Changing Net Metering Policies Being Studied In Over Half Of US States

Originally published on CleanTechnica Changes to solar net metering policies are being studied or have been enacted in more than half of the states in this nation, states the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center’s latest “50 States of Solar” report. The NC Clean Energy Technology Center is a UNC System-chartered Public Service Center administered by the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University. Not surprising, “Rate design, net metering, and distributed solar ownership are among the most contentious ongoing renewable energy policy issues,”…

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California Net Metering Petition Gains Traction

A petition drive to leave California net metering policies untouched has garnered more than 130,000 signatures. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) reports it has received this signature-heavy petition, which is calling it to not enact controversial proposals to reform net metering in the state. The petition was organized by pro-solar coalition Vote Solar, a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream. Since 2002, this organization has engaged…

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SDG&E Utility Warns It Will Hit Net Metering Caps By Mid-2016

Last week San Diego Gas & Electric warned distributed energy enthusiasts it expects to reach caps on net metering in the summer of 2016. According to pv-magazine, SDG&E’s numbers show that existing installations and pending applications take up 74% of available capacity in the program. This opens the door to what “net metering 2.0” might look like, pitting utilities and distributed energy advocates in a face-off. Current estimates show 30 MW of rooftop solar is being added each month under net…

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Rooftop solar

Potential Changes From Utilities In Net Metering Will Adversely Impact Rooftop Solar

When it comes to net metering dollars and cents, the utility bill face-off between rooftop solar champions and utilities continues to evolve. While net metering has achieved wins in states like Colorado and Nevada, owners of rooftop solar systems in states like Florida may not be as fortunate, where the development of large-scale solar projects are being planned by investor-owned utility Florida Power and Light (FPL) . As one solar owner has put it: “But the war on solar is…

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Solar farm

Amazon Virginia Solar Farm Approved For Construction

Amazon recently received final approval to begin construction of a 80 MegaWatt solar farm in Virginia’s Accomack County. The farm, called “Amazon Solar Farm US East,” will be owned and developed by EPC Community Energy, and Amazon will buy the power generated through a power purchase agreement. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe revealed that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality had agreed to issue a permit for the facility, which will be made up of 250,000 solar panels and generate enough…

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Solar Lights: Nokero Introduces New Solar Light Bulb In Zimbabwe

I received this news and Zimbabwe photo yesterday from Steve Katsaros, founder of Nokero, a pioneering Denver company that makes great solar lights and solar light bulbs that replace poisonous kerosene lamps that are so prevalent where people have no access to electricity. Katsaros had very good news to share: My colleagues and I have been all over the globe researching, inventing, selling and building Nokero…After nearly 6 years in the solar light business, we have finally created the perfect…

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Solar Gardens Provide Future for Distributed Energy

Before I begin writing about energy gardens, it is incredibly helpful to understand what they are, what they aren’t, and their level of independence from whatever energy utility serves the vicinity. The concept of distributed energy According to the US Department of Energy, “distributed energy consists of a range of smaller-scale and modular devices designed to provide electricity, and sometimes also thermal energy, in locations close to consumers.” A solar garden fits in this category. They include, adds the DOE,…

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Kirigami inspires new solar cell technology

Kirigami Inspires New Solar Cell Technology

Researchers at the University of Michigan have created a lattice-like solar cell that can stretch like an accordion, allowing it to tilt along the sun’s trajectory and capture more energy. The details of the oddly shaped solar film, inspired by the Japanese art of paper cutting called kirigami, are in a paper recently published in the journal Nature Communications. The new design helps fix a problem with most solar power systems – the sun moves and the panels don’t. By…

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NexPower’s Building Integrated Photovoltaic Film Goes Anywhere

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) have been around for a few years now. They have graced concrete, storefront systems, glass, and many other materials. The goal of these products is to integrate the photovoltaic system into building materials that are already used in the structure, reducing the weight of the system, providing more design flexibility, and making them aesthetically pleasing. NexPower’s solar glass, which is a form of BIPV, has recently been installed at the Building Research Establishment in Watford in…

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Solar lamp design winner

Solar Lamp Design Winner Will Be Distributed Throughout Africa To Dispel Darkness

The winning design for a solar lamp, shown above, will be distributed to off-grid communities in Africa to help people living there dispel the darkness without the use of carbon-emitting kerosene lanterns. About 14,500 lamps, powered by the sun, will be distributed throughout Zimbabwe, Senegal, and Zambia. The Natural Light contest, sponsored by skylight manufacturer VELUX and Little Sun, which is a social business and a global project founded by internationally renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, asked teams to…

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Team Orange County's entry into Solar Decathlon 2015

Team Orange County Focuses On SoCal Issues In Solar Decathlon 2015

Team Orange County’s entry into this year’s Solar Decathlon addresses some of the issues found in the Southern California home market, including the use of solar energy and landscaping without water. Casa del Sol, as their entry is called, is inspired by the resilient and diurnal characteristics of the California poppy. It is designed with appropriate shading and natural ventilation to allow it to open and close in tune to the path of the sun. Strategically positioned windows automatically open…

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Smartflower supplies solar power

Solar Power Takes The Form Of A Sunflower

smartflower POP+ enables anyone to start their own personal energy revolution. The integrated power storage unit makes this all-in-one solar power system – the only one of its kind in the world – up to 100% independent of the grid day and night. How does smartflower work? With the first rays of the sun, smartflower deploys its circular 18 m2 solar module panels and produces electricity. Both the design and the efficiency are inspired by the sunflower – with two movable…

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Yale Team's entry into this year's Solar Decathlon - Y House

First Yale Team Ever Provides Efficient Design for Solar Decathlon 2015

For the first time, Yale is participating in this year’s Solar Decathlon. The design focuses on the use of modules, with all of the unit’s plumbing, ventilation, and electrical components being housed in just one section of the house. “Our team has been really looking at how we can embed sustainability into the house itself,” said Kate McMillan, a senior architecture student from Houston. The team, composed entirely of students, has been working on the project for two years. “We’ve…

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DURA House, designed and built by NYC College of Technology

New York City Team DURA Designs Stackable Post-Disaster Home for Solar Decathlon 2015

One of the teams in this year’s Solar Decathlon, is from New York City’s College of Technology. This team focused on the issue of providing disaster housing that can be easily transported and stacked, if needed, to provide a high density of housing in a small footprint. Team DURA (Diverse, Urban, Resilient, Adaptable) created a stackable design to provide relief after catastrophic storms that can also be used for mobile and low-income housing in urban areas. “A lot of our…

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2005 Solar Decathalon entry from NYIT

Collegiate Teams Target Net Zero At Solar Decathlon 2015

Sixteen collegiate teams from over 27 different schools will soon be vying for the ultimate in home energy efficiency. The US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon – America’s premier collegiate competition that challenges students from around the world to design, build and operate highly energy efficient, solar-powered houses – will open October 8, 2015 in Irvine, California. Teams are already working on the construction of their homes, as they have to be shipped and erected in California in just a…

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Solar power program in California

New Partnership Helps California Businesses Get Solar Power for Less

Renew Financial, a leading clean energy finance company, and SolarCity recently announced a partnership that creates a unique financing option for small and medium-sized businesses that combines low-cost SolarCity-structured financing with Renew’s PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program through the CaliforniaFIRST program. CaliforniaFIRST provides affordable financing for efficiency upgrades — including drought-tolerant landscaping, energy efficiency improvements and solar energy installation — to more than 20 million Californians. Over the past year, Renew Financial has expanded the availability of CaliforniaFIRST to more…

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Bullitt Center, Seattle

Net Zero Case Study: Bullitt Center – Energy

The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, is one of the most self-sufficient buildings on the planet. It is net zero energy and, after the water reuse system is approved by city authorities, net zero water. Net zero means that the building uses the same amount as it creates or generates – it is self-sufficient. In a series of posts here on GBE, we will look at what makes this building tick.   Solar Power The Bullitt Center uses photovoltaic (PV)…

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Author John Perlin and The Solar Cell

In a discussion today about solar energy and the coming Year of Light, author John Perlin helped enlighten me about the importance of the solar cell (photovoltaic systems) as a source for renewable electricity. What is the biggest consideration in designing a PV system, as opposed to a solar thermal system that uses multiple heliostats?   The answer: PV functions without requiring moving parts. Perlin, author of Let It Shine: The 6,000-Year History of Solar Energy, elaborates on that answer,…

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