EnergySage’s Solar Energy News Roundup

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Sometimes it feels like news moves at the speed of light! EnergySage is here to keep you in the loop with our round up of solar energy news for the week of October 12th, 2015.

The End of Net Metering in Hawaii

Hawaiian regulators closed Hawaii Electric Company’s (HECO’s) net metering program to new participants this week. The decision, made by the Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission, replaces the existing program with two public tariffs (grid-supply and self-supply) that will connect homeowners’ distributed energy to HECO’s electric grid. Regulators asserted that these changes will “ensure a smooth transition to a redesigned market-based structure for distributed resources in Hawaii” and are necessary to support the state’s goal to meet 100 percent of its electricity demands with renewable energy by 2050. Current net-metered HECO customers, and customers who have applied for a net-metered system and are awaiting approval, will not be affected.

EnergySage’s Solar Marketplace Intel Report Highlights Major Solar Milestones

The residential solar industry has a bright future in the U.S., as confirmed by new data released in EnergySage’s inaugural Solar Marketplace Intel Report this week. The report analyzes data collected from more than 10,000 installation quotes submitted in the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. Key findings from the report include:

  • Solar installation costs continue to fall – in the first half of 2015, consumers paid on average $3.79 per watt in gross cost and achieved payback in just 7.5 years.
  • The average solar home in the U.S. can meet 85 percent of its electricity demand by solar power.
  • Ninety percent of solar shoppers who compare their options on the Marketplace buy their solar panel systems outright, rather than leasing. This is in contrast to the 40% who buy systems outright nationwide.

For more about the residential solar market in the U.S., download the Solar Marketplace Intel Report today.

Wearable Technology, Powered By Solar

Google is taking their Google Glass technology to the next level with a newly-awarded patent for a wearable contact lens. Even more exciting about the news out of Mountain View – they plan to power their new product with solar power! The product would use miniscule photodetectors and solar cells in the lens to generate electric power from ambient sunlight and camera flashes. If Google follows through on this patent launch, the lens would be the first solar powered wearable in history.

Climate Change and Clean Energy Dominate the First Democratic Debate

From the opening statements to the closing thoughts, this year’s Democratic candidates put the spotlight on climate change last Tuesday evening, and urged the American people to take the threat seriously. The candidates mentioned the phrase 20 times throughout the debate with former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley focusing on the issue as a key point in his campaign. O’Malley articulated his plan for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 five times, advocating for the opportunities presented by low-cost, high-efficiency wind and solar as well as promising to extend the federal ITC if elected. Even more progressive was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who named climate change as the greatest threat to America’s national security.

Your Weekend Solar Reading

  • Once a distant dream, the concept of transparent solar panels is becoming a reality. Michigan State University published research in August of 2014 demonstrating the production of solar powered glass that could make windows, smartphones, and tablets generators of solar power. This week, Ubiquitous Energy has stated that they are using that research to bring real transparent solar products to the market. Both Michigan State and Ubiquitous Energy are confident that transparent solar can be affordable for both large commercial installations and small consumer devices.

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