Tag: Solar power
UPDATED — The Alabama Public Service Commission this morning unanimously voted to allow Alabama Power to increase the monthly fee it charges customers who have solar or other alternative power sources.
On recommendation of the PSC staff, commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh joined commissioners Jeremy Oden and Chip Beeker in approving without discussion the increase from $5.00 to $5.41 per kilowatt-hour. That would raise the cost to customers with a typical five kilowatt system from about $25 to $27.05 per month.
The vote came over the objections of representatives from environmental groups, who contended that the fees were punitive and intended to discourage the use of renewable-energy power sources such as solar panels. Read more.
UPDATED — Alabama regulators voted today to give the go-ahead to Alabama Power Company’s request to add almost 2 million megawatts of energy from natural gas sources to its capacity to generate electricity. The plan, proposed last year, would include a new 726-megawatt gas unit at its Plant Barry near Mobile.
The commission also voted to delay consideration of Alabama Power’s additional request to add 400 megawatts in solar-plus-storage generation to its inventory.
Combined, the requests are estimated to cost Alabama Power $1.1 billion, which ultimately would be paid by its customers. Read more.
Spectators – many wearing ‘Let It Shine’ stickers – packed a Public Service Commission hearing room this morning to hear testimony about the fees Alabama Power Company charges residents to use solar panels or other alternative means of power generation.
As the 2½-hour hearing concluded, Administrative Law Judge John A. Garner instructed both sides to prepare briefs to be delivered on or before Dec. 20. The matter will be taken under advisement, and the ruling will be made during an open meeting of the commission.
Two persons were escorted from today’s proceedings for failing to adhere to Garner’s order of no recordings. One woman was shooting video of the hearing while another was livestreaming the event. Read more.
President Trump imposed a stiff tariff on cheap solar cells and panels imported from China and other countries, a move industry experts said may decimate the growth of solar energy in Alabama and stunt it elsewhere in the country.
The tariff starts at 30 percent for the first year.
“That level would squash Alabama business for us and similar businesses that operate in Alabama to provide turnkey solar systems to residential and small commercial customers,” said Larry Bradford, of north Alabama’s Southern Solar Systems.
About $5.6 billion in projects in just four Sunbelt states – Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas – could be jeopardized by a tariff, according to E&E News, which follows energy and environmental matters.
The tariff could have been worse, though. It drops by 5 percent each of the four succeeding years. It also exempts a substantial portion of initial imports each year.
Alabama is particularly vulnerable to the added cost of a tariff, experts in the field say, because policies of investor-owned utility Alabama Power Co. already limit solar energy penetration in a variety of ways that make solar installations more expensive here. Read more.