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Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels
This month, the US Department of Commerce made a decision in the tariff case brought to them against Chinese solar panel manufacturers brought forth by American manufacturers. The new tariffs will range from about 18 to 35 percent depending on the manufacturer. American panel manufacturers brought forth the tariff case because they claim that Chinese panels were much cheaper than American-made panels, due to unfair subsidies from the Chinese government. While American manufacturers are pleased with the decision, others in the solar industry, such as installers, believe the new tariffs will raise the price of solar, in turn slowing the growth of solar in America. For more information about the new tariffs, click here.
U.S. Corporations Going Solar
Some of the largest corporations in the United States are pledging to invest in solar power. IKEA recently installed a huge solar array on one of its stores in south Florida. The company plans to be energy independent by 2020 and already has 550,000 panels installed on its buildings across the world. In addition, Apple pledged to power all stores with renewable energy, and Wal-Mart promised to double its solar usage. Google even announced a $1 million prize to develop the next generation of power inverters for solar panels. To read more about big corporations making a renewable energy pledge, clickhere.
Solar Progress in 2014
In the first quarter of 2014, the solar industry continued to grow at a fast rate. Solar energy was responsible for 74 percent of all new electric generation capacity installed in America, with 1,330 megawatts installed. For the first time, residential solar surpassed commercial solar in megawatts installed this past quarter. While this increased growth around the country is great news for the solar industry, it has added to the debate about whether utilities should charge extra fees to solar customers for grid maintenance and about how much a solar user should be compensated for the extra energy they add back into the grid. To read more about the different battles between utilities and solar advocates across the country, click here.
SolarCity Buys Silevo
SolarCity, the biggest solar installation company in the U.S., recently announced its acquisition of a solar manufacturing company, Silevo. This makes it one of the first fully vertically integrated solar companies in the country. This move displayed the confidence SolarCity has for the future of solar energy. They plan on building one of the word’s largest solar plants with a capacity greater than 1 GW. They hope to expand the solar industry and increase panel efficiency. Here’s the article if you are interested in learning more.
California Standardizes Solar Permitting
The state of California has passed a law that would standardize and fast track solar permitting. Previously, the process of solar permitting was a different process in each county in California and the process could take months sometimes. Every county will have the same permitting process, which should help solar installers reduce their costs. Additionally, solar installers will be able to obtain permits much faster. Some companies said that under the old permitting process, the cost of systems of same size and type would vary up to $2,000 in different counties because of the difference in time to obtain a permit. Many hope that this law will inspire other states to follow California’s lead.
Solar Fees Put on Pause
Earlier this month, CPS Energy took their new solar plan in front of City Council. This plan included a one time commissioning fee, a monthly fee, as well as an additional solar rebate. After many questions and concerns put forth by members of the City Council, CPS Energy has decided to put their solar plan on pause at least until after City Council’s summer recess. If the fees are proposed again or if CPS Energy proposes another plan, we will be sure to let our subscribers know!
Effect of Carbon Regulations on Texas
Early this June, President Obama announced new carbon regulations to be implemented over the coming years. For Texas, the largest carbon-dioxide producer in the country, this could mean big changes. Power plants will definitely be affected, since they are responsible for 40 percent of Texas’ emissions. Coal plants, which produce the most carbon dioxide, will be under the most fire. In order to comply with the new regulations, Texas can increase the efficiency of power plants, switch from coal to natural gas, and increase the use of renewable energy. Texas will have until 2016 to present its emission-cutting plans to the EPA, giving plenty of time to prepare for coming changes. In addition, this is good news for both the renewable energy industry and the environment. To read more about what the new carbon regulations mean for Texas, click here.
Texas Utility Chooses Clean Energy
The El Paso Electric Company, which serves 400,000 people in west Texas and New Mexico, has announced its plans to be coal-free by 2016 by increasing their use of natural gas and solar energy. In the past year alone, the company has doubled its solar energy portfolio with the construction of two new large solar facilities. The company has also promised to continue to pursue even more solar projects in the future. To learn more about their new solar facilities, click here.
Castro’s Future in Climate Change
Many believe that San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, who is set to become the head of the Housing and Urban Development Department, will have a chance to work more on climate change and sustainability in this new position. As head of the HUD, Castro would be in charge of rebuilding areas hit by natural disasters and helping them to plan for future climate change. He could also promote sustainable building practices and clean transportation. Although Castro has been more focused on the economy and immigration than the environment in his time as mayor, he has always shown interest in making San Antonio a leader in renewable energy. To learn more about Castro’s future in sustainability, click here.
- It’s summertime and it’s HOT here. Here’s an infographic from the Department of Energy on a variety of cooling tips
- Use a grill instead of the stove or oven to cook meals during the summer. This will prevent you from heating up your house while cooking.
- Take advantage of CPS Energy rebates to reduce your energy bill during the summer. Visit http://www.cpsenergysavers.com/ to see the whole list of rebates CPS offers!