A goal of mine in writing for Forbes.com on energy issues is to point out intriguing business models, trends, and new concepts that may change the way we think about energy-related issues. Lately, I’ve been focused on dramatic changes in solar models and economics. Things have really changed in a very short timeframe, as the following story illustrates.
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David Crane, CEO and president, NRG Energy (NRG)
“With the cost of solar panels now just 10 percent of what they were five years ago, how do we streamline the local approval process and reduce the friction costs so that U.S. homeowners can realize the solar value of their property while paying less for their electricity?”
Utility power plants are many things—sprawling, expensive, often polluting—but one thing they are not is beautiful. Power plants are the engines of modern society, but we’d rather they stay out of the way.
GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association released numbers this morning suggesting that the solar juggernaut is not slowing down. Consider this: in the first three months of the year, the U.S. installed 723 MW, just under half of all new generation capacity installed across the country, and the best first quarter yet for solar.
WASHINGTON, D.C. AND BOSTON, MA — GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®) today release U.S. Solar Market Insight: 1st Quarter 2013, the definitive analysis of solar power markets in the U.S., with strategic state-specific data for 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Mitt Romney sets an ambitious goal with his pledge to achieve U.S. energy independence by 2020. It’s just too bad his plan relies almost entirely on fossil fuels and largely ignores the solid promise of clean energy.
Romney’s plan, rolled out Thursday in solar-friendly New Mexico, focuses heavily on oil, gas and, most unnecessarily, coal. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee promises to expand drilling on federal lands and to roll back environmental rules his campaign adviser Ed Gillespie says are “destroying the coal industry.”
Total funding in the solar energy sector amounted to more than $4.3 billion spread across 66 transactions in the second quarter of 2012, with strong results in venture capital funding, debt funding, and corporate funding in particular, according to a Mercom Capital Group report.
Renewable Energy World
On August 15, 2012, at 8 a.m., Colorado’s Xcel utility opened up its registration for a new solar gardens/virtual net metering program. It took just 30 minutes to shut the doors on applications. The utility had received 13.5 MW in those 30 minutes, more than triple the 4.5 MW allowed. This excitement is one reason why I believe that community solar is the key to widespread U.S. solar adoption, but let's go through all of them...plus the challenges to it ever happening.
The Wall Street Journal
Regarding your editorial "The Solar-Painted Desert" (Aug. 14): Solar is the latest industry the Department of the Interior leases land to, just like mining, cattle ranching and other energy sources—no special treatment has been requested or received. More lands are off-limits to solar (79 million acres) than are available. For perspective, there are 74 million acres leased by on- and offshore oil and gas projects. Also, there are no shortcuts in the National Environmental Policy Act when it comes to project reviews and approvals.
According to Ken Gray, the Rates and Renewables Branch Chief at the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, Tyndall AFB, Fla., the array has to be built and generating electricity by the end of the year.