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Here Comes the Sun: Attaining Grid Parity for Solar Power; by Nick Sibilla, Fall 2011

Solar power has enormous potential to radically transform the energy portfolio of the United States. In just one hour, the Earth receives enough energy from the sun to provide all of humanityâEUR(TM)s energy for an entire year.[1] More impressively, our planet receives more solar energy in one year than will ever be attained from all of the EarthâEUR(TM)s fossil fuels and uranium.[2]  While considerable amounts of this energy cannot be directly exploited (e.g. plants need sunlight for photosynthesis), many solar firms are expanding their operations to utilize this renewable resource.  Indeed, in 2010, the United States solar industry grew by 102% and is on track to double again this year.[3] Meanwhile, solar is the fastest growing energy source worldwide. In fact, according to Amory Lovins, chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute, solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on American homes alone could generate one-third of the United StateâEUR(TM)s electricity needs.[4]

But despite this growth and potential, the solar power industry is still quite small, providing less than 1% of AmericaâEUR(TM)s electricity.[5] In order to be truly competitive with traditional fossil fuels (predominantly coal) in the energy market, solar must attain âEURoegrid parity,âEUR i.e. the same price for electricity that is provided by the grid.  As solar progresses towards grid parity, solar will become more cost-effective, thereby incentivizing more consumers to transition away from relying on fossil fuels. Impressively, solar is widely expected to attain grid parity by the year 2020.[6] 

This paper will focus on policies that will accelerate solar power towards grid parity, primarily examining residential and commercial consumers. While there have been numerous technological innovations in the solar industry (e.g. a solar power plant that works at night[7]), this paper will not be a technical evaluation. In addition, since there have already been many, many reports and polemics written on the polarizing topic of Solyndra, this paper will not delve into the details of that case or the loan-guarantee program at-large. Instead, this paper will outline many common-sense reforms and policies that should be implemented, regardless of oneâEUR(TM)s opinion on Solyndra. But first, I will provide a primer on the cost for solar power and grid parity.

 Grid Parity

For solar systems, there are two main costs: module and soft costs. The former comprise the price of hardware and technology, while the latter include the various costs necessary for a solar system to start generating energy, such as installation, financing, interconnection, and permitting compliance. Modular costs are primarily driven by technological advancement and manufacturing economies of scale, whereas soft costs are usually a reaction to government policies, on either the local, state, or federal level.

According to a report published by Photon Consulting, to attain grid parity, the cost for 1W of solar generated electricity must be less than or equal to $1.[8]  This would be just below 12 cents per kWh, which is on par with the average price of electricity in the United States.[9]  But in 2011, the average price of a solar system is $5.20/W, so there is still much progress needed before solar can become adopted on a widespread basis.[10]

Fortunately, the cost for solar has dropped dramatically. Over the past 18 months alone, a solar PV systemâEUR(TM)s cost has decreased 28%.[11] Meanwhile, installation costs have declined by 18% in 2010.[12] But examining solar over a longer time frame is even more impressive. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in 1980, the cost per price per watt of solar modules (not including installation) was $22.[13]  In 2010, it was less than $3.[14] 

Since solar has increasingly become more cost-effective, Scientific American recently noted âEURoethereâEUR(TM)s frequent talk of a âEUR~MooreâEUR(TM)s LawâEUR(TM) in solar energy.âEUR[15] MooreâEUR(TM)s Law is the famous trend that the number of transistors that can be placed on a microchip will double every 18 months.[16]  This allows a chip to double its computing power. For this reason, computing costs have plummeted astronomically since the 1950âEUR(TM)s, rendering products like iPhones and Kindle Fires commercially viable. 

Likewise, the cost per watt of solar PV cells has declined by 7% each year, averaged over the past 30 years.[17] Greater solar cell efficiency and an increase in learning how to manufacture solar modules are the two main drivers in reducing costs. Thus, if current trends continue, solar is expected to attain grid parity in the year 2020.[18] By that time, solar will be cheaper than coal nationwide. More impressively, if this solar MooreâEUR(TM)s Law holds until 2030, then solar will actually be less than half the price of coal for electricity.[19] For these reasons, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers declares that solar will soon become âEURoethe most economical form of generating electricity.âEUR[20]

 Yet it is important to note that MooreâEUR(TM)s Law for microchips has produced far more rapid growth than solar PV. For these reasons, engineer Lindsay Leveen prefers to call this solar cost trend, âEURoeDemi MooreâEUR(TM)s Law.âEUR[21] (Demi means half in French and, of course, refers to the famous actress.)

However, as Greentech Media observes, grid parity is not âEURoea monolithic concept.âEUR[22] Since electricity costs and solar resources vary tremendously around the world, grid parity will not âEURoecome at a single moment in time,âEUR[23] but instead will increasingly be attained in a variety of markets. For example, solar has attained grid parity in Hawaii[24] while in rural New South Wales, Australia, solar is already cheaper than coal.[25] In addition, grid parity can be achieved in both wholesale and retail markets, as well as before and after incentives are taken into account. So if current tax credits are maintained or increased (a policy evaluated later in this paper), solar will become competitive earlier, thanks to these government incentives. 

 Protect Solar Property Rights

 Solar power faces numerous bureaucratic hurdles in the United States. One of the larger challenges is the lack of legal protections for solar property owners.  The Department of Energy defines solar rights as, âEURoeThe ability to install solar energy systems on residential and commercial property that is subject to private restrictions, i.e., covenants, conditions, restrictions, bylaws, condominium declarations, as well as local government ordinances and building codes.âEUR[26]

In other words, individuals should have the right to legally install solar systems on their property. If there are safeguards for solar rights, property owners will be assuaged that their investments in solar systems will not be infringed. Furthermore, since there will be fewer regulatory barriers, more Americans will be enticed to switch to solar.

However, there are two main threats to solar rights: local ordinances and restrictive covenants. The first are municipal regulations, which includes zoning laws. The second refers to mutual private agreements that restrict the use of real property. These are most commonly used by planned communities and homeownersâEUR(TM) associations (HOAs). Without legal protection, these two restrictions thwart Americans who would otherwise be interested in transitioning to solar. For example, one solar installation firm has already lost more than $1 million trying to fight recalcitrant HOAs in Texas.[27] Most famously, in 2007, local zoning codes initially denied former Vice President Al Gore from installing solar panels on his home.[28] Apparently, the zoning board of Belle Meade, Tennessee knows more about green energy than a Nobel Prize winner. These ordinances and zoning boards must be reformed, which would allow solar to flourish.

Meanwhile, HOAs have two main arguments against solar rights. First, they claim solar panels are ugly or violate âEURoeaesthetic principles.âEUR But aesthetics are inherently subjective and a matter of personal taste. An HOA can hardly be considered the final arbiter for artistic merit. In addition, it seems that solar systems are disliked by some people simply because they are new. But as one solar advocate argues:

âEURoeLook at TV antennas, satellite dishes, skylights and even air-conditioners sticking out of windowsâEUR¦IâEUR(TM)m sure nobody liked those when they came into being, but people got used to it and they moved forward.âEUR[29]

But unlike those appliances, solar systems produce energy and reduce a householdâEUR(TM)s carbon footprint.

Second, HOAs claim installing solar panels lowers property values.  So it would be in the HOAâEUR(TM)s interest to prevent homeowners from devaluing their property, which in turn would harm the HOA as a whole.  However, this claim falters under further scrutiny.  PV systems actually increase the resale value of a home.  In April 2011, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analyzed home sales in California. They determined that, on average, houses with PV systems sold for a $17,000 premium.[30] Considering the recent housing market crash, that premium should not be taken lightly.

So far, 26 states have enacted legislation preventing HOAs from banning solar panels.[31] However, the strength of these solar rights laws varies greatly from state to state.  While these laws do prohibit HOAs from preventing homeowners who want to install solar, they also allow HOAs to impose restrictions on such systems (e.g. height requirements or no street-level visibility). In addition, many do not protect solar rights from local ordinances.  To further protect property owners, states should pass legislation that bars municipalities or restrictive covenants from constraining solar systems.  Meanwhile, instates that have âEURoehome ruleâEUR administration (i.e. localities can trump the state in certain matters of governance), municipalities should reform their zoning laws from impeding solar systems.  

Yet protecting the right to install solar systems may not be sufficient. In order for a solar system to generate energy, it must have unobstructed access to the sun. This is also known as âEURoesolar access.âEUR Crucially, a solar property owner must ensure that a solar system has access from 9am-3pm, since that time frame is when 90% of the sunâEUR(TM)s radiation falls on Earth.[32] One popular method to protect solar access is through solar easements. These are voluntary agreements between solar property owners and their neighbors to limit obstructing the sun (e.g. trimming back foliage and landscaping). Through these easements, owners of a solar system can obtain access to the sun that would otherwise be not on their property. Solar easements typically include flexible terms and conditions and compensation requirements if a neighbor later blocks access to sunlight. Currently, 39 states and the Virgin Islands have provisions that protect solar rights and/or solar access, albeit with greatly differing levels of protection and enforcement mechanisms.[33]

But since solar easements are voluntary transactions, there is still the risk and uncertainty that a neighbor will renege in the future. To reduce legal uncertainty (thereby lowering transaction costs), local and/or state governments should ensure that there are adequate enforcement mechanisms to redress a party that reneges on an easement. This can be accomplished either through an agency or a court of law. Furthermore, in the absence of a solar easement, courts should recognize that sunlight can be a property interest (after all, it is needed to generate solar power), and thus, solar access would be protected via private nuisance laws.[34]

Liberalize Solar Permitting

But even if laws protecting solar rights and access were passed, consumers still must contend with an onerous permitting process. According to Hannah Muller at the Department of EnergyâEUR(TM)s Solar Cities Initiative, the labyrinthine permitting process âEURoeis one of the biggest barriers in the solar market right now.âEUR[35] In the United States alone, there are over 18,000 local jurisdictions for PV permitting, land use codes and zoning ordinances.[36]  The lack of standardization means that consumers and solar businesses are required to spend inordinate amounts of time and resources researching these jurisdictionsâEUR(TM) codes, applying for permits, and paying permit fees, which can cost upwards of $1,000 a permit.[37] Furthermore, before solar panels are allowed to start generating electricity, firms must wait for inspectors, who take an average of 3.5 weeks before inspecting a system.[38] All together, local permitting and inspections costs a residential solar installation over $2,500, according to a report published by SunRun, one of the nationâEUR(TM)s leading installers of solar panels.[39] Nationwide, this red tape is the equivalent of a $1 billion tax on solar.[40]  Clearly, this impedes growth.

To illustrate the arcane minutiae involved in the solar permitting process, The New York Times profiled Verengo Solar Plus, a residential PV installer. Verengo was forced to hire 15 people just to find and complete permits.[41] Further demonstrating how Kafkaesque bureaucracies can be, many jurisdictions only accept applications in person. So Verengo employs two âEURoepermit runnersâEUR whose sole responsibility is to âEURoeâEUR~take those permit packs and physically drive them around, stand in line, and pay the fees.âEUR(TM)âEUR[42] Filing onerous paperwork is a hefty opportunity cost, especially for a nascent industry like solar power.

But by streamlining and expediting these permits, installation costs for solar power can drop by $0.50 per watt, thereby accelerating progress towards grid parity.[43] To minimize red tape without hindering safety, SunRun outlines many common-sense reforms, including capping permit fees at $250 or less; a common application for permits, based on Solar ABCs standards; allowing email submissions of permit applications; and mandating decisions on applications within three business days. In total, SunRunâEUR(TM)s reforms would slash permitting costs by over 75%, saving consumers and solar firms $1,900 a system.[44]

Yet the solar permitting process can be removed entirely, further lessening costs for consumers and businesses. According to Ethan Sprague, Director of Government Affairs at SunRun, installing solar panels is âEURoemore like installing an appliance than re-wiring a house.âEUR[45] Hence, there is far less justification for government intervention. Indeed, Germany does not have permitting for installing solar panels on residential rooftops.[46]  As a result, its installation costs are 40% lower than those in the United States, without jeopardizing safety.[47] This, combined with a structured feed-in tariff, is one reason why Germany was able to install over one million new residential solar systems in the past two years.[48] By comparison, only around 120,000 houses have ever installed solar power in the United States.[49] Nevertheless, reforming or eliminating the solar permitting process would be a great boost to consumers and solar companies. 

Unlike other renewable energy policies, permitting reform can be accomplished entirely on the state and local level or through the executive branch (i.e. the Department of Energy). As such, these policies can bypass the âEURoerevolving gridlockâEUR that currently paralyzes Congress. To raise awareness for the hassles solar currently faces, Vote Solar has launched Project: Permit, an interactive guide to the myriad fees, permitting requirements, and inspector guidelines from across the country.[50] Project: Permit also includes a toolkit for solar advocates to effectively lobby municipal officials to streamline solar permitting. Indeed, if these reforms are implemented SunRun even predicts that in 2013, solar will become competitive with traditional energy sources for 66 million householdsâEUR"more than half of all American homes.[51] That would certainly help spur greater adoption of solar energy.  

 

Provide Tax Relief and Incentivize Private Financing

As mentioned earlier, solar is expected to achieve grid parity in many markets by 2020. To better foster a clean energy economy, the federal government has provided two mechanisms to incentivize switching to solar: the investment tax credit (ITC) and the Section 1603 Treasury Program. The ITC was established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by then President George W. Bush and acts as a 30% tax credit for residential and commercial solar systems.[52] The ITC covers the cost of the solar system, but generally does not include transmission costs and can be recaptured. The ITC is usually claimed by the owner of the solar system, but if a project has multiple owners, the tax credits are shared as profits. By providing tax relief, the ITC helps catalyze investment, as solar becomes more cost-competitive for consumers and investors. First implemented in 2006, the rate of growth for solar installations has increased eightfold since then.[53]

Building on this success, in 2008, Congress passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which, among other provisions, extended the ITC until 2016 and allowed utilities and alternative minimum tax (AMT) filers to use the ITC.[54] This extension provides regulatory certainty, since investors will know that the ITC will be in place over the medium-term, reducing some of the risk in solar projects, thereby helping to foster a more hospitable business environment. Currently, there are over 3.1GW of solar capacity nationwide, enough power for more than 630,000 American households.[55] But when the ITC is slated to expire in 2016, the Energy Information Administration predicts solar capacity in the United States will triple to 10.4GW.[56] Yet the ITC has been quite cost-effective, costing only $120 million in tax expenditure in 2010. [57]

 However, the economic downturn in 2008 threatened the prospects for solar. According to the U.S Department of the Treasury, tax equity for solar (i.e. the financiers who could utilize the ITC) plummeted, from $6.1 billion in 2007 to $3.4 billion in 2008.[58] (In 2009, tax equity shrank further to a mere $1.2 billion.)[59] With a shrinking tax equity pool, the ITC was rendered inoperative for many solar projects.  In order to provide liquidity, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 modified the ITC with the Section 1603 Treasury Program. Section 1603 allows solar project developers eligible for an ITC to instead receive a direct federal grant, equal to the tax credit. The 1603 grants allow solar projects to receive more front-end financing, thereby overcoming one of the larger barriers to developing solar power. In addition, Section 1603 has provided a respectable return on investment for American taxpayers: with over $1.35 billion funding 3,600 different grants, Section 1603 has induced an additional $3.5 billion in private investment.[60] However, Section 1603 is set to expire at the end of 2011.  At the time this paper was written, prospects for renewal seemed unlikely. 

Yet Section 1603 allows solar projects to weather the storm of the recession, until economic prospects are sunnier. Indeed, there are already promising signs for solar investment by private enterprise.  Recently, SolarCity has received a loan from Bank of America Merrill Lynch for a $1 billion project to install solar PV on military housing. The project will cover over 120,000 homes and provide 300MW of capacity.[61]  According to the CEO of SolarCity, this âEURoewill be the largest residential deployment of solar in American history,âEUR in effect almost doubling the number of homes with solar PV systems.[62] Originally, SolarCity was set to receive a conditional loan guarantee (the same policy support Solyndra had obtained), but due to the firestorm of controversy regarding the loan guarantee program, the Department of Energy declined SolarCity that loan. But declining costs for solar (i.e. Demi MooreâEUR(TM)s Law) and greater experience in making similar loans has helped offset the cheaper financing that would have emerged with a government-backed loan. 

This SolarCity loan also illustrates the rapid changes underway in financing solar power. Jonathan Plowe, the head of new energy and infrastructure solution at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, argues that they have

âEUR¦created a financing model that can make solar affordable on a huge scaleâEUR¦ A year ago it wasnâEUR(TM)t possible to raise a debt facility for distributed solar. You could do that for wind farms but distributed solar relied on equity financing.[63]

Extending Section 1603âEUR"even  for just one yearâEUR"would give banks and other financiers more time to develop and envision effective models to finance solar, preferably with less government support. Preferably, an extension would be longer than a year, so as to give investors greater certainty. Unfortunately, the solar industry as a whole has not yet recovered from the economic downturn.  If the 1603 grants are not renewed, solar tax equity is projected to fall by up to 50% in 2012.[64] For this reason, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has coordinated the 1603 Coalition, a group of more 750 businesses and organizations to lobby Congress for an extension.[65] 

However, there have been calls to end these policy supports for solar, recently catalyzed by Solyndra. Yet limited government support is justified, at least for the short-term. Unlike older, more entrenched sources of energy (oil, coal, nuclear, etc.), solar and other renewables are relatively new, with significant growth only occurring in the past decade. Thus, there is greater justification to support these emerging energies. In addition, those concerned with balancing the budget would gain precious little from slashing solar support. As mentioned earlier, the main federal policy supports for solar are relatively insignificant: in 2010, the ITC cost $120 million,[66] while the Section 1603 grants were $444 million.[67] Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt is currently over $15 trillion.[68] Solar subsidies are not even a rounding error.

Yet promoting renewable energy need not add to the deficit. Policy support for solar can be offset by spending cuts. Recently, a politically diverse coalition composed of Friends to the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Public Citizen, and The Heartland Institute produced a âEURoeGreen ScissorsâEUR budget to cut âEURoemore than $380 billion in wasteful government subsidies that are damaging to the environment and harming taxpayers.âEUR[69] Their proposed cuts are far-ranging, and include eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear power, and agriculture, to reforming the 1872 Mining Law to extract royalties from mining on federally owned land. One need not agree with the entire Green Scissors budget to see that there is an abundance of harmful spending that can be cut to pay for renewable energy. Going solar and being a fiscal conservative are not mutually exclusive.

Promote Energy Innovation with Government Investment

While grid parity is certainly attainable, the technology for widespread adoption of solar is not currently available. Unfortunately, private research and development efforts are stymied by a âEURoetechnological valley of death.âEUR Innovative entrepreneurs need capital to demonstrate that their technology can be viable outside of a laboratory. But since these demonstrations are at an early-stage, and thus, quite far from delivering to market, investors are reluctant to fund these projects.  Furthermore, these demonstrations can be very capital intensive and have a long time horizon before they turn a profit, if ever. In addition, innovation and invention in energy is much more stagnant than other industries. As Jesse Jenkins and Sara Mansur from the Breakthrough Institute observe, only 0.3% of domestic energy sales are invested in R&D; the average for all industries is 3.1%.[70]

Many advocates of limited government point to Silicon Valley as a model for private innovation, and thus, see no need for government-financed R&D.  However, there are numerous differences between innovation in the information technology and software industries and the energy industry.  First, IT is less capital intensive and requires less time to produce a product. So there is far more willingness to invest in IT R&D: 15.1% of software sales were invested in research.[71] Second, energy technology is essentially a commodity, thereby competing primarily on cost, as there are few features that can be added that would increase value. This in turn lowers margins for energy technology. For example, price and durability are the two main factors in choosing a solar panel. But software and IT can compete not only on price, but on quality, memory, brand, speed, accessibility, which all add value to their base products.  Finally, due to the recession, venture capitalists are transferring their funding of energy innovation into projects with shorter time horizons and more stable, predictable yields.  According to Ernst and Young, venture capital investment in American clean energy dropped by 55% in third quarter of 2010.[72] The valley of death is becoming all too real for renewable energy innovation.

To avert this moribund fate, Jenkins and Mansur recommend continuing or increasing funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Established in 2007, but first funded in 2009, ARPA-E is modeled after the Department of DefenseâEUR(TM)s DARPA technology incubator. As such, ARPA-E funds high-risk, high-reward research, both fundamental and applied. Currently, ARPA-E finances over 180 different projects, including biofuels, solar, smart grid, clean coal, energy efficiency, and battery storage.[73] Indeed, Arun Majumdar, the current head of ARPA-E(and was recently nominated to become Undersecretary at the Department of Energy), argues that ARPA-EâEUR(TM)s mission âEURoeis to identify the competition and create the opportunities. And eventually, the market will create the winners.âEUR[74]

This âEURoeall-of-the-aboveâEUR approach towards energy innovation has also garnered bipartisan approval. For example, Steven Hayward of the conservative American Enterprise Institute supports ARPA-EâEUR(TM)s efforts. Writing in The Weekly Standard, Hayward praises ARPA-E for âEURoeexpanding our base of technical knowledge, leading to new and better options in the future.âEUR[75] He also notes that ARPA-E has a less bureaucratic structure (and exempt from Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirementsâEUR"a perennial stickler for conservatives), which allows ARPA-E âEURoeto be nimble in ways that are exceedingly rare in the federal government.âEUR[76] Finally, it is very cost-effective: in its first year of operation, its total budget was $400 million, with many projects receiving just $2-10 million per project.[77] In fact, $40 million spent on 11 projects attracted more than $200 million in private investment, a 5:1 ratio of private to public financing.[78]

In a similar vein, the Department of Energy has launched the SunShot Initiative to ultimately âEURoereduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems by 75%.âEUR[79] Echoing President KennedyâEUR(TM)s âEURoemoon shotâEUR program which successfully put a man on the moon, SunShot aims for grid parity by 2020, and for solar electricity to generate 15-18% of the nationâEUR(TM)s generation by 2030.[80] SunShot has three components: reducing the cost for solar technology, reducing cost for grid integration, and accelerating solar deployment (e.g. permitting reform and lowering other soft costs). In total, SunShot has awarded over $145 million for more than 70 different projects.[81] Since 2007, SunShot has funded an incubator program to research high-risk, high-reward technologies. This incubator has invested $60 million in 34 American firms, but has leveraged more than $1.2 billion in private equity and venture capital.[82] But without SunShotâEUR(TM)s incubator, these technologies would not have been brought to market. By maintaining funding in R&D, ARPA-E and SunShot increase the chances of technological breakthroughs that can transform the energy market.

Conclusion

As a clean, widely available energy source, solar has the power to greatly transform the energy industry. If Demi MooreâEUR(TM)s Law holds, solar can attain grid parity, without subsidies, by 2020. To accelerate the drive towards grid parity, policy-makers have a wide range of reforms to implement:

  • Protect solar property rights from zoning boards and HOAs and reduce the hassle factor in switching to solar.
  • Recognize solar access as a property right. 
  • Reform and liberalize the onerous permitting process so that consumers and companies like Verengo Solar Plus, SunRun, SolarCity, and many others can prosper.
  • Provide tax relief and incentivize private investment by extending the Section 1603 Treasury grants and maintaining the investment tax credit.  The ITC is slated to expire in 2016âEUR"by then, the economic prospects for solar should be brighter and thus hopefully, the need for this type of federal policy support will have diminished.
  • Overcome the âEURoetechnological valley of deathâEUR by increasing funding to cutting-edge innovation programs like ARPA-E and SunShot.This would help finance and foster new technologies that can increase solarâEUR(TM)s efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

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Waugh, Rob. âEURoeSolar Plant First to Generate Energy at Night,âEUR Daily Mail. October 6, 2011. Accessed: October 6, 2011. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2045926/Solar-plant-generate-energy-night--glowing-lightbulb-tower-thats-hot-melt-salt.html

Wesoff, Eric. âEURoeHas Vermont Solved the Solar Permitting Problem?âEUR Greentech Media. May 31, 2011. Accessed: October 27, 2011. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/has-vermont-solved-the-solar-permitting-problem/

Woody, Todd. âEURoeBillion-Dollar Rooftop Solar Project Moves Forward Without Loan Guarantee,âEUR Forbes. November 30, 2011. Accessed: December 1, 2011. http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2011/11/30/billion-dollar-rooftop-solar-project-moves-forward-without-loan-guarantee/

Zeller, Tom. âEURoeSolar Firms Frustrated by Permits,âEUR The New York Times. January 19, 2011. Accessed: October 27, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/business/energy-environment/20permit.html?pagewanted=all

Zucker, Scott. âEURoeUnderstanding Solar Easements,âEUR Solar Today. February 9, 2010. Accessed: November 10, 2011. http://www.ases.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=928&Itemid=23

âEURoeAbout SunShot,âEUR SunShot Initiative, Department of Energy. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/about.html

âEURoeAdvanced Solar Technology Award Selections for the SunShot Initiative,âEUR SunShot Initiative, Department of Energy. Accessed: November 29, 2011.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/sunshot_awards_bycategory_2011_09_01.pdf

âEURoeAverage Retail Price of Electricity to Ultimate Consumers by End-Use Sector, by State,âEUR November 23, 2010. U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Accessed: November 7, 2011.  http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat7p4.html

âEURoeBackgrounder: Success of the Section 1603 Treasury Program,âEUR Solar Energy Industries Association. October 13, 2011. Accessed: November 22, 2011. p2. http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/factsheet_Backgrounder_Success_of_the_1603_Treasury_Program.pdf

âEURoeDirect Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2010,âEUR p.15. U.S. Energy Information Administration. July 2011. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

âEURoeGreen Scissors: Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending,âEUR 2011. Accessed: December 1, 2011. http://greenscissors.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Green_Scissors_2011.pdf

âEURoeProject: Permit,âEUR Vote Solar Initiative. Accessed: October 20, 2011. http://votesolar.org/city-initiatives/project-permit/

âEURoeRegulatory Regimes for Solar Power,âEUR Norton Rose Global. July 2008. Accessed: October 27, 2011. http://www.nortonrose.com/knowledge/publications/15987/regulatory-regimes-for-solar-power

âEURoeRooftop Solar Challenge Webinar: Financing Options, Planning and Zoning,âEUR p.27. U.S. Department of Energy. July 20, 2011. Accessed: October 20, 2011. http://www.eere.energy.gov/solarchallenge/pdfs/solar_challenge_webinar_finance_planning_zoning_20110720.pdf

âEURoeSolar Incubator Program,âEUR SunShot Initiative, Department of Energy. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/incubator.html

âEURoeSolar Photovoltaics Gaining Momentum and Poised to Challenge Fossil Fuels, Say IEEE Solar Experts,âEUR Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. June 15, 2011. Accessed: November 10, 2011. http://www.ieee.org/about/news/2011/15june_2011.html

âEURoeSolar Policies: 1603 Treasury Program,âEUR Solar Energy Industries Association. November 2011. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www.seia.org/cs/solar_policies/1603_treasury_program

âEURoeState Solar Access Laws,âEUR DSIRE Solar. October 2011. Accessed: November 17, 2011. http://dsireusa.org/userfiles/image/summarymaps/solaraccessmap.gif

âEURoeThe Case for the Solar Investment Tax Credit,âEUR Solar Energy Industries Association. October 14, 2011. Accessed: November 22, 2011. http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/The_Case_for_the_Solar_Investment_Tax_Credit.pdf

âEURoeThe Impact of Local Permitting on the Cost of Solar Power,âEUR SunRun. January 2011. Accessed: October 13, 2011. http://www.sunrunhome.com/uploads/media_items/solar-report-on-cost-of-solar-local-permitting.original.pdf

âEURoeThe True Cost of Solar Power: Race to $1/W.âEUR Photon Consulting. Accessed: November 7, 2011. http://www.photonconsulting.com/the_true_cost_of_solar_power_race_to_1w.php

âEURoeU.S. Solar Industry Achieved Record Cost Reductions in 2010 According to DOE Report,âEUR Business Wire. September 15, 2011. Accessed: November 7, 2011. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110915006916/en/U.S.-Solar-Industry-Achieved-Record-Cost-Reductions


[1] Burnett, H. Sterling. âEURoeSolar Power Prospects,âEUR p.4. National Center for Policy Analysis. May 2011. Accessed: October 6, 2011. http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/st334.pdf

[2] Ibid, p.4.

[3] Lacey, Stephen. âEURoeSolar is the âEUR~Fastest Growing Industry in AmericaâEUR(TM) and Made Record Cost Reductions in 2010,âEUR Climate Progress. September 16, 2010. Accessed: November 17, 2011. http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/16/321131/solar-fastest-growing-industry-in-america-and-made-record-cost-reductions/

[4] Lovins, Amory. Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era, Chapter 5. September 2011. White River Junction, Vermont, Chelsea Green Publishing.

[5] Burnett, âEURoeSolar Power Prospects,âEUR p.3.

[6] Naam, Ramez. âEURoeSmaller, Cheaper, Faster: Does MooreâEUR(TM)s Law Apply to Solar Cells?âEUR March 16, 2011. Accessed: November 7, 2011. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/03/16/smaller-cheaper-faster-does-moores-law-apply-to-solar-cells/

[7] Waugh, Rob. âEURoeSolar Plant First to Generate Energy at Night,âEUR Daily Mail. October 6, 2011. Accessed: October 6, 2011. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2045926/Solar-plant-generate-energy-night--glowing-lightbulb-tower-thats-hot-melt-salt.html

[8] âEURoeThe True Cost of Solar Power: Race to $1/W.âEUR Photon Consulting. Accessed: November 7, 2011. http://www.photonconsulting.com/the_true_cost_of_solar_power_race_to_1w.php

[9] âEURoeAverage Retail Price of Electricity to Ultimate Consumers by End-Use Sector, by State,âEUR November 23, 2010. U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Accessed: November 7, 2011.  http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epat7p4.html

[10] Campbell, Carolyn, âEURoeU.S. Has an Average Solar System Price of $5.20/W,âEUR Greentech Media. October 17, 2011. November 3, 2011. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/average-system-price-of-5.20-w/

[11] âEURoeU.S. Solar Industry Achieved Record Cost Reductions in 2010 According to DOE Report,âEUR Business Wire. September 15, 2011. Accessed: November 7, 2011. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110915006916/en/U.S.-Solar-Industry-Achieved-Record-Cost-Reductions

[12] Ibid.

[13] Naam, âEURoeSmaller, Cheaper, Faster: Does MooreâEUR(TM)s Law Apply to Solar Cells?âEUR

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] âEURoeSolar Photovoltaics Gaining Momentum and Poised to Challenge Fossil Fuels, Say IEEE Solar Experts,âEUR Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. June 15, 2011. Accessed: November 10, 2011. http://www.ieee.org/about/news/2011/15june_2011.html

[21] Kanellos, Michael. âEURoeMixed Greens: Demi MooreâEUR(TM)s Law, Poland Goes Nuclear, Softbank Goes Solar,âEUR Greentech Media. July 27, 2011. Accessed: November 10, 2011. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/mixed-greens-demi-moores-law-poland-goes-nuclear-softbank-goes-solar/

[22] Kann, Shayle. âEURoeDoes Grid Parity Matter?âEUR Greentech Media. June 22, 2011. Accessed: November 10, 2011. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/does-grid-parity-matter/

[23] Ibid.

[24] Burnett, âEURoeSolar Power Prospects,âEUR p.2.

[25] Cubby, Ben, Brian Robbins and Melissa Lahoud. âEURoeSolar Energy Costs Hits Par with Coal Fuel,âEUR Sydney Morning Herald. August 18, 2011. Accessed: October 20, 2011. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/solar-energy-cost-hits-par-with-coal-fuel-20110817-1iybc.html?from=smh_sb

[26] âEURoeRooftop Solar Challenge Webinar: Financing Options, Planning and Zoning,âEUR p.27. U.S. Department of Energy. July 20, 2011. Accessed: October 20, 2011. http://www.eere.energy.gov/solarchallenge/pdfs/solar_challenge_webinar_finance_planning_zoning_20110720.pdf

[27] Galbraith, Kate. âEURoeHomeowners Associations: The Enemy of Solar?âEUR The New York Times Green Blog. May 15, 2009. Accessed: November 2, 2011. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/homeowners-associationsthe-enemy-of-solar/

[28] Pitt, Damian. âEURoeTaking the Red Tape Out of Green Power: How to Overcome Permitting Obstacles to Small-Scale Distributed Renewable Energy,âEUR p.7.  Network for New Energy Choices. September 2008. Accessed: October 27, 2011. http://www.newenergychoices.org/uploads/redTape-rep.pdf

[29] Fischler, Marcelle. âEURoeWhen Solar Power is Short on Charm,âEUR The New York Times. November 25, 2007. Accessed: November 2, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/25peopleli.html

[30] Barringer, Felicity. âEURoeStudy Finds Solar Panels Increase Home Values,âEUR The New York Times Green Blog. April 21, 2011. Accessed: November 2, 2011. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/study-finds-solar-panels-increase-home-values/

[31] âEURoeIncentives/Policies for Solar,âEUR DSIRESolar: Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.âEUR

[32] Zucker, Scott. âEURoeUnderstanding Solar Easements,âEUR Solar Today. February 9, 2010. Accessed: November 10, 2011. http://www.ases.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=928&Itemid=23

[33] âEURoeState Solar Access Laws,âEUR DSIRE Solar. October 2011. Accessed: November 17, 2011. http://dsireusa.org/userfiles/image/summarymaps/solaraccessmap.gif

[34] Bradbrook, Adrian. âEURoeThe Role of the Common Law in Promoting Sustainable Energy Development in the Property Sector,âEUR Property and the Law in Energy and Natural Resources, p.398. Oxford University Press. New York, 2010. Accessed: November 17, 2011.

http://books.google.com/books?id=gN7Yj9JMbTIC&pg=PA398&lpg=PA398&dq=nuisance+laws+solar&source=bl&ots=rMKmgLdiEK&sig=W-2ea6uyfav4dGG8ObgLiWL9OFQ&hl=en&ei=3Ea8Tv2wLZSFtgeH5eTMBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=nuisance%20laws%20solar&f=false

[35] âEURoeThe Impact of Local Permitting on the Cost of Solar Power,âEUR SunRun. January 2011. Accessed: October 13, 2011. p.11. http://www.sunrunhome.com/uploads/media_items/solar-report-on-cost-of-solar-local-permitting.original.pdf

[36] Ibid., p.11.

[37] Ibid., p.6.

[38] Ibid., p.7.

[39] Ibid., p.5.

[40] Ibid., p.5.

[41] Zeller, Tom. âEURoeSolar Firms Frustrated by Permits,âEUR The New York Times. January 19, 2011. Accessed: October 27, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/business/energy-environment/20permit.html?pagewanted=all

[42] Ibid.

[43] âEURoeThe Impact of Local Permitting,âEUR p.5.

[44] Ibid., p.21.

[45] Wesoff, Eric. âEURoeHas Vermont Solved the Solar Permitting Problem?âEUR Greentech Media. May 31, 2011. Accessed: October 27, 2011. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/has-vermont-solved-the-solar-permitting-problem/

[46] âEURoeRegulatory Regimes for Solar Power,âEUR Norton Rose Global. July 2008. Accessed: October 27, 2011. http://www.nortonrose.com/knowledge/publications/15987/regulatory-regimes-for-solar-power

[47] âEURoeThe Impact of Local Permitting,âEUR p.3.

[48] Wesoff, âEURoeHas Vermont Solved the Solar Permitting Problem?âEUR

[49] Ibid.

[50] âEURoeProject: Permit,âEUR Vote Solar Initiative. Accessed: October 20, 2011. http://votesolar.org/city-initiatives/project-permit/

[51] âEURoeThe Impact of Local Permitting,âEUR p.5.

[52] âEURoeThe Case for the Solar Investment Tax Credit,âEUR Solar Energy Industries Association. October 14, 2011. Accessed: November 22, 2011. p1. http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/The_Case_for_the_Solar_Investment_Tax_Credit.pdf

[53] Ibid, p.1.

[54] Ibid, p.1.

[55] Ibid, p.1.

[56] âEURoeDirect Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2010,âEUR p.15. U.S. Energy Information Administration. July 2011. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

[57] Ibid, p.xiii.

[58] âEURoeBackgrounder: Success of the Section 1603 Treasury Program,âEUR Solar Energy Industries Association. October 13, 2011. Accessed: November 22, 2011. p2. http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/factsheet_Backgrounder_Success_of_the_1603_Treasury_Program.pdf

[59] Ibid, p.2.

[60] âEURoeSolar Policies: 1603 Treasury Program,âEUR Solar Energy Industries Association. November 2011. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www.seia.org/cs/solar_policies/1603_treasury_program

[61] Shogren, Elizabeth. âEURoeBig Solar Project Moves Forward Without Uncle Sam,âEUR NPR. November 30, 2011. Accessed: December 1, 2011. http://www.npr.org/2011/11/30/142935396/big-solar-project-moves-forward-without-uncle-sam

[62] Ibid.

[63] Woody, Todd. âEURoeBillion-Dollar Rooftop Solar Project Moves Forward Without Loan Guarantee,âEUR Forbes. November 30, 2011. Accessed: December 1, 2011. http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2011/11/30/billion-dollar-rooftop-solar-project-moves-forward-without-loan-guarantee/

[64] âEURoeBackgrounder: Success of the Section 1603 Treasury Program,âEUR p.3.

[65] Woody, âEURoeBillion-Dollar Rooftop Solar Project.âEUR

[66] âEURoeDirect Federal Financial Interventions,âEUR p.xiii. 

[67] Ibid., p.15. 

[68] Simon, Richard. âEURoeFighting the National Debt, Out of Their Own Pockets,âEUR Los Angeles Times. November 26, 2011. Accessed: December 1, 2011. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/26/nation/la-na-debt-donors-20111127

[69] âEURoeGreen Scissors: Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending,âEUR 2011. Accessed: December 1, 2011. p.4. http://greenscissors.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Green_Scissors_2011.pdf

[70] Jenkins, Jesse and Sara Mansur. âEURoeBridging the Clean Energy Valleys of Death: Helping American Entrepreneurs Meet the NationâEUR(TM)s Energy Innovation Imperative,âEUR p.9. The Breakthrough Institute. November 2011. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/2011/11/bridging_the_clean_energy_vall.shtml

[71] Ibid., p.9. 

[72] Ibid., p.10. 

[73] Ibid., p.10. 

[74] Ibid., p.11. 

[75] Hayward, Steven. âEURoePresident Solyndra and his Mean, Green, Wealth-Wasting Machine,âEUR p.3. The Weekly Standard. October 3, 2011. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/president-solyndra_594151.html?page=3

[76] Ibid., p.3. 

[77] Jenkins and Mansur, p.11.

[78] Ibid., p.11. 

[79] âEURoeAbout SunShot,âEUR SunShot Initiative, Department of Energy. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/about.html

[80] Ibid.

[81] âEURoeAdvanced Solar Technology Award Selections for the SunShot Initiative,âEUR SunShot Initiative, Department of Energy. Accessed: November 29, 2011.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/sunshot_awards_bycategory_2011_09_01.pdf

[82] âEURoeSolar Incubator Program,âEUR SunShot Initiative, Department of Energy. Accessed: November 29, 2011. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/incubator.html

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