The solar industry moves at the speed of light! Luckily, EnergySage’s roundup of solar energy news for the week of September 14th, 2015 is here to help.
President Obama Announces New Support for Solar
The Obama Administration continued its green streak by announcing even more commitments to support clean energy on Wednesday. Vice President Biden shared plans for $120 million of funding to scale up clean energy across the country in his keynote speech at Solar Power International 2015—the first time that a sitting vice president has addressed the solar power industry. The investments include:
- $30 million to develop tools and technologies that reduce the total cost of solar energy systems
- $13 million to support local governments in eliminating market barriers and simplifying the process for consumers and businesses to go solar
- $7 million to improve the quality of solar panels
Vice President Biden also announced the names of the teams participating in the SunShot Prize race, which challenges solar installers to reduce the total project time it takes to install a solar energy system from “permit-to-plugin.”
EnergySage & Open Energy Touted As Hot Startups at Solar Power International
Amidst the well-deserved fanfare of Vice President Biden’s remarks at Solar Power International, two tech startups received favorable industry press for their transformative take on the business of solar.
Yours truly, EnergySage, presented on the “emergence of the solar shopper” at SPI 2015. The key takeaway of the talk is that the industry is shifting from its historic reliance on pushy direct sales to a more consumer-oriented, online solar shopping approach. “The mass-market consumer is a shopper. They want choice and they want transparency,” said EnergySage’s CEO.
Open Energy was also highlighted for their attempt to improve the financing process of commercial-scale PV projects. Their online platform allows wealthy individuals to invest directly into upcoming projects; its first fundraise raised $500,000 from 22 investors at a 7.5 percent annual return. “We think people are going to get financing much more fluidly than before,” remarked the Open Energy CTO.
Two New Studies Reaffirm Increasing Value of Solar-Plus-Storage
You probably heard about Tesla’s new Powerwall battery for home electricity storage, which is in such high demand that it’s already sold out through the end of 2016. Two new findings this week show that you can believe the battery storage hype:
- After the California Energy Storage Alliance found that the value of solar-plus-storage could be more than $0.25/kilowatt-hour in California, they formally asked the California Public Utilities Commission this week to start exploring how to define, value, and incorporate distributed energy resources into their plans.
- A new report by financial services company UBS predicts that household battery storage could reach mass-market adoption in Australia as soon as 2020 if cost trends continue, with a payback period as low as five to six years. Battery storage could even be attractive for homes without solar panels installed on their roofs as a way of capturing less expensive energy prices during the day.
Your Weekend Solar Reading
- Bloomberg New Energy Finance and SEIA analyzed how extending the investment tax credit would affect solar in the U.S., showing that a five-year extension would result in 22 GW of new solar capacity.
- Media Matters conducted an in-depth breakdown of myths and facts about net metering for solar energy, finding that the concerns about net metering are unfounded.
- The Rocky Mountain Institute evaluated how demand flexibility can help rooftop solar owners in Arizona, where utility Salt River Project has recently introduced a mandatory monthly demand charge for solar.