HOW CAN YOU HELP SOLAR GROW IN A COAL STATE?
The coal industry in West Virginia used to be the center of most job creation in the state. But its very clear that coal isnt what it used to be. The honest truth is that solar will not bring the kind of employment to the mountain state that coal did. But technology is inevitable and if West Virginia doesn’t diversify its energy portfolio it’s going to dig itself into a hole.
Solar is cheaper than coal. Period. You cant actually revive, reinvent a lump of coal or the way its burned to compete with that fact.
The feeling I get when I still hear “solar isn’t viable” is total frustration and a bit of pity. I’ve worked in coal fired power plants, windmills and many energy large scale projects. I understand why West Virginians want it to stay . But,… and its a big but, if we are doing nothing to diversify and build new energy jobs than what are we really doing?
It becomes more of a debate about climate change than cost effectiveness. If coal is dying, solar is cheaper and we have to subsidize or taxpayer fund jobs in the coal industry than what are we doing?
From a business point of view; its the equivalent of using a shovel to dig a ditch with a backhoe 5 feet away. So what are the solutions?
GROWING SOLAR IN WEST VIRGINIA
Allowing very low upfront cost if any, would grow the market ten fold overnight. DT Solar has a huge list of customers that are prime candidates for PPA’s. But they are currently not allowed under West Virginia state law.
Forcing utilities to purchase solar
Net Metering in West Virginia only allows for a credit based system. You cant “sell” any power back to the grid. If they would allow selling to the grid at the same cost they purchase a kWh from a coal fired power plant “about 3.7 cents/kwh” it would definitely make alot of customer (myself included) investors in large solar arrays.
Residential Solar over 25kW
Currently, Residential solar is limited to 25kW. This doesnt accomodate larger electric bills ($300 plus) So if a customer has a large electric bill they cant do anything about it.
I understand the power company’s reasoning (transformers are rated at 25kW) but if a customer is willing to purchase the larger transformer than why not?