Category Archives: Research

National Business Groups Send U.S. Dept. of Energy Analyses Showing Diverse Energy Sources Protect Electric Reliability

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today four national business groups representing the range of advanced and renewable energy companies in the United States submitted materials to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to inform the energy market study he called for last month. The four groups developed separate analyses, based on existing sources and industry experience, showing that changing energy sources – more use of natural gas, renewable energy, and energy management sources in addition to resources like coal and nuclear power – far from threatening electric system reliability, increase it in important ways while saving consumers money . . . The four industry organizations submitted separate documents to inform the DOE in its study of the electric power system and reliability:

Read the entire news release here.

Why utilities are more confident than ever about renewable energy growth

Concerns about integrating high levels of wind and solar are waning,
Utility Dive’s sector survey shows. By 
Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive  

At the turn of the millennium, only wide-eyed dreamers in the power sector would have claimed renewable energy would play a major role on the U.S. grid. Wind and solar were simply too expensive and too difficult to integrate. Fast-forward to 2017, and that dream is becoming a reality, according to a survey of more than 600 utility professionals. More than 80% of North American utility employees expect renewable energy to increase moderately or significantly in their service areas over the next decade, according to Utility Dive’s fourth annual State of the Electric Utility (SEU) survey.

Continue reading.

In discussing consumer sentiment as a factor pushing utilities toward clean energy, the author mentions OPPD’s new renewable energy tariff  “to lure tech companies to its service area,” and Puget Sound Energy’s novel green tariff.

National guidebook maps the way toward ‘tipping points’ in solar adoption

By Heather Fitzgerald, Yale News

Backed by research out of Yale and Duke, a newly released guidebook details a range of best practices for boosting the adoption of rooftop solar power. Titled “Solarize Your Community,” the national guidebook makes the case for “contagious” rooftop solar. The findings are distilled from a three-year study of successful campaigns in Connecticut that tripled the number of rooftop installations, reduced the average cost of residential solar by 20% to 30%, and created local jobs in participating communities. Continue reading.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Download Solarize Your Community: An Evidence-Based Guide for Accelerating the Adoption of Residential Solar

  • Digital version click HERE
  • Printable version click HERE
  • Printable step-by-step timeline click HERE

New! Solar+Storage for Low- and Moderate-Income Communities: A Guide for States and Municipalities

By Todd Olinsky-Paul, Clean Energy States Alliance

This guide seeks to provide state and municipal officials with information to develop effective solar and battery storage (solar+storage) policies and programs that benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. It explores a range of policy approaches that have been successfully employed and provides program examples from states that have made LMI access to these technologies a priority. Download the report.

Author and CESA Projects Director Todd Olinsky-Paul discussed the report in a recent webinar. Watch it here.

Want to Sell More Wind, Solar Power? Find Corporate Buyers

By Bryan Eckhouse, Bloomberg

Contracts to sell electricity directly to corporate users are among the key demand drivers for wind and solar power, while the influence of state mandates wanes, according to a report Friday by Moody’s Investors Service. Multiple factors are spurring corporate power deals, especially from companies that have set their own sustainability goals. And the shift comes as costs continue to fall.  Continue reading here.

Photo: Getty Images

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

WEBINAR
A recording of The Pursuit of Sustainability will be available on March 21, 2017. Presented by the Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. More information is available here.

How A 94-Year-Old Genius May Save The Planet

By Kevin Maney, Newsweek

John Goodenough is 94, and his current work could be the key to Tesla’s future—much as, decades ago, his efforts were an important part of Sony’s era of dominance in portable gadgets. Over the years, Goodenough has scuffled with Warren Buffett, wound up screwed by global patent wars, never got rich off a headline-grabbing initial public offering and defied the American tech industry’s prejudice that says old people can’t innovate . . . Goodenough announced in early March that he and his team at the University of Texas at Austin had invented a glass-based battery that blows away the performance of every previous kind of battery, including lithium-ion batteries—which were invented in the 1980s by…him.
Read the entire article here.

Photo: John Goodenough on YouTube

U.S. Solar Market Insight: Solar Adds 14.8 Gigawatts of Capacity in Record 2016, On Track to Triple in Size by 2022

Solar Energy Industries Association and Greentech Media Research Report

The U.S. installed 14,800 megawatts (MW) of solar PV in 2016 to reach 42.4 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, enough to power 8.3 million American homes. With more than 1 million residential solar installations nationwide and record-breaking growth in the utility-scale sector, the industry is poised to grow by 300% over the next five years, reaching 100 GW nationwide.
Continue reading.

Key Figures Include

  • In a record-breaking year for solar, the U.S. market installed 14,762 MWdc of solar PV in 2016 – nearly doubling the capacity installed in 2015. Growth was primarily driven by the utility PV segment, which installed more in 2016 than the entire market in 2015.
  • For the first time ever, solar ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity additions brought on-line on an annual basis at 39%.
  • On average, a new megawatt of solar PV capacity came on-line every 36 minutes in 2016.
  • In 2016, a record 22 states each added more than 100 MW of solar PV.
  • The once-nascent community solar market quadrupled in 2016, playing a key role in supporting the largest year ever for the non-residential PV market.
  • GTM Research forecasts that 13.2 GWdc of new PV installations will come on-line in 2017, down 10% from a record-breaking 2016. Utility PV is expected to account for 66% of that new capacity.
  • Total installed U.S. solar PV capacity is expected to nearly triple over the next 5 years. By 2022, more than 18 GW of solar PV capacity will be installed annually.

NRDC Report: Replacing Coal with Renewables and Energy Efficiency Can Lead U.S. to Cleaner Future

Press release excerpt

“The shift away from coal, and the ongoing retirement of aging coal plants, presents our country with an historic opportunity,” said Starla Yeh, the report’s co-author and a senior policy analyst in NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air Program. “The U.S. is perfectly positioned to lead a global transition to clean energy, modernize its electricity grid, enlist tens of thousands of Americans in new efficiency and clean energy jobs—and help protect the planet from climate devastation.”

Even Robert Murray, CEO of the largest U.S. private coal miner, said earlier this year that coal employment “can’t be brought back to where it was before the election of Barack Obama.” And Brian Corbett, spokesman for DTE Energy which provides electricity to several million customers in Michigan, has said: “Many of our coal plants are aging and need to be replaced with cleaner, modern generating technologies, which is what our customers are asking of us and we plan to continue working to achieve these goals.” Read the entire release here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, NRDC lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment.

US Solar Market Grows 95% in 2016, Smashes Records

By Mike Munsell, Greentech Media

FIGURE: U.S. Solar PV Installations, 2010-2016

Source: GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight report

In its biggest year to date, the United States solar market nearly doubled its annual record, topping out at 14,626 megawatts of solar PV installed in 2016. This represents a 95 percent increase over the previous record of 7,493 megawatts installed in 2015. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) previewed this data in advance of their upcoming U.S. Solar Market Insight report, set to be released on March 9. Continue reading.

Download Free Executive Summary Here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
U.S. Solar Surged 95% to Become Largest Source of New Energy, Bloomberg