year in review

The 14 Biggest Solar News Stories We Published in 2014

Somehow, it’s already 2015 — happy new year! While 2015 will no doubt bring even higher highs than 2014 did (and probably a number of slightly disappointing lows, just like last year), the new year is a great time to review past accomplishments.

With that in mind, below are our 14 biggest solar news stories of the year. These are stories that showcase the biggest trends in home solar, interesting new angles on the state of solar in North America and snapshots of the future of solar.

We offer you our thanks for reading in 2014 and can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.

1. US Solar Boom Continues, Developing World Going Solar Even Faster
By Scott Thill
REN21’s influential annual Renewables Global Status Report is mostly positive for the solar sector; unfortunately, the overall globe that REN21 happens to be analyzing just can’t seem to get its renewables house in order.

solar installers2. The Business of Bringing More Women Into Solar
By Rachel Barron
How fallout from atrocious “booth babes” at solar trade shows led to a renewed movement to get more women engaged in the solar industry.

3. Green Mountain Power Shows How Utilities Can Succeed with Home Solar
By Kristine Wong
While investor-owned utilities are fighting the rise of solar, a small handful are embracing distributed generation as the way of the future — and reinvigorating their businesses at the same time.

napa quake4. Napa Solar Panels Stood Up to Biggest Earthquake in 25 Years
By Garrett Hering
When Northern California’s largest earthquake in 25 years rocked Napa County and surrounding areas in the wee hours of an August Sunday morning, it was a real-world seismic resiliency test for thousands of solar arrays populating Napa and its neighboring North San Francisco Bay counties closest to the 6.0-magnitude trembler.

5. What the SVTC’s Solar Scorecard Says About the State of Solar in 2014
By Matthew Wheeland
The fifth annual Solar Scorecard ranks solar firms on their environmental impacts, and finds a big gap between the best companies and the rest.

6. Solar Shingles’ Rise Brings Clean Energy and Aesthetics to Home Solar
By Gary Hilson
Once the domain of early adopters who didn’t mind what their homes looked like, residential solar power is on the verge of becoming more mainstream thanks in part to innovative and aesthetically pleasing solar panels and shingles.

solar fire7. What Risks do Solar Panels Pose for Firefighters?
By Kristine Wong
In the wake of several high-profile fires and policy moves by fire commanders, we offer a look at the real risks — which are vanishingly small — that solar panels pose to firefighters.

8. Mosaic, SunPower and the Coming Wave of Solar Crowdfunding
By Scott Thill
Debt securities may have helped bring down the global economy during the Great Recession, but asset-backed solar bonds and other financial instruments, crowdfunded by enlightened consumers and investors, could prove much more lucrative — and perhaps save us from the worst of climate change.

freeing the grid9. States’ Solar Policies are Still Strong in 2014 Freeing the Grid Report
By Rosalind Jackson
In the latest “Freeing the Grid” report from VoteSolar and IREC, two-thirds of states have good-to-great policies on net metering and solar interconnection.

10. A State-By-State Look at Fossil Fuels’ Uphill Fight Against Home Solar
By Scott Thill
The Energy and Policy Institute takes direct aim at the Koch brothers’ payrolling of the anti-solar movement, showing how to continue fighting back to save solar.

11. How TechWomen Builds a New Generation of International Greentech Leaders
By Rachel Barron
Solar and other clean technologies are playing a bigger part in the latest round of the TechWomen international mentoring program.

connectder12. Can the ConnectDER Make Plug-and-Play Home Solar Possible?
By Kristine Wong
The ConnectDER is a device that enables home solar to get grid-connected in a snap and do away with the wiring, costs and time needed for installation and inspection.

13. California Backs Some West-Facing Solar Panels to Meet Peak Demand
By Garrett Hering
California has added a limited incentive for west-facing solar panels — but it is more about meeting peak demand than getting the most energy from the sun.

14. SolarCity Battery Storage Program Halts After Utilities Block Progress
by Kristine Wong
The battle over solar energy storage in California has been revived again as SolarCity puts its pilot program on hold, citing high fees and drawn-out application processes to connect the battery systems to the grid put in place by investor-owned utilities: PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.


Matthew Wheeland
Author: Matthew Wheeland

Matthew Wheeland is the editor of He has been an environmental journalist for nearly 15 years, covering everything from farming to green chemistry to corporate sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @MattWheeland.

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Posted in: Solar Homes, Solar Policy, Solar Trends

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