In this monthly roundup, we discuss how the final version of the new tax law affects the renewable energy industry. Solar also has seen gains in California, Texas and Virginia as developers find creative ways to diversify energy grids. Finally, we look at a cautionary tale in Georgia about the importance of having battery backups and alternative energy sources.
Wind, Solar, Oil, and Gas — What the Federal Tax Overhaul Does For Them
Renewable energy advocates across the country were upset with early drafts of the tax bill, which prioritized fossil fuel production over solar and wind production. Worse still, it ended tax credits for alternative energy projects and increased taxes on multinational companies that create solar panels and wind turbines (the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax). However, with vocal advocacy from individuals and groups such as Solar Energy Industries Association, renewable energy companies can reap the benefits of tax credits for at least another legislative session. Read more .
Texas Installs Enough Solar Panels in Last Three Months to Power 44,000 Homes
Despite uncertainty regarding the new tax law and how it might affect the solar industry, Texas developers and landowners forged ahead and installed 227 megawatts of solar capacity in the third quarter of 2017. Although Texas ranks seventh nationally in terms of solar usage, the rate at which Texans install solar panels has made its solar industry the most active in the country. The continued growth of solar gives onlookers cautious hope that new tax codes won’t harm the industry. Read more .
Appalachian Power Signs Contract With Solar Energy Developer
Closer to home, Appalachian Power has signed its first agreement to purchase energy from a solar power plant. The Depot Solar Center, located in Campbell County, Virginia, will have a 15-megawatt capacity and will be operated by California-based Coronal Energy. The plant is expected to begin operation in 2019. Appalachian’s CEO expressed gratitude that the power company is beginning to diversify its portfolio for its 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. Read more .
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Restores Power After Crippling Outage
One of America’s busiest airports recently got a lesson in the importance of placement and security of battery back-up systems. A fire in the underground tunnels that house Hartsfield-Jackson Airport’s electrical system paralyzed the airport for 11 hours, stranding passengers on planes and in terminals. The back-up energy system that was supposed to be utilized in emergencies was apparently located in the same vicinity as the original system. Unsurprisingly, it was damaged in the fire. Hopefully, Atlanta’s government will consider incorporating durable solar energy and battery cells into the airport’s new system. Read more .