Minnesota-based Xcel Energy, one of Colorado’s largest power providers, announced Tuesday that it has reached a settlement with community solar developers and plans to work with them to add another 60 megawatts of community solar power to the state’s grid.
Homeowners who decided to install rooftop solar panels are some of the nation’s biggest new energy producers.
In fact, the residential rooftop solar industry broke multiple records in 2015, according to the US Solar Market Insight Report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. For the first time ever, Americans installed more than 2 gigawatts of rooftop solar last year. That represents a 66 percent increase over the number of rooftop solar installations in 2014.
California’s new energy policy will ensure the sun keeps shining on the state’s solar industry even if it’s not likely to benefit the residential rooftop market.
The new energy policy passed by California legislators last week and waiting for a signature from Governor Jerry Brown, will require utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and for building owners to double the efficiency of their properties by the same time.
Solar power surpassed 20 gigawatts of installed capacity in the United States during the second quarter of 2015 – thanks, in large part, too residential rooftop solar installations.
And that capacity could almost double again in the next year, according to a recently released report from the Solar Energy Industries Association. SEIA projects an additional 18 gigawatts of solar will be installed by the end of 2016. A huge portion of that will be small rooftop solar projects.
While Massachusetts boasts one of the strongest solar industries in the country – thanks in large part to good state policies – looming net metering caps could kill rooftop solar in the state if they’re not raised.
Legislators and Gov. Charlie Baker understand that all too well. The senate passed legislation in July to raise net metering caps. And the governor filed a bill to do the same last week. While solar advocates applaud the efforts, they also criticize the governor’s proposal as short sighted.
It turns out there is a whole lot more solar energy being generated in the United States than official reports indicate – about 50 percent more.
That’s a pretty big deal. When official reports fail to count almost a third of the nation’s solar production, it has a significant impact on policy and perception.