How SolUnesco Became One of Virginia’s Leading Solar Developers

By |2019-08-22T14:46:54-04:00August 22nd, 2019|Company Update, Virginia Solar|

by Francis Hodsoll, Jon Hillis and Melody S. Gee Melody S. Gee is a business and technical writer in St. Louis, MO. Next spring, SolUnesco will celebrate five years as one of our state’s leading solar developers. As we reflect on our growth and the excitement of upcoming projects, we wanted to share the story of our beginnings: two passionate developers, a well-timed market opportunity, and deep commitment to best practices. Seizing Opportunity from the Beginning In 2015, Jon Hillis

Community Engagement Wins Board Approval for SolUnesco’s Orange County Solar Project

By |2018-03-01T23:16:47-05:00December 20th, 2017|Company Update, Virginia Solar|

As solar developers, we believe in our mission and the positive impacts of our work. Even so, we should never assume that a community will embrace a new solar energy generating plant. Local permitting can be the most precarious stage of utility-scale solar development. It’s the only stage where the people who decide your project’s fate don’t follow a uniform rubric. A county official may be able to deny your project for any reason. As a result, politics and emotion

Solar Power Southeast: Does Passion + Wisdom = Resilience?

By |2018-03-05T20:43:18-05:00May 31st, 2017|Company Update, Industry, Southeast, Virginia Solar|

Despite scary challenges, strength and optimism While the Suniva trade case – potentially a devastating price increase especially for utility-scale – loomed largely, attendees eagerly packed presentations.  The audience’s questions provided an interesting barometer to the psyche in the room.  Participants focused on where we are going and how to get there.  Further, the evolving business models continue to pry open market segments.  We are tenacious! Even in markets dominated by utilities such as Florida Power & Light, some competitors

The Latest Buzz: Solar Farms as Pollinator Sanctuaries

By |2018-08-10T10:52:04-04:00April 26th, 2017|Industry, Policy|

Overview Pollinators, such as honeybees and butterflies, are the unsung heroes of agriculture. However, their populations have been collapsing in recent years, creating a crisis for farmers who depend on them. Solar developers have started creating habitat sanctuaries to help reverse this trend.

The Composite Index, Problem Solved!

By |2018-06-08T10:38:04-04:00April 18th, 2017|Company Update, Policy, Virginia Solar|

We have good news!  On April 6th Virginia’s Tax Commissioner, Craig M. Burns, issued a letter clarifying the valuation of solar projects within the Composite Index. The bottom line: these solar farms will provide a net revenue benefit to the county.  As previously stated, bureaucratic bookkeeping could have inadvertently ground Virginia solar development to a halt by reducing county revenue when new solar farms are built. The following is the third of three installments highlighting SolUnesco’s research on the Virginia

The Composite Index and How it Relates to Solar Development in Virginia, Part Two:

By |2018-08-10T15:08:43-04:00March 2nd, 2017|Company Update, Policy, Virginia Solar|

Bureaucratic bookkeeping may inadvertently grind Virginia solar development to a halt.  The State government is assessing this issue, and we understand the state will issue a decision in due course.  The following is the second of three installments highlighting SolUnesco’s research on the Virginia Composite Index and its impact on solar electric generation.   To download our complete findings, click here HOW IS SOLAR TAXED? Covered in Part One of this series, the Composite Index (CI) may ignore the solar tax exemption

Are Solar and Electric Utilities Really Cooperating?

By |2018-08-10T15:02:27-04:00March 1st, 2017|Company Update, Policy, Virginia Solar|

Renewable energy can drive enormous job growth, and local investment, with some reports estimating that it will generate over 55,000 additional job-years worked right here in Virginia by 2030.  The key to tapping this potential is integrating new sources of energy into the existing electric grid. Since the grid is heavily regulated, this means finding policy solutions that give new sources of energy the space they need to grow. That is why many in the solar industry strongly advocate for

Innovation in Response to Solar Demand

By |2018-08-10T14:16:18-04:00May 30th, 2016|Industry|

Last week SolUnesco presented on a panel at Solar Power Southeast in Atlanta, Georgia (Click here to download presentation).  The panel focused on the trajectory for solar after the Supreme Court’s Stay on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) including the legal merits of the suit, and the impact on the economics, policy, and market trends. Does the Supreme Court’s Stay mean a slower pace for the development of renewables going forward? One might think so. However, we point to the

Southeastern Utilities Take the Reins on Solar Development

By |2018-08-10T15:15:12-04:00May 16th, 2016|Southeast|

Utilities in southern states are evolving towards a renewable future by embracing their solar energy potential and developing beyond federal renewable energy requirements. Major utilities are beginning to step up and procure or build solar without the requirements of a state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) or other incentives. GTM refers to this market trend as ‘voluntary procurement’ (voluntary procurement is defined as the utility either purchasing the energy and environmental attributes from a third-party or owning the solar power plant).

The Solar Value Chain: a Study in Competitive Destruction

By |2018-08-10T13:44:39-04:00December 12th, 2015|Company Update|

SolUnesco presented at the New York InfoCast Energy Project Finance conference December 10th. Our presentation the Economics of Renewable Energy Business Models focused on the trends impacting margins along the value chain.  If you have earned a living in solar for more than a few years, you have seen innovation, unsustainable margins and then dramatic margin compression.  I don’t think anyone is surprised given low barriers to entry and generally commodity like products and services. The presentation (click here) makes

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