Tag Archives: Vote Solar

Updated low-income solar guide designed to accelerate deployment

By Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

National non-profits GRID Alternatives  and Vote Solar  have updated their online tool, the Low-Income Solar Policy Guide, which they first released last year as a one-stop resource for those interesting in democratizing solar energy. Read more here.

Low-Income Solar.Org

ALSO IN THE NEWS

In Illinois, new rules expected to make solar faster and cheaper

Written by Kari Lydersen, Midwest Energy News

Illinois lawmakers have adopted new interconnection standards that will make the solar siting and installation process significantly quicker and cheaper, clean energy advocates and utilities say. The Illinois state standards, adopted Oct. 11, are based on a rule establishing best practices that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted in late 2013. The standards are being held up as a model for other states, including Iowa and Minnesota, which are currently going through interconnection rule-making processes. Click to read more.

Photo: Solar panels at the University of Illinois campus in Champaign. Credit: santontcady / Creative Commons

NEBRASKA’S STANDARDS
Freeing the Grid, referenced in the article gives Nebraska a grade of “B” for net metering and an  “F” for interconnection and makes the following recommendations to improve state standards:

  • Remove system size limitations to allow customers to meet all on-site energy needs. (Currently limited to 25kW).
  • Credit net excess generation at the customer’s retail rate with indefinite rollover. (Currently credited to customer’s next bill at avoided-cost rate).
  • Remove the aggregate capacity limit. (Currently 1% of utility’s average monthly peak demand).

Freeing the Grid is produced by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and Vote Solar, with analysis provided by EQ Research.

SAVE THE DATE! Vote Solar & SEIA Webinar: “The White House Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative”

August 17, 2016 – 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. CDT

U.S. Department of Energy

The White House has announced an exciting new initiative: “Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative”. This initiative is a cross-government partnership between the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is intended to increase access to solar energy and promote energy efficiency across the United States and, in particular in low- and moderate- income communities.

This joint webinar, sponsored by Vote Solar and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), will discuss the initiative opportunity and implementation.

REGISTER HERE

Photo: U.S. Department of Energy

RECOMMENDED READING
White House Fact Sheet: Obama Administration Announces Clean Energy Savings for All Americans Initiative

Low-Income Solar Policy Guide

Photo Credit: Grid Alternatives

Photo Credit: Grid Alternatives

The Low-Income Solar Policy Guide was developed by nonprofits GRID Alternatives, the Vote Solar Initiative, and the Center for Social Inclusion, to help drive the proposal and adoption of new low-income solar policies and programs, both as stand-alone efforts and as part of broader renewable energy programs. It is meant to be a tool for policymakers, community leaders and others who are working on solar access at the Federal, state and local level.

There are many effective policy tools for supporting solar adoption among consumers at large, and nearly all of them help expand low-income access to solar power to some extent. However, fully enabling low-income solar participation requires policies and programs that are specifically designed to address the unique barriers faced by these communities. This guide provides an overview of those barriers, as well as underlying principles for successful programs, existing policy tools that can be used to create programs, and examples of state and local models that have successfully improved access.

Low-Income Solar Policy Guide.Org www.lowincomesolar.org

About GRID Alternatives
GRID Alternatives is America’s largest non-profit solar installer bringing clean energy technology and job training to low-income families and underserved communities through a network of community partners, volunteers, and philanthropic supporters. GRID has installed over 6,500 rooftop solar systems with a combined installed capacity of 22.6 megawatts, saving $174 million in lifetime electricity costs, preventing 484,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and providing over 5,400 people with solar training. For more information, visit www.gridalternatives.org

About Vote Solar
Vote Solar is a non-profit organization working to combat climate change and foster economic development by bringing solar energy into the mainstream nationwide: www.votesolar.org

About Center for Social Inclusion
Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) works to identify and support policy strategies to transform structural inequity and exclusion into structural fairness and inclusion. CSI works with community groups and national organizations to develop policy ideas, foster effective leadership, and develop communications tools for an opportunity-rich world in which we all will thrive no matter our race or ethnicity: www.centerforsocialinclusion.org

Green Benefits: Companies Now Offer Solar Energy Programs for Employees

by Rosalind Jackson, Vote Solar – Posted on Renewable Energy World.Com

Vote Solar may be best known for our work advocating for state-level policy, but we’ve also been hard at work helping tackle solar soft costs head on through our GroupEnergy program. Our take on the solarize community purchasing model focuses on helping existing groups — think coworkers, clubs or congregations — pool their collective buying power to go solar at home.

We’ve seen particularly strong interest from major employers who want to take sustainability beyond the boardroom and into their broader communities. Participating companies get to offer a great employee benefit (solar), the employees get to navigate the process of going solar together (making it easier and more affordable), and the solar industry gets to serve a group of customers at once, reducing those nefarious customer acquisition soft costs. It builds solar awareness and lowers solar’s price tag in one fell swoop.

To continue reading, click here.

San Francisco’s SunShares Program. In their group purchasing program, solar installations cost $3.50 per installed watt, the same as at least four Nebraska solar professionals charge.

Tracking the Sun VII

An Historical Summary of the Installed Price of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2013 by Galen Barbose, Samantha Weaver, Naïm Darghouth, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, September 2014

As the deployment of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems has increased, so too has the desire to track the cost and price of these systems. This report helps to fill this need by summarizing trends in the installed price of grid-connected PV systems in the United States from 1998 through 2013, with partial data for the first half of 2014.

The following are among the report’s key findings:

*   International experience suggests that greater near-term price reductions in the United States are possible, as the median installed price of residential PV installations in 2013 (excluding sales/value-added tax) was just $2.1/W in Germany, $2.7/W in the United Kingdom, $2.9/W in Italy, and $4.0/W in France, compared to $4.4/W in the United States.

* The distribution of installed prices across projects has narrowed somewhat over time, but has remained relatively stable in recent years, and significant pricing variability persists. For example, among ≤10 kW systems installed in 2013, roughly 20% had an installed price less than $3.9/W, while a similar percentage was priced above $5.6/W.

Download the 66-page report here: http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/Tracking%20the%20Sun%20VII_Report_0.pdf

Tracking the Sun web link: http://emp.lbl.gov/publications/tracking-sun-vii-historical-summary-installed-price-photovoltaics-united-states-1998-20

 Additional reports from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

How Much Do Local Regulations Matter? Exploring the Impact of Permitting and Local Regulatory Processes on PV Prices in the United States (PDF)
http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/Local_Regulations_and_PV%20Report.pdf

Vote Solar’s Project Permit resource helped provide data for the above report:
http://projectpermit.org/

Utility-Scale Solar 2013: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States (PDF)
http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/LBNL_Utility-Scale_Solar_2013_report.pdf

Solar Means Business 2013

The Solar Energy Industries Association and Vote Solar recently released their second annual report, Solar Means Business 2013: Top U.S. Commercial Solar Users. As the cost of photovoltaic systems has continued to drop, an increasing number of businesses across the country, large and small, have invested in on-site photovoltaic installations. In mid-2013 collective commercial deployment totaled 3,380 MW at over 32,800 commercial warehouses, stores and facilities, an increase of more than 40% over the previous year.

Energy is the largest operating expense for many businesses, and as traditional energy sources continue to rise, deploying solar technology enables them to lock in fixed prices for decades, reduce energy costs, improve profits–all of which provide a business a competitive edge in the marketplace.

To download the PDF version of Solar Means Business 2013, click here:
http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-means-business-2013-top-us-commercial-solar-users

To view photos from the report, click on this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thesolarindustry/sets/72157636443609515/