Solar Energy News

What's happening around the world in the solar industry and how it might affect you

Week in Review: Solar steams ahead

A solar home.The world of solar continues to boom with more companies getting into the game. For instance Edison International, one of the country’s biggest energy companies bought a solar developer last week, while a bank opened up a new branch across the country devoted to renewable energy.

First off though, NerdWallet came out with a ranking of the best states for solar. The financial advising site recently found that Arizona, California, Delaware, Hawaii and Maryland are the best states for going solar. The site looking at various factors including what types of incentives for going solar are offered in a state and locally as well as how much electricity from the grid costs in the state. It found that California still led the pack.

Perhaps that’s because California has done more for solar, as has local companies, like SunPower. The company recently launched the SunPower Solar Science Academy, which allows California high school students an opportunity to learn about solar technologies and helps prepare them for future jobs in the industry.

Or perhaps it’s because towns and cities also realize the potential of solar. For instance, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors recently voted in favor of PACE financing, significantly lowering the threshold for people to use PACE financing to go solar, from $50,000 to $5,000. The vote allows two companies, Hero and Figtree, to manage the PACE financing in the county.

In addition, nine California cities are simplifying the solar permitting process—together. By doing so it makes it much easier for solar installers to get permits and brings the cost down for home and business owners. And since the program is being rolled out in multiple locations, installers won’t have to know as many local ordinances and procedures.

Last week Admirals Bank announced it was opening a new renewable energy branch across the country from its Boston headquarters. The new Admirals Alternatives branch, the Renewable Energy Lending Business Development Center, is opening up in San Francisco and will focus on financing renewable energy projects.

Since launching its solar service in 2011 Vivint, a home services company, has exploded. It’s now the second largest residential solar installer in the country. And last week it announced that it has secured $200 million in financing to support solar third-party ownership options for homeowners.

Edison International, which owns Southern California Edison purchased SoCore Energy, a commercial solar installer. The purchase will allow the utility and energy service company to enter the solar market in a way that more energy companies are doing, like NRG Energy. 

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