Top US Solar Cities Made Possible by Policy as Much as by Sunlight

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*Last Modified: June 15th, 2014 Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the amount of sunshine that drives solar energy growth. Instead, smart local and state policies, utility leadership and strong state renewable portfolio standards are key to that growth, according to a recently released report analyzing solar capacity in 57 U.S. cities. The total sum of installed solar capacity for all 57 cities currently exceeds the amount installed across the entire U.S. at the end of 2008. “Solar power is growing much faster than many would have imagined, thanks in great part to local officials who have recognized the ...

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Home Solar Will Have Another Boom Year in 2014, ACORE Predicts

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*Last Modified: June 16th, 2014 Cross-posted from SolarEnergy.net. This year’s outlook for cleaner fuels is bright, according to a recent report from the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). But it is much brighter for some technologies than others. Solar and wind specifically, which remain the cleanest of the cleantechs in the emerging global renewables market, have a very promising future. The same cannot be said of less-efficient, more-vulnerable alternatives like biofuels, biomass, biodiesel and ethanol, which create cost-prohibitive emissions and demands for land and water on a planet increasingly succumbing to the expensive droughts, floods and storms wrought ...

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Philadelphia Solar Love: City Council Commits to 20K Solar Roofs

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*Last Modified: June 16th, 2014 If Philadelphia has its way, solar energy could be on its way to become as synonymous with the city as Rocky Balboa and the Liberty Bell. Recently, the city council unanimously passed a resolution aiming to install enough solar capacity to power 20,000 homes by the end of 2025 — an amount that will accelerate Mayor Nutter’s commitment to reach 57.8 MW of solar-generated electricity by 2021. “On one hand it sounds rapid and dramatic — and it is, but if we look at the growth of solar around the country, ...

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Honda Launches a Net-Zero Energy Smart Home Project in California

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*Last Modified: June 17th, 2014 “Together, our homes and our cars produce about 44 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change,” reminds Honda VP of environmental business development Steve Center, in the video overview for its intriguing Smart Home project, which opened this week on the University of California, Davis campus. Honda’s master plan is to slash that pollution by running on sunshine. Whether the plan works depends on the U.C. Davis resident lucky enough to shack up in Honda’s “living laboratory” and put its zero-net goals to the test. Empowered by a 9.5 kw photovoltaic ...

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Infographic: How the World Celebrates Earth Hour

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*Last Modified: June 17th, 2014 Mark your calendars and set your alarms: Saturday, March 29 at 8:30PM local time marks the sixth annual International Earth Hour, a time when individuals, communities, companies and cities demonstrate their concern about the planet by turning off their lights for an hour and coming together for the planet. Since Earth Hour’s launch in 2007 as a local event in Sydney, Australia, Earth Hour has expanded across the globe, with 2014 promising to be the biggest event yet. For 2014, the organizers have launched Earth Hour Blue, a global crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platform to ...

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Infographic: For World Water Day, Go Solar to Save Water

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*Last Modified: June 18th, 2014 When people think about going solar, they’re usually thinking about their pocketbooks, not the planet. That’s reasonable, of course, since homeowners save an average of $84 a month with solar. And when people do think about saving the planet with their solar panels, they’re probably thinking more often about the incredible amounts of carbon pollution they’ll be avoiding by switching to clean energy. But a lesser-known fact about solar is that it also saves lots of water, and on World Water Day — and one that’s happening in the midst of a devastating drought ...

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Minnesota Becomes First State to Put a Value on Home Solar Power

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*Last Modified: June 19th, 2014 On Wednesday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted to become the first state in the nation to come up with a methodology for calculating the value of solar power generated by consumers — and not just how much that power is worth to the utility company and its customers, but to society and the global environment as a whole. [Editor's note: This article, by Kiley Kroh, originally appeared on ThinkProgress, and is reprinted with permission. As solar energy in particular skyrockets in the U.S., placing a dollar value on that power has been challenging ...

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Solar Jobs: Solar Leads the Nation in Creating Jobs

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*Last Modified: June 19th, 2014 The last couple of weeks have seen a number of great stories published about the benefits that solar is bringing to the economy and the planet. Not only have we seen state rankings for solar potential from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a look back at the incredible solar boom of 2013, and a roadmap for reaching 100 percent renewables in every state by 2050 — we’ve also seen how veterans are benefiting from solar jobs in large numbers across the country. A new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) adds more good news to ...

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SEIA Report Tracks Solar’s Incredible 2013, as the Boom Continues

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*Last Modified: June 5th, 2014 Quick! Close your eyes and picture the future. Is it solar-powered? If you said no, it’s time to unplug your reality television. Here’s some brighter programming. Solar Energy Industries Association’s 2013 report on U.S. capacity installations is in (PDF), and it’s beyond safe to say that solar is on fire. Although it should come as a surprise to no one who has been paying attention to the sector, or our wider global energy picture, the photovoltaic year that was increased 40 percent over 2012, installed 4,751 megawatts and booked $13.7 billion in market value. ...

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How L.A. is Implementing the Nation’s Largest Solar Feed-in Tariff

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*Last Modified: June 5th, 2014 When it comes to rolling out solar across the rooftops, Los Angeles is the city to watch. With 100 MW of installed solar capacity to distribute among building owners who can sell back the energy to the grid, the city’s Department of Water and Power is currently implementing the largest solar feed-in tariff program in the U.S. How is the program progressing, and what sort of lessons has it learned that other cities can apply to their own initiatives? A recently released evaluation of the first year of the ...

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