On March 14th and 15th, the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association held the BuildingEnergy Boston Conference. Among the attendees were building professionals, educators, homeowners, students, and energy & environment professionals. One of the presentations given at BuildingEnergy Boston was titled Solar Access for the Underserved. Three different speakers addressed the problem of accessibility of solar, and provided specific solutions to this problem.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers estimate that installing floating solar photovoltaics on the more than 24,000 man-made U.S. reservoirs could generate about 10 percent of the nation’s annual electricity production. Their findings, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, reveal for the first time the potential for floating PV to produce electricity in the United States.
While the United States was the first to demonstrate floating PV panels—with the first installation occurring 10 years ago on pontoons on an irrigation pond in Napa Valley, California—the idea has not received widespread national acceptance. The U.S. focus has primarily been on installing large-scale, ground-mounted solar panels, and only had seven floating PV sites as of December 2017. Floating PV sites are being deployed more overseas, however, with more than 100 sites as of the end of last year. Japan, for example, is home to 56 of the 70 largest floating PV installations.
The BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show is the region's leading event for professionals and practitioners in the fields of high-performance building, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. It brings more than 1,500 industry leaders and emerging professionals together to learn from and share ideas with each other. This year's event will be Thursday and Friday, March 14-15, 2019 at the Westin Boston Waterfront.
The theme of BuildingEnergy Boston 2019 is Know-How. This year's Conference Chairs are developing a session line-up that focuses on practical skills and immediately applicable knowledge—the innovations we're working on now, our recent lessons learned, the skills we wish all our colleagues had.
Throughout the country, we have seen rapid growth in the residential solar space supported by a wide range of industry players and solar offerings. However, growth has been slow in our low and moderate-income communities where the benefits of solar and energy efficiency services are more impactful. The goal of this session is to showcase various state approaches to bringing solar and energy efficiency resources to underserved communities and educate attendees about how these innovative solutions have been effective in doing so. We will highlight programs that offer a solar lease, solar loan, and community solar offerings.