What is Solar Works?
Solar Works is an initiative of GASP, a health advocacy organization working to activate Alabama for clean air. The purpose of the project is to raise awareness of the benefits of solar energy in Alabama. Harnessing the power of the sun will improve our health, economy and environment.
Solar energy is the conversion of the sun’s radiation into sources of power, like electricity. A location’s solar radition depends on numerous factors: geographic location, time of year, landscape, and weather. Alabama receives sufficient radiation to produce ample solar energy.
The solar power density incident on a surface of stated area and orientation, usually expressed as Watt-hours per square meter or Btus per square foot.
The direct, diffuse, and reflected solar radiation that strikes a surface. Usually expressed in kilowatts per square meter. Irradiance multiplied by time equals insolation.
New White Paper Examines Residential Solar Fees
This policy white paper, titled “An Analysis of Utility Network Use Charges for Rooftop Solar: What’s Fair?” tackles the challenging-but-important topic of how utility companies use punitive fines as a barrier to entry for residential electricity customers. Establishing policies and rate structures that fairly value solar energy is one of the most crucial factors in creating the right conditions for increased investment in clean energy. Network use charges act as regulatory barriers to growing the number of rooftop solar installations in Alabama. Although installing large-scale solar installations are an important step in growing Alabama’s solar energy industry, unjustified network use charges for rooftop solar are unfairly burdening residential power customers and stifling the growth of rooftop solar in Alabama. A number of factors should be considered and weighed to determine what’s actually fair, including avoided fuel and energy costs, avoided investment in power plants, a fixed cost for fuel source, and environmental and health benefits.
Alabama’s Solar Potential
The average solar insolation is 4.23 hours per day. The highest irradiance is in July, at 5.70. The lowest is in January, at 2.32.
Birmingham’s highest monthly irradiance is 5.75 (in July). The lowest is in January, at 2.31.
How do we compare?
Germany is the #1 solar energy producer in the world. Muenchen has a July irradiance of 5.29 and a January irradiance of 1.12.
Watch & Learn
Bart Slawson is an Alabama environmental and business attorney. He helped start the Solar Test House with Alabama Environmental Council. Bart has also installed solar in his home and is an advocate for clean, renewable energy because of the economic savings and benefits to the air and health. Watch more videos at voicesforcleanair.com.