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Solar STAT Blog

The Solar STAT blog discusses state and local efforts to develop solar markets in the United States. With support from the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, NREL’s Solar Technical Assistance Team (STAT) authors weekly posts related to events, solar policy analysis, and technical assistance outcomes for the purpose of informing the market in a credible and timely fashion.

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The Spot for Clean Energy: A One-Stop Shop for State-by-State Solar Market Analysis

May 9, 2016 by

Given the nature of the United States’ solar market—with each of the 50 states forging independent paths—the number of distinct solar policies and programs is overwhelming.  For those attempting to wade through all of this data and conduct state-by-state policy and market analyses, the task can be quite cumbersome and intimidating. Until now.

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SolSmart Launches to Support Local Governments

May 4, 2016 by

As a member of the Solar Technical Assistance Team (STAT) network, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provides direct technical assistance to state and local governments on challenges that require solar market expertise. STAT is proud to support other programs that have the same goal, so it’s exciting to see the launch of the SolSmart program.

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Meet a Solar Expert: Phillip Beiter and Anthony Lopez

May 2, 2016 by

This STAT Chat podcast features Phillip Beiter and Anthony Lopez from the Strategic Analysis Center as part of the Meet a Solar Expert series, a behind the scenes look at solar industry professionals.

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Life Cycle Assessment and Photovoltaic (PV) Recycling: Designing a More Sustainable Energy System

April 19, 2016 by

What happens to solar panels and materials after their useful life? What role does recycling play in the lifecycle of photovoltaic (PV) systems? Is it possible to design PV in a “cradle to cradle”[1] approach so that materials are designed with the purpose of being reused, upcycled, or recycled to a safe and useable material instead of ending up in landfills? From 2010 to the 2nd-quarter of 2015, the U.S. has cumulatively installed 19,884 MWdc of PV in the residential, non-residential, and utility markets[2] Given the growth in solar installations over the last five years, exploring these questions is prudent for designing a more sustainable energy system.

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Batteries 101 Series: How to Talk About Batteries and Power-To-Energy Ratios

April 13, 2016 by

This series explains more about batteries and the power-to-energy ratios. This is the second part of a two-part series. Read part one of the series.

As solar and other renewable energy technologies become more mainstream, the public becomes more familiar with the language of photovoltaics (PV).  Even if most people don’t have a thorough understanding of how it works, homeowners with a PV system may know the difference between the rated capacity of the system (expressed in kilowatts) and the amount of electricity that the system actually produces (expressed in kilowatt-hours). Homeowners may be confident explaining their 5-kilowatt system produces about 7,000 kilowatt-hours per year.

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Batteries 101 Series: Use Cases and Value Streams for Energy Storage

March 25, 2016 by

This series explains the basics of batteries for energy storage as well as providing an overview of relevant topics to help readers understand the applications of batteries.  This is the first part of a two-part series. Read part two of the series.

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Solar Policy and the 2016 Legislative Session across the States

March 17, 2016 by

With the 2016 legislative session well underway, it is valuable to take stock of the legislation addressing solar energy production across various states. The Center for the New Energy Economy’s Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker (AEL Tracker) follows state legislation across ten policy categories. As of February 8th, there were 957 bills in the AEL Tracker unique to the 2016 legislative session. Of those 957, 133 bills, or 14%, directly address solar energy.[1]

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Hot Topics: Voluntary Green Power Markets

March 7, 2016 by

This STAT Chat podcast features Eric O’Shaughnessy, an analyst at the Strategic Energy Analysis Center, talking about voluntary green power markets.

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Reflections on NASEO’s 2016 Energy Policy Outlook Conference

March 1, 2016 by

Some major events provided the backdrop to the National Association of State Energy Officials’ (NASEO’s) 2016 Energy Policy Outlook Conference in the District of Columbia February 9-11.  Many state legislative sessions that began in January and February (Fig. 1) have already produced an array of energy legislation on topics such as tax incentives, renewable portfolio standards, siting and permitting, and community solar.[1] What caused the most stir among state decision makers at the conference, however, were two announcements made on February 9:

1) The Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan.[2]

2) President Obama’s clean energy budget proposal

As a NASEO affiliate, NREL representatives attended the conference to inform state decision makers about the state and utility solar technical assistance NREL can provide.

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Top Five Large-Scale Solar Myths

February 3, 2016 by

As large-scale solar facilities proliferate throughout the country, more communities are considering the potential merits and drawbacks of this new kind of neighbor. Initial reactions to the prospect of large-scale photovoltaic (PV) facilities or solar farms tend to include a myriad of misperceptions.

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