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Category Archives: ‘Solar’


Utilities fighting against rooftop solar are only hastening their own doom

Batteries are going to make rooftop solar invulnerable.
Updated by David Jul 7, 2017, 1:10pm EDT

Several of the big trends in clean electricity depend, in one way or another, on batteries. How fast batteries get better and cheaper will help determine how fast renewable energy grows, how fast fossil fuel power plants get shut down, and how fast the vehicle fleet electrifies.

The consulting firm McKinsey & Company recently released an analysis noting that batteries, like solar panels before them, are getting cheaper much faster than anyone expected — and the consequences for the power sector are going to be immense.
Batteries have entered a virtuous, self-reinforcing cycle. This graphic, adapted from a Ramez Naam post, captures it:

(Javier Zaraccina)
As they get cheaper, batteries make sense for more commercial applications. As new markets for storage grow, demand for batteries increases. As demand increases, economies of scale kick in and batteries get cheaper. Rinse, repeat.

The McKinsey analysis shows this dynamic playing out within the power sector, both “behind the meter” (batteries inside a customer’s home or building) and “in front of the meter” (batteries assembled into large-scale storage installations). Batteries are soon going to disrupt power markets at all scales.

The whole analysis is interesting, but I want to focus in on the way batteries will affect rooftop solar. Across the country, intense battles are being waged as utilities push back against the rapid spread of rooftop solar. (See, as the latest example, Nevada.) Batteries, McKinsey reveals, are going to scramble those battles, making them effectively unwinnable for utilities. The existential crisis they hoped to avoid by slowing rooftop solar is going to slam into them twice as hard once batteries enter the picture.
To begin, let’s back up a bit. To understand the role of batteries, first you have to understand why utilities don’t like rooftop solar in the first place — and what they’re doing to stop it.

Utilities’ problem with rooftop solar power, in 250 words or less
Utilities don’t make money selling electricity — for that, they can only recover costs. They are, after all, monopolies.
Investor-owned utilities make money by investing in grid infrastructure and then charging ratepayers the cost of that infrastructure plus a “reasonable rate of return,” as defined by the state public utility commission (PUC). They make money, in other words, by building stuff.
Utilities generally recover their costs-plus-returns from ratepayers through flat volumetric rates — “flat” means the rate is the same for everyone, at all times of day, and “volumetric” means that the more a customer uses, the more she pays.

Power utilities are built for the 20th century. That’s why they’re flailing in the 21st.
When a customer installs solar panels, it hurts the utility in two ways.
One, it reduces demand for utility power. Utilities generally don’t want lower demand. To justify building stuff, they need to be able to project higher demand.
Two, the more solar customers reduce their utility bills by generating their own power, the more utilities have to charge other, non-solar customers more, to cover their costs-plus-returns. This pisses the other customers off. And it incentivizes them to install solar themselves!
Utilities are terrified of the “death spiral” that could ensue as more customers are driven to generate their own power. So they are increasingly fighting back.
“The utilities’ response,” McKinsey writes, “has been to design rates that reduce the incentive to install solar by moving to time-of-use pricing structures, implementing demand charges, or trying to reduce how much they pay customers for the electricity they produce that is exported to the grid.”
Those battles are ongoing across the country.
Enter batteries.

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Reports: Tesla-Branded Solar Panels Arrive in Stores 

The company reports its first attempts at selling solar via showrooms were a success.
by Julia Pyper
June 26, 2017

Tesla-branded solar panels have officially arrived in Tesla stores, marking another step in Tesla's ongoing integration with SolarCity.
In an SEC filing from March 1, the company stated: "We plan to reduce customer acquisition costs by cutting advertising spend and increasingly selling solar products in Tesla stores." Tesla said it began offering solar products and services "in select stores" as of the first quarter of 2017.
GTM visited Tesla showrooms in Santa Monica, San Jose, Palo Alto and Boston in late March, and found few references to solar products and services. Tesla salespeople in several of these locations were aware of the company's solar offerings -- including the forthcoming solar roof -- but there was no sales pitch or process in place. 
Things have changed. Electrek reported Sunday that "Tesla Solar" displays and actual panels have now been spotted on the West Coast.
Commenter ElectriCourrier shared a photo of a Tesla Solar display in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

And Instagram user raina0624 recently shared a photo of a Tesla Solar display in Washington. 

Tesla's solar shingles have garnered a lot of attention since CEO Elon Musk first unveiled the new product last fall. Musk announced last month that solar roof orders were live and forecast that U.S. deployments would begin later this year. While the true cost of the solar roof is subject to some debate, Tesla claims it has already sold off enough tiles to be out of stock “well into 2018."
Meanwhile, the company continues to sell standard solar panels. Given that the shingles are really aimed at customers looking to build a new roof, there are plenty of other people who are happy to go the more traditional route. But even with a familiar product, Tesla is looking to differentiate itself.

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Solar Costs Are Hitting Jaw-Dropping Lows in Every Region of the World 

How low can you go? Mind-blowingly low 65 cents-per-watt solar system pricing in India.
by Eric Wesoff, Stephen Lacey
June 27, 2017

This may sound a little repetitive, but it's impossible to ignore: the decline in solar costs is not slowing down.  
GTM Research expects a 27 percent drop in average global project prices by 2022, or about 4.4 percent each year. Those improvements are not limited to the U.S. They are occurring globally and, in some cases, resulting in even sharper price declines than America is experiencing.
The data comes from a new PV system pricing forecast from GTM Solar Analyst Ben Gallagher.

The plunges in system pricing won't just come from modules -- they'll come from reductions in inverters, trackers and even labor costs. And every region will benefit.
"Component prices are beginning to lose their price variance from country to country," writes Gallagher. "Beyond a handful of local content requirements, many of the policies that created regional hardware pricing have been eroded by market forces."

In the U.S., it's only stubborn soft costs such as customer acquisition that have actually risen.
And it's seemingly only trade disputes that can derail the price-decrease train.
65 cents per watt? 
GTM Research finds that India’s system of tenders has produced extremely competitive bidding and, as a result, almost unimaginably low system pricing. India is seeing the lowest system prices of any major solar market in the world, ever.
The report finds that India has utility PV system pricing of 65 cents-per-watt.
The secret to these low prices? It turns out that a great way to reduce your soft costs is to pay your labor force and engineers next to nothing. (Markets with low-cost labor are more likely to use fixed-tilt systems, lowering turnkey system prices even more.)
As the report points out, even soft costs in China are 11 cents per watt higher than India.

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Your gas appliance is making climate change worse

JUNE 15, 2017 1:00 PM


Special to The Bee

Rachel Golden is senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club in Oakland. She can be contacted at


California leaders have said loud and clear that we won’t back away from our commitment to build clean energy and reduce climate pollution.

But for California to achieve its goals, it must address a source of climate pollution that is largely unchecked and literally hits close to home: the buildings where we live and work.

Gas-powered appliances such as space and water heaters produce massive amounts of climate-damaging pollution. In fact, gas burned for heating is responsible for nearly as much carbon pollution as all of the state’s power plants combined.

A recent investigation by the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission found that the state’s dirty gas networks leak more methane – 86 times more damaging than carbon – every year than the entire Aliso Canyon gas blowout, which is considered one of the worst man-made environmental disasters ever.

Our buildings are a major source of pollution because there is a lack of public education and funding. Those who want to do something about climate change are missing one of the easiest ways to act – switch from gas appliances to cleaner, electric ones.

Communities are already benefiting from doing so. The state is home to several of the nation’s largest all-electric low-income housing developments. Residents in these homes with on-site solar have utility bills about 90 percent lower than residents with gas appliances and no solar. The $1,000 a year in savings is no small change to families that are struggling to make ends meet.

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Big solar projects potential boon for rural areas

By Ryan Maye Handy, Houston Chronicle Published 10:49 am, Tuesday, June 13, 2017


OCI Solar Power is building the 110-megawatt, Alamo 6 solar farm in Iraan in West Texas to provide renewable power to the city of San Antonio. The project is slated to come online by the end of the year. OCI ... more

Utility-scale solar power is poised to become a boon for Texas' rural economies, particularly those hit by the oil downturn.

In Pecos County in West Texas, just south of Midland, the oil and gas industry accounted for about 90 percent of the county's tax revenues, said Helen Brauner, director of origination strategy for 7x Energy, an Austin-based utility-scale solar company. But that tax revenue plunged during the oil bust, she said, and has yet to recover.

But renewable energy is helping to restore some of Pecos' lost tax base, said Brauner. The county already hosts 400 megawatts of solar power and 700 megawatts of wind power.

"The typical 100 megawatt solar project should give the county about $30 million in property tax revenue per year," Brauner said  Tuesday at a summit on solar power in Austin.

Most of the solar power in Texas comes from utility-scale projects, which are greater than one megawatt, or enough to power 200 homes on a hot Texas day. Texas has lagged behind in the spread of solar energy, in part because the state offers no incentives for solar power. Nonetheless, solar industry analysts and executives expect utility-scale solar to grow in Texas.

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Building the ‘Solar Protection Factor’ Into an Increasingly Green-Powered Grid


A new ScottMadden report describes the challenges of balancing renewables and natural gas with retiring baseload power plants.

by Jeff St. John

June 12, 2017

Utilities need to prepare for the rise of wind and solar power and the retirements of baseload power plants, and that includes building “solar protection factors” into their long-term planning.

That’s one of the recommendations from consultancy ScottMadden in its latest energy industry update. The report, which covers subjects ranging from Trump administration energy policies, to blockchain, to smart cities, also gets into detail on today's key grid paradigm shift -- the increasingly frequent retirements of coal and nuclear power plants and their replacement by natural gas and renewables.

In the past decade, for the first time ever, baseload retirements outpaced baseload additions, with 23 gigawatts of net retirements since 2010, the report found. Of the 84.2 gigawatts of retirements, 61 percent were coal and 29 percent gas steam turbine plants, while the 61.1 gigawatts of additions have been 74 percent combined-cycle natural gas and 24 percent coal steam turbines.

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Today’s Top Solar Developers Have Become Storage Developers Too


Photo Credit: Cypress Creek Renewables

All this talk of solar-plus-storage is converting into action.

by Julian Spector

June 13, 2017

The solar industry is no longer just talking about pairing energy storage with solar generation.

An increasing number of solar-plus-storage projects have been cropping up around the country, as lithium-ion prices drop lower and customers get more comfortable with storage technology. The AES plant in Kauai set a record low price in January, only to be beaten by Tucson Electric Power's sub-4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour PPA announced in May -- proving this technology isn't just for islands and remote microgrids any more.

For the large developers in particular, storage makes the solar product more appealing to a utility by giving the power plant flexibility and mitigating its effects on grid operations. On the islands of Hawaii, storage has already become necessary for adding major solar capacity; on the mainland, its value increases along with renewable penetration.

To get a handle on just how extensive the interest in storage-backed solar is, I got a list of the 10 largest utility-scale solar developers from my colleagues at GTM Research, and tracked down the storage status of each one.

Seven of the top 10 solar developers have incorporated storage into their business strategy, and have either deployed storage alongside PV or are pursuing hybrid installations. The remaining three did not comment on how storage fits into their plans.

"This is well beyond one developer -- this is really a trend we're seeing in the industry," said Colin Smith, a solar markets analyst at GTM Research. "Solar-plus-storage has become a forced differentiator in the industry."

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Google’s New Product Puts Peer Pressure to a Sunny Use

The company’s “Project Sunroof” now shows you which of your friends have already put solar panels on their roof.


Project Sunroof now puts red dots over houses that appear to have solar panels on their roof, such as this neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado.



Updated on June 12 at 11:30 a.m. ET

One of the best predictors of whether people install solar panels on their house isn’t their age, their race, their level of income, or their political affiliation.

It’s whether their neighbors did it first.

This finding has been shown repeatedly across space and time, including in California, Connecticut, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. “It happens at the street level, it happens within zip codes, it happens within states. It seems to be a common feature of human decision-making that crosses many boundaries,” says Kenneth Gillingham, a professor of economics at Yale University whose study helped establish the finding.

On Monday, Google will put the finding into practice with Project Sunroof, its free online tool that aims to make it easier for people to obtain and use home solar panels. Project Sunroof will now not only inform users how much sun hits their roof, or how much solar panels would save them per month, but also which of their neighbors have taken the plunge first.

Project Sunroof was launched in 2015 by Carl Elkin, an engineer at Google who had worked on local solar-installation campaigns in Massachusetts. It now provides data for 60 million homes across the United States that it has already assessed with its algorithms.

For the past two years, Project Sunroof has walked people through all the information-gathering steps of installing solar panels: After you tell it where you live, its algorithms estimate how much solar energy falls on your roof, calculate how much solar panels would reduce your electricity bill, and deliver estimates from local installation firms like Solar City.

It can also walk you through similar steps if you’re interested in leasing or borrowing panels. “It highlights that, for many people, solar is often free. In many cases, including for my house, solar is better than free,” Elkin told me last week.

Now—in a nod to the powerful peer effects of solar power—it will also show you which of your neighbors have already installed panels. In its map view, Project Sunroof will show a red dot over any home or structure that appears to have rooftop solar.

“People want to know: ‘What if there’s some hidden gotcha in the contract?’and usually there isn’t. ‘Does this work for other people like me? Is solar really viable in my neighborhood?’” Elkin says. “You can zoom around through your town and understand how common solar is in your neighborhood. And many people have found: Wow, there is a lot more solar in my neighborhood than I’d realized.”

“We want people to realize solar is absolutely part of the fabric of American life,” Elkin says.

Google created the data for this feature in-house, training a machine-learning algorithm on the common appearance of rooftop solar panels and then letting it loose on the cities and towns that Project Sunroof already covers. Right now, the company has analyzed installations on about 60 million buildings in the United States; it hopes to get to the remaining 40 million buildings in the next few years. The methodology doesn’t seem to be perfect yet—I noticed some rooftop solar installations in my own neighborhood that the algorithms missed—but it seems to identify most of them.

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Summit in Austin to focus on future of Texas solar power

By Ryan Maye Handy, Houston Chronicle Published 6:51 am, Tuesday, June 13, 2017

  1. pastedGraphic.pdf

    OCI Solar Power is building the 110-megawatt, Alamo 6 solar farm in Iraan in West Texas to provide renewable power to the city of San Antonio. The project is slated to come online by the end of the year. OCI signed a long-term power contract with San Antonio's municipal utility, CPS Energy.

    How does solar power affect electricity prices in Texas? What is the value of solar power in a state without net metering? And how much will the solar industry grow in Texas over the new few years?

    These are just a few questions that speakers will address during a two-day summit for solar power companies in Austin this week.

    Hosted by the national trade group the Solar Energy Industries Association, the conference on Tuesday and Wednesday will feature speakers from some of Texas' leading retail and electric companies.

    Looks for more stories from the conference on

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    The Buzz

    JUN 2017

    Legislation to expand the carbon cap-and-trade program was waylaid by an oil slick of campaign contributions to Assembly Democrats.  Thus, the life span of a key Senate cap-and-trade bill looks as promising as an oiled bird.

    Also floundering in the current is Senate legislation that seeks to thwart refilling the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field until a study on the root cause of the massive months-long leak is concluded.

    Power utilities aren’t swimming against California’s carbon trading program tide because of the state’s green energy laws. JUICE insists clean energy mandates are not only good for California’s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, the power sector, but also for the largest source: transportation and petroleum refineries that fuel it.

    Although the California sun is strong, the solar rooftop market has dampened because of less favorable rates and a heavy rain season. But outside the Golden State PV installations are booming, a report finds.

    At the same time, repowered gas plants on the Southern California coast may get washed up. Both the Los Angeles DWP and Energy Commission are warming to the idea that clean energy can keep the grid and planet robust.

    In the nation’s Capitol, the two Republican Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominees were approved by a key U.S. Senate committee.

    The U.S. EPA’s reversal on the Obama Administration’s rule to slash methane emissions from new oil and gas plants and pipes provoked a suit by environmentalists.

    –The Editors

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    US Solar Market Adds 2 Gigawatts of PV in Q1 2017


    Utility-scale solar prices fall below $1 per watt for first time; capacity expected to triple over next five years.

    by Mike Munsell

    June 07, 2017

    Following rapid growth across the industry in 2016, the United States solar market added 2,044 megawatts of new capacity in the first quarter of 2017.

    As installations grow, prices continue to fall to new lows, with utility-scale system prices dropping below the $1 per watt barrier for the first time, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.

    The first quarter of 2017 was the sixth straight quarter in which more than two gigawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) and more than one gigawatt of utility-scale PV was installed.

    The residential and non-residential PV markets are both expected to experience year-over-year growth, even as the quarterly numbers saw a drop from last year’s record-setting pace, the report said.

    “The solar market clearly remains on a strong upward trajectory,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Solar is delivering more clean energy, adding jobs 17 times faster than the U.S. economy and creating tens of billions of dollars in investment. With its cost-competitiveness, we know solar will continue to play a growing role in America’s energy portfolio.”

    The utility-scale segment continues to drive the market, representing more than half of all PV installed during the quarter. Much of the capacity comes from projects that were originally slated for completion in 2016, but ended up being pushed back due to the extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit. And this entire year is expected to benefit from those “spill-over” projects.

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      “Utility solar is on the cusp of another boom in procurement,” said Cory Honeyman, GTM Research’s associate director of U.S. solar. “The majority of utility solicitations are focused on maximizing the number of projects that can come online with a 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit in 2019, or later by leveraging commence construction rules.”

      FIGURE: Annual U.S. Solar PV Installations, Q1 2012-Q1 2017
      Source: GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, Q2 2017

      The non-residential solar market -- which includes commercial, industrial and community solar installations -- grew 29 percent year-over-year, but was down 39 percent from a record high fourth quarter 2016.

      The report highlighted Minnesota’s growing community solar market. The state nearly doubled its cumulative community solar deployment in Q1.

      Several other states not as well known for their solar markets saw particularly large jumps in installations this quarter, including Idaho and Indiana. Meanwhile, emerging state markets such as Utah, Texas and South Carolina continued their growth.

      More than a half-gigawatt of residential PV was installed in the quarter, down 17 percent from the first quarter of last year. Part of the slowdown can be attributed to national installers pulling back operations in unprofitable geographies and customer acquisition challenges in more mature residential state markets like California.

      According to the report, residential PV installations in California will fall year-over-year for the first time this decade. Despite this, California remains the largest state market for residential solar installations.

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      Renewable Energy Push Is Strongest in the Reddest States



      The Smoky Hills Wind Farm outside Lincoln, Kan. Last year, Kansas generated more than 30 percent of its power from wind.

      Credit Christopher Smith for The New York Times

      Two years ago, Kansas repealed a law requiring that 20 percent of the state’s electric power come from renewable sources by 2020, seemingly a step backward on energy in a deeply conservative state.

      Yet by the time the law was scrapped, it had become largely irrelevant. Kansas blew past that 20 percent target in 2014, and last year it generated more than 30 percent of its power from wind. The state may be the first in the country to hit 50 percent wind generation in a year or two, unless Iowa gets there first.

      Some of the fastest progress on clean energy is occurring in states led by Republican governors and legislators, and states carried by Donald J. Trump in the presidential election.

      The five states that get the largest percentage of their power from wind turbines — Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma and North Dakota — all voted for Mr. Trump. So did Texas, which produces the most wind power in absolute terms. In fact, 69 percent of the wind power produced in the country comes from states that Mr. Trump carried in November.

      Renewable energy that produces no carbon dioxide emissions is not solely a coastal, blue-state phenomenon. From Georgia to the Dakotas, business and political leaders are embracing clean energy sources even as the Trump administration pushes for more exploitation of oil, gas and coal.


      These red states are not motivated by a sudden desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nor are they joining solidly Democratic New York, Washington and California in defending the Paris climate agreement that President Trump walked away from last week. Instead, their leaders see tapping the wind, and to a lesser degree the sun, as an economic strategy.

      Red States Lead the Way on Wind

      States won by Donald Trump in 2016 are shown in red, those won by Hillary Clinton in blue.

      State Power generated from wind Total wind MWh (millions)
      Iowa 37% 20.4
      Kansas 31% 15.1
      South Dakota 29% 3.2
      Oklahoma 28% 21.4
      North Dakota 23% 8.8
      Minnesota 18% 10.9
      Colorado 17% 9.3
      Maine 16% 1.8
      Vermont 16% 0.3
      Idaho 14% 2.3
      Texas 13% 61.0

      Wind power generation estimates over 12 months, April 2016-March 2017. Mrs. Clinton won three of Maine’s four electoral votes in 2016. Source: Energy Information Administration

      The New York Times

      The clean energy push allows their utilities to lock in low power prices for decades, creates manufacturing jobs, puts steady money in the hands of farmers who host wind turbines, and lures big employers who want renewable power.

      “We export lots of things, and in our future, I want us to export a lot of wind power,” Kansas’ conservative Republican governor, Sam Brownback, declared in a speech in 2011. “We need more of it, and we need more of it now.”

      Mr. Brownback got what he wanted: Since he spoke, wind power production in Kansas has nearly tripled, and the state is now an exporter of clean electricity.

      Whatever the motives, the push in the red states does help to lower emissions, which means their goals tacitly align with those of blue states worried about global warming.

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      Solar’s rise lifted these blue-collar workers. Now they’re worried about Trump


      By Danielle Paquette June 5


      Mike Catanzaro, panel installer at Accelerate Solar, finishes installed electrical wiring at a solar array he recently installed at a job site in East Charlotte. (Logan Cyrus for The Washington Post)

      CHARLOTTE — Mike Catanzaro, a solar panel installer with a high school diploma, likes to work with his hands under the clear Carolina sky. That’s why he supported President Trump, a defender of blue-collar workers. But the 25-year-old sees Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement as a threat to his job.

      “I’m a little nervous about it. The solar business is blowing up and that’s great for a lot of people around here,” Catanzaro said, just after switching on an 86-panel array atop a brick apartment building.

      “I was in favor of Trump, which I might regret now,” he said. “I just don’t want solar to go down the wrong path.”

      While some employed in particular industries have celebrated the U.S. exit from the Paris agreement, the responses of workers such as Catanzaro add a considerable wrinkle to Trump’s promises that scrapping the accords could save millions of people “trapped in poverty and joblessness.”

      The more complicated truth, experts say, is that while there could well be some winners — such as workers in the coal industry — the Paris departure embodies the government’s abandonment of a suite of policies that promised to create hundreds of thousands of  jobs at the same time as fighting climate change.

      About 370,000 people work for solar companies in the United States, with the majority of them employed in installations, according to the Department of Energy. More than 9,500 solar jobs have cropped up in North Carolina alone, the study found. That’s more than natural gas (2,181), coal (2,115) and oil generation of electric power (480) combined.

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      A Journey to the Center of the Solar Industry


      In this episode of the Interchange: We explore current turmoil, growth trajectories and the future of market design.

      by Stephen Lacey

      June 07, 2017

      There are two stories playing out in solar today.

      One of them is decidedly negative. The other is extraordinarily positive. And they're both unfolding at the exact same time.

      The Interchange is brought to you by AES Energy Storage. AES is helping utilities harness the power of battery-based energy storage to make the electric power system cleaner, more flexible, and more reliable. Find out more.

      In this week's podcast, we detail the different stories playing out in solar. We'll weave reflective conversation together with excerpts from Shayle's keynote address at last month's Solar Summit.

      • In part one, the brutal year for many businesses: Public solar companies are getting thrashed; module oversupply is causing severe financial pain for manufacturers; and even downstream companies who’ve benefited from cheaper equipment and growing demand have struggled. What does this tell us about the state of in the industry?
      • In part two, the macro trends: While the industry is in upheaval, the prospects could not be better for the technology. It’s one of the strange contradictions in solar. Where do we stand on the growth trajectory today?
      • In part three, preparing for explosive growth: How do you manage the coming wave of solar with better market design and integration techniques?
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      Nevada Legislature Passes Bill to Restore Net Metering for Rooftop Solar


      The legislation is now on track to become law, which solar advocates say will reboot the state’s rooftop solar market.

      by Julia Pyper

      June 05, 2017


      The Nevada State Legislature has passed a bill that's expected to revive the state's ailing rooftop solar market. The Assembly voted to approve a Senate version of the bill late Sunday night, with just a day remaining in the legislative session.

      The bill (AB 405) would reinstate net energy metering for residential solar projects, but at a discounted compensation rate.

      AB 405 would immediately allow rooftop solar customers to be reimbursed for excess generation from a solar system at 95 percent of the retail electricity rate. Over time, though, customer compensation would decline. The amended bill would create tiers, where credit rates decrease in increments for every 80 megawatts of rooftop solar generation deployed -- to a floor of 75 percent of the retail rate. A previous version of the bill lowered compensation in increments based on peak load.

      If signed into law, AB 405 would also allow net-metered customers to lock in their rate for at least 20 years, eliminating the risk that rates could change retroactively.

      Rooftop solar advocates, including the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), say the bill will reboot Nevada's rooftop solar market, which has been effectively stalled since a 2015 policy change.

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