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Solar panels during hurricanes

How Solar Energy Storage is Withstanding Natural Disasters

As we see natural disasters around the country hit more frequently, we’re continuing to look at how solar energy is withstanding these storms. Solar energy storage plays a major role during a natural disaster. We see so many businesses lose power during severe weather and major natural disasters. When solar energy is being used with an energy storage system, you won’t have to worry about losing power in a storm.

How Solar Technology is Fighting

Solar panels have been surviving natural disasters, and there have been more stories of success regarding solar rather than failures. Considering some major natural disasters have negative impacts on renewable energy sources, we have to take a look at some of the benefits of renewable energy resources during natural disasters.

Wildfires – As wildfires continue to ravish parts of the country such as California, we can say that having a solar energy system will not contribute to the negative environmental factors that may launch wildfires. We understand that any electrical equipment, if heated up enough, will explode from a wildfire for example. If the solar energy system is built properly and functioning properly, it will not contribute to a wildfire.

Hurricanes and Tornadoes – We’re seeing more and more solar energy roofs and systems that are built properly and attached to commercial buildings that are withstanding major disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.

Snow and Hailstorms – As solar energy systems and technology improves daily, they’re capable of withstand snowstorms and hailstorms. We’re witnessing engineers come up with new ways to harvest solar energy even during the colder months and during blizzards.

How is Solar Energy Storage Benefitting Businesses?

We’re talking about energy security when it comes to solar energy storage. The biggest benefit to having a solar energy system is when you invest in solar + energy storage. It’s power when you need it. If there is a major storm hitting the area, companies still need energy to power their businesses and commercial buildings.

  • Lowering Electric Bills – When you’re supplying yourself with your own energy, the excess amount is supplied back to the grid. Your energy bills are decreased, and sometimes you’re making money depending on the use of energy. If there is a solar energy field on your property, you’ll be getting paid for that energy consumption that the grid is taking.
  • Helps the Environment – Solar energy and other renewable energy resources are eliminating fossil fuel emissions and wasted energy. This helps to improve our environment and push clean energy initiatives around the country and even internationally.
  • Energy Independent – Not having to rely on the grid to power your business means that you have the freedom from bills and other necessities. Harvesting your own energy helps you focus on more important things in life such as your livelihood.

 

Pope Energy Providing Solar + Energy Storage

At Pope Energy, we are in the business of providing landowners, real estate owners, farmers, and commercial building owners with large-scale photovoltaic solar projects in and around the New England region of the United States. Massachusetts is one of the leading states in the country pushing the clean energy movement.

If you’re looking to change the way you harvest energy, contact Pope Energy at 855-767-3363 today to learn more about how we can help!

 

Solar energy on your farm

Is it Possible to Run My Farm on Solar Energy?

Many farmers around the country are constantly pondering the idea of investing in solar energy to run their farmland. There are many factors that can affect farming in a negative way. Pandemics, natural disasters, economic recessions, and other negative events can result in nightmares for the agriculture industry across the country. One way to help save farms on energy bills and the cost of running a farm is to invest in renewable energy like solar.

How is COVID-19 Affecting Farming?

The COVID-19 Pandemic has forced restaurants, coffee shops, and other markets to close, which has led to fresh food demand to drop. Farms have been left with stockpiles of fresh food they can’t supply to restaurants and other places serving fresh food. This impacts farmers because they make their living on supplying the fresh food to those who need it. The federal government will have to step in to help farms and ranches supply that food to people in need of it.

Why Should Farms Invest in Solar Energy?

Solar energy systems are low maintenance, and the energy would be free once the initial cost of the investment is recovered. For farmers, their longevity is the most important, and that is why a solar energy system investment can benefit farms in the long run. Traditional energy like kerosene, diesel, and propane have caused problems such as the cost of transportation, spillage, fumes, and high maintenance costs.

By utilizing solar energy in agriculture, these farmers will be able to reduce their fossil fuel emissions and environmental hazards. If a farm has a solar energy system with energy storage, they will have the opportunity to obtain a surplus of energy, which then they can give back to the grid supplying them with another source of income in times of need. Another significant reason for agriculture to invest in renewable energy is because it is the future of energy. If farms want to last, their best bet is to go solar.

When Should Farmers Invest?

Investing in a large-scale solar photovoltaic project sooner, rather than later is highly beneficial. At this point, fossil fuels continue to rise and solar has dropped almost 80% in the last several years. Solar energy is the best alternative in favor of energy independence. As utility rates rise, a farmer’s investment will become even more valuable. Energy bills will decrease significantly, and when a tough obstacle appears, your solar energy system will take the weight off your shoulders.

The Benefits:

  •  Long-term energy savings that grow
  • Energy Independence
  • Another form of revenue for your farm and livelihood
  • Fuel your farm and home
  • Lease your land for solar development with no outlay of money required.

 

So, what should I expect solar energy to help farmers with?

Solar energy has the capability to supply your farm with energy to run motor, water pumping for irrigation in fields, for livestock, and pond management. For your building needs, solar energy can supply energy for lighting, ventilation, heating, air cooling, and much more. Anything that requires energy to be used has the possibility to be run on your solar energy system if you play your cars right.

Environmental Benefits for Farms:

  •  Solar energy decreases fossil fuel emissions in the atmosphere
  • Solar produces clean energy
  • Air quality improves and pollution decreases

 

Pope Energy Provides Solar Energy Projects

At Pope Energy, we specialize in the development of large-scale solar projects for land owners including farmers. With our solar development team, we have the capability to guide through every detail of the project with installation, development, production, and repair and maintenance.

If you’re a farmer, and you need help on energy savings and supply, contact Pope Energy at 855-767-3363. Your investment in solar energy can help save your livelihood of farming!

 

 

savings with solar energy

Invest in Solar Energy Now to Have a Better Future

It’s not question that the solar industry is on the rise. Some say it’s rapidly pounding on the door of the oil and gas industries to change their outlook. Many oil and gas companies are making the conscious adjustment over to solar energy not only because of the low prices, but also because of the social pressure from the entire world.

With COVID-19 ravaging the world and the healthcare systems, businesses all over the globe are taking some sort of hit, whether that is financial, health, or employment related. The goal to have 100% renewable energy is still looking up, but it may have some slow-downs due to overcoming the political and regulatory status quo, trade tariffs and the Coronavirus crisis.

Investing in Solar will Only Help Your Future

At Pope Energy, we believe solar is inevitable, and that is why we are working with landowners, commercial businesses, real estate owners, farmers, etc. to develop large-scale solar photovoltaic projects to help them utilize renewable energy, save on energy bills, and do their part in eliminating the carbon footprint.

There is a growing demand for companies to incorporate green energy as soon as possible due to the social and economic pressure from around the globe. We are visualizing the future of our energy with only renewables, which means companies eventually will have to make the switch if they want to stay relevant and be successful. So, why not now?

An article written in Solar Magazine states “Oil and gas companies paid a high price to obtain leases to drill on land to extract oil and gas. As prices fluctuate, the leases have put the companies in debit.”

As an owner, you may be thinking to yourself how am I going to afford this upfront? Pope Energy has a financing program where we can work with you to bring financing solutions to build large-scale solar projects. We have the ability to place power purchase agreements or tariff agreements in place, as well as leveraging banking relationships to finance your solar project.

Evidence of New Technology Solidifies the Case for Solar

The technology for solar energy is rapidly improving. There were problems in the past with harsher weather conditions affecting solar panels, as well as energy production at night. We will soon see new technology to allow for bi-facial solar panels as well as seeing technology for solar energy production at night.

This is a no brainer for businesses to start investing in solar energy projects. If the technology is improving and the price is lowering, you’ll see the world turn to renewable energy resources without hesitation because of the long-term reward it has on energy savings and the environment.

Pope Energy is Working Towards a Renewable Energy World

If you’re worried about everything that goes into developing a large-scale solar photovoltaic project, you don’t have to fret. We can assist you with every aspect of solar development from zoning issues to pulling the proper permits to obtaining financing. Around the country, individuals and companies are realizing that investing in solar energy is the future and the key to having a sustainable business. The question for the world is not why but when.

It’s only a matter of time before solar energy is the norm. At Pope Energy, we want you to have a bright future, and that is why we are helping individuals and businesses around the Northeast develop solar projects.

Contact Pope Energy at 855-767-3363 to learn more about how we can help you get started on your large-scale solar photovoltaic project!

Solar panel installation

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar energy is one of the cleanest and most reliable forms of alternative energy on the planet. Many people are curious of how a solar panel generates energy for homes, commercial buildings, and farms. We’re here to explain the simple process of a solar panel.

Generating Electricity

Solar-powered Photovoltaic panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity for many different uses. The photons of light from the sun end up exciting the electrons in the silicon cells in the solar panels. They transform that incoming light into electricity rather than heat. There are multiple cells that make up an entire solar panel, which means the more solar cells and the more solar panels will generate more energy. Photovoltaic solar panels will generate direct current electricity, which means the electrons flow in one direction around the circuit.

Inverters Convert Solar Power

An electrical piece of equipment called an inverter will convert the direct current electricity into alternating current electricity, which powers your home, building, or farm. This energy will power your appliances, and the leftover solar electricity will be pumped back into the grid. It’s ultimately the most logical system we can invest in. You have the opportunity to use as much energy as you need before it gets moved back into the power grid. Solar panels retain energy through the daytime, which means at night we still need the energy to power our homes.

If you’re curious as to how you can benefit and save money with investing in solar energy, then you should get in touch with Pope Energy. We serve system owners, commercial and industrial industries, land and real estate owners, and the agricultural industry. Contact Pope Energy at 855-767-3363 to learn more about how we can help you start your investment in a photovoltaic solar project.

Solar energy system on field

How is COVID-19 Affecting Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy has no escape to the COVID-19 crisis around the globe. The economy is hitting hard times as we speak, as well as the health of our nation and the world. We’re in difficult times right now, and this can be a major lesson to the way we live in months and even years to come.

In Green Tech Media live blog update on the Coronavirus, they make an interesting statement and question. “American society has made dramatic changes in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Why hasn’t it responded similar urgency to climate change – another human global catastrophe that could harm human health and well-being for generations to come?”

The Green Energy Economy and Coronavirus

It’s difficult to predict the way the COVID-19 crisis will play out. Healthcare workers and world leaders are working to slow down and eliminate the spread of the virus. This is a time to come together as a world and end this as quickly as possible. When it comes to the economy around the globe, there are quite a bit of people out of work for the time being. Maybe hours and pay are cut in companies to eliminate the possibility of layoffs, which is a good thing, but for those investing in solar energy and other renewables, will this have a major impact?

It could very well, but we don’t know for sure yet. There most likely will be disruptions to green energy and solar projects due to a halt in businesses across the country and globe, but they shouldn’t be too daunting to the industry.

Experts Say This May Not Be an Awful Outcome

In Europe, experts are staying positive and believe that this crisis won’t have a negative impact on the progression of the renewable energy projects and agreements. Europe saw a major increase in solar installations last year, but it doesn’t necessarily mean this year’s numbers will be just as good. Many industry leaders believe that projects will continue to develop but at a slower pace.

For workers in the solar industry, it just means fewer people on jobsites, changes to breaks, and running extra transport to and from the project but with less people. There is a calculation of one to two-month delays on projects, but that still will fall in most projected timelines for these developments.

This Should Be a Lesson for Renewable Energy

Many countries were not prepared for the global pandemic. They did not pay attention to the impact it would have on the healthcare industry and the economy. We are in the middle of it in the United States, and it’s hard to tell when it will end. Everyone is responding with full force on this, but what about climate change? If a pandemic like this can happen, what’s to say that climate change cannot be catastrophic in the future if we don’t act immediately with 100% clean energy across the globe. This will be a test for nations around the world to attack the issue of climate change as quickly and efficiently as possible to secure the well-being of our planet.

Installation of large scale solar energy projects

Due to Social Distancing, Europe Sets Solar Energy Records

With everything going on with the Coronavirus Pandemic and incredibly clear skies, solar energy increasing in productivity. Several European countries on the front end of solar energy development have broken records with the production of solar energy.

Solar generation reached a peak of 9.68GW, which was an increase since the record peak of 9.55GW that was set in May of 2019. The conditions are better now considering the fact that people aren’t traveling as much. Pollution is decreasing because of the elimination of activities and the social distancing rules set in place around the world.

Why is this Significant?

We don’t want to diminish the severity of the virus, but we also want to reiterate the impact that pollution has on the production of solar energy. Air pollution has a substantial negative impact on the solar production industry. The production of solar energy can fail due to air pollution in large cities where pollution is high. This can be the difference of successful solar projects and solar fields that are experiencing inefficiencies and monetary losses due to pollution.

Solar Energy Lesson to Learn

Is this mother nature telling us to keep turning to renewable energy and eliminate fossil fuels? Well, it’s probably a little bit simpler than that. This might be a lesson for all of us to consider the way we live. In big cities, pollution is much more prominent. Switching to solar energy for electricity and power can eliminate the need for toxins polluting the air. When we eliminate our polluted lives by riding bikes and being conscious of the environment, solar energy can work better to provide us with the power we need.

At Pope Energy, we are dedicated to providing solar energy projects for landowners, real estate owners, famers, and commercial businesses. If you’re looking to save money on energy costs and improve the environment, contact Pope Energy at 855-767-3363 today!

living off the grid with solar energy

Living Off-the-Grid with Solar Energy

This might be an extreme way of living in today’s society, but there are several places in Northern Canada with people and communities living the so-called “off-the-grid” lifestyle with major help from solar energy. Solar energy is playing a major role in the conservation of energy and the elimination of our carbon footprint already, but how is it impacting people trying to live a minimal and simple life?

Here is what we found about communities doing exactly that:

Extreme Living Situation

In Northern British Columbia, Canada, a family of seven is living off-the-grid and is utilizing solar energy to do so. Although, their solar energy system isn’t powering everything in their home. They do use solar to power several utilities in their home to reduce cost and energy.

They have two solar systems, which include one that generates 12-volt power to power lights, and smaller electronics. The other solar system is a 2.5-Kilowatt system located on their roof with a lithium ion battery bank to power the fridge, chest freezer, washing machine, mixer, blender and toaster. A backup generator is used but only when needed during cloudy and snowy seasons.

Life Off Grid

In 2016, a documentary was released about several individuals and families that are essentially living off the land all around Canada. Life Off Grid is a film that tells the tale of real people who have chosen to live their lives utilizing renewable energy.

What does Off-the-Grid Living Mean?

When it comes to solar energy and living off the grid, these people are generating their own energy, which means they aren’t using the commercial electrical grid in Canada. In the documentary, these people explain why they are doing this, and how it has been challenging, yet ultimately rewarding in the long run. Most of the people that were interviewed have similar views of the electrical grid. They would accept the invitation of being on the grid if it didn’t cost them any expenses. They’re using solar systems of their own to power their entire lives, which allows them to not need the commercial grid.

When you’re self-sufficient, you realize what is most important in life. The material world seems very unnecessary when money is a major priority.

What Does this Have to Do with Solar Companies?

A company like Pope Energy specializes in the production and maintenance of photovoltaic solar projects around the Northeast. We provide system owners, farmers, commercial real estate owners and landowners with a solar system where they can save money on energy and help the environment. Although living off-the-grid can be an extreme way of living, there are ways to save on energy costs, help the environment, and live better by investing in solar power. Pope Energy believes this and is dedicated to helping those get to that point. Contact us at 855-767-3363 today to learn more about our solar services and products!

Solar energy jobs in Massachusetts

Massachusetts to Grow Solar Jobs

The state of Massachusetts has been a leader in the solar energy industry in the United States. The state has set a precedent for all other states to follow their renewable energy agenda, so that the country can have a sustainable future. In Massachusetts, policy uncertainty is getting in the way of nonresidential development of solar energy, which means legislatures need to come together and make some changes.

Renewable jobs are growing across the United States, creating sustainable careers for hardworking Americans in some of the most fossil fuel-heavy states. It looks as if the coal industry is turning downwards once again.

Legislation Needs to Step Up with Solar

Legislation in the state of Massachusetts needs to work together with passing bills and keeping the Solar Massachusetts Energy Target on track for 2050. This means expanding the program by 3,200 megawatts for this to happen. There has been a stall on some solar progress in recent years, which has caused thousands to lose their solar energy jobs. Using compliance obligations already in force within existing legislation, regulators need to establish a fixed amount of solar DG as recommended by the Brattle Group Report, Achieving 80% GHG Reduction in New England by 2050. For Massachusetts, which consumes 45% of the electricity in ISO-NE, this fixed amount of solar that would need to be installed each year would equal 0.9 GW -2.5 GW of solar per year. A target of needing to install this level of solar would drive solar and interconnection policy with DOER, D.P.U. and MassDEP.

Allowing customers to adopt solar on not only a residential, but also a commercial scale will help the industry hire back the workers that have lost their jobs. This will help the state of Massachusetts reach a goal of net-zero carbon pollution by 2050, which was passed by the senate recently. If Massachusetts triples the SMART Program, Vote Solar figures it could create 8,000-9,000 new jobs and drive more than $5 billion in solar project investment into the state’s economy.

How Will Solar Energy Impact Jobs?

New renewable solar energy projects are much cheaper than keeping existing coal plants afloat. Building replacement wind and solar facilities will be much less expensive across the board by 2025. With the state’s trend for 100% clean energy goals, the demand for more jobs and workers to build solar panels and wind turbines is growing substantially. As long as legislation cooperates with passing bills on behalf of the clean energy movement, then jobs will be booming in this industry.

According to the National Solar Jobs Census, “Between 2014 and 2019, solar employment increased 44%, five times faster than job growth in the overall U.S. economy.”

 

In the state of Massachusetts, Pope Energy is taking initiative to provide commercial solar energy projects to customers around New England and in New York. If you’re looking to grow your business and be successful while helping to get to 100% clean energy in your state, contact Pope Energy at 855-767-3363!

 

High Volume Interconnection Queues

March 20,2020

Mark D. Marini,
Secretary
Department of Public Utilities
One South Station
Boston, MA 02110

dpu.efiling@mass.gov
Kate.Tohme@mass.gov

D.P.U. 1955

Submitted by Doug Pope, President

Dear Secretary Marini:We appreciate the Department of Public Utilities exploring the use of working group sessions to engage developers, utilities and public policy stakeholders in deliberative discussions of how to facilitate installation of increasing levels of solar PV and energy storage to achieve GWSA goals in Massachusetts.Ina typical adjudicatedproceeding, our participation, if allowed as an intervener, would be difficult if not prohibitively expensive,and if through an industry association, diffused. We very much appreciate this working group format.

ISA In-Series Application -A Case Study:

Despite the often-public statements of amore progressive policy of Eversource towards renewables, the old policy of reviewing solar projects in series in the interconnection study process continues, even after working group discussions in DPU 19-55.

On or about August 14, 2018, SRE Energy filed a Standard Application to interconnect a 1 MW AC, 1.391 MW DC solar PV system at 4 Wildberry Way, Westport, MA, 02790. SRE was informed that there were 4-5 projects ahead of the 1 MW projecton Wildberry Way in the Impact Study queue and that the process could take 1.5 to 2 years to process the Impact Study,as Eversource was handlingImpact Studies in series,as opposed to in aggregate or in a parallel process as isthe practice with other utilities. Pope Energy is the originator of the project and the local developer on behalf of SRE Energy.

A Distributed Generationprofessional from Distributed Generation at Eversource has been working with an experienced Project Developerfrom SRE Energy relative as to the queue position status of this project. As of approximately twomonthsago, this project is third in the queue behind a 4.5 MW and a 2 MW project respectively. While the 1 MW Westport project does not require a transmission study, those projects ahead of this project do require transmission studies and,as Eversource policy dictates, the Wildberry Way project will not get started until the other projects have been studied in conjunction with the transmission study which will not be complete until December of 2020.

Eversource will study these projects in series and,if complete, hold the ISAs until the transmission study is complete.

As stated at the DPU 19-55 working session, I believe that the position of Eversource to conduct interconnection applications in series is against public policy. This is contrasted with Unitil and National Grid,who have approached developers as customers.Unitil has been a pleasure to do business with,as has National Grid,albeit they have had problems with growth and integrating solar into their system.To be clear, those management decisions and attendant growth pains have caused great financial risk todevelopers, but the use of economic power or “leverage”was never part of the problem.

Legislators, regulators at both DOER and the D.P.U. have often observed available capacity in both net metering and SMARTin Eversource territoryas evidence that there is ample capacity left in the solar programs. However, in the SMART program, due to the in-series,ISA study policyof Eversource,developers are unable to access that available capacity.As former Assistant Attorney General of Massachusetts, John Roddy has been known to say,“If it seems unfair, seems unjust, it is probably illegal.”

In Stat. 2016 c. 75 (11), the legislature directed DOER to “develop a statewide incentive program to encourage the continued development of solar renewable energy generating resources by residential, commercial, governmental and industrial electricity customers throughout the commonwealth.”

Does it seem reasonable to have a solar program seeking to encourage solar investment within Massachusetts and have those investors wait for twoyears or greater to know if those investments are financially feasible? Does it seem reasonable for landowners, farmers, corporations, non-profits and public entities to have a solar developer approach them for a solar project, a landorrooflease, a parking lot canopy project or a behind-the-meter applicationand have to wait twoyears and expect that proposal to be credible? Is this what was intendedby Stat. 2016 c. 75 (11), by all the revisions to the Green Communities Act, by Kain vs. MassDEP?

In both the 19-55 working group sessionsand for years at D.P.U. hearings, Eversource,in contrast to the other EDC’shas been “requesting direction from D.P.U.”

The direction from D.P.U. in guidance documents and eventual litigation of the19-55tariff,as well as within the Grid Mod and rate setting proceedings, should set clearprogram parameters for the EDCs and never let this kind of “leverage” currently exercised by Eversource intentionally delay the implementation of state policy.

This includes the D.P.U. setting performance standards in both guidance,tariffs and baseline assumptions at the TSRG. If ISO-NE accepts 2minutes or 30seconds as response times in certain equipment currently, then those are the timeframes that should form the basis for baseline assumptions. Yes, it may be advantageous for the grid to have different timeframes in the future. But the EDCs should not have the ability to unilaterally cause delay by adopting unreasonable standards through a process where “the Utilities have the final decision” within the TSRG.

Planning Interconnections for Solar and Other DER Through 2030

At the working session, I inquired if the transmission studies being conducted by each respective utility were studying a static condition, just those whose applications have been received, or greater interconnection requirements based upon legislation, court cases and regulations already in place.The answer from all of the utilities was a static condition, just those applications received.

At some point the D.P.U., DOER, and DEP, together as departments under EOEEA,need to internalize the obligations, including both the cost and the benefitsof achieving net zero energy emissions by 2050. It would appear that the 2050 Roadmap process currently under consideration by EOEEA is perhaps the start of this process.

The 2020 Regional Electricity Outlook report byISO-NEhas been the most dynamic report of its kind from this organization,describing the transition to renewables by the New England states. True to form,ISO-NEdoes not forecast DER penetrations beyond contracted or publicly stated programs. ISO-NE looks to the states to determine the amount of DER that is to be installed to meet that state’s renewable energy goals.

Why would the EDCs only be studying the static condition of existing interconnection applications when the SMART program is going to be expanded by some number and the compliance obligations are well above even that number? Will the Boston area, let’s call it the 128 Transmission System Upgrade RFP due March 4, 2020,be conducted to build to static conditions? Are large amounts of solar DGtogether with the “electrification of everything”1going to be coordinated with wind transmission lines pushing north and west?

To assist in long-term system planning,D.P.U.19-55 should be about setting targets to be interconnected each year and tying those targets to rate based ROI returns for the EDCs. The policyof restricting EDC responsibility to install DERs as percentage of load should be discontinued. WithDER generation being pushed up onto transmission and withthe “electrification of everything,” the cost of DER generation should be levelized across all ratepayers. Without long-term systemand interconnectionplanning, the deployment of DERs will continue to be choppy,poorly coordinated between regulatory departments and will not be made in the best interest of having net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Brattle Group, in their Achieving 80% GHG Reduction in New England by 2050September 2019report,indicated that “between 2019 and 2050 between 3.5 GW and 6.6 GW of renewable capacity, including 2-5 GW of solar and 2-3 GW of wind,will need to be added each year on average” to meet the targets New England has for itself.Since Massachusetts consumes approximately 45% of ISO-NE load,that would equal 0.9 -2.5 GW of solar and 0.9 –1.35 GW of wind per year from 2019 until 2050.

19-55 Interconnection –Guidance

In the interim, the D.P.U. needs to instruct all EDCs to conduct aggregated, group interconnection applications and Impact Studies for solar and solar + storage projects with all haste. No in-series review of solar projects is allowed. No solar or solar + storageproject should take more than 55 business days,and under no circumstance should the entire process, including ISO-NE,take more than 180 calendar days.As systems are automated, the timeframes for the completion of Impact Studies should shrink substantially and the EDCs should be rewarded for speeding up the processes.

The D.P.U. may need to work with ISO-NE in the streamlining of their portion of DER review. Area Studies should be calculated to deal with as-incurred solar and solar + storage applications while the entire system is being reviewed. If bonafide issues arise for a particular substation under unique circumstances,that substation could be identified to the Department and an extra 3months could be providedfor that particular application.

If there are conditions that encourage the development of solar projects,such as permissive zoning, then the EDCs should step up their efforts to accommodate such demand.

In no way should any EDC be allowed to take twoyears to complete an Area Study, holding off DER interconnectionapproval until completion of the study. Means and methods should be established to allow the interconnection of DERs while larger studies are conducted.

Privacy: As a policy, it should be part of tariff, including a guidance document, that all ISA applications may have the following information disclosed to encourage communication amongst common circuit or substation applicants:

  1. the Applicant Entity’s name
  2. the person representing the Applicant
  3. the active phone number and email address for said person
  4. the mailing address of the Applicant
  5. the size of the solar in AC as well as the storage facility in AC, if any.

With annual interconnections of DER set as goals per year, the EDCs could either hire qualified engineers internally or seek additionaloutside utility-scale engineering firms and attract them to servicing interconnection requirements of Massachusetts. It is our understanding that the engineering firms that service the EDCs is a select handful of firms and they are often overloaded with work or very expensive due to lack of competition.

The D.P.U.,along with all other departments under EOEEA, should set a clear path to 2030 for the interconnection of DER projects in conjunction with the Brattle Group recommendations. In so doing,D.P.U. and EOEEA would set the planning parameters for accomplishing Governor Baker’s net-zero goals for 2050, set planning direction for the EDCs and transmission companies,and allow the development and installation companies to see a clear path for building companies and employing skilled personnel.

At this writing, we are all dealing with the coronavirus with an uncertain economic landscape once this is over. If the above recommendations are put in place, long-term employment would be provided for thousands of workers for over ten years.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,

Doug Pope

Solar Panels on Farm

The Impossible Solar Farms

Solar energy has become more affordable, beneficial, and accessible in the past several years, which has sparked a movement in the world. Unlikely solar farms are now popping up in parts of the world we never thought could be possible, and they’re working.

Even in places such as Alaska, they are implementing solar farms that are powering homes and towns. This seems so unlikely considering the little amount of sunlight the state of Alaska gets throughout the year.

Solar Farms Spreading All Over the State

Less than six hours of daylight in the winter months, it seems impossible for this farm to harness enough solar energy to power anything. Renewable IPP, an Alaskan Solar Company made this solar farm the largest in the entire state. This solar farm is capable of powering about 120 homes year-round with 11 rows of panels.

A more northerly solar farm is in Fairbanks, AK. Golden Valley Electric Association is just about 200 miles from the arctic circle and consists of a three-acre solar farm. This is the largest at this latitude in the state, even though there are smaller solar farms setup further north.

How Do They Give Us Enough Energy?

With all the snow and minimal sunlight in several parts of Alaska, we wonder how solar farms harness energy for homes and the power grid. Snow and ice can end up covering solar panels in the winter months, which means people have to be hired to clear the snow and ice off for the farms to work properly. In the month of December where it’s mostly dark, there is no reason to go out and keep clearing off the panels, so they let the snow build-up until the month of February.

Another technique these farms use is angling the solar panels, so that the snow will then slide off fairly easy making it less of a struggle clearing off the snow as frequently. New techniques are being implemented such as clear coating the panels to make them slippery.

There is a carbon cost of installing solar farms, but the cost outweighs the future carbon footprint. Alaska is a state where it’s experiencing some of the worst effects of climate change. The fact that solar farms are popping up and benefitting the grid in the state just means that there is no reason for other parts of the country or world to disregard solar energy production.

Pope Energy in Massachusetts

Pope Energy provides photovoltaic solar energy projects across the New England region, as well as New York. If you’re a commercial business owner, landowner, or farmer, consider investing in solar energy projects. Contact Pope Energy at 855-767-3363!