Three words to describe this week in solar for all of you solar savvy stakeholders out there: Innovation. Adoption. Momentum. Enough said. SolarWorld’s installer training partnership with SEI, solar growth in New York City thanks to a solar canopy startup and the projection that China will overtake Germany as the world’s top solar nation are the key headlines from this week’s Solar Energy News report.
Solar Canopies Driving PV Adoption in Brooklyn Thanks to Local Startup
Though New York is one of the strongest solar states in the U.S., PV adoption in the Big Apple has been underwhelming as a result of architecture and flat roof designs that are far from ideal for solar panels. To local startup (and EnergySage solar installer) Brooklyn SolarWorks, those structural barriers are an opportunity, and the company has launched a campaign to help Brooklyn go solar with overhead canopies capable of harnessing photovoltaic energy. The startup has collaborated with Situ Studio, a local design firm in Brooklyn, to create flexible solar panel canopies that can be tailored to the specific parameters of a flat roof to avoid skylights, HVAC systems, hatches and other obstacles that would make a typical solar panel installation inefficient. According to Brooklyn SolarWorks co-founder T.R. Ludwig, the payback for these canopies is roughly six years and is cost-competitive with traditional rooftop systems after NY state incentives.
SolarWorld Partners with SEI to Promote National Installer Training
As the solar industry grows and continues to set records for job creation in the U.S., there’s a pressing need for installer education, and two industry giants are stepping up to the challenge. This week, SolarWorld, the leading solar panel manufacturer in the U.S., and Solar Energy International (SEI), a renewable training organization, launched a partnership to help educate the current and prospective solar workforce. SolarWorld Americas has observed an increasing number of module shipments in the U.S. as new job census projections show that industry employment will grow by 14.7 percent in 2016. SEI already trains 4,000 students a year and will need to significantly increase that number with the high volume of workers in need of installer certifications such as North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). SEI will offer major discounts to SolarWorld employees for their traditional 6-week course.
China Projected to Surpass Germany and Become #1 Solar Nation
If you watched just one of the spectacular Republican debates this year, you probably heard the word “China” mentioned a few times in the context that they’re “beating” the U.S at everything. Well, in the world of solar, Germany may be feeling a similar sentiment to our dramaturgic GOP frontrunner now that China is projected to dethrone the European nation as the longtime world leader in solar energy.
Early this past week, China reached 43 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity, officially surpassing Germany’s 40 GW. This achievement will not singlehandedly make China a stronger solar nation – Germany is still dominant with regard to reliance on renewables, and generated 90 percent of all power from renewables just a few weeks ago. However, it is impossible to overlook the unprecedented rate at which China is going solar. For the rest of the world, this is undoubtedly good news as China is a leading producer of carbon emissions. Many stakeholders both in and out of the solar industry are relieved to see one of the world’s largest economies making a concrete commitment to clean energy.
Californians Reap $192M in Utility Benefits Thanks to Rooftop Solar
Following approval of California’s latest transmission plan for 2016 by the California Independent System Operator, news has emerged that the Golden State has cancelled 13 transmission projects in Pacific Gas & Electric’s jurisdiction. Here’s why this is a big deal: the growing popularity of distributed solar in the Golden State has led to reduced need for grid infrastructure updates, and as a result California ratepayers will save $192 million in project costs. “This is really proof of what we and other energy advocates have been saying for some time – that solar, along with other clean distributed energy resources, such as energy storage, electric vehicles and demand response, will mean less utility investment in infrastructure and savings for consumers,” said Jim Baak, Director of Grid Integration for Vote Solar.