Solar Energy News | Clean Energy News Sat, 01 Nov 2014 00:28:16 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Should utilities be allowed to enter the solar biz?

If utility companies start installing rooftop solar panels, does it make them clever or greedy?

The answer is probably a bit of both. If they would have had any vision or foresight, utility companies would have started their own distributed generation and rooftop solar enterprises years ago when their emerging competition did. Maybe 2010 or 2011 would have been good years to jump on the bandwagon.

But just as Blockbuster (remember the brick and mortar video rental stores?) waited until Netflix stomped on its market share to start its own mail-in rental service, utility companies are showing up a bit late to the party.

In theory, it’s a great idea for utilities to offer rooftop solar to their customers. Their deep pockets and customer access could lead to tremendous gains for solar adoption.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:50:04 -0400
SolarCity bond offering could catapult the company

Now that any ordinary person with $1,000 can invest in SolarCity’s solar bonds, the already-strong company could have access to nearly unlimited capital for continued growth and expansion.

SolarCity, the country’s largest solar installer, installs more than a third of all residential solar panels sold in the United States right now. And it only operates in 15 states.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:51:30 -0400
SolarCity's loan program could expand solar market

SolarCity launched a new loan program this week that didn’t make big headlines, but that could be big news for the solar industry.

SolarCity and its counterparts Sungevity, Sunrun and Vivint Solar helped to make rooftop solar mainstream by developing the leasing model. Instead of ponying up cash for a rooftop solar installation or begging the bank to come up with a viable loan package, homeowners could have solar panels installed on their homes and pay the solar installer instead of the utility company for power.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Thu, 09 Oct 2014 02:49:33 -0400
Solar plane to circumnavigate the globe from UAE

Solar panels on the roof of your house – of course. Solar panels on the roof of your car – makes sense, especially if your car is electric. Solar panels on the wings of your plane? That’s a little more futuristic. But it’s happening.

The Solar Impulse 2, debuted in April, seats two, flies about 60 miles per hour and needs only stop to give the pilot a break. If not for its passengers, the solar-powered plane could theoretically fly forever without ever stopping.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 23:25:54 -0400
Obama announces solar projects, programs ahead of UN Climate Summit

President Barack Obama made several announcements about programs designed to increase solar energy generation and economic stability ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit schedule to start this week.

First, Obama announced an aggressive plan to install more than 35 megawatts of solar in rural America. The Department of Agriculture has pledged to spend $68 million on energy efficiency upgrades and new solar installations, Obama said Thursday.

]]> (Amanda H. Miller) Solar Energy News Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:06:56 -0400
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