This session provided an overview of solar technology and policy. Panelists discussed current markets and trends, the value of solar technology, and benefits and barriers to this technology. Speakers explored how solar technology fits into net metering and discussed the future for solar technology.

As states continue to diversify their energy portfolios, renewable energy sources—like solar technology—will play an increasing role.
A recent report by the U.S. Energy Information...

The U.S. Energy Information Administration issued a report last week detailing the 13,500 megawatts (MW) of electric utility capacity added in 2013.  According to the report, the total capacity added is down roughly 50% from 2012.  Natural gas and solar were the top industries generating additional capacity at just over 50% and 22% respectively. 

Although the number of customers utilizing net metering technology represents a tiny fraction of the overall population, the rapid pace and expansion of rooftop solar across the country has galvanized a debate across many states to re-examine popular incentive programs for distributed energy systems....

The rapid growth in rooftop solar and the popularity of net metering programs has gained significant interest with residential customers across the country. However, several rate challenges in 2013 over the most appropriate way to continue incentivizing this program garnered significant national attention and may soon be coming to your state this year. Be sure to join the next edition of CSG's webinar series entitled, "Challenges and Future Opportunities for States in Net Metering." The event will take place on February 4th at 2pm Eastern and you may register by clicking here.

Renewable energy accounted for nearly half of all new power generation capacity installed in the United States in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Administration. That new capacity generated about 13,000 megawatts and created about 110,000 new jobs in 2012 alone.

The influence of green energy on the power industry and the national, regional and state economies is growing. Several Southern states—including Georgia, Tennessee and Texas—are leaders in this effort.

The South has great potential for renewable energy development, according to speakers on a CSG South webinar, “The Impact of Renewable Energy in Southern Economies.” Nine states rely on wind power for more than 12 percent of their total annual electricity consumption, with Texas leading the way. While the cost of wind energy is becoming more competitive, state policies are helping the effort.

According to an article in the San Jose Mercury-News, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is close to approving a requirement for the state's largest utilities to buy 1.3 megawatts of energy storage by 2020 to help improve upon the intermittent nature of renewable energy resources like solar and wind. The directive would be the first of its kind in the country and would provide enough storage capacity to power nearly 1 million homes.

Growing consumer interest in net metering has led to a surge in rooftop solar installations and the use of distributed energy technology. However, potential challenges are developing for some utilities with existing state incentive plans to bolster net metering using traditional rate recovery models they believe do not fully recoup the value of services and reliability provided.

Stateline Midwest ~ 2013 MLC Annual Meeting Edition

Within seven years, Minnesota’s investor-owned utilities will have to supply 1.5 percent of their power from solar energy under a measure signed into law in May. Minnesota joins Illinois and Ohio — and 15 other U.S. states — with some type of solar energy mandate, according to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

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