The way to institutionalize alternative energy is to think alternatively. Not thinking differently is the same as trying to make the internal combustion engine more efficient without changing the mechanics of the engine.
People say daily: 'well, solar isn't cost effective, it needs to scale, etc., etc.' Instead of just talking, a project in Minnesota combines innovative thinking with applying solar in a cost effective manner.
According to a recent article in the Star Tribune, an electric power cooperative is offering its customers the opportunity to invest in a number of solar panels in an array that equals the amount needed for that customer's residential power needs. Recognizing that not everyone can or wants to install solar panels on their home, this joint effort between the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association, a utility serving 46,000 customers northwest of the Twin Cities, and Clean Energy Collaborative, a company based in Boulder, Colorado. The project is similar to ones in Colorado and New Mexico.
The solar panel will generate its power to the grid, while customers who invest in an ownership unit will receive a credit on their utility bill. All available units have been sold in increments of one to 27 panels. A trust will be set up to cover maintenance and repairs for 30 years. The full article is here.
Leon County has an electric cooperative and a 400 megawatt solar farm is being built outside Havana. Investors announced a deal to sell the solar generated power to Progress Energy, which will most likely use the power to offset peak-load demand. Are there opportunities for something innovative for local customers or is it the same conventional thinking?