Category Archives: Solar Schools

Illinois energy bill proposes ‘green bank’ as national movement builds

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

Illinois would get a “green bank” to finance equity-focused clean energy investments under the latest version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act pending in the state legislature. If the proposal passes, Illinois would join more than a dozen states including Florida, New York and Connecticut that use publicly funded green banks to leverage private investment for renewables, energy efficiency and other projects, especially in communities that have been underrepresented in the clean energy economy.  The state-level proposal comes as a federal bill with bipartisan support would create a national green bank — dubbed the Clean Energy Accelerator —  that would work in tandem with state banks. Continue reading here.

Photo by Jim Bowen / Creative Commons

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

FEATURED STUDY

Recognition of and response to energy poverty in the United States, Nature Energy

Abstract
A household is energy poor when they cannot meet energy needs. Despite its prevalence, the US has not formally recognized energy poverty as a problem distinct from general poverty at the federal level, which limits effective responses. In this review, the authors examine the measurement and evaluative metrics used by the two federally-funded energy programs focused on reducing high energy bills to understand how program eligibility requirements and congressional funding appropriations have shaped the national understanding and implementation of energy poverty assistance. We find that current measurement and evaluative metrics hinge on the distribution of government resources and the number of vulnerable households assisted, rather than improving household well-being and reducing overall energy poverty.

SOLAR+STORAGE GUIDE

Understanding Solar+Storage: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Solar PV and Battery Storage, Clean Energy Group Publication

The guide is informed by more than six years of experience through Clean Energy Group’s work with property owners, developers, nonprofits, and communities to advance solar+storage in underserved communities. The questions and topic areas addressed in the guide are based on feedback from nearly one hundred stakeholders who submitted questions about solar+storage.

The information presented in the guide focuses primarily on customer-sited, behind-the-meter solar+storage installations, though much of the information is relevant to other types of projects as well, including storage-only projects and front-of-the-meter solar+storage projects. It is meant to serve as a starting point to establish a foundation of knowledge and understanding for individuals and organizations beginning to explore solar+storage options for their homes, businesses, or community facilities.

A Spanish-language version of this guide is available here.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

NYC installing solar at nearly 50 public schools, other facilities, PV Magazine
The 22 MW of solar projects are expected to include some energy storage systems and help New York City and the state meet sustainability goals.

ELECTRIC MACHINES & VEHICLES

AFFORDABLE ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES 

Report: Accelerating The Transition To Electric School Buses: How schools, lawmakers, and utilities can work together to speed the transition to zero emission buses. Released by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

The vast majority of school buses in the United States run on diesel, a fossil fuel that has been shown to cause numerous health problems, including asthma, bronchitis, and cancer. Diesel exhaust is also a greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change.

However, there is an alternative: zero-emission battery electric school buses. The technology is here, and electric school buses are ready to roll, but the question remains: how do schools pay for them? While electric buses can save schools money over the lifespan of the bus, the initial price tag of a new electric bus can turn many schools off to the idea of electrification.

Particularly promising options are vehicle-to-grid technology and Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) programs. By pairing them, “each electric bus could save school districts up to $130,000 per electric bus.”

Download the Report.

FEATURED LEGAL ACTION

Midwest Renewable Energy Association Files Lawsuit to Open Solar and Other Clean Energy Opportunities for Wisconsinites, Earthjustice News Release

STEVENS POINT, WI — The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) filed a lawsuit in Wisconsin Circuit Court to remove barriers preventing Wisconsinites from accessing the benefits of local clean energy development. MREA’s filing asks the court to ensure that the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) sticks to regulating monopoly utility companies and does not illegally interfere with competitive clean energy alternatives for Wisconsin families and businesses.

MREA’s lawsuit specifically challenges two unlawful policies that stifle Wisconsin’s clean energy economy. First, MREA challenges guidance documents from the PSCW that preclude financing options available in most other states where solar energy is more affordable. MREA also challenges a PSCW order that unlawfully prohibits Wisconsin homes and businesses from utilizing market incentives to reduce their power consumption during peak hours and thereby reduce power costs for everyone.

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.

About The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.Together with partners around the Midwest, we work to expand renewable energy adoption through innovative programs, renewable energy training, and educational events. MREA is a nonprofit organization.

Midlands Voices: Renewables provide a sound energy path for Nebraska

By Chuck Hassebrook, Omaha World-Herald

Gov. Ricketts’ statement blaming wind energy for electric outages was misleading and his proposed solution of reliance on coal profoundly misguided. It would ultimately worsen the problem. We all agree that electric outages are unacceptable. But to prevent them, we need to understand what caused them.

Continue reading here. Requires a digital subscription.

Chuck Hassebrook, of Lincoln, works in solar power development and is a former regent of the University of Nebraska.

 

NEW FERC PROCEEDING

FERC to examine threat of climate change, extreme weather to reliability, American Public Power Association

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Feb. 22 said that it will open a new proceeding to examine the threat that climate change and extreme weather events pose to electric reliability.

THE GREEN ACT

New Green Act Could Extend and Create New Credits for Renewable Energy, Energy Storage, Carbon Capture, and Electric Vehicles, National Law Review

On 5 February, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures announced the reintroduction of theGrowing Renewable Energy Efficiency Now (GREEN)Act. The bill was previously introduced in June 2020. If passed, the legislation would provide for a host of incentives across the renewable energy, energy storage, carbon capture, and electric vehicle industries. Some notable provisions include:

BROOKINGS INSTITUTION REPORT

How renewable energy jobs can uplift fossil fuel communities and remake climate politics, Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, by Adie TomerJoseph W. Kane, and Caroline George

The U.S. transition to a low-carbon economy is already underway, and some of the most striking progress is within the energy-generation sector. As the cost of solar, wind, and other renewable sources continues to fall, market forces will continue to encourage renewable energy generation and lead to the closure of fossil fuel extraction and generation activities. 

MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY STUDY

Study shows homeowners with PV are subsidizing their neighbors, Renewable Energy World

For years some utility companies have worried that solar panels drive up electric costs for people without panels. Joshua Pearce, Richard Witte Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Technological University, has shown the opposite is true — grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) owners are actually subsidizing their non-PV neighbors.

SOLAR TARIFFS

America’s Clean Energy Leaders Urge President Biden to Repeal Trump Solar Tariff Proclamation, SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seventeen leading renewable energy CEOs are calling on President Biden to rescind the Trump Administration’s October 2020 solar proclamation, which improperly increased tariffs on solar panels and rescinds the exclusion for bifacial solar panels. Led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and supported by the American Clean Power Associationthe letter calls attention to the proclamation’s impact to existing solar contracts and discusses how harmful the Section 201 tariffs are to the U.S. economy and the industry’s ability to address climate change. Importantly, the CEOs are asking the President to return the tariffs to status quo and restore business certainty.

SEPA MICROGRIDS REPORT

Smart Electric Power Alliance: Voices of Experience / Microgrids for Resiliency

Despite increasing customer demand, microgrids are sometimes challenging to justify economically, especially with regards to resiliency. SEPA partnered with NREL and DOE to bring you a guide to help you navigate the opportunities and challenges of microgrids.


Key takeaways from the report include:

  • What is a Microgrid? How you define it matters.​​​​​
  • Accounting for the value of resiliency.​​​​
  • The role of utilities in microgrid development.
  • Insights from utilities on siting a microgrid.
  • The challenges and opportunities around the economics of microgrids.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Student leads effort to get solar panels at Athens Drive Magnet High School, WRAL
RALEIGH, N.C. — What started as a student project has now turned into one school’s journey to reduce the use of fossil fuels through solar energy. Athens Drive Magnet High School is the first school in Wake County to have a solar array system, consisting of 12 solar panels, through NC GreenPower Solar+ Schools, a non-profit grant. Rocco Nociti, a former student, transformed his homework into a real-life application of renewable energy. Determined to get his high school using renewable energy, he applied for the grant.

GREENBIZ INTERVIEW

Bill McDonough at 70: A look back … and ahead, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

Architect, designer and author William McDonough is well-known to many in sustainability — as a pioneer in green building; as the erstwhile “green dean” of architecture; as co-author of the seminal 2002 book “Cradle to Cradle”; as a designer of breakthrough buildings and materials; as a deep thinker about how design relates to a healthy and abundant future; and as an enthusiastic framer of the concepts and language that have become part of the sustainability lexicon.

On the occasion of his 70th birthday this month, I caught up with McDonough to discuss his journey and some seminal moments in his life and career, and how they influenced his work. And to take a peek into where he may be headed next.

Cradle to Cradle Institute

What the Biggest Corporate Energy Buyers Want from Federal Clean Energy Policy

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

On Monday, a notable subset of the largest U.S. corporations signed on to a statement from the Renewable Energy Buyers Association (REBA), laying out their top federal policy priorities to help them meet their own aggressive decarbonization goals. Among the 34 signatories are tech giants like Amazon, AppleFacebookGoogle and Microsoft, manufacturing heavyweights including Cargill, Clorox and General Motors, and global retail and consumer brands like Disney, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Target and Walmart. Many of these companies have already pledged to zero out their carbon footprints in the next decade or two, whether internally or across their supply chains. Read more here.

ESG & SUSTAINABLE FINANCE

Welcome to a new era of ESG and sustainable finance, by Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, Green Biz Group

A vast ecosystem is in play. Investors have awakened to the notion that how companies manage environmental and social issues is nearly as key to their risk profile and profitability as are financial fundamentals. Banks and insurers are factoring climate risk and social issues into their products and portfolios, accelerating a shift that’s been gearing up for years.

Companies are warming to a world of deeper transparency and disclosure demands by investors, lenders, customers and others, and are trying to keep up with the dynamic world of standards and frameworks with which they’re being asked to comply. Oh, and it’s the dawn of a new U.S. presidential administration that sees virtue in assertive action on a range of social and environmental issues.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

KELLY SPEAKES-BACKMAN

Biden-Harris Administration picks Energy Storage Association CEO to join senior DoE leadership, Energy Storage News

A former utility commissioner in her home state of Maryland, Kelly Speakes-Backman has been leader of the ESA during a period of fast growth and rapid scale-up for energy storage in the US, with more than 2GW installed during that time.

In a recent interview for Energy-Storage.news, the now former ESA CEO said that the association expected to see at least 3.6GW of storage installed during 2021, and ESA published ‘Vision 2030’ a while ago, citing that the deployment of at least 100GW of energy storage on the grid is both desirable and achievable.

EV CHARGING 

EVgo Seeks $2.6B Public Market Valuation in SPAC Reverse Merger, Greentech Media
The LS Power subsidiary is the second major EV charger company in the U.S. seeking public capital to meet rocketing demand.

HOME HYDROGEN BATTERY

World-first home hydrogen battery stores 3x the energy of a Powerwall 2, New Atlas

To get off the grid with home solar, you need to be able to generate energy when the Sun’s out, and store it for when it’s not. Normally, people do this with lithium battery systems – Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is an example. But Australian company Lavo has built a rather spunky (if chunky) cabinet that can sit on the side of your house and store your excess energy as hydrogen.

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Solar Landscape to Provide Cost-Free Electricity to Asbury Park Schools, Renewable Energy Magazine
Entering into a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Solar Landscape will provide electricity to the Asbury Park School District at no cost for the entire term of the agreement. This will result in a critical cost savings of more than $120,000 a year for Asbury Park schools.

  • What is a solar power purchase agreement?, Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Solar installers can take advantage of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)  to significantly reduce the cost of a project whereas schools and other nonprofits cannot.

FEATURED WIND ENERGY RESOURCES

Wind Workforce Webinar Series Offers Insights, Information, and Solutions
To help industry recruit the best and brightest people and to provide students with the essential resources to set them on a path toward a rewarding career in the wind energy workforce, NREL, in partnership with the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), hosted a three-part Wind Workforce Webinar Series as part of American Wind Week 2020.

KidWind Launches the Power Grid Kit
The KidWind Project recently launched the Power Grid Kit—the first large-scale, functioning grid model that provides educators with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore power grid systems and solutions with students of all ages. The kit models the flow of electricity from generation sources like nuclear, coal, natural gas, wind, hydropower, and solar power through substations before being distributed to industrial, commercial, and residential consumers. It also models distributed generation in the form of solar panels and residential wind turbines to demonstrate the broad range of energy options possible in the future.

Source: Department of Energy’s WINDExchange Newsletter

Solar Market Forges Ahead in Q3 as Residential Installations Recover and Utility-Scale Pipeline Grows

SEIA News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. and HOUSTON, TX — U.S. solar companies installed 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in Q3 2020, a 9% increase from Q2 installations as the industry experienced a recovery from the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q4 2020 report, released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie, solar accounts for 43% of all new electric generating capacity additions through Q3 2020, more than any other electricity source. The report projects a record 19 GW of new solar capacity installations in 2020, representing 43% year-over-year growth from 2019. Continue reading here.

US Large-Scale Solar On Track for a Record 2020, Greentech Media
New Solar Market Insight report shows that, coronavirus-related hiccups aside, the utility-scale solar sector is set for growth.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

SOLAR SCHOOLS

21 Virginia Schools Now Using Solar to Lower Carbon Footprint, by Emily Holbrook, Environment + Energy Leader. Twenty-one schools across Virginia are reducing their carbon footprints by powering their operations with solar energy through a partnership between BrightSuite Solar, a subsidiary of Dominion Energy, and Sun Tribe. This partnership brings together two of Virginia’s leading renewable energy companies and their expertise in financing and installation to help school divisions meet their clean energy goals.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA PAPER

 

Moving Forward Together: A transpartisan agenda to rebuild trust and tackle America’s biggest challenges

This paper outlines 12 areas of policy where the potential exists for real reforms that bridge the partisan divide and restore Americans’ faith and trust in one another and in their government.

 

EDF REPORT

Climate Risk In The Electricity Sector: Legal Obligations to Advance Climate Resilience Planning by Electric Utilities, by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School.

Authors: Romany M. Webb, Michael Panfil and Sarah Ladin

This paper explores two legal doctrines, public utility law and tort law, which we argue obligate electric utilities to plan for the impacts of climate change on their assets and operations. Public utility law requires electric utilities to meet, among other things, prudent investment and reliability standards. Tort law establishes a duty of care that obligates electric utilities to, among other things, avoid foreseeable harm when performing acts that could injure others. We argue that, as climate science becomes more precise and predictive, these legal standards take on new meaning and require electric utilities to engage in climate resilience planning. Read a two-page summary here.

Additional Recommended Reading: Why Electric Utilities Must Engage In Climate Resilience Planning, Climate Law Blog, Sabin Center For Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School

5 Major US Utilities That Haven’t Promised to Fully Decarbonize: Some of the holdouts will surprise you.

By Julian Specter, Greentech Media

Electric utilities all over the place are promising to eliminate or net out their carbon emissions — here’s GTM’s look at the top five. Such promises were unthinkable for utilities just a few years ago. But the trend took off when Xcel Energy figured out it could retire coal plants, build clean power plants, and make more profits while keeping electricity costs down. The combination of positive public perception, a bigger rate-base and greater appeal to sustainability-minded investors turned the carbon-free commitments into the rule, not the exception, for the utility sector.

“They’re really trying to appease a nascent but quite powerful movement of [environmental, social and governance focused] shareholders and institutional investors,” said David Pomerantz, executive director of utility watchdog group Energy and Policy Institute, which tracks carbon targets. “Once it started taking off…it became awkward if a company didn’t have a goal.” A few exceptions do remain, though — holdouts that have not promised to eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading here.

Photo: NextEra Energy constructed Nebraska’s 35-acre, 5-megawatt solar array east of Fort Calhoun, which became operational in late December of 2019. NextEra contracted with OPPD to sell the power it produces to the utility for at least 20 years.

Previously Posted

  • NextEra is also pursuing a 423-megawatt solar project in Nebraska. It has acquired land rights and now is waiting to find a buyer and to hear what the Southwest Power Pool would charge for a connection to the grid. That figure is critical in developing renewable projects. [Phil Clement, who directs projects in Nebraska for NextEra] said that although it’s not now in the plan, storage could become a part of a Nebraska solar array as well. NextEra always builds solar projects “with storage in mind,” he said. Source: Solar-storage project would be ‘game-changer’ for Kansas City region, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network
  • NextEra, Nebraska farmers aim to build largest solar farm in the Midwest, by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

NEBRASKA-BASED VALMONT INDUSTRIES IN THE NEWS

Convert launches new PV tracker control system, contributed by Convert, PV Magazine

Solar PV tracking manufacturer, Convert, is launching its TRJ-AI Tracker Control System. The company says its new TRJ-AI innovation provides the industry the opportunity to easily control, manage, and monitor tracking systems from digital devices reliably and remotely to optimize the energy production of solar plants.

“Technology is ever-evolving and our commitment is to guarantee a better solution and a higher performance than the current standards, every time. Today with the innovative TRJ-AI Tracker Control System, the customers are able to take control when and where they want,” says Yury Reznikov, vice president and general manager of global solar for Valmont Industries, Inc, the Nebraska-based company that acquired Convert in 2018. “This means having complete control of your solar photovoltaic plant while increasing yield, minimizing risks, and optimizing O&M costs at the same time.”

Valmont Industries Website
Valmont Careers

MORE ON NEW SOLAR SCHOOLS STUDY & SOLAR POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

Virginia jumps to head of the class on school solar installations, report shows, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network

California is still the runaway valedictorian of solar-powered K-12 schools nationwide, but a recent renewable energy policy evolution in Virginia has propelled the state to head-of-the-class status. Since 2017, Virginia schools leapfrogged an impressive 12 spots — from 20th place to eighth place — in solar capacity installed, according to a report released Tuesday by a Charlottesville nonprofit.

Generation 180 collaborated with the Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association to compile Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools. The organization was founded in 2016 to equip individuals and communities across the country to play a role in the transition to 100% clean energy. Report co-author Tish Tablan is the program director for Solar for All Schools, a Generation 180 initiative.

 About Power Purchase Agreements

Solar Power Purchase Agreements, Solar Energy Industries Association 
A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a developer arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little to no cost. Schools all across the country are using Solar Power Purchase Agreements to solar power their buildings for free or at minimal cost.

New Report Shows Steep Increase in School Solar Power Drives Savings on Energy Bills, Frees Up Resources during Pandemic

Generation180 News Release, PR Newswire

As school districts struggle to adapt to a nationwide budget crisis brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, many K-12 schools are shoring up budgets with a switch to solar power, often with minimal to no upfront capital costs. Since 2014, K-12 schools saw a 139 percent increase in the amount of solar installed, according to a new report from clean energy nonprofit Generation180, in partnership with The Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The report finds that 7,332 schools nationwide utilize solar power, making up 5.5 percent of all K-12 public and private schools in the United States. Over the last 5 years, the number of schools with solar increased by 81 percent, and now 5.3 million students attend a school with solar.  The top five states for solar on schools—California, New Jersey, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Indiana—helped drive this growth. Continue reading here.

Download the report: Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, 3rd Edition

Generation 180 Resources

  • The How-To Guide for Schools Going Solar offers step-by-step advice for going solar and includes an introduction to solar finance.
  • The Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit is an organizing guide for students, parents, teachers and community members who want to catalyze solar energy at their schools.
  • The Virtual Help Desk provides a library of resources, answers frequently asked questions and offers personalized support.

Learn More Here
Generation180.org
SolarforAllSchools.org

The Solar Foundation Initiatives 

Solar Energy Industries Association Website 

Solarize Chicagoland group-buy program bears fruit even in rough times

By Kari Lydersen, Energy News Network

As Dan Orum grilled dinner one night in early June, through an earbud in one ear he learned the ins and outs of how to get a solar installation on his home in the Chicago suburbs and collect state and federal incentives before they expire. A few days later, he had signed a contract to be part of Solarize Chicagoland, a group-buy program that has been popular in its second year, despite the pandemic’s chilling effect on the economy and the larger solar industry. 

Orum had long been interested in solar because of the environmental benefits, but had never found the time or motivation to wade through all the options and requirements. The webinar he listened to while cooking that night made it clear that the group-buy program would offer him a good price for solar with support at every step of the process, working with a developer vetted and chosen by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and other partners. Continue reading here.

Photo by Solarize Chicagoland group-buy participant Andre Pavkovic of his home’s PV system installed by GRNE Solar, based in Lincoln, Nebraska. GRNE also has offices in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. “Last year, the program included 124 installations for a total of 870 kW, with GRNE Solar doing the installations.”

Additional Information
Solar Group Buy Resources, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA)

MIDWEST SOLAR SCHOOLS & POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS

Why America’s Schools Are Turning Into Solar Power Stations, Huff Post


Primergy, an Oakland, California, solar company nstalled the photovoltaic arrays at Galesburg, Illinois and 32 other schools in the state, including a college. The schools have power purchase agreements (PPA) with the company, meaning Primergy owns, operates and maintains the arrays. They then sell the electricity they generate exclusively to the schools, at a lower rate than they were paying for conventional electricity from the local utility company. Primergy leases the space required for the installations, too, which is extra revenue for the schools on top of their energy cost savings. Over the last few years, the vast majority of U.S. schools getting into solar have gone the PPA route.

Photo: An acre of solar panels in an old soccer practice field will power Galesburg High School.

Additional Information About PPAs
What is a solar power purchase agreement?, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Resource

One Way to Retire Coal Plants: Buy Out the Owner

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Municipal and cooperative utilities may have an easier time retiring coal plants early.

In 2016, New Mexico’s Kit Carson Electric Cooperative left its long-standing power supply relationship with Colorado’s Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association behind. Kit Carson paid nearly $40 million to sever its relationship with Tri-State, after realizing it could save its customers even more money — $50 to $70 million — and get access to more renewables by contracting with Guzman Energy, a wholesale power provider. Since Kit Carson made a run for the door, numerous Tri-State members have considered the same.

Think tank Energy Innovation, in a new analysis released Tuesday in partnership with energy modeling company Vibrant Clean Energy, is elevating Kit Carson’s flight as a model for coal retirement that allows third-party, private financiers — including energy providers such as Guzman, investors or renewables developers — to push municipal and co-operative utilities toward more renewables. Continue reading here.

Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC is a nonpartisan energy and environmental policy firm. 

MORE GTM ARTICLES OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

  • Microsoft Eyes New Tool in Decarbonization Quest: Green Hydrogen
    The tech giant announced Monday that it recently powered a row of data center servers for 48 hours using nothing but hydrogen fuel cells, which it believes to be the longest such test in the world for a data center operator at that scale. Microsoft is expanding its hydrogen testing and intends to leverage its vast size and energy consumption to help the green hydrogen industry scale up, Brian Janous, the company’s general manager for environmental sustainability, said in an interview. Last week NextEra Energy, the largest U.S. generator of wind and solar power, revealed plans to build its first green hydrogen facility in Florida, to be fueled by solar power.
  • Trump Administration Announces Long-Delayed Nomination of Democrat to FERC
    Nomination of NRDC attorney Allison Clements alongside Virginia utility regulator Mark Christie could restore political balance to key U.S. agency.
  • FirstEnergy CEO Defends Utility Amid Bribery Scandal Questions
    The utility’s share price and credit ratings have taken a hit after it was implicated in an Ohio nuclear and coal bailout corruption investigation.

NEW WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE REPORT

41 states have reduced their carbon emissions while growing their economies, Fast Company
Since 2005, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have increased their GDPs while reducing their carbon emissions, debunking the myth that economic growth can only happen at the expense of our environment. A new report from World Resources Institute (WRI) analyzes how states have decoupled their GDP growth from emissions, which Devashree Saha, a senior associate at WRI, says is “a hopeful sign for the United States and for the planet.” 

MORE ON NEW EIA DATA

Renewables have outpaced nuclear and coal to start 2020, PV Magazine
In the latest edition of Electric Power Monthly, Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows that renewable resources have generated more electricity through May 31st than both coal and nuclear power.

AGGREGATED COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECTS

First downstate project through Illinois community solar program underway, Energy News Network. The first community solar project in downstate Illinois facilitated by the state’s 2017 Future Energy Jobs Act is now being built, showing both the potential of the wildly popular program and the challenges of implementing it. Washington D.C.-based Summit Ridge Energy won the rights to sell renewable energy credits for 18 projects in downstate Ameren utility territory and 23 in ComEd’s territory in northern Illinois. So far it’s signed up 8,479 customers to participate in the community solar installations — just over half the subscribers it needs to be fully subscribed. 

MIDWEST SOLAR SCHOOLS

C2 Energy Capital Works with Solar Partners to Guide a School Solar Project to Successful Completion, C2 Capital News Release, PRNewswire

“The average price of a school solar installation has dropped 67% in the last ten years, making solar energy a smart decision for schools’ budgets. The most important factor for a successful solar installation in a school is an experienced team. Together, our partners have installed solar on dozens of schools in the Midwest and we are proud of the level of expertise, quality, and service we can offer,” says Richard Dovere, Co-founder and Managing Member of C2 Energy Capital.

The partnership between C2 Energy Capital, First Solar, and SP&L took a value-driven approach that resulted in cost-savings and reduced project risk for the school through strategic technology procurement, employing local and Ohio resources, and arranging ongoing project performance analysis. 

EVANGELICAL ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK

Can an evangelical group change Ohio lawmakers’ minds on clean energy?, Energy News Network

An evangelical group has a stark message for Ohio lawmakers: If you care about unborn children, clean up the air their mothers breathe. “As a pro-life Christian, I believe pollution harms the unborn, causing damage that lasts a lifetime,” reads a petition signed by more than 53,000 Ohioans in support of moving the state to 100% clean electricity by 2030. The petition, circulated by the nonprofit Evangelical Environmental Network, was delivered to lawmakers on July 16. Its potential political impact was unclear then and is even more so now after federal authorities arrested the speaker of the Ohio House and others as part of an alleged $60 million bribery scheme

SUNPOWER BIFACIAL SOLAR PANELS

SunPower to launch 625 W shingled module, PV Magazine
SunPower, which is majority owned by French energy giant Total, is planning to launch a new shingled module series with 625 watts of power output. Group spinoff Maxeon Solar Technologies will commercialize the Performance 5 line in the fourth quarter. The high-efficiency, bifacial mono-PERC solar panels will be made with large format eight-inch G12 wafers and will have an efficiency of 21.2%.

AWEA WEBINAR SERIES

Renewables 101 series: Wind recap, look out for solar, by Lauren Rudolphi, Into The Wind
As someone new to the renewable energy industry, this month’s Wind 101 Webinar Series offered an insightful and well-rounded look into the world of wind. From an overview of the market, to wildlife, siting & permitting, I walked away from the series feeling informed and excited to learn more! Below is a recap of my key takeaways.

Beginning of the End for New Oil and Gas Pipelines?

By Julia Pyper, Senior Editor, Greentech Media

On this week’s episode of Political Climate, we dig deeper into the pipeline project defeats and their implications for the energy sector in an interview with Steven Mufson, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering the business of climate change for The Washington Post. Steven Mufson joined the Washington Post in 1989. This year, he shared the Pulitzer Prize for the climate change series “2C: Beyond the Limit.” He’s also the author of “Keystone XL: Down the Line.”
Read more here.

NEW DELOITTE REPORT

Deloitte: Energy Management – Paused by Pandemic, but Poised to Prevail, PR Newswire
Deloitte’s 2020 Resources Study, “Energy Management: Paused by Pandemic, but Poised to Prevail,” found that despite the pandemic — and maybe in part because of it — progress in efforts to manage energy use, reduce carbon emissions and address climate change will likely continue and even potentially accelerate in the longer term.

“If there were any sort of ‘silver lining’ to the disruption created by COVID-19, it may be that it seems to have acted as a clean energy accelerator, which the current recession will likely not deter. Over the last 10 years we’ve seen a shift in energy attitudes, preferences and pressure gradually trend toward greater climate consciousness, but these past several months of isolation seem to have strengthened and propelled that momentum further.” Marlene Motyka, principal, U.S and global renewable energy leader, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP

GRAIN BELT EXPRESS

Grain Belt Express Transmission Line Wins Key Legal and Policy Battles in Missouri, Greentech Media. Court approves Invenergy’s purchase of $2.3 billion transmission project, which would carry 4 gigawatts of Midwest wind power to PJM’s grid.

MORE MULTIPLE GIGAWATTS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY  

MINI GREEN BONDS

Connecticut green bonds offer residents a chance to fund war on climate change, by Lisa Prevost, Energy News Network

The Connecticut Green Bank is offering residents a new way to personally invest in projects that confront climate change: mini green bonds. This month the bank will bring to market about $16 million in what it is calling Green Liberty Bonds. The bonds will have a $1,000 face value, an uncommonly low denomination that is intended to make them broadly accessible. 

The Connecticut Green Bank, the nation’s first, works with private-sector investors to provide financing for clean energy projects, including solar and efficiency upgrades in residential, commercial and municipal buildings. As of the end of fiscal year 2019, they had leveraged about $260 million in ratepayer funds to attract another $1.4 billion in private investment in green energy in Connecticut, according to their financial statements.

LEGAL ACTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATORY ROOFTOP SOLAR CUSTOMER RATES

Climate groups take legal action against Arizona utility for raising rooftop solar customer rates, Solar Power World. Five climate and energy-conservation groups took legal action in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge an Arizona public power utility’s discrimination against rooftop-solar customers. The Salt River Project, a public power utility in Arizona, raised electricity rates for rooftop-solar customers by 60%.

ENERGY STORAGE

US sodium-ion battery developer raises $35M as storage investment surges, PV Magazine
Startup Natron Energy is building a battery using Prussian blue analogue electrodes and a sodium-ion electrolyte. Investors include ABB Technology Ventures, NanoDimension Capital, Volta Energy Technologies, Chevron, Khosla Ventures, and Prelude Ventures.

EV NEWS

  • Tesla CyberVan — Gigantic Untapped Potential, by Jesper Berggreen, CleanTechnica
    The crude and simplified manufacturing process of the CyberTruck would make the manufacturing transition of CyberVans extremely easy, and diversity would be the next step. The customer base is enormous. Think camper vans, small business contractors, big business fleets, minibuses, haulers, safari vehicles — heck, even new categories like high-speed-desert-limousines, and the list goes on and on. Any van you can think of — and have not yet thought of — today can be made on the same platform, the super tough and super cheap CyberVan shape-shifter platform.
  • Volkswagen & Porsche Push Ahead With Converting Factories To Make EVs, CleanTechnica Volkswagen Group is walking the walk when it comes to being part of the EV revolution. While other manufacturers are promising some plug-in hybrids and a few battery electric vehicles some day in the not too distant future, God willing and the creek don’t rise, Volkswagen has finished converting its factory in Zwickau to build only electric cars and has begun doing the same at its Emden facility. Meanwhile, Porsche has begun the same transition at its factory in Leipzig.

IOWA SOLAR SCHOOLS

Rural Siouxland schools district switches to solar energy, Siouxland Proud / KCAU
“One of the challenges for schools is being able to find enough general fund dollars to run the school as effectively as possible, and we think by saving energy costs that would then allow us to be able to do things that would more greatly benefit kids than just paying for utilities,” Superintendent Dan Barkel said.

FEATURED OPINION

Elon Musk Is Ludicrously Rich Because He’s Not Focused On Making Money, by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica Director, Chief Editor and CEO. CleanTechnica Note: This is definitely not investment advice and we do not offer any sort of investment advice here on CleanTechnica. 

Report Shows Bipartisan Support for Boosting Clean Energy

Public News Service

LINCOLN, Neb. — Support for renewable energy in the U.S. cuts across party lines, according to a new Yale University report. Three in four Republicans surveyed are in favor of increased funding for clean energy research, generating power on public lands and giving tax rebates for installing solar. Support was even higher among Democrats.

John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, says boosting renewable energy would create new jobs, and provide property tax relief by adding to local tax bases. He adds wind and solar also can help farmers. Continue reading here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Nebraska’s wind energy continues to grow, Norfolk Daily News
A newly released report indicates that Nebraska is a top five state in recruiting direct business purchases of wind energy. Commercial and industrial companies bought 4,447 megawatts (MW) of U.S. wind capacity last year, setting a new record for annual procurements and bringing total corporate agreements for wind power to 16,857 MW, according to the first Wind Powers American Business report from the American Wind Energy Association.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

  • In Iowa, conservative group looks to counter local wind, solar opposition, Energy News Network. A conservative promoter of clean energy has launched an initiative in Iowa to help counter local opposition to wind and solar developments. The Iowa Land & Liberty Coalition, a project of the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum, will focus on building support for renewables in counties that have either rejected large renewable projects or considered adopting restrictions.
  • Xcel Energy proposes one of largest packages of energy investments in state history, Xcel News Release, Business Wire. As part of Xcel Energy’s commitment to helping customers and the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s proposal would include almost $3 billion of accelerated and incremental projects that will create jobs, advance the transition to cleaner energy, and keep customer bills stable.
  • Residents call on Colorado Springs Utilities to focus on a renewable energy, not natural gas, The Gazette. Residents pointed out moving to renewable energy could come with less risk because wind is free and natural gas could be subject to the uncertain pricing of commodity markets and unknown future regulations because it produces greenhouses gases, including methane.
  • Massachusetts lawmakers ask Liberty Mutual to stop financing fossil fuels, Energy News Network. Liberty Mutual’s clients include some major, and controversial, fossil fuel projects, including the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, and the Mariner East II natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania. Further, the insurer has $8.9 billion invested in fossil fuel companies or utilities that make extensive use of fossil fuels.
  • Bringing solar to the heart of coal country, PV Magazine
    The Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia, spurred on by Virginia’s pro-solar legislative spring, has released a request for qualifications, seeking a partner to co-develop commercial-scale solar projects in seven coal counties.
  • Electrification Can Supercharge California’s Post-COVID Economy, Forbes article contributed by Hal Harvey , CEO of Energy Innovation, a San Francisco-based energy and environmental policy firm. The path is clear: Decarbonize the electric grid, then electrify everything—creating good jobs and thriving clean tech industries along the way. California has gotten off to a great start with the power grid, as more than half our electricity already comes from carbon-free sources, and this should reach almost 80% by 2030. This creates further benefits: Cleaning up the grid will automatically clean up transportation and buildings, which are the state’s first and fourth biggest carbon polluters.
  • 8minute Solar Nabs Its First Supply Deal With California Community-Choice Aggregators, Greentech Media. 8minute, which develops solar and storage, has already inked deals for projects with all of California’s large investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Electric & Gas. But the project announced this week is the developer’s first foray in the world of CCAs, which have increasingly pulled customers and thus demand from California’s traditional utilities.  
  • New initiative to bring more solar energy to La Crosse County, WXOW
    La Crosse County, the City of La Crosse and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) created a new initiative to bring more solar energy to the area. Grow Solar is the name of the new plan, and it aims to help area home and business owners access cheaper installations of solar energy.
  • Double-Sided Solar Panels to Increase Energy Savings, Inside Indiana Business
    An environmentally friendly apartment building in Valparaiso is the first in Indiana to use a double-sided solar panel to further reduce electric costs.

BLM LAND-USE POLICIES 

Solar opportunities ‘ignored’ across 100 million acres in the Southwest, PV Magazine
The Bureau of Land Management “has ignored most possibilities” for utility-scale solar “on its vast land holdings across the solar-rich Southwest,” says a paper. Renewable energy development accounts for less than 1% of economic activity on BLM lands, while oil and gas account for 70%, according to BLM data. IEEFA analysts Karl Cates, Seth Feaster and Dennis Wamsted wrote the paper, titled “Federal Land Agency Lags on Solar Development Approvals Across Southwest U.S.”

SOLAR SCHOOLS

Amherst school officials interested in pursuing solar energy panels on buildings, Lynchburg News & Advance. The project would be funded through a power purchase agreement, which would permit a solar provider to install and maintain the panels and operating equipment on the division’s buildings. The costs of the equipment, installation, and maintenance would be assumed by the solar provider and the financing company that works in conjunction with the solar provider, according to Wells.

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Resource: What is a solar power purchase agreement?

CHANGES IN WIND TURBINES

3D printing, wooden materials and dizzying heights: How wind turbines are changing, CNBC
Wind turbines are growing in size and productivity thanks to advances in technology. 
The techniques used to build these turbines are also beginning to change.

GLOBAL INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLES

Goldman Sachs Sees $16 Trillion Investment In Renewables By 2030, CleanTechnica
Goldman Sachs analyst Michele Della Vigna and her colleagues have issued a research note for investors that claims investments in renewable energy are set to overtake those in oil and gas for the first time next year. They think the clean energy field, including biofuels, will be a $16 trillion investment opportunity between now and 2030, according to a report by Bloomberg. The research note says renewables will represent about 25% of all energy spending in 2021 — up from 15% in 2014. The research note says clean energy could drive $1 to $2 trillion a year in infrastructure investment between now and 2030 and create 15 to 20 million jobs globally.

Previously Posted: U.S. overtakes China as most attractive country for renewables investment, Reuters