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Solar news: March 20th, 2020

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, solar dominates New York’s latest renewable energy procurement, and Washington takes an important step to address the problem of solar panel recycling.

Solar wins big over wind in latest New York renewable energy procurement

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently took part in its third annual land-based renewables procurement round, selecting 21 projects adding up to 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of capacity that will receive state funding over the next few years. Among the projects are several large-scale solar arrays, culminating in a 270-megawatt (MW) project in western New York that will be paired with 20 megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage.

This marks a change from the historical dominance of wind farms over solar farms in New York. The state has about 2 GW of wind capacity operating now, which is more than any other East Coast state. This year, however, wind projects have fallen down to just 15 percent of total capacity procured, down from over 50 percent back in 2018. Meanwhile, procured solar capacity continues to rise.

Washington State passes bill to create a task force to inform a comprehensive solar recycling program

Both the state House and Senate in Washington just passed bill HB2645, which will set in motion the final steps of developing a comprehensive solar recycling program for the state. Solar equipment generally has a long lifetime of up to 50 years, and as more and more projects reach end-of-life, recycling plans like the one coming in Washington will be essential in keeping the solar industry as sustainable as possible.

“This week, HB 2645 passed with strong bipartisan support in the Washington state House and Senate – and no stakeholder opposition,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “HB 2645 will require the state to create a task force that will thoroughly study solar end-of-life issues and use this information to suggest revisions to the state’s existing program to ensure its long-term success.” He added: “This task force will feature a comprehensive set of stakeholders, including industry representatives, to make sure the recommendations remain relevant and reasonable for solar businesses and customers in Washington.”


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