Energy Exchange

New interactive map shows the economic impact that solar, wind, and energy efficiency have on U.S. communities

The benefits of clean energy reach far beyond protecting the environment. Investments in the U.S. clean energy sector are creating millions of jobs and supporting local communities across the country. A new online mapping tool will help illustrate this incredible progress.

Developed by San Francisco-based Kevala Analytics Inc., the U.S. Clean Energy Progress Map can display the number of solar, wind, and energy efficiency jobs by state, county, congressional district, and even census tract. The free, interactive map also shows wind and solar projects and investments. It’s exactly the kind of data that citizens need to show policymakers and local officials the economic benefits of clean energy in their state or district. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Financing, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

Trump kills solar jobs, taxes families and businesses, but he can’t kill solar competitiveness

With President Trump’s announcement this week to slap a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules, the solar industry once again finds itself in the firing line, targeted by the political whims of elected officials.

This political posturing has created uncertainty in the marketplace. In the last decade, solar has suffered from seven changes to the investment tax credit. And in the last few months, the industry got a double whammy of the BEAT tax – which will negatively affect equity investments in solar development – and the threat from the Department of Energy’s plan to prop up dirty coal while undermining solar. The tariff decision this week – a protectionist attempt by Trump to appeal to his anti-free trade base – is the latest assault on clean energy and a tax on American families, businesses, and utilities who want to go solar. Republicans once considered such actions a “tax on consumers.”

Despite these attacks, solar is still booming. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that in the last five years, the U.S. solar industry has attracted more than $100 billion in investment, realized year-over-year growth rates of 21 percent, and now employs more than 260,000 people. The tariff may slow the growth of solar, but it doesn’t kill its competitiveness. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Financing, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Read 1 Response

This trade dispute could upend America's booming solar industry. Here's what it means for you.

If you work in the solar industry, want to buy solar panels or care about climate change, you may want to pay attention.

Two floundering solar manufacturers, with no concerns but their corporate bottom line, are about to pull the rug from under one of America’s fastest-growing industries and tens of thousands of well-paid jobs.

The manufacturers petitioned the U.S International Trade Commission this spring to take action against foreign competitors, claiming overseas rivals export products to America’s solar market at prices they can’t match. This at a time when the United States solar industry as a whole is booming.

In a decision that shook the industry and a host of free-trade advocates, ITC agreed with these single two petitioners and it’s now up to President Trump to decide whether to retaliate with an import tariff or other punitive options.

There’s a good chance he will – and this would be really bad news for American solar companies and consumers alike. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Solar Energy / Read 1 Response

More Subsidies than You Think Influence the Cost of Electricity

The Texas electricity market is evolving. Low prices have helped natural gas become the dominant electricity generation resource, surpassing coal for the first time. The state’s unique competitive wholesale market, along with recently built transmission lines, have led to exciting opportunities for the rapid development of wind and solar generation. But in looking at the cost of various fuel sources and Texas’ energy future, confusion about electricity subsidies needs to be addressed.

Yes, wind and solar power have recently benefitted from the federal Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit. That said, it’s important to recognize that natural gas and coal generation have enjoyed state and federal incentives for a century, and continue to do so.

The tax benefits for wind and solar generation are not the same as those for fossil fuel generation, but each plays a similar role: Tax benefits affect the final cost of electricity. Read More »

Posted in Natural Gas, Solar Energy, Texas, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

These Policy Solutions Can Help Unleash The Full Potential of Renewable Energy

cps-energy-4New installed renewable energy capacity surpassed coal for the first time last year, the International Energy Agency reported recently.

It means that we added more wind and solar to our global energy system than oil, gas, coal or nuclear power combined – a trend that is expected to continue over the next five years.

But to truly transition to a global clean energy economy, we must accelerate this growth rate and modernize our electricity grid to maximize the potential of these new renewables. That way we can use as much clean energy as possible on any given day.

Many of these optimizing solutions already exist today.

They include technology such as powerful batteries that can store energy when renewables don’t produce electricity, for example, when the sun is shaded by a cloud.

There are also energy management tools such as demand response that pay customers for saving energy at critical times when the grid needs it. And innovative electricity pricing programs that encourage customers to shift some of their power use to times of day when clean energy sources are plentiful and electricity is cheaper.

All can, with the help of good policy, make the most of variable energy sources – as would a modernized and more dynamic electric grid. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Community Solar, Demand Response, Electricity Pricing, Energy Financing, Energy Storage, Grid Modernization, Solar Energy / Comments are closed

Learn for Yourself about the Power of a Connected Home + Event Invitation

It wasn't long after my husband connected our first smart home device, a Nest Learning Thermostat, that I noticed a change.

Each time he walked by this new gadget, he would stop and do a little dance. He was interacting with this new friend, and it was a purely emotional response. He even insisted we repaint our wall to better showcase the Nest Thermostat, though he never suggested that for our artwork. Not only was our home connected, but now our hearts were in it.

This was no ordinary smart device. The Nest Thermostat gave us a sense of power, control, and freedom. And it said “hi” to us with its shining light as we approached. The best thing was the money we were saving by lowering our electricity bill, because we could now make sense of how we were using our air conditioning. This also helped reduce our carbon footprint. Read More »

Posted in Grid Modernization, Texas / Tagged , | Comments are closed