The US has experienced record growth in solar in recent years, installing 0.5GW in 2009, 1GW in 2010, and over 2GW in 2011. The market is predicted to double again to 4GW in 2012. But much of this growth occurred with the help of the 1603 Cash Grant program, which offered developers a check for 30% of the project costs upon completion. With the expiration of the 1603 program at the end of 2011, what's the future for clean energy finance? How will we draw new funding sources to the market?
Our friends Stacey Danner and Lea Keal run an amazing organization in New Orleans called Sustainable Environmental Enterprises which provides solar panels for low-income homes in New Orleans. They recently got a great writeup in GOOD Magazine.
Energy efficiency upgrades in multifamily buildings could save building owners and residents up to $3.4 billion nationwide, according to a report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) which demonstrates that cost-effective efficiency improvements can deliver savings of 15% to 30% in multifamily buildings.
Jigar Shah, CEO of the Carbon War Room, and founder of SunEdison has his finger on the pulse of clean energy and solar financing. His insight - from an excellent CleanTechnica article - is worth quoting at length. It's a great description of why financial powers are finally shifting allegiance toward solar and other clean energies - and the secret Warren Buffet already knows.
Solar Water Heating can reduce pollution and dependence on fossil fuels, but it can also be a smart investment for building owners. A new solar hot water report based on recent studies by NREL titled "Smart, Clean and Ready to Go" describes the benefits of solar water heating:
Marc Gunther at GreenBiz says "It's Time to Pick Sides in the US-China Solar Trade Wars." He makes some good points - like why is a German company, SolarWorld - suing the Chinese for subsidizing solar, while they rely on US government subsidies as well? But there's more to this story than just picking sides.
On Dec. 6, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that more than $1 trillion has been invested in renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart energy technologies since the firm began tracking data in 2004.