Mississippi imagines clean energy production for profit and less pollution



Headline: Mississippi imagines clean energy production for profit

On August 12, 2017 at the Hancock Library in Bay St. Louis held the initial meeting for “Solar Together.” Ya-Shin Shabazz, was an organizer of the event and presented by Steps Coalition.  Marc IssacsGS Research presented a solar slideshow that simplified this growing subject over the country.

For many, solar panels have become an investment where payoffs happen quickly. Solar panel technology goes back to the late 1800s; however, during the 1950s, the first official solar panel was created. During 2016, the U.S. solar market grew 119% – it’s the greatest rate of growth to date according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, 2015 in Review.

Solar energy and solar farms explained

Solar energy refers to electrical energy systems powered by the sun. The most popular systems are photovoltaic (PV) rooftop energy systems and solar farms. Other systems included community solar and industrial scale solar. The latter is built from hundreds or thousands of solar panels located on large racks in a field of open pasture. GTM Research predicted that 16 gigawatts (GW) of solar will be installed in the U.S. in 2016 which doubled from 7.3 GW during 2015.

Solar farms are growing in America. A 30% Federal energy tax credit may have something to do with the increase. Combined federal, state, utility and local incentives have transformed solar farm structures into economically viable and climate-friendly investments. Such solar financing options come via numerous sources including rebates, tax credits, and solar renewable energy certificates. Increasing financing options make the crossover from fossil-fueled energy to renewable energy a profitable one – with the added perk of a cleaner environment.

Is it even possible?

In the 1950s, solar panel technology was very costly; however, there are now options available for renters, as well as for home and business owners. Community solar options would be a fitting choice for someone with an unsuitable roof that wanted to produce their own clean energy.

Community solar is designed for members of the community to share the benefits of solar power even if it is not installed on their property. Even if the property is rented, it allows the renter to join their own system of energy with others. Options like group purchase, green power, and online solar investment platforms are growing and becoming more visible. The rooftop solar option would be great for someone with a decent rooftop. The condition of the roof and its exposure to sunlight are the key factors to consider. Both community and rooftop solar systems have a life span of 25 to 30 years.

Things that can go wrong?

As mentioned, the rooftop’s strength is important as customers need to assess and monitor the flow of water. A standard roofing system is designed to drain water from the rooftop and away from the building. However, with some solar panel installations, water has been forced upward and can thus cost the owner if it is improperly installed.

Why should one consider solar energy?

Unlike widely used oil and coal fired electric generating plants, solar panels do not produce emissions, are safe for the environment, and represent the fastest-growing energy technology in the world. Gradually, as people have experienced the increasing effects of atmospheric pollution, there has been greater agreement for producing environmentally friendly power-generating systems.

An additional benefit of community solar is Virtual Net Metering (VNM) which allows a household or business to receive the net metering credits associated with a renewable energy project. Excess energy is often produced by community and rooftop systems and fed back into the energy grid. Thus excess energy credits can be worth as much as what traditional customers pay for electricity from a utility. In sum, every unit (kilowatt-hour or kWh) of electricity generated by solar systems can both reduce participants’ power bills and provide potential cash flow credits.


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