Africa’s off-grid solar industry has been turned into an asset class for the first time, bundling contracts for thousands of the sun-powered rooftop electricity systems to sell as bonds. “I worked in commercial banking in the U.S. for several years and was involved in the securitization of residential solar, specifically SolarCity,” said David ten Kroode, renewable energy manager at Oikocredit, which is based in Amersfoort, Netherlands. “We thought it was an interesting model that could be replicated in Africa.”
The future of Florida’s rooftop solar market remains murky despite continued optimism from clean energy advocates who have been fighting for years to strengthen it. There was clear evidence of the tug of war yesterday as backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to create a market for rooftop solar announced they are targeting the 2018 ballot instead of 2016. For now, Floridians for Solar Choice will put all of its money and political muscle behind killing a utility-backed solar proposal — also slated for voters — that needs to clear the Florida Supreme Court.
The number of solar jobs in the U.S. has more than doubled in five years. In fact, there are more people working in solar now than at oil rigs and in gas fields. The solar industry added 35,000 jobs in 2015, up 20% from the previous year, according to the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington D.C.. The group is not funded by solar companies. In contrast, oil and gas firms slashed nearly 17,000 extraction jobs in 2015 as energy prices continue to plummet. Oil prices are down a stunning 70% in the last 18 months and hovering just over $30 a barrel, a 12-year low.
California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols yesterday said her state is in “very preliminary” talks with New York to explore the possibility of linking carbon markets. The idea of linking California’s cap-and-trade system with New York’s was first proposed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) late last year. He envisioned a “broader North American market to collectively reduce harmful emissions”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will soon begin an informal effort to engage stakeholders nationwide about a range of concerns with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, said FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable in an interview. The effort, coming more than five months after the final rule was published, will be led by FERC staff, Honorable said. “We need to be proactive, and we need to be acting now and not just talking about it,” she said, describing “what I would characterize as a significant outreach effort with stakeholders.”
The Iowa Utilities Board has dealt another setback to a proposed $2 billion transmission line to ship Iowa wind energy to customers in Illinois. The board voted 3-0 on Monday rejected the third request by Clean Line Energy Partners to split the case into two separate hearings. The board stood by its plan to decide whether to approve the line and whether to grant the use of eminent domain in one hearing. The company has said that approach means it has to invest “tens of millions of dollars” acquiring land while running the risk that regulators could reject the line as not in the public interest.
“Our leadership in green energy not only makes us a leader in renewables but also powers job growth. Every wind turbine you see while driving across our state means income for farmers, revenue for local governments and jobs for Iowa families. Let’s build on that foundation for a greener Iowa future.”
In last night’s speech, the president broadly touted job growth in renewable energy industries and said making “technology work for us” to solve urgent issues like climate change is among the top four questions facing the country. Obama asked, to some applause in the House chamber: “Why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?”
As recently as last summer, Nevada was the nation’s No. 4 market for solar power and claimed the nation’s No. 1 ranking for solar sector employment on a per-capita basis. Today, the state’s status as a solar leader is in free fall as a result of a new net-metering ruling adopted by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last month
Getting to 100% renewable energy in the US by 2050 is a goal that is gaining traction among the US public. Reports from many environmental organizations have been written on how to get to this target, including from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Foundation. After last year’s COP21 conference, the momentum has gotten stronger in order to keep global temperature within the 1.5°C threshold to avoid dramatic climatic change on the Earth.