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Solar Power

Hawai'i: The Next Frontier

July 15, 2015 by Maximilian Auffhammer
1

Hawai'i Utilities

Aloha, dear readers. I just got to spend some time with a number of the world’s smartest economists on Oahu and some vacation time on Maui. Hawai’i is an awesome place. Not only because of its pristine beaches, balmy waters and glorious sunsets, but because of the energy challenges and opportunities it faces.[read more]

There's a Civil War Brewing Over Solar in Florida

July 14, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
8

Solar Fight in Florida

City officials clash over a petition to expand third-party solar sales in the state.

Florida has a lot of laws banning odd things. Public buildings are not allowed to install doors that open inward; skateboarding anywhere in the state is illegal without a permit. These legacy laws are never enforced. But there's another that is enforced every day: a ban on third-party sales of solar electricity.[read more]

Reliability Is Key Issue For Electric Utilities In Changing Market

July 13, 2015 by Dennis Wamsted
2

Energy Marktes and Reliability

In a recent article in Utility Dive, Tucson Electric Power’s Carmine Tilghman made a big deal about the unfavorable economics of Tesla’s current 7 kilowatt-hour Powerwall battery option, which he said would cost consumers $7,000 installed.[read more]

California Dreamin' of Distributed Energy Resources, as Utilities File Plans

July 13, 2015 by Lexie Briggs

California and State Energy Policy

In many ways, California is a special case. With an economy about the same size of Canada’s ($2.3 trillion in 2014) and a population of more than 38 million (roughly one in eight Americans is a Californian), California’s energy policies affect huge numbers of people and a large portion of the American economy.[read more]

Technological Advancements Support Sustainability

July 9, 2015 by Dan Liggett

Sustainability and Tech

As the respected Worldwatch Institute cites in its 2015 global status report, released in June 2015, renewable energy continued to grow during 2014 against the backdrop of increasing global energy consumption, particularly in developing countries, and a dramatic decline on oil prices.[read more]

Approaching Backfire: Energy Consumption in Developing Countries

July 8, 2015 by Alex Trembath
1

Energy consumption is going to explode in poor countries this century. Over 90 percent of the growth in energy consumption through 2050 will occur in non-OECD countries. These countries are also where the IEA hopes to reduce future demand growth the most in the name of mitigating climate change.[read more]

Sustainability Policy Is Taking Hold in China

July 7, 2015 by Steven Cohen

China Sustainability Policy

Whenever I try to analyze China's sustainability policies I am mindful of the fact that I am far from an expert on China's history, culture, economy or politics. Nevertheless, even a casual observer can see the intense drive to bring sustainability factors into the massive national mission to grow China's economy.[read more]

Financing Energy Storage: Taking Cues From the Success of PV

July 7, 2015 by Eric Wesoff
1

PV and Energy Finance

When it comes to solar project finance, the PV market is in the midst of a small golden age of sorts. Tax equity funds and PPAs are now joined by asset-backed securities, the potential for MLP status, loans, community solar, PACE financing, and solar bonds as some of the tools that can back solar projects.[read more]

Cheapest Solar Ever: Austin Energy Gets 1.2 Gigawatts of Solar Bids for Less Than 4 Cents

July 2, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
47

Solar Cost Reduction Efforts

A lot more cheap solar is coming for Austin, Texas. The city's utility, Austin Energy, just released new data on developer bids for PV projects as part of a 600-megawatt procurement. The numbers show how far solar prices have come down over the last year -- and will continue to drop.[read more]

Solar's Value for Grid Circuits: Not Much on Average, but Huge for a Handful

July 1, 2015 by Jeff St. John
1

Solar and the Grid

Solar advocates and opponents have argued over the merits of various studies about the relative costs and benefits of distributed solar PV. Different studies have reached different results -- so different that the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote an entire report just to compare and contrast 16 of them.[read more]

Residential PACE on the Rise; Innovative Solar Financing

July 1, 2015 by Dan Scripps

Residential PACE Financing

In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Authority almost killed Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs (PACE) for residential properties. A lot can happen in five years, and what was once a program on the verge of foreclosure is now a booming market.[read more]

North Carolina Solar Leadership at the Crossroads

June 30, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard
2

Solar in the States

As a North Carolinian, I can tell you it's pretty darned amazing that, last year, our state was number 2 in the nation in installed solar capacity. And number 4 in the first quarter of 2015, despite what can only be described as some really crappy (and construction-slowing) winter weather.[read more]

Solar Star, Largest PV Power Plant in the World, Now Operational

June 25, 2015 by Eric Wesoff

Solar Star PV Plant

BHE Renewables' 579-megawatt solar project located in in Antelope Valley, California is now fully connected to the California ISO grid. That allows the facility, dubbed "Solar Star," to claim the title of the largest operational solar project on the planet.[read more]

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How Much Land Does Solar, Wind and Nuclear Energy Require?

June 24, 2015 by Jesse Jenkins
88

Land use impacts of solar wind and nuclear energy.

Does wind and solar take up too much land to be practical? Does the extreme energy density of nuclear fuel make it the ecologically ideal energy source? In this post, I run the numbers on the land use impact of wind, solar, nuclear and other energy sources.[read more]

Wind and Solar Will Soon Become the 'Least-Cost Option Almost Universally'

June 24, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
8

Wind and Solar Costs

Two new reports on global demand for renewables forecast dramatic growth in nearly every region of the world over the coming decades. While promotion policies are still important for supporting the industry, conventional technologies like wind and solar are becoming cheap enough to compete without subsidies.[read more]