This week’s trending solar stories—July 14th, 2017

Utilities are lobbying against solar in Indiana. Trump is serious about a solar border wall. Panel installers worry about industry’s outlook.


NEWYORK TIMES

Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists
Over the past six years, rooftop solar panel installations have seen explosive growth — as much as 900 percent by one estimate. That growth has come to a shuddering stop this year, with a projected decline in new installations of 2 percent, according to projections from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

A number of factors are driving the reversal, from saturation in markets like California to financial woes at several top solar panel makers. But the decline has also coincided with a concerted and well-funded lobbying campaign by traditional utilities, which have been working in state capitals across the country to reverse incentives for homeowners to install solar panels.

WASHINGTON POST

Trump says he wasn’t joking about a solar paneled border wall
President Trump has doubled down on the possibility of constructing a solar wall along the Mexico border, telling reporters aboard Air Force One on his way to Paris on Wednesday night that he was “not joking” when he floated the idea last month.

“Look, there’s no better place for solar than the Mexico border — the southern border,” Trump said. “And there is a very good chance we can do a solar wall, which would actually look good.” Construction on the border wall, Trump’s key campaign promise, has been delayed, and there is very little support among lawmakers to fully fund his pet project.

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SEATTLE TIMES

Sunset for solar incentives? Panel installers worry about industry’s outlook
In often-rainy Washington, people in the solar-energy industry have a term for the sector’s ups and downs: riding the “solar coaster.” But it’s not the approaching gloomy winter months that make the industry view the future with uncertainty.

“Solar energy is looking at 2020 as a critical year,” Jeremy Smithson, CEO and founder of Puget Sound Solar, said last week about the scheduled sunset date for state renewable-energy incentive programs designed to make solar more affordable.

FUTURISM

The World’s First Power Plant Combining Hydroelectricity and Solar Energy Is Now Open
The world’s first power plant combining hydroelectric and solar power is now operational in Portugal. The Alto Rabagão dam has been outfitted with 840 floating solar panels, which increases the plant’s total capacity of 68 MWh by 220 kWp. Within its first year, the station should generate 332-megawatt hours, enough to power 100 homes for a year.

The panels were created by Ciel & Terre International (C&T), developers of the floating solar system Hydrelio. The system is designed to allow ecologically friendly floating photovoltaic (FPV) panels made out of recyclables to be installed on large bodies of water rather than eating up valuable space on land.

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