Category Archives: NewsBlog

RE100 Members Increase Renewable Energy By 41% As Initiative Spreads Around The Globe

By Joshua S. Hill, CleanTechnica

The RE100 initiative, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, has grown leaps and bounds in recent years, and in 2018 — amidst the starkest warning yet from scientists of the dangers of climate change and unchecked global warming — RE100 added 37 new companies, bringing the total up to 155 companies creating demand for a phenomenal 188 terawatt-hours of renewable power each year — equivalent to the 23rd largest country in the world.
Read more here.

Photo Credit: IKEA

MORE CORPORATE NEWS

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Nicole Steele: Solar power offers a cleaner, better energy future

Guest Columnist, The Virginian-Pilot

Dominion Energy recently announced a request for proposals for up to 500 megawatts of wind and solar under Virginia’s Grid Transformation & Security Act, and the 2018 Virginia Energy Plan — released by Gov. Ralph Northam on
Oct. 1 — calls for the addition of 3,000 megawatts of solar and wind in the state by the year 2022. It’s an exciting turning point, but as we move forward, we need to make sure Virginia’s transition to clean energy includes and benefits all of our communities. Equitable solar policies targeting low- and middle-income households will keep money in the local economy, allow communities to build wealth and create local jobs. Read more here.

Nicole Steele is the executive director of nonprofit GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic. GRID Mid-Atlantic, serving Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, is a leader in making clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income communities and communities of color.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Minnesota’s largest solar farm project moving ahead in far southwestern corner, Duluth News Tribune. A Minneapolis-based renewable energy development company continues to work with landowners in Rock County in far southwest Minnesota on what could be the state’s largest solar farm covering 1,600 acres. Geronimo Energy is proposing a 150- to 200-megawatt solar farm. The largest solar farm currently in operation in the state is 150 megawatts. 

Kansas’ Cloud County Community College adds 200-kW solar array to pro-renewables campus, Solar Power World. The installation of an on-campus solar site commences new solar energy classes of Cloud County Community College’s Solar Energy Technology program. The site will service the campus’s energy needs, and will be installed by students enrolled in the program. Historically focusing on wind energy, solar was a natural transition. 

Residential solar co Freedom Forever enters Colorado market, Renewables Now. According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar energy production is expected to surpass 1,800 MW in Colorado in five years.

Related:
 Clean Energy Experts: 100% Renewable Energy Could Come Before 2040, CBS Denver

MORE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS

America’s Wind Farms Are Ready to Go It Alone, Bloomberg
For a quarter-century, the industry has been supported by federal tax credits that helped it attract $250 billion in investments and create 100,000 jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That support ends next year, but analysts and executives say the credits have done what they were supposed to do: make the industry competitive. AWEA Public Domain Photo.

Walmart to install solar panels on 19 of its stores in Illinois, including Belleville

By Terri Maddox, Belleville News-Democrat

The move was prompted by the state’s new Adjustable Block Program, which provides incentives for commercial and residential rooftop solar projects, as well as community solar farms. The company already has solar systems at about 350 of its 5,000 sites in the United States, including Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Walmart

Illinois’ impending solar energy boom, Minnesota Public Radio. The state of Illinois is about to see a 2,000 percent increase in solar energy projects by 2025 due to a new state law. The boom will likely create thousands of new jobs. 

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

SOLAR ENERGY & DOE FUNDING

Solar Energy Beats Coal On Critical Infrastructure Resilience, Says DOE, CleanTechnica. In addition to grid integration, the agency continues to support research that helps keep the cost of solar cells down, down, and downer (check out the latest perovskite research, for example). Its funding umbrella also covers ongoing support for solar energy adoption by rural electric co-ops as well as tribal lands and cities and towns. Helping to grow the PV industry workforce is another area of focus.

MICROGRIDS

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY BUYERS

Big tech companies are becoming the top buyers of green energy to meet data needs: BNEF, Utility Dive. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) data shows the tech industry has signed deals for 10.4 GW of renewables and tech-related corporate purchasing has already set records this year. Google has become the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world, as it tries to eliminate all emissions from its footprint, but other big names like Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, are also investing heavily. Google Image.

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO DO-IT-YOURSELFERS

Off Grid Solar, by Joseph P. O’Connor 

Off Grid Solar is a pocket guide and quick reference for anyone looking to build a solar system with the free sunshine available to us all. “The limitations to widespread solar are not centered on the cost, the efficiency, or the need for advancements in technology. The limitations are solely due to the lack of widespread knowledge on the subject.”

Akon Launches “Akon Lighting America” in Effort to Assist the United States in Becoming a Leader in the Global Sustainable Development Goals

News Release Posted by the Solar Energy Industries Association

NEW YORK– Philanthropist, business mogul and five-time Grammy nominated artist Akon has initiated a partnership to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030 and assisting participating US states to meet their renewable energy goals . . . As of January 2019, Akon Lighting America will begin developing utility scale renewable energy projects throughout the United States and constructing renewable energy solutions for rural and low-income housing communities. Read more here.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

MORE GOOD NEWS

NEW GLOBAL REPORT

Renewable Energy Market to Garner $2,152 Billion by 2025, Reveals Report, Interesting Engineering

A new report published by global market consultancy Allied Market Research is revealing a very promising future for the renewables industry with hydro and ocean power leading the way.


FEATURED EV INITIATIVE

The EV Drive Coalition is working to urge Congress to reform the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit so automakers can continue producing, workers can continue building, and consumers can continue buying vehicles that produce zero emissions. Supporters of EVs and the tax credit have formed this coalition to ensure that EVs remain viable in the United States. Supporters include consumer advocates, environmental groups, free market advocates and automakers, among others. See AlsoFact Sheets

Lazards, Lazards, LCOE – what’s the cheapest energy?

By John Weaver, PV Magazine USA

Yesterday, Lazards released its Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) analysis version 12.0 for Energy (pdf), and Version 4.0 for Energy Storage (pdf). The document shows that utility scale wind, solar offer the cheapest absolute electricity pricing – without subsidies. When federal tax subsidies are applied, essentially politically palatable forms of a carbon tax, we see all thin film solar cheaper than all gas, and the majority of crystalline silicon solar cheaper than gas. Rooftop solar for residential and commercial, with its broad price ranges representing the broad classes of projects they cover, shows higher pricing. However, this analysis doesn’t consider the additional benefits including avoided costs achieved with behind-the-meter installations, and as such it isn’t a pure apples-to-apples comparison. Read more here.

MORE NATIONAL NEWS


ENERGY STORAGE 

NATIONAL SOLAR EXAMPLES

 

Friends of Venice Library to kick off solar power fundraiser with panel discussion, Herald-Tribune. Iconic nature photographer and environmentalist Clyde Butcher to serve as spokesman.

 

  • Wisconsin importer and distributor invests in solar energy, Fresh Plaza
    Maglio Companies, an importer and distributor of fresh produce, has installed over 1,100 solar panels on the roof of its Glendale, Wisconsin facility. This array is expected to produce an estimated 477,000 kilowatt hours of sustainable electricity each year. This is equivalent to the annual energy usage of 58 average Wisconsin homes.
  • Minnesota company turns abandoned sand pit into a solar garden, Red Wing Republican Eagle
  • State’s largest solar farm nearing production, The Spokesman-Review. Washington’s largest solar farm will begin commercial production next month in this Columbia Basin town better known for its annual Combine Demolition Derby. Nearly 82,000 solar panels have been installed near Lind’s pioneer-era cemetery, resembling a mirage on the dusty landscape. Sensors adjust the angle of the flat, blue panels throughout the day, allowing them to maximize the capture of solar rays.

GREEN CAMPUSES

Carport Solar Array Receives 2018 Innovative Project Award, MSU Today
Michigan State University’s solar carport project received the 2018 Innovative Project Award from the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan. The award recognizes exemplary projects in the region exhibiting features above and beyond the status quo. MSU’s solar carport array is constructed on five of the university’s largest commuter parking lots and covers 5,000 parking spaces.


Learn about more initiatives here: The Princeton Review Guide to 399 Green Colleges, 2018 Edition

 

INNOVATIVE TRANSIT APP

Transit app raises $17.5M with the help of unlikely investors: automakers, Smart Cities Dive

Solar Shingles News: POWERHOUSE to turn on in December

By John Weaver, PV Magazine

RGS Energy says it expects to deliver its first POWERHOUSE solar shingles in December. RGSE projects revenue from an average POWERHOUSE kit sold to a roofer – 6.3 kW worth, including shingles, inverter, monitoring, non-electrical balance of system components and freight charges to be $19,000. The company expects a 30% gross profit margin on the product, with the overall department making $17 million on $127 million worth of sales. If these $127 million in reservations turn into orders, and the average cost per watt of the kit sticks at $2.80 per watt, then current order queue is approximately 45 MW-DC worth of product. Read more here.

  • The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), currently 30%, reduces the cost of the $19,000 POWERHOUSE Kit by $5,700 to $13,300.
  • Established in 1978, RGS Energy is a Real Goods Solar Company that has installed over 25,000 solar energy systems for homes, businesses, schools, government facilities, and utilities across the country, totaling more than 260 megawatts.

MORE NATIONAL / GLOBAL NEWS

Global Floating Solar Capacity Surpasses 1 Gigawatt, CleanTechnica
The new hot trend in renewable energy technologies seems to be to test whether it will float, and a new report from the World Bank published last week revealed that there is currently 1.1 gigawatt (GW) worth of floating solar around the globe and that the market could potentially support up to 400 GW worth of total capacity. Photo: Floating PV Power Plant, Sungrow, in China. How Much Power is 1 Gigawatt?, DOE

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

Voters Raise Nevada Renewables Goal to 50%, NV Energy Has $2B Plans, CleanTechnica. Nevada voters approved a measure (Question 6) to increase the renewable energy portfolio standard for state utilities from 15% in 2025 to 50% by 2030, a goal for which NV Energy is preparing with $2 billion worth of requests for proposals this year. On the other hand, Nevada voters squashed a different electricity utility measure (Question 3) with an equally lofty goal of ending the virtual monopoly for NV Energy in the state, despite substantial groundswell prior to the Nov. 6 vote. The renewable portfolio measure was an initiative backed by NextGen Climate Action, a PAC funded by economic activist Tom Steyer. The measure also was supported by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Sierra Club.

ENERGY STORAGE – FERC ORDER 841

Ahead of biggest energy storage rule change yet, US’ transmission network operators open up markets, Energy Storage News
Transmission system operators in the US have begun making their moves to accommodate energy storage into their wholesale markets, with New England ISO and Southwest Power Pool both making filings in the past month.


RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Stanford researchers develop a rooftop device that can make solar power and cool buildings, Stanford News

A new rooftop device under development will be able to produce electricity from sunlight while also beaming heat directly into space to cool buildings.


INTERESTING ENGINEERING POST

How Does a Solar Power Plant Work?
A solar power plant is any type of facility that converts sunlight either directly, like Photovoltaics, or indirectly, like Solar Thermal plants, into electricity. They come in a variety of ‘flavors’ with each using discretely different techniques to harness the power of the sun. In this article, we’ll take a quick look at the different types of solar power plants that harness the sun’s life-giving sunlight to produce electricity.

ENERGY CONSERVATION


6 tips for Thanksgiving energy savings
, The Wire, OPPD Blog

Photo: Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)

More Posts: How Does That Work?

WRISE Opens New Doors for Women in Solar and Wind

Kristen Graf, Executive Director of WRISE, says more women in the field is key. Published in the November/December edition of Sierra Magazine.

Growing up, I was a math and science nerd who loved being outdoors. I had great teachers who encouraged me to explore engineering as a path for doing environmental work, and I got excited about renewable energy as a technological solution to climate change. So I went to Cornell to get an engineering degree.

Once there, I was stunned by how few women were in the engineering program. In high school, there were tons of women in my calculus and science classes, and I just assumed that would continue through college. I got involved with the Society of Women Engineers, and promoting women in science and technology became a side passion of mine.

Click here to read more and to watch a brief video, Faces of Clean Energy.
Website: Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE)

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

CORPORATE NEWS

SOLAR SUNROOFS 

Hyundai & Kia To Begin Offering Solar Sunroofs After 2019, CleanTechnica. Many people have dreamt of combining solar power with electric cars. German startup company Sono is actually doing it with its Sion solar-powered car, but few other companies have gone down that road. Now Hyundai and Kia say they will make solar sunroofs available on some models after 2019.


NEW SONNEN COMMUNITY 

 

Sonnen targets utility contract for Arizona aggregated storage project, Utility Dive. The company aims to equip 2,900 homes with solar panels and a battery to provide peak demand during evenings.

 


MORE ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

SRP, NREL to study residential battery storage use, American Public Power Association

Storage installations will likely grow to about 3,900 MW a year in 2023, up from close to 400 MW this year, according to the Energy Storage Association and Wood Mackenzie forecast.

How Battery Energy Storage Changes the Game

Microgrid Knowledge


In this edition of Industry Perspectives, Schneider Electric’s Andy Haun offers insight on how battery energy storage has the potential to change the energy landscape.

Photo: Andy Haun, senior vice president and chief technology officer, microgrids, Schneider Electric

 

MORE ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

How Dispatchable Wind Is Becoming a Reality in the US, Greentech Media. Analysis from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables’ new report, The Potential Wind-Plus-Storage Roadmap, introduces new policies from select states.

Photo: AWEA Public Domain Images


CONSUMER REPORTS SURVEY

Most Americans in Coal-Reliant States Prefer Renewables, CBS News, Posted on Real Clean Energy. A large majority of Americans in coal-heavy states favor increasing renewable energy use. Most would also be willing to buy solar panels for their own use, and a plurality would be willing to pay an additional $5 a month to get energy from fully renewable sources, according to a survey from Consumer Reports


100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

100% renewables city won $1 million to capture and store solar energy. Here’s what happens next: The city of Georgetown is going one step farther to become energy-independent. After winning a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies U.S. Mayors Challenge city officials said they plan to lease rooftop space on homes to install solar panels as well as additional space to install storage batteries that will allow the city to collect and store solar-generated energy.

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO GREEN BUILDERS

 

6 green certifications contractors should know about,
Smart Cities Dive

 


AMERICAN PUBLIC POWER ASSOCIATION MAGAZINE

Utilities and the smart city: Building better communities
Not your father’s energy efficiency: Utility programs adapt to the modern customer

More Articles: Public Power Magazine

 

GREEN BONDS

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

It’s Not Just Facebook and Google Buying Clean Power Anymore

By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg

Businesses with more modest appetites for electricity — including Swiss Re AG, Nestle SA and others — are increasingly banding together to line up deals for clean power, broadening a market long dominated by tech giants, according to a report Thursday by Bloomberg NEF. The strategy is enabling more companies to buy wind and solar power at prices similar to those paid by some of the biggest corporate users of renewable energy. It’s also boosting demand for renewables as concerns about climate change grow. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Swiss Re

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
Cities collectively buying renewables: “LA led way to leveraging EV RFPs, more cities follow with renewables”, Utility Dive

Clean Energy Deal Tracker: Novartis and J.M. Smucker join the buyers’ club

By Heather Clancy, GreenBizClick infographic to enlarge it.

[Corporate] buyers already have procured more clean energy in 2018 than for both 2016 and 2017 combined. And the year is far from over. [J.M. Smucker deal in Nebraska]: After roughly a year of evaluation and negotiations, the 120-year-old company behind brands such as Smucker’s jam, Crisco vegetable shortening and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in August announced it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 60 MWs of the 230-MW Plum Creek Wind Project in Wayne County, Nebraska. When the project starts generating power in 2020, it will offset about 50 percent of Smucker’s electricity usage. The developer behind the deal is Lincoln Clean Energy (now part of Orsted), which developed about 2 GW of wind power during 2017.
Read more here.

Previously Posted News Release: The J. M. Smucker Company Announces Renewable Energy Agreement

MORE CORPORATE NEWS

Walmart Rooftop Solar Project

CORPORATE BUYER’S GUIDES


Corporate Buyer’s Guide to Wind Energy

U.S. Renewable Energy Map: A Guide for Corporate Buyers

 

MORE TRANSITION NEWS

  • NIPSCO submits blueprint for shift from coal to renewables, Kokomo Perspective
    NIPSCO President Violet Sistovaris said the decision to retire the four coal-fired generators at Schahfer by 2023 and one at Michigan City by 2028 was a result of the utility’s investigation of the most cost-effective, reliable and environmentally sustainable means to deliver power to its customers.
  • North Carolina’s climate plan could bring 25 gigawatts of solar (or more), PV Magazine
    Executive Order No. 80, which barely makes it to four pages, calls for the creation of a “Clean Energy Plan” . . . [Solar] is poised to play the biggest role in meeting the state’s aggressive new goal, for a number of reasons.
  • New England moves to open the market for battery storage, PV Magazine
    As utilities discover more and more how energy storage can solve many of the problems that they have been facing, there is more and more pressure to change market rules to allow for greater use of batteries and other new technologies. The biggest move in this regard has been the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) landmark Order 841, which required that grid operators open wholesale markets to the participation of energy storage.

OF POTENTIAL INTEREST TO SOLAR SYSTEM OWNERS


7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Solar Energy System
Mother Earth News Contributor

Photo: Dageforde Net-Positive Energy Home (See Solar Examples)

 

FEATURED RENEWABLE ENERGY PILOT PROGRAM

Archdiocese of New York launches renewable energy pilot program, News Release Posted by PV Magazine. Today, the Energy Department of the Archdiocese of New York along with five parishes joined Con Edison Solutions, one of America’s leading energy services companies, and students from Blessed Sacrament School to launch a renewable energy pilot program. As part of the initiative, five parishes, including Blessed Sacrament, St. Clare, and St. Patrick on Staten Island and St. Ann and St. Anthony in Yonkers have installed rooftop solar arrays which will collectively generate approximately 700,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity through 1,717 solar panels. Photos from today’s event can be found here.

GREEN TRANSPORTATION

B-cycle bike-share program nearly doubles number of Omaha locations, Omaha World-Herald. Heartland B-cycle on Wednesday announced the locations and installation dates of 34 new bike-share stations around the Omaha metro area. Heartland B-cycle is Omaha’s first large-scale municipal bike-sharing system. Since 2015, it has been working to expand its current network of 35 B-stations to at least six more neighborhoods, granting more people easy access to the blue bikes.

5 Ways To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Travel, Earth 911
Whether traveling by train, plane, ship, or automobile, getting from one place to another produces carbon emissions. In fact, the transportation sector accounted for the largest portion — 28 percent — of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. Here are some strategies to help you lower your emissions while getting from point A to point B.