Monthly Archives: January 2019

What Changed In The Solar & Energy Storage Industries In 2018?

By Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica

I started covering the solar energy industry seriously in 2009. It seemed like a hopping, exciting time in the industry — growth was exploding. I remember one early story in which readers
admonished me a little because I put “Solar Power Exploding” in a headline, and they thought I was referring to genuine explosions. In 2019, 2009 and 2010 progress looks like anthills.

Scrolling back through our What Changed archives, below is a lengthy rundown of notable
changes within the solar energy and energy storage industries in 2018. I’m sure I missed some of them — drop a note in the comments if you have a favorite I skipped. I’m also sure this post is far too long for the casual reader — do your best. Additionally, stay tuned for record-breaking progress in 2019. Read more here.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan
spends most of his time on CleanTechnica as its
director and chief editor. He’s also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zachary is
recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert.

 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

FEATURED REPORT

Design and Implementation of Community Solar Programs for Low- and Moderate-Income Customers, by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Clean Energy States Alliance

The report reviews existing and emerging low- and moderate-income (LMI) community solar programs, discusses key questions related to program design, outlines how states can leverage incentives and
finance structures to lower the cost of LMI community solar, and examines marketing and outreach considerations. CESA hosted a
webinar with report authors Jenny Heeter and Lori Bird from NREL in August 2018 to discuss the report’s findings. Watch it here


UPCOMING DOCUMENTARY & WEBINAR

FRONTLINE Documentary: Coal’s Deadly Dust
January 22, 2019 at 9 pm on PBS

FRONTLINE and PBS investigate the rise of severe black lung disease among coal miners. This joint investigation reveals the biggest disease clusters ever documented, and how the industry and the government failed to protect miners. Watch the Trailer Here.

Recommended Reading: An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It

Drive Electric Earth Day: How To Participate  
January 22, 2019 at 1 pm

Drive Electric Earth Day is a national campaign to share information about electric vehicles during April 2019. The event is an opportunity to highlight clean energy by including electric vehicles in your community’s Earth Day celebration. Plug In America, Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association serve as the national team providing support to the events throughout the country.

If you’re thinking of organizing or helping at an event, you’re encouraged to attend this Drive Electric Earth Day Webinar.

Energy Department Announces Battery Recycling Prize and Battery Recycling R&D Center

Department of Energy News Release, January 17, 2019

Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced the launch of a Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize and the establishment of an associated Battery Recycling R&D Center. These efforts aim to reclaim and recycle critical materials (e.g., cobalt and lithium) from lithium-based battery technology used in consumer electronics, defense, energy storage, and transportation applications.

“America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical materials undermines our energy security and national security,” said Perry. “DOE will leverage the power of competition and the resources of the private sector, universities, and the National Laboratories to develop innovative recycling technologies, which will bolster economic growth, strengthen our energy security, and improve the environment.” Read the entire news release here.

Image Credit: Tesla

THE LITHIUM-ION BATTERY MARKET 

Global lithium-ion battery market expected to exceed $60B by 2024: report, Utility Dive
Global Market Insights released a report Monday estimating that the lithium-ion (li-ion) battery global market size will exceed $60 billion by 2024.

THE PV RECYCLING MARKET  

Prescient & Strategic Market Research, May 2018
The global solar panel recycling market is estimated to be valued at $80.7 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $269.8 million by 2023, witnessing a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 22.0% during the forecast period. Increasing adoption of solar power as a source of energy and favorable government regulations supporting sustainable development are the key factors driving the market growth. Solar panels are made up of glass, aluminum, synthetic materials, silicon, and other metals, which can be separated through the process of recycling, after the completion of the panels’ lifecycle.
Read a summary of the report here.

IRENA Research Report, June 2016
A study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), End-of-life management: Solar Photovoltaic Panels, estimates that recovered raw materials alone from solar modules could be worth $450 million by 2030, and $15 billion by 2050.

PV RECYCLING INITIATIVES

SEIA National PV Recycling Program
Members of the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA) are committed to responsible end-of-life management and are proactively developing collection and recycling
processes for the solar industry. Many SEIA member
module manufacturers already operate take-back and recycling programs for their products. By creating a member-based program that aggregates the services offered by recycling vendors and PV manufacturers, SEIA is making it easier to select a cost-effective and environmentally responsible end-of-life management solution. This effort also enables others in the industry to access recyclers for their disposal needs. See Also:  SEIA Factsheet: PV Waste 101: The Solar Industry’s Proactive Plan for Waste Management (PDF)


Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute 
The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Product Standard guides designers and manufacturers through a continual improvement process that looks at a product through five quality categories:
material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

 


PV Cycle USA
SunPower Corporation is the founder and on the board of directors of PV Cycle. The business has a worldwide program in place to cover the costs for de-installation, collection, reuse and recycling for all purchased and leased systems under the warranty period.

 

Product Stewardship Institute – Solar Panels
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) provides
technical assistance and monitors and advocates for
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) solar panel stewardship legislation, using as models Washington State’s Solar Power Incentive Law and lessons learned from more than a decade of recycling programs in Europe. PSI seeks to educate their members and other stakeholders about the need for new collection and recycling infrastructure. In January 2018 PSI hosted their first webinar.

WASHINGTON’S PHOTOVOLTAIC MODULE STEWARDSHIP AND TAKEBACK PROGRAM

Washington became the first state in the nation to enact a solar stewardship bill (ESSB 5939) in July 2017. One section of the bill, Chapter 70.355 RCW, created the state’s Photovoltaic Module Stewardship and Takeback Program. The Department of Ecology’s process must be fully implemented and stewardship plan guidance completed by July 1, 2019. Manufacturers must prepare and submit a stewardship plan to the department by January 1, 2020, or within thirty days of its first sale of a photovoltaic module in or into the state. Beginning January 1, 2021, no manufacturer may sell or offer for sale a photovoltaic module in or into the state unless the manufacturer has submitted to the department a stewardship plan and received plan approval.

Invenergy Announces Start of Commercial Operations of Upstream Wind Energy Center

Invenergy News Release

CHICAGO (Jan.17, 2019) – Invenergy, a leading privately-held global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions, announced the completion of construction and the start of commercial operations of the 200-megawatt Upstream Wind Energy Center in Antelope County,
Nebraska. Located just north of the City of Neligh, Upstream was developed and constructed by Invenergy and will generate enough electricity to power 68,000 American homes. The project supported 275 workers during peak construction and will create 11 permanent full-time operations and maintenance jobs for the long-term operation of the project. Upstream will contribute approximately $2 million annually to the local economy through tax payments, lease payments to participating landowners, and wages and benefits for employees. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Invenergy

Other Invenergy Projects in Operation in Nebraska

  • 35.8 MW Prairie Breeze III Wind Energy Center in Antelope County southeast of Elgin. 20 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2015
  • 73.4 MW Prairie Breeze II Wind Energy Center in northeastern Nebraska in Antelope and Boone Counties. 41 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2015
  • 200 MW Prairie Breeze I in Antelope, Boone and Madison Counties. 118 turbines. Commercial Operation Date: 2014
    Source: Wind Energy Generation in Nebraska, Nebraska Energy Office

Previously Posted: County gives approval to test towers to collect wind speeds, Norfolk Daily News

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

EDF Renewables acquires Nebraska wind energy project, News Release
EDF Renewables North America has closed on a purchase agreement with York Nebraska Wind Partners, LLC, a partnership comprised of Aksamit Resource Management, LLC and York Capital Management for 100-percent of the interests in the 300-megawatt (MW) Milligan 1 Wind Project located in Nebraska.  The Project is currently in development with anticipated operation to commence in late 2020.

The Project, sited in Saline County in southern Nebraska, will sell its generated energy and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) into the Southwest Power Pool. Milligan 1 Wind marks the first project for EDF Renewables in Nebraska . . . The expected electricity generated at full capacity is enough to meet the consumption of up to 115,000 average homes.

Hitesman to retire June 3, Hastings Tribune

William “Bill” Hitesman was named president of CCC-Hastings in 2002. He also serves as vice president over the skilled and technical sciences and business and entrepreneurship/incubator divisions. In recent years, he directed the groundbreaking for the Hamilton Building expansion and installation of an on-campus 1.7-megawatt wind turbine. He was also instrumental in helping bring such programs to campus as heavy equipment operator technician, truck driving, diesel technology and the forthcoming wind energy program. 

Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc, Salesforce and Workday Close All-New Renewable Energy Aggregation Deal

Bloomberg News Release

Excerpt: This group of companies, coming together as the Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group, is the first example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy demand to collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), collectively acting as the anchor tenant for a large offsite renewable energy project. The unprecedented coordination between five international businesses lays the groundwork for other corporates to procure renewable energy cooperatively, maximizing value and reducing risk. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

MORE ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY AGGREGATION 

LevelTen Energy YouTube Video: Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group Case Study

 This is the first example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy demand to collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), collectively acting as the anchor tenant for a large offsite renewable energy project.

RENEWABLE ENERGY BUYERS ALLIANCE

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) is led by four major nonprofit organizations that have brought together their expertise in transforming energy markets.

Collectively, REBA works with more than 100 large buyers that represent enormous demand for renewable power. REBA’s goal is to help corporations purchase 60GW of renewable energy in the US by 2025.

REBA Initiatives

U.S. Renewable Energy Map – Click image to link to it. 

SEIA Expands Leadership Team, Adding Vice President of Congressional Affairs and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced today a restructure and expansion of its leadership team. Erin Duncan, a proven legislative strategist and advocate, has been named the organization’s new vice president of congressional affairs and Katherine Gensler has been named vice president of regulatory affairs.

Duncan has extensive experience in Washington D.C. She joins SEIA after more than 11 years as a federal lobbyist for the National Education Association. Prior to that, she spent eight years working on Capitol Hill, including six years as legislative director for Rep. Tom Osborne,
(R-Nebraska). Read more here.

CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROCUREMENT NEWS

Corporate Customers Smash Green Procurement Marks, Commercial Property Executives. One of Facebook’s deals in 2018 was part of a new PPA signed in March with Adobe for energy produced by the 320-megawatt Rattlesnake Creek Wind Farm in Nebraska owned by Enel Green Power North America Inc. (EGPNA). 

Clean Energy Deal Tracker: ExxonMobil, Facebook headline a record-breaking fourth quarter,
GreenBiz. Not only was 2018 the biggest year on record for corporate renewable energy deals, with more than 6.5 gigawatts of contracts on the books, the furious pace of deal-making — and the creativity of the arrangements — barely slowed during the waning three months of the year. According to the official figures released in mid-December by the Business Renewables Center (BRC), part of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the publicly announced capacity contracted over the past 12 months was 6.43 GW.

NEBRASKA CONSERVATION AWARD

Conservation efforts recognized at NRD banquet,
Norfolk Daily News. In the past seven years, the [Wiese family of Oakland] has planted more than 1,200 trees and shrubs and renovated a 2½ acre windbreak
system — all by hand. Besides trees, the family also put in solar panels to provide electricity to their home and outbuildings. Since putting in the solar panels, the family has noticed a decrease in their monthly electric bill and feel good about producing green energy on their acreage. They also have a large garden on which they do their own version of no-till.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY

Nebraska clean energy plan focuses on wind, solar, efficiency, by Don Walton, Lincoln Journal Star

Clean energy plan renamed: Due to a business having a similar name, the Husker Power Plan was renamed the Husker Energy Plan. The plan was revised August 28, 2018. To read the updated Husker Energy Plan and see the 16 partners that have endorsed it, visit: www.huskerenergyplan.org.

POLLINATOR-FRIENDLY SOLAR SITES

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies, by Jodi Helmer, Scientific American
A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies.

Photo: Kearney’s solar farm consisting of approximately 23,000 panels on 53 acres located in the city’s technology park, Tech oNE Crossing, is Nebraska’s largest ground-mounted solar project, to date. Credit: Developer, SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska

Another distinguishing feature of Kearney’s Solar Farm is that it is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. 

Previously posted links to information of potential interest to other Nebraska communities that have developed or plan to develop a solar farm:

Spurred By State Incentives, Solar Panel Farms Are Coming To Illinois

By Jim Meadows, Illinois Public Media

“The price of solar installations has come down about 70 percent over the course of the past several years,” said Andrew Barbeau, with the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, a group formed by backers of the Future Energy Jobs Act. Speaking at a news conference marking the 2nd anniversary of FEJA’s passage, Barbeau said “the deployment of solar and wind power in Illinois is only getting cheaper right now. Recent studies have shown that the fall in lifetime costs of these projects are now beating existing coal and gas plants that are already out there and deployed.” Read more here.

Photo: Solar panels at the University of Illinois solar farm along Windsor Avenue.
Credit: Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

MORE MIDWEST CLEAN ENERGY NEWS

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

GOOGLE’S GROWING INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLES

Nebraska Legislative Bill 283 would create a climate action plan for our state

On Tuesday Lincoln Senator Patty Pansing-Brooks introduced LB 283 under which the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln would be allocated up to $250,000 “to develop an evidence based, data-driven, strategic action plan to provide methods for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change.” LB 283

Save the Date! Next Sierra Club Program: Environmental Legislative Issues for 2019
Jim Cavanaugh and Michael O’Hara will be the presenters, January 24, 2019 at First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass Street in Omaha. Sierra Club programs are free and open to the public.

Photo by Ali Eminov/Flickr

WinnaVegas debuting new air filtration system; casino also getting solar panels

By Mason Dockter, Sioux City Journal

WinnaVegas, [owned by the Winnebago Tribe], is in the process of installing sets of solar panels to power the casino and hotel. Panels have already been installed on the bingo hall, and work is ongoing to install solar panels in other areas on the roofs of casino buildings and on adjacent land. Read more here.

Ho-Chunk, Inc Photo: The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska previously completed more than 400 kilowatts of solar projects, including this solar farm on the reservation. The WinnaVegas Casino projects are part of the tribe’s additional 320 kilowatts of solar capacity development.

The Winnebago Tribe’s economic development corporation: Ho-Chunk, Inc

Previously Posted

2019 Winnebago Tribe’s Solar Development Tour: Please watch our website calendar and Facebook Page for an announcement about this year’s tour and plan to join us!

MORE GOOD NEWS

 

Wind farm under construction in Fairmont, Lincoln Journal Star
An Omaha-based energy company says construction on its wind farm in Fillmore County is “well underway.”

Austin, San Antonio, Orlando are Bloomberg climate challenge winners

By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association 

Public power cities Austin, Texas, Orlando, Fla. and San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 11 were included among the list of final winners in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. Launched in June 2018, the American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million program designed to catalyze efforts in 25 cities “to tackle climate change, promote a sustainable future for residents and help deliver on the America’s Pledge initiative to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement,” according to a Bloomberg news release. The other two cities named as winners in the challenge on Jan. 11 were Albuquerque, N.M., and Denver, Colo. Read more here.

Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Community? Rooftop? What solar is right for you?

Written by Laura King-Homan, The Wire, OPPD Blog

OPPD will soon be offering a community solar program to its customers. But what is “community solar,” and how do you decide between rooftop or community solar when it comes to your energy needs? Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Save the Date! Nebraskans for Solar’s March Event: “OPPD’s Community Solar Program,” March 13, 2019, 7 p.m. at UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Rooms 230/231.

Co-Sponsored by Green Bellevue, Nebraska Sierra Club,
OTOC’s Environmental Sustainability Action Team,
The Nebraska Conservation Education Fund 

Our guest speakers will be Tricia McKnight, OPPD Product Specialist, and Heather Siebken, Director of Product Development & Marketing. They will present an overview of OPPD’s community solar program and how customer-owners will be able to participate. A Q&A will follow their presentation.