Last week in US solar news, Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures showed the US’s solar industry had a monster year, installing 11.1 gigawatts (GWs) of new power. Meanwhile states are taking both good and bad actions toward solar power.
Last week the EIA announced that the majority of new energy installed in the US last year came from wind and solar power as solar had its biggest year ever, installing 11.1 new GWs of energy. That includes both rooftop solar and utility-scale solar. The vast majority of new power that came online last year, 16.4 GWs came from utility-scale wind (8.7 GW) and utility-scale solar (7.7 GW). That’s more than 60 percent of the 27 GWs that came online in the US last year.
The EIA report came out even as President Donald Trump gave his first address to Congress to layout more of his plans for the country, which include cutting funds for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reducing its ability to oversea critical pollution limitations. Already, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is holding a letter-writing campaign to protect the EPA. Another organization, E2, which promotes clean energy, produces fact sheets to show the value of jobs that the clean energy industries are producing.
As solar continues to grow across the US states are still working on solar power policies. Last week saw news on potential policy changes in at least three states. In Arizona, for instance, APS and a broad coalition of solar advocates reached an agreement on net-metering in the state. Though not officially approved by the state’s utility commission yet, it would provide long-term assurances to net-metered customers, new and old, in the state.
Minnesota could join the handful of states that want to significantly boost its renewable energy standard to 50 percent. Last week a group of legislators from both parties and the state’s Lt. Gov., Tina Smith (D), announced the new effort.
There are also other states where actions are being taken against solar power. For instance, in Georgia, Georgia Power is behind a proposed bill that would reduce the state utility commission’s ability to regulate the utility and how it handles increasing solar power and renewable energy.
Amazon, which was already quickly ramping up its solar resources in Virginia, announced a new global last week to install solar power at 50 facilities across the world by 2020. The company will begin the program by installing solar power in the US and then moving globally after that.
In another interesting move Panasonic unveiled a new photovoltaic device specifically aimed at the electric vehicle (EV) market. It’s the fist such panel designed to provide power to a commercial EV’s drive system. It features curved glass and high-efficiency solar cells and is debuting on the Prius this year. However, it’s quite likely that it could also pop up on Tesla models as the two companies already have an expansive relationship.
It’s not the first time that the Toyota Prius has donned solar panels, but now Panasonic Corp. ..Tweet