In 2015, Virginia enacted SB 1099 establishing the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority within the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to, among other stipulations, foster solar deployment, jobs, and economic development within the state. Ultimately, state governments are active in implementing clean energy-related economic development policies with the intention of driving job growth and manufacturing in their respective states. Virginia’s approach to house all of these activities within one entity is an emerging trend across the states. This article documents the range of similar public organizations and their programs across the country, to inform policymakers considering a more comprehensive clean energy-related economic development approach, while also documenting potential research, development, and commercialization partners for the solar industry. Continue reading
Though the distributed residential and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) market continues to expand year over year, it has been largely limited to certain subsets of each market. On the residential side, expansion has been driven by residential homeowners with higher incomes, and commercial expansion has been driven by large corporations such as Walmart, Google, Target, and Apple. Continue reading
Last week I had the great honor of presenting about U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NREL data, tools, and analysis available to jurisdictions considering how to get to 100% Renewable at the Ready for 100 dialogue hosted by the Sierra Club, Renewable Cities, and ICLEI USA. Elected officials and staff from 20 cities attended the meeting, representing different points along the trajectory of getting to the 100% Renewable goal. Continue reading
Have you ever searched for solar energy data and didn’t know where to begin? Maps of solar power plants, installed solar capacity growth over time, projections for solar growth—this kind of information can be valuable to state policymakers trying to understand their solar landscape and craft policies to meet jurisdictional energy goals. One source policymakers can turn to for information about all energy sources, including solar, is the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Continue reading
The central region is a windy corridor of the U.S.; wind resource potential ranks high compared to the rest of the country. As a result, wind deployment in the region has outpaced that of other renewable energy resources. But might solar energy be piquing the interest of central region policymakers? I kept an ear out for answers to that question during the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO’s) 2016 Central Region Meeting, June 7-8 in Omaha, Nebraska. In addition to their annual meeting and energy outlook conferences, STAT Network partner NASEO organizes regional meetings (see Figure 1 for regions) where members can share their own state and regional energy issues and meet regional stakeholders in a more intimate setting. Continue reading
Poised to become a major contributor to future growth of the solar market by 2020, community solar programs have been established in 30 states across the country, as illustrated in the figure to the right.[i] This blogpost addresses some of the key policy differences across the 14 states where statewide community solar programs have been enacted or otherwise implemented.[ii] Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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” 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 Given the growth in solar installations over the last five years, exploring these questions is prudent for designing a more sustainable energy system.