Utilities Don’t Have the Incentive to Promote Solar. That’s Changing.

Why isn’t there more community solar in the US? Because utilities need to disrupt their business models to incorporate more solar and right now they don’t have the incentive to do that. In the past two blogs in this series, we’ve discussed how the electricity grid works and why the grid needs to evolve. In this article, we’re going to explore how some states are incentivizing utilities to adopt more solar power and encourage ratepayers to reduce consumption.
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3 Ways the Traditional Electric Grid Can Adapt to the Solar Revolution

Given that solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 68% in the last decade, there’s no doubt that solar power is challenging the traditional electric grid. Why? Because in many ways our electric grid is largely the same as the one envisioned and implemented by Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over a hundred years ago.
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What Do We Mean When We Talk About “The Grid”?

The American electricity grid is one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of the 20th century. In 1882, Thomas Edison’s Illuminating Company created the first central commercial generator in lower Manhattan, delivering electricity to local businesses, including The New York Times. By the 1920s, most cities and towns had access to electricity, immensely improving quality of life, but rural areas were still in the dark. With Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Rural Electrification Administration, the 1930s saw the electricity grid expand to America’s countryside, changing the lives of millions.
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Solar Offers a Bright Future for American Workers

Solar Offers a Bright Future for American Workers

Despite political promises, coal jobs are not coming back. Why? Because coal is significantly more expensive than natural gas and renewable energy, like wind and solar. In fact, solar is booming in America. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) predict that America’s solar market will almost triple in size in the next five years. The main reason is cost. In 2008, the wholesale price of a solar panel was $4 per watt, but by 2016 it had fallen to $0.65 per watt. Today, there are 1.4 million solar arrays in the U.S. And, for every solar array installed, a team of solar workers is needed for the job.
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Community Solar is Helping Build the Just Energy System We Need

Community Solar is Helping Build the Just Energy System We Need

Why do we need to talk about social justice when we talk about how our energy is produced? In short: pollution and economic inequality. The bad news is that the Trump Administration plans to close the Office of Environmental Justice, which for more than 20 years has been working to address these issues. But there’s hope. New ways of getting even more clean, solar power built are taking hold. In this article we’ll explore why we need a just energy system and how community solar offers an exciting new way for households to get involved, helping accelerate the transition to a renewable energy grid and displacing the energy from dirty fossil fuel plants.
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Can solar save the bees and reclaim polluted land?

Can solar save the bees and reclaim polluted land?

In 2010, Colorado was one of the first states to pass legislation to encourage shared renewable energy projects. In developing this new, more accessible renewable energy model, Colorado’s leadership set the standard for other states. Today, there are 25 states with at least one community solar project in queue. Furthermore, more than twelve states and D.C. have promoted community solar through policies, legislation and incentives. In the next five years, community solar will contribute 1.6 gigawatts to the grid (as of 2014, community solar accounted for just 66 megawatts of additional power). By 2020, community solar will more than double solar capacity in the U.S. Along with this tremendous growth, some solar developers are finding new environmental benefits from community solar gardens by recovering polluted lands and making new homes for pollinator-friendly wildflowers.
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NAACP and Our Power Partner On Event to Raise Awareness of Community Solar Benefits

NAACP and Our Power Partner On Event to Raise Awareness of Community Solar Benefits

Peekskill, NY, June 20, 2017—On Tuesday, June 20, starting at 7pm at The Summit at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Peekskill, NY, Our Power and the Peekskill NAACP are running a free, informational workshop on community solar.

“Community solar is coming to New York and Our Power is encouraging people to participate in the program and support new solar projects while saving money on their power bills,” said Gary Skulnik, Our Power. “Our Power is in Peekskill to let local residents know about the program and when eligible solar projects in their community become available.”
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New Rules Move Solar Forward in NY

As a follower of community solar in New York State, you’re looking for good news. After most projects became stalled while waiting for new regulations to be announced, the industry has been looking for new information from the New York Public Service Commission (PSC).

Last month, that news came. In this blog post we’re going to look at one important change that should help community solar in New York State to take off: VDER or Value of Distributed Energy Resources.

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Community Solar Gets Real

You might recall from our August newsletter that there had been more than 900 applications to build community solar projects across New York state. Believe it or not, the latest report from the New York’s Department of Public Service shows that the number has increased by more than 50%, to nearly 1,400 projects in the queue. Working through all these applications is a tremendous amount of work for state authorities, which has slowed the process of getting them constructed – but two are now up and on the grid!

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Community Solar and Reducing New Yorkers’ Energy Bills

One of the key benefits of community solar is the cost savings it can offer, even for low- and moderate-income households who don’t have access to traditional rooftop solar. By building at a larger scale than a single rooftop, a community solar garden lowers the cost of solar greatly, and offers the savings to hundreds of households.

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