Economics is what drives residential and business solar adoption. While the manufacturing side of our industry has been working hard to reduce equipment costs, the worldwide solar industry has benefitted — some may say "propped up" — by the right policies at the right time. Germany FITs, California rebates, New Jersey RECs, the ITC and Net Metering have all combined to drive our industry's growth from 250 MW in 2000 to 33,400 MW in 2013 (SPV Market Research).
Incentives are typical for virtually every new energy technology. Oil wells, nuclear reactors, fracked natural gas, large-scale wind farms all became mainstream as a result of incentives that were deployed when the numbers weren't quite penciling out for customers. Now the solar industry is moving into the mainstream. So what kind of policies do we need, what can we afford, and what is politically practical?
My guest on this week's Energy Show is Jeff Wolfe, Founder and Chairman of GroSolar, Chairman of SEIA's Distributed Generation Division and Principal at Jeff Wolfe Consulting. Jeff has probably spent more time and logged more air miles on behalf of U.S. solar policy than anyone else. Listen to this week's Energy Show for Jeff's insights on practical U.S. solar policies — and ways we can transition the U.S. to a cleaner, greener, cheaper energy future.
About The Energy Show
As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.
The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.
About Your Host
Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.
His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.
Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies. He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.
Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock