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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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Assessing the Impact of State Green Banks on Solar Deployment

July 20, 2016 by

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

Communing with Frontrunners: 100% Renewable

July 20, 2016 by

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

Top five sources for solar data available at EIA

July 8, 2016 by

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

In the field: National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO’s) 2016 Central Region Meeting

June 22, 2016 by

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

Understanding Some Key Differences in Community Solar Policy across the States

June 2, 2016 by

Poised to become a major contributor to future growth of the solar market by 2020, community solar programs have been Map of states with community solar programs.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

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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