Blog Posts tagged Solar

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. 

In last week's Boston Globe an MIT economics professor argued that the fastest and fairest way to transition to a clean energy economy is to shift government policy support away from distributed solar, and toward utility-scale solar. But distributed, rooftop solar has particular benefits to the environment, to society and to electricity customers that make it worth the investment.

Our new report Solar Schools for Philadelphia found environmental and economic benefits for putting solar panels on Philadelphia schools. So if solar panels make economic sense for Philadelphia, shouldn’t they make sense just about everywhere? 

In December, the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) decided to keep strong net metering in California for years to come. The decision, made over the objections of the state’s biggest utilities, is a testament to the popularity of solar power, and will allow California to ramp up its solar economy while reducing global warming emissions and driving down the price of solar panel.

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