Governor Cuomo Gets Serious about Solar

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Vote Solar Initiative
January 5th, 2012

Yesterday New York Governor Cuomo outlined his priorities for the year ahead in his State of the State address. Among his top initiatives for a building a better New York? More solar!

Touting the state’s successful development of other renewable resources, Cuomo remarked that,

“Now it is time to focus more attention on exploiting our solar potential.”

With rising electricity needs, plenty of sunshine, and a local workforce primed for solar jobs, that potential is tremendous indeed. To harness it, the Governor suggests increasing large, commercial solar projects while also supporting small and medium residential and commercial systems. With an emphasis on much needed job growth, Cuomo has set his sights on quadrupling NY solar capacity by 2013 and beyond. And along with those leaders from the business community, environmental advocates and organized labor, Vote Solar stood up and applauded the Governor’s solar vision.

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1603 extension should be top priority

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Rhone Resch
National Journal
January 5th, 2012

Renewing Job-Creating 1603 Treasury Program Should be Congress’ New Year’s Resolution

The U.S. solar industry is on a roll as we head into 2012, but a key driving force behind our growth – the 1603 Treasury Program – expired on Dec. 31. Renewing this job-creating program should be one of Congress’ top New Year’s Resolutions.

Solar now employs 100,000 Americans at 5,000 businesses across every state, and no industry in America is growing faster. In the third quarter of 2011, the U.S. solar industry set new records for installations (449 megawatts in Q3) and growth (140 percent year-over-year), according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2011 report. And the fourth quarter of 2011 is predicted to be even better.

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Solar PV & Remote, Distributed Microgrids Poised to Improve Living Conditions for Millions

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CleanTechnica
Andrew Burger
January 4th, 2012

Integrating solar photovoltaic (PV) panels with remote, off-grid microgrids will drive rapid growth of distributed renewable energy systems in rural and remote areas worldwide, affording greater numbers of communities, agricultural areas, and small businesses access to cleaner, more reliable, and more efficient energy system. Such growth has the potential to literally and figuratively empower millions to improve their lives and living conditions.

Diesel engine generators are still the norm when it comes to remote microgrids, but growing adoption and spread of distributed renewable energy technology and smart microgrids is changing that. As recently noted, solar is now cheaper than diesel in India. ”The primary driver for remote microgrids over the next years will be the integration of solar photovoltaics (PV), a technology that will help reduce fossil fuel consumption,” according to a forecast from Pike Research.

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Getting Renewables on the Grid, Part 4: Why PV and the Grid Need CSP

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Herman K. Trabish
Greentech Media
January 3rd, 2012

Falling panel costs make PV appealing, mandates demand solar on the grid—CSP can make both easier.

Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies that use mirrors instead of photovoltaic (PV) panels are challenging to finance. CSP is a newer technology that is just starting to bring down costs through economies of scale and improved efficiencies.

But there is a compelling rationale for concentrating technologies. PV doesn’t entirely answer the needs of the transmission system, while CSP with thermal energy storage (TES) can.

“Dispatchable CSP can discharge from storage to serve high-price peak loads that occur outside the daylight hours, including the late afternoon and early evening," according to BrightSource Director of Economic and Pricing Analysis Dr. Udi Helman. The value of this extra peak power makes CSP more competitive “by several dollars per megawatt-hour.”

Read more: Getting Renewables on the Grid, Part 4: Why PV and the Grid Need CSP

 

2012 Solar Expectations

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Zachary Shahan
CleanTechnica
January 2nd, 2012

Expectations cause a lot of problems — without expectations, we couldn’t be disappointed. However, it’s impractical not to have any expectations. So, the important thing is really just not to tie your happiness to your expectations too much. Work hard, be good, but also be flexible when it comes to the results. So, with that said, here are some expectations for solar energy in 2012 — hopefully, the good ones will come true (and you know that we’ll be doing what we can to help them along), but expectations are expectations, and only that.

1. Solar costs will continue to drop. It’s expected that solar costs haven’t hit their lowest point yet and that increasing deployment combined with technological improvements will keep the prices falling in 2012. That means solar hitting grid parity in even more places, even without subsidies that include their tremendous health and environmental savings.

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