It was a busy week for a fast-growing industry that began its transition to a new presidential administration, following the recent inauguration of Donald Trump. A new 100% renewable energy target for Massachusetts, the record pace of job growth for wind and solar and Apple’s new solar power plant are the headlines we’re discussing from this week’s Solar Industry Report.
Massachusetts plans to be 100% renewable by 2035
In a new administration that doesn’t believe in human-caused climate change, progressive states across the U.S. will have to individually build out their energy future without the guidance of the federal government. Massachusetts is taking the lead – this past week, three MA lawmakers proposed new legislation that would require the state to be 100% renewable by 2035 with a complete phase out of fossil fuels from the heating and transportation sectors by 2050.
Massachusetts was one of only two states in the U.S. that did not see a single county vote for Donald Trump, with his pro-fossil fuel and anti-environmental stance likely a predominant reason. MA is a top five state for both solar and wind, and this legislation would increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard – a regulation that requires utilities to supply a certain percentage of their power from clean sources of energy. In a new age of Trumponomics, expect leading renewable energy states like Massachusetts, California and New York to increase renewable adoption at an even faster rate.
2016 Solar Installer Survey reveals competitor bad-mouthing, big interest in solar storage
Earlier this week, EnergySage released the results of its 2016 Solar Installer Survey, a business climate report that offers insights into the PV industry with aggregate responses from over 360 solar contractors. Here are the key takeaways from this year’s report:
- Competitors are causing confusion – According to 53% of installers surveyed, their largest obstacle in closing sales is the confusion created by their competitors and its impact on consumer confidence overall.
- Competition is heating up – Installers reported that competition in the industry continues to grow. Over 50% said their customers see 3 or more quotes before making a decision.
- Installer confidence is climbing – Despite challenges, more solar installers said their confidence increased (47%) than decreased (29%), as compared to one year ago.
- Batteries are gaining attention – Energy storage is the number one new offering that solar installers have planned for next year. No other new product or service was nearly as popular.
New report: solar jobs growing at 12x rate of U.S. economy
A new report on the U.S. jobs market surfaced this week and brought with it reassuring insights for the future of renewable energy in America. The report revealed that wind turbine technician has become the fastest growing profession in the U.S. and overall confirmed that solar and wind job growth is 12 times higher than that of the overall U.S. economy.
Figures such as these will be crucial in years to come with the new administration promising a revival of fossil fuels and a disregard for environmental regulations. A recent article by Business Insider revealed that Donald Trump falsely increased the jobs forecast for the Keystone XL Pipeline by a factor of seven. It will be the job of the renewable energy industry to make sure that Americans are aware of where new job growth is actually coming from.
Apple partners with NV Energy, will build 200 MW of solar
The trend of the largest corporations in the U.S. going solar continues to gain momentum in 2017, and Apple is on its way to dethroning Walmart as the top solar generating corporation in the U.S. On Wednesday, Apple announced a new partnership with NV Energy, Nevada’s largest utility, to install over 200 megawatts of solar to power Apple’s massive data center in Reno, Nevada.
The location of the world’s largest tech company in one of the sunniest states in the U.S. is no coincidence: Apple chose Nevada for its data headquarters after it set forth a 100% renewable target for all energy consumption. Today, Apple only relies on some 5% of its total power from fossil fuels. “Our partnership with NV Energy helps assure our customers their iMessages, FaceTime video chats and Siri inquiries are powered by clean energy, and supports efforts to offer the choice of green energy to Nevada residents and businesses,” said Lisa Jackson, VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives for Apple.