In Arizona, election could be major turning point for solar

SOLAR: With three open seats on the state’s utility commission, this year’s election could have a major impact on solar development in Arizona. (Capitol Media Services)

• The political committee behind a controversial solar amendment in Florida has deleted online references linking it to an executive who was exposed for saying the amendment is designed to deceive the public. (Miami Herald)
• Regulatory hurdles and resistance by a major utility are creating roadblocks for community solar projects in Detroit. (Midwest Energy News)

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DOE: Utility-scale solar capacity has nearly tripled since 2014

SOLAR: Utility-scale solar power capacity has nearly tripled in under three years, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Energy. (Climate Central)

• A California company is planing a $10 million solar and energy storage project on the Hawaiian island of Maui. (Pacific Business News)
• Experts say complex state regulations are hindering the growth of community solar. (Utility Dive)
• Maine’s net metering fight echoes similar disputes in Arizona and Nevada. (Utility Dive)
• Target produces more solar power at its facilities than any other U.S. company, followed by Walmart, according to a new report.

Power companies sue to block subsidies for New York nuclear plants

NUCLEAR: Owners of gas and coal-fired power plants are suing New York energy regulators for subsidizing the state’s aging nuclear plants, saying the move will illegally burden ratepayers with nearly $8 billion in price hikes. (Associated Press)

ALSO: After 43 years of construction, the TVA says its $4.7 billion Watts Bar 2 reactor in Tennessee has entered full commercial operations. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

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Why it’s ‘a very weird time’ for the U.S. solar industry

SOLAR: Residential solar firms are operating under “the wrong business model,” according to finance executives. (PV-Tech)

• An audio recording reveals utilities’ strategy behind Florida’s Amendment 1 is “political jiu-jitsu” to undermine solar. (Miami Herald)
• As farmers become more interested in leasing their fields for solar installations, Maryland’s Baltimore County calls for a four-month halt on the practice while it considers new rules. (Baltimore Sun)
• After a Texas company’s recent announcement that it’s closing its solar cell production facilities, there are only 12 remaining solar cell manufacturers left in the U.S., and only two are capable of commercial-scale production. (San Antonio Business Journal)
• SolarCity is partnering with the home-renting service Airbnb to give $1,000 cash back to hosts who install solar panels on their rentals in 19 states.

Report: Coal will continue to decline in Texas

• Coal-fired power plants are unlikely to make a comeback in Texas, primarily due to cheap natural gas and low-cost renewables, according to a recent report. (Greentech Media)
• Texas’s largest power generator will close a coal mine and lay off 132 workers before the end of the year. (FuelFix)
• A clean energy group creates a map of coal ash sites across the Southeast, which includes industry responses to EPA deadlines on coal ash rules. (Southeast Energy News)

REGULATION: A federal judge sides with coal giant Murray Energy, saying the EPA has failed to properly estimate job losses caused by its regulations of the fossil fuel industry. (The Hill)

***SPONSORED LINK: End your year on a strong note at Solar Power PV Conference & Expo-Chicago.

U.S. government makes a record-breaking solar buy

SOLAR: A 150-megawatt solar array in Arizona will generate roughly one-third of the electricity needed for 14 naval installations in California, amounting to the largest procurement of renewable energy by the federal government. (Washington Post)

• A Wal-Mart executive says the company is formulating an energy storage strategy as it heads towards a goal of 100 percent renewable power. (Greentech Media)
• How NRG Energy is developing community solar projects in states with vastly different rules and markets. (Greentech Media)
• Sharing smart meter data with third party energy service providers is an onerous process in Texas, which has 7 million smart meters but less than 1,800 data-sharing agreements, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• A company installs a 150-square-foot solar sidewalk in a plaza in Idaho.

Judge allows ExxonMobil to examine Massachusetts AG records in climate investigation

CLIMATE: A federal judge issues a discovery order allowing ExxonMobil to conduct an intrusive examination of the Massachusetts attorney general’s investigation into whether Exxon concealed information about climate change. (Washington Post)

• A Houston-based company is one step closer to getting federal approval to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal in South Texas, but the project has raised pollution and safety concerns. (San Antonio Business Journal)
• The Bureau of Land Management will hold its first online auction of federally owned oil and gas leases in Colorado this December, a move that’s expected to save money and deter protests by environmental groups. (Denver Business Journal)
• Oil production in North Dakota drops below 1 million barrels per day for the first time since April 2014. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: End your year on a strong note at Solar Power PV Conference & Expo-Chicago.

Two tribes take different approach to oil and gas development

OIL AND GAS: While the Standing Rock Sioux have been strong opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline project crossing their land, a Colorado tribe has promoted oil and gas drilling to expand financial opportunities for members. (Bloomberg)

WIND: The developer behind a proposed 82.8-megawatt wind project in Vermont offers to pay local voters $14.1 million over 25 years in exchange for their support. (New York Times)

***SPONSORED LINK: End your year on a strong note at Solar Power PV Conference & Expo-Chicago. Join hundreds of solar professionals and 40+ exhibitors for two days of cutting-edge education and networking. Register today!

Report: Texas to add 4 GW of commercial solar by 2020

SOLAR: A new report predicts that Texas developers will build about 4 gigawatts of commercial-scale solar panel capacity by the end of the decade, threatening coal- and natural gas-fired power producers during peak daylight hours. (Bloomberg)

• Leases and power purchase agreements offer solar consumers significantly lower savings than loans, which allow consumers to access up to 80 percent of their system’s financial benefits. (Greentech Media)
• Over 70 percent of U.S. ground-mount projects are being installed with solar trackers, and global tracker installations are expected to reach 37.7 gigawatts by 2021, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• A solar developer wants to build Maine’s largest solar farm at a former Air Force base, but regulatory hurdles still lie ahead for the company. (Associated Press)
• An Arizona judge recommends changes in the state’s value of solar docket that would forecast costs every five years, rather than every 20 to 30 years, while solar advocates say it could hurt rooftop solar users.

Elon Musk, Bob Murray spar over climate denial

CLIMATE: Tesla and SolarCity co-founder Elon Musk criticizes the CEO of Murray Energy for his denial of climate science after the coal baron called his automotive company “a fraud.” (Huffington Post)

• Solar permits issued on the Hawaiian island of Oahu are down 40 percent compared to last year, according to a new report. (Pacific Business News)
• The Republican chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission fought to make solar part of the state’s energy mix and says it’s not a partisan issue. (Yale Climate Connections)
• A Georgia solar industry group says Georgia Power has failed to meet a requirement to have 100 MW of solar power under contract by the end of the year, but the utility has denied the allegations. (Utility Dive)
• The Missouri Public Service Commission approves a major utility’s proposal to build a 500-kilowatt community solar array, giving residential and small-business customers the option of buying up to half of their energy from the project.