The sun’s beating down across the U.S., causing fires in western states and showing its power once again. Similarly last week, President Obama exerted some of his power in announcing a U.S. plan to fight climate change, in part by increasing the government’s use of renewables and moving forward with making it harder for fossil fuel plants to pollute…and Congress continues to drag its feet on the issue. Meanwhile the final PV module was installed at one of the world’s largest PV projects in the U.S. And third-party ownership company Sunrun announced a major new fund for solar leasing.
Last week Obama laid out a plan for combatting climate change. Still, Congress is dragging its feet on similar actions that could have an even bigger effect on our climate and energy use. Perhaps one of those reasons is that the entrenched energy industries like utilities, as well as coal and gas, are far outspending renewable and even nuclear energy interests. MapLight last week showed that the renewables and nuclear were outspent at a rate of almost six times by entrenched energy companies.
In an effort to spur Congress to action the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), and Climate Policy Initiative released a new study aimed at making it easier to invest in solar. The study "Strategies to Scale-Up U.S. Renewable Energy Investment" was released as Congress is starting to show some interest in the debate around policies like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and master limited partnerships (MLPs) and discusses how such policies can make it easier for more people to invest in solar and at lower rates.
That’s not to say solar is stalled, it’s still marching forward. The final module was installed at the 250 megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch project. Now the project is being connected and anticipated to be fully online by the end of the year. developed by Bechtel Power Corp. for SunPower and NRG Energy, which owns the project, was installed. It’s one of the largest PV projects being built in the world and will soon be completely online.
Likewise Sunrun announced that it’s raised more than $630 million to finance residential rooftop solar installations in its 11-state service area. The financing will help allow it to expand its offerings in the states. Considering that the company is installing at a pace of roughly $2 million a day the money will help the company make if through the year.
In Connecticut the state has introduced new incentives to support commercial solar there. While the state already offered incentives for residential solar it hadn’t offered any for larger systems like those that could cover a warehouse or large box store’s roof.
Meanwhile, over in Tennessee, the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association is working with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the state’s utility, to create a more lasting solar incentive program since it’s current program in the state is already fully subscribed.
Solar got a bit of a spotlight on the ‘ole TV last week, too. HGTV’s Mike Holmes introduced a residential solar education campaign on his Make It Right website. On the site he explains different types of solar panels and how people can install them.