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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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Phrase of the Day: Peak Load

August 27, 2015 by

Peak load, also known as peak demand, refers to the maximum demand for energy during a given time period, typically a day (EIA, 2015). The figure below shows a fairly typical 24-hour load curve for summer and winter months at one location. The demand for energy in the summer rises throughout the day and peaks in the late afternoon. The pattern is similar, but not as pronounced in the winter due to differences between heating and cooling needs.

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Meet a Solar Expert Part Two: Carolyn Davidson

August 21, 2015 by

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.

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

August 19, 2015 by

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.

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Meet a Solar Expert Part One: Carolyn Davidson

August 18, 2015 by

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.

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The RAPID Toolkit: Facilitating Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Development

August 10, 2015 by

The Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit provides information about federal, state, and local permitting and regulations for utility-scale renewable energy and transmission projects—including large-scale solar projects in certain areas. In particular, the RAPID Toolkit now includes federal permitting information applicable in any state and state-level permitting requirements in California and Nevada for large-scale solar projects.

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Word of the Day: Fixed Charges and Volumetric Charges

July 16, 2015 by

If you look at your electricity bill, you will notice different types of charges that make up the total amount owed. These types of charges vary by customer class (residential, commercial, and industrial), utility, and even state. Surcharges, riders, and demand charges are some of the many that could appear on a typical electricity bill, but fixed charges and volumetric charges are always present.

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City-Level Energy Decision Making: Examples from 20 Cities

June 25, 2015 by

Cities in the United States are increasingly taking action to improve the sustainability of their jurisdictions. Efficient energy use and clean energy are a fundamental component of the cost of living and mitigating and adapting to climate change, and therefore central to improving community long-term sustainability. A team of analysts with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Cities Leading through Energy Analysis and Planning (Cities-LEAP) project analyzed sustainability and climate plans and interviewed staff from 20 U.S. cities (Figure 1) to understand the extent to which cities use data in energy planning, implementation, and evaluation. City energy goals, actions, policies implemented in pursuit of those goals, and measurements of progress toward the goals were catalogued in this research.

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STAT Chat: Jenny Heeter on Renewable Portfolio Standards

June 17, 2015 by

This STAT Chat podcast features Jenny Heeter, a policy analyst with the Strategic Energy Analysis Center, discussing the changing landscape of renewable portfolio standards (RPSs), as part of our Hot Topics series, which addresses current issues in the solar industry.

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STAT Chat: Mid-Size Markets

June 11, 2015 by

This STAT Chat podcast features Melissa Savage, a senior program director of the National Association of State Energy Officials, discussing mid-size solar markets as part of our Hot Topics series, which addresses current issues in the solar industry.

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Solar farms grow out of town renewable energy goals

June 5, 2015 by

Dartmouth, Massachusetts (pop. 34,032) – With enough solar energy generated within its borders to power 3,250[1] homes, Dartmouth leads the state of Massachusetts in renewable energy production. Dartmouth is also one of the first communities in the country to offset 100% of its municipal government electricity use with renewable energy.

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