Solar News Archive
  • SCE&G Launches South Carolina’s Largest Community Solar Program

    by SGEG Press release | Jun 12, 2017
    SCE&G announced last week that it introduced South Carolina’s largest community solar program (16 MWac), making solar generation available to electric customers who cannot, or do not wish to, install rooftop solar panels. Through the SCE&G Community Solar Program, residential customers and eligible nonresidential customers may now purchase or subscribe to solar panels at several solar facilities to be constructed within SCE&G’s service territory.
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  • Renewable Technologies on the Cusp

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 31, 2014
    You probably remember a time when the thought of widespread solar and wind energy seemed far from reality. Interesting or intriguing, maybe, but not practical, and certainly not inevitable. But in recent years, solar panels and wind turbines have sprouted across rooftops and hilltops. They’re not our primary sources of power, but they’re in the mix. They’ve joined the big leagues...
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  • Free Solar Panels? Why this Arizona Utility Wants to Give them Away.

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 30, 2014
    Though many utility companies are struggling to accommodate rooftop solar panels, Arizona’s largest electric utility is diving in headfirst. Arizona Public Service wants regulators to approve its plan to buy rooftop solar panels and install them on 3,000 homes for free. The homeowners wouldn’t own the solar panels and wouldn’t own the electricity they put out, but the utility would give them a monthly credit of $30 for 20 years, adding up to $7,200 over time...
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  • U.S. Commerce Department Adds Another Round of Duties to Chinese Solar Panels

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 28, 2014
    Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department moved to place anti-dumping duties on imported Chinese solar panels. It’s the latest move in an ongoing effort by the federal government to keep American solar panel manufacturers competitive and to push back against what they say are artificially low prices subsidized by the Chinese government...
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  • Nevada PUC Study: Net Metering Can Lower Energy Bills for Everyone, Not Just Solar Panel Owners

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 17, 2014
    As solar panels appear on more and more rooftops, a fight has broken out over just how much that solar power is worth. A solar panel doesn’t necessarily power the home it sits on – the energy it generates may be pumped back into the grid, and sent to other consumers on the network. With a net metering program, the owners of solar panels only pay for the net amount of energy they used. Essentially, that means that they sell any unused energy they produce back to the power company at retail prices...
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  • The WTO Says That U.S. Broke Trade Rules with Tariffs on China's Solar Panels

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 15, 2014
    Last month, the U.S. Commerce Department hit imported Chinese solar panels with a big tariff, closing the loophole that allowed Chinese firms to sell solar panels in the states at cut-rate prices. The U.S. argues that those low prices are subsidized by the Chinese government, helping Chinese firms undercut manufacturers in the U.S. and other countries. But yesterday, the World Trade Organization found that the U.S. had overstepped, saying that the U.S. didn’t make a strong enough case to justify the tariffs...
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  • Iowa Supreme Court Decision is Good News for Solar Power Companies

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 14, 2014
    As solar power grows, our energy system is growing with it. Our energy infrastructure and regulations were all designed with large power plants in mind, power plants that put out megawatts and megawatts of power. But now, solar panels allow homes and businesses to generate renewable energy on a small scale. It’s blurring the line between energy producer and consumer. So should solar panels be treated just like utility-scale power plants...
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  • German Parliament Reforms Renewable Energy Law

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 11, 2014
    Germany’s changes to its renewable energy law passed in the upper house of parliament and is expected to go into effect in August. The law will cut back on renewable energy subsidies, and will change the way the remaining subsidies are funded. Germany has had some of the strongest support for renewable energy of any country, but with this reform, they are rolling that back. The Wall Street Journal explains the rationale...
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  • Solar Panel Owners Going Rogue in Hawaii

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 10, 2014
    With electricity prices in Hawaii three times higher than the mainland, solar panels offer Oahu residents something very valuable – their own source of renewable energy. For homes and small businesses, the cost of installing solar panels will usually be offset by lower energy bills within a few years. And with electricity prices rising, solar panels seem like a better and better deal. Assuming, that is, that HECO, the Hawaiian utility, OKs your solar panel plan, something they haven’t done much of lately...
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  • Washington State Funds Giant Batteries for Renewable Energy

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 09, 2014
    With a 3.2 million grant from the State of Washington, Avista Corp will be testing out utility scale batteries. They received the grant last week. It comes from a $14 million pool of grant money to integrate renewable energy into Washington’s energy grid...
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  • Some Renewable Energy Companies Fail, but That Doesn’t Mean Much

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 08, 2014
    Following the Obama administration’s latest round of loan guarantees for renewable energy projects, Michael Grunwald has an essay in Time analyzing the loan guarantee program, and what it means after the Solyndra collapse...
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  • Arizona and Solar Companies Can’t Agree on What Residential Solar Means

    by Henry Kaplan | Jul 02, 2014
    The latest tough question for rooftop solar panels: can you get the tax benefits of rooftop solar when you put someone else’s solar panels on your home? Arizona offers property-tax exemptions for rooftop solar panels. But Arizona’s Department of Revenue decided last year that homes with leased solar panels don’t qualify. The state argues that they are treating the companies that own and lease out the panels like energy generation companies, which don’t get the same benefits as residential solar panel owners...
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  • Photos of 1970s Solar Technology Show How Quickly Solar Has Developed

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 27, 2014
    If you follow renewable energy news, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of stories about research-stage technology. Just in recent weeks we’ve seen stories about researches squeezing energy out of everything from coffee beans to just-discovered species of algae. The questions that always comes to mind: will anything ever come of this? Will this ever be a viable, practical, beneficial source of energy on a large scale?...
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  • SolarCity’s Move into Solar Panel Manufacturing Says a Lot about the Future of the Industry

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 27, 2014
    Solar panel installer SolarCity acquired Silevo, a solar panel manufacturer, last week. In some ways, it seems like a natural fit – why wouldn’t a big company that sells solar panels want to make their own? But in other ways, it seems counter to their business, which right now relies on China’s ability to churn out solar panels cheaper than anyone else. If they can’t beat Chinese manufacturers on price, why go into the manufacturing business at all?
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  • How Affordable is Renewable Energy?

    by Henry Kaplan | Jun 26, 2014
    The price of solar power and other renewables is falling. But is renewable energy a good deal for the average ratepayer? A few recent reports from state agencies tried to answer this question.
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