While hiring a professional to do an energy audit is the best approach to detect problem areas in your house, there are a few energy-saving methods you can use to make energy efficiency changes on your own.
A home energy audit may be costly. So if hiring a professional is out of the question, the good news is that you can perform a mini home energy audit on your own.
Keep in mind, however, that you will not have all the same equipment and knowledge as a professional auditor. So although you may save on the initial cost of the inspection, you may not experience as significant savings on your energy bills.
When doing your own mini home energy audit, keep the following five factors in mind:
Inspect your home for leaks if you find a particularly drafty location. Leaks are more prevalent at the junctions of walls and ceilings, as well as at doors, beside windows, and at electrical outlets. If you find a leak, use weatherstripping or caulk to seal it.
Heating and cooling systems
Examine the air conditioning filters and duct lines for any signs of holes or gaps. Make it a habit to have your HVAC system serviced on a regular basis. To increase the temperature in your house, you might also consider purchasing a smart thermostat.
To prevent the danger of mildew and fire, inspect bathroom ventilation fans and dryer vents for any obstructions. Look for evidence of mold or moisture in your attic, as you may need to enhance ventilation.
If you can see your attic floor joists, you probably need extra insulation. Check behind wall outlets to determine whether the outside walls are adequately insulated, and make sure your attic access door is adequately insulated.
Appliances and lighting
Consider upgrading your home’s performance with Energy Star appliances, which consume up to 50% less energy than standard versions. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, which will last much longer and consume much less power.
The perfect time to get a home energy audit is determined by where you live
If you are spending a lot of money on your energy bills, an energy audit is a good idea at any time. The sooner you implement energy-saving improvements to your house, the sooner you will start saving money.
Having said that, you should consider seasonality. During the winter, many houses seem draughty or chilly in certain sections and warm in others. If you reside in the Northeast and spend a lot of money on energy during the winter, it may be a good idea to perform energy-saving measures before the cold weather arrives.
This rationale also applies in a reverse way: if your power expenses are high in the summer due to central air conditioning, having an audit and time to implement energy-saving measures before the peak temperatures arrive may be the best option.Read More
Is a home energy audit worthwhile? well, the answer is Yes!
As per Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory data, the average American household spends roughly $2,060 per year on energy expenses. This money is used to heat their houses, power appliances and lighting, and a variety of other electricity-related activities.
Two factors influence how much money a person spends on energy. First and foremost, the type of fuel they use. Second, the price at which it is supplied in their area. As a property owner, you may have little control over the pricing of these fuels. But one thing is certain: the less energy your home uses, the more money you save on your electric bill.
Every month, you are most likely overpaying your electric bill. Your money is most likely flying out the window!. Making energy-efficient modifications around the house is one of the most effective strategies to minimize your energy expenses. However, it might be difficult to know where to start with such modifications.
This is when home energy audits come in handy. A home energy audit can help you understand the overall picture of how your entire house consumes energy. Moreover, it allows you to begin the process of changing it into an energy-efficient home.
What happens during a home energy audit?
An energy audit is a house assessment that looks at current energy use and then recommends energy efficiency improvements that you may take to make your property more efficient. An energy auditor can assess where your house is wasting the most energy and then offer ways to help preserve energy – and cut your utility bills.
Depending on the size of your home, professional energy audits can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. These skilled auditors employ a variety of techniques to detect problem areas inside your home. Then they compile a list of suggested actions and activities that you can do to make it more energy-efficient.
Blower door tests, which identify air leaks via doorways, and thermographic inspections using infrared cameras, which discover hot and cold spots in your home, are two of the most common tests done during a home energy audit. Home energy auditors will also do air quality testing to detect carbon monoxide and molds, which may indicate that your home’s ventilation system needs to be updated.
Auditors will also inspect your windows, hot water heater, HVAC system, and search for cracks and air leaks around fireplaces and flooring. Look for auditors who are certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI) or the Home Energy Rating System (HERS).
Following the completion of the inspection, the auditor will have a greater knowledge of your home’s energy use. This will allow you to select which energy efficiency modifications will be most advantageous to you.
The scope of the audit, however, determines the energy auditor’s recommendations for your home. Some fast improvements include switching to more efficient lighting, fixing air leaks around doors, and adding weatherstripping. More insulation or replacing windows that are causing drafts are two major options.
How much does an energy audit cost, and how much can you save?
The cost of a professional energy audit varies according to the firm and the size of your house. For instance, some companies offer fixed rates, while others will charge more for a larger home. However, do your homework — certain utility companies, NGOs, or governmental groups in your region may provide free energy audits.
Even though it is a paid service, the upfront cost for an energy audit and the accompanying energy efficiency measures will be worth it in the long run when you save money on your power bills. You may save five to thirty percent on your energy expenses by upgrading your home’s energy efficiency.
An audit will cost the average homeowner between $100 and $500, but it might cost up to $1,000 depending on the residence.
Home energy audits are often invoiced on a per-square-foot basis, with fees ranging from $0.10 to $0.40 per square foot. As a result, the larger your home, the more expensive an audit will be.
The fee may also vary based on the sort of tests performed by the inspector. A blower test to search for air leaks, for example, might raise the cost of the audit if it is not already included in the initial fee.
Is it worthwhile for you to get a home energy audit?
For most households, a DIY home energy assessment should sufficient. Without having to pay for an assessment, you may find and implement efficiency measures such as replacing light bulbs or weather-stripping doors to reduce energy losses on your own.
However, if you have an older house, you might think about hiring an expert. Older homes have substantially higher energy losses due to factors like draughts and are more likely to have mold and air quality concerns than modern houses. If this is the situation for you, it may be wise to get a specialist to conduct testing.
You might also want to think about hiring a professional home energy inspector after you acquire a house as part of your pre-planned home upgrades. This way, you can spot any concerns with air leaks, the HVAC system, or air quality issues straight away and incorporate them into any work you had planned to make before moving in.
You will save energy and money whether you DIY or hire a professional auditor. In addition, you will be making your house a safer and healthier environment.
Consider adding home solar panels if you want to lower your utility expenses even more. Solar panels may fully eliminate your electricity expenses while also providing sustainable energy for your house. That can’t get much better than that!Read More
Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) applied to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) for permission to construct a 20-MW solar array near Fitchburg, Wisconsin. The O’Brien Solar Fields project, known as MGE’s Renewable Energy Rider, would deliver locally generated solar energy to local companies, municipalities, and public institutions (RER).
Through RER agreements, the solar array power the city of Fitchburg, the Wisconsin Department of Administration, and several enterprises. Owing to RERs, MGE was able to develop a renewable energy solution in partnership with a large energy consumer. They expect that by collaborating, they would be able to satisfy the energy demands of their customers. Customers who utilize the RER are liable for the expenditures related to the renewable generation facility. The distribution method also incurs costs. As a result, these consumers are also liable for any power distribution expenses.
The O’Brien Solar Fields
The O’Brien Solar Fields are located near Fitchburg at the intersection of Lacy Road and South Seminole Highway. The solar facility encompasses around 160 acres and has around 60,000 bifacial solar panels. During the day, these panels create power from both sides as they track the sun from east to west. The O’Briens have consented to allow MGE to build solar panels on their land. As a result, the MGE owns the solar array, but O’Brien owns the land.
MGE produces and distributes electricity to 157,000 consumers in Dane County, Wisconsin. Moreover, MGE acquires and distributes natural gas to 166,000 consumers in seven counties in south-central and western Wisconsin. MGE Energy, Inc. is the business that owns MGE. The firm has more than 150 years of history in Madison.
Renewable Energy Rider
Customers that are taking part have signed RER contracts with MGE. RERs allow MGE to collaborate with a major energy consumer. Through this collaboration, they seek to adopt a renewable energy solution to that customer’s specific energy requirements. Customers that use the RER must pay for the renewable generation facility’s expenses. Costs are also associated with the distribution mechanism. As a result, all electricity distribution costs are also borne by these customers. RER agreements also need regulatory approval. The innovative methodology promotes the production of renewable energy in our community.
What is the Koshkonong Solar project?
As MGE focuses on a potential 300 MW solar project with a 165 MW battery, the 20 MW O’Brien Solar Fields are assisting local governments and companies in meeting their renewable energy targets.
While O’Brien is the largest project in Dane County and one of the largest completed solar projects in the state, Wisconsin officials are now reviewing a proposal to build a 300 MW project on 2,400 acres in the nearby communities of Christiana and Deerfield. The Koshkonong Solar project, on the other hand, would include a 165 MW battery energy storage system.
Invenergy will be developing the project. Madison Gas and Electric and WEC Energy Group are negotiating a $649 million purchase price for the project. Once the contract is signed and the project is developed, WEC will own 90% of the project and MGE will own 10%. If permitted, construction would begin in 2022, with commercial operations beginning in 2024.
After this project is completed, Fitchburg will be able to meet 40% of its operating electricity demand using solar energy. Furthermore, this would significantly surpass the city’s objective of becoming 25% solar-powered by 2025. Furthermore, one of the enterprises’ capacity acquisition will allow it to satisfy 100% of its energy needs using solar.Read More
According to the newest “US Energy Storage Monitor” report from the U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA), 910 megawatt-hours (MWh) of new energy storage systems went online in Q1 2021. With 910-megawatt hours online in the first quarter, the deployment of energy storage slowed. However, following a record-breaking final quarter of 2020 in which about 2,000 MWh were generated. Nonetheless, performance increased by more than 252% in the first quarter of 2021. When compared to the same period the previous year, this is the greatest Q1 for the US storage industry so far.
Separately, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers examined diurnal storage (lasting more than 12 hours). They identified the potential for 125 GW of installed capacity by 2050. This is a fivefold increase over the existing installed capacity of 23 GW.
According to the NREL study, battery storage capacity might be at least 3,000 times bigger than it is now. According to the report, storage deployment in 2050 may vary from 130 to 680 GW, depending on cost trajectories and other variables, demonstrating a “rapidly rising possibility for diurnal storage in the power sector.”
Stand-Alone Storage Investment Tax Credit (ITC) And Q1
The introduction in Congress of a stand-alone storage investment tax credit (ITC) was one of the most significant storage market developments in Q1. According to the ESA analysis, if Congress passes a stand-alone storage investment tax credit (ITC) this year, it may result in a 20-25% upgrade to the market’s five-year forecast in megawatt terms.
“It is clear that the energy storage industry is poised for significant growth in 2021 and beyond,” stated Interim CEO of the Energy Storage Association Jason Burwen. With the convergence of a transforming power and transportation system, as well as the rising demand for decarbonization and resilience, the ‘Storage Decade’ has arrived.
“As the primary voice of the US energy storage sector, ESA is pleased to see the industry continue to establish new records. This study also provides a timely estimate of how a federal ITC for energy storage might work. Congress is now debating whether to accelerate our market’s development trajectory. It is expected to help us get closer to our goal of 100 GW of additional energy storage by 2030.”
The front-of-the-meter (FTM) category would see the most incremental growth with a stand-alone ITC, with an additional 6 GW of capacity through 2025. The FTM segment could add 3,674 MW in 2021 and 6,915 MW in 2026 without the federal tax incentive.
In March, approximately 150 groups appealed to House and Senate leaders in the United States to include standalone energy storage projects in the infrastructure package and make them eligible for the ITC.
The following organizations have joined forces with solar and storage industry associations to advocate for standalone storage ITC eligibility.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists
- The National Resources Defense Council
- The Environmental Defense Fund
- The Environmental Law and Policy Center
US residential storage market
According to the report, the US domestic storage sector hit yet another quarterly record in the first quarter of 2021. The market has risen for nine quarters in a row. For the first time, it deployed more than 100 MW in a single quarter in Q1.
Growth in the non-residential industry has been slower than in other sectors. Each of the preceding five quarters saw the installation of between 25 and 35 MW of new projects.
The study also mentions that the FTM connection queue has grown to more than 200 GW. Despite the fact that the majority of the projects in the backlog will not be implemented, the queue is the greatest it has ever been. It depicts the rapid growth of the FTM storage business in the United States. In terms of FTM project interest, there is a definite trend toward more geographic variety. With an increase in interconnection queue requests originating from places other than the incentivized locations.Read More
St. Joseph County is already home to two massive solar farms. These are known as South Bend and Notre Dame. Authorities in the area have now re-joined forces with renewable energy company RES to continue with “Project Honeysuckle” in Indiana. This project is planned to be Indiana’s next large solar farm, covering up to 1,900 acres.
This project is expected to establish a new special taxing district. It is expected to be used to funnel money toward tax incentives for the company and St. Joseph County’s development efforts in the “Indiana Enterprise Center” industrial zone.
The proposal is also anticipated to ignite controversy over the formation of a new tax-increment financing district (TIF). This TIF would allow the county to spend tax revenues produced by the project on both financial incentives for RES and continued initiatives to attract new businesses to the New Carlisle region.
According to a RES representative, the Honeysuckle solar farm has been in the works for more than a year; the company intends to begin construction next year and finish in 2023. The farm would create a maximum of three full-time permanent jobs. Furthermore, the spokesman stated that the firm had already leased 1,900 acres from private property owners. However, the solar panels will likely cover fewer than 1,000 acres.
When finished, the Honeysuckle project will have a capacity of 150 MW. Also, if completed, it will be one of the largest initiatives, increasing Indians’ solar commitment on a weekly basis.
What is TIF?
TIF is a popular and divisive economic development instrument employed by municipal governments around the US, including Indiana.
When a local government establishes a TIF, the “base” property value inside the district is frozen at the level that existed before the district’s establishment. From then on, all new taxes levied on higher property values in the district are directed to the municipal or county redevelopment commission.
Those tax dollars are often used primarily to fund debt in the form of bonds by redevelopment commissions. The borrowed funds are then used by the city or county to either assist pay directly for a private construction project or to pay for infrastructure, land acquisition, consultancy costs, or other activities inside the specified “economic development area” where TIFs are permitted.
Other government agencies, such as schools and police departments, do not receive the new tax revenue generated by TIF development until any borrowing is paid off and the TIF expires, which might take decades.
In the case of the solar farm, the county is considering utilizing TIF money to reimburse RES for part or all the property taxes owed on the project.
A brand-new Indiana is on the way.
Indiana has a long history of being devoted to the fossil fuel industry. However, Indiana has seen a solar renaissance in recent years, particularly at the utility level. Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) inked a build-transfer agreement with Capital Dynamics in March for the 200 MW Elliot Solar project. This project will be developed in the southwest of the state.
Afterward, the utility company stated 900 MW of solar over three projects: the 200 MW Cavalry Solar project, along with 60 MW of energy storage; the 265 MW Dunns Bridge Solar I project; and the 435 MW of solar and 75 MW of battery storage Dunns Bridge Solar II project.
NIPSCO recently inked a long-term power purchase deal for 280 MW of power produced by Capital Dynamics’ forthcoming Gibson Solar project, as well as a construct and transfer deal for the 200 MW Indiana Crossroads Solar Park.Read More
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission authorized a $40.9 million investment requested by Minnesota Power. They requested to develop three solar facilities in Northern Minnesota. Furthermore, after the pandemic crisis, authorities urged last year that utilities consider increasing planned investments. As a result, this project was suggested to aid Minnesota’s economic recovery following the COVID-19. outbreak. The Laskin, Sylvan, and Duluth city solar arrays will generate 21 megawatts (MW) of power utilizing Minnesota-made panels, providing system-wide advantages while supporting the local economy.
The Laskin Energy Center will be the site of St. Louis County’s proposed solar plant. It was, however, a coal-fired power station. As a result, authorities anticipate that it will continue to provide jobs and economic possibilities in this host town.
The projects will make use of solar panels made by Heliene Inc. in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. Also, existing electrical infrastructure will be used. Moreover, the arrays are planned to generate power by 2022, and construction will begin this summer.
The rationale behind the 21-Megawatt Solar Array
Authorities recommended last year that utilities consider accelerating planned investments to boost the state’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 epidemic. As a result, Minnesota Power offered to add capacity expansions to aid the state in recovery from the economic ramifications of the Covid-19 epidemic.
What is The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission?
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission controls three vital service industries in the state’s economy: electricity, natural gas, and telephone service. The Commission’s goal is to create and maintain a regulated environment. This ensures safe, adequate, and efficient utility services at fair and affordable costs in compliance with state telecommunications and energy policy. It accomplishes this by providing utility service providers with impartial, consistent, competent, and all-encompassing oversight and regulation.
Commissioner Joseph Sullivan’s statement
“At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Commission asked the regulated utilities to consider accelerating planned investments to support Minnesota’s ongoing economic recovery. Speeding up the construction of these three solar facilities, which will procure local labor, including a regional solar panel manufacturer, will continue advancing growth in northern Minnesota,”
Commissioner Valerie Means’s statement
“The construction of these three solar facilities support the ongoing economic recovery of northern Minnesota. This project will boost local investment while balancing the public. And private interests in the procurement of local talent and manufacturing to continue delivering reliable energy for Minnesotans living in the region,”Read More
Net metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own power from solar panels to feed the excess back into the grid. This reduces utility bills. Electric companies, on the other hand, fear they will lose money as a result, which makes them unhappy. As a result, utilities in Florida are attempting to rescind net metering. As a solution, the town of Green Cove Springs, Florida, has approved legislation to reduce its net metering benefits by half and extend them to surrounding areas.
In the great majority of net metering situations, any modifications to compensation are made at the state level, with localities. Particularly those with populations under 10,000. Such as Green Cove Springs, seldom taking the burden into their own hands.
As it stands, the Act cuts customers’ net metering export credit from eight cents per kWh to four cents per kWh. Local solar advocates have criticized this regulation. They contended that reducing the credit would cause existing customer payback calculations to become complicated. They went on to say that it might discourage others from investing in solar in the future.
Florida’s net metering
Florida was one of 47 states with a net metering regulation that permits solar households to earn a credit for power supplied back to the grid. Florida’s policy was initiated via an executive order signed by Governor Charlie Crist in 2007. In 2019, the Florida legislature formalized it.
What was the problem?
In 2016, Florida voters rejected Amendment 1, a utility-backed proposal to curb rooftop solar installation. Despite the No vote in 2016, major utilities in Florida that use fossil fuels continue to oppose the proposal.
Florida utilities believed that net metering from solar was forcing them and their stockholders to lose money. Mike Morina is the executive director of the Florida Home Partnership. He stated in the “Tampa Bay Times” that in January, a utility front group called Energy Fairness issued a study stating that net metering is unfair to customers. Morina wrote:
“Florida has room for growth on solar; there are fewer than 60,000 net-metered systems in the state. As solar grows, it helps avoid the need to build expensive power plants, making it a win-win for everyone.”
I don’t live in Florida, so why should I care?
It is renowned as the Sunshine State. In terms of solar power generation, it is now rated third among states. And Florida should do everything possible to encourage further solar adoption. However, the recent revocation of net metering is likely to discourage further solar investment in Florida. Local solar advocates in Florida have also spoken out against the new net metering legislation. They said that decreasing the credit would cause confusion in existing customer payback calculations and deter new solar investment.
“I don’t live in Florida. Why should I care?” you might be thinking. A couple of reasons:
Florida, for one, has a population of 21.48 million people. That is a lot of people – and a lot of energy use and emissions. And this impacts not only every American but the whole planet.
Second, all states should aggressively promote the transition to renewable energy. Virginia, for example, is compelling its utilities to use green energy and holding them responsible through landmark legislation approved in March. Dominion Energy Virginia must achieve carbon-free status by 2045, while Appalachian Power must achieve carbon-free status by 2050.Read More
The solar industry is highly regulated. The policy that governs renewable energy generation at the federal, state, and utility levels is forever changing and adapting. Incorporating solar policy is a complex process. Many utilities, states, and municipalities adopt policies as a catalyst to create programs that provide various incentives to increase solar energy deployment.
Now may not come as a surprise to you, but the states with a good solar policy are also the ones that are leading in solar deployments, like New Jersey.
Now let’s jump into some specifics and the types of solar policy and energy programs out there that are setting the stage for solar growth.
Renewable portfolio standard (RPS)
A renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is a regulatory mandate to increase the production of energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and other alternatives to fossil and nuclear electric generation. Another term for this is “renewable electricity standard.”
Many states have RPS standards requiring a particular amount of renewable energy generation on the grid, whether biomass, wind, solar or practically anything that’s carbon-free.
These regulations might vary substantially between states; for example, Washington State established a goal of 15% renewables last year, but Colorado has boosted that to 30%. Why, it has one of the most stringent RPS requirements in the country. Globally, the goal is to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.
This is one of the most common pieces of state legislation and utility rules out there that dictate how businesses like you can become safe for the energy that comes from your system.
It’s comparable to a “solar bank,” in which you may swap kilowatt hours for kilowatt-hours. In areas where net metering is available, building owners with rooftop systems will first and foremost use the kilowatts generated by the system on-site. And any additional power generated by the system during daytime or summer is sent to the grid, where it is compensated for kilowatt-hours at retail rates.
And at nighttime when they need energy, they can pull from that solar bank of credits. At the end of the month, the business owner’s utility bill will be the number of kilowatt-hours used by the utility, minus the kilowatt-hours produced by the system, and a customer’s goal is to be net-zero, which is totally possible
(Amount of kWh used from the utility) – (kWh produced by their system) = (Goal net Zero)
Green roof policy
The goal of the green roof policy is to maximize the communal advantages of green roofs. Collective benefits are those which benefit the public at large, such as reduced stormwater runoff, climate moderation, and thermal cooling.
In 2017 San Francisco became the first city in the US to mandate this as a policy with either including solar or living roofs on new construction. This concept has spread across many cities across the country. It is being deployed in major cities across the United States.
Utility-created procurement programs
This policy is where utilities create programs to procure energy from renewable sources. These types are often optimizing programs that ratepayers can access through their utility. And they often come at a premium. You pay an extra few cents per kilowatt-hour to ensure that your utility is buying green power per renewable source. The benefit of these programs is that they are easy to sign up for anyone. Furthermore, as more individuals engage, the grid receives more renewable energy.
However, there is no real financial benefit to the customer and in fact, you are paying more for that energy. So, ask yourself. Would you rather pay extra to your utility or if you had to become your own power producer, save money, and the planet?
If your state does not provide solar incentives to businesses, you will miss out on a valuable investment. So, get involved to influence a beneficial solar policy in your state. The solar energy industry association (SEIA) advocates for solar legislation on a national level. There are frequently local chapters as well. This may assist you in navigating specific local utilities. As a result, create initiatives to help businesses reap the benefits of solar adoption.Read More
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) launched the Diverse Suppliers Database on June 2, 2021. SEIA’s database strives to link people with businesses that are at least 51% owned by racial minorities, people with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ+ community members, and women. The database now has information on more than 120 different firms, and the platform will stay open for submissions.
SEIA has developed supplier diversity guides and resources for the industry. But firms consistently claimed that the most difficult obstacle to implementation was locating diverse firms participating in the solar sector. Aside from the information disparity, there were also financial constraints. There are supplier diversity databases available. But they are not specific to the solar and storage industries. And the fees they demand can be extremely expensive for the numerous small enterprises that operate in the market.
These difficulties have continued, preventing solar firms from progressing in supplier diversification.
SEIA collaborated on methodology and recruitment with Black Owners of Solar Services (BOSS) to ensure equal outcomes for firms registered in the database and to increase participation. BOSS is one of the leading organizations in African American solar industry.
SEIA’s Diverse Suppliers Database is a free, user-friendly platform. It allows users to sort, filter, and keyword search for a wide range of firms that provide services throughout the solar and storage supply chain.
What is exactly the Divers supplier’s database?
Companies with diversified ownership are active in all aspects and verticals of the solar industry, from manufacturers and project developers to installers and financiers. As part of an effort to assist and promote diverse firms in the sector, SEIA’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Leadership Council directed the creation of this database.
The main target of this database is to assist solar firms in making more informed decisions about their supplier networks and alliances. The firms included in the database include solar and storage installers, roofers, construction firms, electrical contractors. Also, it has information on other vendors or service providers in the solar and energy storage sectors.
The information in this database has been completely self-certified. SEIA recommends that you confirm the ownership position of a vendor/supplier/partner, especially if your organization has a supplier diversity initiative.
According to the SEIA, climate resilience, sustainability, and racial justice are critical components of America’s economic recovery in the twenty-first century. The purpose of the database is to shine a light on underprivileged areas. As a result, they will be able to drive innovation while reaping the benefits of the energy revolution.
Abigail Ross Hopper’s statement
“The $30 billion solar and storage industry is filled with tremendous opportunities. But our future success depends on our ability to expand our reach and welcome more diverse businesses to the industry,”. Said Abigail Ross Hopper. She is the president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“SEIA’s supplier diversity database will create business connections for company leaders across America and throughout the solar industry supply chain. Solar companies are eager to implement business practices that create a more inclusive and diverse solar industry. And therefore, this tool can support that goal.”
Another outcome of SEIA’s DEIJ Leadership Council is this database. Furthermore, it integrates feedback from a number of solar businesses that will use and/or be listed in the database. The DEIJ Leadership Council is also in charge of SEIA’s new environmental justice policy platform and is planning to establish an industry certification program for solar and storage firms in the fall.Read More
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in September to examine FERC Order No. 872, which improperly inhibits the establishment of qualifying facilities (QF) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).
The order eliminates QFs’ ability to establish long-term, fixed-rate contracts and arbitrarily expands the “one-mile rule,” generating many additional conditions that stymie solar development. These practices are illegal and obviously contravene the objective of the PURPA legislation.
Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president, and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):
“This attack on PURPA is an attack on the competition. FERC Order No. 872 very clearly contradicts existing law and protects the interests of incumbent utilities at the expense of regular customers. The FERC-approved amendments will hinder QF growth. It is one of the few options available to us for increasing competition in areas controlled by monopoly utilities. This new regulation will also allow utilities to bypass it. We are asking the court to invalidate Order No. 872.
“PURPA is a significant driver of solar jobs and investment and is responsible for bringing utility-scale solar online around the country. FERC Order No. 872 threatens progress for solar energy at a time our nation can least afford it. Solar energy will contribute 20% of total electricity output by 2030, according to SEIA’s Solar+ Decade objectives. Hundreds of thousands of new jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in investment are on the way. All while dealing with our escalating climate crisis.”
Clean Energy Advocates Fights Back Against Unlawful PURPA Rules
Moreover, a federal court challenge has also been brought by the Montana Environmental Information Center, along with nine other advocacy groups. They filed a petition opposing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) new PURPA regulations. According to them, it “effectively guts” the law’s applicability.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, challenges what the petitioners describe as “four illegal components” of FERC’s regulations that “beyond the agency’s authority and conflict” with Congress’s goals:
- The FERC neglected to conduct an environmental impact assessment. This would have shown that regulations “undermining renewable energy development” would have a significant environmental impact.
- FERC “invented a new effective ceiling on generation held by the same firm throughout a vast region.” “Contrary to the limited authority provided,” to evaluate whether facilities are located at the same site. As a result, it is subject to PURPA’s 80 MW size limitations.
- That FERC abolished the ability of PURPA “qualifying facility” developers to establish a long-term price for their energy at contract formation. A measure that removes project finance options and “interferes with the aims of Congress.”
- FERC “illegally” transferred the obligation of estimating a utility’s saved costs, on which payment under PURPA is based, from the state regulator to the developer of a qualified plant.
The petition by the solar and environmental groups requested the court to “vacate” FERC’s regulatory order or rescind the regulations.
What is PURPA?
The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA, Pub.L. 95–617, 92 Stat. 3117, enacted November 9, 1978) is a United States Act that was passed as part of the National Energy Act. Furthermore, the primary goal of the act was to promote energy conservation and the use of domestic and renewable energy. It evolved one year before the second energy crisis in response to the energy crisis of 1973. Furthermore, when President Jimmy Carter came into office, he made energy policy a top priority. Additionally, the measure laid the groundwork for the reform of the energy industry.
Consequently, the legislation requires FERC to design regulations that encourage the deployment of QFs. These are generally low-power generators. Due to the recent changes, states can now delegate initiatives that have been proven to effectively improve QF implementation. States can also now delegate activities that have been shown to effectively develop QF. As a result of this reality, SEIA and others argue that FERC’s new decision violates federal law.Read More