the town house, the fire department and the library through a group net-metering arrangement recently approved by the New Hampshire public utility commission (PUC).

New Hampshire Finally Gets Serious about Solar

On a warm November morning about 200 people gathered in the small town of Peterborough, NH to officially inaugurate the state’s largest PV solar array.  The almost 1-MW project (942kW) was initiated by Borrego Solar, approved by the town by unanimous vote in July 2014, and completed by SunEdison, which purchased the project in 2015.

The energy generated by the array will meet 100 percent of the electricity needs of the town wastewater treatment plant with more to spare. The excess energy will be used to power the town house, the fire department and the library through a group net-metering arrangement recently approved by the New Hampshire public utility commission (PUC).

Spain Approves ‘Sun Tax,’ Discriminates Against Solar PV

Until recently, Spain had a very general self-consumption policy framework that applied to both grid-connected and off-grid systems. This month though, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a new self-consumption law that has set the country’s solar advocates up in arms with the government. 

The main problem with the new law, say solar advocates, is that it taxes self-consumption PV installations even for the electricity they produce for their own use and don’t feed into the grid. Spain’s PV sector calls the new law a ‘sun tax.’ 

According to Spain’s Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), the new law requires self-consumption PV system owners to pay the same grid fees that all electricity consumers in Spain pay, plus a so-called ‘sun tax’. Specifically, said UNEF, a self-consumption PV owner “will pay a ‘sun tax’ for the whole power [capacity] installed (the power that you contracted to your electricity company, plus the power from your PV installation) and also another [second] ‘sun tax’ for the electricity that you generate and self-consume from your own PV installation (this applies to installations larger than 10 kW).”