Solar Energy Industries Association


Among the top 25 corporate users of distributed, solar energy use increased by 33 percent in just one year. The top 25 users of local solar have more than 445 megawatts of solar in place, up from 300 megawatts in 2012. 

Learn more about the top companies on SolarReviews and see which ones you shop at. 

Federal Government Forecasts Big Gains for Solar Energy

Federal Government Forecasts Big Gains for Solar Energy

A new reportissued today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that most new electric generation capacity in the United States through 2040 will come from natural gas and renewable energy. Of the 83 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity additions being forecast, nearly half is expected to come from photovoltaic (PV) systems. After reviewing the report, Rhone Resch, president and…

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Is storage the new solar? And other news from our solar future...

Is storage the new solar? And other news from our solar future…

It wasn’t that long ago–what, just seven, eight years ago now–that solar power was considered, justifiably, an expensive niche technology. Sure, environmentally solar power has always reigned supreme and there were enough people wanting clean energy for their homes to keep the industry in business, but solar was just too costly for mainstream use.

But behind the scenes, the technology was…

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The American Honda Motor Company is the second auto manufacturer to join the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), demonstrating its ongoing commitment to solar energy and advancing clean, affordable transportation options.

General Motors joined the solar advocacy organization in February of 2013; a move that solar energy experts have called a “game-changer” for the industry.

Solar Power In The U.S. Becoming A More Popular, Cost-Saving Option For Homeowners

Ben Kunz wanted to do “the green thing” and save on his electric bill without paying a lot of money up front. So instead of buying a solar system for his house in Cheshire, Connecticut, he leased one.

“I thought it was a pretty good deal,” he said. “I…

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Walmart dominates the list of U.S. companies using solar

#SuryaRay #Surya Walmart’s massive scale allows it to dominate a lot of sectors it enters — turns out the retailer is also a behemoth in solar panel power. According to a list of the top 20 companies in the U.S. using solar panel systems, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) on Wednesday, Walmart comes out on top for both how much solar power its stores are generating as well as how many individual systems it’s installed.

Other major U.S. solar customers include Costco, Kohl’s, Walgreens, IKEA, and Macy’s. It’s not surprising that the companies that have a lot of department and grocery stores — with large roof space — would have the most opportunity for installing solar panel systems. According to the report there’s 2.3 GW of solar panel systems installed, delivering over 24,000 systems, for companies and governments (non-residential). In comparison 1 GW is the size of a large coal or nuclear plant.

Remember these are already installed systems. Other companies have sizable plans in the works. For example, Apple is building a 20 MW system in North Carolina for its data center.

As I reported yesterday, the trends behind this interest by companies in solar panels is due to rock bottom solar panel prices, policies in some key states, like California, Arizona, and New Jersey, and also new business models for financing solar panel systems. Companies like SolarCity have created businesses around raising money from investors like banks (or even Google) to finance the upfront cost of a solar panel system. SolarCity’s customer can then pay for the solar system over a 20-year, or so, time frame (which is more convenient and affordable), and the bank can get back a return on that investment (like 12 percent).

However, according to the report released on Tuesday about the growth of solar panel systems in the U.S., this rapid adoption is expected to slow down in the second half of this year and next year.
—- @suryaray

Florida sees strange bedfellows in fight over solar power

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A broad political coalition, from liberal environmentalists to tea-party conservatives, has banded together in Florida to press for something that ironically is in short supply in the Sunshine State: solar power.

The group, which also includes business owners, libertarians and Christian conservatives, launched a campaign in January to place an initiative on the state’s 2016 ballot that would eliminate restrictions it says are suppressing the solar industry and protecting utilities from competition.

Though Florida is the third-most-populous state in the country—after California and Texas—and has plenty of sunshine, it ranks 13th in installed solar capacity, with 229 megawatts, compared with 8,544 megawatts in top-ranked California, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Pennsylvania, ranked 12th, has 240 megawatts of capacity.

“Florida is the best solar market in the eastern United States, and it’s clearly underperforming,” said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which promotes renewable energy and is a member of the coalition, Floridians for Solar Choice.

Florida is one of only five states that prohibit so-called third-party sales from non-utility companies to install solar panels on residents’ or businesses’ rooftops and sell them power. Under such arrangements, consumers can avoid the upfront costs of installing solar arrays and lock in potentially cheaper electricity rates, while providers can earn back their investment and a profit over the long haul.

Currently, Florida consumers can buy electricity only from utilities. The coalition’s initiative, which requires more than 680,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, would remove that restriction and authorize third-party sales.

It is the latest standoff between the amalgam of renewable-energy advocates across the country and utilities at a time of rapid growth for the solar industry. In the first three quarters of 2014, 50% more solar power came online than in the same period in 2013, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Florida alliance members say they resorted to a ballot effort because elected officials in Florida have failed to develop a comprehensive clean-energy policy and utilities have used their monopoly position and lobbying muscle to stifle competition from the solar industry.

Utilities have long argued that customers should go through them for solar energy because they should help pay for the cost of maintaining the grid, which they still rely on for at least part of the day.

Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Duke Energy Florida, which provides electricity in the central and northern part of the state, said the company was committed to working with lawmakers “to achieve energy policies, incorporating solar, that are fair and beneficial to all of our customers.”

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