IAH Power Co. News: A slight change in the transition to solar (From Jim Wilson)

Late last week Congress passed the new Federal budget. Included was an extension for five years of the 30% tax credit for investments in renewable energy. The credit had been scheduled to end in 2016; Congress’ action was a surprise even for people in the solar industry.

This change in the law means that we can reduce the cost of power on the island by slowing our transition to solar. The technology of battery storage is evolving very rapidly and prices for both solar panels and batteries are falling. This means the longer we wait the less expensive the system will be, but it doesn’t change our basic strategy. We are still faced with the problem of preparing for a sudden failure of the cable.

Consequently, we expect to invest less in the initial system but will design it so that it (1) puts us in a position to rapidly build out to a fully independent system in the event of a cable failure, and (2) gives us the experience we need operating the technology.

In short, we will start the project at about the same time as before. We will not invest as much initially and will put the emphasis on preparation for a quick build-out after a cable failure. And we will hope the cable holds on for a few more years!

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