Utility Solar Blog : Utlity Solar Blog

California’s drive to cut time and cost of getting solar on the grid

For certain large, distributed solar projects, interconnection costs are a matter of chance and timing, ranging from thousands to millions of dollars -- and in some cases scuttling often promising installations. The California Public Utilities Commission has been tackling the thorny problem in a proceeding known as the cost certainty docket. SEPA's Ryan Edge lays out the details.

Will community solar become a least-cost option?

The popularity of community solar continues to grow, despite the fact that in many cases, buying into a project may not provide immediate savings on customers' electric bills. But that is starting to change, with the SolarPerks program in Massachusetts. With solar pricing still on a downward trend, should utilities be planning for community solar as a lower- or least-cost option?

SEPA staff go up on the roof: Solar transformation in East Baltimore

SEPA staff recently donned hard hats and harnesses and clambered up a two-story high ladder to help GRID Alternatives install solar panels on the roofs of two low-income homes in Baltimore. Along with some hands-on experience in the nuts and bolts of solar, the staffers also heard compelling stories about its power to transform lives.

New York's Solar State of Mind: Resilience through community engagement

SEPA's Alexandra Longo recently headed to New York City for the state's ninth annual Solar Summit. She reports that New York is building its solar market -- and a more resilient grid -- through a range of programs that all focus on community engagement and transformation through information.

What market research is telling utilities about consumers and solar, Part 2

More than half of Americans in a recent survey said they are dissatisfied with their utilities -- and solar is one the things they overwhelmingly want their energy providers to offer. Market research expert Suzanne Shelton says that utilities need to pick up the challenge.

Energy storage: Finding the value proposition in a growing market

This year's Energy Storage Association annual conference, held May 27-29 in Dallas, showed an industry in rapid growth mode but still struggling to deliver a competitive return on investment. Utility applications being developed in regulated and unregulated markets could provide the key.

The future is now: Voices from the 51st State Summit

The utilities and energy system of the future are emerging in the United States today -- with changing trends in technology, business models and policy moving ahead in diverse forms and at varying speeds in different regions across the country. It's forcing stakeholders in all parts of the industry to think outside the box and experiment with new ways forward, said participants at SEPA's 51st State Summit last month in San Diego.

The Southeast solar equation: Collaboration + compromise = market growth

The emergence of a growing solar market in the Southeastern United States has occurred in a relatively short time and, in some cases, is the result of surprising and surprisingly effective collaborative efforts that reached across traditional political and industry divisions. The signs of continued growth were unmistakable at Solar Power Southeast, May 7-8 in Atlanta.

MIT's 'Future of Solar' report: Why it matters

Some of the recommendations in the "Future of Solar Energy" report, authored a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, may elicit knee-jerk concerns and criticisms — and are not totally devoid of self-interest. But the paradigm shifts the report calls for in solar energy research and policy present clear opportunities for utilities, policy makers and other solar industry stakeholders that deserve careful consideration.

The irresistible advance of solar energy -- and utilities

Speaking at the opening session of the Solar Electric Power Association's 51st State Summit April 26 in San Diego, Ron Binz, former chair of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, shared his views on the future of the energy sector. He sees solar, utilities and the Internet as essential parts of the future.

SEPA researcher powers up Utility Solar Database upgrade

Researcher and data expert Daisy Chung has spent the past 14 months working on an upgrade of SEPA's Utility Solar Database, a unique clearinghouse of information on utility-owned and -initiatied solar projects and programs across the country. Chung talks about how she helped take the USD from data overload to solar geek nirvana.

SEPA Announces Judges for Solar Power Players Awards

NIne industry experts will select the winners of the Solar Electric Power Association's 2015 Solar Power Player awards, which honor the best in innovative and replicable utility solar projects and programs. This year's panel include representatives of last year's award winners, as well as four returning judges.

What Al Gore got wrong about utilities and solar

Liberal icon Al Gore and conservative Tea Party leader Debbie Dooley both love solar, but criticize utilities for standing in the way of solar growth. But speakers at the Bloomberg New Energy Summit in New York told a different, more complex story about utilities' active role in solar market growth and grid transformation.

The key to grid integration of solar: visibility

For solar energy to be fully integrated onto the electric grid, it must first be “visible" -- so utilities and grid operators can fully manage the flow of solar power from rooftop installations as well as larger-scale projects. SEPA's upcoming Solar Integration Workshop will focus on the complex issues surrounding visibility and how utilities and solar technology firms are responding to the challenges.