Solar Power as Solution for Storm-Darkened Homes – NYTimes.com.
Despite the popular perception that installing solar panels takes a home “off the grid,” most of those systems are actually part of it, sending excess power to the utility grid during the day and pulling electricity back to run the house at night. So when the storm took down power lines and substations across the Northeast, safety systems cut the power in solar homes just like everywhere else.
“Here’s a $70,000 system sitting idle,” said Ed Antonio, who lives in the Rockaways in Queens and has watched his 42 panels as well as those on several other houses in the area go unused since the power went out Oct. 29. “That’s a lot of power sitting. Just sitting.”
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Go to NY Times videos of the storm.
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Jump Starting the Solar Economy Means Bringing Solar to Every Home, One Neighborhood at a Time.
By Daniel S. Hafetz, Esq.
Solar power, a long promoted antidote to the looming perfect storm of energy, environmental and economic crises, has been getting a drubbing in the press recently. Since Solyndra shuttered its doors in early September, many critics have asked whether the government should be “picking winners” through programs like low-interest loans to manufacturers of solar panels like Solyndra, and whether solar energy will (ever) be a source of green jobs.
Whether they are manufactured by companies in the US, Europe or China, solar panels will be a part of America’s future energy diet. That is because the technology is a cost-effective and renewable energy source, capable of delivering direct savings to every household.
If every home in the US had a medium sized solar photovoltaic (solar pv) system on its roof, Americans could save over $140 billion annually in electricity costs. And for each home powered by solar energy, the annual reduction in carbon emissions would be equal to taking 1.5 cars off the road per home. Bringing solar to millions of homes would mean a jobs boost too, especially to the companies distributing and installing solar equipment.
These panels are a viable and convenient option for homeowners around the country because they are capable of generating enough electricity to cover a home’s entire electricity needs. They are also dependable; through a program called Net Metering, available in most states, a home’s pv system hooks into the electricity grid and the owner gets a credit on his/her utility bill for the amount of electricity the system generates.
So the real question is how we can make solar power a reality for millions of Americans. Community purchasing of solar, an innovative approach that mobilizes whole neighborhoods to go solar and cuts homeowner’s costs in the process, could bring the needed spark. For full article.
Solar power advocates challenging proposed ‘standby’ charge by Dominion Virginia | The Republic.
RICHMOND, Va. — Solar power advocates are challenging a residential charge proposed by Dominion Virginia Power they contend would create disincentives for a renewable energy source that is already lagging in the state.
The so-called standby charge would apply to large-scale residential solar customers when their thermal panels are not generating enough electricity, typically at night. The General Assembly approved legislation that allows the standby charge for residential solar generation systems ranging from 10 kilowatt hours to 20 kilowatt hours.
The State Corporation Commission is scheduled to hear the case Thursday. Regulators typically do not immediately rule on cases.
The Solar Industries Association, which represents the interests of manufacturers, installers and suppliers of solar systems, said Dominion’s proposal is flawed, would be punitive for the small number of Virginians who rely on solar power and would discourage further investments in the renewable energy source. To read full article click on title