Last week was a tough one for distributed solar markets in several states, as a remarkable number of renewable energy incentive programs hit their budget or capacity caps, or are shrinking in scope: San Diego Gas & Electric’s allocation of non-residential solar incentives under the California Solar Initiative ran out. The Los Angeles municipal utility… Continue reading
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From page 19 of the brilliant report, Tracking the Sun III: The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998-2009 (large pdf).
It’s worth noting that this has nothing to do with the state’s solar resources. This is the upfront cost to install the modules. The difference in cost of solar electricity is likely even more severe since many of the least expensive states also have better sun.
The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah just released the eUtah Blueprint illustrating how Utah could reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 95% by 2050 and could meet electricity demand reliably with a combination of wind, solar, geothermal, and compressed air storage (with some natural gas backups). The report – written by Arjun Makhijani… Continue reading
Update: It’s important to note that this refers to the net installed cost. In other words, the installed cost dropped because residential solar customers were now getting an uncapped federal tax credit. We wrote in this 2009 report about the perverse problems created by the $2,000 cap on the federal residential solar tax credit. The… Continue reading
Yesterday Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm signed the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) law, making Michigan the 24th state to enable cities and counties to provide financing for on-site renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements via the property tax system. But it’s unclear how many municipalities will move ahead given the roadblocks facing residential PACE… Continue reading
Yesterday we discussed the spread of solar carports in California, highlighting the Milpitas School District’s 14 distributed solar PV arrays. According to a news story, the district anticipates savings of $12 million over 25 years from the projects, which were financed by a power purchase agreement with Chevron Energy Solutions. But would the district have… Continue reading
With environmental (e.g. desert tortoise) and political (NIMBY) questions raised about centralized renewable energy generation, it’s worth noting that we can generate a lot of power by covering already developed spaces. See California, where solar PV arrays cover parking lots, providing peak power and soothing shade for the shielded vehicles underneath. Not only are these… Continue reading
We’ve talked previously about the perversity of using tax credits to incentivize renewable energy production, increasing transaction costs and reducing participation in renewable energy development. But there are other perversities in U.S. state and utility renewable energy policies, especially with upfront rebates and net metering. Let’s start with rebates. Many states and utilities offer upfront… Continue reading
We’ve discussed the unconventional wisdom that economies of scale are limited for wind and solar (and likely other renewable energy technologies). Another piece of evidence comes from a December 2009 report by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI): Solar Photovoltaics: Status, Costs, and Trends. This chart, taken from page 14, illustrates the percent of the… Continue reading
If you like reading about “what we can do better” in community solar policy, check out our report – Community Solar Power: Obstacles and Opportunities – but if you like a very detailed exploration of how the three major models for community solar navigate the ins and outs of existing incentives and regulations, and a primer on how to set up a community solar project, you can’t go wrong with NREL’s Guide to Community Solar.