distributed solar

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Utilities Grapple with Rooftop Solar and the New Energy Landscape

The U.S. rooftop solar industry is often portrayed as the victim in a struggle with fossil-fuel-friendly utilities — but the reality is more complex

Posted on Sep 27 2017 by Jacques Leslie

In the prevailing narrative of the rooftop solar industry, the dominant theme is combat. The good guys are the innovative, climate-positive, customer-pleasing solar companies, which must be nimble to avoid being crushed by the plodding, influence-buying, fossil fuel-spewing dinosaurs of the electricity industry, the utilities.


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Image Credits:

  1. Ken Bosma / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

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Unlocking the High Value of Clean Energy in Low-Income Communities

The Rocky Mountain Institute continues its effort to bring clean energy to more low-income customers

Posted on Jun 29 2017 by David Labrador

Many of the 135 stakeholders of RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab (e–Lab) who gathered for the first e–Lab Summit at the end of 2016 are involved with Leap, an ongoing RMI initiative dedicated to empowering and improving the lives of low-income communities and households in a clean energy future.


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Image Credits:

  1. Skeeze via Pixabay

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What’s Driving the Cost of Residential Solar-Plus-Storage?

Costs for PV systems that include battery storage are still high, but the residential market is expected to grow at an increasing rate

Posted on May 9 2017 by Anonymous

By KRISTEN ARDANI and DAVID LABRADOR

The residential solar-plus-storage market has certainly received a lot of attention in recent months. With the release of new, lower-cost products and implementation of utility time-of-use and demand-charge rate structures, the overall economics of photovoltaics (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.)-plus-storage systems continue to improve — but questions remain as to what’s ultimately needed to achieve widespread deployment.


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Google Expands Solar Project Nationwide

The company says it can now offer predictions on photovoltaic potential for 60 million rooftops across the country

Posted on Apr 14 2017 by Scott Gibson

Two years after launching Project Sunroof, Google says its expanded database now covers every state in the country with information on the solar power potential of 60 million buildings.


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Image Credits:

  1. Google

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Why We Still Need to Discuss Grid Defection

This relatively new topic for the utility industry should prompt a careful look at the research

Posted on Apr 5 2017 by Anonymous

By JAMES MANDEL, MARK DYSON, and TODD ZERANSKI

The rapidly declining costs of distributed energy resources (DERs), including rooftop photovoltaics (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) and behind-the-meter batteries, have introduced new dynamics into a traditionally slow-moving electricity industry. This paradigm shift has ushered us into a new era where previous assumptions about how, where, and at what scale electricity is best generated, transmitted, and distributed may no longer hold.


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Image Credits:

  1. Jon Callas / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

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Wind Overtakes Hydro as Top Renewable in U.S.

Solar is growing at an unprecedented rate, but is still dwarfed by the country's wind farms

Posted on Mar 9 2017 by Scott Gibson

Last year was a big one for wind power in the U.S. For the first time, the total installed capacity of the country's wind farms exceeded that of hydroelectric projects to reach a total of 82,183 megawatts — enough to run some 24 million American homes.

The website Proud Green Building reported the wind industry installed 6,478 megawatts in the fourth quarter of the year alone, according to a market report from the American Wind Energy Association.


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Image Credits:

  1. Bob Shrader / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Flickr

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On-Site Storage Is the Great Equalizer

Energy storage is a new technology that addresses a variety of issues raised by decentralized electricity production

Posted on Dec 28 2016 by Bruce Sullivan

We are now in a world where decentralized electricity production, such as rooftop solar, is more viable than ever for the public and more threatening than ever to utilities. The public is more willing to adopt in-home renewables thanks to reliable technology, solid performance, declining costs, and the growing availability of loans.


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Image Credits:

  1. Tesla

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Solar Ownership Is Gaining Ground

More than half of all residential solar capacity installed in the U.S. in 2017 will be purchased, not leased

Posted on Nov 24 2016 by Scott Gibson

Direct ownership of residential photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) systems in the U.S. is poised to overtake third-party ownership in 2017 for the first time since 2011, a report from GTM Research says.


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Image Credits:

  1. Dave Dugdale / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

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Florida Voters Reject Solar Amendment

Opponents said the utility-backed measure was misleading and underhanded

Posted on Nov 15 2016 by Scott Gibson

Even a $26 million cash infusion from electric utilities and lobbyists wasn't enough to persuade Florida voters to pass a proposed constitutional amendment on residential solar installations last week.

The proposed amendment needed 60% of the vote to win approval, but on election day only about half the voters were in favor, The Miami Herald reported.


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Image Credits:

  1. Jon Callas / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

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Solar Access on the Florida Ballot

Solar advocates say that a utility-backed ballot measure is designed to deceive voters into thinking they will have more solar options

Posted on Oct 26 2016 by Scott Gibson

Solar advocates in Florida say that they have proof that electric utilities are attempting to trick voters into supporting a ballot initiative that appears to broaden their access to solar energy but in fact will do just the opposite.


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Image Credits:

  1. DOE / NREL

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