Solar Energy News | Clean Energy News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 07:34:26 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb California encouraging west-facing solar panels

Rooftop solar panels in North America face south. That’s just the way we do it. But California recently began to incentivize west-facing panels over south-facing solar.

New guidelines from the California Energy Commission call for a 15 percent higher rebates for west-facing solar arrays than for south-facing solar panels.

While solar panels collect more energy overall when they point toward the equator, that annual energy advantage isn’t as important as generating more clean energy in the early evening hours when Californians arrive home from work and turn on their air conditions, televisions and microwaves.

Facing rooftop solar panels toward the setting sun, can increase late-day energy production by as much as 50 percent, according to recent studies.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:29:37 -0400
HECO plan triples solar, but will it stop grid defection?

Hawaii Electric Companies proposed a plan this week to triple rooftop solar on the islands it serves by 2030 and reduce utility bills by 20 percent. But the solar industry isn’t applauding the effort yet.

While Hawaii would get more than 65 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030, the plan calls for measures that could increase costs for home and business owners who install solar, offsetting the benefits.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:06:08 -0400
Future for solar not so bright in the Sunshine State

If you ask people who don’t follow the politics or news about the solar industry which US states they think have the most solar panels, they probably wouldn’t guess Massachusetts or New Jersey. Sure, they would probably get California and maybe Arizona. But they’d also probably expect the Sunshine State to be at the top of the list.

Most people, if they didn’t realize solar installations have more to do with policy than the availability of the actual resource, would think the sunny states in the southeast should sparkle with solar panels as you fly over the region.

St. Petersburg, Fla. Has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for a 768-day stretch of sunny days, according to an article in the Las Angeles Times. And it would seem like a good place for solar.

In reality, the prospects for the solar industry in the southeast are dim at best, according to the Las Angeles Times article.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:46:22 -0400
States with the best solar policies also have healthy job growth

It’s not exactly Earth-shattering news that states with more progressive solar policies have more solar energy capacity than states that don’t. But there are a few correlations between solar policy and economic health that might be worth noting.

Environment America released a report on solar policy and solar capacity this week titled Lighting The Way: The top 10 states that helped drive America’s solar energy boom in 2013.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:10:17 -0400
APS aims to compete with Aizona solar installers

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

That seems to be the latest strategy of utility company Arizona Public Services in managing the threat rooftop solar poses to its business model.

The battle between the solar industry and utility companies has made more headlines and stirred more drama and controversy over the last year in Arizona than in almost any other state.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:38:59 -0400
Solar car race driving innovation

There’s been surprisingly little press about the eight solar-powered cars driving from Austin, Texas to Minneapolis. But the cars and their collegiate creators are making history.

Twenty teams of college students from around the world spent two years building advanced solar-powered vehicles and then tested them on courses in Texas earlier this month.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:16:21 -0400
Solar outshines utilities in Iowa court decision

Utilities lost a little more ground in their ongoing battle with the solar industry last week when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that solar installers are allowed to sell power through power purchase agreements.

When solar advocates talk about “monopoly utilities,” they’re not being disparaging. Utility companies in most states are granted monopolies and are allowed to protect their rein over a region. No other utility companies can operate in their territories. State regulators are in place to protect the public and keep the monopoly from exploiting its customers.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:56:37 -0400
Solar + Storage Has Arrived

Battery storage paired with residential rooftop solar arrays are not a thing of the distant future. It’s happening now and companies like SunPower and SolarCity are already selling package systems.

SolarCity partnered with Tesla to manufacture a lithium-ion battery storage system. In a pilot program, SolarCity is offering the battery setup to California customers for $1,500 down and $15 a month on a 10-year lease agreement.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:02:56 -0400
NRG demonstrates utility evolution toward solar power

As most major US utility companies, in their concern over self-preservation, try in vane to squash net metering programs and slow the growth of the solar industry, NRG is innovating and evolving.

NRG is not a cute little clean energy startup out to save the world. It’s the largest power generator in the country. In addition to directly serving electricity customers coast to coast, NRG is a major electricity wholesaler, providing power to other utility companies for a price.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Mon, 07 Jul 2014 18:02:13 -0400
Solar leasing to lose market share

The solar leasing model, which is widely believed to have made rooftop solar installations more mainstream and which is frequently credited for the meteoric rise in residential solar installations, could be losing market share.

GTM Research released a report earlier this week announcing that the leasing model is peaking this year.

Currently, about 68 percent of Americans who install rooftop solar panels on their homes or businesses lease them or sign a power purchase agreement with a third-party owner.

Sunrun, a solar leasing company, has issued numerous reports over the years indicating that the model, which doesn’t require much and sometimes any money at all upfront, has opened solar up to the middle class. The middle class, as a result of third-party-owned solar, now dominates the demographics of households that install solar systems.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Wed, 02 Jul 2014 02:25:52 -0400
Is Elon Musk the Henry Ford of distributed generation technology?

There has been a lot of discussion lately about when solar will be more affordable than grid power. What if someone with deep pockets, big ambitions and the appropriate supply line just committed to making it happen? What would happen then?

We’re about to find out.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Wed, 18 Jun 2014 23:44:55 -0400
US solar industry opposes import tariffs on Chinese panels

US solar industry leaders are campaigning against a likely policy change that will increase import tariffs on Chinese solar panels, saying it could slow the solar industry’s rapid growth domestically.

The US Department of Commerce imposed tariffs on Chinese solar panels made in China in 2012. SolarWorld Industries America filed a petition earlier this year asking the department to close a loophole that excludes panels manufactured outside of China from the tariff.

The department issued a preliminary ruling in SolarWorld’s favor last week. The US Commerce Department and the US International Trade Commission will have to issue final rulings in July before he policy goes into effect.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Wed, 11 Jun 2014 18:36:39 -0400
This week's solar headlines illustrate major shift

The writing is on the wall for electricity generation as we know it.

This week, three major news items could have shared a single headline – solar energy is taking over. This week, these news items hit the Web:  

Solar will reach parity with coal-fired generation in China by 2016

• Barclays downgraded the entire electric sector because of the threat solar poses to its monopoly business model

• A whopping 74 percent of new electricity generation installed in the US during the first quarter of 2014 was solar.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Fri, 30 May 2014 23:41:04 -0400
California homebuyers paying a premium for rooftop solar

Rooftop solar panels are proving profitable when homeowners sell, according to a recent study from the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory.

Researchers evaluated 1,894 sales of California homes that featured rooftop solar arrays between 2000 and 2009 and compared them with 70,425 sales of homes without solar arrays.

On average, homebuyers paid an extra $24,705 for homes with rooftop solar arrays, according to the study titled “Exploring California PV Home Premiums.”

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Sat, 24 May 2014 18:18:56 -0400