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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 […]

Obama Administration Seeks to Ease PACE Financing for Solar Rooftops

21 Jul

The White House is easing restrictions on property assessed clean energy financing programs to spur installation of up to 1 GW of solar rooftop systems on homes owned by low-income and middle class residents. (more…)

Jon Wellinghoff: SolarCity’s Powerhouse

7 Jul

Editor’s Note: Current interviewed the affable Jon Wellinghoff who’s served as SolarCity’s head of policy planning for two months. The Q& A was held July 1 in a conference room at the company’s office in Potrero Hill, one of the sunniest parts of foggy San Francisco. The spacious, cubicle-free office occupies a big part of […]

Half Empty or Half Full Solar Glass

23 Jun

Claims that residential solar rooftops result in unfair cost shifting to non-solar ratepayers were vigorously debated at a June 21 meeting held by the federal agency charged with ensuring competition and consumer protection. (more…)

GUEST JUICE: Geothermal Balances California’s Renewable Portfolio

28 Apr

By V. John White California’s rapid renewable energy expansion has led to a boom in large-scale solar and wind projects and a huge expansion of rooftop solar. As costs have fallen, solar energy has become much less expensive, and utility-scale solar is now the least cost renewable energy. Geothermal energy has historically been a large […]

CLEAN TECH: Rooftop Solar Overvoltage Fears Exaggerated, Hawaiian Electric Finds

28 Apr

As California electric utilities prepare to invest in distribution system upgrades to accommodate more rooftop solar energy systems, a Hawaiian utility is planning to boost the level of customer-owned rooftop solar by 250 percent. It’s doing so after finding out that voltage fluctuations caused by neighborhood solar systems are not the major problem initially thought. […]

Border Transmission Project Connecting to PV Project Finished

7 Apr

After about a year-and-a-half of construction work has been completed on the Silver State South Solar Project, a 250 MW photovoltaic installation located near the California-Nevada border. It is to connect into the Southern California transmission system. (more…)