Posts Tagged ‘PURPA’

1 February

China Installed The Most Solar in 2013! China May Possibly Become The Cleanest Country On Planet Earth!


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below)

Sun Will Continue Shining Brightly During Year of the Horse (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

I’ve spent three years advocating for the spread of solar energy, researching, interviewing, learning, writing, posting, traveling in different parts of the world.  Thanks to the existence of internet, worldwideweb, social networks, and forerunners who have accumulated and shared much knowledge and information with us. It’s truly opened my eyes to what the future may have in store for us, in energy, education, and how intricately connected we earthlings all are to one another (despite physical distances).  Even though my original intention of starting Sun Is The Future was to help my on-site students to have better understanding of applications of solar energy and to encourage state of Florida legislators to implement the most effective incentive policy, Feed-In-Tariff, for adoption of renewable energy,  I  am thankful that Sun Is The Future has reached beyond the boundary of a nation or a continent, and has reached 167 countries and hopefully will complete the goal of all 196 nations on planet earth by the end of 2014.

Let The Sun Shine Through (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

This past year, in addition to having the fastest train, the most megacities, and the biggest population in the world, China has also become the Number 1 Country on planet Earth that has added the most solar power in a single year. No other country has ever added more than 8 GW (gigawatt) of solar power in one year prior to 2013.  China is beating Germany’s record of  8GW (or 8,000 MW) from 2010. China’s National Energy Administration announced earlier in January that there were 12 GW (or 12,000 MW) of 2013 solar installations in China. This record means that China has installed more in one year of 2013 than U.S. had cumulatively installed, in total, since the beginning of solar PV module in existence or since the founding of U.S. The Bloomberg New Energy Finance Industry Intelligence database (tracking projects individually, identifying developer, owner, location and often equipment supplier or financier) already records 9.5 GW of projects built in China in 2013.  More complete data will be provided later in March. China’s state-owned power generators China Power Investment Corporation, China Three Gorges and China Huadian Corporation have become the world’s largest owners of solar assets. Head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Jenny Chase said,

“The 2013 figures show the astonishing scale of the Chinese market, now the sleeping dragon has awoken…PV is becoming ever cheaper and simpler to install, and China’s government has been as surprised as European governments by how quickly it can be deployed in response to incentives.”

BNEF estimates that in 2013 the global solar PV market had been 39 GW (or 39,000 MW), with an increase of 28% from 2012.  This trend is expected to continue, with a 20% global volume growth in 2014.  In 2014, the world will install as much solar PV in 12 months as the cumulative total installed solar since the invention of solar PV module to 2010. The world’s three largest solar PV markets in terms of new GW (or 1,000 MW) capacity in 2013 were: China, Japan, and the U.S., then Germany in fourth place. To this, I have to say that we all have much to thank Germany for having been the heaviest investor in solar for many years. China and Japan are both much better off keeping their eyes on the prize of solar energy, the ultimate solution to solve problems in Climate Change-Energy-Pollution-Prosperity-Security rather than fighting over the uninhabited Diaoyu-Senkaku. Finally, if only U.S. had come to realized and fully implemented the Feed-In-Tariff as China did, the Number 1 Country on planet Earth that has added the most solar power in a single year in 2013 would have been U.S. rather than China.  Being an Earthling foremost, I applaud China for having implemented Feed-In-Tariff with such fervor, even without having fully appreciated how much impact and speed it would have on the deployment of solar. Now, as Thailand and many parts of Southeast Asia and rest of the world are also becoming believers in Feed-In-Tariff,  I only wish that the state of Florida and many other states in U.S. will learn to appreciate this most effective incentive policy for solar and renewable energy. It is noteworthy that China, Japan, and Germany have all implemented Feed-In-Tariff at higher rate than what U.S. PURPA law required, avoided cost. If China would be able to maintain such an enthusiastic momentum for solar, there is the possibility  of China becoming the Cleanest Country On Planet Earth by 2050! Keep your eyes on the Sun!

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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4 January

Expanded Discussion on Value of Solar


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers, (Please click on red links below)

Capturing The Sun (Credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker). This design may also be found at

After posting the interview with Karl R. Rabago regarding The Value of Solar, some of the viewers’ /readers’/visitors’ questions made me realize that I needed to summarize the two articles I have linked to in the post in more details.   I apologize, because Mr. Karl R. Rabago did such a fantastic job in presenting the topic of The Value of Solar, I did not want to detract any attention from the interview. But, as long as we do have visitors/viewers who would like to be reading synopsis on the topic in addition to viewing the video, I’d be happy to oblige. I also found out that Youtube seems to be having some storage issue with regard to the video interview with Mr. Karl R. Rabago momentarily. Please be patient and Youtube is working on the issue at the moment. So be sure to check back at the post of Jan. 1, 2014 for the interview with Karl R. Rabago for the video interview later. In The ‘Value Of Solar’ Rate: Designing An Improved Residential Solar Tariff , authored by Karl R. Rabago,  Net metering is a law derived from PURPA (Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act) passed in 1978 such that the original struggle for net metering was the fight to remove the screw, therefore allowing the meter to spin backward so customers could get credit or self-generate (being allowed to make their own electricity through solar energy or generator system) and receive a fair price (otherwise known as the avoided cost) from the utility company for the excess energy being fed back into the grid. This straight forward (use of a single meter with no separate calculation) policy was adopted in 43 states. Although elegantly simple, net metering has its limitations: the assigned retail value for local solar energy is not necessarily reflective of the true value of solar. For example:

  1. There is no distinction between energy due to consumption vs. energy that is excess to consumption during the netting period.
  2. There is no provision for ensuring that the utility recovers the full cost of serving the solar customer.
  3. Much reduced payment for excess generation at the “avoided cost” tends to incentivize solar customers to size solar systems at their baseline energy demand, therefore not fully optimizing the potential in generating valuable excess on-peak or near-peak energy for the network, leaving the utility still having to procure energy for other customers at a higher-than-average cost.
  4. The tiered rate structure of net metering: the more energy a customer uses, the more value that customer receives for solar generation. The traditional net metering coupling solar energy value to the level of a customer’s energy consumption, even in the absence of tiered structure, has the effect of discouraging energy efficiency and encouraging on-peak consumption. When a unit of energy offset by solar generation is worth much more to a customer than a unit of excess generation, the economic signal to the customers is out of sync with other policy and economic objectives.

The Austin Energy of Texas has taken on the task of redesigning the net metering structure. The resulting new Value of Solar residential solar rate is splendid! It has two basic components:

  1. The annually updated value of solar calculation is essentially the price at which the utility is neutral to the solar energy
  2. The value of solar ensures that the utility recovers its full cost of serving the solar customer before any credit for solar generation is applied.

These two components result in a residential solar rate that is more fair to the solar customer, the utility,  and other utility customers.  This also decouples solar energy compensation from both consumption and incentives while being administratively simple. Austin Energy developed a Value of Solar calculation, generating a 30-year levelized value of solar in cents per kilowatt-hour, based on five components:

  1. energy
  2. capacity
  3. transmission capacity
  4. transmission and distribution losses
  5. environmental value

Energy and capacity value make up the bulk of the value and are heavily influenced by natural gas prices. Environmental value is derived from the price premium for Austin Energy’s GreenChoice renewable energy product offering. End result, the Value of Solar rate is about three cents higher than the average residential energy rate. The goal of the calculation is to estimate the total value of a unit of solar energy generated in the distribution grid, or near the point of consumption. That is, the utility would have to buy some energy, including some capacity value such that it would have to be transmitted, with losses, over a delivery system, and pay transmission costs and system charges, and finally with some kind of renewable energy credit or certificate. The calculation if rather conservative for it does not include externality values related to local economic benefits, local environmental benefits or other valuable attributes of distributed solar. Such levelized value needs to be re-evaluated annually so to adjust up-to-date  utility costs and prevent overpayments when system prices fall, not to mention the changing fuel factor. This new Value of Solar rate is expected to reduce the simple payback period for customers, provides stronger incentive for customers to use energy efficiently, and leads to more  on-peak energy available to the utility. Of course, annual recalculations would ensure that both customer and utility are treated fairly as the market costs change. Furthermore, the netting methodology ensures that utility would recover its cost of serving the customer and eliminates the argument that other customers subsidize solar. Austin Energy’s Value of Solar rate was implemented on Oct. 1, 2012 and had already earned recognition and interest from utilities and solar experts. For example, SEPA (Solar Electric Power Association) has recognized Austin Energy as Public Power Utility of the year in 2012 and IREC (Interstate Renewable Energy Council) has given one of its annual Innovation Awards to Austin Energy in September of 2012. It would be great if the Value of Solar will also be applied in other states and regions. With publicly available data, Value of Solar may have expanded use such as in commercial solar rates and in other states and regions. Ultimately, this would translate into a collaborative relationship between the utility and consumers, leading to a more stable grid for all consumers while increasing the longevity of the utility. We look forward to further spreading of use of Value of Solar for it is that final link to the fair and effective way for our world to transition into a sustainable future quickly. Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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26 July

Learning From Ed Regan & Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan About FIT (Feed-In-Tariff)


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

I’ve been spending more time learning about Feed-In-Tariff (FIT). Naturally, Gainesville, FL is an important starting point for history of FIT in USA, for it was the first city in USA that adopted FIT (Feed-In-Tariff) via GRU (Gainesville Regional Utility) back in February/March of 2009.  So, it was both a pleasure and honor for me to present to you Ed Regan and former Mayor of Gainesville, Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan , in the video clip below. This interview was conducted at the top of Downtown Gainesville parking garage (220 SE 2nd Ave.), in Gainesville, Florida.


Solar installations at Downtown parking garage of Gainesville, FL (thanks to Solar Feed-In-Tariff!), photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Solar panels on top of Downtown parking garage of Gainesville, FL (benefitted from FIT (Feed-In-Tariff)), photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

The program (Solar FIT in Gainesville) was open to small, medium, and large projects, but was capped at 4 MW per year. As of 2011, Gainesville has increased solar generated electricity from 328 to 7391 KW. By Dec. of 2012, over 14 MW of solar PV had been installed in the Gainesville area. This is the highest per capita solar PV in Florida and one of the highest in the United States.Solar energy now takes up about 1.2% of peak load energy (610 MW) in Gainesville, FL. FIT had been responsible for much of the widespread implementation of solar in Gainesville area, increased local jobs, and dramatically improved economic opportunities for Gainesville, FL.

Solar panels on rooftop of library in Gainesville, FL, generating solar power (thanks to Solar-FIT!). Photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

At the rooftop of library of Gainesville, FL, near Downtown parking garage, more solar installations are seen. Photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker










Two very important people who were instrumental in the adoption of FIT in Gainesville, FL: Ed Regan and Pegeen Hanrahan are being interviewed in this video. Ed Regan, a senior administrator (Assistant General Manager for strategic planning of GRU, Gainesville Regional Utility) back in 2009, is now with Strategic Utility Management at Gainesville, FL.  Pegeen Hanrahan, two-termed Mayor of Gainesville in 2009, now the Principal of Community and Conservation Solutions, is involved with various projects protecting FL’s public lands, parks, and natural resources.

Ed Regan and Pegeen Hanrahan discussed changes and progress in solar energy during the past few decades and the importance of concerned citizen participation, as well as legislative support and proactive and creative utility staff in setting the right tone for a prosperous renewable/solar energy future.  Without these three factors mentioned above, Solar FIT would not have been able to take place in Gainesville, FL. Ed Regan and Pegeen Hanrahan are two eloquent speakers with plentiful  lessons learned, practical insight, and wisdom.  This is a valuable discussion for any one currently in or will become part of the solar energy future. To better appreciate this interview, please feel free to click on following links:   Kyoto Protocol; net metering; avoided cost; PURPA;Feed-In-Tariff.

As  advocates for solar energy, Sun Is The Future team was thrilled to have this opportunity to learn about solar energy and FIT (Feed-In-Tariff) from these two highly charged individuals. As the cost of solar installations continues to drop, it is apparent that investing in solar is a no brainer. Implementing Solar-FIT, a productive incentive policy,  will help local economic prosperity by creating local jobs, improving energy security, and insuring the health and clean nature of the energy source of all types of   utility ( municipality, investor-owned, or cooperative ). But experience did indicate that investor-owned utility tends to require more hurdles to overcome before Solar-FIT may be successfully implemented.

Now, it is with hope and optimism,  please allow me to share the FIT Song by Regans,written by Kevin and Brendan Regan.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s support the Renewable/Solar Feed-In-Tariff in Florida, USA, and the planet earth! Let’s convert as much usable space into Renewable Space on our journey toward the Renewable/Solar Future!

~have a bright and sunny day~

written, gathered, and posted by-sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

any of your comments or suggestions will be welcomed at


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