Another impressive week in the solar industry has come and gone, and things look a little brighter this Friday. Massachusetts’ major net metering decision, a solar plant capable of dynamic energy storage and unprecedented growth by renewables that is overtaking fossil fuels are the three key headlines from this week’s solar energy news report.
Nevada Solar Plant Offers Pragmatic Solar Storage Solution
Big headlines came out of SolarReserve, a utility-scale solar company, that built a massive solar plant in Nevada able to generate and store photovoltaic energy. According to SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith, the solar array is the first of its kind, using molten salt to create steam to heat the plant’s generators. When running at full capacity, the $997 million solar array can power up to 75,000 homes in Nevada and produce electricity for 10 hours after the sun has gone down.
Record Wind and Solar Growth Quickly Outpacing Fossil Fuels
The impressive trajectory of the renewable industry was validated by Bloomberg Business this week when they bluntly stated that “wind and solar are crushing fossil fuels” on Wednesday. New data out of Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that renewables are beating fossil fuels 2 to 1 from a total investment standpoint. For fossil fuel stakeholders, it doesn’t help that last month marked the lowest number of active oil rigs on U.S. soil in history. Perhaps the most notable takeaway from Bloomberg’s report: “the cost of solar power has fallen to 1/150th of its level in the 1970s, while the total amount of installed solar has soared 115,00-fold.” As forecast, 2016 truly is shaping up to be the #YearofSolar.
Solar Industry Celebrates New Massachusetts Net-Metering Decision
The five long months of back and forth between the Massachusetts House and Senate turned out to be well worth the wait for solar industry stakeholders. On Tuesday, lawmakers announced the cap on net-metering would be raised and incentives protected for small commercial projects and the residential rooftop solar market. For the Commonwealth, this is a major victory that boosts the solar industry’s strong momentum — an industry that employs thousands of Massachusetts residents. One key solar advocate that helped to generate this resolution was EnergySage partner, The Sierra Club.
San Antonio Shines, Now a Leading U.S. City for Solar
It was a great week for the City of San Antonio after Environment America named them the 7th best city for solar in the United States as a part of the “Shining Cities 2016” report. Now ahead of New York City, San Antonio made major strides in 2015 with a 23% increase in installed solar capacity from 88 MW to 108 MW. Luke Metzger, Director of the Texas sector of Environment America, attributes San Antonio’s solar success to the Lone Star state’s strong rebate and community solar programs in partnership with CPS Energy.