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We Vermonters have a huge opportunity to use federal stimulus funds to shape our near term energy future.
Whether you believe that the most important goal of an energy policy is reducing CO2 emissions, preventing the outflow of dollars from the State and nation for imported oil, or stopping the flow of petro dollars to unfriendly places, you are probably part of the huge consensus which believes that we need to reduce our use of fossil fuels both locally and nationally.
Smart Grid benefits to consumers are lower overall rates and the chance to use very cheap way off-peak electricity for charging electric vehicles and appliances, generating and storing heat for later use, and adjustable activities like clothes washing and drying.
Obviously if we can shift some usage from peak to off-peak, the electricity we do use will cost us much less because less expensive fuels and more environmentally friendly generating fuels are used off-peak. Part of the SmartVermont plan is to use federal stimulus money to accelerate activities already underway and get the Smart Grid in place much faster than we would have otherwise. To take further advantage of the Smart Grid, we are looking at possibilities of using stimulus money to accelerate the adoption of plug in hybrid or pure electrical vehicles– perhaps first by transit districts and others who may be eligible for stimulus funding for fleet expansion – and to help grow the use of geothermal heat (which uses an electrical compressor) and storage heat.
SmartVermont means using the different flows of federal money – broadband, energy, transit, economic development, diesel fuel avoidance etc.
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As pointed out several times now, solar power in Germany is much cheaper than solar power in the US, and studies have shown how that’s due to soft costs. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter. Zachary Shahan is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time.
I think that if the USA would only cut to zero the immense fossil fuel subsidies and invest this in renewables then you would soon be out of serious problems and showing the world a much better example then what you’re doing now (if anything).
With the guaranteed price of a feed-in tariff the system owner is motivated to get system costs as low as possible.
I think that most of the PV in the USA will soon come from plug-and-play DIY photovoltaics.
But that wont be registered in the statistics since it will be mainly behind the meter – for self consumption.


Not many people are going to climb on their roofs and attach solar panels and then run the wiring. As installation costs come down, as they are doing, the plug and play market will likely shrink. If people want to save some bucks they could purchase the parts and provide their own labor, but not many will and the volume purchasing advantages of large installers might cancel out the labor savings.
Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.
CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused news & analysis website in the US & the world, focusing primarily on electric cars, solar energy, wind energy, & energy storage.
The Vermont of three years from now will have both reduced its use of expensive and relatively dirty peak electricity AND begun to substantially reduce the use of oil in cars and homes.
The cost of electricity depends on both what fuel was used to generate it and how much it cost to transmit it from source to point of use. Also, the total cost for building electrical facilities is reduced if we don't have to build extra generating plants and transmission lines solely to meet peak demand. Also asserts that entrepreneurs do more social good when making their money than when later giving it away. Andy Kessler's new book is a great fictional description of the world of super-programmers, hacking, viral success and disaster, and flash crashes. I’ve covered this sort of thing previously, when comparing solar power capacity of various countries to TWh of electricity production, GDP, and per capita. The underlying problem is considered by some to be US solar incentives (good argument for that at that link) and just the fact that we have a much less mature market (as is obvious from the chart above).
I would probably agree with Jigar Shah that current US solar incentives are more of a hindrance than a help, and need to be cut. The figures you cite are for PV only, and if you add CSP then Spain’s share is roughly double.
I’d say goodbye to big oil and say hello to renewables a long time ago if I were you.
Current system is open to abuse from installers – they just jack up their prices to take any government incentives on offer for extra profit. Btw, in the recent live chat with Steven Chu and Mark Udall, i submitted a question regarding the possibility (imagine it’s very slim) of FiTs for wind energy in the US.


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Energy policy is a key part of the SmartVermont plan announced Thursday by Governor Douglas and the Smart Grid is a key part of energy policy.
The benefits for the economy are less money spent on fossil fuel and a better return on alternative energy investments.
Similarly the environmental impact of using electricity depends on how the electricity was initially generated. Sansom: Winter in MadridSansom shifts his historical fiction from the reformation to Spain under Franco in the miserable winter of 1940. At the end of 2011, Germany had over 39 times more solar power capacity per TWh of electricity production than the US, and it was second only to Italy. On the other hand, however, it’s inspiring and good proof that we could install a ton more solar power in the US without any major technical issues. But the rules are there and getting a change to a HOA agreement is hard than pulling teeth. We need solar as an appliance – DIY that is in the 4-8 kW range that can be plugged into a 220 volt outlet. Relative to GDP, Germany had almost 24 times more solar power capacity than the US, and was second only to the Czech Republic. And I would simply say that solar companies need to invest more in creative, effective advertising that shows people it pays to go solar, it’s easy to go solar, and it feels good to go solar.
Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. Off-peak almost all of our power comes from these sources; on-peak we buy expensive electricity largely generated by spooling up gas-fired facilities, which use expensive fuel and are an expensive resource because they are only needed for a few hours each day. And per capita, Germany was #1 in the world, with about 21.6 times more solar power capacity per citizen than the US.



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