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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.

Cities Partner with NREL to Forge Pathways from Energy Data to Decision Making

November 13, 2017 by Megan Day

Cities are increasingly interested in pursuing a clean energy future. Many are setting ambitious goals to use clean, renewable energy or reduce air pollution from energy consumption. The challenge lies in establishing metrics, prioritizing actions, and targeting scarce resources in the most cost effective and strategic ways. Continue reading

Life Cycle Assessment and Photovoltaic (PV) Recycling: Designing a More Sustainable Energy System

April 19, 2016 by Brandon Kiger

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. Continue reading

Batteries 101 Series: How to Talk About Batteries and Power-To-Energy Ratios

April 13, 2016 by Joyce McLaren

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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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

The RAPID Toolkit: Facilitating Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Development

August 10, 2015 by Megan Day

The Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop (RAPID) Toolkit provides information about federal, state, and local permitting and regulations for utility-scale renewable energy and transmission projects—including large-scale solar projects in certain areas. In particular, the RAPID Toolkit now includes federal permitting information applicable in any state and state-level permitting requirements in California and Nevada for large-scale solar projects. Continue reading

City-Level Energy Decision Making: Examples from 20 Cities

June 25, 2015 by Alexandra Aznar

Cities in the United States are increasingly taking action to improve the sustainability of their jurisdictions. Efficient energy use and clean energy are a fundamental component of the cost of living and mitigating and adapting to climate change, and therefore central to improving community long-term sustainability. A team of analysts with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Cities Leading through Energy Analysis and Planning (Cities-LEAP) project analyzed sustainability and climate plans and interviewed staff from 20 U.S. cities (Figure 1) to understand the extent to which cities use data in energy planning, implementation, and evaluation. City energy goals, actions, policies implemented in pursuit of those goals, and measurements of progress toward the goals were catalogued in this research. Continue reading

Cities Leading Through Energy Analysis and Planning Helps Support Local Clean Energy Innovation

March 26, 2015 by Steve Lommele

Local governments nationwide are pursuing strategies to improve the sustainability, resiliency, and energy futures of their communities. A host of federal and non-profit tools and programs exist to support these strategies, but until now no single program has focused specifically on helping cities address all of their energy, sustainability, and resiliency challenges. Continue reading

Takeaways from the American Public Power Association 2014 Conference

November 24, 2014 by John Nangle

The American Public Power Association (APPA) was founded in 1940 and represents 3,000 public utilities that support roughly 45 million customers. The APPA held its 2014 Customer Connections Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, during the week of October 26. Continue reading

What is Community Solar Going to Cost?

November 06, 2014 by Sherry Stout

For many people, owning a private solar photovoltaic (PV) generation system is simply not feasible because of costs, siting issues, or housing type (i.e. rental properties or multifamily housing units). Community solar programs - sometimes called solar gardens - provide one way to increase access to the solar market, reduce up-front costs, and allow for optimal siting. Continue reading