Berkeley becomes first US city to ban natural gas in new buildings

By Sarah Ravani San Francisco Chronicle Berkeley became the first city nationwide to ban the use of natural gas in new low-rise residential buildings in a unanimous vote Tuesday by the City Council. The ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman Kate Harrison, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020, and phases out the use of natural gas by requiring all new single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings to have electric infrastructure. After its passage, Harrison thanked the community and her colleagues “for making Berkeley the first city in California and the United States to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in new buildings.” The city will include commercial buildings and larger residential structures as the state moves to develop regulations for those, officials said. The ordinance allocates $273,341 per year for a two-year staff position in the Building and Safety Division within the city’s Department of Planning and Development. The employee will be

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REIA & the 2019 NM State Legislative Session

Following is a recap of the NM bills that REIA had involvement in and the status of those bills after the March 15, 2019 legislative session.:HB210, Community Solar Act: This bill was promoted as a way to make solar more accessible to New Mexicans. However, REIA had concerns about the lack of a cap for these types of installations, prioritization that these projects would have in the utility interconnection queues, potential for projects (up to 10 MW) to clog up feeder lines and lack of any local preference. REIA did engage with the bill sponsors and supporters to have these concerns addressed to no avail. The bill stalled at the end of the session and did not pass. This bill will probably be back and we have engaged with some of the people behind the bill in the hope of changing it to one that REIA can support.HB291, Efficient Use of Energy Act Amendments: This bill

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PNM shares 2017 Interconnection Data

PNM interconnections

2017 Interconnection Data now available–compiled by Alaric J. Babej, PNM Technical Program Manager, Renewables PNM has shared their interconnection data as requested by members at our annual meeting.  Despite the elimination of the state tax credit, 2017 was another record year for the total number of interconnections through PNM with a total of 3529 interconnections, almost 25 MWdc installed.  Congratulations New Mexico Installers! EXECUTE PNM AGREEMENTS FASTER: As you may or may not know, PNM has made progress in energizing their document processing procedure.  Please check out the Docusign System.  It’s important to provide PNM with your customers valid email address in order to keep this process moving smoothly.

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Hire a REIA-NM local solar company to install solar: ethical, accountable and professional

home owned solar

It’s never been more important than now to hire a local solar company that’s also a REIA-NM member to install your solar system. On March 8, 2018, the New Mexico Attorney General, Hector Balderas, brought a suit against Vivint Solar, accusing the company of unethical and unfair business practices.   According to KOB4, “The complaint states that Vivint goes to great lengths in advertising that it will design, install and maintain a Solar System for a customer for “free,” when in fact Vivint has “skillfully crafted, baited and set a ‘free’ trap.” We should all know that nothing is free.  Yet, these door-knocking sales agents don’t sell solar systems, they sell electricity produced by solar systems.  Few customers understand the impact of the long-term contract until its too late. Back in 2015, REIA heard members’ concerns and realized these door-to-door tactics might stain the good reputations of our local solar businesses. REIA-NM actively addressed the issue in 2016. We

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ITC finds injury in solar manufacturing trade case

Finding Injury: Finding “injury” in the solar manufacturing trade case brought by Suniva and Solar World means the ITC attributed financial problems to the low cost of imported solar panels.  It’s now up to President Trump to accept, amend or reject. However, Solar PV panel manufacturing has been on decline for a number of years.  In fact, the rapid decline in module prices worldwide has more to do with the oversupply in the market than import pressure.  Prices fell so fast, manufacturers couldn’t recover costs of production. Job Losses: The solution is not setting high minimum prices for imported solar modules.  Instead, this action would be a huge blow to solar industry jobs. The ITC made the ruling despite a bi-partisan group of US Senators urging the ITC to not impose tariffs on solar panels.  Their letter stated, “Increasing costs will stop solar growth dead in its tracks, threatening tens

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Growing Industry in New Mexico

industry in new mexico

A report out by the Solar Foundation shows that the solar industry continues to have a positive economic impact on the country. According to the report, “The industry added $84 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.” The study also found that the solar industry created 260,000 jobs, with one solar related job supporting an additional 2.03 jobs. These workers, who earned $50 billion in compensation, then contribute to other economic activity, considered induced impacts, based on spending by workers and employees, and this contributed an additional $62.5 billion in sales to the economy. The top five states for the solar industry are California, Florida, New York, Ohio and Texas. While New Mexico is the best state suited to install solar, it ranks 8th for solar jobs per capita. Even though it has the second highest range for PV generation hours, it is cooler here than Arizona,

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An Overview of the Photovoltaic Industry part 3

electric

Continued from An Overview of the Photovoltaic Industry part 3 Click here Another major complicating factor to the solar electric industry is that capital market(s) are always in search of financial bubbles to exploit; where the goal of investment is to privatize the profits and social the costs. Throwing large amounts of investment money at this “new technology” has led to the commoditization of solar technology, this has produced many systems installed by larger, “big box store type” national solar franchises whose business model of providing solar equipment “leases” has been questioned by many, as they typically are more expensive than a system purchased outright. These leases almost make the re-selling of a home with a solar lease very difficult. Almost without exception, all the market forces are moving in the direction of product innovation and using less raw materials – and lower costs. This process continues at an un-abated

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Arizona to Begin Solar Cost-Benefit Study

arizona solar study

Arizona is set to begin a full cost-benefit study on roof top solar. Arizona utilities have maintained, for the past two years, that roof top solar adds costs to the grid that customers who don’t have solar have to pay. According to a recent article posted in Utility Dive, the utility concluded that customers with distributed solar, on average, shift $67 a month in costs to non-solar customers because they “pay less for grid upkeep”. However, solar advocates point out that the utility is not calculating the value of solar correctly. They assert that solar adds around 33 cents per kilowatt hour to rate payers. Arizona solar advocates also point to a 2013 Crossborder Energy study showing every $1.00 invested in Arizona rooftop solar produced a $1.54 benefit to ratepayers. The regulatory commission voted 4 to 1 at the end of October to study the cost/ benefits of rooftop solar

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