The past year has seen four major national solar brands surrender. Sungevity and SunEdison declared bankruptcy, NRG scaled back to focus exclusively on commercial and utility scale solar, and SolarCity was brought under the Tesla umbrella. 

The retreat of these national players coincides with record growth and all-time highs across all sectors of the solar industry. Despite investor jitters and doomsday headlines, consumer demand for solar is increasing at an astonishing pace.

The problem plaguing the market is not demand, but how demand is being met.

Many articles have analyzed the cause of the current turmoil and what it means for the

Microgrid Expansion Could Lock In Carbon Emissions Without Policy Safeguards

The decentralization of the grid could lead to a future where localized microgrids power much of the country with clean energy.

Microgrids, though, are not synonymous with clean power. Many of them rely on fossil fuels like diesel generators or natural-gas-powered fuel cells and microturbines. Currently, those technologies tend to cost less and offer greater dispatchability than solar and batteries.

If the young markets for localized generation via microgrids are left to their own devices, we can expect a largely gas-driven microgrid future, University of California at San Diego researchers found in a new study published in the journal Energy Policy.

In many

Record solar demand in China has shifted the outlook on global PV installations for 2017, according to the latest Global Solar Demand Monitor from GTM Research.

Chinese demand exceeded 34 gigawatts last year, pushing global installed solar capacity just over 78 gigawatts. That’s up from the 51 gigawatts of solar installed in 2015, and puts cumulative installed capacity beyond 306 gigawatts worldwide.

The performance of China’s solar market exceeded analyst expectations last year. It flipped the global demand story from an expected 7 percent global PV market contraction in 2017 to 9.4 percent growth, with a 5.3 percent compound annual growth rate through 2022. 

2017 could be the year that fuel-cell technology finally breaks out. Here's why that may or may not happen. 

First, the potentially good news.

Plug Power feels like an Amazon

Last week, fuel-cell builder Plug Power announced that Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, had gained the rights to buy up to 23 percent of the firm, in a deal that has Amazon spending $70 million in cash for fuel cells this year and $600 million over the course of the engagement. That's a big deal with the globe's pacesetter in the $20 billion materials-handling market.

Plug Power's system speeds

Utilities and Gov’t Officials Are Working on a ‘Cyber-Ninja Force’ to Guard the Grid From Hackers

RealClearEnergy: 'Cyber-Ninja Force' Being Developed to Protect Energy, Gas Grid

According to the Department of Energy, roughly $250 million has been invested in the past five years to create 35 new tools and technologies to combat cyberattacks on the U.S. grid. Several experts said public-private partnerships such as the Cybersecurity Risk Information Sharing Program (CRISP) have dramatically improved the sharing of real-time threat information. Nearly 80 percent of all U.S. electricity customers get their power from utilities that are part of this group.

Something comparable is being attempted in terms of cyber expertise, with the creation of a mutual-support network known colloquially as the “cyber-ninja force.”

America's energy transition is no longer theoretical.

Wind and solar are increasingly the lowest-cost resources getting connected to the grid, changing the investment calculus for utilities and dominating new capacity builds. Electricity demand nationwide continues to fall, even as millions more square feet of buildings are constructed. And in states across the country, distributed solar is decimating load growth

These trends are adding up. In fact, renewables and efficiency together will cut the equivalent of 2 billion cubic feet of fossil fuel demand per day by 2020.

The chart below comes from Prajit Ghosh, the head of

The proposed legislation is aimed at 'predatory green-energy lenders' who victimize older borrowers

Congress will consider new legislation that tightens disclosure requirements for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans used by a growing number of homeowners to make energy-related improvements to their properties.

PACE loans, often used for upgrades such as solar panels, can be structured so they are repaid through property tax bills. When the property changes hands, the loan obligation goes with it.

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Toyota Invests in Artificial Intelligence for Cheaper Batteries, Electric Cars and Fuel Cells

Carmaker Toyota is pursuing advanced technology in pursuit of electric vehicle battery cost cuts.

The Japanese manufacturer recently announced it would be using artificial intelligence (AI) to help in the design and production of electric cars and fuel cells.

The move follow’s Tesla’s acquisition of Grohmann Engineering last year, which gave Elon Musk’s firm access to automation technology that could cut manufacturing costs.

Toyota’s AI-based approach, being led by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) with offices in Palo Alto, CA, Ann Arbor, MI, and Cambridge, MA, is more focused on primary research.

“In materials problems in general you

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