2016 is the Year of Solar, and with every week that passes, it becomes more apparent that solar is the energy source of the future. The first-ever utility-supported marketplace for home solar, a breakthrough in solar window technology, and a surprising solar financier are all in this week’s Solar News Roundup.
National Grid Announces SolarWise Rhode Island Marketplace
On Tuesday, National Grid announced that it will launch an online solar marketplace in collaboration with EnergySage. The marketplace, known as SolarWise Rhode Island, will give National Grid customers in the Ocean State access to competitive solar options from local installers for their homes and businesses. National Grid is the first electric utility in the country to offer a transparent solar shopping option to support its customers as they go solar.
Department of Energy Reaches Breakthrough in Solar Windows
Researchers from the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory have achieved a breakthrough in technology to turn windows into solar generators. Their new method makes solar windows practically invisible, bringing solar opportunities to an entirely new segment of the population. According to researchers, if all of the glass on the One World Trade Center building in New York City was replaced with their solar window technology, the windows could power more than 350 apartments.
Patagonia Establishes Fund for Home Solar Panel Systems
Patagonia, a company best known for its fleece pullovers and outdoor gear, announced their plan this week to support home rooftop solar. The company will be collaborating with four other companies – Kina’ole Capital, New Resource Bank, Beneficial State Bank, and Sungevity – to establish a $35 million fund that will finance residential solar installations. All five companies are certified B Corps companies, which means they are committed to meeting strict social and environmental standards.
Big Corporations Making Major Renewable Energy Purchases
U.S. corporations made deals to purchase 3.4 gigawatts of renewable energy in 2015, an amount equivalent to half of North Dakota’s power capacity. While Google tops the list of businesses buying clean energy, renewables aren’t just for tech companies. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, 77-year-old building materials manufacturer Owens Corning, veteran U.S. government contractor Lockheed Martin, and Dow Chemical, founded in 1897, are among the many companies that made solar and wind purchases in 2015. For the most part, their purchases were made to meet internal climate goals and cut greenhouse gas emissions.