By - Jim Vess

Corporate purchases of renewable power were strong in 2017, and 2018 is off to a good start

Energize Weekly, May 2, 2018 Corporate renewable energy purchases reached 2.78 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, on 28 deals, second only to 2015’s 3.2 GW, according to Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center. The market continues to look strong with 19 deals for 1.96 GW already signed in 2018, according to the center’s State of the Market report. The largest purchasers

By - Jim Vess

U.S. DOE to fund $105.5 million in photovoltaic and concentrating solar research projects

Energize Weekly, April 25, 2018 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new $105.5 million round of funding for solar energy research, development and grid integration projects on April 17. DOE will fund about 70 projects to advance both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) technologies through its Solar Energy Technologies Office. “American ingenuity is the

By - Jim Vess

Wind industry taking hold in red states in the U.S. heartland in 2017

Energize Weekly, April 25, 2018 The wind industry is having a big impact on red heartland states and rural economies, according to data from the annual report from the industry trade group, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). A total of 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind capacity was added in the U.S. in 2017, about 13 percent of the

By - Jim Vess

Cities growing solar generating capacity, survey finds

Energize Weekly, April 18, 2018 The installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays is growing in cities across the country—especially in sunny ones, according a survey by the non-profit Colorado Environmental Policy Center. “As of the end of 2017, 20 cities—representing just 0.1 percent of U.S. land area—accounted for over 4 percent of U.S. solar PV capacity,” the survey said. “These

By - Jim Vess

Investment rises in repowering old wind farms to get tax credits, cut costs and boost output

Energize Weekly, April 18, 2018 Wind farms across the country are getting a makeover as rising costs, declining production and the spur of tax credits is leading to the repowering of projects built as far back as the 1990s, according to federal data and market studies. A study by the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Golden, Colo., projects

By - Jim Vess

Southwest Power Pool sets a record for wind generation in the wee hours on March 31

Energize Weekly, April 11, 2018 In the early hours of March 31, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) set a new wind penetration record with 62 percent of the load being served by wind generation. Wind turbines accounted for 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of the 23.2 GW load for the regional transmission organization (RTO), which operates a market that stretches across all

By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar plus storage are challenging fossil fuels worldwide, Bloomberg says

Energize Weekly, April 11, 2018 Coal and natural gas are being hard pressed to compete as the comparative cost of wind, solar and battery storage continue to fall and in concert, can meet the power grid’s key needs, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) study. “Fossil fuel power is facing an unprecedented challenge in all three roles it

By - Jim Vess

U.S. solar employment saw its first recorded decline in 2017, The Solar Foundation says

Energize Weekly, April 4, 2018 The solar industry lost jobs in 2017—seeing a 3.8 percent decline equal to 9,800 positions—for the first time since employment statistics were tracked in 2010 by the non-profit The Solar Foundation, the group said in its annual Solar Jobs Census. The foundation saw a host of reasons for the decline, including a slowdown in activity

By - Jim Vess

Foreign solar panel makers and American installers seek to be excluded from Trump solar tariff

Energize Weekly, March 28, 2018 More than 80 foreign solar cell and module manufactures and American companies using imported solar products are seeking exclusions from the Trump administration solar import tariff, according to filings with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The arguments made by the applicants, based on a review of the filings, generally fall within three categories:

By - Jim Vess

Markets with high levels of renewable generation show ways to maintain grid stability

Energize Weekly, March 28, 2018 As wind and solar generation grow, so too have questions about their impact on the reliability and resiliency of the grid. However, a study of markets around world with high levels of renewables has identified keys to keep the systems up and running. The question of grid resiliency gained added heft when U.S. Secretary of

By - Jim Vess

Trump administration tariff to cut US solar market by 13 percent, prices already on the rise

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Trump administration tariffs on solar cells and modules will cut installations by 13 percent between 2018 and 2022 compared to previous projections, according to GTM Research. A total of 10.6 gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) capacity was installed in 2017. Installations in 2018 are expected to be the same. It won’t be until 2023 before

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy gets the OK from Colorado PUC to develop a clean power plan

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted on March 14 to give Xcel Energy the go-ahead to develop a plan to close two coal-fired power plants and replace them with renewable or low-cost alternatives. Xcel calls its proposal the Clean Energy Plan (CEP). It would more than double the utility’s amount of electricity from renewable

By - Jim Vess

U.S. storage set to double in 2018 as market to reach 50,000 megawatts in the future

Energize Weekly, March 14, 2018 The prospects for the U.S. battery storage market, both short and long term, appear strong with capacity doubling in 2018 and reaching as high as 50,000 megawatts (MW), according to new analyses. In 2018, 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage is set to be deployed, nearly equal to the 1,080 MWh deployed between 2013 and 2017,

By - Jim Vess

EU renewable generation is dominated by Germany and the UK, Eastern Europe hangs on to coal

Energize Weekly, March 7, 2018 Renewable generation has overtaken coal-fired plants in the European Union, providing 30 percent of its electricity, but the growth of renewables has been uneven in the 28-nation bloc with coal hanging on in Eastern Europe. Since 2000, renewable generation has more than doubled and the combination of wind, solar and biomass accounted for more generation

By - Jim Vess

Renewables can meet 80 percent of nation’s needs, getting beyond is expensive, study says

Energize Weekly, March 3, 2018 Wind and solar generation could meet up to 80 percent of U.S. electricity demand—but going beyond that toward all-renewable electricity could require trillions of dollars of investment in transmission, generation and storage, according to a new study. Researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science, the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine

By - Jim Vess

Florida Power & Light to add “cutting-edge” battery technology to boost solar output

Energize Weekly, February 28, 2018 Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) said it is adding “cutting-edge” storage technology to a utility-scale solar facility that will boost output by half-a-million kilowatt-hours a year. FPL, the nation’s third-largest electric utility with five million customers, said that the integration of the DC-coupled battery array is believed to be the first large-scale application of

By - Jim Vess

Chinese solar imports flooded the U.S market ahead of Trump administration solar tariff

Energize Weekly, February 28, 2018 Anticipating Trump administration tariffs on solar panels, a surge of Chinese imports hit the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Chinese imports for the quarter were 11 times higher than for the first nine months of the year. Imports for the quarter were a little more than

By - Jim Vess

Trump solar tariffs draw challenges from around the globe

Energize Weekly, February 21, 2018 The Trump administration tariffs on imported solar cells and modules are drawing fire from around the world. In the latest challenge, three Canadian companies—Ontario-based Silfab Solar Inc., Heliene Inc. and Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., along with U.S.-based distributor Canadian Solar (USA) Inc.—filed a complaint with the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York on

By - Jim Vess

US growth in renewable energy is strong, global growth is stronger, NREL study finds

Energize Weekly, February 14, 2018 Renewable energy generation doubled in the U.S. between 2006 and 2016, reaching 18 percent of the country’s generating capacity. As strong as those numbers are, global renewable energy growth has been even greater. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) recently released 2018 Renewable Energy Data Book found that while renewable energy growth in the U.S.,

By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind industry installed 7,017 MW in 2017, according to AWEA

Energize Weekly, February 7, 2018 The U.S. wind industry installed 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2017, $11 million in new investment, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) fourth quarter market report. Helping to spur project development were agreements to buy power by a growing list of corporate customers seeking clean power, including Google Energy, Facebook

By - Jim Vess

People living around winds farms view them positively and see few negative impacts, survey finds

Energize Weekly, February 7, 2018 The majority of people living within five miles of a windfarm view the projects positively, although attitudes are more polarized among residents within a half-mile of the turbines, according to a survey by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The survey of 1,700 people found that attitudes were shaped by whether residents believe the siting process

By - Jim Vess

Trump solar tariff roils market, slows growth but is far from the ‘worst-case scenario’

Energize Weekly, January 31, 2018 The tariff placed on imported solar cells by the Trump administration last week is roiling markets and is projected to slow growth, but not blunt the development of the solar industry. On Jan. 22, President Donald Trump approved a four-year tariff, starting at 30 percent and stepping down 5 percent a year to 15 percent

By - Michael Drost

Residential Solar: How One Company is Helping Utilities Navigate the Distributed Energy Revolution

Black said that the recent expansion of financing options has made solar PV customers much more diverse in terms of age, income, and education levels. “That used to be true [the idea solar ownership favors the wealthy]. It certainly was true,” he said. “Financing options have made that less true,” he said. No market demonstrates this shift better than California,

By - Michael Drost

California utilities propose net-metering reforms

Energize Weekly, August 5, 2015 California’s two biggest utilities urged state regulators to make sweeping changes to the way residential solar customers get compensated for returning excess energy to the grid, citing the improving economics of solar power along with the cost shifting effect of increasing distributed generation. “Solar is an essential part of our clean energy future,” said Anthony

By - Michael Drost

Austin Energy bids reveal new frontier for solar growth

Energize Weekly, July 8, 2015 Austin Energy’s recent call for solar power contract solicitations, which saw offers for almost 1,300 megawatts of projects priced below 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, shows that solar power is entering a new frontier: one in which the value of solar is consistently and persistently beating that of competing energy sources, which will no doubt lead

By - Michael Drost

Solar being undervalued by utilities: report

Energize Weekly, July 1, 2015 Rooftop solar owners may be getting under-compensated for the benefits their systems provide to the electricity grid, according to a new report by environmental advocacy group Environment America. According to the report, which reviewed 11 net metering studies analyzing the value of solar, the median value of solar power was about 17 cents per kilowatt-hour

By - Michael Drost

Minnesota OKs industrial customer rate changes, net-metering fees

Energize Weekly, June 24, 2015 Large industrial customers in Minnesota will soon get a rate break while municipal utilities and co-ops can start charging solar customers to use the electricity grid, according to a new comprehensive energy bill signed into law last week. The legislation would allow large industrial customers, including steel mills, paper mills, and mining companies to apply

By - Michael Drost

NRG Energy building 20MW solar facility for Cisco Systems

Energize Weekly, June 24, 2015 NRG Renew, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, will build a 20 megawatt (MW) solar facility to power the headquarters of tech giant Cisco Systems, according to officials at both companies. Tom Doyle, president and CEO of NRG Renew, said that the company will convert its NRG Solar Blythe II location, which has been under

By - Michael Drost

Residential solar market grew 76 percent in first quarter 2015: report

Energize Weekly, June 17, 2015 The U.S. residential solar market had its best quarter ever during the first three months 2015, installing a record 437 megawatts (MW) of solar and growing 11 percent over fourth quarter 2014, according to a new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research. According to figures in its latest US Solar

By - Michael Drost

Tech Companies Banking on Green Data Centers

(Google’s Douglas County Data Center in Georgia) “Because energy is a large operating expense at Google, it is beneficial to power the data centers with low-cost wind power,” says Gary Demasi, Google’s Director of Operations, Data Center Energy and Location Strategy. According to Demasi, the PPAs provide Google with an opportunity to lock in lower costs as a hedge against

By - Michael Drost

Microgrids Take Utilities by Storm

The business opportunity of microgrid technology has not gone unnoticed by those who currently control most of the nation’s energy grid. Though 51 percent of utility executives believe microgrids will adversely affect their revenue, according to a data compiled by Accenture, many in the utilities industry see opportunity. “Rather than view microgrids as new competitors to traditional electricity distribution utilities,

By - Michael Drost

Don’t fear the reaper: How hybrid solar and battery systems are transforming our electricity grid, and why that’s not a bad thing

By Michael Drost Solar industry advocates have been clamoring for years that improvements in photovoltaic (PV) generation and storage technology will someday make traditional power generation obsolete. Instead of plugging into the grid, they claim, customers will simply be able to drive to a local Home Depot or Leows, order and install a few solar panels and storage devices for

By - Michael Drost

Ontario Energy Storage: All of the Above Please

By Michael Drost Every now and then, industries go through a “eureka” moment when confronted with an emerging trend: the point in time when a concept previously regarded as “not quite there” suddenly becomes a key driver in that industry’s future. Once upon a time, the concept of streaming music over the internet wasn’t seen as critical to the music

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