Albany lawmakers are on the verge of passing solar legislation that promises to allow New Yorkers to lower their energy bills, deliver billions of dollars in economic investment, create thousands of new local job opportunities, modernize New York's aging power infrastructure, and ensure a reliable clean energy supply in the state for generations to come. There's strong bipartisan support for this bill, but precious little time remains on the state legislative calendar to enact the New York Solar Bill before lawmakers adjourn for the summer. So they must act fast.
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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.
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.
Today, NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), MidAmerican Solar and First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced that the 290-megawatt AC Agua Caliente solar project, currently under construction in Yuma County, Ariz., is more than two-thirds complete and delivering more than 200 megawatts to the electric grid. The Agua Caliente project is the world's largest operating photovoltaic power plant.
“Renewable energy has come of age.”
That’s how Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, explained to reporters last week why, for the first time in its history, the oil-focused IEA would be producing medium-term market reports on sources like solar, wind, biomass and other forms of non-hydrocarbon-based sources of power.
Despite the Legislature's suspicion toward the solar industry, photovoltaic technology can power a new statewide economic expansion.
There are no electric poles on the tiny island village of Baleswar in Assam's Nalbari district of Assam. Even then, you can see people using fans and lights, charging their cell phones and even operating computers! All thanks to solar power.
Renewable energy in the commonwealth has skyrocketed since 2007. And in 2011, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy declared Massachusetts the most energy-efficient state in the country. California had held the honor since 2006.