News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
Photovoltaic (PV)
Feds Deny Solar Project Near Mojave National Preserve

Feds Deny Solar Project Near Mojave National Preserve

Solar: A controversial large solar project that would have occupied more than 1,600 acres along the main scenic route between two desert National Parks won't be happening, it was announced Friday.
Feds to Be Sued Over Solar Projects' Harm to Endangered Bird

Feds to Be Sued Over Solar Projects' Harm to Endangered Bird

Photovoltaic (PV): A national wildlife protection group announced today that it intends to sue the U.S Interior Department for failing to protect the federally Endangered Yuma clapper rail from being harmed at industrial-scale solar power projects in the California desert.
Solar Permit Bill Heading to Governor's Desk

Solar Permit Bill Heading to Governor's Desk

Photovoltaic (PV): A bill that would make it a lot easier to get permits to put solar on your roof is headed for the Governor's desk, having been passed by both houses of the California Legislature.
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Turning Lead Into Gold...Er, Solar Panels

Turning Lead Into Gold...Er, Solar Panels

Science: File this under "pretty cool if it really pans out." Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may have found a straightforward way to recycle toxic auto batteries into solar panels.
How Much Has The Dialog Changed on Desert Solar? Here's How Much

How Much Has The Dialog Changed on Desert Solar? Here's How Much

Commentary: Desert solar has become so controversial that when a handful of green groups express support for a 485-megawatt desert solar project in Riverside County, that support is news.
Bill Would Streamline Rooftop Solar Permits

Bill Would Streamline Rooftop Solar Permits

Photovoltaic (PV): A group of solar installers wearing hardhats descended on the State Capitol Tuesday to urge lawmakers to support a bill that would make it much easier to pull permits for rooftop solar projects.
L.A. Using Only a Fraction of its Rooftop Solar Potential

L.A. Using Only a Fraction of its Rooftop Solar Potential

Photovoltaic (PV): The city has installed only two percent of the rooftop solar that's feasible in the city, and raising that figure just to ten percent would create 47,000 new jobs, according to a new report.
Study: Rooftop Solar Customers Don't Raise Costs For Others

Study: Rooftop Solar Customers Don't Raise Costs For Others

Photovoltaic (PV): A new study commissioned by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission finds that rooftop solar panel owners taking part in the state's ongoing net metering program won't be raising the electric bills of their non-solar neighbors.
Does LADWP Want to Charge Solar Customers For Grid Access?

Does LADWP Want to Charge Solar Customers For Grid Access?

Photovoltaic (PV): A report suggests that the nation's largest municipal utility wants to find a way to charge solar customers with net metering contracts for use of the power grid.
Hundreds More Electric Car Charging Stations Coming to California

Hundreds More Electric Car Charging Stations Coming to California

Transportation: The California Energy Commission will be plowing millions of dollars into building almost 500 more electric car charging stations throughout the state, along with an assortment of other alternative energy programs.
Meet California's New Solar Capital: Buffalo, New York

Meet California's New Solar Capital: Buffalo, New York

Commentary: Elon Musk's SolarCity, the Menlo Park-based solar panel leasing company, is buying Fremont-based solar panel manufacturer Silevo and will be building one of the world's largest solar panel factories in Buffalo, New York.
Inyo County Backs Down on Big Solar

Inyo County Backs Down on Big Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): Inyo County's Board of Supervisors has made a whole lot of people who love the Owens Valley very happy, as it's agreed to remove a large swath of the Valley from designation as suitable for large-scale renewable energy development.
2nd Tribal Solar Plant Approved On Nevada Reservation

2nd Tribal Solar Plant Approved On Nevada Reservation

Photovoltaic (PV): With ground broken only quite recently on a 250 megawatt solar project that will cover about 2,000 acres of the Moapa Paiute Reservation north of Las Vegas, the federal government announced approval of a second solar project on the tribe's lands.
Riverside Undergrads Can Now Use Solar Power to Surf Web Instead of Studying

Riverside Undergrads Can Now Use Solar Power to Surf Web Instead of Studying

Photovoltaic (PV): Here's an idea that ought to be adopted more widely: students on the UC Riverside campus can now top off the charge on their phones, tablets and laptops at tables on campus run by off-the-grid solar power.
L.A. Leads American Cities in Solar

L.A. Leads American Cities in Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): Los Angeles has more installed solar power capacity in its city limits than any other American city, according to a report released Thursday by Environment California.
Palmdale Adding Lots of Urban Solar

Palmdale Adding Lots of Urban Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): The L.A. County desert community of Palmdale is adding urban solar in a big way. The city announced Monday that it's building almost a megawatt of solar generating capacity in town to help meet its renewable energy and greenhouse gas targets.
Retired National Park Leaders Oppose Soda Mountain Solar

Retired National Park Leaders Oppose Soda Mountain Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): Five retired National Park Service Superintendents who spent a cumulative 35 years managing California's three desert National Parks are asking the Bureau of Land Management to move a 4,000-acre solar project they say would threaten the Mojave National Preserve's wildlife, views and groundwater.
California Regulators Protect Rooftop Solar From Utilities

California Regulators Protect Rooftop Solar From Utilities

Government: The state agency charged with regulating public utilities Thursday announced that Californians who sell utilities extra power from their rooftop solar arrays will be able to keep doing so at current rates for 20 years.
Departing Joshua Tree Superintendent Slams Desert Solar

Departing Joshua Tree Superintendent Slams Desert Solar

Commentary: A 38-year veteran of the National Park Service who capped his career by spending three years running Joshua Tree National Park has come out against a solar project proposed for the central Mojave Desert in no uncertain terms.
National Park Service Slams Solar Project Near Mojave Preserve

National Park Service Slams Solar Project Near Mojave Preserve

Photovoltaic (PV): The National Park Service (NPS) isn't happy about a proposal to build a large solar facility on almost 4,200 acres next door to the Mojave National Preserve, citing the project's threats to wildlife, rare plants, groundwater, air quality, and wilderness characteristics of the 1.6 million acre Preserve.
Riverside County Approves Large Desert Solar Project

Riverside County Approves Large Desert Solar Project

Photovoltaic (PV): A solar project that would cover almost six and a half square miles of the California desert near Blythe jumped one of its its final regulatory hurdles this week. On Tuesday, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors gave unanimous approval to the 4,096-acre McCoy Solar Energy Project, which would generate a maximum of 750 megawatts of power if it's completely built out.
Group Sues to Block New Desert Solar Projects Over Threat to Tortoises

Group Sues to Block New Desert Solar Projects Over Threat to Tortoises

Photovoltaic (PV): The group Defenders of Wildlife filed suit today to overturn the Interior Department's approval of two large solar projects planned for the Ivanpah Valley in the Mojave Desert south of Las Vegas, saying that the projects were approved without enough consideration of the damage they'd cause the federally Threatened desert tortoise.
Opposition Mounts to Solar Project On Mojave Preserve Boundary

Opposition Mounts to Solar Project On Mojave Preserve Boundary

Photovoltaic (PV): If discussion at a recent gathering of desert activists is any indication, a nearly 4,200-acre solar project proposed by Bechtel for a valley adjoining the Mojave National Preserve will encounter near-unanimous opposition from green groups.
Feds Green Light 2 More Solar Projects in Ivanpah Valley

Feds Green Light 2 More Solar Projects in Ivanpah Valley

Photovoltaic (PV): The U.S. Interior Department announced Wednesday it was approving two large solar projects in the Mojave Desert that may displace or harm more than 2,000 desert tortoises
Officials Push for L.A. to Get 20 Percent of Power from Rooftop Solar

Officials Push for L.A. to Get 20 Percent of Power from Rooftop Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): The push to make L.A. more energy independent is gaining steam, as a group of local, state, and federal elected officials called for California's largest city to meet a fifth of its peak power needs with local solar within six years.
Solar Orbs: Nice, But No Miracle

Solar Orbs: Nice, But No Miracle

Concentrating Solar: Gizmodo raves about a large glass orb that it says may change the way we use solar power even offering the possibility of generating power from moonlight. Sadly, though the device is pretty nifty, the numbers don't support the hype.
San Diego County Solar Project to Proceed Based On Illegal Science

San Diego County Solar Project to Proceed Based On Illegal Science

Photovoltaic (PV): San Diego County is working on approval of 1,490 acres of solar projects near the town of Boulevard based in part on wildlife studies performed illegally by a biologist later convicted in Federal court for related offenses.
State May Have Set New Solar Record Today

State May Have Set New Solar Record Today

Photovoltaic (PV): Happy New Year: it looks as though California may have set a new solar record Thursday, with more than 3,000 megawatts of solar electricity flowing into the grid at noon.
A Symbolic Win for Solar Panels: Large Desert Project Clears Hurdle

A Symbolic Win for Solar Panels: Large Desert Project Clears Hurdle

Photovoltaic (PV): The California Energy Commission on Friday gave a "thumbs down" to a controversial solar tower project in Riverside County. But at the same time, it sent out a tentative "thumbs up" on a solar panel project 40 miles west that has been every bit as controversial.
Even on Short Winter Days, California is Breaking Solar Energy Records

Even on Short Winter Days, California is Breaking Solar Energy Records

Photovoltaic (PV): The state broke another record on Tuesday for the amount of solar energy flowing into the state's power grid from large solar installations, with more than 2,800 megawatts of solar electricity recorded by the state's grid operator at just before noon.
7 Square Mile Solar Project Next to Mojave National Preserve Advances

7 Square Mile Solar Project Next to Mojave National Preserve Advances

Photovoltaic (PV): The Bureau of Land Management is now looking for public comment on a proposed 4,397-acre solar facility between the Mojave National Preserve and the Soda Mountains Wilderness Study Area, in an area that some describe as "core" undeveloped Mojave Desert habitat
23 Stories That Show Solar Power Can Be Successful Anywhere in L.A.

23 Stories That Show Solar Power Can Be Successful Anywhere in L.A.

Photovoltaic (PV): A report released Monday offers human-interest-style case studies of Los Angeles solar installations ranging from skid row SRO hotels to the titans of L.A's flagship industry. And each case profiled shows that there's good reason to go solar in Los Angeles.
Trophy Company Takes Lead in Los Angeles Rooftop Solar

Trophy Company Takes Lead in Los Angeles Rooftop Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): If you wanted to give some kind of award to the company that just became the largest participant in the L.A. Department of Water and Power's CLEAN LA Solar program, we know where you could get a pretty good deal.
Is it Really That Simple? Study Finds Cheap Solution to Increasing Solar Power

Is it Really That Simple? Study Finds Cheap Solution to Increasing Solar Power

Photovoltaic (PV): A study of 50 solar homes in Austin, Texas hints that simply facing rooftop solar panels west instead of south can make those panels supply a bigger chunk of their owners' energy consumption.
Study: L.A. County Could Power Half of California With Rooftop Solar

Study: L.A. County Could Power Half of California With Rooftop Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): Putting solar panels on suitable undeveloped rooftop space in L.A. County could create about half of the electrical power California needs on a typical summer day, and developing just five percent of that rooftop capacity would generate almost 30,000 jobs.
Arizona Solar Battle Crosses State Lines

Arizona Solar Battle Crosses State Lines

Photovoltaic (PV): Last month, Arizona's largest power company admitted it had been bankrolling ultraconservative groups opposed to rooftop solar. Is the same happening at the national level?
Solar Power Project on Indian Reservation Not Immune From Tortoise Trouble

Solar Power Project on Indian Reservation Not Immune From Tortoise Trouble

Wildlife: It's a compelling, heroic narrative, but the usual suspects that impact large solar projects have reared their heads again.
2 Desert Solar Plants May Harm Thousands of Tortoises

2 Desert Solar Plants May Harm Thousands of Tortoises

Wildlife: A federal agency estimates that more than 2,000 desert tortoises may currently occupy the sites of a pair of large planned desert solar projects that would straddle the California/Nevada state line, but says developing the projects won't harm the species.
Trashing Old Solar Panels is a More Complicated Process Than You Think

Trashing Old Solar Panels is a More Complicated Process Than You Think

Photovoltaic (PV): A state administrative agency has rejected a bid by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to exempt discarded solar cells from some hazardous waste regulations.
Report: Blythe Solar Would Have Serious Impacts On Cultural Resources

Report: Blythe Solar Would Have Serious Impacts On Cultural Resources

Photovoltaic (PV): A state agency has evaluated the likely effects of a proposed large solar project in eastern Riverside County, and the news isn't good for those interested in the California desert's human history.
California Governor Signs Controversial Solar Bill, Among Others

California Governor Signs Controversial Solar Bill, Among Others

Government: Governor Jerry Brown signed a controversial bill Monday that would change how the state regulates rooftop solar owners' agreements with utilities, but he encouraged the state agency responsible for crafting the new rules to protect the interests of current solar owners.
Solar Project Banking on L.A. Money Gets New Owner

Solar Project Banking on L.A. Money Gets New Owner

Photovoltaic (PV): A solar power project on a Nevada Indian reservation that will supply Los Angeles with electricity has been sold by its owners before the bulldozers even reached the site.
How Palm Springs Can Improve Daily Life With More Solar Power

How Palm Springs Can Improve Daily Life With More Solar Power

Commentary: The Palm Springs City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to hire a consultant to craft a city-wide solar plan, with the goal of generating at least 5 megawatts of power to offset energy use in the city's municipal buildings.
LADWP May Be Buying Utah Sun

LADWP May Be Buying Utah Sun

Photovoltaic (PV): A planned 300-megawatt solar facility to be built in Utah will likely provide power to LADWP.
Indie Rockers, Former Gang Members, and Sierra Club Team Up For Solar

Indie Rockers, Former Gang Members, and Sierra Club Team Up For Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): An indie band crowdfunds to solarize a popular non-profit working to change lives in Los Angeles, and promotes its new album along the way.
Hesperia Solar Project Hangs In Balance, Could Be Harbinger for Other Installations

Hesperia Solar Project Hangs In Balance, Could Be Harbinger for Other Installations

Photovoltaic (PV): Local opposition may have doomed a proposed 20-acre solar project in Hesperia.
Study: Solar Cell Price Drop Not Due To Underpaid Labor

Study: Solar Cell Price Drop Not Due To Underpaid Labor

Photovoltaic (PV): A new study suggests that low pay for Chinese solar panel workers isn't the reason that solar panel prices have dropped dramatically.
Feds to Update Environmental Impact Report for Blythe Solar

Feds to Update Environmental Impact Report for Blythe Solar

Photovoltaic (PV): Significant changes to a large solar project's design have prompted the BLM to go at least part of the way back to the drawing board with regard to the project's Environmental Impact Statement.
Breaking Bad News: Arrest in Meth-Related Solar Panel Theft

Breaking Bad News: Arrest in Meth-Related Solar Panel Theft

Photovoltaic (PV): Sometimes we hate having our suspicions confirmed. Look for thefts like this to grow.
Cash Up Front For Rooftop Solar?

Cash Up Front For Rooftop Solar?

Photovoltaic (PV): The Rocky Mountain Institute suggests a way that solar companies might entice homeowners to go solar: give them a whole lot of cash up front.