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.

Read more:

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.

Read more:

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.

Read more:

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.

Read more:

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.

Read more:

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.

Read more: