Category Archives: Policy

Articles about clean energy policy, both of the local, state, and federal level.

Infrastructure bill

The infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation bill: what could they mean for clean energy?

On Earth Day 2021, the Biden Administration announced its goal “to reach 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035”– but, until recently, no legislation had been passed to actually meet this target. This all started to shift in August 2021, when the Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and then immediately advanced a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that will lay the framework for a reconciliation bill. So, what’s the status of these bills? And how will they advance the U.S.’s clean energy transition? 

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corporate renewable procurements

Corporate renewable energy procurement: an overview

In today’s current era of renewable energy targets, action is not just limited to political entities such as the federal government, states or individual cities. In fact, many corporations are getting in on the act by promoting corporate sustainability programs or contracting directly with renewable energy developers to build solar and wind farms specifically for their company. As the solar and wind industries continue to grow, corporate renewable procurement and targets will play a substantial role in driving renewable energy to greater and greater heights.

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renewable portfolio standards by state map

Renewable portfolio standards explained

Following the 2018 elections, there was a flurry of state-level action on climate change and clean energy to begin the new year. Outside of proposals at the federal level for a Green New Deal, many states proposed and passed a suite of climate-related legislation, from emission reduction goals to clean energy procurement targets. Perhaps the most common policy instrument for growing clean energy at the state level is the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

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green jobs program new york

The Green Jobs – Green New York Program

As clean energy policies and programs begin to stack up throughout the country, one major question remains relating to how states will use any revenues collected from policies like a carbon tax. Will they use the money to incentivize growth in renewable energy, to pay for retraining for employees of the fossil fuel industry, to redistribute as a credit to all taxpayers in the state, or for some other purpose altogether? The Green Jobs – Green New York program provides a great case study for a successful, long-lived program that effectively uses the revenue from a carbon tax to further the state’s economic growth and environmental actions. 

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Ethical Solar Sourcing

Ethical sourcing of solar components

The solar industry is very much a part of the global economy: its supply chain traverses countries, oceans and continents, sourcing raw materials from certain regions, manufacturing products in others, and, ultimately, sending solar products to home and business owners everywhere. With how interconnected the solar industry is, it’s important to be cognizant of where and how solar equipment is sourced. In lieu of recent credible reports of human rights abuses and forced labor in parts of China that feed into the solar supply chain, it’s worth looking at how to ensure that the solar equipment you purchase is ethically and sustainably sourced. 

Before digging into this, a quick note: allegations of human rights abuses and other unethical practices are an atypical topic area for us. After all, we write about clean energy, not issues of geopolitical intrigue. But we don’t take these reports of human rights violations and forced labor lightly, and we want to make sure you’re aware of this ongoing investigation and have options to ensure your solar equipment is ethically produced.

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solar carve-out

Solar carve-outs

More than thirty states in the United States currently have renewable energy policies. Most of these goals, targets, and mandates allow for compliance from a range of different types of renewable energy technologies. In a few cases, however, states have included a technology-specific mandate as a part of their renewable energy policies. One such policy mechanism is a solar carve-out.

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biden administration and solar

How will the Biden administration impact solar?

From the beginning of his election campaign, Joe Biden made it clear that environmental policy was going to be a priority for his administration. Now that Inauguration day is over and done with, we’re here to break down the implications of Biden’s election for the solar industry. 

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solar jobs census 2019 review

An overview of the 2019 National Solar Jobs Census

This week, The Solar Foundation released its annual National Solar Jobs Census. The report provides a comprehensive look at employment in the American solar industry for 2019, from how many solar jobs the industry supported last year to where jobs are located throughout the country and which segments of the industry employ the most people. 

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