July 25, 2016
NY-Sun is a bold initiative that is driving New York’s solar industry and building momentum toward a sustainable, subsidy-free market by 2023. Through a comprehensive approach that offers incentives, reduces industry barriers, and addresses soft costs, NY-Sun has helped lead to a dramatic uptake in solar capacity, while reducing costs. More than 18,000 solar projects were installed across New York in 2015, increasing the State’s solar capacity by nearly 202 megawatts (MW) to 568 MW. Looking forward, projects already in the initiative’s pipeline will more than double the total amount of current capacity. NY-Sun aims to install 3 gigawatts of solar by 2023, while building a self-sustaining solar industry.
July 20, 2016
The California Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) program is helping to make new homes in California environmentally friendly, while reducing energy bills. The program, a component of the comprehensive California Solar Initiative (CSI), provides financial incentives and other support to builders, developers, and homeowners to encourage the construction of new, energy-efficient solar homes. The NSHP, which was launched in 2007, has a 10-year goal of installing 360 megawatts (MW) of new residential solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in California. It aims to have at least half of all new homes include solar by 2020. As of January 2016, the program has installed or reserved funds for 141.8 MW of solar capacity. It has already helped boost the new home solar penetration rate in the state from less than 1 percent to more than 20 percent.
July 14, 2016
With the CT Solar Lease (SL2) program, the Connecticut Green Bank (Green Bank) continues to develop innovative financing solutions to advance solar and other clean energy technologies. The CT SL2 program builds on the success of the original CT Solar Lease program, the nation’s first residential PV financing program to combine ratepayer funds with private capital to leverage federal incentives. By expanding the Solar Lease program to include commercial and nonprofit projects that have traditionally been excluded from the solar financing market (along with serving more customary municipal credits), SlL2 has further opened the door to distributed solar by pairing Connecticut’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing mechanism with power purchase agreements (PPAs). The result has enabled the Green Bank to once again leverage ratepayer funds with significant private capital, in a scalable and replicable manner, in order to finance and deploy solar projects for “mid-market” commercial and nonprofit organizations that otherwise would not be able to make these projects happen.
July 12, 2016
Energy Trust of Oregon, working with the nonprofit Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA), has developed a coordinated and comprehensive program to help irrigation districts and the farmers they serve to develop modern irrigation systems. The resulting systems will reduce energy use and operating costs; generate income from renewable energy production; increase agricultural production, quality, and diversity; reduce water use; and enhance environmental conditions. Twelve Oregon irrigation districts are currently undertaking assessments of the benefits they could achieve through modernization. This program reduces the cost and time required for project planning and implementation, addresses key regulatory and institutional barriers, leverages funding, and demonstrates how modern agricultural water management can mitigate the impacts of long-term drought.
July 7, 2016
In 2012, New Hampshire became the first and only state to add a carve-out for renewable thermal technologies to its renewable portfolio standard (RPS). This carve-out requires electricity providers to support a minimum amount of renewable thermal energy each year that is produced by eligible biomass, solar thermal, and geothermal technologies. Since this law passed in 2012, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission Sustainable Energy Division developed rules to govern the metering, monitoring, and quantification of thermal renewable energy credits (T-RECs). New Hampshire’s T-REC program has provided substantial economic and environmental benefits for the state, and serves as a model that other states can use to support a wide range of clean energy thermal technologies.
July 5, 2016
The electric utility industry is in the midst of a fundamental transformation as it prepares for a distributed energy future. Key to unlocking this future is a better understanding of the costs and benefits of distributed generation and its ability to reduce peak loads on the electric distribution system. To this end, the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RI OER) developed a pilot project to explore how distributed solar could provide value to Rhode Island’s electric grid. The pilot project, initiated in 2014, has successfully mobilized the local community to adopt solar PV beyond initial expectations, helped to defer traditional utility capital investments, and provided important lessons for the consideration of “non-wires alternatives” in distribution system planning. Preliminary estimates indicate that solar resources that were geo-targeted by the project could provide enough peak load reduction to defer the construction of an expensive new sub-station feeder by two to four years.
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