2016 was the year that community solar became seriously cool — by which I mean it was widely embraced as a means to increase access to solar and its many benefits for utilities, consumers, solar developers and society in general. Certainly, the proliferation of programs and projects — aka, the community or shared solar boom […]
With its history of populist, progressive politics, it is probably less surprising than one might think that Minnesota has emerged as a solar market leader in the Midwest. Mike Taylor, SEPA’s former director of research, sees the state as a case study in the opportunities and challenges generated by policies aimed at expanding the solar market.
A $705,830 competitive award from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative will allow the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) to launch a groundbreaking research initiative aimed at accelerating the spread of community solar energy programs across the country.
A spate of new reports on community solar highlight its increased potential as a flexible way to widen access to solar for both utilities and customers — and grow a new segment of the solar market.
Colorado co-op Grand Valley Power partners with GRID Alternatives on a new community solar program targeted specifically at helping low-income households cut their energy bills. The state follows suit with a $1.2-million program aimed at putting at least a megawatt of low-income community solar online.
Across the country, scores of electric cooperatives are turning to solar power, for largely pragmatic reasons — economics and customer choice. Recognizing the opportunity, co-op leaders are seeking and beginning to find active ways for their utilities to support and shape the growth of solar among their members, with community solar projects and other innovative business models.
I used to tell a joke when I would speak at a conference. “What do you call someone who has worked in the solar industry for one year?…An expert.” Cymbal crash. After 11 years with SEPA and 16 years in the solar industry, I will be leaving my current job on July 15. Inspired by […]
The popularity of community solar continues to grow, despite the fact that in many cases, buying into a project may not provide immediate savings on customers’ electric bills. But that is starting to change, with the SolarPerks program in Massachusetts. With solar pricing still on a downward trend, should utilities be planning for community solar as a lower- or least-cost option?
The text message popped up on Michelle Ozarowski’s phone at 6 a.m. in early July. “What do you think about going to 1.5 or 1.6 MW?” Ozarowski is Technical Project Manager at GenPro Energy Solutions, a solar developer and equipment provider with offices in South Dakota and Nebraska. The company has been working on a […]
Many people are interested in community solar, but that doesn’t mean they will subscribe to a project in their area. A new SEPA report tackles this community solar conundrum.
In April, 75 community solar professionals gathered at a workshop where much of the discussion focused on the critical issues and decision points in the surprisingly complex and still evolving world of community solar. Patterns arose and these 10 questions were the most commonly asked.
On April 26, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) will release the initial results of its 10th annual Utility Market Survey with the announcement of 2017’s Utility Solar Top 10 lists, honoring the utilities that put the most new solar capacity on the grid in 2016. Such anniversaries, by their very nature, are a time […]
WASHINGTON, DC — The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) today announced that it has received a $705,830 competitive award from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative for a first-of-its-kind project aimed at accelerating the spread of community solar energy programs across the country. The collaborative research project will draw on expertise from utilities, solar developers, […]
Community solar – also known as shared solar – is gaining traction as a vehicle to “bring solar to the masses” in significant, visible and diverse ways. It is a model for solar growth that is proving attractive to a variety of organizations, none more so than electric utilities.
If any doubts remain about the ability of renewable energy — wind and solar — to compete in energy markets purely on a bottom-line basis, Texas is now putting such uncertainty to rest. SEPA’s fact-finding mission to the Lone Star State digs into the details.
Two electric cooperatives, one defense contractor, a solar developer — and a whole lot of other people who had never talked or thought much about renewable energy — blew the roof off the solar market in Arkansas last year with a 12-megawatt (MW) project located near the small town of Camden. The story behind the […]
As promised, SEPA’s new Communications Director, Mike Kruger, hit the ground running … to Solar Power PV Conference & Expo – Chicago. Back from the Midwest, he provides five key insights from the conference.
If anyone still doubts the inevitability of solar power’s integration into the United States’ power supply, the Aug. 5 announcement of Audi’s plans to partner with SunPower to provide clean power for the German automaker’s new plug-in hybrid provides strong, evidence, if not all the proof needed.
Four pioneering projects captured attention at the Solar PV Conference & Expo in Boston Feb. 24, receiving the 2016 Photovoltaic Project of Distinction awards.
For small utilities looking to tackle the challenges of financing solar projects and integrating them into their energy portfolios, at least one key component is executive level buy-in and a commitment to finding innovative, smart solutions. In other words, they need someone like Sean Hamilton, general manager of Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD), a public utility providing power to a small town in central Massachusetts. Hamilton is, by his own admission, not a big self-promoter, so he and SMLD have largely flown under the utility solar radar in recent years, all the while building out local solar projects equal to 30 percent of the department’s peak load.
The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has announced the finalists for its 2016 Solar Power Player Awards, with the winners to be honored at special event Sept. 13, at Solar Power International (SPI) in Las Vegas. The awards recognize the innovative and leading role U.S. utilities and their partners in the solar industry are playing […]
Earlier this month, Julia Hamm, SEPA’s CEO, traveled to Minnesota to do something she, or any other SEPA representative, had never done before — testify at a state legislative hearing. Her appearance at the hearing reflects the increasingly rapid transitions underway in the utility and solar industries, the resulting challenges for policy makers and SEPA’s own evolution to stay in front of these changes.
A new study from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) upends conventional solar industry arguments on the critical role net energy metering plays in building residential solar markets. In fact, SGCC’s survey on consumer attitudes toward rooftop solar and electric vehicles (EVs), found interest in solar slightly higher among study participants in states without strong net […]
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