Tag Archives: agrivoltaics

Largest agrivoltaic research project in U.S. advances renewable energy while empowering local farmers

Case study contributed to Solar Power World by HansenRE.

The global installed capacity of agrivoltaics, or the co-development of the same area of land for both solar power and agriculture, has grown rapidly from about 5 MW in 2012 to approximately 2,900 MW in 2020. One of the largest driving factors for this growth is the need to continue to build solar projects to mitigate climate change in the face of dwindling available non-agricultural land. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), by 2030, utility-scale solar could cover almost 2 million acres of land in the United States. A recent Oregon State University study also estimates that converting just 1% of American farmland to agrivoltaics would not only meet the nation’s renewable energy targets, but also save water and create a sustainable, long-term food system. Additionally, agrivoltaics have been shown to increase crop production, solar panel efficiency as well as farmer income. Continue reading here.

Photo by Byron Kominek, owner of Jack’s Solar Garden in Boulder, Colorado: A beehive operated by Best Bees and sponsored by Google located at Jack’s Solar Garden. Best Bees installs and maintains honeybee hives on commercial and residential properties across the U.S. and seeks to improve bee health and expand bee populations.

New coalition of industry and academia to commercialize solution for full recyclability of wind turbine blades

News release from Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Olin Corporation,
Danish Technological Institute, and Aarhus University

A coalition of industry and academic leaders have developed a new technology to enable circularity for thermoset composites, the material used to make wind turbine blades. The new technology delivers the final technological step on the journey towards a fully recyclable wind turbine value chain. To enable the adoption of this new technology, and to advance a circular economy across the wind industry, a new initiative entitled CETEC (Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites) has been established. Within three years, CETEC is aiming to present a fully scoped solution ready for industrial adoption, based on commercialization of the novel circularity technology. Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: Vestas

NATIONAL SEIA NETWORK

Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association joins national SEIA network, Solar Power World
SEIA announced that it is adding the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association (ISETA) as an official state affiliate. ISETA becomes the 20th SEIA affiliate, joining its neighbors Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri in the growing network of state solar advocacy groups. These formal partnerships help to connect regional organizations to additional resources and the national effort to promote solar in markets around the country.

FEATURED RESEARCH

AMERICA’S LARGEST COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAM

FPL builds massive solar center in Southwest Florida to support largest community solar program, Florida Insider

Florida Power and Light Company(FPL), the state’s largest electric power supply and utility company, is investing in solar energy in a big way with a new mega-solar center in Southwest Florida.  The company, which services over 5.6 million customer accounts and supports more than 11 million residents in the state, has set a goal to have 30 million solar panels installed by 2030. The new DeSoto County center has the company well on its way to its mark, with 300,000 panels already in place. Photo Credit: FPL

LARGEST BROWNFIELD COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECT IN U.S.

Houston will turn old landfill into community solar site, contributed by Angely Mercado, GreenBiz

Houston, home to nearly 4,600 energy-related firms, is making a big investment in solar. City officials are planning to turn a landfill in the Sunnyside neighborhood into a solar farm, a move positioned as an economic development initiative with equity at its core. Once completed it will be the largest brownfield solar installation in the U.S., according to city officials. 

Photo: A rendering of the community solar project planned for the Sunnyside landfill in Houston. 

OFF-GRID HOMES

Off-the-grid homes are coming to your neighborhood, as climate change creates suburban survivalists,by Diana Olick, CNBC

“More severe storms each year are going to further and further indicate the needs for resilient development,” said Ben Keys, associate professor of real estate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Keys studies the effects of climate change on real estate and the growing need for housing that can function off the grid. This goes well beyond solar panels. 

U of M researchers pitch ‘green’ ammonia as key to renewable energy future

By Walker Orenstein, MinnPost

As wind and solar power make up an increasingly large share of energy production in the U.S., finding ways to store the intermittent energy they create is critical for when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. The University of Minnesota is working on a novel way to help solve the storage puzzle for renewable energy: by creating ammonia.  

Michael Reese, director of renewable energy at the U’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, said the U has previously turned wind power into ammonia that can be used for fertilizer and even to fuel agricultural equipment. Read more here.

Presentation by Michael Reese to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission: Green Ammonia for Fertilizer, Fuel, and Energy Storage

NPPD & MONOLITH’S GREEN AMMONIA INITIATIVE

Previously Posted

NPPD RFP

Request for Proposals for Renewable Energy Resources, 4/19/21
Description: NPPD is seeking bids for Renewable Generation Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with a proposed Commercial Operation Date (COD) during calendar year 2025. NPPD seeks to procure Energy, Capacity, and environmental attributes (including Renewable Energy Credits or RECS) for a term between 10-30 years.

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

“Coal may contain as many as 76 of the 92 naturally occurring elements of the periodic table.” 
United States Geological Survey
__________________________________________

DOE Awards $19 Million for Initiatives to Produce Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals, Department of Energy News Release 

“The very same fossil fuel communities that have powered our nation for decades can be at the forefront of the clean energy economy by producing the critical minerals needed to build electric vehicles, wind turbines, and so much more,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By building clean energy products here at home, we’re securing the supply chain for the innovative solutions needed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – all while creating good-paying jobs in all parts of America.” 

Production of rare earth elements and critical minerals, which serve as key components to several clean energy applications such as magnets in wind turbines and batteries in electric and conventional vehicles, is a prime example of how DOE is supporting regional economic growth and job creation in regions traditionally home to the fossil fuel industry.

The initiatives include:
University of Kansas Center for Research Inc. (Lawrence, Kansas) plans to study the feasibility of recovering critical minerals from coal and associated strata in the Cherokee-Forest City Basin encompassing Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Osage Nation.
DOE Funding: $1,500,000

See Also: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Outlines Key Resources to Invest in Coal and Power Plant Community Economic Revitalization, The White House Briefing Room

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Solar Picks Up a Big Win on the Heels of a Consequential Year

By Abigail Ross Hopper, President & CEO,
Solar Energy Industries Association

Over the next several years, we have an opportunity to advance bold clean energy and climate policies, including many of the priorities in SEIA’s 100-day agenda. That starts with immediately removing tariffs on solar cells and modules, making ITC benefits available as a direct payment, investing in infrastructure and clean energy manufacturing, and ensuring there is adequate funding to support programs like SolarAPP.

I would be remiss if I didn’t underscore the importance of prioritizing equity and justice throughout all of these efforts. If we reach our goals for the Solar+ Decade, the industry will need to grow nearly seven times its size over the next 9 years, and it’s imperative that the jobs and economic benefits of that growth reach communities that have traditionally been left behind. Thanks to the wins we secured in 2020, I’m more optimistic than ever for the future of our industry. Read more here.

WIND ENERGY NEWS

DISTRIBUTED WIND

Poking The Wind Power Dragon In Ohio, One Factory At A Time — CleanTechnica Interview

Obstacles aside, it looks like the US distributed wind sector is ready for its closeup. Let’s pause for a second, though, to clarify that distributed wind refers to wind turbines of any size, not to smaller turbines per se. The key factor, according to the Energy Department, is the use of wind power for on-site energy, or to contribute directly to a local distribution grid.

On its part, the Energy Department is a keen fan of distributed wind. On-site wind power dovetails with the Energy Department’s vision for decentralizing the US grid and building more security and resiliency into the nation’s energy supply, over and above the decarbonization benefits.

Department of Energy Resource: Distributed Wind
Distributed wind energy systems are commonly installed on, but are not limited to, residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, and community sites, and can range in size from a 5-kilowatt turbine at a home to multi-megawatt turbines at a manufacturing facility or connected to a local distribution system.

U.S. TRANSMISSION GRID

  • Coalition Calls on FERC to Strengthen Regional and Interregional Transmission Planning, Americans for a Clean Energy Grid. A bipartisan group of nine former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairs joined with transmission and renewable industry leaders earlier today to discuss and comment on a proposal to significantly expand the nation’s transmission capacity to properly support a reliable, affordable, and clean power system. The report, “Planning for the Future: FERC’s Opportunity to Spur More Cost-Effective Transmission Infrastructure,” produced by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG), recommends FERC undertake a comprehensive transmission planning rulemaking.
  • Report Calls for a Ground-Up Overhaul of Federal Transmission Grid Policy, Greentech Media
    Richard Glick, the newly named Democratic FERC chairman, has highlighted transmission policy as a key focus for the agency this year. That could set the stage for reforming a transmission paradigm, evolved over two decades of FERC policy, that is failing to keep up with existing renewable growth, let alone that anticipated under the Biden-Harris administration’s goals to decarbonize the electricity sector by 2035

AGRIVOLTAICS

  • OSU research farm: Where agriculture, solar energy intersect, Capital Press

    AURORA, Ore. — An Oregon State University researcher is zeroing in on plans to build what he describes as “the Disneyland of sustainable agriculture.” Chad Higgins, an associate professor of biology and ecological engineering, envisions a research farm where growers can learn about co-developing land for both solar energy and crop production — a concept known as agrivoltaics.
  • Previously Posted: Installing solar panels on agricultural lands maximizes their efficiency, new study shows, Oregon State University. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, finds that if less than 1% of agricultural land was converted to solar panels, it would be sufficient to fulfill global electric energy demand.

GENERAL MOTORS

GM to go all-electric by 2035, phase out gas and diesel engines, NBC News

General Motors plans to completely phase out vehicles using internal combustion engines by 2035, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra announced Thursday. The automaker will go completely carbon neutral at all facilities worldwide by 2035.

Barra has frequently touted GM’s plan for “an all-electric future,” recently increasing to 30 the number of pure battery-electric vehicles it will launch by the middle of this decade, but this marks the first time the largest Detroit automaker has set a hard target for completely phasing out gas and diesel engines for all light-duty vehicles, including pickups and SUVs.

Eight mayors: We need a Marshall Plan for Middle America

Opinion by William Peduto, Jamael Tito Brown, Nan Whaley, Andrew Ginther, John Cranley, Steve Williams, Ron Dulaney Jr. and Greg Fischer
Published by The Washington Post

According to our research, taking advantage of our community assets, geographic positioning and the strengths of our regional markets can help create over 400,000 jobs across the region by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades to buildings, energy infrastructure and transportation assets. Read more here.

The writers are the mayors of Pittsburgh; Youngstown, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati; Huntington, W.Va.; Morgantown, W.Va.; and Louisville.

MORE ON LES’ DECARBONIZATION GOAL

Lincoln Electric System board adopts 100% net decarbonization goal by 2040, American Public Power Association

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

GREENBIZ VIDEOS

Commentary: A call to action on race and equity in the clean energy industry

By Bee Hui Yeh and Jacob Susman, Energy News Network

The fight for clean energy is the fight for a better tomorrow: the right to clean air and water, affordable and reliable electricity, and better transportation. But for too long we’ve ignored a central question: for whom? A monolithic population? Or, more precisely, for the communities of color hurt first and worst by the impacts of climate change?

Nearly a century after the construction of the arsenal of democracy helped drive the U.S. from the depths of the Great Depression, as we find ourselves amid a pandemic and economic crisis, the prospect of a clean-energy economy puts us at the cusp of a bright new industrial age. It’s one that can reshape our grid, our businesses, and our lives, generating millions of reliable, well-paying jobs to build a cleaner, safer, more resilient, and more energy-secure America. Continue reading here.

About the Authors
Bee Hui Yeh is the founder of the Power of We and an advisor at Plan C Advisors. Jacob Susman is an impact private equity investor and founder/CEO of the renewable energy startup OwnEnergy.

Photo by Laurie Schaull / Wikimedia Commons

NONPROFIT OLYSOLAR

Youth Climate Activists Strive to Build Thurston County’s Largest Solar Energy Installation, Thurston Talk. Of the 8 team members that make up Olympia Community Solar (OlySolar), 7 are under the age of 30. Motivated by the realities of the planet’s changing climate, OlySolar is a nonprofit whose mission is to help every electric customer in Washington access clean energy.

NEBRASKA CLIMATE ACTION LEADERSHIP

Regents hear renewed plea to divest NU funds from fossil fuels, Lincoln Journal Star
Since students in Divest NU first raised the issue of the University of Nebraska pulling $91.3 million in investments from fossil fuel companies to the Board of Regents, late last year and earlier this year, the world changed once more. In addition to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, wildfires have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in the West. Hurricanes and tropical storms continue to batter the Gulf Coast in a record-breaking year. And nearly 80% of Nebraska is experiencing a drought. Representatives from Divest NU returned to Thursday’s meeting of the board to renew their plea for the university to take action.

Updated, previously posted Journal Star articles:

FEATURED CLIMATE EDUCATION PROJECT: CLIMATE CHANGE NEBRASKA

Climate Change Nebraska was created by journalism students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For this in-depth project examining the impact of climate change on Nebraska, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications opened the rigorous application process to all students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the end, 20 students drawn from seven different colleges representing 13 different majors were selected for the yearlong project.

Students enrolled in the spring semester focused primarily on problems associated with climate change – including its impact on Nebraska’s agriculture, livestock, wildlife, public health, waterways, national defense and religions. Students in the fall 2020 semester will focus primarily on a range of potential solutions to a variety of climate change issues – including renewable energy sources, sustainability initiatives, no-till farming, carbon sequestration, nuclear fusion and stronger environmental laws.

NEW SOLAR INDUSTRY ALLIANCE

New Alliance Formed to Support Low-Carbon Solar Energy, Solar Industry
Renewable energy companies from a diverse cross-section of the solar industry have joined together to launch the Ultra Low-Carbon Solar Alliance. The alliance will work to build greater market awareness around how solar supply chain decarbonization is producing solar panels with low embodied carbon to help governments and companies meet aggressive sustainability goals. 

AGRIVOLTAICS

How To Have Your Solar Farm And Keep Your Regular Farm, Too, NPR / KIOS 
[Zaid Ashai, CEO of Nexamp, a solar company based in Boston] believes that farming and solar can be friends. For small farms that are struggling, leasing land to solar companies can be a financial lifeline, helping them survive. Farmers can earn a thousand or more dollars per acre per year from these deals. Ashai and others are also exploring ways to capture the sun and still farm the land–though perhaps with a different kind of farming.

SOLAR OPTIONS FOR RENTERS

Will the Distributed Energy Revolution Leave Renters Behind?, Greentech Media
Renters can enjoy clean backup power through a handful of groundbreaking programs that make it available to multifamily housing. And a small crop of products can help renters through a blackout without radically altering their homes. But the few emerging options leave plenty of gaps for the industry to fill.

TRI-STATE

Tri-State proposes rate reduction, resource procurement flexibility, but not enough to stop member exit, Utility Dive

The T&D provider’s efforts may not be enough for members looking to exit its service. United Power and Tri-State have been at odds over whether state or federal regulators have oversight of exit fees that would be required to terminate their supply arrangement. La Plata Electric Association is also seeking an exit charge. Tri-State is a cooperative of 45 members, including 42 electric distribution cooperatives and public power districts in four states: Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

CLEANTECH CAREERS SERIES

What’s It Like to Be an HVAC Installer or Technician?, Greentech Media
One of the biggest jobs in clean energy is also one that is sometimes overlooked. In this GTM series, we’re asking people in cleantech to tell us what their jobs are like. We hope the series can serve as a source of information and inspiration for recent graduates, professionals planning their careers or anyone who wants to transition into the industry. We also hope it makes cleantech opportunities more visible and accessible to groups that are underrepresented in our growing industry, including women and people of color.

GREEN BONDS

In recognition of clean energy progress, green bonds shoot past trillion-dollar mark, Renewable Energy World. According to research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance, green bonds have passed their biggest milestone yet, with more than $1 trillion issued since these securities first emerged in 2007. BNEF says that green bonds are the longest standing and most heavily used instrument in the sustainable debt market, which covers a range of fixed-income products offering environmental and social benefits.

PV RECYCLING

This game-changing solar company recycles old panels into new ones, Fast Company
At a recycling plant in Ohio, next to the company’s manufacturing facility, First Solar uses custom technology to disassemble and recycle old panels, recovering 90% of the materials inside.

DOE’S WIND ENERGY TECHNOLOGY DATA UPDATE: 2020 EDITION

From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The United States added 9,000 MW of new land-based, utility-scale wind power capacity in 2019, bringing the national total to 105.6 gigawatts. Wind power represented the second-largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2019 and provides more than 10% of electricity in 14 states. Continuing the long-term trend, average turbine capacity, rotor diameter, and hub height increased in 2019, significantly boosting wind project performance to a capacity factor of 41%. The national average price of wind power purchase agreements has dropped to less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the levelized cost of energy has dropped 60% in the past 10 years to $36 per megawatt-hour. View a PowerPoint summary.

SMUD aims for carbon neutrality by 2030 in new climate emergency declaration

By Kavya Balaraman, Utility Dive

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) last week committed to delivering carbon-neutral electricity by 2030, 15 years ahead of California’s broader goal of supplying 100% of electricity from zero-carbon and renewable energy resources by 2045.

The commitment is included in a “climate emergency declaration” that was unanimously approved by SMUD’s board of directors last Thursday, setting the utility on the path to “finding reductions in the quickest way possible and investing in our most vulnerable communities,” SMUD Board President Rob Kerth said in a statement. The move reflects a broader cultural transition among the country’s utilities. Read more here.

Links to Resources on Zero-Carbon / 100% Renewable Energy

BLACK ROCK IN THE NEWS

BlackRock censures seven utility companies for lack of climate action, warns of other penalties. Utility Dive. Asset management firm BlackRock has published a list of 244 companies it says have taken insufficient action against climate change. BlackRock has taken voting action against 53 of these companies, including seven utilities, according to the report. Public censure and voting action by BlackRock sends a clear message to the firm’s portfolio companies, and may be part of a wider trend toward investor activism, analysts say. However, environmental advocates say market forces, consumer trends and other forces seem to hold more sway with utilities than action by investors.

Previously Posted 

  • BlackRock joins Climate Action 100+ to ensure largest corporate emitters act on climate crisis, Climate Action 100+ News Release. With the addition of the world’s largest asset manager, with more than $6.8 trillion USD in assets under management, Climate Action 100+ continues to grow in size and influence. BlackRock joins more than 370 global investors already participating in the initiative. The addition of funds it manages, brings total assets under management represented by investors participating in Climate Action 100+ to more than $41 trillion.
  • BlackRock Sends Huge Warning Shot at Companies Ignoring Climate Risk, GTM
    In a move that will resound across the world of energy investing, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, this week warned of a “fundamental reshaping of finance” as the impacts of climate change become better understood. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in an open letter that his company will end support for thermal coal, screen fossil fuel investments more closely, and redesign its own investment approach to put sustainability at its core. 

EVANGELICAL ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK

More than 53,000 Pro-Life Ohioans Signed Call for State to Transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2030, EEN News Release, PR Newswire

Over the past several months, 53,000 pro-life Ohioans have signed a petition calling on Governor Mike DeWine and the members of the Ohio Legislature to transition Ohio to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030. “Strong support for building a clean energy economy is a natural extension of the values that evangelicals hold most dear,” said Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, Midwest Director for the Evangelical Environmental Network, the organization that sponsored the petition.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

GTM’S ENERGY GANG PODCAST

Did Congressional Lawmakers Create the Most Complete Climate Policy Plan Ever?

A group of House lawmakers recently released a 547-page report on climate change. Reporters at E&E News called it “arguably the most comprehensive climate policy plan in American politics.” This week, we’ll discuss why this report is so significant. We’ll also look at a companion infrastructure bill from House Democrats that makes clean energy a centerpiece. Can it become a reality after the election? Then, drama for pipelines and batteries. We’ll look at a slew of legal decisions for pipelines in just two weeks, and what they mean for the future of fossil fuel infrastructure. 

ENERGY STORAGE

Long Term Value of Grid Storage Is All About Capacity, Study Finds, Greentech Media
The grid is heading in the direction of more renewables, with or without overarching policies to guide it. There’s general agreement that the ability to store electricity will become more valuable as this happens, but the exact value of energy storage in a dynamically evolving electrical system is hard to pin down. A new study from current and former MIT energy system modelers attempts to quantify this.

BLUE NEW DEAL

How a Blue New Deal charts a course for a sustainable sea change, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Director, GreenBiz Group

The Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP), produced by the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute and the nonprofit Blue Frontier, aims to fill the shortcomings of the Green New Deal, offering a four-part set of policy recommendations that, it says, “contains both conservative and liberal economic philosophies that are mutually reinforcing.”

Plot Brewing To Blanket US In Solar Panels + Pollinator-Friendly Plants

By Tina Casey, CleanTechnica

It started as a trickle and now the floodgates are open. Solar arrays that once sat on barren ground are now festooned with plants that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. Even the US Energy Department is getting into the act. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four newly minted solar power plants that have built-in benefits for pollinators, too. Read more here.

Previously Posted

Power, plants: Seed mixes and ag innovation for PV solar, Solar Builder article by Rob DavisDirector of the Center for Pollinators in Energy at Fresh Energy

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) forecasts farmers and other landowners will lease 2-3 million acres of land for ground-mounted solar arrays by 2030, a 10-fold increase from 2020. This rapid bloom in leasing land to produce solar energy isn’t just a lifeline for farmers looking to stabilize on-farm income, it’s also a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create habitat at scale to help species critical to agriculture and ecosystem health. Climate change and loss of habitat pose significant threats to honey bees, bumblebees, monarch butterflies and a wide variety of pollinators. A recent global analysis found that 40 percent of pollinator species may be at risk of extinction in the coming years. 

MULTI-GIGAWATT PARTNERSHIP

Engie and Hannon Armstrong Form Multi-Gigawatt US Renewables Partnership, Greentech Media The portfolio will stretch across five states and encompass both wind and solar projects. Most of the power the Engie-Hannon portfolio produces will be sold to companies looking to increase their renewable electricity, such as T-Mobile and Amazon. 

TRI-STATE NEWS 

  • A power switch in Colorado, by Allen Best, Mountain Town News
    At the stroke of midnight, Colorado’s Delta-Montrose Electric Association officially became independent of Tri-State Generation and Transmission. The electrical cooperative in west-central Colorado is at least $26 million poorer. That was the cost of getting out of its all-requirements for wholesale supplies from Tri-State 20 years early. But Delta-Montrose expects to be richer in coming years as local resources, particularly photovoltaic solar, get developed with the assistance of the new wholesale provider Guzman Energy.
  • Tri-State: Moving a cooperative power provider from coal to clean energy, by Joe Smyth, Clean Cooperative. This article summarizes the key developments over the last few years that led Tri-State to begin a transition away from its reliance on coal, and was first published as a contribution to Energy-Democracy.net

BANK OF AMERICA  

Duke Energy, Bank of America partner on Triad solar farm, Winston Salem Journal
Monday’s joint announcement marks a step toward achieving Bank of America’s goal of “being carbon neutral and utilizing 100% renewable electricity,” bank executive Andrew Plepler said in a written statement. 

MORE ON WHO’S BEHIND ANTI-NET-METERING FERC PETITION

AUSTRALIA

Environment America Launches a 10-state campaign calling for all new homes to be built with solar panels

Environment America News Release

BOSTON — In January 2020, California became the first state to require all new houses to be built with solar panels. Today, Environment America is launching a first-of-its-kind campaign calling on additional states across the country to set similar standards for solar power on new homes. The coordinated national campaign will advocate for a solar homes requirement in at least ten states: Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. While each state may have slightly different goals, the campaign’s intention is to introduce bills in 10 states in the next two years. Continue reading here.

ACCELERATING ADOPTION OF COMMUNITY SOLAR

New US Solar Power Scheme Aims At Invisible Middle, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica
A vast middle ground of opportunity for solar power development is ripe for the picking if only somebody could see where it is. Well, the US Department of Energy sees it, and is determined to pick it. The agency is moving forward with a plan to kickstart activity in the area of mid-sized arrays ranging from 50 kilowatts to 3 megawatts. That may sound like peanuts, but it includes the important community solar sector, so — wait, what is community solar anyways?

ENERGY STORAGE

The magnificent seven: US states with energy storage mandates, targets and goals, Energy Storage News. The US national Energy Storage Association’s policy director, Jason Burwen, spoke with Andy Colthorpe about the seven early adopter states and whether this is likely to be a spreading pattern across the country.

OPPD IN THE NEWS

TRADE ASSOCIATIONS’ STATEMENTS ON HOUSE $1.5 TRILLION INFRASTRUCTURE BILL 

GREEN BIZ’S “30 UNDER 30” AWARDS

The 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30, GreenBiz Editors
We are proud to introduce our fifth annual cohort of twentysomethings who are sustainability leaders within — and without — their companies, nonprofits and communities. The Class of 2020 hails from seven countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil and Taiwan, and they are tackling diverse challenges — from cultivating a more sustainable food system to advocating for climate justice on behalf of disadvantaged communities to testing best practices for circular cities to negotiating impactful renewable energy contracts. The list of their accomplishments is long and growing longer by the day, and they’re just getting started.

AGRIVOLTAICS

Pollinator-Saving Solar Panels: Good for Farmers, Good for Business, by Tina Casey, Triple Pundit. Conventional solar arrays typically force farmers to choose between raising crops and generating electricity in order to survive financially. However, a new body of research called agrivoltaics is demonstrating that farmers can have the best of both worlds. A recent report the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for example, indicates that properly designed, low-impact solar arrays can be compatible with agricultural use.

MORE ON AMERICA’S RENEWABLES INVESTMENT ATTRACTIVENESS

ALSO IN THE NEWS

TRANSITION IN COAL COUNTRY: PART ONE

EV NEWS

Is this electric plane the future of flying?, GreenBiz article contributed by David Elliott, Senior Writer, World Economic Forum. The world’s largest all-electric plane has completed its maiden voyage, flying for 30 minutes in the skies above Washington state. Its safe landing in Moses Lake, about 186.5 miles southeast of Seattle, is a milestone in a dream that’s been floating about since the late 1800s — air travel powered by electricity.

Lawmakers urged to increase LIHEAP funding in response to COVID-19

By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association

As federal lawmakers craft legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are being urged to allocate billions of dollars in additional funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), given that the pandemic is expected to result in widespread financial distress and a spike in unemployment.

“As you craft additional supplemental appropriations legislation, we urge you to consider $1.4 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP),” wrote members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation in a March 18 letter to several key members of the House and Senate. Read more here.

Nebraska LIHEAP Program

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

PV MAGAZINE ARTICLES

  • First order for 500 W solar modules announced
    Chinese manufacturer Risen Energy will supply Malaysia’s Tokai Engineering with 20 MW of its new panels, unveiled in December. Risen claims its products can help reduce balance-of-system project costs by 9.6% and levelized cost of energy by 6%.
  • Capturing the full value of energy storage
    The International Renewable Energy Agency has devised a valuation framework to lay the foundations for successful storage deployment. As the technology matures and moves toward a projected fall in price, revenue stacking will be crucial to assess viability and properly value its benefits.
  • A second life for disused modules and EV batteries
    A study led by Bern University of Applied Sciences is moving into the demonstration phase, with projects in Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium. With partners from all over Europe, the Swiss researchers are developing models for how solar modules and batteries from electric cars can still be used in a sustainable way after their lifecycle has ended.
  • European agrivoltaics
    According to SolarPower Europe, local agriculture and solar energy could become the engines of a sustainable European economy. The trade body has created a task force, led by French independent power producer Amarenco, that aims to place agrivoltaics at the top of the European agricultural policy agenda, while also establishing global standards for the segment.
  • Forget toilet paper, Australians are panic-buying PV
    Byron Bay-based solar retailer Smart Energy says it is seeing an unprecedented surge in sales and enquiries for solar and home energy storage as consumers look to shore themselves up in uncertain times.