Making a persuasive case for clean energy in 2017

The new year is nearly a month old, but 2016 remains in my head; what a year it was. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series, giant pandas were taken off the endangered species list for the first time in 26 years, relations with Cuba improved drastically and Nintendo, seemingly out of nowhere, introduced to the world Pokémon Go.

With the U.K. exiting the European Union; the loss of pop, movie and cultural idols across the board; and intensifying conflict in the Middle East, 2016 was a rollercoaster of emotions, culminating in a jolting election that many of us will be processing for a long time to come.

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US solar power employs more people than oil, coal and gas combined, report shows

Solar energy in the US employs more people than traditional coal, gas and oil combined, a report has found, in a revelation that could undermine Donald Trump’s argument that green energy isn’t good for the economy.

The latest report from the US Department of Energy (DOE) reveals solar energy accounts for the largest proportion of employers in the Electric Power Generation sector, with wind energy the third largest, while the coal industries have declined in the past 10 years.

Solar energy employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016, making up 43 per cent of the sector’s workforce, while the traditional fossil fuels combined employed 187,117, making up just 22 per cent of the workforce, according to the report.

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Berkeley Lab finds negligible potential rate impacts from distributed solar

The “cost shift” from solar system owners to other utility customers is one of the most widely propagated myths around PV. And despite this obfuscation being repeatedly disproven by many studies, it remains widely propagated by utilities and either poorly informed or outright captured politicians and regulators from Maine to Arizona.

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) has recently made its contribution to the debunking of this canard, but has taken another tack. Instead of looking at whether solar is imposing a cost shift on other customers, the national lab instead looks at the overall potential rate impact of distributed solar under a variety of valuations, and compares this to other rate impacts.

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4 ways PACE can help you land commercial projects

The property-assessed clean energy (PACE) model is an innovative mechanism for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on private property. PACE programs allow local governments, state governments, or other inter-jurisdictional authorities, when authorized by state law, to fund the up-front cost of energy improvements on commercial and residential properties, which are paid back over time by the property owners.

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Predictions 2017: 5 takes on what the new year will bring for renewable energy

The solar sector compelled people to stand up and take notice in 2016. Following the federal tax credit extension for rooftop solar, and falling costs in the supply chain, the resource became competitive with natural gas and coal generation.

Investments in energy storage proliferated, and more states levied requirements for more renewable energy. But on the flip side, policies historically nurturing the resource have come under fire. Net metering, a billing mechanism for excess energy sent from rooftop solar arrays, and the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 are facing reform efforts from utilities across the nation.

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Solar Energy Associations Unite to Open Capital for Wide-Scale Industry Growth

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Energy Finance Association (SEFA) are joining forces and forming a new entity under SEIA to support wide-scale, low-cost solar deployment through better access to investment capital.  Under SEIA, the two entities will better serve their membership and act as a single voice and organizing force for current and potential solar developers, investors and lenders.

The associations will create the Solar Energy Finance Advisory Council (SEFAC), which will be used to leverage the expert insight of its participating members to expand and lower the cost of investment capital to meet the growing needs of the solar industry.

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4 reasons to be excited about sustainability in 2017

2016 brought significant progress on global sustainability issues.

The beginning included the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aimed at addressing global poverty and environmental protection.

Then, about halfway through the year, the Paris Agreement received a significant boost with support from the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters: the U.S. and China.

Despite the headway made, the end of the year brought serious uncertainty and fear about some gains being reversed. While we can expect progress on many fronts in 2017, in others, environmental advocates will have to cross their fingers. To that end, here are four highlights to watch in 2017 — the good, bad and the ugly.

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SunSpark USA Joins YGrene Clean Energy Financing Program

(RIVERSIDE, CA) –  High-efficiency mono and poly solar panels manufactured by SunSpark USA have received formal approval from national alternative energy financing specialist YGrene, making the modules eligible for zero-down financing.  Panel power outputs range from 250 to 355 watts.

Through the partnership, SunSpark products become accessible to homeowners and contractors in more than 300 communities across the United States participating in YGrene’s property assessed clean energy (PACE ) funding initiatives.  The innovative program offers financing – with no upfront payments – for environmentally friendly property upgrades such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and, in some areas, hurricane protection. YGrene is the nation’s leading provider of residential, multifamily and commercial property assessed clean energy financing.

SunSpark USA, whose domestic power production capacity exceeds 150MW annually, views the YGrene alliance as a key piece of its broader U.S. distribution strategy.   By giving homeowners and contractors easier access to its UL-Certified panels, the company figures to increase market share for its branded and OEM product lines.

“SunSpark USA Vice President Hans Liu said, “YGrene helped pioneer the concept of alternative energy financing for communities.  Their groundbreaking program builds the bridges between stakeholders that are necessary to increase solar adoption in the United States.  We share that innovative spirit and are proud to join with them in our mutual quest to build a more environmentally friendly planet.”

About SunSpark USA.

Launched in 2015, SunSpark USA’s mission is to sustainably produce solar panels in support of a cleaner, greener world. The Riverside, California-based company maintains all operations – including manufacturing, product assembly, distribution, finance, sales and customer service – all under one roof.

Solar Industry Sees Largest Quarter Ever

Quarter after quarter, the solar industry grows more and more, but never like this. The solar industry just experienced its largest quarter ever with more than 4,143 MW of PV installed, according to SEIA & GTM Research’s Q4 Solar Market Insight report, which provides third quarter data.

The booming utility-scale solar market accounted for roughly 70 percent of this growth, particularly in California, which became the first state to ever install more than 1 gigawatt of utility PV in a single quarter. Read more:

Has Solar Energy Finally Passed the Threshold to Beat Gas?

Solar energy enthusiasts, evangelists, and even doubters take note: the energy singularity may have happened and we didn’t even notice.

A new scientific review claims that scientists are using solar panel data that is at least seven years old, and therefore drastically underestimating the efficiency of modern solar power.

Which brings us to the most astounding claim of all: for every unit of energy invested, solar energy can now generate the same if not more energy than oil and gas. Read more: