Holiday solar news roundup


While PV Solar Report takes a holiday, the solar news keeps coming in. To ensure you’re kept up-to-date, we share a few of the top stories from the past two weeks.

Happy new year! Though we took a break from publishing over the holidays, we don’t want to leave you in the dark about what happened in solar while we were out. Here are some of the most interesting solar stories that came across our desk in the past two weeks.

Top solar news


SolarWorld files new PV trade suit against China, locks horns with SEIA

Big news in solar over the holidays was SolarWorld’s suit against China to close a loophole in trade remedies. The loophole, they say, lets Chinese producers evade duties by assembling modules using cells manufactured in other countries. SEIA voiced displeasure with the suit, preferring negotiation to escalating the trade dispute.


US utilities’ net metering policies to have limited impact on solar, says IHS

Net metering was subject to many attacks last year, most of them unsuccessful. A new IHS report found that despite some utilities’ campaigns against net metering, the impact of any potential changes on the U.S. PV industry should be negligible. However, some utilities are likely to increase their focus on “avoided-cost methodology.”


Better racking drives down solar’s soft costs

Another major theme in solar last year was soft costs. GTM pointed to racking as a prime opportunity for reducing installation labor costs, identified by a Rocky Mountain Institute report.


In the age of solar securitization, is it time for real third-party assurance?

Big in the news last year was the first solar securitization. As GTM reports, this is a huge step forward for solar. But it comes with risks, and that’s why a national quality assurance protocol is needed.


Solar power craze on Wall Street propels startup

Solar made the New York Times! According to that publication, the rise of SolarCity and similar companies is either proof that solar power is finally having its day or a sign that yet another mania has gripped the markets.


Microinverters moving into commercial-scale solar: When will it happen?

Microinverters have become common in rooftop installations. Now they’re moving toward commercial-scale projects. Renewable Energy World looks into why, where, and how they’ll break into that market.


Study: Public attitudes toward solar and other cleantech sectors have rebounded

Solar Industry Mag reported that although public attitudes toward solar and other renewables have had their ups and downs, a new survey by Navigant Research shows a significant rebound from 2012. The survey found that almost 80% of respondents favored the concept of solar energy.


Solar around the states


We picked just a handful of the many recent state-specific stories to share with you.


Solar power growth upends California’s energy system

California utilities are planning to install massive storage devices to store power from solar panels during the day and use that power in the early evening. This is the opposite of the traditional ideas of storing power and is being watched around the country.


Solar installations declining in Colorado

Although Colorado remains a strong solar market, uncertainties about incentives and policies slowed down solar growth there last year. We’ll be watching what happens with net metering there in 2014.


Idaho solar developer fights to keep project alive

Solar has not been big in Idaho, but now the developer of a proposed $180 million solar project hopes to be delivering electricity within months. The project would be Idaho’s first utility-scale installation and could pave the way for more solar in the state.


Move over wind? Solar energy market “exploding” in Iowa

Incentives for solar are high in Iowa, and costs are low. GTM reports that could lead to solar overtaking wind in Iowa. The end of 2013 brought a “mad dash” as some incentives were winding down. Iowa will be an interesting state to watch next year.


Massive Minnesota solar project gets legal boost   

Solar is becoming a good deal in more places, including Minnesota. Geronimo Energy’s Aurora Solar Project in that state got a legal boost with a recommendation from a judge as the best deal over five other proposals from Xcel Energy, most of them for gas projects.


Solar energy initiative wins more funding in New York

Solar won a major victory in New York in December, when an additional $216 million in funding was approved for the NY-Sun Initiative. The initiative has made New York one of the leading solar markets, but it was in danger of coming to a close because of low funding.


North Carolina has morphed into a solar power leader this year

Solar grew at a rapid rate in North Carolina last year, helped by Apple’s two huge solar panel farms in addition to a number of others. In Q3 2013 the state became the third in the nation for solar, after California and Arizona.


The icing on the cake


We’ll leave you with one final thought for the year ahead — and it looks to be a sunny one:


Solar poised for a huge year in 2014

2013 was a big year for solar, with the equivalent of a 5 MW solar farm being installed every hour around the world. EarthTechling expects even more for 2014.