Solar power opportunities
Monday, November 14, 2016
The (Miss.) Sun Herald
Last year, renewable electricity capacity — solar, wind and the like — overtook coal in a worldwide survey by the International Energy Agency. The IEA said it expects renewable capacity growth to accelerate and it sees the U.S. among the leaders in that expansion.
Policy changes and falling prices are fueling that conversion.
Mississippi used to lack a net metering program to govern the sale back to the utility of excess power produced by solar panels on a home. Late last year, the Public Service Commission OK'd a general net metering program and is working with utilities on specific procedures and measures. Judging from the crowd at the Mississippi Solar Energy Forum earlier this month, there is considerable interest in taking advantage of the procedures.
That's good news for the planet. The PSC, the Sierra Club and Mississippi Power made this happen and we thank them for working out a net metering solution.
Mississippi Power's parent company knows solar power is a good deal. It's investing in it as another way to diversify its energy portfolio. And saving 40 percent or more on a monthly utility bill would be sweet. But the initial investment required to make that happen is pretty steep and a switch to solar energy isn't for everyone.
Our advice to the homeowner or business owner considering solar power: Do your homework. Talk to people who have experience with solar. Consult the Sierra Club and others who can hook you up with the expertise to make the right choice. There are federal tax credits available, as well, to help with the cost.
As you can see, there are a lot of variables to be considered. Don't go it alone.