Cutting costs has been the key to solar’s rapid expansion this decade. The lion’s share of cost reductions in the solar industry has come from reductions in module prices. The $4 per watt you’d have paid in 2006 for modules alone gets you the entire residential solar system installed today.
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With more than 8,000 companies now operating nationwide, solar energy has become one of the fastest-growing industries in America — thanks, in large part, to remarkable growth on both the West and East coasts. California, as expected, continues to lead the way with nearly 10 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity, but on the other side of the country, five Eastern states — New Jersey, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut — are now closing in on a total of 4 GW of installed capacity.
For states looking to meet new obligations under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) have jointly published a handbook detailing how to incorporate renewable energy into state plans to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants.
In the critically-acclaimed movie, All the President’s Men, a shadowy, raspy-voiced character named Deep Throat advises Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to “follow the money” in the wake of the Watergate break-in and cover-up. That was more than 40 years ago. Yet, in the bare knuckles, take-no-prisoners world of Washington politics, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Someone once said, “the life you live is the lesson you teach.” Well, there isn’t a better example of that than the historic “we’re all in” commitment made in 2002 by California to secure a clean energy future.
Today’s new economy is driven by industries that are characterized by cutting-edge technology and high growth. Sound familiar? Well, it should.
Remarkably, America’s solar energy industry, which continues to grow at a very brisk pace, now has more employees than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined. And to top it all off, 2014 turned out to be another record-shattering year!
Is it politics at play? Or simply a case of sloppy drafting? Whichever the case, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has a tough choice to make in the next few days. Legislation now on his desk, HB 2201, could jeopardize the future of rooftop solar in the state by rewriting West Virginia’s net-metering policies. Regardless of the motives of the bill’s authors, pure or clandestine, we strongly urge Gov. Tomblin to do the right thing – veto the bill and start over.
Mark Twain said it best, there are “lies, damned lies and statistics.” It’s hard to tell which is which after closely reviewing the latest hatchet job on solar energy by the Koch brothers’ front group, The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA).
In a new report, the Department of Energy (DOE) has highlighted the success of the Loan Programs Office’s solar projects, saying that since it financed its first five utility-scale projects in 2011, 17 additional projects have come on line without the use of loan guarantees. The report coincides with today’s dedication ceremony of Desert Sunlight, a 550-megawatt (MW) solar project in Riverside County, California.
Recently, I met with several Senators and other legislators to discuss the solar industry. The vast majority of them do not know that there is strong bipartisan support for solar. In the run-up to 2017, it is vital that every legislator knows people of all political persuasions support solar.