Every single year there is a list done by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) that computes the best states in the US that went above and beyond the previous year in combating climate change by moving towards clean energy.
The IREC takes their time to reflect and to pinpoint success stories in rural communities, in cities that are moving towards clean energy.
The clean energy honor roll is placed into several different categories in order for it to make any sense, on which states succeeded in their goals because every case is different and the battle of combating climate change takes several different forms.
The categories are split into four different ones; beginning with the state that has the most growth potential, to the most creative policy solutions, the most surprising, and the state that has the most energy in reserves.
Yes, January is the month of the year where everyone on the internet creates categories of lists so they can look back on either the good or bad of the year before. Some of the lists reported by different online sources have very little importance to the future, like Buzzfeed’s of the “The 24 best Fiction Books of 2017.” The difference between Buzzfeed’s list and the IREC’s list, is that this one is important to know so we can find ways to move forward in the arena that is the solar industry, (that was no disrespect towards BuzzFeed. They know most of their stuff isn’t too important, it’s just entertainment).
Minnesota has the Most Growing Potential:
In 2014 the excitement for Minnesota’s Solar potential began with the Minnesota based utility, Xcel, when they launched their new Community Solar Gardens program in 2014.
The excitement fell once the program began to face problems, and not just small problems that can be dealt with easily. The problems were monstrous starting with program design challenges, and the program began to stall due to an interconnection backlog. This ended up leading to hundreds of megawatts of new solar projects that were unbuilt for over a year.
The project lead to uncertainty, and there was a lot of frustration from the people involved in the collaboration.
In 2017, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decided to revise and update the state interconnection project. Even though the project didn’t begin last year it has the foundation to be a game changer the second time around. With the IREC even responding, and stakeholders preparing to tackle the project.
There is also 100 new community solar projects that are currently going in Minnesota, and the market is expected to continue to grow.
Illinois has the Most Creative Policy Solutions:
In 2017 Illinois passed what is known as the landmark legislation known as the Energy Jobs Act. The goal of the bill is to create a strong clean energy company and it is expected to change Illinois for the years to come.
The bill like most is lengthy with several provisions that are hard to read and understand, but three things from the bill stand out to those who are interested in helping the economy.
From the IREC’s report on the bill: “(1) integration of a strong jobs component to ensure the clean energy economy supports a robust, well-trained local workforce; (2) a new “Illinois Solar For All” program which aims to ensure solar policies benefit all citizens of the state, including low-income and environmental justice communities; and (3) a new community solar program, which should expand solar access to residents and businesses that cannot take advantage of on-site solar.”
This is why Illinois has the most creative policy solutions because this bill doesn’t attack business in any way it’s just policy meant to move forward in making energy more accessible.
Utah is the Most Surprising:
There are many reasons why Utah is the most surprising to grow and advance in its solar production, but the important thing to note is that they are improving a lot faster than anyone could imagine before. It shows with the 4,400 solar jobs that have been created in the past two years.
Utah is also ranked sixth in that nation for the solar capacity that it has, and also has surprisingly a lot of growth in Solar roofs despite it still being a problem there like it is around the country.
Maryland won the Most Charged for Storage:
Maryland is the first state for being the most charged for storage, and it’s because they are the only state that’s adopting an energy storage incentive.
Most states are trying to find ways to tackles the problems of having excess energy, especially when it comes to solar, and with the laws prohibiting people from selling their excess energy, because of solar, that has become a problem. So why would someone want to do anything with their excess energy, if it’s only going to lead to problems with the law?
Maryland decided to solve this problem through tax incentives by becoming the first to offer a tax credit for energy storage systems.
The state’s Power Plant Research Project is working on a study to find out what market incentives and laws are necessary to help increase the stored energy.
Hopefully, this trend towards clean energy in the US continues, and congrats to the honor roll winners in 2017!
Don’t give up!