This week in renewable energy: 5/30/14

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

The rise of solar

  • Solar is booming, and 2013 broke all the records. According to 24/7 Wall Street, “Solar’s status is brighter than ever before, according to a Solar Energy Industries Association report released today. In an industrywide sign of success, 74% of all new generating capacity installed in the first quarter of 2014 came from solar.”
  • Community Renewable EnergyResidential installations are also on the rise. The Center for American Progress writes:

Declining installation prices and solar-friendly policies in many states have led to tremendous growth in rooftop solar installations. In 2013, residential solar photovoltaic, or PV, capacity increased 60 percent over the previous year, reaching 792 megawatts. Today, a new solar power system is installed every four minutes in the United States.

Renewable energy state policy

  • Praxia Partners calls Ohio home, so we pay close attention to the state’s energy policy. This week, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill that freezes Ohio’s energy efficient and renewable energy standards. Bipartisan opponents of the bill argue that rolling back the state’s progress will result in job losses and increase pollution. (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Meanwhile, Illinois passed legislation that will increase the amount of solar power the state will purchase. From the Chicago Tribune: “If signed into law, the Illinois Power Agency would tap $30 million in an account funded by consumers to be spent on new and existing solar energy projects in the state.”
  • missouri installed solar capacity and forecastMissouri has benefited hugely from its investment in solar. From Clean Technica: “What can solar power do for a single state? How about 21% of its energy, $14 billion in economic activity, and over 150,000 jobs. At a discount to existing electricity costs. Without subsidies.”

Community-owned solar

  • Shared solar is increasing in popularity in America and abroad. Michigan welcomed its first community solar project one year ago. (Midwest Energy News)
  • Princeton, New Jersey is exploring its shared solar. (Solar Gardens Institute)
  • Colorado continues to expands its shared solar capacity. (Boulder County Business Report)
  • The UK is also embracing solar farms. (Cambridge News)

Bright ideas

  • Marc Lopata and Jeramy Shays suggest that the ability to produce electricity through renewable sources is a right: “The cost of the fuel – the sun’s infinite light – is zero. Such free-market spirit expressed by self-generation, self-reliance, and limited governmental involvement is a hedge against rising electricity costs and is proven to be an economic and environmental boon. […] Installing solar panels on the roof – which are arguably no more noticeable than skylights – is a right we should all be standing up and fighting for, in Missouri and nationwide.” (Midwest Energy News)

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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