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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


The Game Changer [Energy Storage]

Solar Today, April 30, 2015, by Maureen McIntyre (Editor & publisher)

"The global energy landscape is shifting, and the game changer is energy storage."

Solar Gardens: A Fast-Growing Approach to Photovoltaic Power

Power Magazine, May 2015, by Kennedy Maize.

"How to give electricity customers who can’t take advantage of rooftop solar access to the sun? Community solar—a shared resource—is a fast-growing segment of the renewable energy market, making solar photovoltaic power more accessible while offering another approach to distributed generation."

NREL Report Estimates Market Potential of Shared Solar and Discusses Relevant Securities Regulations

NREL News Release, Apr. 27, 2015.

"Analysis from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finds that by making shared solar programs available to households and businesses that currently cannot host on-site photovoltaic (PV) systems shared solar could represent 32 to 49 percent of the distributed photovoltaic market in 2020."

Solar Power Purchase Agreements: a Toolkit for Local Governments

Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Mar. 2015. [Requires free registration to view full report.]

"In an effort to reduce solar soft costs and assist local governments and other public entities seeking to install and finance rooftop solar systems, IREC developed a comprehensive toolkit on retail solar power purchase agreements (PPAs), sometimes referred to as solar service agreements. With this new resource, IREC seeks to help overcome the common challenges and costs associated with PPAs by providing a full suite of legal resources and related documents in a highly user-friendly format."

Centralized & Decentralized PV Power Plants: Vendor Perspectives

SolarPro, Mar/Apr 2015, by Joe Schwartz.

"As the capacity of utility-scale PV plants has increased in the US, so has the capacity of the centralized power-conditioning units used in these projects. Today, many plants utilize factory-integrated skids that combine inverters, medium-voltage transformers and switchgear into packages that range in capacity from 1 MW to 2.5 MW. These integrated systems offer project developers many advantages, including optimized component compatibility, as well as reduced installation time and expense."

Solar Ready Vets: Preparing Our Veterans to Join the Growing Solar Workforce

U.S. Department of Energy, Apr. 6, 2015.

"...the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense joined forces to create the Solar Ready Vets program, which provides training to help military personnel translate and build on their skill sets and transition to careers in this thriving renewable energy field.."

Distribution and Substation Transformers: Design & Installation

Solar Pro, Mar./Apr. 2015, by Alexey Kondrashov and Tobin Booth.

"In this article, we cover the fundamentals of transformer construction and operation. We discuss the general use of distribution and substation transformers in commercial and utility solar applications. We consider important transformer ratings and features. Finally, we summarize factory and field tests. If you do not take these considerations into account, the humble transformer can trip up your whole project. Our goal is to provide a definitive and practical guide that will help you select and specify pad-mounted distribution transformers for commercial and utility solar facilities."

Opinion: How Solar Advocates are Overvaluing DG Solar

Utility Dive, Mar. 12, 2015, by Ashley Brown.

"Ashley Brown, executive director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, argues that rooftop solar is valuable, but should not be paid at full retail value."

Three Military Bases Partner with Energy Department to Train Veterans for Solar Jobs

U.S. DOE News, Feb. 2015.

"This pilot program is enabled by the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge initiative, which allows exiting military personnel to pursue civilian job training, employment skills training, apprenticeships and internships up to six months prior to their separation date. Service members who graduate from the DOE’s solar training program will gain the skills to size and install solar panels, safely connect electricity to the grid, and interpret and comply with local building codes."

How Utilities Can Get In On the Solar Job Bonanza

Utility Dive, Jan. 28, 2015, by Herman K. Trabish.

"Despite solar providing 1.3% of all new U.S. jobs in 2014, being the single biggest new U.S. jobs creator, and doubling its installation sector since 2010, utilities seem to be uncertain about getting involved in it."


The Energy Newsbriefs Blog is a continuation of the weekly Energy Newsbriefs. Please bookmark this site and return frequently. Although we will not be accepting comments from within the Blog, we would be happy to hear from you by email at