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Articles by Adam Browning

Adam Browning is the executive director of Vote Solar.

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  • Mostly promise, some peril

    Every year, approximately 2 million new houses are built in the U.S. Should these homes be built so as to generate their own electricity cleanly and renewably? Or should these homes require new grid and dirty-power plant investments, paid for by all ratepayers?

    Installing solar systems when homes are built makes sense for several reasons:

    • Installation is cheaper when building a new home than retrofitting an old one;
    • the cost can be wrapped into the mortgage -- the best kind of financing;
    • it's easier to integrate into building components -- with the potential for better aesthetics;
    • if solar were incorporated at a large scale, utilities could make the appropriate adjustments to the grid, saving all ratepayers some money.

    Which is why the announcement that the City of Roseville is requiring solar on 10-20% of new housing starts is such good news.

  • China announces Renewable Portfolio Standard

    Everyone needs a China strategy. Even China.

    With a burgeoning population rapidly growing in number and affluence, and a manufacturing sector serving the world as well as driving infrastructure development at home, China's sheer mass demands that it be accounted for in every field. Of special concern are energy and the environment: What will be the impacts of all the new energy resources required?

    That's why China's new commitment to a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard is such good news. Fifteen percent by 2020 may not offset the new carbon emissions produced by its spectacular growth, but it's sure better than the U.S. federal RPS (0% by never). And the investment -- estimated to be U.S. $184 billion -- will help build the economies of scale key to bringing down costs in renewable industries.

    Here's hoping China's investment means the same for renewables as it has for t-shirts, tchotchkes, and damn near everything: What was once expensive now made dirt cheap and plentiful.