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.
For decades, there's been a lot of buzz going around regarding the lack of funding in schools across the U.S. All too often, especially in today's volatile economic environment, education budgets are viewed as more of a burden to the overall government budget rather than an important investment in tomorrow's leaders. As a result, programs in early childhood education continue to be cut more and more due to a lack of funding.
We don’t think much about pitch pine poles until storms like Hurricane Sandy litter our landscape with their splintered corpses and arcing power lines.
It seems that nearly weekly we hear more good news on the solar energy front. Today, the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research released their Solar Market Insight Report for Q3 2012, with a summary of accomplishments year to date. The progress is impressive and would have been unimaginable just five years ago. Furthermore, the growth is expected to continue for the next several years, jumping from 3.2 GW in 2012 to 7.8 GW by 2015. Some highlights from the report:
The number of solar installations grew strongly in the nation’s residential, commercial and utility sectors in the third quarter, largely as a result of falling costs, a federal investment tax credit and state programs that support renewable energies, the solar industry’s main trade group reported on Tuesday.
Developers installed 684 megawatts of solar panels in the U.S. in the third quarter, 44 percent more than a year earlier, as residential projects rose to a record, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.