This week in renewable energy: 3/14/14

Every week, Community Renewable Energy shares important clean energy developments– and some that are just plain cool.

Here’s what we’ve been reading.

  • Minnesota has long been a leader in solar power policy. We at Community Renewable Energy have been following the nuances of Minnesota’s solar laws, and this week, the state voted to accept “value of solar”/ “cost of coal” tariff. As Midwest Energy News explains, “The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 in favor of a proposal aimed at settling the perennial debate over how much solar power is worth to a utility and its ratepayers, as well as society and the environment.”
  • Public policy plays a major role in states that are leading the solar revolution. The Wall Street Journal profiled the states that have installed the most solar power projects.
  • Crowdfunding remains a major funding force for solar projects. (Tech Republic)
  • Investors are backing solar companies, too. (NASDAQ)

This week, we shared news from the U.S. and abroad…

  • California’s success as a solar leader owes as much to its progressive public policy as its sunny climes. Last weekend, California had more solar panels connected to the grid than ever before. The Sacramento Business Journal explains: “On Saturday, Cal ISO had 5,231 megawatts of net dependable capacity, which is the total installed capacity of panels in the state. That’s up 139 percent from 2,188 megawatts of net dependable capacity on March 8, 2013.”
  • In February, the Interior Department approved its 50th utility-scale renewable energy project on public land. Politico reports: “According to Interior, those projects add up to 14 gigawatts of power, getting the administration closer to its goal of 20 gigawatts of renewable power on public lands by 2020. There are a number of other proposals in the works — including one in Wyoming that, at 3 gigawatts, would be the biggest wind farm on the continent.”
  • Gizmodo just published stunning photographs of some of the largest solar power installations in the US– a great reminder of how much progress the US has made in terms of renewable energy. You can also check out an interactive map of solar power plants from the Center for Land Use Interpretation.
  • We at Community Renewable Energy are big supporters of Power Africa, which aims to build energy infrastructure and capitalize on Africa’s amazing renewable power potential through public-private partnerships. Over the next few months, the first Power Africa projects will begin construction in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Power Africa aims to connect 20 million households to clean, reliable renewable energy.
  • The United Kingdom is becoming a leader in wind power. From the Clean Technica article: “RenewableUK notes another record which was broken, with wind supplying 17% of UK electricity demand on the 23rd of February, and providing an all-time half-hour high of 6,215MW on 31 January.”
  • Solar power is no longer a luxury. A new survey out of Western Australia shows that some of the most enthusiastic adopters of residential solar technology are households with below-average incomes.

What do you think was the most important renewable energy story this week? Share your insights and thoughts below or by email.

For news about sustainable community and economic development, visit Praxia Partners’ blog.

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