Mainstream Energy

California solar installations are trending massively upward, despite historically low levels of state incentive.

With more than 120,000 commercial and residential solar energy systems now online, California leads the nation’s clean energy economy. As a result of this growth more than $10 billion in private-sector investment has flowed into California’s clean energy sector, and employed more than 25,000. Millions of California’s residents enjoy the benefits of low-priced solar energy delivered by systems installed on homes, businesses, schools and public facilities. Keep reading →

Nationwide, utilities face increasingly stringent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements. California, for example, requires utilities to derive 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. As utilities examine options for renewable energy generation, solar continually emerges as an ideal solution for utilities looking to boost renewable generation using proven and cost-effective technologies.

Traditionally, utilities procured two basic forms of solar: small customer-sited projects, which offset the customer’s own electricity use (sometimes referred to as retail distributed generation) and large central-station facilities, to which the ‘bigger is better’ maxim has often been applied. To reduce the cost of these facilities to the absolute lowest possible price-point – on either a dollar-per-watt or cents-per-kilowatt basis – they have grown to enormous sizes, sometimes to hundreds of megawatts (MW). This has also been a function of utility procurement processes, which often use the delivered price of electricity as a sole awarding factor, thus favoring very large projects over small or mid-sized ones. Keep reading →