Centralized solar power station development represents an exciting opportunity to replace fossil fuels with emission-free solar energy at entirely new orders of magnitude and economies of cost. But big solar requires big policy changes to effectively bring this clean energy generation resource to scale.
- Build Demand: Effective and aggressive renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in each state are key to driving the economies of scale that will bring down the cost of large-scale solar generation.
- Provide Financial Incentives: When it comes time to meet demand, project finance can be a major barrier to large-scale solar adoption – particularly in these challenging economic times. Financial incentives in the form of tax abatements or loan guarantees can effectively overcome that economic barrier.
- Improve the Procurement Process: Even with strong renewable energy goals in place, an arduous RFP processes can stand in the way of efficient large-scale solar project development. RFP reform includes streamlining the overall process, accelerating projects of higher viability, and planning for incremental, long-term growth to best meet the utility’s clean energy goals.
- Enable New Transmission: Success in the fight against climate change will require an unprecedented amount of renewable energy–and running a grid with large levels of variable resources is going to need new infrastructure. In order to ensure an electron is available when its needed, we need to tap into a wide variety of resources with different generating profiles, spread over wide geographic areas. Our planning processes need to be reformed with renewable success at the heart of it: we need a national or regional authority with oversight for effective planning across state lines and tariff administration to allow for regional cost allocation..
- Land-Use Issues: Large-scale solar energy project development will require the use of large tracks of land. The key will be to ensure that this development is done in a way that minimizes impact and maximizes our conservation values.
- Grid Integration: Effectively running a grid with high levels of variable resources is going to require changes not just to infrastructure, but to operating procedures. We are working on helio-centric regulatory reform to ensure that the full suite of tools available are brought to bear — from energy storage, to demand response and interconnection procedures.