Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Going Solar Just Got Easier

Business
Going Solar Just Got Easier

Yeloha, the Boston-based startup that allows customers to go solar without owning a single panel, was already a game-changer when it first debuted in June. But its latest move could alter the energy landscape even further.

Yeloha, which has been dubbed the Airbnb of solar, has teamed up with its first utility, Green Mountain Power (GMP), which provides electricity to more than three-quarters of Vermont.

"This partnership marks the first utility-adopted Sharing Economy platform to offer its customers the opportunity to generate their own energy and share it with other residents online. The initiative represents a beacon of change for energy nationwide," said Amit Rosner, Yeloha co-founder and CEO.

GMP is a well-regarded energy provider itself. For instance, it's the first utility in the world to receive B Corp certification, and one of the first energy companies in the country to offer Tesla's new home battery.

Solar energy, which is on track for another record-breaking year, is something that many Americans want but, unfortunately, can't have. Not everyone owns their own home, and for those who do, photovoltaic panels might not be an affordable reality, or their roofs might not be suitable if it's blocked by shade. That's why this partnership between Yeloha and GMP could change the status quo.

Read page 1

The companies are basically making it possible for Vermonters without panels, such as renters and apartment dwellers, to purchase (cheaper and cleaner) solar off another homeowner's or business' roof. On the flip side, Vermonters who do have a suitable roof will be offered to host the panels free of charge in exchange for sharing some of their solar power.

The service seems like a win-win-win for hosts, partners and our clean energy future alike.

"This is a unique opportunity to empower more people to be able to harness the power of the sun," said GMP president and CEO Mary Powell. "We see a tremendous opportunity in leveraging more rooftops around Vermont for the benefit of all those who may currently be renters, or own homes that are not well suited for solar."

"As Vermont's energy company of the future, we are transforming the old grid system into one where power is generated and consumed closer to the home or community where it is needed," she continued. "This partnership with Yeloha will help accelerate this revolution in distributed power."

Powell admitted to Fast Company that the grid today is highly inefficient, citing how GMP needs to maintain two, expensive and rarely used diesel-powered "peaker plants" that generally run only when energy demands are high. She envisions a future in which the grid is merely a backup for local networks.

She also admitted that GMP, which hasn't lost significant revenue due to solar yet, could in the future. According to Fast Company, to make up for possible revenue losses, GMP plans to "[reduce] investment in long-range transmission and distribution, and by being a partner to customers as they upgrade their homes and businesses. Utilities can share in the revenue going to third-party contractors installing solar and associated equipment, she believes."

Rosner envisions expanding Yeloha to other utilities beyond Vermont. "Although utility partnerships are not a requirement for our expansion into new territories, by partnering directly with GMP, the process can be greatly accelerated and can become more flexible," he told Fast Company.

The GMP-Yeloha pilot program will kick off in the Vermont cities of Rutland and Barre.

“We are thrilled to have this new option for our residents who rent or live where solar isn’t possible,” said Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon. “Bringing the value and benefits of solar to more Vermonters is a great step forward and will help economically here and across the state.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Solar-Powered Beach Mat Charges Your Phone and Chills Your Beverages

Is Your Retirement Invested in Fossil Fuels?

Tesla + Airbnb Pave Way for Cross-Country Supercharger Network

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A new study invites parents of cancer patients to answer questions about their environment. FatCamera / Getty Images

By Jennifer Sass, Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Dr. Philip J. Landrigan and Simon Strong

"Prevention is the cure for child/teen cancer." This is the welcoming statement on a website called 'TheReasonsWhy.Us', where families affected by childhood cancers can sign up for a landmark new study into the potential environmental causes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Madagascar has been experiencing ongoing droughts and food insecurity since 2016. arturbo / Getty Images

Nearly 1.6 million people in the southern part of Madagascar have faced food insecurity since 2016, experiencing one drought after another, the United Nations World Food Program reported.

Read More Show Less
Lakota spiritual leader Chief Arvol Looking Horse attends a demonstration against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2015. Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of his administration, a document reported by CBC on Sunday suggests.

Read More Show Less
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst stand at the Orion spacecraft during a visit at the training unit of the Columbus space laboratory at the European Astronaut training centre of the European Space Agency ESA in Cologne, Germany on May 18, 2016. Ina Fassbender / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Monir Ghaedi

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.

Read More Show Less