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Zero Net Energy Construction Goal Faces Critical Review

30 Nov

The state’s much vaunted strategy to require that all new homes built beginning in 2020 are zero net energy is being re-examined as the California Energy Commission begins to set building codes to enforce the goal. A key development that may weigh on the future of zero net energy is a new study that claims […]


1 Nov

As cooler temperatures take hold in Southern California, SoCal Gas is warning of energy supply risks in the coming season due to limitations placed on its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field that reopened earlier this year. SoCal Gas President Bret Lane outlined the concerns in an Oct. 30 letter to the California Energy Commission […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

Greening the grid is the talk of the town. At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far. Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources […]

Brown Wraps Up Bill Signing

16 Oct

Among the last of the energy measures signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on or before the Oct. 15 deadline are ones promoting greater reliance on clean resources to meet power needs in Los Angeles in the wake of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage incident and advance rooftop solar energy systems. Brown signed SB 801 […]

Cap-&-Trade Spending Plan Headed for Passage

13 Sep

The fate of a bill to require 100 percent renewable power in California remained uncertain mid-week as the Legislature raced toward a Friday deadline to finish up its business in Sacramento. However, lawmakers and the governor broke a deadlock Sept. 12 that appears to clear the way for a massive spending measure funded by carbon […]

Decentralized Solar Posed to Cut Grid Costs, Report Finds

31 Aug

Decentralized solar coupled with onsite battery storage can reduce strain and costs in maintaining the electrical grid, according to a report commissioned by Sonoma Clean Power that was released Aug. 31. Dubbed “Solar+,” the report said that sufficiently-sized solar systems coupled with storage on a decentralized basis also can serve new power demand as people […]

Grid Takes Solar Eclipse In Stride

22 Aug

During the Aug. 21 solar eclipse between 3,000 MW and 3,500 MW of large-scale solar dropped off line, according to the grid operator. The California Independent System Operator predicted the moon’s temporary shadowing of the sun would cause a loss of 6,000 MW of solar power, with 4,200 MW of that fall occurring at utility-scale […]

Grid Operator Seeks to Avoid Solar Energy Crash

24 Jul

The California Independent System Operator is working to get utility-scale solar generators to reset the controls on their inverters to avoid massive losses of generation when transmission lines experience momentary faults. The effort comes after major solar systems have suddenly quit feeding power to the grid—in one case causing a sudden loss of almost 1,200 […]

The Buzz

14 Jul

The governor’s carbon cap-and-trade renewable legislation passes through a Senate panel after a six-hour hearing in which environmental justice activists and local and regional air districts denounced the measure. The oil company-friendly bill package was introduced Monday. Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade deal appears to be more about cementing his legacy than it is about improving […]

Opinionated: NREL at 40-It Started With a Desire to Harness the Sun

11 Jul

By Wayne Hicks and Don Gwinner May 3, 1978, fell on a Wednesday, but it was Sun Day as well. President Jimmy Carter, who had designated the date to highlight the potential of solar energy, spent part of the afternoon visiting an office park in Golden, Colorado. It was there, 10 months earlier that the […]


11 Jul

The Energy Information Administration has added forecasts for small-scale solar system power capacity to its periodic Short-Term Energy Outlook reports. In its first such forecast, EIA projected that small-scale solar nationwide will grow from 14.3 GW to 21.9 GW by the end of 2018. Annual small-scale solar generation is expected to grow from 19,467 GWh […]


17 May

A bill to extend incentives for solar water heating systems passed the Assembly May 16. AB 797 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) cleared the chamber 48-22. It will allow home and building owners to get a state rebate along with an ongoing 30 percent federal tax incentive to install solar hot water and pool […]

CA Solar Job Prospects May be Slowing, Report Hints

22 Feb

California leads the nation for solar industry jobs, with 100,050 workers employed in the solar industry last year, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2016 released by The Solar Foundation earlier this month. Employment in California’s solar industry in 2016 increased 32 percent from 75,598 jobs in 2015, according to the report. “With a […]

Distributed PV Installations Fall in Era of Lower NEM Rates

7 Feb

Two of the three investor-owned utilities, which offer less favorable net energy metering rates to customers with new solar rooftop systems, have seen installations drop by up to a third. (more…)

CA Boasts 100,000s of Clean Energy Jobs

1 Feb

More people in California work in low carbon power generation than in fossil fuel generation and an even greater number work in energy efficiency, according to the Department of Energy’s 2017 U.S. Energy & Employment Report. Across the U.S., almost as many work in the low carbon emissions energy as in traditional fossil fuel energy […]

JUICE: California Solarizing

10 Nov

The late Tom Hayden is known for his anti-war and civil rights activism, and nearly two decades in the California Legislature. Less known and as important are his contributions to launching and reviving the state’s drive toward a low-carbon energy economy, particularly with the rise of climate change deniers. Hayden’s work included developing a groundbreaking […]

Jobs From the Sun Report in Hindsight

10 Nov

The unprecedented 1978 report, Jobs From the Sun, illustrates California’s vision of a thriving, job-creating solar energy sector. Authored by the California Public Policy Center, including project director Fred Branfman, and behind the scenes Tom Hayden, it estimated this sector could help reduce California’s high employment rate at the time by creating 3.8 million jobs […]

Solar Undercurrents

10 Nov

The burgeoning solar industry in 1970s was given a considerable lift by vociferous opponents of liquefied natural gas plants proposed in Santa Barbara, Long Beach and all along the California coast. Natural gas supplies were severely constrained in California and across the U.S., pushing to the front burner alternate sources of energy. Liquefied natural gas […]


3 Nov

Bloom Energy has sold fuel cells with 50 MW of capacity to Southern Co., the two businesses revealed Oct. 25. Bloom Energy of Sunnyvale, CA, will provide the fuel cells, which will be installed behind the meter at Home Depot stores and healthcare facilities, under a long-term power purchase agreement with Southern Co. subsidiary PowerSecure. […]


15 Sep

Imperial Valley Irrigation District has settled charges by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency involving improper disposal of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls at its electric substations in Indio and Coachella. The two reached a settlement after IID spent $1.25 million to remove and properly dispose of contaminated soil and examine other substations for contamination pursuant to a […]