Posts Tagged ‘Solar Electric Power Association’

12 July

Obama Administration Is In Favor of Solar Access For All Americans


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links & note magenta)

Below is the press release from the White House:


Administration Announces New Initiative to Increase Solar Access for All Americans

Including Actions to Scale Up Solar Access and Cut Energy Bills in Communities Across America

The Obama Administration is committed to addressing climate change, promoting clean energy, and creating good paying jobs.  That is why the Administration is announcing a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low- and moderate- income communities, while expanding opportunities to join the solar workforce.

Last year, the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008, and the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.  And since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent.  The executive actions and private sector commitments that we are announcing today will help continue to scale up solar for all Americans, including those who are renters, lack the startup capital to invest in solar, or do not have adequate information on how to transition to solar energy.  The key components of the initiative that the Administration is announcing today are:

  • Launching a National Community Solar Partnership to unlock access to solar for the nearly 50 percent of households and business that are renters or do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems, including issuing a guide to Support States In Developing Community Solar Programs;
  • Setting a goal to install 300 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing and providing technical assistance to make it easier to install solar, including clarifying how to use Federal funding;
  • Housing authorities, rural electric co-ops, power companies, and organizations in more than 20 states across the country are committing to put in place more than 260 solar energy projects, including projects to help low- and moderate- income communities save on their energy bills and further community solar; and
  • More than $520 million in independent commitments from philanthropic and impact investors, states, and cities to advance community solar and scale up solar and energy efficiency for low- and moderate- income households.

To continue enhancing employment opportunities for all Americans in the solar industry, the Administration is announcing the following executive actions and private sector commitments, including:

  • AmeriCorps funding to deploy solar and create jobs in underserved communities;
  • Expanding solar energy education and opportunities for job training; and
  • The solar industry is also setting its own, independent goal of becoming the most diverse sector of the U.S.  energy industry, and a number of companies are announcing that they are taking steps to build a more inclusive solar workforce.

These new actions build on President Obama’s goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020 and the Solar Ready Vets program that will train transitioning military personnel for careers in the solar industry at 10 military bases.


To continue supporting all American communities in deploying clean energy while creating jobs and reducing carbon pollution, the Administration is announcing the following executive actions:

  • Setting A Goal To Install 300 Megawatts Of Renewable Energy in Federally Subsidized Housing: In the Climate Action Plan, the President set a goal of installing 100 megawatts (MW) of solar and other types of renewable energy in Federally subsidized housing.   The Administration has already surpassed that goal, through commitments to install more than 185 MW of renewable energy.    Today, we are announcing that the Administration is tripling its current goal and setting a new goal to install 300 MW of renewable energy on affordable by 2020, as well as expanding the goal to include community and shared solar installations.
  • Providing Technical Assistance to Make It Easier to Install Solar on Affordable Housing: One of the largest barriers to deploying onsite solar on affordable housing is the lack of knowledge on how to initiate the process.  To overcome this barrier, the U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is announcing that it will offer direct technical assistance to affordable housing organizations making a commitment toward the Administration’s new 300 MW goal.  As part of this assistance, HUD is launching a website to provide policy guidance, tools, and other online resources to help advance solar deployment and the installation of other renewable energy in affordable housing.
  • Developing a Toolkit to Increase the Ability of States to Use Federal Funding to Deploy Solar on Affordable Housing: To make it easier to use Section 108 Community Development Block Grant funds for solar energy systems, next month, HUD is releasing a renewable energy toolkit for use by Community Planning and Development (CPD) grantees.  The toolkit will provide program compliance information, tools, and case study examples to help communities integrate renewable energy components such as solar photovoltaic, solar hot water, and cogeneration into the program in an efficient, cost-effective, and impactful way by using CPD funds.  This action builds on an announcement last year during which, HUD’s CPD office affirmed that under current guidelines, Section 108 Community Development Block Grant funding can be used for clean energy and energy efficiency projects.
  • Enhancing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)’s PowerSaver Policy to Make It Easier to Borrow Up To $25,000 For Solar and Energy-Efficient Improvements:  FHA is planning updates to its second-mortgage program that will make it easier for homeowners to borrow up to $25,000 for solar and energy-efficient improvements by cutting red tape and making improvements more affordable.  Key features of the second mortgage program will include: 1) providing flexible underwriting to recognize the reduced cost of utilities for energy efficient homes; 2) allowing homeowners to control the disbursement of loan funds to the contractor; and 3) permitting contributions to lower out-of-pocket expenses and/or reduce borrower interest rates.
  • Clarifying Policy to Pave the Way for Increased FHA Solar and Energy Efficient Financing on Federally Assisted and Insured Housing.   FHA recently clarified its policy on first mortgages to allow flexible financing options and the ability to obtain larger loan amounts for solar systems.   FHA is conducting forums on the updated Single Family Handbook to help increase lender awareness of these financing options, which will be effective September 14, 2015.
  • Launching a National Community Solar Partnership: The U.S.  Department of Energy (DOE) in collaboration with HUD, the U.S.  Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), representatives from solar companies, NGOs, and state and community leaders are launching a National Community Solar Partnership to unlock access to solar for the nearly 50 percent of households and business that are renters or do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems.  The partnership will leverage the interest in the public and private sector to expand access to community solar, in particular, for low- and moderate- income communities, while utilizing the technical expertise of DOE and the National Laboratories.
    • BARC Electric Cooperative
    • Black Rock Solar
    • State of California
    • Clean Energy Collective
    • Citi
    • Colorado State Energy Office
    • District of Columbia Department of the Environment
    • First Solar, Inc.
    • Grand Valley Power
    • Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
    • GRID Alternatives
    • Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
    • National League of Cities
    • State of New York
    • RE-volv
    • Solar Energy Industries Association
    • Solar Electric Power Association
    • Spear Point Energy
    • SunShare
    • The Solar Foundation
    • Vermont Public Service Department
    • Vote Solar
  • Issuing A Guide To Support States In Developing Community Solar Programs: The DOE SunShot Initiative and the National Renewable Energy Lab are releasing a new guide, which answers key program design questions collected from states that have implemented shared solar policies and programs around the country.  The guide will also explain how shared solar polices work in conjunction with other polices and provides links to relevant shared solar publications.
  • Launching a Solar Working Group To Save Households on Their Energy Bills: The DOE SunShot Initiative, with assistance from Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is forming a new working group to disseminate information to new homebuilders that want to offer customer-owned solar PV.


States, cities, businesses, and organizations from more than 20 states across the country are making their own, independent commitments to put in place more than 260 solar energy projects in low- and moderate- income communities or to further community solar.   These announcements include:

  • 22 additional Public Housing Authorities and affordable housing providers from around the country are committing to install solar and other type of renewable energy on their facilities, to help meet the Administration’s new 300 MW goal.  This include:
    • Allegheny County Housing Authority, PA
    • Asheville Housing Authority, NC
    • Boulder Housing Authority, CO
    • BRIDGE Housing, CA
    • Cambridge Housing Authority, MA
    • Community Housing Partners, VA
    • Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, OH
    • Fresno Housing Authority, CA
    • East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, CA
    • Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, CA
    • King County Housing Authority, WA
    • Knox County Housing Authority, IL
    • Mercy Housing, Washington, D.C.
    • Metro West Housing Authority, CO
    • New York City Housing Authority, NY
    • New Bedford Housing Authority, MA
    • Rural Ulster Preservation Corporation, NY
    • San Antonio Housing Authority, TX
    • Tampa Housing Authority, FL
    • The Core Companies, CA
    • Vistula Management Company, OH
    • York Housing Authority, PA
  • RE-volv, a nonprofit organization, is announcing a goal of financing 200 community-based solar energy projects over the next three years.  As these communities pay RE-volv back through a solar lease, the money is “paid forward,” setting in motion a self-sustaining revolving fund that will finance a new solar project every month.  Already, RE-volv has already crowdfunded $120,000 from people in 38 states and 22 countries to finance 65 kilowatts (kW) of solar on three nonprofits and cooperatives that collectively serve over 1500 families.
  • Private sector companies announcing new projects in low- and moderate- income communities or to further community solar:
    • More than 30 member-owned, not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives in 17 states across the country are committing to install community solar projects by the end of 2016.  This builds on the nearly 20 co-ops nationally that have already brought online community solar projects in the last year.
    • Spear Point Energy, is committing to develop nearly 10-15 solar projects for rural water companies in the next year.  The program will include green bank financing and create jobs in low-income rural communities.
    • Clean Energy Collective is announcing three new community solar projects:
      • The first community solar to be built in Texas, CEC will develop a 900kW project in partnership with Nueces Electric cooperative, which will be located near Corpus Christi, Texas, and serve Nueces’ full customer base across the state of Texas.
      • A 120 kW community solar project located in Pueblo, Colorado with Black Hills Energy.  A significant portion of the array will serve low-income households through a partnership with Posada Pueblo.
      • A new partnership with CPS Energy to develop a 1.2 MW community solar project in the San Antonio area.   The project will be the first for CPS Energy and make CPS the largest municipally-owned utility in the nation with a community solar project.
      • Freetown, MA will soon complete a shared solar installation.  The project – the first to be fully funded and managed by NRG Energy, Inc.  in Massachusetts – will provide one megawatt of clean electricity, enough to power nearly 200 homes.  This project will provide solar power to residents who would typically not have access solar energy, while reducing the overall cost of their utility bill.
  • The Colorado Energy Office is launching a shared solar project for low-income households as part of its strategy to comprehensively reduce their energy burden.  The project complements Colorado’s Weatherization Assistance Program by giving low-income households the ability to reduce electricity costs.   The Office has released a Request for Application for a Community Shared Solar System Demonstration Project consisting of varying size and scale that will cumulatively provide more than 1 MW of solar generation solely for low-income shareholders.
  • Vote Solar is announcing Shared Renewables HQ, a web resource providing state-by-state policy analysis and resources to help communities design programs that work for all income levels.
  • SunEdison and NASCAR are announcing a partnership to promote distributed residential and commercial solar power through “NASCAR Green,” a platform created in 2008 to educate and promote sustainable solutions to fans and stakeholders on initiatives such as biofuel use, recycling programs, and solar energy adoption.   Over the next three years as part of this collaboration, SunEdison and NASCAR will educate the NASCAR fanbase about the benefits of home solar.  Additionally, SunEdison will work with NASCAR partners, race track properties, and race teams to design and propose commercial scale solar solutions.


Today, leaders from across the country are also committing to invest more than $520 million to advance community solar or scale up solar and energy efficiency in low- and moderate- income communities.

  • Community Capital Management is committing to investing $100 million in government-assisted rental housing that support environmental and energy efficiency initiatives, including deploying solar energy systems to meet the Administration’s new 300 MW goal, indoor environmental quality, and site remediation in the next year.
  • Clean Energy Collective (CEC) is announcing that it has secured over $400 million in cumulative financial backing to help scale up community solar nationwide.
  • Craft3, a nonprofit community development financial institution, is committing $12 million to expand its on-bill repayment loan program to help homeowners convert from high-carbon oil heat to natural gas and electric heat pumps, including financing oil tank decommissioning, the installation of high-efficiency gas furnaces, heat pumps and weatherization measures.   The program will focus on low to moderate income households that do not qualify for low-income weatherization support where borrowers will repay their loans through their utility bill.  Today’s announcement builds on Craft3’s March commitment to work with MPower, a non-profit company dedicated to provide $4 million in financing for building-wide energy efficiency services to qualified affordable housing facilities.   Since 2009, Craft3 has provided over $40 million in energy efficiency financing to 3,000 Oregon and Washington households.
  • The District of Columbia Department of the Environment is announcing that it will launch a plan to invest up to $6 million in community solar for low-income residents this fall.  Today’s announcement builds on their existing initiative to install 130 solar panels on low-income homes in 250 days by September 30, 2015.
  • California is announcing a new $3 million pilot program for multi-family homes that provides credit support to facilitate energy improvements.  The program will offer multi-family affordable housing credit support for energy efficiency improvements, including solar water heating.  The program is expected to facilitate improvements in 1000 housing units.  This builds on the California Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership, a program that encourages solar on new construction, currently has $3.5 million in reservations for future solar on affordable housing, representing 2.26MW.  To date, the program has provided $23 million in incentives for 883 affordable housing systems, representing 7.69 MW.
  • The State of Hawaii, is committing to open up financing for solar energy systems for renters, through the financing of community-based renewable energy projects, and energy efficiency projects to non-profits and small businesses in the coming months.  Through the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority, the State has already committed to financing $150 million of clean energy technologies for underserved Hawaii homeowners, renters, non-profits and small businesses by the end of 2016.   In March 2015, the Authority launched financing for solar PV to underserved non-profits and small businesses, with financing for solar PV to underserved homeowners available by July 2015.
  • The State of Massachusetts is committing to exploring new models to support community solar projects through the Massachusetts Solar Loan Program.  Through the program Massachusetts will work with the solar industry and lenders to provide affordable financing for solar electricity, with specific support for low- and moderate- income residents as well as community solar projects.  MassCEC and DOER will also continue to work collaboratively with the private sector to create pathways towards innovative community solar models and projects that increase access to solar electricity for Massachusetts residents.
  • The Vermont Public Service Department is announcing that it will launch a new statewide program to support customers that want to participate in community solar through an interest rate buy-down fund, with support from the DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge II.  The buy-down program will boost access to group net metering systems, in particular for those that cannot afford their own solar systems, and will enhance the state’s efforts to reduce barriers to going solar.  These include the financial incentives such as the state’s solar adder and regulatory initiatives such as the statewide 10-day registration form for projects under 15 kW.  Today’s announcement builds on the lessons learned through a pilot program in Windham County.  Vermont is also enhancing access to solar for public entities by working with them to create tools such as the recently released Solar Group Net Metering Agreement Template for Vermont’s Municipalities and Schools.
  • Washington State Housing Finance Commission is announcing theEnergySpark Home Loan, a new home-loan program from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.  EnergySpark  gives homebuyers an incentive to buy a home that is constructed to high efficiency standards that are at least 15 percent above code, or to make efficiency improvements to an existing home that cut its energy use by at least 10 percent.  The program offers a quarter-percent off the interest rate, and also allows buyers of older homes to finance the cost of modest improvements, for example, installing renewable energy, adding insulation, replacing windows or upgrading to an efficient furnace, right into the cost of the mortgage at the time of purchase.  When added to the Commission’s downpayment assistance, EnergySpark gives low- and moderate-income homebuyers not only savings on their home purchase, but savings on utilities over the long term.


The solar industry is adding jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.   They are good paying jobs that are helping Americans enter into the middle class.  In fact, earlier this year, President Obama announced a new goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020 and a Solar Ready Vets program to train transitioning military personnel for careers in this growing industry at 10 bases.  To continue enhancing employment opportunities for all Americans, including low-income and minority communities, the Administration is announcing the following executive actions and private sector commitments:

  • Announcing Funding through AmeriCorps that will Deploy Solar and Create Jobs in Low-Income Communities: The Corporation for National and Community Service is supporting GRID Alternatives’ SolarCorps program.  Through the program, 40 AmeriCorps members will gain hands-on training and skills to access jobs in the booming solar industry, while providing clean energy to low-income families who need the savings to pay for basic expenses, through service at GRID Alternatives affiliates and offices throughout the country.  At the end of the first program year, the AmeriCorps members will be responsible for helping retrofit 1500 low-income homes with solar power and will help 200 economically disadvantaged individuals gain jobs in the solar industry, while securing jobs for themselves at the end of their years of service.  In addition, the AmeriCorps members will leverage an additional 4000 volunteers who will be engaged in installing solar for low-income families.
  • Expanding Renewable Energy Education and Job Training: HUD, DOE, and the Department of Education launched “STEM, Energy, and Economic Development” or “SEED.”  SEED is a place-based initiative, currently operating in five cities; DC, Cleveland, Tampa, San Antonio, and Denver.  This project will leverage Federal investments and partnerships to support workforce development and educational opportunities in the energy sector for public housing residents.   Today, we are announcing a key part of this initiative will be focused on the solar industry.
  • Launching a Webinar Series to Provide Information about Job Opportunities: DOE is launching an eight-part webinar series through its Minorities in Energy Initiative to discuss the regional impacts of climate change on minority and Tribal communities and job opportunities in renewable-energy and energy-efficiency sectors to support a growing, next-generation workforce.   In addition, experts will discuss findings from the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) and outline Federal energy policy objectives as they relate to climate resilience, including underserved communities.   Authors of the National Climate Assessment will discuss their findings and the regional applicability to communities who are disproportionally impacted by the effects of climate change.
  • Announcing a New Goal by the Solar Industry to Become the Most Diverse Sector of the U.S.  Energy Industry: The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is announcing a new goal of becoming the most diverse sector of the U.S.  energy industry, promoting greater workforce diversity – from gender, nationality, and race to veteran status, sexual orientation and beyond.  According to the to The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2014, “the solar workforce is increasingly diverse, with select demographic groups (i.e., Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and African American solar workers, along with women and veterans of the U.S.  Armed Forces) representing a larger percentage of the solar workforce” than was observed in 2013.  The Solar Foundation report indicates the solar industry has already surpassed a number of other energy sectors when it comes to both ethnic and gender diversity.  To ensure that the solar industry can achieve its new goal, the solar industry plans to ramp up its training and recruitment opportunities nationwide.
  • Individual Private Sector Commitments: A number of individual companies are taking steps to build a more inclusive solar workforce.   Their independent commitments include the following:
    • As part of a $5 million philanthropic partnership called the Realizing an Inclusive Solar Economy (RISE) that SunEdison entered into with GRID Alternatives earlier this year, today, GRID Alternatives, in collaboration with Civic Works, is training residents in East Baltimore to enter the solar industry.  RISE aims to train 4,000 applicants from underserved communities to begin solar careers.  GRID Alternatives and SunEdison will work with over 70 job training organizations and community colleges over the next two years and offer recruitment venues, hands-on solar installation training, one-year paid fellowships, webinars, and other opportunities for applicants from underserved communities to begin a solar career.  Training opportunities will be available across the country, including through extensive outreach that drives job applicants to job fairs at major solar industry events like Intersolar in San Francisco in July 2015 and Solar Power International in Anaheim in September 2015.
    • PosiGen, commits to increase the diversity of its workforce and unlock employment opportunities for low-income households, including by hiring 40 percent of their employees from low- and moderate- income communities by the end of 2016.  To realize this goal, PosiGen is also committing to increasing its infrastructure investment in low- and moderate-income communities by more than $100 million by the end of 2016.
    • Nautilus Solar Energy proudly commits to expand solar installations in low-income communities and to continue working towards creating a brighter future for communities everywhere.  Both woman-owned and veteran-owned, with females comprising approximately half of its employees, Nautilus Solar Energy provides businesses, schools and not-for-profit organizations across the United States and Canada with solar power


Please keep in mind that there is another valuable source at: DSIRE, providing various federal and state incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.  Take advantage of them and join the New Renewable Energy Age!

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

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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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12 September

Upcoming SEPA Webinar: Solar Value Basics and Net Energy Metering


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)


Please show your support for Renewable Energy by visiting-signing-sharing Renewable-FIT For Sunshine State!


Focus on How Utilities and Customers Value Solar in SEPA’s September Webinar

On Thursday, September 19, 2013,SEPA will be presenting a can’t-miss webinar, Solar Value Basics and Net Energy Metering: What it Is… and Isn’t . Eran Mahrer, SEPA’s Executive VP of Utility Strategy, will share the basics of how utilities, and their customers, value solar and how that is changing. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of the issues behind solar valuation; how utilities are approaching VOS; and why it is important. The presentation will highlight Net Energy Metering (NEM) as a tool and will clarify exactly what is included in the concept – and how this has evolved to encompass a number of related issues and perspectives. This is a great opportunity to get an overview of these hot solar and utility topics. The presentation will be followed by Q&A.

Attendees to this basics webinar will learn:

  • High level overview of the Value of Solar

    Sun Shines Through...Value of Solar (credit:sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

  • Net Energy Metering basics
  • Utility drivers and the evolving utility business model
  • Industry perspectives and impacts

Date: Thursday, September 19, 2013, 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern. Estimated duration: 60 minutes.

Speakers: Eran Mahrer, Executive Vice President, Utility Strategy, SEPA; John Sterling, Director, Utility Programs & Planning, SEPA (Moderator)

Cost: Free to SEPA members and the media (subject to verification); $199 for non-members

Target Audience: Utility staff in planning, policy, renewable programs, customer support, communications and solar industry staff working in distributed generation, customer service, marketing, corporate communications, and other interested stakeholders.

To Register for this webinar, please click–>

~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your comments will be welcomed below or via (please note if you do not want your email to be shared)


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21 July

SEPA Unveiling the Curtain For A New Era, The Solar Energy Era!


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Please click on red links below for more.

I’ve been away for a while and was really tickled pink when finally got around to read this email and report.  Truly, this is the kind of report that brings hope and optimism to the future of solar energy, for now there is the chance that consumers, utility companies, and regulators will be able to come to the table with the common frame work and understanding to begin working together rather than against one another. Be sure to click on the primer and report below. My fellow Solar Enthusiasts,  we are finally progressing beyond the simplistic net metering and moving toward a more complex but fitting pricing structure necessary to become a mainstream player.  I am particularly excited to read about the consideration of Value-of-Solar Tariff or SmartFIT (page 20 of the primer below). We are finally unveiling the curtain for a new era! Yes, the Solar Energy Era!

The Upcoming Solar Energy Era (photographed by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Way To Go Julia Hamm & Eran Mahrer!   Way To Go SEPA!


NEM Primer Focuses on Defining Key Terms and Concepts to Provide Common Understanding

SEPA has released a new report: “Ratemaking, Solar Value and Solar Net Energy Metering – A Primer .” In a rapidly changing solar environment and as the penetration of distributed solar generation (DG) is increasing, the primer is designed to offer a balanced viewpoint on net energy metering (NEM) by providing a basic understanding of state utility regulation, with a focus on rate-setting and distributed solar-value research.

“The report highlights the different approaches taken by state regulators for ratemaking, and underscores that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for all situations,” said SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm.

The primer integrates a variety of expert opinions from a full range of solar stakeholders, including regulators and utility staff, who together seek to set the foundation for constructive and sustainable distributed solar transactions. Utilities that previously could not envision significant amounts of grid-tied solar on their systems are now more interested in potential distributed-solar impacts, and are examining immediate and long-term policy and rate design options. Conversely, solar stakeholders are evaluating mechanisms to support solar market growth and recognizing the need to work with utilities to maximize the value of this renewable resource.

“SEPA worked with multiple stakeholders representing all facets of the NEM discussion to balance perspectives from across the growing solar distributed generation and net metering markets,” said Eran Mahrer, Vice President of Utility Strategy at SEPA. “The goal of the primer is to give readers a common understanding of key industry terms that can benefit discussions aimed at creating a sustainable future for distributed generation.”

Download the Report for this comprehensive and insightful look at net energy metering.


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

Any of your comments or suggestions will be welcomed below or via


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17 June

Community Solar Through SEPA & Paul Spencer of Clean Energy Collective


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

Updates on our# Solar-FIT For Sunshine State petition: 165 signatures strong. We need more! Please help us to spread more sunshine by signing this petition and sharing it with others. It is our shared responsibility to move toward the renewable energy age and Sunshine is the cleanest, healthiest, and least war-prone way to go!

What a great way to share and obtain valuable information without increasing carbon footprint or cost! SEPA (Solar Electric Power Association ) is now presenting a series of webinars that will help to provide better understanding of how Community Solar can help Utilities to achieve their goals, sponsored by Clean Energy Collective. This is a two-part community solar webinar series where SEPA staff share insights and findings from the recently released Utility Community Solar Handbook. The first  episode of this series took place on June 13, 2013, on Utility Managed Community Solar. The second episode of this series will take place on June 27, 2013 , Highlighting Trends From SEPA’s 2012 Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings and the third episode will take place on July 11, 2013, Leveraging Community Solar to Meet Utility Goals – Experience and Insights from Clean Energy Collective and Xcel Energy.You may sign up for the remaining episodes of this series here.

During the first episode, in the short 30 minutes, Bob Gibson (VP of Education and Outreach at SEPA) and Mike Taylor (Director of Research at SEPA) presented very succinctly why utility companies would want to work with community solar program:

Community Solar @ Westmill Solar Cooperative (Creative Commons GNU Free Documentation License)

  1. Increase customer access to and participation in solar
  2. Support the local PV industry
  3. Proactive customer engagement with the utility
  4. More cost effective than smaller, distributed projects
  5. Meet regulatory requirements at lower cost
  6. Increase customer equity from solar projects

and highlighted key considerations for utilities interested in designing or optimizing utility-managed community solar programs and for stakeholders looking to support them.

The participant take-aways included:

  1. Motivations and drivers for community solar
  2. General guidance categories when moving forward with a community solar program
  3. Chief considerations when implementing community solar
  4. Utility-managed community solar decision points, lessons-learned and what to do differently in future projects to optimize result

In case you’d like a deeper understanding of what community solar program/farm represents, explained below (in italic form, source: Wikipedia) and also by Clean Energy Collective President Paul Spencer in the video :

A community solar farm or solar garden is a solar power installation that accepts capital from and provides credit for the output and tax benefits to individual and other investors. The power output of the farm is credited to the investors in proportion to their investment, with adjustments to reflect ongoing changes in capacity, technology, costs, and electricity rates. Companies, cooperatives, governments or non-profits operate the farms.

Centralizing the location of solar systems has advantages over residential installation that include:

  • Trees, roof size and/or configuration, adjacent buildings, the immediate microclimate and/or other factors which may reduce power output.
  • Building codes, zoning restrictions, homeowner association rules and aesthetic concerns.
  • Lack of skills and commitment to install and maintain solar systems.
  • Expanding participation to include renters and others who are not residential property owners

(Source: Wikipedia)

Community solar program/farm is a great way to enable the segment of population (mentioned above) that otherwise would not have been able to participate in solar to share the benefit of sunshine effectively and responsibly. It would also be able to work in conjunction with incentive program such as Feed-In-Tariff. If you’d like to find out more and missed the first episode of this series, recordings and slides from the first episode (June 13, 2013) are available at SEPA website for webnars.  If you want to Learn How Community Solar Can Help Utilities Achieve their Goals, registration for future webinars are available here. If you’d like some help in starting your community solar farm/program, you may want to contact Clean Energy Collective to get some answers.

This is a great opportunity for any one assessing whether community solar is a viable option for them and how to create a program that optimizes project development and results. Utility project case studies will help illustrate lessons learned. There will be a Q&A session following the presentation.

Participant take-aways (provided by SEPA, below) will include:

  • How community solar can be leveraged to meet utility goals – RPS, customer satisfaction, etc.
  • Key considerations for making smart community solar decisions and a successful program design.
  • Considerations for deciding whether community solar should be developed alone or with a third party.
  • How to evaluate the available roles, options and variables that might impact your decision

Date: Thursday, July 11, 2013. 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern. Estimated duration: 1 hour.

Speakers: Fran Long, Product Developer – Renewable Energy, Xcel Energy; Paul Spencer, Founder and CEO, Clean Energy Collective; Becky Campbell, Senior Research Manager, SEPA (moderator)

Cost: Free to SEPA members and the media (subject to verification); $199 for non-members

Target Audience: Utility strategic planners, renewable program staff and other interested solar and community stakeholders

All registered attendees will receive the presentation slides and recording within two business days after the webinar. The recording and slides from the first part of the series are also available on the website.


~have a bright and sunny day~

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

any of your comments or suggestions will be welcomed publicly below in the comment box and privately via (be sure to note in the email if you do not want your email to be shared).


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7 February

President & CEO of SEPA, Julia Hamm, Shed Some Light For Our Solar Future


Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links below)

Today I want to share an interview with you, of Julia Hamm, President and CEO of SEPA (Solar Electric Power Association), at Pennsylvania Convention Center of Phildadelphia, PA, on Thursday, February 7, 2013, below:

During the interview, President Hamm re-emphasized the importance of collaboration between utility companies and consumers during this time of transition. She’s been with SEPA since 1992 when the organization was Utility Photovoltaic Group (renamed as SEPA in 2000), left and rejoined the organization in 2004. The focus of SEPA has been to help the traditional utility sector to integrate more solar into their energy portfolio through education, research, programs and projects that enable better understanding and learning of mutual experience from various utility companies. The emphasis is in creating a bridge between the utility companies and solar industry. SEPA has been instrumental in bringing various US utility companies abroad, since 2008, to learn how utility companies have been able to adapt to greater solar penetration in other countries such as Germany, Spain, Japan, and Italy. SEPA and SEIA co-own SPI (Solar Power International, ) and recently SPI formed an alliance with Solar Expo show (SES, May 8-10, 2013 in Milan, Italy) and Shanghai New Energy Conference (SNEC PV Power Expo, May 14-16, 2013, Shanghai, China). These three largest solar trade shows (SPI, SES, SNEC) in the world come together to form the Global Solar Alliance and will be hosting the Global Solar Summit in the coming Spring in Milan, Italy, to provide better exchange of information and communications among utility companies internationally.

Julia Hamm foresees continued growth of solar industry and greater use/adoption of solar by consumers;this will translate into need for future change in regulatory structures in order to fulfill the need of consumers and utility companies. Such change in regulatory structure will be occurring on state by state basis. With distributed PV (and other sources) quickly being adopted by consumers, utility companies now realize the need for changing the nature of the grid. Time and collaboration are the keys. It would appear that better chance of success in bringing about any regulatory improvement/changes that will benefit both consumers and utility companies is through collaboration.  So, it’s time for all parties involved to sit down at the round table and work out the details collaboratively, for our mutual benefit.
~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, interviewed, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Any of your comments/suggestions/questions are welcomed at

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10 July

Hurray For Gainesville’s Feed-In-Tariff, Let’s Also Get It For Rest of Florida and USA!


Dear Readers, Friends, and Sunshine Lovers,

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

I believe we are getting closer to the critical mass needed for Feed-In-Tariff to be receiving its deserved attention to become a state-wide program/policy for renewable/solar energy.

Time for an update on the first-U.S. Feed-In-Tariff in Gainesville, FL.  In June of 2011, Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) recognized GRU (Gainesville Regional Utilities) as one of the country’s leading utilities for integrating solar power into its energy portfolio.  I would like to, on behalf of Floridians, thank Ed Regan, who was instrumental in implementing the Feed-In-Tariff in Gainesville, FL.  For a better understanding of what Feed-In-Tariff is all about and how FIT is a fantastic incentive program that had benefited the community economically by making it more cost effective to invest in renewable energy and by promoting local job growth, please take a look/listen to the series of discussion on Feed-In-Tariff at Sun Is The Future and also at these two sources below:

Fellow Floridians, I hope you all will join me in learning and discussing more about Feed-In-Tariff with your friends, family, neighbors, and local Congressperson/Representatives for the possibility of introducing Feed-In-Tariff as one of the Senate Bills during this coming year.  We here in the Sunshine State of Florida should set an example in fully utilizing our most wonderful natural resource, our beautiful Sunshine/Sun power !

Posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

Sun Is The Future subscription is now also available at Amazon Kindle store

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

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