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California solar energy policy discussion with The Solar Alliance

ara Birmingham, The Solar Alliance, covers California -- and US -- solar energy policy at Solar Power International 2011.

October 24, 2011 -- Sara Birmingham, The Solar Alliance, covers California -- and US -- solar energy policy at Solar Power International 2011, last week in Dallas, TX. She speaks with senior technical editor Debra Vogler.

California's solar program is robust on the customer side. Now, California is getting to the projects "in the middle," meaning 1-20MW, chasing its goal of 33% of energy coming from renewable sources. With so many solar options from rooftop to utility and everything in the middle, interconnection to the grid is now a major priority. Birmingham explains the feed-in tariff (FIT) system, renewable auctions, power purchase agreements (PPAs), and more.

How does the US compare on the global solar scene? Well each state in the US is its own solar governance, which makes each program very different on a state-by-state basis. Birmingham discusses what the federal government and states can do to bring solar energy onto the main stage. Here's one incentive to the government to take note of solar: 75% of solar jobs are installation and maintenance, which cannot be outsourced overseas.

The interview concludes with an overview of The Solar Alliance's mission and activities. The Solar Alliance is a US state-focused alliance of solar manufacturers, integrators, and financiers working with state administrators, legislators, and utilities on solar policy and programs. Learn more at

More interviews from SPI 2011:

Skyline Solar unveils CPV technology at SPI, chats about subsidies

Solar Power Technologies: Using the cloud to achieve ROI

Suniva adds BOS components to PV offering

Canadian Solar makes a play for re-engineering solar economics

Paula Mints on Solyndra, PV grid parity

CA's solar leadership today and tomorrow

CPV ramps to utility status

Heraeus nods to PV cost pressures with lower-silver pastes

Solar energy on the grid: Intermittency session at Solar Power International

Inside TSMC Solar's CIGS fab strategy

Balancing solar PV module cost and efficiency: ROI with Schneider Electric

How PV installations get the most out of power systems

Residential solar's requirements for commercial success

Safer solar installations chat with PanelClaw

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Follow Debra Vogler at

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