Blog Posts tagged Solar

Clean, renewable energy, once novel, is now a core part of America’s energy infrastructure. America produces 43 times more solar power than it did in 2007, now producing enough to power more than 5 million average American homes. And America produces seven times as much wind power as it did in 2007, now producing enough to power 21 million homes. The 10 states that have led the nation in adding wind and solar energy since 2007 are listed here. 

Getting off fossil fuels will take some hard work. The good news is that as cities across the country begin implementing climate plans, knowing what to do – and how to do it – is getting easier. Last week, our colleagues here in Boston at Environment Massachusetts released a new report offering some more help, called 100% Renewable Boston: How Boston Can Accelerate the Transition from Fossil Fuels to Clean, Renewable Energy. 

Last week, we released Renewables on the Rise, which tracked the growth of five key clean energy technologies – solar, wind, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and energy storage – over the past decade. In case you missed it, here are some of the key findings.

The dramatic rise of renewable energy and energy efficiency are reason to celebrate – these technologies are proving that they should be front and center in global efforts to fight climate change. Natural gas, on the other hand, brings many of the same problems that fossil fuels have brought for decades. It’s time to put to bed the idea that natural gas can play a major role in any kind of a clean, sustainable future.

Solar energy is booming across America. Our new report, Shining Cities 2017, is the fourth edition in our series ranking U.S. cities by installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. On average, the cities in this report have nearly tripled their solar energy capacity just since 2014 when we began collecting data for this series.

The vast majority of the 16 recent solar cost-benefit analyses we reviewed for Shining Rewards found that, even with full retail net metering, solar owners provide a net benefit to the grid. And the analyses finding otherwise were largely commissioned by utilities.

In recent months, utilities have worked to put in place a policy that could slow the growth of rooftop solar: high residential demand charges. An electric bill with a large demand charge can limit the cost savings of solar energy because just one interval of high peak demand – at night or on a cloudy day – can result in charges that undercut the financial benefits of generating solar power over the course of an entire month.

Today we released Lighting the Way 4, our fourth annual installment of reports on the states with the most solar energy, and the public policies that have helped them get there. Once again, the evidence is clear: The states with the most solar capacity aren’t necessarily those with the most sunshine – they are the states that have adopted policies to make it easy and affordable for people, businesses and utilities to “go solar.”

America's cities can do far more to drive the growth of solar energy – with or without state policy support. This May, San Francisco became the first major city in the country to require solar panels on new construction of homes and businesses.

Net metering isn’t just good for solar consumers – it’s good for everyone. That’s the conclusion of a new study from the Brookings Institution, which, after reviewing evidence from around the country, found that net metering is a net benefit to the grid and to electric customers. 

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