The intake for a micro-hydro plant on the South Canal, outside Montrose, Colorado. The Delta Montrose Electric Association has developed such plants on the canal in partnership with local water users, who benefit from the revenue the plants generate.

A Battle Over Bringing Local Renewables To Rural Electric Co-ops

A rural electric co-op in western Colorado has started a high-stakes legal battle over putting more local renewable energy on its grid. The battled has pitted renewable energy advocates against traditional wholesale power providers, and it’s a fight that could help define the future of electricity generation in rural communities nationwide.

On the trading floor of Arizona Public Service, all eyes are trained on the price of energy in California, especially when customer demand is low, but solar panels are producing the most power.

Getting Paid To Soak Up California Solar

The people who run our electricity grids are trying to figure out what to do with solar and wind power that is generated when no one needs it. Take California – there’s enough solar there now to serve more than three million homes. But during the day, especially in the spring, demand is low and generation is high. So, that clean power has to be sent elsewhere. Right now, its going across state lines to Arizona.

The grid control room at the California Independent Systems Operator or CAISO.

With Too Much Solar, California Looks To West For Markets

Solar energy is booming in California—so much so that on some days, there’s too much. California would like to send that extra solar to its neighbors in the West, but other western states aren’t sure they want California’s power.

Nationally, the residential solar company is booming but if Nevada sets a precedent, that could affect more homes like this one in Scottsdale from installing panels.

Solar Wars: Big Utilities Versus Rooftop Power Generation

It may be lights out for the solar industry in Nevada. That state is hemorrhaging jobs after a controversial decision in December to raise rates for customers with rooftop solar panels. The move has jarred the solar industry nationwide, especially in other southwestern states like Arizona.

Holly Copeland in front of the family's house and their newly-installed solar array.

Solar Economics Looking Sunnier, Even In Coal Country

Wyoming’s solar potential is among the best in the nation, but even as residential rooftop solar has boomed recently in places like California, Colorado and New Jersey, it’s barely made any inroads in the state. Economics and politics both play a role, but with the price of photovoltaics continuing to drop, some people are starting to ask whether momentum is building for solar in nation’s largest coal-producing state.