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Solar news: June 3rd, 2022

In this week’s news roundup, we discuss two new bills that could help boost the heat pump market and a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) partnership to accelerate utility-scale solar project interconnection.

Pair of bills introduced to support the heat pump market

In early May, Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) each introduced bills into Congress to help drive greater adoption of heat pumps. Heat pumps are a critical component of the clean energy transition; they run on electricity and operate similarly to standard air conditioning systems. However, in addition to cooling your home, they can also heat it and are much more efficient than traditional heating systems.

The first bill, the Installing Clean Efficient Energy Hastens Our Transition (ICEE) HOT Act, would “establish an energy-efficient appliance rebate program to provide rebates for the manufacturing, distribution, and shipment of certain building electrification products,” including heat pumps. The second bill, the Heating Efficiency and Affordability through Tax Relief (HEATR) Act, would “establish a tax credit for manufacturers of high-efficiency heat pumps and heat pump water heaters.” Ultimately, both bills would make heat pumps much more affordable to homeowners or businesses looking to electrify their heating and cooling systems.

DOE partners with i2X to hasten interconnection

The DOE just announced a new partnership with the Interconnection Innovation e-Xchange (i2X) to make the interconnection of utility-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects faster, simpler, and fairer. Easier interconnection of these types of projects is crucial to the decarbonization of the electricity system by 2035, a goal of the Biden-Harris administration. Currently, many projects become delayed due to the complexities surrounding interconnection, resulting in queues of projects waiting for review, study, and approval (these sometimes last years!).

According to the DOE, “The i2X program requires the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders to develop solutions to interconnection challenges.” The partnership is supported by several national laboratories, including the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).


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