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