A Compromise, A Petition, But The Future Of Solar Energy Still Uncertain

Solar-and-Wind

RENO Recent years have produced a boom in solar energy in Nevada, adding 55 thousand jobs by one estimate while burnishing the state’s reputation as a leader in the development of alternative energy sources.

All that seemed to be at risk, as NV Energy proposed a new rate scale, paying less to rooftop solar customers for the energy they sent back into the grid, charging them more for the power they receive from the utility..

The proposal brought protests from those customers who invested in solar with the promise they’d eventually save money while doing something to help the environment.,

Many of them showed up to testify before the Public Utilities Commission. But the P-U-C voted in favor of the utility’s application.

Bad news for customers invested in solar panels, perhaps fatal news for the companies selling them.
“While not coming out and saying you can’t put in solar. They’ve made it fiscally irresponsible to put in solar,” says Shawn O’Shea of Solar Works.

Now there’s the hope of relief for those customers who cried foul.
NV Energy has proposed a moratorium of up to 20 years on the new rates for those who already have solar installations.

But that still leaves the industry itself shutting down and threatening to leave the state.

“The company I work for has not installed a system since the release of the new rate schedule,” says Travis Miller who sits on the board of the Great Basin Solar Coalition, ” nor do we anticipate being able to proceed with any of the contracts we have in queue.”

“It’s definitely not an exaggeration to say it’s killed the industry. There is no solar industry left,” says Kevin Benson, representing the No Solar Tax Political Action Committee.

So that coalition has filed a referendum petition with the Secretary of State. The aim is to repeal the section of law that led to the PUC’s decision, in effect the decision itself.

“We’re the sunniest state. We should have a robust solar industry,” says Benson.

The P-U-C will hold a hearing on the proposal to hold off on the 20 year moratorium for existing customers on February 8th.

It’s a compromise of sorts which may take some of the wind out of the sails of the petition effort, clearly a step backward for the promotion of alternative energy in Nevada, but one which is showing up elsewhere.

Vermont recently put a hold on approving new solar projects because the number in the state had reached a cap beyond which, it’s felt, regular customers are unfairly subsidizing their solar powered neighbors.

Source: http://www.kolotv.com/content/news/A-Compromise-A-Petition-But-The-Future-Of-Solar-Energy-Still-Uncertain-366502091.html

Better Batteries Will Make Solar Power a Real Threat to Fossil Fuels

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Solar power is changing the world, and it’s happening faster than you think.

Naysayers will say that solar power is still barely a blip — accounting for just one percent of global electricity supply. They’ll insist that the world will never rely on a power source that doesn’t work when it’s cloudy.

As solar tech advances, so too does how we store that energy for later use (like when it’s cloudy). Together, batteries and solar panels are going to send fossil fuels back to the land of the dinosaurs.

The U.S. Department of Energy has recognized this and this week awarded $18 million toward six projects that will build networks of battery-backed solar energy in American communities.

What does the solar-powered future look like? The historic neighborhood of Bronzeville in Chicago might offer some clues. Electricity provider Commonwealth Edison Company has selected the area as a demonstration project for a whole bunch of smart power technologies, and was awarded $4 million from the Department of Energy purse toward that goal.

Solar panels will suck up energy from the sun, and batteries will store that power. Smart power inverters will move the energy efficiently between the solar panels, batteries, homes, and the main power grid.

Power in the neighborhood will be cheaper, since it can pull energy from the grid at off-peak times and store it locally. It will also be more reliable, since solar panels and stored power can be used in the event of a disruption to the main grid.

Consumers will see other cool technological advances, too, like streetlights that turn on only when pedestrians are present, and parking spot reservations that you can access from your phone.

For more than 20 years, global solar power capacity has been increasing at an exponential rate, doubling about every two years.

Consider how dramatically computer capacity and power has increased in your lifetime — solar technology has followed a similar trajectory. Oil becomes more expensive to discover, extract, and refine as the most accessible sources become exhausted. Solar, on the other hand, has seen plummeting costs in step with technological gains. In some parts of the world solar energy already costs less per unit of energy compared with fossil fuels.

Just as solar power has been dismissed as too expensive to be a real player in the electricity game, so have batteries as a means for energy storage. But batteries, like solar panels, are rapidly becoming cheaper and more powerful.

Tesla’s Powerwall is just one in growing list of competing products for energy storage at a household scale.

The cool thing about batteries is that they make all kinds of power generation more efficient. If you have a hydroelectric dam, there’s no need to spill excess water beyond demand if you can capture and store the energy for later use. If you’re building diesel power plants, you can build smaller, since demand spikes can be softened thanks to readily available back up-power.

But it’s solar that is the battery’s true soulmate. If solar energy’s exponential growth rate continues apace with advancements in battery technology, the pair could meet the planet’s electricity needs in less than 20 years.

The future is sunny.

Angry Nevada Solar Customers Sue Over New Fees

The class action suit accuses the state’s major utility of fraud and providing false information to regulators.

It was inevitable. Angry Nevadans have now turned to the courts to battle new fees for solar panels.

Last week, solar customers John Bamforth and Stanley Schone filed a class action lawsuit alleging that utility NV Energy provided false information to the state’s regulator, which recently approved added fees for solar customers in the state. The class includes close to 15,000 solar customers in Nevada.

The complaint accuses NV Energy, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy, of trying to maintain a monopoly in the state by crippling the new solar market. It also alleges that the utility misled solar customers who bought solar panels under the previous rate system and that the utility committed “consumer fraud.”

The contention over the new solar fees has grown increasingly heated since the state regulator approved the rate hike at the end of last year. Last week, thousands of angry protestors crowded around the regulator’s Las Vegas headquarters during its first meeting to address the added fees.

Celebrity actor Mark Ruffalo attended the rally and riled up the crowd by shouting: “Let’s make life uncomfortable for them. For the Governor. For the PUC. Because they’re wrong!” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also stood in solidarity with the state’s solar customers by tweeting his support last week.

Actor Mark Ruffalo addresses a protest over new solar fees in Las Vegas.Fortune, Katie Fehrenbacher

While utilities all over the country have been struggling to figure out how to manage customers’ solar panels, Nevada’s situation stands out. That’s because the rate hike doesn’t just apply to new solar customers, but also to home owners who bought solar panels years ago.

Some of these customers spent tens of thousands of dollars under the expectation that the energy generated by the panels would pay for the system over a certain amount of time. But with the added fees, many of the solar panel systems will take far longer to pay for themselves.

See more: http://fortune.com/2016/01/19/nevada-solar-battle-lawsuit/

Mighty River buys solar energy company

One of the country’s biggest electricity companies is moving into the solar energy market.

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Mighty River Power, operates hydro and geothermal power stations, is now buying a solar energy company, Auckland-based WPC.

Chief executive Fraser Whineray said it wanted to be able to offer its customers the chance to opt for solar electricity via its retail arm Mercury Energy.

“It’s about offering customers choices for their energy needs and we see this as a need technology. We’ve said several times at our annual shareholders meetings we’re focused on electric vehicles and solar panels for customers and that’s exactly what we’re getting into, this new technology.”

Mr Whineray would not say what Mighty River was paying for the company.

Solar power installations are increasing in New Zealand but still remain well under 1 percent of all electricity connections.

Nevada solar industry collapses after state lets power company raise fees

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State public utility commission gave only power company permission to charge higher rates and fees to users, shattering industry’s business model

There are 36 solar panels sitting in a row behind Richard Stewart’s home in north Las Vegas. The panels cost about $40,000 – most of his savings, he said. He made the investment with his wife, who has since died, hoping to save money heating and cooling their high desert home. The retiree worried then, as retirees on fixed incomes often do, about rising energy costs.

Now he regrets the investment entirely. “I’ll be lucky to get my money back in 20 years,” said Stewart, 69.

Although Nevada is one of the sunniest places in the world, there has recently been a dark cloud hovering over the rooftop solar industry in the state. Just before Christmas, Nevada’s public utility commission (PUC) gave the state’s only power company, NV Energy, permission to charge higher rates and fees to solar panel users – a move that immediately shattered the rooftop solar industry’s business model.

In addition to the new monthly fee, which will increase to $40 from $12 over the next five years, customers like Stewart will get less back from the utility for energy their solar panels capture and feed into the main power grid. Whereas previously they received full retail value for their surplus electricity, soon NV Energy will only pay a third of that price for exported electricity.

The uneven effect would be that during dark hours and cloudy days, solar customers could pay full price for energy, even after contributing two or three times as much electricity to the power grid during the same day. As the Alliance for Solar Choice frames it, the $40 fee eliminates the $11 to $15 solar users typically save on their monthly electricity bills.

“It’s simple math,” said Bryan Miller, president of the Alliance for Solar Choice. “The commission eliminated all solar savings. People would pay more for going solar rather than less. It has left companies no choice but to stop doing business in the state.”

The changes by NV Energy are part of a national trend in big utility companies arguing to eliminate the financial incentive to switch to rooftop solar, though Nevada is the only state thus far to grant such a change while also applying the new rules retroactively to existing customers.

Nevada’s governor, Brian Sandoval, and NV Energy defended the PUC decision, saying that the current rate structure put too large a burden for maintaining the grid on non-solar consumers. In an emailed statement, NV Energy wrote that the revised rate structure “fairly allocates the costs of providing electric service among all customers” and “results in no additional profit to NV Energy”.

An independent study commissioned by the state legislature in 2013 concluded, however, that solar users created a $36m net benefit for traditional customers, a finding NV Energy dismissed as reliant on outdated solar pricing data.

Rooftop solar companies have sternly rebuked Sandoval, noting that he courted their businesses and incentivized the industry in what they are now calling a bait-and-switch.

“About a year ago, the government encouraged people to go solar, saying it was a priority for the state to increase the use of renewable energy,” Miller said. “They created an incentive to bait people. That’s what jumpstarted the market. Then they switched the rules in the middle of the game.”

After the 23 December decision, Nevada’s burgeoning solar industry quickly evaporated. Several companies selling, leasing or installing solar panels – including Sunrun, Vivint Solar, and SolarCity – put out news releases announcing layoffs and their intentions to leave the state.

Jose Peña, a laid-off Sunrun technician, said: “This is the perfect market for solar. I was looking to advance with the company. They supported us as a branch. I was at the point where I was traveling, training other people. I had two promotions lined up. But it kind of dissipated little by little as things slowed down because of rumors regarding the PUC decision.”

A SolarCity news release announcing 550 job cuts stated that commission’s move “is particularly callous and leaves Nevadans to question whether the state would ever place the financial security of regular citizens above the financial interests of NV Energy”.

Miller, who is also vice-president of public policy at Sunrun, pointed out that Sandoval, who appointed two PUC members, has two aides who work as NV Energy lobbyists. In July, Sunrun filed a public records request for messages between the governor, his aides, and NV Energy. The administration refused to provide text messages made on personal cellphones, so Sunrun is suing to have those released.

Solar advocates have also accused the energy commission of coordinating with utility company lobbyists. Checks and Balances Project, a nonprofit group that investigates corporate influence on clean energy policy, filed a public records request for correspondences between the PUC commissioner, NV Energy and industry trade group Edison Electric Institute. PUC, too, has denied access to messages made on personal devices and accounts.

“The story here is one of political corruption,” Miller said. “Brian Sandoval pulled a bait-and-switch on consumers to protect NV Energy’s monopoly profits.”

Sandoval’s spokeswoman, Mari St Martin, said: “The rooftop solar industry supported the policy approved by the legislature to move the decision to the PUC. SunRun is a private business that continues to make absolutely baseless and outrageous allegations against the governor to try and cause him to improperly influence the regulatory process.”

NV Energy was acquired in late 2013 by a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s company, and in 2014 it saw its net income rise 27%.

“I feel cheated and robbed,” said Dale Matz, a retired chef who invested $30,000 in solar panels. He made the switch to solar both as a retirement decision and to help combat climate change.

Matz and Stewart are organizing a rally outside a PUC hearing on Wednesday. They hope that a demonstration with hundreds of disgruntled solar enthusiasts will inspire lawmakers to challenge the rule change.

“If they start giving us only 2.8 cents a kilowatt versus the 13 cents they charge us, I will never break even on my investment,” Matz said. “Not only that, if they are going to give us 2.8 cents a kilowatt and then sell it for 13 cents, basically 17,000 Nevada homeowners built a solar farm for Nevada power. I don’t think that can be right.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/13/solar-panel-energy-power-company-nevada

 

Solar energy jobs double in 5 years

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Solar energy is having a moment.

The number of solar jobs in the U.S. has more than doubled in five years. In fact, there are more people working in solar now than at oil rigs and in gas fields.

The solar industry added 35,000 jobs in 2015, up 20% from the previous year, according to the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington D.C.. The group is not funded by solar companies.

In contrast, oil and gas firms slashed nearly 17,000 extraction jobs in 2015 as energy prices continue to plummet. Oil prices are down a stunning 70% in the last 18 months and hovering just over $30 a barrel, a 12-year low.
There are about 209,000 solar energy employees in the U.S. They include solar panel installers, designers, engineers, sales folks and managers.

Today, the solar industry workforce is bigger than that of oil and gas construction, and nearly three times the size of the entire coal mining workforce.

“The companies we’re working with are begging to fill the [job] slots they have because they’re growing so much,” says Chris Gorrie, campus president of the Ecotech Institute, a for-profit job training center for solar and renewable energy in Aurora, Co.

Americans overall are just starting to see wage growth pick up, but solar workers have already seen paychecks improve.

In December, wages in the United States rose 2.5% compared to a year prior. Solar installers are making $21 an hour on average, up 5% from a year ago — or double the national average, according to the Solar Foundation.
Todd Valdez knows the money is good. He went to the Ecotech Institute in 2012 and started his own solar company, Sunkey Energy, two and a half years ago.

His firm designs, installs and sells solar panels and employs 25 people, 15 of whom he hired just last year.
Valdez pays most of his employees $22 to $25 an hour, and his master electricians north of $30 an hour. Two of his employees left the oil industry last year to work for him. He says the amount of solar power his company installs has tripled in volume between 2014 and 2015.

“Our workload has definitely been rising tremendously,” Valdez told CNNMoney by phone while on one of his work sites in Broomfield, Co. The solar industry is “a good place to go now if you’re looking for a career change.”
Solar jobs — particularly installers who work on roofs — are not for everyone, Valdez cautions. It’s lots of outdoor work, with heavy equipment. He’s seen people quit “in hour one.”

Colorado is one of the hottest states for solar, Valdez says and California has the most solar energy jobs in the country.

But it’s not all sun drenched states either: No. 2 for solar jobs is Massachusetts, thanks to policies that have made it attractive for residents to install solar panels.
Experts say solar technology is good enough now that panels don’t require direct exposure to the sun to generate electricity. New York and Arizona are also top states for solar job seekers, according to the Solar Foundation.
A few key developments are driving the job surge in solar.

Businesses and homeowners are eligible for a 30% tax credit if they install solar panels on their property. That’s been in place since 2006 but in December Congress renewed the tax credit for another six years. That lowers installation costs considerably.
The climate change agreement in Paris and the global action plan to limit global warming is also a positive for the clean energy industry.

And the Environmental Protection Agency released plans last year to force states to lower their carbon output.

It also helps that solar equipment costs are down nearly 70% since 2010 too, according to Andrea Luecke, president of the Solar Foundation. Those declining costs are another incentive for homeowners to switch to solar, she says.
Cheap oil and gas prices are creating a short-term headwind for solar, Luecke admits. A few years ago, solar was seen as a cheaper alternative to oil and gas. Now with oil and gas prices so low, it’s hard to convince some consumers to switch to solar.

“Natural gas is very, very inexpensive in many markets so it’s hard to disagree with it,” says Luecke.
But she counters: “solar and clean energy are here to stay.”

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/12/news/economy/solar-energy-job-growth-us-economy/

Couple who spent over £8,000 on solar panels are made homeless after fault burns their house down

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A family’s £400,000 home has been wrecked by a fire caused by their faulty solar panels.

Anthony and Angela McIntyre spent £8,400 having the 20 panels installed on their roof three years ago.

But a faulty inverter in the loft triggered a fire which gutted most of the four bedroom detached house.

The blaze started as the couple’s younger daughter Chloe, 15, was lying in bed asleep and Anthony dashed inside the house to wake her and get her out.

They then watched from their garden as the flames took hold and left the house in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, a smouldering wreck.

The couple and daughters Chloe and Sophie, 19, are still in rented accommodation while their home is being rebuilt at a cost of up to £200,000 following the fire in August.

The cost is being met by insurers, but the family are frustrated at the time it is taking.

Anthony, 51, a production technician at Oldbury nuclear power station, said: “My wife was around and our youngest daughter was still in bed.

“Angela said she was going to put some washing out and she came downstairs and said someone was having a bonfire in the back garden.

“I thought ‘no way’ and looked out the window and saw smoke. It was then I realised it was coming from our house.

“I couldn’t believe how much smoke was coming out of the roof – it was well on fire.

“I had no idea what it could have been at the time – I was only interested in getting my daughter.”

After an inspection by the criminal investigation unit, the insurance company later identified the cause of the blaze as the faulty inverter.

It was not clear whether it was a faulty unit or faulty connection.

An inverter switches electrical current from AC to DC so it can be used in a stand-alone power system.

The panels were installed by Cardiff-based PV Solar which went bust months later.

The family spent six weeks living in a hotel before moving into their rented accommodation while their house is repaired.

And despite the fire, Anthony said he will still have solar panels fitted again.

He added: “I’m having them put back on.

“All the electrical work will be in the garage and it will have heat detectors and smoke detectors.

“It’s made the wife and children a bit worried about having them back, but they are coming round to the idea.”

Avon Fire and Rescue Service said fires involving solar panels are rare and people should make sure qualified installers are hired.

http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/house-home/couple-who-spent-over-8000-on-solar-panels-are-made-homeless-after-fault-burns-their-house-down-11364033012020

NY weighs rules that may limit rooftop solar panels

When Larry and Sandra Cohn noticed their electric bill was increasing, they decided it was time to invest in solar panels.

The Town of Poughkeepsie couple contacted NRG Home Solar, a California-based company that serves New York and several other states.

But, there was a problem.

A new Town of Poughkeepsie law required solar panels be placed at least three feet from the edge of any part of the roofline. The law came amid growing concerns from firefighters, who increasingly are encountering solar panels during fires.

The setback, it was reasoned, would ensure safe access during a blaze. It would also, the Cohns learned, reduce the amount of panels on their home by 34 percent.

“I didn’t understand why you had to have three feet,” Sandra Cohn said. “… I didn’t see how it was going to hinder the firemen.”

In September, the Cohns received a variance from the town that allowed them to have the border on just two sides of their roofline.

But now, New York State is weighing similar rules that would apply to all municipalities. The new building codes were proposed in November, and public hearings are planned later this month.

At a time when Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” plan seeks to encourage the development of clean, locally produced power, the changes could inhibit solar panel installations on residential and commercial buildings.

Carlo Lanza, president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, a statewide advocacy group, said the rules could limit the available roof space for residential systems by as much as 40 percent.

“We fear it will have the greatest impact on low- to moderate-income communities,” Lanza said in a statement, “as their available roof space is typically smaller.”  In those cases, he said, the systems could be shrunk to the point where they are no longer economically viable.

David Faulkner, a 51-year-old Town of Poughkeepsie resident, had solar panels installed on his home before the town’s regulation went into effect. However, Faulkner said, a neighbor who considered panels after the law was adopted decided to scrap the plan after it became clear how much power generation would be lost.

“This is bad for the environment, bad for the residents of Poughkeepsie and bad for the solar industry,” he said.

The proposed rules track back to regulations first adopted in California. They gained traction in the northeast, in part, after firefighters responding to a 2013 fire at a warehouse in New Jersey held off accessing a roof covered with more than 7,000 panels.

The firefighters were concerned about the potential for electrocution. The more than 250,000-square-foot warehouse burned to the ground and the company, deli meat and cheese producer Dietz & Watson, decided to rebuild in Pennsylvania.

“This is new to us,” said Tory Gallante, chief of the Arlington Fire District in the Town of Poughkeepsie. “I am not aware of any significant issues we have had here regarding the solar panels. But obviously, they are a concern to us.”

The panels can create other issues. Their weight can make a roof more likely to collapse. And they can inhibit the firefighting strategy of cutting a hole in a roof for ventilation.

“We try to make the cut over the fire area,” Gallante said. “So the density of the panels can make it impossible for us to make that hole.”

Jeff Irish, CEO of Hudson Solar in Rhinebeck, said the rules have had less of an impact on sales in California, where roof pitches are lower, there is less tree shading and sun angles are higher.

“In New York, it could be more restrictive to solar because we have steeper roof pitches for snow shedding, more tree shading and lower sun angles,” Irish said.

The state will hold public hearings beginning Jan. 25 in Albany, Buffalo, Long Island and Syracuse. The public comment period ends Feb. 5.

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2016/01/10/new-york-rooftop-solar-panels-rules/78407190/

These Sky-High Balloons Could Generate More Power Than Solar Panels

For all the cost and efficiency improvements in solar panels in the last few years, all land-based photovoltaics have one serious Achilles Heel: performance is dependent on the weather. If clouds are in the way, even the best solar panels don’t work that well.

That’s why Jean-François Guillemoles wants to look above the clouds. A solar researcher from France, he’s proposing floating solar balloons that potentially could generate three times as much power-per-foot as their terrestrial brethren. His design would also be able to store energy as well as generate power.

“You get much more light up there, actually about the same amount everywhere on Earth,” he says in an email. “There’s no need to put solar farms in deserts.”

NextPV

Guillemoles, a senior researcher at CNRS, a French research institution, is currently working on the idea with a Japanese group. The consortium, called NextPV, hopes to have a prototype within two years.

The balloon would capture solar energy and sends it to a fuel cell, which would convert the current into hydrogen and keep the balloon afloat. At night, the cell would recover the hydrogen and convert it back into a charge, feeding it down to the ground.

Guillemoles argues that balloon are lighter than solar panels, so need less energy to make and transport. Plus, they can go anywhere and wouldn’t take up land that could be used for other purposes (like growing crops).

“Such a solar generator would be very easy and fast to install as well as to move or remove when required,” he says. “And, land use is minimal. It has the potential to make solar energy more sustainable and faster to deploy at large scale.”

The biggest challenge is making the fuel cell light enough, he adds.

With solar generation now being incorporated into all sorts of surfaces—including the windows of large buildings—the need to find land for solar may not be so acute in the future. Still, Guillemoles’s idea is an intriguing one, and it’s not like we don’t know how to make high-altitude balloons. Google, for one, is already building balloons to spread internet access around the world.

Source: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3053998/these-sky-high-balloons-could-generate-more-power-than-solar-panels

After initial frenzy, Helsinki consumers grow cool on solar energy panel rentals

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When the Helsinki energy company Helen launched a new solar power plant in June last year, consumers snapped up nearly one-third of the roughly 3,000 solar panels in just a few days. Since then however, interest in panels has dimmed and the city power company is still looking to sell nearly 2,000 panels remaining.

Helsinki energy company Helen had high hopes for the solar panel farm it installed on the roof of the Kivikko ski hall in eastern Helsinki in June last year. The 3,000-panel installation would have dwarfed the previous largest plant in Suvilahti, which boasted 1,200 panels.

During a pre-sales promotion that took place in May, some 1,000 consumers made reservations to rent the solar panels. However following the initial bloom of enthusiasm to invest in solar energy, consumers appear to have cooled on the idea. Now Helen is looking to attract buyers for the nearly 2,000 units still available. Customers are able to rent the panels for a monthly fee of 4.40 euros.

Project director Atte Kallio said he could not explain why consumers lost their appetite for the panels.

“I don’t know whether it was the winter or what, but they didn’t all sell. We believe that they will be sold eventually. We believe that people want to make a difference. Many Helsinki residents want all of the city’s energy to come from renewable sources,” he said.

According to Kallio, many city dwellers could also be totally unaware of the existence of the new power plant.

“The first most enthusiastic buyers have found the solar panels, but I believe that there is a large group of people who haven’t yet heard about this. It could take a little time for a large mass to get on board or perhaps they won’t at all. Let’s see what happens,” he added.

Consumers in Finland appeared to be in the grip of a solar panel fever in autumn 2014, when people rushed to rent panels at Helen’s Suvilahti solar power plant. At that time, all the panels were rented out in just three days.

More solar plants on the drawing board

Kallio said that the current slow pace of solar panel rentals won’t throw a spanner in the works for the Kivikko project or other planned solar power plants. Helen has plans in the pipeline for at least one additional plant.

“We will see more power plants. We also have five power plant projects ongoing, but we cannot publicise them just yet,” Kallio remarked.

Kallio admitted that the city power company may have missed the mark when it estimated that there would be sufficient demand to take up all of the Kivikko plant’s 3,000 solar panels.

“In terms of Kivikko, we did think about what size plant we should build. The roof of the Kivikko ski hall had supports ready for panels over the entire area, so we decided to use the full area. It’s not the end of the world if a few panels are not sold. It’s only good for us if we have more customers to sell to,” Kallio added.

http://yle.fi/uutiset/after_initial_frenzy_helsinki_consumers_grow_cool_on_solar_energy_panel_rentals/8569440