Category Archives: Policy

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

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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NEM 3.0

Net metering 3.0: what does it mean for you, and how can you help?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you look at the best solar markets in the US, they all have one thing in common: a strong net metering policy. Net metering–or NEM–allows you to earn credits for any excess solar electricity you send to the grid when your solar panel system generates more than you need. 

Over the next year, California will be releasing the third iteration of net metering, or NEM 3.0. And as of summer 2021, there’s still a lot for the state to decide on – we don’t know exactly how credit values will change, or what they’ll change to, but we do know that whatever happens will have large implications for the country’s leading solar market. We’ll continue to keep this article updated with the most recent news on NEM 3.0, and in the meantime, discuss some of the proposed changes to the state’s current net metering policy, along with timelines.

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Texas electric choice

Texas electric retail providers: what does it mean to have a “deregulated electricity market?”

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Texas recently experienced a series of devastating power outages that some are blaming on its instability caused by its deregulated electricity market. However, proponents of deregulation say that it can help cut down on costs and improve services to customers. Given this recent discussion, we will explain what having a deregulated electricity market means, how Texas’ electric choice affects customers, and how it can impact your savings with solar. 

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fight climate change

What you can do to fight climate change?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Climate change is no longer something in the distant future: from severe storms, to wildfires, to rising sea levels, we’re already experiencing the deadly side effects of a warming planet. While there’s nothing we can do to stop climate change in its tracks immediately, there are actions we can take to mitigate. 

So, as an individual, what can you do? Here are five ways that you can help in the fight against climate change: 

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biden administration and solar

How will the Biden administration impact solar?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

From the beginning of his election campaign, Joe Biden made it clear that environmental policy was going to be a priority for his administration. Now that Inauguration day is over and done with, we’re here to break down the implications of Biden’s election for the solar industry. 

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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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solar jobs census 2019 review

An overview of the 2019 National Solar Jobs Census

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This week, The Solar Foundation released its annual National Solar Jobs Census. The report provides a comprehensive look at employment in the American solar industry for 2019, from how many solar jobs the industry supported last year to where jobs are located throughout the country and which segments of the industry employ the most people. 

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solar tariff check in

Checking in on the US solar tariffs

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In February 2018, the Trump Administration’s tariffs on imported solar goods went into effect. Now, two years on, the US International Trade Commission (US ITC) just released its mid-term review of the impact of the solar tariffs. Pulling from that report, as well as a study from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and an analysis of our own data, here’s a look at how the tariffs have impacted solar shoppers and solar jobs over the last two years. 

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china us solar agreement

Impact of the U.S. – China trade deal on solar

Reading Time: 3 minutes

One of the primary stories in the solar over the last two years has been the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China. From tariffs on imported solar panels from China to a sharp decline in imported American polysilicon to China, the political back-and-forth has developed a sense of uncertainty around the solar industry in this country. However, with January 15th’s Phase 1 trade deal, the solar industry can breathe a partial sigh of relief. Here are a few of the immediate ramifications of the deal, and the ways in which this initial trade deal may ease future uncertainty for solar in the US.

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