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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.

STAT Discusses Opportunities for Solar on Brownfield Sites at the ASTSWMO-EPA RE-Powering Workshop

May 26, 2017 by Lars Lisell

There are over 450,000 known brownfield sites across the United States, and many of these are in urban or suburban areas. As real estate in urban environments becomes more competitive and as the demand for clean energy increases, unproductive, abandoned, or contaminated sites present abundant opportunities for clean energy. Decommissioned solid waste landfills, in particular, can play host to new solar photovoltaicPDF (PV) arrays. Continue reading

A Road Trip to Cheyenne: STAT Talks Solar with Wyoming State Agencies

March 23, 2017 by Alexandra Aznar

Solar is not a major contributor to the energy economy in Wyoming. The  state generates 88% of its electricity from coal and 11% from wind , with small amounts coming from pumped hydro-electric and natural gas (Figure 1). As the least populous state in the nation, Wyoming uses a fraction of the electricity it generates,  exporting nearly two-thirds across state lines . With abundant land, access to transmission, and a culture of revenue-generating electricity sales, could there be a pathway for solar technologies to contribute to the Wyoming energy economy? NREL  Solar Technical Assistance Team (STAT) Network  experts recently took a short road trip from  Golden, Colorado  to Cheyenne to talk solar with Wyoming state agencies, local planning departments, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) representatives (Figure2). What might make Wyoming take a look at solar? Continue reading

Floating Solar Photovoltaics Gaining Ground

January 24, 2017 by Alison Holm

Floating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, so-called flotovoltaics (a trademarked term) or floating solar, represent an emerging application in which PV panels are sited on bodies of water. The PV panel technology used for floating solar applications is very similar to traditional ground-mounted PV, the primary difference being the platforms that the PV technology rests on float in water. Continue reading

Taking Stock of the Solar Market in 2015

September 19, 2016 by Jeffrey J. Cook

Each year the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) publishes separate national solar market reports relating to distributed and utility-scale solar. The most recent reports were published in August 2016 and offer a trove of data relating to these markets as they stood in 2015. This blog article highlights some of the major developments in the market as they relate to national trends in installations and costs. First, researchers at LBNL have tracked historical solar capacity additions since 2007, as illustrated in Figure 1. Utility-scale installations, utility-scale photovoltaics (PV) in particular, have historically been the largest driver of capacity expansion. LBNL, along with other market experts, anticipate this trend will continue through 2021. Continue reading

SolSmart Launches to Support Local Governments

May 04, 2016 by Erin Nobler

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. Continue reading

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

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