The sun is shining on the U.S. solar industry this week. A major Republican initiative for clean energy, the lowest PPA price ever seen for solar, and solar outpacing natural gas in 2015 are the key headlines from this week’s Solar Energy News.
Republican Entrepreneur Launches Super PAC for Renewable-Focused GOP Candidates
Working to reverse the trajectory of his political party, Republican millionaire Jay Faison has launched a new super PAC to motivate the GOP to embrace clean energy. Leading Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz have all taken strong stances against alternative energy, but for the politically motivated Faison, a clean energy economy makes sense for both parties. In his opinion, “You would do this on its merits even if you believed that climate change was not a threat. …Who’s not for more innovation and less regulation?”
In the eyes of Faison and many of the Republicans that support him, the topic of clean energy and sustainability will be a key factor in the upcoming election. He hopes that his super PAC will convince the eventual GOP nominee to reconsider his stance on renewables. The $5 million campaign fund has received support from more than a dozen congressional Republicans, but whether that is enough to influence candidates who have taken up-front positions against renewable energy remains to be seen.
Palo Alto Sees Contract For Lowest PPA Price Ever
This week, the city council of Palo Alto, California recommended approval of a new power purchase agreement (PPA) that would cost $36.76 per megawatt-hour (MWh) – the lowest solar PPA price ever seen in the U.S. The agreement is in collaboration with California company Hecate Energy and will be supplied by the 26 MW Wilsona Solar Project set to be constructed in Palmdale, California.
NREL: ITC Extension Could Reduce Emissions by 1,400 Million Metric Tons by Mid 2020s
New analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) this week revealed that the extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) will have a major impact on renewable industry growth and carbon emission reduction. Now that the key subsidy for wind and solar projects is in place, NREL’s data predicts the following by the mid 2020s:
- Net peak increase of 48 to 53 gigawatts of installed renewable energy
- Emissions reductions of up to 1,400 million metric tons of CO2
U.S. Solar Reaches Installed PV Milestone, Outpaces Natural Gas in 2015
2015 was another record-breaking year for solar in the U.S., according to the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research’s upcoming U.S. Solar Market Insight report. For the first time solar installations outpaced natural gas installations, providing 29.5 percent of the U.S.’s new electric generating capacity for the year. Additionally, the residential solar market saw 66 percent year-over-year growth, breaking the 2 gigawatt (GW) mark for installed solar PV capacity for the first time in history.