Utility Solar Blog : Utlity Solar Blog



PEER: A new green rating program aims to get the waste out of energy systems

The energy system of the future will not only be distributed, low-carbon, dynamic and resilient; it will be much more transparent and superfocused on eliminating every kilowatt hour of waste and inefficiency. It may also come with a LEED-like green rating certification -- Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal or PEER -- that could drive significant bottom-line savings and customer engagement

The case for more controllable loads -- and the 51st State

What if we could create an energy system that provides signals and incentives to help people use power when it is actually more available and cheapest? Michael Jacobs of the Union of Concerned Scientists talks about how his group will explore a range of technologies to make this idea a reality in its submission for SEPA's 51st State Initiative.

Public Utilities and Co-ops Lead in Texas’ Competitive Solar Market

If any doubts remain about the ability of renewable energy -- wind and solar -- to compete in energy markets purely on a bottom-line basis, Texas is now putting such uncertainty to rest. SEPA's fact-finding mission to the Lone Star State digs into the details.

The nagging divide when we talk about solar -- and what to do about it

A recent meeting of the Maryland Public Service Commission offered a clear view of the nagging divide that often emerges with utilities and solar industry representatives talk about solar energy. But SEPA's Bob Gibson said some presentations at the event provided good, rough-cut ideas for collaboration -- and hope for optimism.

What's missing from media coverage of net metering

Media coverage of net metering debates tends to reduce the story to two sides: utilities seeking to block solar versus the solar companies fighting to expand it. California's efforts to reform its net metering policies provide an extensively documented example of how the complexities of the issue are being missed.

The big question for energy storage -- valuation

The question for energy storage is no longer when prices will fall and how big the market will be, says Matt Roberts of the Energy Storage Association. It's all about how storage will be used and valued as the transformation of the energy system unfolds across the country.

Q2 surge in utility-scale solar a hopeful sign for the future

Following a slow start to the year, utility-scale solar surged in the second quarter of 2015, and the pipeline continues to grow ahead of the investment tax credit step-down scheduled for 2017, according to research compiled by the Solar Electric Power Association.

Putting Your Finger on the Pulse of Solar at SPI

Hitting the trade show floor at Solar Power International (SPI) is generally an exercise in sensory overload. No matter where you look, you see company names and logos on slickly designed booths in various bright colors, all clamoring for your attention. The big, well-known companies in the solar industry stake out prime real estate in the center of the exhibition hall -- and as you walk the aisles you see panels, racking systems and increasingly, storage batteries displayed, along with videos and pictures of completed projects.

Getting solar on the grid: Geography, policy and the economic value of DERs

Some U.S. utilities are combining new technologies and attempting to develop business models to solve the problems of integrating solar and other distributed energy resources onto the grid. Others are running to catch up. How can we export the lessons learned not only across the country but to emerging economies around the world?

Reporting from SPI: Solar -- An all-American success story

As Solar Power International opens in Anaheim, the main message for this year's event is that solar is an all-American industry, and success story. The industry is also big and mature enough to find new and collaborative solutions to the opportunities and challenges ahead.

SEPA and its members grow 'beyond solar'

Earlier this year, the Board of Directors of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) expanded the mission of the educational nonprofit to go beyond its original focus of utility solar to encompass a full range of distributed energy resources (DERs). Julia Hamm, SEPA’s CEO and President, writes about the opportunities opening up with the organization's new focus.

'Solar Plus' Key to Growth in U.S. Energy Storage Markets

Solar-plus-storage will be a strong presence at Solar Power International, Sept. 14-17 in Anaheim. Bob Gibson, SEPA's Vice President of Knowledge, looks at industry trends and finds that integration -- with energy management and other clean technologies -- is the engine that will help "solar-plus" really accelerate.

Low-income community solar in Colorado: Hand-up, not handout

Colorado co-op Grand Valley Power partners with GRID Alternatives on a new community solar program targeted specifically at helping low-income households cut their energy bills. The state follows suit with a $1.2-million program aimed at putting at least a megawatt of low-income community solar online.

Essential Symbiosis of the Energy Sector's Incumbents and Insurgents

SEPA Chief Strategy Officer Tanuj Deora, reports back on the recent Aspen Institute Clean Energy Forum and why both utility "incumbents" and innovating "insurgents" are essential to move ahead with energy industry transformation. A key challenge for both, he says, will be keeping up with changing definitions of the "public good" that access to electricity provides.

SEPA CEO: Clean Power Plan Underlines Ongoing Utility Solar Innovation

Washington, Aug. 3 -- In response to the release of the final version of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), has released an official statement regarding the President's plan.