Selected category: Renewable Energy

Sometimes it Takes a Community to Go Solar

By: Andrew Barbeau, EDF’s clean energy consultant

sunflower_AustinTXfinals-37_(1)_CC-4C_RFYou don’t have a south-facing roof. You have too many trees in your yard. You may not be committed to staying in your house for the next ten to fifteen years. Or maybe you rent, or don’t have the upfront money to install.

These may be some of the reasons why you can’t go solar. You are not alone.

In fact, only 22 to 27 percent of residential rooftops are suitable for installing a solar PV system, due to structural, shading, or ownership issues, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. These effects are even more prominent in densely-populated, urban areas, like Chicago, where viable project siting is limited and renters account for more than half (55 percent) of housing.

But in a new utility world of flowing electricity data and layered intelligence, we shouldn’t limit participation in the rapidly growing solar market to those inconvenienced by circumstance. We need to shift our thinking of distributed solar from the individual to the community. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Illinois| Tagged | Comments are closed

Clean Energy is Just Smart Business for Leaders like Apple, Google

apple-google againApple and Google have changed our lives forever, both because of their technological innovations and sheer size as global corporations. Now, they’re aiming to reshape the energy landscape.

This month, Apple announced plans to spend nearly $2 billion on European data centers set to run entirely on renewable energy, and invested $848 million to secure power from 130MW of First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project under a 25-year power purchase agreement. Google also agreed to replace 370 wind turbines installed in the 1980s with 24 new, more efficient and bird-friendly turbines at the Altamont Pass in the San Francisco Bay Area. Moreover, there has been recent speculation Apple may be working on an electric vehicle to challenge Tesla’s dominance in that market.

These developments are impressive on their own, but they are also part of a new trend among major corporations – whose primary focus is not energy generation – proactively pursuing clean energy projects. So, why are they doing this?

For corporations whose businesses do not rely on fossil fuels, aligning themselves with clean power is proving a prudent move both financially and for public relations. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy| Tagged | Read 6 Responses

Let’s Talk About Solar Power and Equity

rp_solar-cells-491701_640-300x200.jpgWe need to have “the talk” about solar power and equity, because ignoring uncomfortable questions will invite misinformation and bad decisions. We need an informed dialogue about how local solar power can impact low-income communities and communities of color in the U.S. We need to talk about “all the good things, and the bad things, that may be.”

First things first: the price of solar panels has fallen by 80 percent since 2008. This significant decrease in cost, coupled with incentives such as net metering which allow customers to send the energy they produce from their solar systems back to the grid and receive a credit on their bill, and the emergence of new financing models like solar “leasing” programs, has led to an explosion of local solar in the U.S.

We now boast an estimated 20 gigawatts of solar energy nationwide (enough to power more than four million U.S. homes), and the United States added more solar capacity in the past two years than in the previous 30 years combined. In fact, as President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address, “every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.”

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, California, Clean Energy, Energy Financing| Read 11 Responses

Illinois Bill Pledges More Clean Energy Jobs, Boost to Economy, and Cleaner Air

Illinois is two-for-two on clean energy wins. Today, Illinois legislators introduced a bill to spur significant new growth in the clean energy industry, creating an estimated 32,000 jobs annually across Illinois once proposed clean energy standards are fully implemented. Already a leader in America’s clean energy economy, Illinois, with this bill, would help boost the 100,000 clean energy jobs that already exist in the state, protect our children and future generations from the impacts of climate change, as well as maintain a reliable and affordable electricity system.

Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Illinois| Tagged | Comments are closed

Think Texas Energy is all about the Oil? Think Again.

texaswind_378x235Technology is making clean energy competitive with coal for the first time in history, and that’s a game changer.

In 1999, we pushed to get the first renewable energy mandate passed in the country – in Texas of all places. There were all sorts of concerns at the time that wind could not be integrated into the system, or that it would be too expensive. Time has proven otherwise.

Yes, Texas has plenty of oil and gas, but we also have a lot of sun and wind. Those early investments in renewables paid off and today the Lone Star State is the top wind energy-producing state in the nation.

As such, I believe we're helping to drive investments in wind across the United States. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Texas| Comments are closed

Duke University Documents Widespread Benefits of North Carolina’s Solar Economy

solar-621744_640North Carolina’s number-one ranking in the Southeast for solar energy investment confirms the state is a national leader in attracting clean energy companies and creating jobs. But a top ranking does not fully reflect the broad range of benefits North Carolina’s large-scale solar industry is delivering to the state's manufacturing sectors and rural communities.

Now a report from Duke University documents how the state’s solar industry is boosting the bottom line of companies and communities across North Carolina.

The Solar Economy: Widespread Benefits for North Carolina credits state policies such as the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit with stimulating economic development.

It highlights a recent economic impact assessment by RTI International showing that for every dollar of Investment Tax Credit redeemed by businesses, $1.93 has been returned to state and local governments. That’s a great deal for North Carolina.

The report spotlights three key findings: Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, North Carolina| Read 2 Responses
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