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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

Solar


Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Jan. 2016.
http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/65298.pdf

"This report quantifies the technical potential of photovoltaic (PV) systems deployed on rooftops in the continental United States, estimating how much energy could be generated by installing PV on all suitable roof area. The results do not exclude systems based on their economic performance, and thus they provide an upper bound on potential deployment rather than a prediction of actual deployment."

Key Improvement Made in Solar Cell Voltage Technology

Washington State University News, Feb. 29, 2016, by Tina Hilding.
https://news.wsu.edu/2016/02/29/146010/#more-146010

"Researchers improved the maximum voltage available from a cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cell, overcoming a practical limit that has been pursued for six decades and is key to improving efficiency. The work is published in the Feb. 29 issue of Nature Energy. The effort was led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in collaboration with Washington State University and the University of Tennessee."


Empowerment Over Protection: How Solar and DERs Can Help the Disadvantaged

Utility Dive, Feb. 23, 2016, by James Tong and Jon Wellinghoff.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/empowerment-over-protection-how-solar-and-ders-can-help-the-disadvantaged/414273/

"The boom in rooftop solar has sparked concerns about a “green divide” and even undertones of class warfare. And it’s true that solar customers to date have tended to be more affluent than average households. Although recent data suggest that solar is now expanding into neighborhoods of more modest incomes, fear persists that solar policies will continually favor the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, particularly the most vulnerable. Critics thus demand reforms and fees for solar customers. What they overlook, however, is how policies designed to protect the poor can actually make them worse off."

National Solar Jobs Census 2015

The Solar Foundation, Jan. 2016.
http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/TSF-2015-National-Solar-Jobs-Census.pdf

"The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2015 is the sixth annual edition of current employment, trends, and projected growth in the U.S. solar industry. Given this industry’s rapid transformation, The Solar Foundation has conducted annual employer surveys of the domestic solar labor force and perspectives on job growth and future opportunities."

Claims for Solar Cell Efficiency Put to Test at NREL

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Feb. 4, 2016, Wayne Hicks.
http://www.nrel.gov/news/features/2016/21635

"The sheet of paper taped to the door of Keith Emery's office tells the story. On the paper is a simple fever chart showing the improvements made in increasing the efficiency of two dozen types of solar cells. Some of the lines marking record efficiencies date to the mid-1970s. Others start much more recently, with the advent of newer 
technologies. More than anyone at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Emery has seen the lines on that chart move ever higher. Since joining what at the time was the Solar Energy Research Institute, Emery has made the process of recording record efficiencies of solar cells and modules more accurate
."

New Solar Career Mapping Tool Available


Electrical Contractor, Nov. 2015, by William Atkinson.
http://www.ecmag.com/section/your-business/new-solar-career-mapping-tool-available%E2%80%A9

"In September, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), announced the introduction of a newer and much more highly interactive Solar Career Map (SCM) tool. IREC is the national administrator of the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN).
"

Survey of Buyers, Sellers and Realtors Involved In San Diego Third-Party Owned Solar Home Transactions – A Qualitative Assessment

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Dec. 2015. https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-1003917.pdf "Third-party ownership (or “TPO”) structures have revolutionized the residential solar photovoltaic (“PV”) industry, opening up new customer segments and growing to dominate the market – they include leases and power purchase agreements (“PPA”).  While the immediate benefits to customers are well-documented, there remains some question as to the long-term impacts of the TPO agreements, particularly as they relate to home sales.  This research utilizes data collected through a combination of surveys and interviews with various participants involved in actual home transactions (i.e. buyers, sellers, and realtors) to explore how TPO PV systems impact homes sales in the San Diego region.  These data indicate that while the presence of TPO systems do add some complexity to the real estate transaction, the overall impacts in terms of sales price, time on market, agreement transfers and customer ... Read the rest of entry »

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.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/to-itc-or-not-to-itc-what-happens-if-solars-federal-tax-incentives-arent/406304/

"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.
http://www.solarindustrymag.com/issues/SI1509/FEAT_05_Proof-Of-Concept-Community-Solar-Is-Ready-To-Soar-Despite-Complications.html

"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.
http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2015_10_05_how_solar_plus_battery_systems_insulate
_customers_from_rising_retail_electricity_prices


"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."

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