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Solar STAT Blog

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

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

March 25, 2016 by Joyce McLaren

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. Continue reading

Solar Policy and the 2016 Legislative Session across the States

March 17, 2016 by Jeffrey J. Cook

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] Continue reading

Hot Topics: Voluntary Green Power Markets

March 07, 2016 by Alexandra Aznar

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

Reflections on NASEO's 2016 Energy Policy Outlook Conference

March 01, 2016 by Alexandra Aznar

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. 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) 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.

Continue reading

Top Five Large-Scale Solar Myths

February 03, 2016 by Megan Day

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. Continue reading

How Solar is Contributing to Renewable Portfolio Standard Compliance

January 13, 2016 by Jenny Heeter

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). Continue reading

Which Communities Lead in Solar Energy Generation?

January 06, 2016 by Megan Day

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.

Continue reading

Hot Topics: Electric Vehicles and Solar Technology

December 16, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar

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. Continue reading

SPARC Initiative Targets Your Community; Early Adopters Win

December 09, 2015 by Erin Nobler

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! Continue reading

Solar Ready Vets for Solar Ready Communities

November 11, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar

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.” Continue reading