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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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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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How Solar is Contributing to Renewable Portfolio Standard Compliance

January 13, 2016 by

Renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) allow renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, and biomass to contribute toward a state’s renewable energy goals. However, many states have set minimum thresholds for the amount of solar or distributed generation that must be used to meet the RPS (called “solar carve-outs”). These carve-outs are typically, though not always, fulfilled using in-state solar projects (both distributed solar as well as commercial and utility scale).

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Which Communities Lead in Solar Energy Generation?

January 6, 2016 by

Surprise! It’s not wealthy enclaves or college towns but often small communities with solar farms leading the way.

Recent NREL research analyzed the installed solar capacity in municipalities across six states and found that the communities generating the most solar energy per capita are smaller communities with fewer but larger solar installations. In addition, the study found that these leading solar communities are generally at or below state averages in education attainment and income levels—dispelling a common perception that wealthy or highly educated communities generate more solar energy.

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Hot Topics: Electric Vehicles and Solar Technology

December 16, 2015 by

This STAT Chat podcast features Alex Schroeder, a transportation technology deployment manager at NREL, talking about electric vehicles and how they interact with solar technology.

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SPARC Initiative Targets Your Community; Early Adopters Win

December 9, 2015 by

Here at the STAT Network, we’re always looking to provide states and local governments with more opportunities to reduce barriers to solar deployment. We’re excited to be a part of a new solar effort.

Our partners at The Solar Foundation (TSF) and International City/County Management Association (ICMA) just launched the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities (SPARC) initiative. YOU may be eligible to receive technical assistance through their program!

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Solar Ready Vets for Solar Ready Communities

November 11, 2015 by

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.”

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Hot Topics Part Two: Cities, Energy Use, and Local Energy Decision Making

November 4, 2015 by ,

This STAT Chat podcast features Alexandra Anzar, a member of the solar technical assistance team at NREL, talking about the energy areas that cities are prioritizing, how they plan energy-related activities and measure their progress, and why cities adopt these practices to varying degrees.

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A Western Perspective on the Clean Power Plan

October 19, 2015 by

After the Labor Day weekend, state air quality officials, energy office personnel, utility commissioners, utilities, and a host of other western regional stakeholders converged in Denver, Colorado for a workshop on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan (CPP) hosted by Colorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE). The goal of the workshop and previous workshops convened by CNEE, was to build a common understanding among western regulators, utilities, and other stakeholders around the CPP and critical issues that states will face in thinking through compliance.

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Solar Technical Assistance Team Profile: Eliza Hotchkiss

October 12, 2015 by

Eliza Hotchkiss, newly appointed Policy and Technical Assistance Section Supervisor, starts STAT’s new fiscal year by answering six questions about her work.

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Hot Topics: Cities, Energy Use, and Local Energy Decision Making

October 7, 2015 by ,

This STAT Chat podcast features Alexandra Anzar, a member of the solar technical assistance team at NREL, discussing how cities are making energy decisions and the extent that cities are using data to make these decisions.

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