- Solar Power, Inc. has announced that it has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with SG Panama Solar LLC, a division of SDL Solar, to develop, build, own and operate solar assets. The agreement calls for SPI to provide technical and financial support to complete the development and implementation of over 100 MW of identified solar projects in the Republic of Panama by establishing a joint venture with SG Panama Solar LLC, in which SPI will hold a controlling interest.
- SunEdison, Inc. has announced that it plans to purchase up to 1,000 vanadium flow batteries (over 100 megawatt hours) from Imergy Power Systems, a leader in advanced energy storage solutions. The vanadium flow batteries will be used to store solar-generated electricity for SunEdison’s rural electrification and solar powered minigrid projects in India.
- Blackbird International Corporation (BBRD), a global leader in renewable sea wave energy technology, is in the process of arranging a visit to Grenada in order to begin negotiations in the private and public sectors to implement its sea wave energy system. BBRD with their partner in the Caribbean, Mr. Jarvis of SEEDSOWERS corporation, have been in communication with top ranking government personnel in order to introduce BBRD’s sea wave energy technology power stations in the region and help the Government battle the energy crisis – a result of the lately constant El Ninue seasons and storms that have caused so much upheaval in the region.
- Green Charge Networks has announced a strategic partnership with one of Japan’s largest trading houses, ITOCHU Corporation. ITOCHU will distribute, supply and procure Green Charge Networks’ intelligent energy storage solutions internationally. The agreement enables Green Charge to expand its footprint into new markets both in Japan and other international regions. ITOCHU has more than 130 offices in 65 countries worldwide with over $53 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2013.
A recent Today in Energy article states that California has become the first state to generate more than 5 percent of its annual utility-scale electricity generation from solar power. The EIA Electric Power Monthly reported that the state’s utility-scale (1 MW or larger) solar plants generated a record 9.9 million MWh (megawatt hours) of power in 2014. a 6.1 million MWh increase from 2013. California’s utility-scale solar production in 2014 was more than three times the output of the next-highest state, Arizona, and also more than all other states combined.
The Today in Energy article cites the record achievement in part due to several large plants that were phased into operation in California during 2014, including two 550 MW solar photovoltaic plants, Topaz and Desert Sunlight (Phases 1 and 2), as well as the 377 MW Ivanpah (Phases 1, 2, and 3) and the 250 MW Genesis solar thermal plants. In total, nearly 1,900 MW of new utility-scale solar capacity was added, bringing the state’s utility-scale capacity for all solar technologies to 5,400 MW by the end of 2014.
California has promoted solar power through a series of state policies, including a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires electricity providers to obtain 33% of the power they sell from eligible renewable sources by 2020. In 2014, the state obtained 22% of its electricity from nonhydropower renewables including wind, solar, and biomass.
California also created incentives, including rebates and net-metering policies, to encourage rooftop and other small-scale solar capacity, whose generation is not captured in the above figure. By the end of 2014, more than 2,300 MW of small-scale solar capacity was installed on homes and businesses, according to the California Public Utilities Commission.
The top three states in utility-scale solar generation in 2014 were California, Arizona, and Nevada. However, states with less-favorable solar resources, such as New Jersey and Massachusetts, also are among the top 10 states in total solar generation. All of the top 10 states—with the exception of Florida—have a renewable portfolio standard in place. Most of those policies include a specific target for solar power or customer-sited generation.
The Egypt Solar Energy Association (ESEA) has a released a report detailing the growth of the Egyptian solar industry: “Egypt’s Solar Energy Market – FiT Program and Beyond 2015”. Over the past several weeks, solar has made gains with the announcement of 2.3 GW of power to be generated by photovoltaic energy within the next few years. In addition, leading international players have publicly announced new partnerships with local enterprises to bring proposed solar projects to fruition.
The Egyptian government recently concluded the international Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh with hopes of attracting $60 billion dollars in foreign direct investment, including billions for renewable energy. As a result, there has been a wave of announcements from the solar industry declaring gigawatts of development and billions of dollars in investment, not only in PV power plants, but also in manufacturing facilities, research and development and training.
Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has already begun to establish favorable policies and a regulatory framework to help make solar energy a true alternate large-scale source of Egypt’s energy mix.
Egypt SIA’s new market report provides detailed insights on the latest solar market developments as well as in-depth perspectives from some of the key stakeholders, including regulators, laws firms, developers and EPC contractors who are active in the emerging Egyptian solar energy market. In addition, the report offers a unique outlook on solar developments beyond the feed-in-tariff scheme; tracking opportunities in various industries and governorates across Egypt.
- Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd. has officially announced the establishment of a local warehouse in Cape Town, South Africa. This new facility will initially store 500 kW of modules and will expand its storage capacity to 1MW later in 2015. Suntech established a full time presence in South Africa in 2014 as part of its expansion efforts in the region.
- JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. has announced that all of its PV modules have passed the high-grade hailstone impact test conducted by TUV Rheinland. During the high-grade hailstone impact test, hailstones with a diameter of 45 millimeters strike the glass surface of JA’s modules at a speed of 30.7 meters per second (about 110.5 kilometers per hour). The anti-kinetic energy impact performance of JA modules is ten times the original industry standard.
- Atlantic Wind & Solar, Inc. has announced it has completed construction on a 500 KW Utility Scale solar power plant in Mississauga, ON, Canada. The $3 million commercial rooftop installation, consisting of approximately 2,300 panels, is expected to produce 12,500 megawatt hours of power over the next 20 years supplying Ontario with clean reliable energy. The power will be sold under the provinces Feed-In-Tariff program.
- Golden Age Resources, Inc. has announced a new Management Team and plans to launch its Latin American Initiatives, which has been carefully organized over the last several months. New officers and directors are Mr. Terence Byrne, President, CEO, SFO, and Director and Mr. Thomas Wolff, Vice President of Latin American Operations, and Director.
Proterra battery-electric(EV) buses have been driven one million miles. The company recently congratulated its customers on achieving the EV industry milestone and held a celebratory event at its plant in Greenville, S.C. where they honored their transit agency partners for their leadership as EV pioneers.
Each transit agency was honored with award commemorating their early adoption of EV bus technology and acknowledging their role in building the future of mass transit and sustainable urban mobility.
Customers receiving the awards were: Foothill Transit (Pomona, Calif.), WRTA (Worcester, Mass.), the City of Seneca, S.C./Clemson Area Transit, RTC Washoe (Reno, Nev.), TARC (Louisville, Ky.), VIA Metropolitan Transit (San Antonio, Texas), San Joaquin RTD (Stockton, Calif.), and StarMetro (Tallahassee, Fla.).
“Reaching our 1,000,000th mile in revenue service is a significant milestone, not just for Proterra, but for the entire transit industry,” said Proterra President and CEO Ryan Popple. “Along with our forward-thinking and highly valued transit agency partners, we can offer the world a million proof points to bolster the fact that electric vehicles not only offer great performance, but represent the best total cost of ownership and environmental option for transit agencies.”
By combining performance, efficiency and flexibility, Proterra buses offer the lowest per passenger cost and environmental impact of any transit bus technology—electric, diesel, hybrid or natural gas. Proterra has now received orders from 14 different transit agencies in cities across North America. Over the course of their 1,000,000 miles in service, Proterra customers have saved nearly 250,000 gallons of fossil fuel and have eliminated nearly 3.5 million pounds of emissions from being released into the environment.
Trade groups are calling for national support of the Bennet Amendment for Bridge to Tax Reform. U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) has filed an amendment to the annual budget resolution being considered this week by the Senate that would make room for renewable and efficiency tax credits. The amendment specifies “a fund for “creating clean energy jobs, including extending over a reasonable period of time, as a bridge to tax reform, expired and expiring tax credits for renewable energy production and investment.”
The renewable trade groups endorsed the amendment in a letter:
The U.S. Senate begins debate this week on the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution. Senator Michael Bennet will be offering an amendment (#715) which expresses support for the extension of expired and expiring federal tax credits for renewable energy production and investment as the bridge to tax reform. On behalf of the thousands of American companies and over 500,000 Americans working in the renewable energy sector, we strongly encourage you to support the Bennet Amendment.
Over the past five years, nearly 44% of all new domestic power generation capacity has come from renewable energy resources, including more than 56% of all new power generation capacity in 2014 – surpassing all other energy sources. The investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC) have been the primary federal policy drivers for this growth, spurring private sector investment, creating jobs, and driving down costs significantly, making renewable and clean technologies more cost competitive.
The clean energy sector has the potential to be one of the greatest engines of middle class job growth in the 21st century, while providing our nation with secure sources of clean and renewable domestic energy. To realize that objective, however, we must have a supportive and certain tax policy environment.
Again, on behalf of our thousands of member companies and more than half a million Americans working in our industries, we ask you to send an unambiguous signal of support for clean and renewable energy. Please vote for the Bennet Amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution in support of continuing tax incentives for clean and renewable domestic energy sources.
The letter is signed by representatives of the Solar Energy Industries Association, American Wind Energy Association, Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Geothermal Energy Association, American Biogas Council, Energy Recovery Council, National Hydropower Association, Biomass Power Association, Distributed Wind Energy Association and Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association.
- European Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Thomas Becker is stepping down as the head of the association for personal reasons after two years of service Following his appointment in December 2012, Mr. Becker outlined his vision for an industry group that placed renewed emphasis on how the wind energy sector could contribute to jobs, exports and green growth. EWEA’s Deputy CEO Malgosia Bartosik will lead the association and assume the responsibilities of the CEO during this transitional period.
- Dyadic International, Inc. has announced today the appointment of Jack Kaye to the Board of Directors, effective April 1, 2015. Mr. Kaye will serve on the audit and compensation committees. With the addition of Mr. Kaye, there will be seven members on the Dyadic Board.
- Developing Swaziland’s vast renewable energy resources would provide substantial socio-economic benefits for its population, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The report estimates that bagasse could meet half of all domestic electricity demand while solar power could contribute substantially to the remaining demand. More than 76 per cent of Swaziland’s current electricity supply comes from imports, predominantly from South Africa. Electricity import tariffs in Swaziland doubled between 2009 and 2012 and are expected to continue this upward trend.
- Greenergy, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of waste based biodiesel, has earned the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) sustainability certification for the production of biodiesel from used cooking oil at its facilities in Immingham and North Cave. RSB is recognized by NGOs as the ” most comprehensive and ambitious” biomaterials sustainability certification program in the world. RSB provides a holistic approach towards sustainability assurance, covering social, environmental, economic and operational aspects in its analysis.
Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, have introduced legislation to encourage geothermal energy production on public lands. Coined the Geothermal Production Expansion Act, the bill would prevent speculative bidders from driving up the price of leases for developers seeking to use the land for geothermal projects. The bill streamlines the federal geothermal leasing program by allowing for the non-competitive leasing of a limited amount of federal land at fair market value to spur the expansion of geothermal energy on already identified “hot spots”. The bill passed the Senate last year. Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also cosponsored the legislation.
Geothermal projects are managed on Federal lands by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and it is estimated that 250 million acres contain geothermal power potential. Currently, geothermal energy projects that are producing geothermal power under the BLM’s management make up about half of the total geothermal generating capacity in the U.S.
“Geysers, volcanoes and hot springs – like Oregon’s own Neal Hot Springs – are reservoirs of the Earth’s enormous clean energy potential,” Wyden said. “By making these “hot spots” available to only serious developers, this bill protects taxpayer dollars and prevents speculators from holding hostage the enormous possibilities of geothermal energy.”
Risch added, “Reliable and lower-cost energy is the backbone of any successful economy and must be expanded to meet future needs. In Idaho and much of the west, geothermal energy is a largely untapped source of clean energy. This bill encourages its development and expansion by removing a layer of red tape that holds up production at geothermal facilities.”
Oregon and Idaho have the combined potential to produce at least 1,400 MW from geothermal resources – enough energy to power more than a million homes. U.S. Geothermal, Inc. operates geothermal power projects in both states.
“We thank Senators Wyden and Risch for their continued strong support of the geothermal industry with their introduction of the Geothermal Production Expansion Act,” said Doug Glaspey, President and COO of U.S. Geothermal, Inc. “This is an important piece that improves the federal leasing system and will help geothermal developers move projects toward production.”
Solar has gone to space. SolAero Technologies has announced that 32 of its SolAero solar panels populated with high-efficiency triple-junction ZTJ solar cells are powering the four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission spacecraft that launched successfully on March 12, 2015 aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The MMS will study magnetic reconnection, a fundamental process that occurs throughout the universe when magnetic fields connect and disconnect explosively, releasing energy and accelerating particles up to nearly the speed of light. Unlike previous missions that have observed only evidence of magnetic reconnection events, MMS has sufficient resolution to observe and measure reconnection events as they occur. While MMS will fly through reconnection regions in less than a second, key sensors on each spacecraft are able to capture measurements 100 times faster than any previous mission. In addition, MMS consists of four identical observatories, which together will provide the first ever three-dimensional view of magnetic reconnection.
SolAreo said this mission is unprecedented. Building four spacecraft at the same time – something that had never before been done at Goddard – required a unique set of engineering, management and production skills. In addition, SolAero said they provided solar panels for each spacecraft designed and built at the highest efficiency and to the highest standards necessary for a successful mission.
- Solectria – A Yaskawa Company, has announced the introduction of its Rapid Shutdown (RSD) Combiner for single-phase inverters. This RSD Combiner option offers a complete solution to NEC 2014, Article 690.12 requiring rooftop installations to de-energize conductors outside of a 10 foot boundary from the array.
- “Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl,” written for the New Climate Economy by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, finds that urban sprawl costs the American economy more than US$1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear an astounding $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs. Correcting this problem provides an opportunity to increase economic productivity, improve public health and protect the environment.
- Sungevity, Inc. has announced that it has expanded its solar solutions to the commercial market, a new channel for the company, in partnership with Sol Systems. Sungevity will focus on the underserved small business sector consisting of systems that are sized between 50 – 300KW. Sungevity has serviced the residential market since selling its first solar system in 2008 and has a footprint in 12 U.S. states; Washington, D.C.; the Netherlands and Australia.
- Elio Motors has announced it has launched a 506(c) investment option that will allow accredited investors the opportunity to buy into the revolutionary transportation start-up for as little as $15,000. The funds will be used to help the company launch an enclosed three-wheeled vehicle that is expected to sell for $6,800, and get up to 84 MPG. The company’s targeted production date is the first half of 2016.
Earth Day is April 22, 2015 but climate change is on many minds year round. This week Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Climate CoLab announced twenty-two contests that seek high-impact ideas on how to tackle climate change. A project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, the Climate CoLab is attempting to harness the knowledge and expertise of thousands of experts and non-experts across the world to help solve this issue. The Climate CoLab has a rapidly growing community of over 30,000 members from across the world. Anyone is welcome to join the platform to submit their own ideas, or comment on and show support for other proposals on the site.
“As systems like Linux and Wikipedia have shown, people from around the world—connected by the Internet—can work together to solve complex problems in very new ways,” said MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and principal investigator for the Climate CoLab project. “In the Climate CoLab, we’re applying this approach to one of the world’s most difficult problems—climate change.”
The contests cover a broad set of sub-problems that lie at the heart of the climate change challenge including: decarbonizing energy supply, shifting public attitudes and behavior, adapting to climate change, geoengineering, transportation, waste management, reducing consumption, and others.
The popular U.S. Carbon Price contest is returning this year, which seeks innovative policy and political mobilization strategies on how to implement a carbon price in the United States. Serving as Advisors for this contest are Former U.S. Secretary of State, George P. Shultz; former U.S. Representative (R-SC) and current Director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, Bob Inglis; and, former U.S. Representative (D-IN) and current President of Resources for the Future, Phil Sharp. Continue reading
Solar Impulse 2 has set off on a 35,000-kilometer journey around the world, powered only by solar energy. Schindler, a leading global elevator and escalator provider, is one of the project’s four main partners and welcomed the aircraft as it stops over at the Mandalay International Airport in Mandalay, Myanmar.
The Solar Impulse 2 is a single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber, with a 72 meter wingspan – larger than that of the Boeing 747 – weighting just 2,300 kg. The 17,248 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy. During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries, weighing 633 kg, that allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy.
The aircraft took off from Abu Dhabi on March 9, 2015 and will stop at 12 locations. The route includes stops in Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Chongqing and Nanjing, China. After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, Solar Impulse 2 will fly across the USA stopping in three locations –Phoenix, a location in the Midwest and New York City at JFK. After crossing the Atlantic, the final legs include a stop-over in Southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi. With the plane traveling at a maximum speed of 90 to 140 km/h, depending on the flying altitude, the journey will take five months to complete, including 25 days of flight time.
Schindler, which has been operating in Myanmar since 1999, is proud to participate in the project. “This is a historic moment and we are delighted to be part of a team that shares the same pioneering spirit and passion for engineering excellence, with the common objective to move people safely while using less energy,” said Jujudhan Jena, Chief Executive of Jardine Schindler Group.
Solar Impulse’s founders have welcome Schindler’s participation as an important illustration of how forward-looking companies are approaching sustainable development and seeing the industrial potential of using clean technology and renewable energy.
“Our partnership with Solar Impulse exemplifies our longstanding dedication to invest in clean technologies for sustainable mobility,” added Jena. “Just like those of the Solar Impulse team, the intensive efforts made by our R&D teams over the years have given birth to ground-breaking solutions that have redefined industry standards.”
According to a new survey from DNV GL, there is a global consensus that a renewables based electricity system can be achieved. More than 1,600 energy sector participants representing more than 70 countries participated in a study addressing three key questions on how to move forward the integration of renewables into the global electricity grids of the future. Eight out of 10 respondents believe that the electricity system can be 70 percent renewable by 2050 while nearly half of the respondents believe this can be achieved in the next 15 years. The culmination of the study was published in the report, “Beyond Integration: Three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid“.
Key questions asked included posing a scenario in which renewables account for 70 percent of power sector generation. How likely did they feel this was to come about? What time frame might they assign to such a scenario? To whom would the scenario pose challenges? To whom might it offer opportunities?
The analysis sheds light on three dynamics reshaping renewables and the grid for the energy transition: convergence of metrics, rebalancing of rules and expansion of horizons.
David Walker, CEO DNV GL-Energy, said of the report, “DNV GL’s analysis of these findings concludes that the solution for a high renewables future demands a dramatic change in the industry’s approach to the integration of new technology. We need to adopt more collaborative approaches and go beyond old metrics, beyond old rules and beyond old silos. A shift away from a paradigm in which renewables are considered a nuisance to be accommodated to one in which the true potential of renewables in balancing and securing grids is unlocked. The debate needs to move ‘beyond integration’. DNV GL is taking the broader view and opening that discussion.”
Report findings are organised around three dynamics, which DNV GL sees reshaping not just electricity, but the entire energy sector:
- Convergence – New economic metrics must converge the needs of policymakers and system operators. The survey indicates that policymakers and system operators place diverging demands on renewable developers. Qualitative data stress that securing political will depends on affordability, while in a high renewables future developers must also engage with the increasing system operation challenges.
- Rebalancing – New rules are needed to rebalance the opportunities and challenges for developers and system operators. Developers, independent power producers and original equipment manufacturers are relishing the opportunities brought about by the shift to a high renewables system, while system operators and utilities identify themselves as being challenged by the transition.
- Expansion – New entrepreneurial solutions will expand the electricity business into a true ‘internet of energy’. Current high interest in energy storage, which 66 percent of respondents select as a top 3 lever for a high renewables future, is an example of the increasingly blurry lines between power, transport and heat. Meanwhile, respondents’ emphasis on smart grids underscores the role for IT in helping to manage the variability of renewables. The electricity sector is becoming more interconnected with the wider energy system, and also with newer sectors such as IT.
- Aria Energy has announced the beginning of commercial operations and renewable energy production at Sarasota County’s Central County Solid Waste Disposal Complex located in Nokomis, Florida. The project is a 4.8 MW landfill gas-to-energy facility that produces renewable energy by capturing and processing the methane gas generated at the landfill through organic decomposition. Aria Energy designed, built, owns and operates the facility, and sells the electricity to JEA under a power purchase agreement.
- Solar Power, Inc. has announced its partnership with Aqua Clean Energy (ACE) for the co-development of floating PV projects in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico. Under the terms of the agreement, ACE and SPI will co-develop an identified pipeline of floating PV projects in the licensed territories with an estimated combined size of over 50 MW by establishing a joint venture holding company, Aqua Clean Energy Fund, LLC.
- Sunrun has announced that Bob Komin has joined the company as chief financial officer (CFO). Komin is responsible for the overall finance, accounting, and structured finance activity of the company. He assumed his new role March 9 replacing Anne Brennan, and will work closely with her to transition activities over the next few weeks.
- OneRoof Energy, Inc., wholly owned subsidiary of OneRoof Energy Group, Inc., has announced that it has closed the financing agreement with Spindrift Equities, LLC, one of OneRoof Energy’s existing investors. As announced on March 13, 2015, the US$2.0 million represents a portion of the US$15.0 million of capital previously announced on November 24, 2014 from Black Coral Capital, LLC and other investors in the form of secured convertible promissory notes.
Today is National Agriculture Day. People around America are taking time today to learn something about ag, and many are also taking an opportunity to thank the farmers who produce our food, feed and fuel.
“American farmers are to be admired. They are stewards of the land who ensure sustainability for future generations. They are innovative, dedicated and produce an abundance of food and fuel for our nation and the world. Efficient and hardworking, American farmers are the backbone of our nation. They help to bolster rural economies while growing our nation’s economy, providing economic security for all. It takes a lot to get food from the farm to the table and we all have America’s farmers and ranchers to thank for it,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.
“Additionally, American agriculture is at the forefront of biofuel development. Farmers are helping produce homegrown, sustainable biofuels that are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil, creating jobs that cannot be outsourced and improving our environment, all while providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.
“American consumers pay less per capita than any other country for food. Our grocery stores are well stocked and American agriculture is the envy of the world. Agriculture creates economic security for our rural communities and has allowed hardworking Americans to secure a place in the middle class. As we celebrate National Ag Day, Americans nationwide should be proud to acknowledge the many contributions agriculture has made to society and the leading role farming communities will continue to play in our country’s economy,” Buis concluded.