Solar Energy Progress in Nevada May Be a Harbinger for Other States

first_imgSolar Energy Progress in Nevada May Be a Harbinger for Other States FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享High Country News: Near the end of 2005, Louise Helton had one of those life-changing moments that usually only happen in Hollywood movies. Friends had invited her to join Nevada movers and shakers in an ostentatiously decorated Las Vegas casino ballroom to hear former President Bill Clinton speak. He challenged the audience to diversify the state’s economy, and to do so in a very specific way. Adopting a Southern drawl, Helton recalls the words that inspired her: “And he said, ‘If I were y’all, y’all would be the Saudi Arabia of solar.’ ” Clinton’s pitch made sense to the 51-year-old Helton. With its abundant sunshine, Nevada was well positioned to become a clean energy leader. Besides, the state lacks its own coal or natural gas reserves, so it has to import those conventional fuels, thus benefiting other states’ economies instead of its own. “There is no better or cheaper resource than the sun that is shining down on the sunniest place in the West,” Helton says.Clinton’s words percolated away inside Helton for a few years. Then, in 2008, she took the leap. Using savings from the two decades she spent working with at-risk kids, she opened her own company, 1 Sun Solar Electric. She kept costs down by melding it with her life partner’s successful tile and stone company, and in 2009, they started attaching solar panels to roofs in Las Vegas. Her timing was unfortunate; the recession hit Las Vegas especially hard and the impacts lingered, but Helton was able to keep her small crew working and her business in the black. By the time Nevada’s economy bounced back in 2014, the cost of solar panels had plummeted. Helton’s company was ready to ride the wave. “We were making a very good living and supporting a crew of folks who were able to support their families,” she recalls.Her business relied on a state law that required the monopoly electricity provider, NV Energy, to pay customers for power generated by their solar panels. For each unit of energy provided to the grid, NV Energy would give them a free unit. This one-to-one swap, called net metering, kept solar customers’ bills low and reduced the time it took to recoup their upfront investments.Big companies that lease solar panels, such as SolarCity and Sunrun, swooped into Nevada, hiring hundreds of people. In 2015, a record 24,564 people applied to be solar customers with NV Energy, according to the company. But near the end of that year, the Public Utility Commission of Nevada, the state’s utility regulators, crushed the nascent solar boom by increasing fees for solar customers and slashing reimbursements for the power they feed into the grid. That fundamentally altered the economics of rooftop solar. “It was stunning,” Helton recalls. “That’s how we found ourselves upside-down and backwards and almost out of business.”The Nevada regulators’ order was the most extreme example of a nationwide effort by corporate utilities — panicked about losing market share and profits — to roll back net-metering policies. It’s backed by the deep pockets of fossil fuel industrialists like the Koch brothers, conservative lobbying groups like ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the electricity industry’s own trade group, the Edison Electric Institute. But the Nevada regulators unexpectedly sparked a fierce resistance movement, comprised not only of environmentalists and clean-energy advocates, but also libertarians, small-business owners like Helton, and ordinary citizens who have installed rooftop panels or thought about doing so. It’s not just a battle between dirty and clean energy; it involves corporate profits, individual freedom and the appropriate role of government in incentivizing market shifts. And if the ultimate outcome in Nevada is any indication, the utilities have a tough fight ahead of them.Full article: Big Utilities Meet Their Match in Solar Scufflelast_img read more

Marshall making an impact on defense

first_imgBig time player · Freshman cornerback Iman Marshall committed to USC as a five-star recruit last Feburary out of Long Beach Poly High School, which is also the alma mater of star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. – Nick Entin | Daily TrojanHalfway through his first season at USC, cornerback Iman “Biggie” Marshall has learned that there are things in college football that are going to be out of his control.After a shocking head coaching change and being on the losing end of a few meaningful catches this season, Marshall has embraced the one thing that he knows he can manage: his work ethic.Marshall has stayed and worked with assistant defensive coach Drew Pearson  after every practice throughout the season to improve his technique, endurance and ability to finish plays. The two seem to work equally hard in their sessions, as Pearson plays the role of the wide receiver and challenges Marshall to be physical with him off the line and throughout the route.“It’s the sign of a guy who wants to be great. He’s not satisfied with where he’s at yet. He wants to be great, and he works at his craft,” said interim head coach Clay Helton. “There is a fine line between overworking yourself, but there have been a lot of guys who have spent a lot of hours on this practice field that have gone on to do great things. I think that Biggie wants to fall in line with those guys.”The 6-foot-2, 200-pound freshman had already been known for his physical play at Long Beach Poly where he made the 2014 USA Today All-USA first team, and was widely considered the top high school cornerback in the entire country.The amount of work Marshall has put in since arriving at USC has certainty impressed veteran players like redshirt junior Zach Banner, who has acted as a mentors for the younger guys.“He’s a really hard worker and humble kid who is always out here doing extra after practice,” Banner said Wednesday. “He’s a really good player who is going to be really special.”Marshall said that being around veteran defensive backs like Kevon Seymour, Adoree’ Jackson, linebacker Su’a Cravens and safety Chris Hawkins  has given him a unique opportunity to learn and develop as a cornerback.“The adjustment has been really cool. Just take all that knowledge and soak it in,” Marshall said. “A lot of the older dudes have been bringing me along and helping me out through this whole transition, and I really appreciate that.”Marshall has been thrown into the fire since he started at USC, stepping into his current role for Kevon Seymour, who was injured at the time.Additionally, injuries to wide receivers such as Darreus Rodgers and Steven Mitchell resulted in Jackson playing more snaps on offense; and Marshall as cornerback. Marshall leads all USC DBs with 280 snaps and has allowed only eight catches on 16 targets, with one interception.“If you ask me one thing about Iman that has enabled him to play early, I would say it’s his competitiveness,” defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said.  “He’s a guy who wants to go play man to man. He wants to go make the big tackle on third and three.”Cameron Smith, who also became a defensive starter as a freshman, is excited about playing alongside Marshall in the coming years at USC.“Marshall is a baller, obviously, because we have seen what he has done,” Smith said. “I think that is one of the tougher positions, to come in and play at corner, because of the athleticism and football IQ you need back there. He’s doing a great job, and he’s going to keep getting better. He’s going to be huge in the coming years.”Marshall had another impressive practice Wednesday when he intercepted Cody Kessler’s pass to receiver George Katrib and had a few pass breakups after. But despite his hard work, Marshall believes that it will never be enough to prepare him for the games. But, Marshall says that he stays with coaches after every practice to keep improving his fundamentals and his physicality so that he’ll be in the best position possible to make the next play.“You know at the position I’m playing, you can’t be perfect and that you’re never going to have a perfect outing,” Marshall said. “There are players who have been in the NFL for 10 years who have become so technically sound at the position, who still mess up a little bit. And then things can happen wrong. So, that’s why coach and I do as much as possible to be prepared.”Justin Wilcox said that he’s told Marshall that he can be “disappointed, just not discouraged,” by those “up for grabs” passes that he’s come short on this season in games such as Stanford and Notre Dame this season. But Wilcox added that the Division I atmosphere hasn’t been too big for Marshall by any means, and says that the ferocious way “Biggie” approaches every practice is going to translate into an incredibly bright future for the freshman.“If it is a 50-50 ball and they make a great catch, ‘hey man’, I’m still going to put him out there again because I believe in him,” Wilcox said. “Just like I do the other guys, I believe he’s going to make those plays when it’s his day. He has got a lot of room to grow still. But, I’m glad he is with us, and we are going to keep continuing to push him.”last_img read more