As we head into spooky season, we’re here to provide you with the latest clean energy news – which does include a bit of scary insight. In this week’s energy news roundup, we’ll discuss milestones in the clean energy industry and a new solar law that was just passed in California..
Study highlights the decade of clean energy growth
Ten years ago, the solar industry was still in its infancy, producing just enough electricity to power one million homes in the United States. Today, this number is much bigger: there’s enough solar capacity currently installed to power 15 million homes, according to a new study by Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. At the same time, the number of electric vehicle (EV) chargers has increased almost 20 times and battery energy storage capacity experienced a 32-fold increase!
Overall, this study reveals just how far we’ve come as an industry since 2012. Especially with the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, we’re better poised than ever to tackle the challenges from climate change. This couldn’t come at a better time: the World Weather Attribution just released a study showing that the Northern Hemisphere has been dramatically impacted by climate change. From extreme droughts to raging wildfires, we’re already feeling the effects of rapidly rising temperatures – and we quickly need to deploy more clean energy to slow this trend.
Automated solar permitting becomes mandatory in California
Last week, California passed the Solar Access Act (SB 379), which requires cities and counties in California to create systems designed to automatically and instantly offer solar permits. Solar permitting is considered a soft cost (in contrast to hard costs like equipment). Soft costs account for a substantial portion of residential solar installation costs (about 60 to 70 percent), so making permitting faster and more standardized can dramatically help lower the price tag.
Last summer, the Department of Energy (DOE) launched SolarAPP+, an automated solar permitting tool designed to expedite the process. Now, with this new legislation, local permitting jurisdictions in California must adopt SolarAPP+ or a similar program by September 2023 to help the state meet its clean energy goals.