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FORBES BUSINESS: Which Is Cheaper — Rooftop Solar Or Utility-Scale Solar?

The Brattle Group, with support from the Edison Electric Institute, just released a study concluding that utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States are more cost effective than residential-scale (rooftop) PV systems in achieving the economic and policy benefits we all expect to come from the widespread use of solar energy.

But it may not be that simple and depends on what goal you have as a user.

The study was commissioned by First Solar, one of the largest solar companies in America. Titled Comparative Generation Costs of Utility-Scale and Residential-Scale PV in Xcel Energy Colorado’s Service Area, this study is the first to focus on a “solar to solar comparison of equal amounts of residential-scale and utility-scale PV solar deployed on an operating utility system.”

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TECH CRUNCH: Oolu Is Bringing Solar Energy To West Africa’s Off-Grid Population

In rural West Africa, 150 million people are currently living without electricity. Oolu, a Y Combinator company launching today, aims to reduce this number by delivering affordable solar energy to West Africa’s off-grid population, beginning in Senegal. Despite the surge of innovation in solar storage and panel technology, Oolu founder Daniel Rosa says that many people living in rural areas of West Africa still walk miles to the nearest city to charge their cellphones and purchase kerosene for lanterns.

According to Rosa, the average rural family spends around $20 per month on energy-related costs. Considering that Senegal’s GDP per capita was just over $1,000 in 2012, this is a huge expense for many families. Oolu’s in-home solar system is composed of three adjustable lights and two USB plugs, powered by a battery that holds a charge for up to six hours with maximum output.

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THE GUARDIAN: Is Hillary Clinton’s ambitious solar energy goal for the US workable?

On Sunday, Hillary Clinton took a first swing at the many-headed carbon hydra. By the end of her first term, she said, the US would have seven times more solar energy capacity than it does today. And by 2027, renewable energy would supply a third of the nation’s electricity.

Clinton’s announcement, which the campaign said would be the first of many on climate change from the presidential hopeful, extends the carbon-saving ambition in a significant sector of the economy. Burning fossil fuels for electricity accounts for 31% of US greenhouse gas emissions. One estimate found Clinton’s 33% renewable target could slice another 4% off the US’s existing pledge to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025.

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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Solar-Power Fight Hits Home in Arizona

Arizona, the epicenter of a nationwide fight between solar companies and utilities, is introducing new rules for firms that offer solar panel leases, which consumers increasingly prefer to buying the rooftop systems outright.

But some solar companies call such rules unnecessary, contending that there have been few complaints. Instead, they say, the regulations are a new effort by traditional utilities to try to stop the spread of residential solar in the state.

Claims about consumer protection are camouflage for opposition to solar power among utilities and some government officials, said Lyndon Rive, chief executive of SolarCity Corp., which has sued the state and a Phoenix-area utility over measures the company says are meant to deter customers from adopting rooftop systems.

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Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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