August 3rd, 2012
Two weeks ago we caught wind that Central Hudson Gas & Electric (CHG&E) in upstate New York had surpassed its net metering program cap of 12 MW and chose to suspend any new applications. To the dismay of many, particularly local solar installers operating in the Hudson Valley, this program suspension came as a bit of a surprise.
Local solar installer, Hudson Valley Clean Energy, quickly filed a petition with the NY Public Service Commission requesting both an increase to the utility’s net metering program cap and for the Commission to urge CHG&E to continue accepting applications. » Read the rest of this entry «
July 23rd, 2012
While once indifferent to solar, New Jersey Governor Christie turned solar champion today by signing legislation that will ensure that the state is able to sustain its impressive solar growth over the coming years.
And while many solar supporters in Pennsylvania have looked to Harrisburg to address this issue with a similar approach to that of Governor Christie, Pennsylvania’s policymakers have failed to act before taking their summer recess.
» Read the rest of this entry «
June 13th, 2012
This morning our friends at SEIA and GTM Research released their latest report on American solar market trends. U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q1 2012 found that solar growth continued its breakneck pace, with installations for the quarter 85% higher than last year this time – making it highest first quarter in history. Cumulatively, the U.S. has installed nearly 5,000 megawatts of solar electric capacity. Just five years ago, we were celebrating 150 megawatts installed nationwide. Let’s take a moment to appreciate just how far we’ve come in such a short time. » Read the rest of this entry «
May 22nd, 2012
With a PUC vote on the horizon, the final tally is in! Solar, environmental, public interest and science groups banded together to help Californians send nearly 60,000 messages asking the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to expand a popular clean energy program called net metering. » Read the rest of this entry «
April 12th, 2012
Today we’re celebrating an interim win for California rooftop solar along with our partners at SEIA, IREC and the Sierra Club. Together we have been working to encourage the utility regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to clarify the methodology being used to calculate the cap on the state’s net metering program, that billing arrangement that allows solar power customers’ meters to spin backwards and generate savings on their electricity bills. Well PUC Chairmain Peevey has just issued a proposed decision on the cap methodology that, if approved by the full Commission, will help boost solar use by homeowners, businesses, and public agencies in a big way. » Read the rest of this entry «
September 19th, 2011
Our friends at the Solar Foundation released a sneak peek at the results of their 2011 National Solar Jobs Census. It comes as no surprise to any of us working in solar that this fast growing industry continues to brighten the American economy . . .
The census data shows that 100,237 Americans are now working in the U.S. solar industry. That’s more than U.S. coal mining. That’s more than U.S. steel and iron production. That’s wayyyyyy more than U.S. crude oil and natural gas pipeline transportation. That’s real. » Read the rest of this entry «
December 16th, 2010
It’s been a banner week for reports on the state of the American solar energy economy. Lots of great new data indicating sunny times for U.S. solar. . .
* Freeing the Grid 2010 – evaluation of states’ net metering & interconnection policies that empower customer investment in DG renewables. In 2010, 37 states received A or B grades for their net metering policies, up from 13 states in 2007. Twenty states received A or B grades for good interconnection practices, a tremendous improvement over the solitary B grade awarded in 2007. States continue to drive American solar energy policy progress. » Read the rest of this entry «
December 14th, 2010
When we talk about solar jobs and economic development, naysayers raise the spectre of U.S. investment in renewable energy simply being lost to support manufacturing growth overseas. We’ve long countered that on a number of fronts. First of all, manufacturing isn’t everything. 75% of the jobs created in the solar industry are actually associated with the installation side of the business. Those jobs – constructing, financing, marketing, selling and providing legal services for solar projects – are likely to be served by a local U.S. workforce. » Read the rest of this entry «
November 17th, 2010
With the election over, Congress now has just a few weeks to tackle any unfinished business before adjourning for the year. First up on the list is extending popular tax cuts that are otherwise set to expire at the end of the year. Along with our friends at SEIA, we are urging the Senate to extend time-sensitive renewable energy legislation as part of this last hurrah for 2010.
If we’re going to keep solar growing and creating jobs right now when our nation needs it most, the single greatest federal policy priority is an extension of the 1603 Treasury Grant Program that’s set to expire next month. » Read the rest of this entry «
February 2nd, 2010
Our friends in Washington at the Solar Energy Industries Association (www.seia.org) just shared some great news. President Obama’s federal budget for 2011 was released yesterday, and it includes $302.4 million for the solar energy program at the Department of Energy (DOE). This is a 22% increase from last year’s funding level. In addition, DOE’s Building Technologies budget includes another $7.2 million for solar heating and cooling, also an increase over last year’s budget. Obama’s budget request also includes additional funding for the solar manufacturing tax credit, to the tune of $5 billion (more than double the current funding level).
The proposed funding increase for solar related programs is a victory to savor, particularly given that Obama’s team suggested spending cuts to almost all other aspects of the budget. In an attempt to bring down the federal deficit the President’s budget includes a freeze on the overall level of “discretionary spending” apart from national security spending and the mandatory spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Click here for news on Obama’s plan to trim the deficit.
The President’s budget still needs to be approved by Congress, and like always SEIA will take the lead on advocating for the strongest funding levels possible for solar.
Below is a breakdown provided by SEIA on the budget: Total program request: $302.4 million, increased from $225 in current budget:
- $152 million for PV, increased from $128.5 million
- $98.2 million for CSP (Including $50 million for new demonstration program), increased from $49.7 million
- $30.7 million for systems integration, increased from $23.3 million
- $21.5 million for market transformation, decreased from $23.5 million
DOE Solar Program Highlights:
- Advanced PV manufacturing
- Reliability (of components) to extend life of PV system
- Thermal storage research to make CSP cost-competitive as baseload power
- New Concentrating Solar Power demonstration program to show that technologies can scale up, provide operational data needed by finance community to invest in a project.
DOE Building Technologies Program:
- $7.3 million for solar heating and cooling
- Continued support for renewable generators, reliability
- New $6.4 million for “permitting, siting and analysis” to educate states, regional grid operators, federal agencies and help assist in modernizing the electric grid.
- $5 billion for the previously mentioned Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credit.
FY2011 Department of the Interior Budget Highlights:
- Total of $73 million investment in renewable energy.