Press Releases

 

Entries in Energy Policy (218)

Thursday
Sep182014

SEIA, Vote Solar Celebrate Solar’s Continued Price Declines

September 17, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, DC The average cost of going solar in the United States continued its rapid decline in 2013 and the first half of 2014, according to a new study from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Two leading solar advocacy groups, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar, applaud the report findings as the latest indicator that affordable solar energy is ready to power our new energy economy. 

“In just a few years, American ingenuity and smart policy have made solar a true success story. These price declines mean that solar power is now an affordable option for families, schools, businesses and utilities alike,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar. “The result is that solar and its many grid, economic and environmental benefits are shining in communities across the country.”

“This report highlights yet another reason why solar energy has become such a remarkable American success story. Today, solar provides 143,000 good-paying jobs nationwide, pumps nearly $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy and is helping to significantly reduce pollution,” said SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch.  “There are now more than half a million American homes, businesses and schools with installed solar, and this is good news for freedom of energy choice as well as for our environment.”

The seventh edition of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Tracking the Sun, an annual report on solar photovoltaic (PV) costs in the U.S., examined more than 300,000 PV systems installed between 1998 and 2013 and preliminary data from the first half of 2014. Key findings include:

  • Installed prices continued their significant decline in 2013, falling year-over-year by 12 to 15 percent depending on system size. 
  • Data for systems installed in a number of the largest state markets – Arizona, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – during the first six months of 2014 found that the median installed price of systems installed in the first half of 2014 fell by an additional 5-12 percent, depending on system size, over 2013.
  • Solar installed costs declined even as PV module pricing remained relatively steady, indicating success in efforts targeting non-module soft costs – which include marketing and customer acquisition, system design, installation labor, and the various costs associated with permitting and inspections.
  • Cash incentives provided through state and utility PV incentive programs (i.e., rebates and performance-based incentives) have fallen by 85 to 95 percent since their peak a decade ago.

The National Lab notes that these findings mark the fourth consecutive year of major cost reductions for the U.S. solar industry. Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, employing 143,000 Americans, pumping $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy and helping to reduce pollution.

The full Tracking the Sun report is available here: http://emp.lbl.gov/publications/tracking-sun-vii-historical-summary-installed-price-photovoltaics-united-states-1998-20

 ###

About SEIA:

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

About Vote Solar:

Founded in 2002, Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to make solar more accessible and more affordable for more Americans. www.votesolar.org

 
Thursday
Sep182014

SEIA - New Report Shows America’s Schools Saving Money by Going Solar 

New Report Shows America’s Schools Saving Money by Going Solar

September 18, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC – In a report card deserving of the honor roll, a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind new study released today says America’s K-12 schools have shown explosive growth in their use of solar energy over the last decade, soaring from 303 kilowatts (kW) of installed capacity to 457,000 kW, while reducing carbon emissions by 442,799 metric tons annually – the equivalent of saving 50 million gallons of gasoline a year or taking nearly 100,000 cars off U.S. highways.

Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools was prepared by The Solar Foundation (TSF) – with data and analysis support from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) – and funded through a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot program.

The Solar Foundation’s report is the first nationwide assessment of how solar energy helps to power schools in communities across America. Most importantly, the report shows that thousands of schools are already cutting their utility bills by choosing solar, using the savings to pay for teacher salaries and textbooks.  What’s more, the report estimates that more than 70,000 additional schools would benefit by doing the same.

“Solar enables schools to save money, enrich learning and keep teachers in the classroom – all while providing local jobs and generating emissions-free electricity,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “With five times as many solar schools today than in 2008, it is clear that the solar schools movement is gaining momentum and providing kids with the greatest benefits,” Luecke added.

Here are the report’s key findings:

  • There are 3,752 K-12 schools in the United States with solar installations, meaning nearly 2.7 million students attend schools with solar energy systems.
  • The 3,727 PV systems have a combined capacity of 490 megawatts (MW), and generate roughly 642,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year, which represents a combined $77.8 million per year in utility bills ‒ an average of almost $21,000 per year per school.
  • Despite this promising progress, solar potential remains largely untapped. Of the 125,000 schools in the country, between 40,000 and 72,000 can “go solar” cost-effectively.

“An analysis performed for this report found that 450 individual school districts could each save more than $1,000,000 over 30 years by installing a solar PV system,” said SEIA President and CEORhone Resch.  “That’s a lot of money.  In a time of tight budgets and rising costs, solar can be the difference between hiring new teachers – or laying them off.  Just as importantly, solar is also helping to fight pollution, providing hope for our children, as well as for future generations of children.”

The new report also found:

  • More than 3,000 of the 3,752 systems were installed in the last six years. Between 2008 and 2012, solar installations on U.S. schools experienced a compound annual growth rate of 110 percent.
  • Nearly half of the systems currently installed are larger than 50 kilowatts (kW) and 55 schools have systems that are 1 megawatt (MW) or larger. About a quarter of the PV systems at schools are smaller than 5 kW.
  • As schools system sizes increase, so too does the incidence of third-party ownership.
  • Excluding small demonstration systems, the median system size of K-12 school PV systems was found to be 89 kW (approximately equal to 18 average residential solar PV systems).

As is the case with the solar industry at large, the report found that more schools are going solar as installation costs decrease.   According to the SEIA/GTM Research U.S. Solar Market Insight report, by the second quarter of this year, national blended average system prices had dropped 53 percent since 2010.

###

About The Solar Foundation: 

The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line for the U.S. The Solar Foundation is considered the nation’s authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at http://TheSolarFoundation.org

About SEIA:

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

Wednesday
Sep172014

NHDP - THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: Brown Voted To Protect Tax Breaks for Big Oil Companies…Again

NHDP Launches Facebook Ads on Scott Brown's Big Oil Vote Anniversary
 

Manchester, NH— This week marks four years since Scott Brown voted to protect tax breaks for oil companies rather than help small businesses—and he’s still choosing Big Oil and Wall Street special interests over what’s best for New Hampshire families. Brown sided with the big oil companies making record profits instead of small businesses, and then continued to collect hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from big oil companies. The New Hampshire Democratic Party is launching a new Facebook ad to spread the word that Scott Brown's Big Oil votes are wrong for New Hampshire.
 
“Bay Staters voted Scott Brown out of office because of votes just like the one he took four years ago to protect tax breaks for Big Oil instead of doing what was best for families in Massachusetts—and he would do the same thing if he got his way in New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. “Brown has been collecting big money from oil companies and cashing in from companies that engage in outsourcing— so he obviously does not ‘care about New Hampshire.' Scott Brown cares about Scott Brown, his personal bank account, and the out-of-state special interests—like Big Oil—who fund his campaigns while he votes to protect their special breaks.”
 
Scott Brown repeatedly voted to protect special tax breaks for oil and gas companies, even when it meant the middle class would have to pay more. He even voted to protect tax breaks for oil companies when he owned up to $50,000 in Exxon Mobil stock. In return, the oil and gas industry donated nearly half a million dollars to Brown’s campaign for Senate in Massachusetts.
 
“His record clearly shows who Brown was working for in Massachusetts—and it wasn’t Bay State families,” added McClain. “They didn’t trust him in Massachusetts, and we can’t trust him in New Hampshire.”
 
Copy of the ad can be found here.
Saturday
Aug302014

Cooler Heads Digest 29 August 2014 

29 August 2014

In the News

Taking the Lead on Carbon Is a Losing Game
Chip Knappenberger, Providence Journal, 29 August 2014

Six Threats Bigger Than Climate Change
Sen. John Barrasso, Wall Street Journal, 29 August 2014

American Oil Bonanza Keeps Gas Prices Affordable
Clifford Krauss, New York Times, 28 August 2014

U.S. Fracking Boom Stabilizes Global Oil Market
Ronald Bailey, Reason Hit & Run, 28 August 2014

Watchdog: Germany Needs Coal To Balance Dependency on Russian Gas
Christopher Steitz, Reuters, 27 August 2014

James Hansen: “I Struggle To Sleep” (with current energy trends, energy policy)
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 26 August 2014

Government Science Advisors: Where Are the Honest Brokers?
Roger Pielke, Jr., Guardian, 26 August 2014

Under Assault from Big Green, Coal Is Fighting Back
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 26 August 2014

Obama’s Green Unicorn
Peter Roff, U.S. News & World Report, 25 August 2014

EPA on Mann’s “Fraud” Invective (be sure to read this)
Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 22 August 2014

News You Can Use
Arctic Ice Up 60% over Last Two Years

Steve Goddard today noted Danish Meteorological Institute data showing a 63% increase in Arctic sea ice extent since the same date in 2012, and an increase of 76% since the 2012 summer minimum.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

GAO Whitewashes Social Cost of Carbon

The U. S. Government Accountability Office this week released a “regulatory impact analysis” on the development of the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) estimates. The GAO report finds nothing to criticize in the federal interagency working group’s process that produced a guidance document in 2013 that raised its estimates of the social cost of carbon by roughly 50-60% over those it had made in 2010.  On the other hand, the GAO did not attempt to evaluate the actual estimates that the process generated. 

This is a whitewash, as my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis shows in detail in a post on www.GlobalWarming.org. In short, the GAO concludes that the process by which the interagency working group came up with the SCC estimates was unexceptionable and therefore that there is no reason to second guess those estimates.  But in fact, the interagency working group did not follow the White House Office of Management and Budget’s directions, contained in Circular A-4, in two major respects.  First, it did not apply the standard discount rates specified by A-4 of 3% and 7%, but instead used 2.5%, 3%, and 5%.  If the standard OMB discount rate of 7% had been applied as well, then the lower-end SCC estimate would drop dramatically, as has been shown in an analysis by David Kreutzer and Kevin Darayatna of the Heritage Foundation.  

Second, the interagency working group used estimates of global costs and benefits, while OMB Circular A-4 requires that domestic costs and benefits be included (whereas global costs and benefits are merely optional according to A-4).  Using domestic costs and benefits would again dramatically lower the SCC.  As Marlo Lewis shows, a $50 a ton of carbon dioxide SCC could be as low as $3.50 if domestic costs and benefits were the measuring stick.

This is important because federal agencies have used the SCC in 68 rulemakings since 2008 and will be using it even more often in the future.  This information the GAO helpfully provides in an appendix on pages 22-29 of its report.            

Obama Seeks international Climate Agreement That Won’t Require Ratification

Coral Davenport, the climate advocate-reporter for the New York Times, had a top-left-of-the-front-page story on 27th August on the fact that the Obama Administration is pursuing an international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol that will not be a treaty and therefore would not require ratification by the Senate. This is not exactly news.  I have written about it several times in the Digest over the past few years; and my CEI colleague Chris Horner wrote an exhaustive scholarly article for the Federalist Society about the legal perils of unratified treaty commitments.In a subsequent FedSoc piece, Horner also explained in 2009 the pressures and evidence already accumulating that Obama would end up pursuing Kyoto II not calling it a treaty

But Davenport’s article is still worth reading.  The Obama Administration believe that they can sign a new international agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions that will include commitments from all the major emitters and most of the minor emitters, but that will somehow not be a treaty.  The negotiations are supposed to be concluded at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Paris in December 2015.  And the new agreement is supposed to go into effect in 2020.

Domestically, this would mean that a future administration could achieve its commitments to reduce emissions through regulatory actions under existing laws (as the Obama Administration is already doing through the Clean Air Act rules on coal and natural gas power plant emissions and higher CAFÉ standards for vehicles) and through enactment of legislation by Congress.  The thinking is that this will be much easier than Senate ratification, which requires a two-thirds majority.  It is not a co-incidence that the Obama Administration’s chief climate negotiators at the State Department were involved in the negotiations that resulted in the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which was dead on arrival in the Senate.     

Rupert Darwall, writing in National Review Online, agrees that a new climate treaty would never be ratified, but also thinks that the attempt to negotiate a non-treaty agreement is doomed to fail as well. Darwall may be right, but I nonetheless think that President Obama will work overtime to sign such an agreement at COP-21 or during the last year of his presidency in 2016.  It would be a feather in his cap, and it would be up to his successor to implement the agreement.  It also fits in well with his contempt of the constitutional powers of Congress, as Marlo Lewis, my CEI colleague, discusses on GlobalWarming.org

Science Update
Myron Ebell

Australia Fiddles with Climate Records

Australian biologist Jennifer Marohasy has created a major controversy over the manipulation of temperature records by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Close inspection of historical data from a number of stations revealed that the BOM had adjusted the data in order to show a significant warming trend in the twentieth century that does not appear in the raw data.  

Marohasy’s revelations expose shenanigans similar to those that have been discovered in temperature data set adjustments by NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies and the U.S. National Climate Data Center.  For some mysterious reason, the adjustments are always in the same direction: temperatures in the early twentieth century are adjusted downward, and more recent temperatures are adjusted upward.  A scholarly article by Marohasy, John Abbot, Ken Stewart, and Dennis Jensen, presents much more evidence of this scientific misconduct in Australia.

The Cooler Heads Digest is the weekly e-mail publication of the Cooler Heads Coalition. For the latest news and commentary, check out the Coalition’s website, www.GlobalWarming.org.

Thursday
Aug142014

ALG's Daily Grind - Why we still need coal!

6

August 14, 2014

Why we still need coal
Increased coal electricity production was needed during this harsh winter to meet increased demand and decreased natural gas supplies. So, why are we shutting down 16 percent of coal electricity capacity with punitive EPA regulations?

Cartoon:Obama's Legacy

Brooks: Debt is the big threat to a happy retirement
Federal Reserve: "the percentage of homeowners age 65 and older carrying mortgage debt increased from 22 percent in 2001 to 30 percent in 2011."