When the California’s legislature reconvenes in early 2013, solar advocates may see a familiar item on the agenda. Earlier this month, State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, introduced S.B.43, which would establish a framework for community solar projects.

As solar professionals from California and beyond may remember, Wolk’s previous community solar bill, S.B.843, failed at the last minute in September – despite extensive lobbying efforts from the solar sector, local governments and supporting organizations.  Read more…

WASHINGTON D.C. — While public support for climate change aid is growing, U.S. negotiators once again offered no binding agreements on emissions reductions at the most recent United Nations climate talks – a stance that is becoming all too familiar to nations that see U.S. participation as crucial. Meanwhile a divided Congress has held off regulating carbon emissions, and some experts doubt that the nation will mandate protection of the climate via legislative act in the foreseeable future. Given hesitancy at the top, it was an act of leadership when California introduced Assembly Bill 32, the mandate to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state to 1990 levels by 2020. Read more…

From 1934 to 1963, the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was the preeminent prison of the United States. Indeed, it was declared inescapable. Surrounded by the cold, rapid waters of the San Francisco Bay, a mile from the coast and outfitted with advanced security systems, officials believed that inmates would never escape its concrete walls — at least not alive.

Five inmates, however, did escape. Their whereabouts remain unknown, and officially they are presumed drowned. But a tourist, as he crosses the bay on a ferry from Fisherman’s Wharf, might consider an alternate ending. He looks up at the prison and down at the bay. He considers the water temperature and the distance to the coast. He thinks he could make it.

Read more here…

What is GRID Alternatives?

GRID Alternatives believes that economic and environmental sustainability must go hand-in-hand, particularly in California’s low-income communities that have been hit hardest by unemployment, recession, and pollution. Their flagship Solar Affordable Housing Program trains and leads teams of job trainees and other community members to install solar electric systems for low-income families throughout California. Read more here…

Despite the negative political attention surrounding solar energy investment, U.S. consumers still favor solar power more than any other energy topic, according to the results of a new survey.

The survey, conducted by Pike Research, gauges U.S. consumers’ level of support for a variety of energy topics, including solar and wind power, the overall smart grid, and smart meters. For the study, the company polled more than 1,000 adults during the third quarter of this year.  Read more…

Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings agreed to buy two adjacent solar projects in California that are set to be the world’s largest photovoltaic development and begin operation by 2016. Warren Buffett’s utility is paying panelmaker SunPower $2 billion to $2.5 billion for the 579-megawatt Antelope Valley projects. The price includes construction, maintenance, and operation.  Buffett has been increasing investment in wind and solar energy.  –Source, Bloomberg Businessweek, January 7 – January 13, 2013.