NREL Conduit Blog

The NREL Conduit Blog discusses research relevant to state, local, and tribal governments. Contributing authors provide posts related to events, policy analysis, and decision support outcomes to inform the market in a credible and timely fashion.

Solar Ready Vets for Solar Ready Communities

Nov. 11, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar

Flourishing state and local solar markets demand a skilled workforce capable of meeting industry demands. The solar industry employs professionals across various sectors: manufacturing, installation, sales and distribution, and project development. And, according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Job’s Census, job growth in the solar industry has taken off in the past five years with 2014 numbers showing that the solar industry added jobs “at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the overall economy.” Continue reading

Meet a Solar Expert: Caleb Rockenbaugh

Sept. 28, 2015 by Erin Nobler

This STAT Chat podcast features Caleb Rockenbaugh, an engineer for the Technical Assessment and Screening group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). He talks about his role and details several of the projects that he's worked on through the country. Continue reading

Meet a Solar Expert Part Two: Carolyn Davidson

Aug. 21, 2015 by Erin Nobler

This STAT Chat podcast features Carolyn Davidson, an economic analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), discussing data-driven market analysis and modeling as part of our Meet a Solar Expert series meant to give listeners a behind the scenes look at the working world of industry professionals. Continue reading

Solar Energy Improving Resiliency: A Look at California During a Historical Drought

Aug. 19, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar

In February, the Solar STAT blog featured a post on 2012’s Hurricane Sandy and  how solar PV can support disaster resiliency . Extreme weather events are not limited to hurricanes, of course. Others, like California’s ongoing drought, pose additional challenges for electricity generators but also demonstrate an emerging role for solar energy. Continue reading

STAT Team Delivers In-Depth Technical Assistance to State, Local Governments

April 29, 2015 by Kim Peterson

Over the past few months, NREL’s STAT team has been digging in to help several state and local jurisdictions take on multifaceted solar market barriers.  Direct technical assistance recipients include the New York State Department of Public Service and Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as participants in working groups on rate design and community solar. Continue reading

Trip Notes: How Solar Policy Issues in Jamaica Compare to U.S. Market Needs

March 17, 2015 by Sherry Stout

Last week, two members of NREL's Solar Technical Assistance Team—Liz Doris and I—had the opportunity to travel to Jamaica to discuss the country's net billing program with a variety of stakeholders. Our work under this project is being funded by the State Department’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID), but we were able to draw extensively upon our experience supporting state and local governments through STAT. Continue reading

How Solar PV Can Support Disaster Resiliency

Feb. 3, 2015 by Eliza Hotchkiss

When Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the east coast of the United States, New Jersey was ranked second in the country for solar photovoltaic (PV) implementation—only behind California. However, when millions of New Jerseyans were without power after the storm, only two PV systems in the state were operational. Continue reading

Solar Technical Assistance in Action: Delaware's Inverter Story

Jan. 30, 2015 by Sherry Stout

Under U.S. law, individual states can evaluate and modify interconnection and net metering policies and regulations based on changes in technology. Due to the increasing complexity of new photovoltaic (PV) technologies, one of the most popular requests received by NREL's Solar Technical Assistance Team (STAT) is for help with understanding and evaluating solar interconnection and net metering policy options. Continue reading

From Basic Information to Specific Requests, Technical Assistance Can Start Anywhere

Dec. 19, 2014 by Sherry Stout

Sometimes state and local governments are not quite sure what type of technical assistance they need, but they know that they need credible information on how to effectively support solar market development. Often, these requests are fairly general at first and then get more specific through either the scoping process or multiple requests over time. Case in point: Michigan. Continue reading

What is Community Solar Going to Cost?

Nov. 6, 2014 by Sherry Stout

For many people, owning a private solar photovoltaic (PV) generation system is simply not feasible because of costs, siting issues, or housing type (i.e. rental properties or multifamily housing units). Community solar programs - sometimes called solar gardens - provide one way to increase access to the solar market, reduce up-front costs, and allow for optimal siting. Continue reading