Get ready for solar sharing communities

Are people who don’t own homes being left out of the solar energy revolution? A bill making its way through the Legislature in California will expand the public’s access to solar energy by making it easier for renters and others to buy electricity from clean power.

Electric car charging gets a $120M push in California

A decade-old claim with a predecessor to NRG Energy, Dynegy, over power contracts during the state’s energy crisis, will turn into a $120 million settlement fund to invest in building out an electric car charging network in California.

Tesla Model X launch party photos

Following the sneak preview of Tesla’s third electric car the Model X, an SUV/minivan combo, on Thursday, Tesla threw a party where it officially unveiled the car and invited a thousand or so guests to celebrate the launch. Here’s our pics from the event:

5 hot topics to watch for at Intersolar

Here are our five topics to watch for at one of the largest U.S. solar conferences, Intersolar, in San Francisco this week. Policy — how to survive with more mandates and less money — along with new technology and markets will dominate the discussions.

PHOTOS: A Hot Day for Solar at SunPower’s Factory

It was a union of sorts between federal, state and industry initiatives, culminating in a day that will be remembered in solar power history. DOE Chief Steven Chu, California Governor Jerry Brown and SunPower executives announced a series of key solar projects. Here’s my photos:

Today in Cleantech

California Gov. Jerry Brown made it official — the state’s biggest utilities are going to get a third of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable resources by 2020. Now all they have to do it get to their existing mandate of 20 percent by 2010. As of March, Pacific Gas & Electric had hit 17.7 percent and Southern California Edison had reached 19.4 percent in their clean energy portfolios, though both are projecting they’ll hit 20 percent by the end of the year. Huge projects by the likes of BrightSource Energy and First Solar are set to expand California’s share of solar power over the coming years, but utilities still have a long way to go to get there. Plus, the cost of building solar and wind farms, geothermal power plants and other far-off clean resources can be matched or exceeded by the cost of building new transmission lines to get the power to where it’s needed. Distributed green energy — rooftop solar panels, backyard wind farms, household batteries and other sources of power — could help reduce some of those transmission costs by putting green power close to where it’s consumed. But distributed resources are harder for utilities to manage and control, without smart grid technologies to link them up…

CA Gov. Brown Expected to Sign Bill for 33% Clean Power

On Tuesday afternoon, California Governor Jerry Brown is widely expected to sign a bill into law which says utilities in the state need to produce 33 percent of their electricity from clean sources by the end of 2020.

5 Challenges for California Solar

California has led the country in solar policy and solar rooftop installations, but keeping its lead won’t be easy. The president of California Public Utilities Commission, Michael Peevey, laid out some of the challenges to promote renewable energy generation by homes, businesses, schools and government agencies.