Category Archives: Policy

Articles about clean energy policy, both of the local, state, and federal level.

ILSR guest post

How 30 million solar homes can confront the climate crisis, address racial inequality in the energy sector, and get people back to work

Reading Time: 5 minutes

From the street, Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis looks like many other houses of worship across the country. But a birds-eye view of the church reveals the unique connection Shiloh has to the heavens – a connection that allows Shiloh to make an outsized impact on the lives of its congregants and other residents of this historically Black community.

Shiloh Temple has a rooftop solar array that generates enough electricity for the church to lower its energy bills – freeing up money for other critical community needs. The installation and maintenance of the panels also provide good-paying jobs for a diverse workforce. And because the church and its congregants actually own the system, it ensures that decisions about the energy Shiloh generates are retained in the community (it’s literally local power!) 

Now, a group of organizations, businesses, and local officials are engaged in a campaign to bring the benefits of local solar to millions of Americans. In a letter sent to Congress earlier this year, the group – which represents millions of Americans – is calling on Congress to embrace the goal of 30 million solar homes powered by solar in five years.   

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COP26

Key takeaways from COP26

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Earlier this month, leaders from nations across the world gathered in Glasgow, Scotland to discuss a critical subject: climate change. While COP26 was originally scheduled for last fall, due to COVID-19, it was pushed out to this year. But, there were still some notable figures missing from the summit: President Xi Jinping of China, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil all decided to skip the trek to Scotland this year. Although some have deemed the conference a success, others have noted that while it contained many promises, it lacked plans for concrete actions. So, what were some of these key initiatives discussed at COP26? 

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CALSSA guest post

The State of California Solar Policy

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The California solar market is facing one of its biggest periods of upheaval ever and the next few months will set the fate of the industry for the next decade as the state decides the future of “net metering”. The stakes could not be higher for this 75,000 worker, $4 billion industry so let’s take a deeper dive into the forces bombarding the industry, the trials ahead, and how the industry can defend itself to make it through this challenging time.

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Solar Futures Study

The Solar Futures Study: how we can get to 45 percent solar electricity by 2050

Reading Time: 8 minutes

On September 8, 2021, President Biden made a big announcement for the solar industry: solar has the potential to power 40 percent of U.S. electricity by 2035, and 45 percent by 2050 – an increase of over 1,000 percent from where it stands today. Produced by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Technologies Office (SETO) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Solar Futures Study served as the basis for Biden’s announcement, explaining the role that solar will need to play in decarbonizing the electric grid and how we can achieve these targets in a cost-effective way. In this article, we’ll answer some of the major questions you might have about this study and what this solar transition could look like. 

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Infrastructure bill

The infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation bill: what could they mean for clean energy?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

On Earth Day 2021, the Biden Administration announced its goal “to reach 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035”– but, until recently, no legislation had been passed to actually meet this target. This all started to shift in August 2021, when the Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and then immediately advanced a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that will lay the framework for a reconciliation bill. So, what’s the status of these bills? And how will they advance the U.S.’s clean energy transition? 

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corporate renewable procurements

Corporate renewable energy procurement: an overview

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In today’s current era of renewable energy targets, action is not just limited to political entities such as the federal government, states or individual cities. In fact, many corporations are getting in on the act by promoting corporate sustainability programs or contracting directly with renewable energy developers to build solar and wind farms specifically for their company. As the solar and wind industries continue to grow, corporate renewable procurement and targets will play a substantial role in driving renewable energy to greater and greater heights.

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renewable portfolio standards by state map

Renewable portfolio standards explained

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Following the 2018 elections, there was a flurry of state-level action on climate change and clean energy to begin the new year. Outside of proposals at the federal level for a Green New Deal, many states proposed and passed a suite of climate-related legislation, from emission reduction goals to clean energy procurement targets. Perhaps the most common policy instrument for growing clean energy at the state level is the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

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green jobs program new york

The Green Jobs – Green New York Program

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As clean energy policies and programs begin to stack up throughout the country, one major question remains relating to how states will use any revenues collected from policies like a carbon tax. Will they use the money to incentivize growth in renewable energy, to pay for retraining for employees of the fossil fuel industry, to redistribute as a credit to all taxpayers in the state, or for some other purpose altogether? The Green Jobs – Green New York program provides a great case study for a successful, long-lived program that effectively uses the revenue from a carbon tax to further the state’s economic growth and environmental actions. 

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Ethical Solar Sourcing

Ethical sourcing of solar components

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The solar industry is very much a part of the global economy: its supply chain traverses countries, oceans and continents, sourcing raw materials from certain regions, manufacturing products in others, and, ultimately, sending solar products to home and business owners everywhere. With how interconnected the solar industry is, it’s important to be cognizant of where and how solar equipment is sourced. In lieu of recent credible reports of human rights abuses and forced labor in parts of China that feed into the solar supply chain, it’s worth looking at how to ensure that the solar equipment you purchase is ethically and sustainably sourced. 

Before digging into this, a quick note: allegations of human rights abuses and other unethical practices are an atypical topic area for us. After all, we write about clean energy, not issues of geopolitical intrigue. But we don’t take these reports of human rights violations and forced labor lightly, and we want to make sure you’re aware of this ongoing investigation and have options to ensure your solar equipment is ethically produced.

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