Brights Ideas at University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Deep in Louisiana’s Cajun Country, there’s a renewable energy research center dedicated to studying solar energy and biopower. And it smells like barbecue. Located in Crowley, Louisiana, the Cleco Alternative Energy Center is sponsored by Cleco Power, LLC, and operated by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

How Solar Could Help Replace Coal in Central Florida

Lakeland, FL leaders now acknowledge that retiring the McIntosh 3 coal-fired power generator is a question of when, not if. Lakeland Electric, which operates the 364MW plant and co-owns it with Orlando Utilities Commission, is poised to lead Florida utilities away from coal and toward cleaner energy choices, but thus far is hesitating. Solar energy, combined with gas or with cutting edge batteries, could shift the balance for this forward-thinking utility.

SACE to Host Series of Department of Energy Meetings for Solar Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative has launched the “Solar in Your Community”, a challenge to inspire hundreds of local teams across the country to participate in bringing solar programs and projects to their communities. It aims to expand the solar market to a diverse array of new consumers, including low- and moderate-income customers, and nonprofit community-serving organizations.

Broad Coalition Helps Solar Win in Florida On 1

Solar supporters in Florida scored a major victory this November by defeating utility-backed Amendment 1. The ballot initiative would have paved the way for Florida utilities to dismantle net metering for solar customers. This would have severely stunted the state’s distributed roof top solar market.

Alabama PSC limits public words on energy mix… draw them a picture instead

As in years past, the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) severely limited discussion of Alabama Power’s choices about its mix of energy sources at the one and only opportunity for public discussion it holds each year. Now you can show and tell the people who make decisions about our energy future what sources of energy you would like to see with a new online tool. PicMyEnergyMix Alabama will send a picture of the energy mix you want straight to the Alabama PSC.

Thankful for More Solar in Alabama

While the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been retiring old coal plants or investing in expensive pollution controls to keep other coal plants operational, it has primarily focused on replacing any lost generation capacity with its preferred version of “clean energy” – nuclear and natural gas. However, TVA is moving further into the renewable energy [...]

Q and A: Republican seeks to build on South Carolina’s solar momentum

Former four-term South Carolina Congressman Gresham Barrett is joining with Sunrun to launch the Palmetto Conservative Solar Coalition. Their over-arching goal is to build on the momentum generated by the industry’s rapid growth spawned by unanimous passage in 2014 of “Act 236” by the South Carolina legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Nicki Haley. That law allows for solar sales by third parties and enables net metering.

Lafayette restores smart solar policy

Late on November 7th, a local Lafayette, Louisiana newspaper (The Independent) posted a story: “About-face: LUS seeks repeal of ‘solar tax’ ordinance”. Lafayette is restoring its smart solar policy!

How one southeastern city is connecting renewable energy, transit and electric cars

Last week, we published a blog on Chattanooga’s Empower Chattanooga program, a flagship project for local sustainability, non-profit green spaces, and low-income energy efficiency solutions. But, Chattanooga is also leading the way with some innovative new transportation initiatives. On October 24, as part of a hearing in Ringgold, Georgia (near the GA/TN border) of the Georgia [...]

Local utility quietly clouds solar future

But this past August, our local electric utility company passed perhaps the worst solar power policy in the south. Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) introduced an extremely complicated electric, water and sewer rate increase the same week historic, 1,000-year flooding occurred in Louisiana. The new rate structure for net metered customers, including solar power families like mine, is likely to double monthly electric bills, and double the length of time it takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself. The new policy effectively acts as a giant tax on solar power. Solar tax credits are being phased out, and when coupled with LUS’s new solar tax, it is unlikely that solar power systems would ever pay for themselves.