THE FASTEST PATH TO CLEANER, CHEAPER ENERGY IS LOCAL

Local Energy means individuals, communities and businesses have the choice to generate their own clean power, to create local jobs and to directly benefit from the rapidly decreasing costs of solar and wind energy.

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It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future. — Yogi Berra At last week’s Intersolar conference in San Francisco, keynote speaker Tony Seba made a compelling case for near-term disruptions in energy and transportation. In particular, his slide on solar projections really caught my attention. It turns out that government solar projections have consistently… Read More

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Critics claim that there simply isn’t enough land in the U.S. for solar to power the country. While it’s not an immediately practical question, it’s still fun to ponder. So, ignoring practical constraints like storage and grid technology, let’s explore whether we can fit enough solar to electrify the U.S. One approach would be to… Read More

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Solar prices poised to take another huge plunge – China dropped a bombshell by reducing its financial support for solar deployments across the country. As the largest buyer of solar in the world, China’s reduced demand will create excess capacity in Chinese solar factories, which in turn will almost certainly plummet worldwide prices another 20-30%… Read More

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Island power grids are a microcosm of the vastly larger grids that criss-cross the planet. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how small islands are pioneering the path to clean energy. They are disproving conventional wisdom by showing that intermittent power from the sun and wind can successfully provide affordable and reliable… Read More

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This is the third and final part in my series exploring the events that shaped the electric industry as we know it. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend reading part one and part two first. As I mentioned in part one, the power industry was born from the inventions and investments of Thomas… Read More

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Every four years, one thousand solar scientists from across the world gather to peer into the future of the solar industry. The event is called the World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC). The seventh such event is taking place this week on the big island of Hawaii.  I decided to attend the conference to learn… Read More

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The shift to clean, local energy is a real challenge for many utilities. Their traditional planning models choke on the variability of solar and wind power. Self-generation from rooftop solar and improvements in energy efficiency threaten to end a century of revenue growth. Increases in extreme weather events are making blackouts more common. To get away from all these… Read More

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May was a great month for clean energy….
* A recent California mandate requires all new homes to have solar panels
* A study shows clean energy is actually more economic than natural gas
* Saudia Arabia announces the biggest solar project in history
* The U.S. House and Senate push back on Trump’s plans to wind down clean energy programs.

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Most Americans give little thought to their electricity. Even though we spend between 3% and 7% of our income on power bills, we only engage with our power companies 10 minutes a year. Would it surprise you to learn that electricity is one of the largest and most profitable industries in the U.S? If we want… Read More

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Microgrids are the epitome of Local Energy. As the name suggests, microgrids are miniature versions of the big grid. They generate their own power and they have their own loads. And, if the grid goes down, microgrids continue to operate in what the industry calls “island mode”. Even though there are only a few thousand built so… Read More

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This is the second in a three-part series on the origins of the modern power industry. Part 1 can be found at How Edison, Tesla, and other visionaries invented the modern grid. The sparks that started the AC/DC current wars By the late 1880s, Edison was on his way to dominating the rapidly growing power… Read More

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California just made a huge commitment to Local Energy. On May 9,  California’s Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously passed a groundbreaking new building standard. Starting in 2020, all new homes in the state must be built with solar panels. Yes, that’s right. In California, residential solar is now required by law. How does the new building standard work?… Read More

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