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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: Solar


To ITC or Not to ITC: What Happens if Solar's Federal Tax Incentives Aren't Extended

Utility Dive, Oct. 1, 2015, by Herman K. Trabish.

"What will happen if the federal investment tax credit (ITC) so many solar developers depend on isn't extended?  “If the investment tax credit is not extended, we see it as a disruption, not a death for the industry,” said Maddy Yozwiak, U.S. Power and RECs analyst  and co-author of the recently-released report, “How extending the investment tax credit would affect US solar build,” from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)."

Proof of Concept: Community Solar is Ready to Soar Despite Complications

Solar Industry, Sep. 2015, by Sara E. Bergan and Andrew P. Moratzka.

"Minnesota's turmoil over solar gardens provides a laboratory for handling similar efforts across the U.S."

How Solar-plus-Battery Systems Insulate Customers from Rising Retail Electricity Prices

Rocky Mountain Institute, Oct. 5, 2015, by David Labrador.

"In the face of rising retail prices for grid electricity, investing in solar-plus-battery systems can insulate grid-connected customers from those increasing prices and effectively lock in a peak price that won't continue to climb, according to a recent analysis by RMI. The result for customers across diverse geographies will be substantial savings relative to what they would have paid for a full-fare utility bill. For utilities and regulators this will be challenging—and present an opportunity."

[NW Energy] Coalition Honors Clean Energy Leaders with Headwaters Awards

NW Energy Coalition, Oct. 13, 2015.

"Two clean energy pioneers have been honored for their efforts with NW Energy Coalition Headwaters awards. Coalition executive director Nancy Hirsh recently presented colorful plaques and vials of water drawn from the headwaters of the Columbia River – Columbia Lake in British Columbia, to Alan Zelenka and Mike Nelson."

PV Modules Update & Trends

Home Power, Sep./Oct. 2015, by Justine Sanchez.

"Now that solar technology is cropping up on rooftops across the country, you might be finding your friends and neighbors looking for more information about this “new” industry. Here are some current solar industry statistics and PV module trends for those increasingly common over-the-fence conversations."

Inverter Benchmarking Results in Smarter Residential Inverter Solutions

Solar Industry Magazine, Aug. 2015, by Michael Mills-Price.

"Today’s residential and small commercial solar photovoltaic inverter marketplace includes a myriad of solutions and choices... These products are expected to operate in electrically and environmentally harsh environments, with service lifetimes that can approach and exceed 20 years. The PV inverter landscape is also marked by many new entrants and products from established industry players. These dynamic market characteristics increase the importance of thorough due diligence in the inverter selection process. Independent third-party data can be very beneficial in choosing the optimal inverter solution. "

IRS Ruling Could Be A Huge Boost For Community Solar Investment

Solar Industry Magazine, Sep. 10, 2015, by David K. Burton and Richard T. Page.

"In a newly released private letter ruling (PLR), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has approved an individual taxpayer's plan to claim residential solar tax credits for investing in a community/shared solar energy project, even though the facility's solar panels are not on the taxpayer's residential property. The ruling encourages residential property owners to invest in such projects." 

Healthy Choices: Selecting From the Distributed Generation Rate Menu

Public Power, Jul/Aug 2015, by Laura D'Alessandro.

"Choosing the best distributed generation rate design for your utility depends largely on your community."

Utilities and Customers are Embracing Community Solar -- Is Your Utility Next?

Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin, June 2015, by Joel Scruggs. [Scroll to page 26.]

"A quick survey of our utility members showed that while NWPPA utilities in every state they represent have customers and members with solar projects/net-metering projects on their own property, not many have community solar projects. However,  ...the word is out about them and many utilities are weighing the pros and cons of community solar — several members have even built one or are starting the process."

Deploy Grid Energy Storage Using Best Practices From Existing Installations

Solar Industry, June 2015, by Chris Thompson.

"...there are several commonalities between solar and grid-tied storage, and important lessons from the solar industry provide substantial guidance in energy storage application. Performance, pricing and packaging are the 'three Ps' of storage project deployment, derived from our direct experience in both solar and storage project deployment over the last few years."
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