Posts Tagged ‘Maury Markowitz’

23 May

Updating Feed-In Tariffs & Renewable Energy Policy


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

The Solutions Project (credit: NREL & Sun Is The Future-Susan Sun Nunamaker), please refer to :

Since our last post of the May 16, 2014 on In-Depth Analysis of Renewable Energy Policy with Toby D. Couture, there’s been much updates worldwide with regard to Feed-In Tariffs. Once again, our Wind Friend Paul Gipe has contributed much, below:

News on Feed-in Tariffs

May 20, 2014,   by Paul Gipe

Governor John de Jongh, Jr. of the Virgin Islands signed a bill enacting feed-in tariffs in the US territory on May 16, 2004. Act 7586 is a greatly watered down version of the original proposal by Senator Craig W Barshinger. The act directs the territory’s utility to set the tariffs and otherwise administer the program. The tariffs must be approved by the Public Service Commission. Unlike many recent feed-in tariff proposals in North America, the Virgin Islands act includes other renewables an[more]

May 20, 2014, by Conor Ryan

Facing pressure due in large part to a pipeline of proposed PV installations and increasing electricity demand, the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) is organizing plans to raise its feed-in tariff (FiT) cap to 10 times more than the current rate.

May 19, 2014,   by Stuart Elmes

Since the domestic RHI launched in April 2014, I’ve been hearing people saying that the domestic RHI ‘isn’t such a good return as the feed-in tariff (FiT).

May 18, 2014,   by Karl-Friedrich Lenz

Here is yet another reason why the reductions German energy intensive industry gets when paying surcharges are not subsidies, and therefore none of the EU Commission’s business.

May 14, 2014,   by Erik Kwam

REACH’s wrapup summary of renewable legislation that was considered by Hawaii’s state legislature during its 2014 session, including 100% RE, storage, grid modernization, net-metering, and various renewable energy tax credits.

May 13, 2014,   by John Parnell

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) could develop a new feed-in tariff (FiT) rate under plans putout for consultation on Tuesday.


News on Nuclear & Renewable Energy Policy


May 21, 2014,

The Fukui District Court ruled Wednesday that it will not allow the restart of two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear plant, now under safety examination by Japan’s top nuclear watchdog. . . It is the first time since the Fukushima nuclear crisis erupted in March 2011 that a Japanese court has ordered a power supplier not to bring a nuclear plant online.

May 20, 2014,   by Ture Falbe-Hansen

The Danish Energy Agency has published an energy-scenario report and five sub-analyses on the energy system of the future and the challenges that need managing up to 2050 as fossil fuels are phased out and replaced with renewable energy.

May 19, 2014,   by Mitch Potter

A Canadian has discovered that radioactive trees aren’t decomposing, suggesting that fallout may be even more dangerous than we realize.

May 15, 2014,   by Allie Kosela

Environmentalists are applauding a landmark Federal Court ruling that puts the brakes on building expensive and risky new nuclear reactors in Ontario.


News on Wind Energy


May 16, 2014,   by Paul Gipe

Windpower Ownership in Sweden: Business models and motives, the new book by Tore Wizelius helps English-speakers understand how Swedes have taken a sizable ownership of wind energy in spite of their government. In this, his book can serve as an inspiration to community wind advocates worldwide who face many of the same challenges faced in Sweden.[more]


News on Solar Energy


May 10, 2014,   by Karl-Friedrich Lenz

In comparison, the German Chancellor’s office (Bundeskanzleramt) has a 150 kW installation. That’s at least by a factor 10 more than what Obama has installed.


News on Household-Size (Small) Wind Turbines


May 16, 2014,

Evance have an innovative new windmill design 90% of the way through development and nearing the production stage, following the manufacture and supply of almost 2,000 of smaller windmills –between 10-20m tall – to Britain and locations across the globe from the USA and Madagascar over the past decade.

May 7, 2014,   by Paul Gipe

Quiet Revolution, the one-time manufacturer of an architecturally dramatic helical wind turbine, filed for bankruptcy on 15 April in London.


News on Geothermal Energy


May 15, 2014,   by Ari Phillips

However, developers say a lot of the uncertainty around geothermal in the U.S., and part of the reason it hasn’t grown much in recent years, is due to the unreliable nature of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

This feed-in tariff news update is made in cooperation with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The views expressed are those of Paul Gipe and are not necessarily those of ILSR.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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8 July

Incentive For Solar (16)-Feed-In-Tariff, Canadian Friend Maury Markowitz’s Advice for Americans/Floridians


Dear Friends, Family, and Interested Solar Fans,

If you are in favor of renewable/CLEAN energy, please sign the petition page showing support for FIT/CLEAN Program at Thank you.

During Fall of 2010, I was visiting my friend Julia in Canada and decided to try to learn from the Canadians about their experience with Feed-In-Tariff.   Ontario, Canada (or course), introduced a feed-in-tariff in 2006, and revised in 2009, which increases from 42 c/kWh to 80.2 c/kWh for micro-scale (<= 10 kW) grid-tied photovoltaic projects. Ontario’s FIT program also includes a tariff schedule for larger projects up to and including  10 MW solar farms at a reduced rate.As of April, 2010, several hundred projects have been approved, including 184 large scale projects, worth $8 billion all together.  It was wonderful to find out that so much  business opportunities/activities were generated for their local community as a result of the feed-in-tariff program.  I met so many enthusiastic Canadian solar entrepreneurs, fully energized by this program.  Below, you will see/hear an edited  interview with Maury Markowitz, President of InPhase Power, Inc.,  for the vivacious Maury  is not only full of wealth of information and insight, but his enthusiasm is contagious. I have also uploaded this video onto Youtube, seen below:


To start with, it is important to always consider the fact that any solar program, FIT or not, is in some fashion a form of redistributive taxation. Whatever premium over grid rates that the FIT program pays has to come from someone’s pocket. In Ontario, this is taken care of by  everyone’s electrical bill, which is the best way to handle this. If Maury’s calculations are correct, all of the solar power in Ontario costs  about $0.25 extra a year (yes, 25 cents). That will go up in the future as more systems come online, but if that goes to $25 a year given a huge build-out,  that is a price everyone will be willing to pay to “go green”.

Mark Pinset, Maury Markowitz, Mark Reeve-Newson at InPhase Power Inc.

Below is a correspondence/email of Maury Markowitz to me:
Just BE UP FRONT ABOUT IT! If this is hidden in a separate payment or tax benefit, it disappears under the radar. Then you’ll have the complaints about tax money slush funds and so forth, which can taint even the best of intentions.

If we’re redistributing money, it’s important to ensure that you get your money’s worth. Ontario has a very strong manufacturing sector (#3 in North America I believe) that was hurting due to downturns in existing markets and increased international competition. FIT, especially the “buy Ontario” portion, was seen as a way to return some of these jobs here. So far this has been extremely successful; there are dozens, many dozens, of companies moving manufacturing to Ontario. So this is money well spent.

Florida is another issue. The local economy has been based largely on home building over the last decade or so, and this is definitely hurting these days. However, by carefully arranging the requirements for Florida workers, some of that lost manpower can be recaptured. Whether or not this can be seen as economically positive over a fixed period (20 years in Ontario for instance) is something for the economists to figure out. One of the problems  in Ontario is that the bill that introduced FIT was part of a larger energy bill. A major part of that bill was unrelated to FIT — it was a phase-in period to bring home billing to commercial levels. Ontario always subsidized residential power, which is a serious problem for everyone  and made out consumption one of the highest in the world — why not at 4.5 cents a kWh?! So now prices are going up, and keep going up, and…So everyone blames the solar panels. You see, if you pay a FIT price of 80 cents, then it seems at first glance that that’s the reason your bill is going up. But it’s not, it’s pennies. But in every debate, even the good ones (look for The Agenda on iTunes and get their podcasts about the green energy act — trust me on this), it’s all too simple to write it off.

So the lesson here is to make the law self-contained, and self-reporting. If it fails it fails, but don’t let it fail because someone was able to blame it for problems in some other part of an omnibus bill.  Now how much should you pay in FIT? Well here’s another area where you can learn from Canadians’ lessons. Two of the most asked questions  from homeowners is “how much stuff can I run off of this” followed by “how much will I save”. Well under FIT, the answer is “none” and “zero”. That’s not what a homeowner wants to hear. If you use net metering as opposed to FIT, then you get real numbers for both of these questions. It’s an easier sell even if the numbers aren’t actually as good.  Yet for commercial users, FIT makes much more sense.  Maury could tell them immediately what they’ll make a year on their investment. If they can borrow money for less than that, sold!  So, what to do about this. HAVE TWO PROGRAMS. Instead of “residential” and “commercial”, which is what some countries were trying to do, have a  “small” and “large” programs, assuming they would fall into these categories. The idea was that small systems cost more to install (true) so we’ll give better rates, and that will help the homeowners.

This backfired badly. What happened instead is that companies started putting up small systems due to the higher payouts, flooding the department that was originally expecting a few thousand requests from residential systems. These projects were field-mounted, which costs less to install. So then the government started patching the holes this caused. First they came up with a separate rate for ground mounted, then they said you had to own the house (no rental units) and they keep making changes to patch these problems — causing more problems every time.

So here’s the takeaway — have two programs, one for residential roofmount customers up to a certain size limit (10 kW is already on the high side) and another for everyone else. The power companies already know the difference between residential and commercial customers, let them tell you which is which. Make sure the residential rate applies only to rooftop installs on “main dwellings” that are actively occupied — no letting the farmers put them in the front yard or on their barn. You get the idea.

Now it’s simply a matter of numbers. Our program was set up so owners would basically double their money over 20 years. To do that with a typical residential system given Toronto sunlight, that set the rate to about 80 cents. Tampa gets about 20% more sunlight than Toronto, so right off the bat you can cut 20% off the FIT rate, taking you down to about 65 cents if you want to pay out over 20 years like we do.

But as long as the rules on who can apply are ironclad, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND an alternative approach. Instead of a 20 year program that doubles your money, how about a 10 year one that gives you only 50% more than you invested? Wait, pay out almost half the money and kill the financials? Yes. I guarantee you that the uptake on a program like this would be MUCH higher.  Why? Because people don’t own houses for 20 years — or they don’t think they will. There’s a perceived risk that business owners don’t see. They invest in new equipment all the time, it’s strictly a matter of looking at the numbers.

Now some tech. If you’re going to make this work at the residential level, make sure they figure out the “metering issue”. What’s that? Well with net metering everything is simple, because I pay you the same rate you pay me. All I need is a single meter, and I bill you based on that number (positive or negative). But with FIT you pay and receive different rates, and a single meter doesn’t give you those two measures — you need two meters.  The simple way to solve this is to put a meter anywhere, then run the wire from that meter into a breaker in the customer’s basement. However, this leads to the possibility of errors. Imagine I generate the exact amount of energy I use. In that case, the meter on the solar panels will read something, say “100”. My main meter at the outside of the house will say “0”. So it would seem easy then — I bought 100 at one price and sold 100 at another price, done!  Not so fast. Each of those meters is accurate only to 3% (or so). So if I actually produced 3% more power and used 3% less, the numbers on the meters stay the same, but I just lost 6% of my income. This is bad. So what they did here is demand the two meters be independently metered to the grid, eliminating this problem, now it’s 3% on both, which is within limits (I know that sounds strange).  This costs us an additional $1500 an install, or more. We have to remove the customer’s existing meter, put in a double-one, rewire everything, and get it inspected. The power is off while this happens. The overhead is killer.

There are many solutions to this problem, metering ones, legal ones, billing ones. Just make sure to pick one and let the _residential_ customers use it.

Ok, I think I’m spent. 🙂  Maury

Thank you, Maury, for your input and encouragement !  I only wished that I posted this earlier.  Again, meeting with you affirmed my belief that there is hope for Florida and US in our path of learning/understanding for Feed-In-Tariff and the transition to renewable/solar energy age will be based on shared experience of all earthlings.

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,




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