Solar Finance Simulator is an online tool that municipalities, universities, hospitals, and businesses can use to forecast the long-term impacts of 4 types of financial investments in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Plugging in their own values, users can simulate and compare financial projections for direct ownership, power purchase agreement (PPA), debt financing, and operating lease. Please direct any questions about the simulator tool to firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Solar Center's Guide to Solar Power Purchase Agreements explains PPAs for businesses, schools, nonprofits, and other organizations. It also provides examples of projects that have been completed using a PPA.
The Energy Aware Planning Guide, developed by the California Energy Commission, presents a menu of strategies and best management practices to help local governments improve energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption through transportation and land use and enhance renewable sources of energy. Each strategy section contains general plan language ideas; implementation ideas; case studies; and resources. It also contains supporting information and references to help local governments organize strategies into an Energy Action Plan and estimate the likely energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction impacts of their strategies.
- Energy Self Assessment, created by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), aids farmers and others in identifying ways to reduce energy consumption or produce renewable energy for various agricultural enterprises. It provides information on equipment and methods that can reduce energy usage as well as the cost savings associated with installing equipment.
- A climate and energy strategy guide for local governments, EPAs Green Power Procurement: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs provides information about energy sources that generate no greenhouse gas emissions. This guide is part of EPA's Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series designed to help policy makers and program staff plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective climate and energy projects that generate environmental, economic, social, and human health benefits.
Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals Project, a collaboration between the US DOE and NREL, provides tools and resources to support the development of an effective and highly skilled workforce in the residential energy upgrade industry. The project defines quality work through a standard work specifications tool, creates accredited training programs and advances professional certification for workers.
- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has launched the Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST), a voluntary, web-based self-evaluation tool enabling state, regional, and local transportation agencies to evaluate the sustainability of their transportation plans, projects, and programs. The tool includes three score cards: systems planning, project development, and operations and maintenance.
The PVWatts Calculator, a new version released by the NREL in September 2014, is a web application that estimates the electricity production of a grid-connected roof or ground-mounted photovoltaic system based on the system’s location, basic design parameters, and system economics. PVWatts calculates estimated values for the system’s annual and monthly electricity production, and for the monetary value of the electricity. The new version more accurately reflects PV performance outputs predicting a 7-9% greater energy output compared to the previous software.
NREL's Renewable Energy Optimization (REopt) early screening tool identifies and prioritizes renewable energy projects at a single site or across a portfolio of sites in multiple cities, states, or countries. Once the REopt analysis is complete, the tool provides a ranked list of renewable energy projects for different potential scenarios and identifies the technology sizes that meet the defined goals at minimum cost, along with the optimal deployment strategies. For more information about REopt, read the fact sheet.
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council's Shared Renewable Energy For Low- to Moderate-Income Consumers: Policy Guidelines and Model Provisions report provides information and tools for policymakers, regulators, utilities, shared renewable energy developers, program administrators, and others to support the adoption and implementation of shared renewables programs specifically designed to provide tangible benefits to low- and moderate-income individuals and households.
Solarize Guidebook: A Community Guide to Collective Purchasing of Residential PV Systems, released May 2012 by the US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, is a resource for project planners and solar advocates who want to power their neighborhoods with solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity. This solar PV volume-purchasing program is designed to lead customers through a process that highlights awareness, education, enrollment, site assessment, decision, and installation. With the guidance of solar professionals, a committee of neighborhood volunteers preselects contractors and puts out information to the community about the limited time offer along with education/information sessions to simplify and demystify the purchase process. Bulk purchasing and installation helps reduce the costs. The guidebook includes case studies, considerations, and a sample timeline to help implement the campaign.
- “Toward a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local Government” provides ideas and descriptions of specific actions that a local government can take to transform itself into a model of sustainable practices. These are practices that can result in cost savings and increased employment, as well as enhance environmental quality and community well-being. The message of this toolkit is simple: local governments can lead by example.
- Clean Edge's 2016 US Clean Tech Leadership Index tracks and ranks the clean-tech activities of all 50 states and the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. – from EV (electric vehicles) and renewables adoption to policy, green building and investment activity. The Index is a tool for regional comparative research, a source for aggregated industry data, and a jumping-off point for deep, data-driven analysis of the U.S. clean-tech market.
- "Energy Strategy for the C-Suite: From Cost Center to Competitive Advantage, An Introduction to the Unified Approach to Energy Transformation", a brief by EnerNOC, PwC, and Winston Eco-Strategies provides the value proposition for businesses to manage energy strategically and a roadmap for building an energy strategy that will take business performance to a new level.
- From Power to Empowerment: Plugging Low Income Communities Into the Clean Energy Economy
This 2017 white paper from Groundswell, a community power nonprofit, details the critical relationship between energy and economic opportunity in the United States, and the case for making renewable energy accessible to low income households, for expanding and supporting energy efficiency programs that align with community solar, and for driving consumer adoption of these programs through place-based community organizations.
- Trends in Photovoltaic Applications, 2016
This report by the International Energy Agency is prepared to assist those responsible for developing the strategies of businesses and public authorities, and to aid the development of medium term plans for electricity utilities and other providers of energy services. It provides guidance to government officials responsible for setting energy policy and preparing national energy plans and, an overview of PV power systems applications, markets and production in the reporting countries and elsewhere at the end of 2015.
- Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report is a comprehensive assessment of advanced energy markets by revenue worldwide and in the US, the Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report found that the advanced energy revenue grew by 8% in 2014 globally or more than 3 times the rate of the global economy. It is a $200 billion market in the US. The report was prepared by Navigant Research for Advanced Energy Economy business Leaders.
- The EPA’s Combined Heat and Power guide was also recently released by their Local Government and Climate and Energy Strategy Series. This guide describes how local governments can utilize combined heat and power to achieve more efficient uses of existing, local energy sources and provides an overview of the benefits, costs, sources of funding, and case studies.
- Going Solar in America: Ranking of Solar's Value to Consumers in America's Largest Cities, a report by NC Clean Energy Technology Center with funding from US DOE’s Sunshot grant, January 2015, analyzes energy in America’s 50 largest cities showing that solar can generate both significant monthly savings and long-term investment value. In 42 of 50 cities, solar costs less for average homeowners than energy from some of America’s largest electric utilities.
- 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows that "the U.S. economy has now grown by 10% since 2007, while primary energy consumption has fallen by 2.4%."
Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies Behind a Booming Energy Sector, by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 2014, details the major drivers of the rapid adoption of solar power and explores the main types of solar available to individuals, businesses, and utilities. It outlines the technical, economic, environmental, and policy aspects of small- and large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and concentrating solar power systems. Accompanyinginfographics detail the falling rooftop solar costs and their increasing affordability.
- Utility-Scale Solar 2014 by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab reveals that the price of solar energy in the US has fallen to a record low of 5 cents per kilowatt hour on average. Some key findings include: installed project cost have fallen by more than 50 percent since 2009; newspaper solar projects generate electricity more efficiently; solar power purchase agreement costs have declined by 70 percent since 2009; and utility-scale is increasingly competitive with a broader market nationwide.
Transforming the Grid from the Distribution System Out: The Potential for Dynamic Distribution Systems to Create a New Energy Marketplace, released July 2014 by the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI), is a report in which WEI researchers propose a new dynamic distribution system that has the responsibility of tracking load fluctuations, firming intermittent renewables and providing a distribution-level marketplace.
Utility-Scale Solar, released by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in September 2014, is a report that provides data analysis of the latest large utility-scale solar projects in the United States. The report aims to identify technological trends and tracks data on installed project costs or prices, operating costs, capacity factors, and power purchase agreement prices.
Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies, 11/17/2013. This US Department of Energy report focuses on four technology revolutions that are here today: onshore wind power, polysilicon photovoltaic modules, LED lighting, and electric vehicles. Since 2008 they have achieved dramatic reductions in cost accompanied by a surge in consumer, industrial and commercial deployment. This analysis explains both the magnitude of and mechanisms behind these nascent revolutions. Each of the sectors examined has also become a major opportunity for America’s clean energy economy.
- Climate Forward: A new Road Map for Wisconsin's Climate and Energy Future, released June 2014 by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, is a report that identifies five “pathways to progress” to reduce Wisconsin’s dependence on fossil fuels and support sustainable energy sources. These solutions focus on energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, improving transportation systems, carbon storage, and developing sustainable business models. The goal of the report is to shine a light on current conditions, barriers to progress, and opportunities—if Wisconsin chooses to engage and lead in the climate arena.
- Renewable Energy Parks Webinar: The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) presented a free webinar in their “Community Renewable Energy Success Stories” program. It provides information on how two cities in Washington and New York integrated multiple renewable energy technologies to create renewable energy parks in their areas.
- Achieving 25x25 Goals for Energy Independent Communities are 2 reports by the Energy Center of Wisconsin prepared for the State Energy Office that analyze and aggregate the results of the Energy Independent communities’ profiles and plans of the 2009 and 2010 pilot programs.
- “Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development” a report by EPA offers low-income, minority, tribal and overburdened communities a range of approaches to shape development that responds to their needs and reflects their values. The report provides a menu of land use and community design strategies that community-based organizations, local and regional decision-makers, developers, and others can use to revitalize their communities. Case studies highlight seven communities that have used these strategies.
- "Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development" a report by EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program identifies dozens of infrastructure financing options for transit-oriented development. The report provides examples of how some communities are using specific tools for individual infrastructure components, as well as strategies for combining and bundling tools to create plans that address construction phasing and market growth over time.
- “Powering the New Energy from the Ground Up,” from nonprofit organization Climate Solutions, profiles a diverse range of cities that are testing and refining local clean energy and energy efficiency strategies. The report describes city-led clean energy economic developments including financial mechanisms, pilot projects, and clean energy marketing.
- “Shares of electricity generation from renewable energy sources up in many states,” a post on the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Today in Energy blog, maps the renewable share of total electricity generation by state with and without hydroelectric generation comparing the statistic in 2001 and 2011.
- Wisconsin Energy Statistics, compiled by the State Energy Office, is a comprehensive source including information on energy consumption and generation, renewable energy, and energy prices and expenditures in a given year. The statistics book is available for calendar years 2006-2010.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists report of May 2013 titled 'How Renewable Electricity Standards Deliver Economic Benefits' details the many economic benefits of Renewable Energy Standards known as Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS). 29 U.S. states, including Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, have each passed an RPS. The renewable energy market in the U.S. has grown significantly as a result, and the economic benefits have been far-reaching.
- EPA’s On-Site Renewable Energy Generation guide describes a variety of approaches that local governments can use to advance climate and energy goals by meeting some or all of their electricity needs through on-site renewable energy generation. As a part of EPA’s Local Government and Climate and Energy Strategy Series, it this guide is designed to be used by municipal energy coordinators, local energy and environmental agency staff, environmental and energy advisors to elected officials, utility staff, and community groups.