Southeastern installers put up 242 MW of distributed solar

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Solar installation crews in the Southeast put up 242 MW of small-scale (under 1 MW) solar PV systems in the year to October 2018.

Florida added 85 MW, edging out South Carolina at 78 MW.  But South Carolina leads on a population-weighted basis, having widened its lead over Louisiana in second place. 

This year, 3.9 GW of distributed generation is projected to come online nationwide—nearly as much as utility-scale generation—according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Here are the data for nine Southeastern states, from EIA’s Form EIA-861M reports for small-scale solar: 

Policy goals

Policy experts in the region offered their goals for advancing distributed solar in the coming year:

  • North Carolina: Rooftop solar rebates recently “sold out” in two days for residential customers, said David Rogers of the Sierra Club.  This year the group aims to “ensure that all rooftop rebates are maximized, and defend against any attacks on the state’s net metering policy,” he said.
  • South Carolina: “We are supporting the comprehensive solar legislation proposed in South Carolina,” said Bryan Jacob with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, referencing S.332 and H.3659. Vote Solar sees “this Republican-led bill” as a “huge opportunity to move solar forward,” in the state, said Thad Culley with the organization. David Rogers of the Sierra Club noted that Duke Energy has already hit the net metering cap, and said his group will “fight Duke’s effort to triple the mandatory fixed charges on customers’ bills.”
  • Tennessee: “TVA’s recent policies have sought to minimize distributed generation,” said Gil Hough with TenneSEIA. He said the group is working to achieve consumers’ desire for solar choice, through policies that provide municipal and electric cooperatives “the flexibility and tools to serve those customers best.”
  • Alabama: A “standby charge” is the reason there’s little distributed generation in Alabama, said Jeff Cantin of the Gulf States Renewable Energy Industries Association (GSREIA). He noted that a regulatory proceeding relating to the charge was to be decided soon by the Alabama Public Service Commission.
  • Region-wide: GSREIA will focus on net metering policy, as well as solar tax credit proposals in Mississippi, while it also engages on integrated resource plans across the region, said staff member Stephen Wright. “Our goal is the development of evidence-based renewable policies that have been successful in other areas of the Gulf South, such as Georgia,” he said.  Sara Baldwin with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council added that the Southeast needs interconnection procedures that ensure fair, efficient and affordable access to the grid.

A recent report on solar “maker and braker” utilities in the Southeast, by the Southern Environmental Law Center, reviewed the region’s solar policies.

Snapshot stories

Here are the “snapshot stories” provided by solar installation firms, presenting projects from the past year:

This 806 kWdc system in Stuttgart, Arkansas uses single-axis trackers.  Installed by Solar & Renewable Power Systems.

Image: Solar & Renewable Power Systems

 

This 302 kW system atop the Metro Nashville Police Department is the city’s largest rooftop solar system. Installed by LightWave Solar.

 

This 100 kW solar array powers the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi. Installed by Sunpro Solar.

Image: Sunpro Solar

 

This 698 kW rooftop array helps power the retail experience for shoppers at this mall near New Orleans. Installation by Solar Alternatives, design and procurement by Strata Solar.

Image: Solar Alternatives

 

This 10 kW solar array powers a home in Land O’ Lakes, Florida. Installed by Sunpro Solar.

Image: Aero Drone Images

 

This 115 kW rooftop system powers Blackbaud’s offices in Charleston, South Carolina. Installed by Alder Energy Systems.

Image: Don Zimmerman, Alder Energy Systems

 

This 20 kW grid-tied system in Sparta, Tennessee provides 100% offset of the energy usage of an organic farm and homestead. Installed by Appalachian Renewable Resources.

Image: Image: Scott Noethen, Appalachian Renewable Resources

 

A portion of a 24 kW system in Kernersville, North Carolina (with additional solar on the back roof, plus battery backup).  Installed by Emerald Energy.

Image: Emerald Energy

 

This 91 kW system in Faison, North Carolina helps power the operations of Farm Fresh Produce. Installed by Cape Fear Solar Systems.

Image: Cape Fear Solar Systems

 

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