Tag Archives: Vote Solar

Aggressive clean energy bill would push Illinois to 100% renewables by 2050

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

An ambitious energy bill introduced Thursday in Illinois would mandate the state shift to
entirely renewable energy by mid-century with an emphasis on job creation and equity. The
Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 3624/SB 2132) grew out of listening sessions held statewide last year
by environmental and energy groups that are members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition.

The coalition says the bill will expand on and address shortcomings in the implementation of the Future Energy Jobs Act, passed with much fanfare in 2016. They say it would create four
times as much wind and solar power as FEJA, enough to power 4 million homes through
40 million solar panels and 2,500 wind turbines. Continue reading here.

Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons Photo

Related: Vote Solar Announces Support for Clean Energy Jobs Act to Bring 100% Clean Energy to Illinois

MORE 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Mills sets goal to fight climate change: 100% renewable electricity by 2050, The Portland Press Herald
Gov. Janet Mills outlined an extensive climate agenda on Thursday,
pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, work toward 100
percent renewable electricity generation and to work with other
governors on regional solutions. Mills said she joined a coalition of
more than 20 governors committed to pursuing the goals of the Paris
Agreement on climate. 
U.S. Climate Alliance Website

BOOSTING RENEWABLE ENERGY’S VALUE

Cost-Effective Solutions for Boosting Solar Farm Production, Power Magazine. According to Berkeley Lab, solar trackers accounted for 80% of installations in 2017, among projects larger than five megawatts. By following the sun, output can be boosted by 20%, increasing capacity factors and lowering the production cost of electricity. Photo: Fremont’s first of two solar farms installed by GenPro Energy Solutions, both with sun trackers.

Google’s DeepMind Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Wind Farm Energy Output 36 Hours in Advance, Fortune
According to the company, DeepMind’s predictions have boosted the value of Google’s wind energy by roughly 20%.

Google Blog Post: Machine learning can boost the value of wind energy
Based on these predictions, our model recommends how to make optimal hourly delivery
commitments to the power grid a full day in advance. This is important, because energy sources that can be scheduled (i.e. can deliver a set amount of electricity at a set time) are often more valuable to the grid. About DeepMind for Google

Previously Posted Article: Google announces plans to build data center in Nebraska; signs point to Omaha area, Omaha World-Herald 

GREENTECH MEDIA PODCAST

How to Get a Job in the Clean Energy Economy
Resources listed in the accompanying article include:

Year-End Reflections and Predictions From a Solar Veteran

Vote Solar’s Adam Browning offers up his picks for the most
important trends of 2018. Published by Greentech Media.

In 2002, when solar was $9 a watt, I co-founded an advocacy organization to bring solar into the mainstream. Solar’s made a lot of progress since then, and 2018 feels like a crucial year in many ways, with some key successes and pivotal developments.

Here’s my list of the most important stories in solar in 2018, and predictions for 2019.

Continue reading here.

Seven steps to community solar

By John Weaver, PV Magazine

 Nationwide, over 220 utilities offer community solar programs across 36 states, and a growing number of rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and investor owned utilities are exploring or implementing community solar program offerings. Currently there is only around
1 GW of community solar installed, but some see a path toward 84 GW by 2030.

To assist in reaching this ambitious goal, Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) have released their Checklist for Voluntary Utility-Led Community Solar Programs. The document divides its advice into seven sections: Continue reading here.

IREC Photo

How Much Power is 1 Gigawatt?, U.S. Department of Energy

UPCOMING WEBINAR

IREC and Vote Solar will host a joint webinar on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 12pm Central Time to discuss the recently-released Checklist for Voluntary Utility-Led Community Solar Programs and other shared renewables tools, including IREC’s National Shared Renewables Scorecard and Shared Renewables Policy Catalog. To register, click HERE.


About IREC
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council increases access to sustainable energy and energy efficiency through independent, fact-based policy leadership, quality workforce development and consumer empowerment. A not-for-profit organization since 1982, IREC’s state-by-state work and national leadership make clean energy possible and reliable, including for low- to moderate-income customers and underserved communities. Learn more at www.irecusa.org

About Vote Solar
Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org

What unites America around clean energy

By James Redford and Adam Browning, Opinion, Washington Post

James Redford is a climate activist and filmmaker. He is co-founder and chair of the Redford Center. Adam Browning is executive director of Vote Solar, a nonprofit organization working to expand solar access in states nationwide.

During our recent travels across the United States, we met with the policymakers, business leaders and activists behind the nation’s radical shift to clean energy. After speaking with them, it became evident that there were countless motivations driving this transition: climate change, healthier air, environmental justice, customer choice, national security and energy freedom. But no matter whom we talked to, there was one universal driver that transcended position and political affiliation — and that’s pure economics . . . In Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton’s administration realized that the $18 billion the state was spending every year to import fossil fuels would be better spent investing in infrastructure and jobs right at home. Today, 57,000 Minnesotans work in the state’s growing new energy economy, powered in large part by a pioneering community solar program. Read more here.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Building Energy completes largest landfill solar project in U.S., Solar Power World

Building Energy, a multinational company operating as a globally integrated IPP in the renewable energy industry, and Building Energy Holding US, through its renewable energy subsidiary Annapolis Solar Park, announced the inauguration of its largest solar PV project built in North America. Built by EDF Renewables, the project is located on a closed landfill in the city of Annapolis, Maryland.

Governor Brown Signs 100 Percent Clean Electricity Bill, Issues Order Setting New Carbon Neutrality Goal

News Release, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

SACRAMENTO – Reaffirming California’s global climate leadership, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed Senate Bill 100, authored by Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León, setting a 100 percent clean electricity goal for the state, and issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality – both by 2045. “This bill and the executive order put California on a path to meet the goals of Paris and beyond. It will not be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done,” said Governor Brown. Read more here.

RELATED

  • SEIA News Release Excerpt: Following is a statement by Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association: 
    “California has taken a monumental step in enacting one of the world’s most ambitious clean energy policies. As the largest solar market in the U.S., California has already proven that investing in renewable energy brings jobs and massive economic and environmental benefits to the state — benefits that will grow exponentially with the enactment of SB 100.”
  • Vote Solar News Release: Statement from Adam Browning, Vote Solar’s Executive Director, celebrating SB 100’s passage:
    “Today, California made history. This is the biggest and most important climate action to date in the United States.  Big because California is big. Important because it sets a new bar for what’s possible, and because it is replicable. This year New Jersey committed to 50% renewables, and in November voters in both Arizona and Nevada will decide whether their own state should do the same. This is a revolution of evolution, and it’s happening across the country.”
  • How Do Ambitious Climate Pledges Impact Economic Growth? For Insight, Compare Texas And California, Forbes
    Compared to other places, like Texas – known for its oil and gas production – California’s economy is performing better on most measures, showing that it is entirely possible to pair steep emission reductions with vibrant growth. California has established some of the world’s most ambitious carbon emission reduction targets, and is achieving them faster and at lower cost than expected. The state hit its 2020 target four years early, while its economy grew much faster any other state and the U.S. economy as a whole – California’s economy climbed from 10th largest in the world in 2012 to 5th largest today.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Midwest Utilities Contemplate a Future Less Reliant on Coal

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

The Midwest has long been a wind energy hub. Now, an increasing number of the region’s utilities are turning away from baseload coal and contemplating a future that relies heavily on clean energy. Utilities in states such as Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin and Michigan have recently announced goals to pivot towards cleaner resources. In Kansas, newly-joined Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy (also known as Kansas City Power & Light) — now collectively known as Evergy — laid out a plan to retire a handful of old coal plants this fall and begin cleanup of the leftover coal ash. An executive of the company, John Bridson, told the area’s NPR affiliate that “it’s time to retire older, less-efficient fossil fuel plants.” Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

ALSO IN THE NEWS

NEW REPORT
Inclusive Solar Finance Framework, released today by the nonprofit organization Vote Solar, provides a guide for policymakers, advocates, the solar industry, community groups, and financial organizations to address the barriers faced by up to 78 million low-income or low-credit score households and ways to make solar more accessible for all.

The Vision for U.S. Community Solar: A Roadmap for 2030

Despite clear consumer interest and immense market opportunity, the model hasn’t yet achieved scale because most states lack community solar policies – and those that do are still largely not adequately reaching and serving a diverse customer base.  Transformative growth of community solar will not happen overnight. But improvements in program design and implementation, financing solutions, and customer-focused offerings can expand solar access to all customer types.

To help state policymakers, market participants, and advocates address these gaps and expand community solar options, GTM Research conducted a study to evaluate the community solar market potential and identify pathways for community solar adoption nationwide by 2030. The study was supported by Vote Solar, GRID Alternatives, and Coalition for Community Solar Access. Read more here.

Photo: South Sioux City’s 2.3-megawatt array (1,200 panels) located on a 21-acre solar park south of the city, alongside C Avenue. The array generates enough energy to provide 5% of South Sioux City’s electrical needs. This is the first Nebraska project for California-based developer Solar City, a Tesla Motors subsidiary. See Solar Examples for more information.
Recently posted: $1.6 million 2 megawatt energy storage unit project in South Sioux City
Credit: Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

The Top Distributed Solar Policy Actions Of Q2, by Betsy Lillian, Solar Industry

According to the report, The 50 States of Solar, the greatest number of actions related to residential fixed charge or minimum bill increases, net metering policies and community solar policies:

The report identifies three trends in solar policy activity taken in Q2 2018: (1) states working to increase low-income customer participation in community solar programs; (2) state legislatures considering bills effectively undoing or amending regulatory decisions; and (3) regulators approving residential fixed charge reductions. NCCETC says regulators in three states approved residential fixed charge decreases in Q2 2018 – representing a notable departure from previous quarters. Read more here.

Solar industry, NAACP partner for more than 30 installations

Posted by Frank Andorka, PV Magazine

GRID Alternatives, Solar Energy  Industries Association, Sunrun, United Methodist Women, Vote Solar joined the NAACP to kick off a solar equity campaign focused on low-income communities and creating jobs . . . Called the “Keeping it Green While Living the Dream”, the coalition has made a year-long commitment to train 100 people, install solar on 20 households and 10 community centers and strengthen laws in at least five states that strengthen equity in solar-access policies. Read more here.

Photo: Grid Alternatives

NAACP’s JUST ENERGY TOOLKIT
Just Energy Policies and Practices Action Toolkit
The toolkit contains modules to help guide individuals and communities move towards an energy economy that is sustainable, equitable, and just for all its members. It includes a section on how to pass net metering, distributed generation and community shared renewable energy policies, a fact sheet on advancing equity, inclusion, and leadership in the solar industry, and a fact sheet on solar consumer protection. The toolkit is designed to operate in conjunction with the NAACP’s Just Energy Policies: Model Energy Policies Guide, which contains specific information for people wanting to change policy.

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.