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Solar Round-up | November 2023

November 28, 2023 Empower Energies

Despite the approaching holidays, November remained a pivotal month for the solar industry. Securing a significant victory in Michigan and launching a crucial program in New Jersey, this holiday season seems a lot brighter for the solar sector.

Michigan Lights Up the Mid-West with Sweeping Reforms and Energy Storage Benchmarks

At the beginning of November, the Michigan House approved a set of sweeping energy reform bills designed to push utilities toward renewable energy. These reforms aim for the state to rely solely on clean energy sources by 2040. Other bills in the sweep include 5120-23, giving the state permitting authority over large-scale renewable energy projects, and Senate Bill 277 to codify an existing state rule allowing farmers to rent their land for solar arrays while staying enrolled in the state’s farmland preservation program.

Alongside these significant reforms, Michigan is also in the process of passing legislation to solidify new energy storage goals. Among the various clean energy benchmarks state lawmakers set in the bill package is a requirement for at least 2,500 megawatts of energy storage plans to be on the books before 2030 arrives.

This landmark legislation makes Michigan the first Midwest state to establish an energy storage standard. Hopefully, Michigan’s historic moves will prompt many other Midwest states to move toward renewable reforms.

New Jersey Opens Applications for its Permanent Community Solar Program

On November 15th, New Jersey opened applications for its permanent Community Solar Program. This new Community Solar Energy Program (CSEP) follows two years of a successful pilot program.

Since the pilot program’s initial proposal in 2018 and launch in 2020, there have been 150 projects totaling 243 megawatts (MW) of capacity. To date, 29 of those projects, totaling 50 MW, have reached commercial operation and provide over 6,000 New Jersey households with the benefits of solar power, including financial savings.

The hope of this new permanent program is to expand the benefits of these programs to more New Jersey homes and buildings. New Jersey still leads the nation in renewable energy programs, adding CSEP to its continuously growing repertoire.

VP Harris Launches the Women in the Sustainable Economy Initiative

In an official statement from the White House, the Wise Program (Women in the Sustainable Economy) launched with over $900 million in commitments. The program aims to bolster women’s economic participation in sectors such as clean energy, fisheries, recycling, forest management, and environmental conservation.

Vice President Kamala Harris continues to show support for women’s economic opportunities in the US. This program advocates not only for a larger role for women in these industries but also to bring a larger and more educated workforce to the climate and sustainability sectors.

It is evident that November 2023 has been a transformative month for the solar industry, showcasing continued momentum toward a clean energy future. The combined efforts at the state and national levels demonstrate a commitment to environmental responsibility, economic inclusivity, and the advancement of renewable technologies. As we approach the holiday season, these achievements provide optimism for a more sustainable future.