Solar news: Boston University commits to renewables, Duke Energy acquires REC Solar, three states get 10% of electricity from solar

Boston University’s bold plan to reach 100 percent renewables in 2018, Duke Energy’s acquisition of commercial solar developer REC Solar, and solar’s increasing share of the electrical grid in three states are the headlines from this week’s Solar News Report.

Boston University commits to 100% renewables

In a strong move to counteract climate change, Boston University has passed the BU Bold Climate Action Plan, committing the university to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2018. Additionally, the plan commits the school to net zero carbon emissions by 2040. These goals will be met with help from energy sources like solar and wind.

“Boston University’s bold commitment to 100 percent renewable electricity is exactly the visionary leadership we need,” said Meghan Hassett, a Campaign Organizer with Environment Massachusetts. As more cities, towns, and organizations make renewable energy pledges, commitment from Massachusetts’ largest university is a powerful step in the right direction for climate change mitigation. In addition to their own university pledge, the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy is working with Boston officials to help the city achieve zero carbon emissions as a whole by 2050.

Duke Energy acquires REC Solar

Following their acquisition of a majority stake in the company in 2015, Duke Energy has recently taken full control of REC Solar, a California-based commercial solar development company. As the utility solar market constantly evolves, companies like Duke are looking for ways to provide a more all-encompassing set of options for their customers, and a move like this adds rooftop solar to the list of products Duke can offer directly to commercial customers.

“As we see more and more companies, and especially corporates, becoming interested in renewable energy, it became clear that putting our strengths together would help meet that need,” said Tammie McGee, a spokesperson for Duke. This move signifies Duke’s following of a larger trend towards commercial renewable opportunities, where companies like NRG Energy, GE Current, and Edison Energy are already working.

Solar meets 10% of electricity demand in three states

As solar energy becomes more and more important in the U.S.’s electrical grid, states are beginning to see the impact of solar power’s spread. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), California, Nevada, and Hawaii are now getting at least ten percent of their energy from solar, both from solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP).

More specifically, California got 13.2 percent of their electricity from solar, Nevada received 11.3 percent, and Hawaii got 11.6 percent. These numbers are measurements through the first nine months of 2017. While solar still provides less than two percent of the country’s electrical needs as a whole, states like these are spearheading a coming shift to the U.S.’s grid and energy future.