Skip to main content

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.

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

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

November 04, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar, Erin Nobler

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. Continue reading

A Western Perspective on the Clean Power Plan

October 19, 2015 by Jeffrey J. Cook

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. Continue reading

Solar Technical Assistance Team Profile: Eliza Hotchkiss

October 12, 2015 by Eliza Hotchkiss

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

New Regulations, New Technology, and a New Grid? Takeaways from the 2015 NASEO Annual Meeting

October 02, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar

Sunny San Diego welcomed state energy officials and their affiliates to the 2015 National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) annual meeting September 13-16. The theme was “Interconnected: Smart Energy Policies, Clean Energy Investments, and the Cloud.” As an affiliate, I had the opportunity to share information about state and local clean energy  policies as well as the types of technical assistance the Solar Technical Assistance Team  (STAT) provides to state-level decision makers.  Several themes emerged from the whirlwind of presentations, discussions, and one-on-one conversations with participants. Continue reading

Meet a Solar Expert: Caleb Rockenbaugh

September 28, 2015 by Erin Nobler

This STAT Chat podcast features Caleb Rockenbaugh, an engineer for the Technical Assessment and Screening group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). He talks about his role and details several of the projects that he's worked on through the country. Continue reading

Phrase of the Day: Rate Base

September 16, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar, Joyce McClaren

Rate of return regulation is a type of regulation that allows utilities to cover their operating expenses (i.e., variable costs) and ensure a fair rate of return on capital investments. The public utility commission determines the allowable rate of return for each utility. The utility’s rate base is the total value of a utility’s assets (e.g., plant, equipment, working capital, and deductions for accumulated depreciation). Both the rate of return and the rate base are components of the utility’s revenue requirement, which the utility collects from customers in the form of electricity rates. Continue reading

Phrase of the Day: Peak Load

August 27, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar

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. Continue reading