Since 2000, more than 1,460 MW of residential solar installations have been installed across the country and in 2012 alone, rooftop solar installations nearly doubled the installed capacity added in 2010. These growth numbers are great, but who’s behind it? Your first thought might be the wealthy Wall Street bankers or celebrities in Hollywood, but you’d be mistaken.
Distributed generation (DG) refers to electricity that is produced at or near the point where it is used. Distributed solar energy can be located on rooftops or ground-mounted, and is typically connected to the local utility distribution grid. States, cities and towns are experimenting with policies to encourage distributed solar to offset peak electricity demand and stabilize the local grid.
Learn more about the distributed generation solar market below.
Multiple individuals or organizations jointly purchase a solar facility—sometimes located on public land—which in turn provides widespread financial benefit.
The process of connecting an electricity-producing technology such as solar PV to the electricity grid.
Streamlined permitting for solar on homes and businesses reduces the cost and time required for many solar installations.
A billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity exported to the grid.
These programs allow communities to finance energy retrofits for private-property owners which are repaid through property taxes.
Direct incentives for solar energy can take a variety of forms, including tax credits, up-front rebates, and performance-based incentives based on energy production.
Prohibitions or limits on restrictions on the installation of solar energy systems on homes or businesses.
Smart utility rate policies can encourage the efficient use of energy efficiency and on-site generation by customers while maintaining utilities' business model.
Distributed Solar Links
- Solar Powering Your Community, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – a resource to assist local governments and stakeholders in building sustainable local solar markets
- Solar Policy Guide, DSIRE incentives database – a resource for local, state, federal, and utility incentives and policies that promote solar energy
- Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) – a non-profit that partners with renewable energy stakeholders to address critical industry issues in areas like grid connection and workforce development
- Solar America Board for Codes & Standards (SolarABCS) – a collaborative effort to improve building codes, utility interconnection, and product quality to speed the adoption of solar technology
- SolarTech, Silicon Valley Leadership Group – an organization that helps reduce solar costs and support innovation in solar energy