• Joe Collins

Solar and the New Energy Paradigm

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

It’s important to have goals. Set a goal, write it down, take steps to accomplish that goal.

  • Be persistent

  • Be consistent

  • Be disciplined

But don’t create arbitrary goals with no clear path to achievement.

Those goals can be counter productive.

Recently, the Biden Administration set a goal for:

  • 80% renewable energy by 2030

  • 100% decarbonized grid by 2035

  • 45% solar by 2050

And a new bill in Tallahassee calls for Florida to generate:

  • 50% of its energy through renewables statewide by 2030

  • 100% renewable-energy requirement by 2040

Click here to read more about a proposal by Florida legislators.

But these goals are just slogans that seem untenable when you dig into the details.

We should focus on How we produce and distribute clean energy not just how much.

And the primary step is to change how big monopoly utilities operate.

Historically, utilities have controlled every aspect of energy production, but soon that will no longer be necessary.

As more people produce their own electricity through solar, they won’t need to buy energy from their utilities, but they will need utilities to:

  • transport the energy safely on transmission lines

  • store solar energy that is intermittent, so it can be used when the sun isn’t shining

  • manage and maintain the energy infrastructure

Utilities need to transition from energy sellers to energy transmitters.

This is the future of energy, and government policies should focus on developing a new energy model as soon as possible to help ease the energy production and distribution process.

In Florida, policies should focus on creating competition in the energy marketplace.

Right now only utilities can sell electricity in Florida.

That regulation needs to go.

Once anyone can sell electricity more renewable energy will be produced.

Landlords will put solar panels on homes and buildings and sell electricity directly to tenants.

Solar owners will sell excess electricity directly to their neighbors. Smart technology exists to do this and is already available in some states.

New initiatives should focus on deregulating the energy industry, not creating incentives for utilities to produce more renewable energy and continue selling energy the way they always have.

Click here to see more about the $416 million Federal CEPP grant for 2023.

We don’t need utilities to fill acres and acres of rural farmland with solar panels. We can put panels on roofs, schools, municipal buildings, brown fields and over parking lots.

Massive solar arrays are often unpopular and divisive, ultimately slowing down the transition to clean energy.

And we certainly don’t need more divisiveness in this country.

Click here to learn more about a controversial solar initiative in a rural Virginia county.

Our current electric grid is built for distributing energy produced by burning coal and natural gas. We need to remake the grid with battery storage and new transmission lines.

We need to create micro grids able to service neighborhoods and communities.

And there's a role for utilities too. They can build energy storage facilities, maintain transmission lines and use their expertise to coordinate the operation of the smart grid.

Every aspect of energy will look much different in the near future if leaders take the necessary actions to transition to a new energy paradigm.

But all of this begins by setting the right goals.

Joe Collins is a solar advocate and the owner of CIE Solar Energy, LLC.

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