Month: September 2016

Virginia solar installation
A recent blog post from Power for the People VA, “Your 2016 guide to Virginia wind and solar policy,” provides a comprehensive look at the current obstacles and opportunities for renewable energy in the commonwealth.

While the General Assembly has taken little or no action on wind & solar energy policies, virtually everyone else – from the Governor to Dominion Power to Virginia schools and universities – has at least started inching in the right direction.

As the article states, Virginia made real progress this year. Total renewable capacity is expected to increase by nearly a factor of 10 before the year’s end. Unfortunately, we’re still lagging tremendously far behind neighboring states in both total capacity and the rate of new installations.

Author Ivy Main breaks the news into 19 policy areas:

  1. The further we go, the behinder we get
  2. Virginia utilities won’t sell wind or solar to customers* (*except those with billions of dollars and famous CEOs—see section 14)
  3. Community solar? Not hardly
  4. Virginia’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a miserable sham
  5. Customer-owned generation: for most, the only game in town
  6. Limits to net metering hamper growth
  7. Aggregated net metering allowed for farms only
  8. Standby charges hobble the market for larger home systems and electric cars
  9. Good news for residential solar: homeowner association bans are largely a thing of the past
  10. Virginia utilities continue their fight against PPAs; now a losing battle?
  11. Tax exemption for third-party owned solar proves a market driver
  12. Dominion “Solar Partnership” Program encounters limited success
  13. Dominion’s Solar Purchase Program: bad for sellers, bad for buyers, and not popular with anyone
  14. Dominion’s Renewable Generation tariff for large users of energy finds no takers; Amazon forces a change, with a new tariff in the works that will be available to others
  15. Dominion moves into utility-scale solar
  16. Governor McAuliffe promises the state will purchase 110 MW of solar
  17. Will a Solar Development Authority help?
  18. Any wind energy yet? Nope, still waiting
  19. The Clean Power Plan tries to make it better to switch than fight

Click here to read the complete article from Power for the People VA

Solar PV panels installed on custom agricultural shed

Working closely with the homeowner, we built a custom agricultural shed using recycled building materials. The shed roof holds 11kW of solar panels.

Once generated, the DC power travels 550 feet underground to the home – where it charges the 48 volt, 811 amp hour battery bank and runs the electrical loads of the house. This system is built to keep its owner in power, from a short power outage to a total grid meltdown.

Interestingly, the owner decided to use high grade US made Deka Unigy II batteries, which have a practical use life of 15 years. Using the 30% tax credit on the first set of batteries helped to justify the higher cost.

Also worth noting is that the customer specified more expensive US made panels and inverters, stating, “I didn’t install the system to make money. I did it because it was the right thing to do.” His good intentions have been rewarded, though: the system has been a very good investment.

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