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A Coming Boom Seen in Virginia’s Emerging Solar Industry
The Solar Energy Industries Association sees a nascent solar industry in Virginia tripling in generation capacity over the next five years and powering more than 200,000 homes. Growth is spurred by declining installation costs and demand from consumers. “Some industry officials and clean-energy advocates expect even-sharper growth during that timeframe and say the solar expansion almost certainly will accelerate across Virginia in the decades beyond,” says a newspaper report.
Renewable Energy Additions Outpaced Traditional Power-Generation Sources 2-1 in 2017
Renewable energy capacity additions beat out new fossil fuel projects globally by more than two to one in 2017, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the United Nations. The surge in renewables is led by solar but includes wind, biofuels and geothermal energy. “We are at a turning point ... from fossil fuels to the renewable world,” one commentator said. “The markets are there and renewables can take on coal, they can take on oil and gas.”
Another Mine Site Is Slated to Become a Solar Farm
TransAlta, a Canadian electricity-development company, plans to turn a 1,000-acre former coal mine site in Washington State into a solar farm, following a trend across the industry. Centralia Mine closed in 2006, and TransAlta also plans now to close a nearby coal-fired plant—the only remaining such plant in Washington. The company said the solar project would create 300 construction jobs and four permanent solar-tech jobs. TransAlta plans to eliminate coal-fired electricity from its holdings by 2030.
Kentucky: Public School Students Seek a Better Future
Letcher County, in east-central Kentucky, had a thousand coal miners a decade ago. “Today, there are just 28,” and the local economy is so battered that public schools are struggling to make ends meet. Student are beginning to openly advocate for progressive change and economic diversification.
Solar Park Rises Near Site of Retired New York Power Plant
In Grand Island, N.Y., planners are proceeding with an initiative to build a 20-megawatt solar park across the Niagara River from the defunct coal-fired Huntley Power Generating Station. “To have this type of change where we can have all this electricity, all this power and not put anyone’s life at risk or threaten anyone’s health is kind of an amazing thing,” the town supervisor said.
Trump’s new solar tariff to protect US manufacturers will hurt installers
US Trade Representative issue new tariffs on imported solar panels, impacting the fast-growing US solar industry.
Xcel Energy receives shockingly low bids for Colorado electricity from renewable sources
"What stands out about the response Xcel received is that wind sources with storage are now cheaper than coal generation, and solar plus storage is now cheaper than about 75 percent of coal generation in the state, according to CarbonTracker."
Industry Leaders Make Last-Ditch Effort to Steer Trump White House Away From Solar Tariffs
Industry makes final push to discourage Trump from adopting solar tariffs that would destroy tens of thousands of American jobs.
IEEFA Update: The Saudi Arabia of Solar? American Indian Country
Energy Transition Openings Now in the Four-Corners Region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah
A Moment of Transition-Investment Opportunity in the American Southwest
Navajo communities, strategically situated new important electricity-transmission lines in the American Sunbelt, have significant advantages in solar-electrification development: “These communities are increasingly being sought out by outside interests seeking development deals crafted to meet growing demand from utility companies that are switching from fossil-fuel powered electricity to renewables. Opportunities exist now to develop these opportunities to the benefit of Navajo people.”
Proposed Tariff Increases on Imported Panels Would Hurt U.S. Solar Industry
A trade case that would add significantly to the price of imported solar panels would be a blow to the U.S. solar industry: “Tariffs would prevent the proper quantity and quality of solar materials from entering the U.S., thus shortchanging the solar supply chain and slowing solar installation. Lack of materials will lead to lack of business, which will lead to critical job losses.”
A Trend Toward Turning Former Mines Into Solar Sites
In a trend spanning Asia, Europe and the U.S., former coal-mine sites are being reclaimed as utility-scale solar electricity-generation farms. A project by Berkeley Energy Group to turn a strip mine in Kentucky into a solar power plant that could produce 50 to 100 megawatts of power by next year is mong the many examples. “Building solar power plants atop defunct coal plants has several advantages, including putting otherwise hard-to-use lands to productive use.”
West Virginia’s Emerging Solar Market
The owner of a solar company in West Virginia sees the industry as a natural for the Mountain State: “The way I think about it as a West Virginian is that West Virginia has always been an energy state and this is just the next step.”
Op-Ed: As Transition Unfolds, Local Ownership Will be Key
An op-ed writer in New Mexico makes the case against utility monopoly control of fast-growing solar energy resources: “The promise of the advanced energy economy goes beyond a cleaner environment and more sustainable power—it’s also about building a more diversified, resilient and competitive economy.”
Solar Uptake by K-12 Schools Driven by Cost
Over 5,000 K-12 schools in the U.S are powered by solar, part of a growing trend. A new study by the Solar Energy Industries Association puts the total capacity at about 910 megawatts, or enough to power 190,000 homes. “The biggest reason for the surge is the economic benefits of solar energy.”
Pennsylvania Expands Solar Incentive Program: $5,000 Grants; $40,000 Loans
The State of Pennsylvania has earmarked $30 million for an initiative that will pay companies $5,000 for every solar job created and loan up to $40,000 on solar projects. “Developing new renewable energy sources including solar is critical to ensuring Pennsylvania has a balanced and diverse energy mix that maintains our position as a major energy producing state,” said Gov. Tom Wolf.
Trump’s Coal Programs Could Undermine Wind and Solar Industries
Several Trump administration policy proposals aimed at propping up the coal industry stand to slow the growth momentum of solar- and wind-powered electricity generation. They include “asking regulators to rewrite power market rules, revamping the tax code, and imposing tariffs on foreign-made solar panels.”
Congressional Push to Apply Oil-and-Gas Tax Break to Solar and Wind Sectors as Well
Two members of Congress are proposing expanding an important gas-and-oil tax-break mechanism to the solar and wind industries. The mechanism, called a master limited partnership, or MLP, is “one of biggest boons for the oil-and-gas sector,”allowing companies “to lighten their tax loads and get easier access to investment in pipelines and other projects.”
Fastest-Growing Job Category in U.S.: Wind and Solar Techs
Demand for solar- and wind-energy technicians is expected to double over the next decade, according to the latest employment-projection trends from the Labor Department.