- Trina Solar Limited has announced that its Trinasmart panels are now part of the technology solution that Vivint Solar, Inc. offers to its customers. Trina Solar touts Trinasmart as a module-integrated solution that optimizes the energy output of PV systems, enhances solar array safety, improves installation speeds and reduces balance of system costs.
- Yes! Solar Solutions has partnered with Dividend Solar to offer the $0-down EmpowerLoan in North Carolina for the first time. The full-service solar loan includes energy production guarantees, warranty management, hassle-free maintenance and performance monitoring at no additional cost – all with the significant financial upside of solar ownership.
- First Solar, Inc. and SunPower Corp. have announced that 8point3 Energy Partners LP, a limited partnership formed by First Solar and SunPower to own and operate a portfolio of selected solar generation assets, has filed a Registration Statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO) of Class A shares representing limited partner interests in 8point3 Energy Partners. The number of shares to be offered and the initial public offering price of the shares have not yet been determined.
- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has launched the Lighting Africa program for Nigeria. The program, a joint initiative of IFC and the World Bank, will help increase access to affordable, clean and safer lighting for more than 30 percent of Nigeria’s population who live in rural areas, and have low incomes and no access to grid electricity.
The latest U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review has been released and solar had another banner year. Newly installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity for the year reached a record 6,201 megawatts, more than 30 percent higher than in 2013. An additional 767 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) also came online during 2014. Solar accounted for 32 percent of the nation’s new generating capacity in 2014, beating out both wind energy and coal for the second year in a row. Only natural gas constituted a greater share of new generating capacity. The report was released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The solar industry broke the gigawatt (GW) level in 2011 and in 2014, 3.9 GW of utility-scale sized solar power projects came online with an additional 14 GW under contract. The commercial segment in the U.S. also first installed more than 1 GW in 2011 but has not shared the same success as the utility-scale segment. In 2014, the commercial segment installed just over 1 GW, down 6 percent from 2013. The report notes, “Many factors have contributed to this trend, ranging from tight economics to difficulty financing small commercial installations.” But GTM Research expects 2015 to be a bounce-back year for the commercial segment, highlighted by a resurgence in California.
The U.S. residential segment’s 1.2 GW in 2014 marks its first time surpassing 1 GW. Residential continues to be the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S., with 2014 marking three consecutive years of greater than 50 percent annual growth.
“Without question, the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has helped to fuel our industry’s remarkable growth. Today the U.S. solar industry has more employees than tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter combined,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “Since the ITC was passed in 2006, more than 150,000 solar jobs have been created in America, and $66 billion has been invested in solar installations nationwide. We now have 20 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity – enough to power 4 million U.S. homes – and we’re helping to reduce harmful carbon emissions by 20 million metric tons a year. By any measurement, the ITC has been a huge success for both our economy and environment.”
GTM Research forecasts the U.S. PV market to grow 31 percent in 2015. The utility segment is expected to account for 59 percent of the forecasted 8.1 GW of PV.
According to a new report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), consumers and businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable to higher electricity bills due to increased natural gas bills. As such, USC calls for more energy efficiency and renewable energy resources like solar and wind to be integrated into the U.S. grid. This would help insulate against economic risks tied to one energy source, while diversify the power energy mix.
“The Natural Gas Gamble,” finds that the power sector is leading the country into a danger zone by favoring natural gas over renewables and energy efficiency options.
“There’s a well-documented history of volatility in natural gas prices,” said Jeff Deyette, senior energy analyst at UCS and report co-author. “Increasing demand, extreme weather events, and uncertainties about available gas supplies can cause prices to spike dramatically. For example, last winter when the Polar Vortex brought bitter cold to much of the U.S., prices in some regions jumped 10- to 12-times higher than recent lows. Despite the recent surge in natural gas production, these trends could continue and leave consumers that rely on natural gas paying the price.”
The analysis also found that if renewables made up a much greater share of the U.S. electricity mix and were combined with investments in energy efficiency, electricity prices would stabilize and consumers would ultimately pay less for their energy. Factoring in the limit on carbon emissions and strong renewable energy and energy efficiency policies at both the federal and state levels, by 2040 renewables could make up nearly 40 percent of the electricity mix and consumers would see an annual net savings of $59 billion (in 2013 dollars).
“Businesses and shareholders may also see their bottom lines negatively affected if utilities continue to expand natural gas in their electricity mix,” Deyette added. “Cleaner-burning natural gas can help in the transition away from coal to cleaner electricity generation sources. However, simply substituting dependence on one fossil fuel for another is a dead end that ultimately limits our ability to slow climate change and safeguard consumers.”
The UCS report concludes that as the nation moves away from coal, enacting a breadth of policies to ensure a diverse supply of low-carbon power sources—made up primarily of renewable energy and energy efficiency, with a more balanced role for natural gas—would protect consumers’ pocketbooks and the environment.
- Deinove, a biotech company developing innovative processes for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals, has announced that its patent, “High-performance metabolic bacteria1″, has been granted in the U.S. This patent covers the biofuel production process from cellulosic or hemicellulosic material – biomass components – by a consolidated bioprocess of degradation and fermentation based on Deinococcus bacteria.
- To commemorate International Women’s Day and Beijing +20, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the International Center for Research on Women, and ENERGIA will host a high level meeting to address the critical role energy access plays in driving gender equality. Hosted by UN Women, the event will take place during the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Westin Grand Central in New York, NY. The event is to raise awareness among the global gender community that access to energy is a critical driver of gender equality, is necessary for achieving global gender equality goals and targets, and provides significant opportunities for women’s empowerment.
- The Dutch Research Centre Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research just released a short biorefinery film that clarifies the key role that biorefinery plays in a bioeconomy. Biorefinery, a process that enables the full and sustainable utilization of biomass. Media and companies struggle to create a clear image of this process to the public. With this film, Wageningen UR aims to create a short and clear understanding of what biorefinery actually is and how it is used to make sustainable biobased products, such as food and feed, materials, chemicals and energy.
- Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems (Vestas) has maintained its position as the world-leading wind turbine installer in 2014, having achieved global capacity installations of just over 6,053 Megawatts (MW), according to research firm GlobalData. The company’s latest findings also show that of the world’s top five wind turbine installers in 2014, Siemens has climbed three positions since 2013 into second place.
The El Cielo Winery in Baja, California is soaking up the sun with the addition of a 53.9 kW solar system. The rooftop and carport system is comprised of 220 Kyocera 245 watt solar modules and is expected to offset nearly 75 percent of the winery’s energy needs, saving the between $1,000-$1,200 per month.
“The use of solar energy must be a priority not only for wineries, but also for all businesses,” said Gustavo Ortega, general director of El Cielo. “We chose Kyocera panels because of their longstanding, proven reliability and local production right here in Baja. In this way, we keep more jobs here in our own state.”
The winery and its associated restaurant have also adopted energy efficient LED lighting with automated motion sensors, thermal materials, solar tubes and reclaimed water for landscaping as further examples of how environmental impact can be minimized. Ortega said that his goal is the bring best practices to the wind industry in the U.S. and Mexico.
Solar was a crucial element for El Cielo according to Ortega. Just one year into operations, the winery is one of the region’s most popular, with a photovoltaic system that includes both rooftop panels and a carport to shade vehicles while simultaneously producing renewable energy from the region’s abundant sunshine.
“El Cielo represents best practices in the wine tourism industry, proving that being environmentally friendly can enhance a winery’s popularity and profitability,” added Cecilia Aguillon, director of marketing for Kyocera Solar Inc. “Kyocera enjoys a special relationship with Baja California, having manufactured solar modules in Tijuana for more than a decade. We’re honored to support this important project in the region.”
The Deepwater Wind Block Island project will be proceeding. Alstom, the company that will provide five Haliade 150 6MW offshore wind turbines, said they have received formal notice to proceed from the developers of the project with the announcement that the project is now fully financed. The Haliade operates without any gearbox (using direct-drive), due to its permanent-magnet generator.
“This is a major milestone and the confirmation that this project, the first commercial offshore project in the United States for Alstom, will now materialize, ” said Yves Rannou, senior vice president wind for Alstom.
Alstom will supply, install and commission the five Haliade 150 turbines for the project and provide 15 years of operations and maintenance support. The turbines, capable of producing approximately 125,000 MWh of electricity annually, will provide about 90 percent of Block Island’s power needs.
Anders Soe-Jensen, vice president of Alstom Wind Offshore added, “Securing final financing for this ambitious project is an exceptional achievement for Deepwater Wind. We believe this project will highlight both the commercial and technological viability of offshore wind in the US and we are proud to be part of the team making it happen. This is the start of a new chapter in sustainable energy for the US.”
Wind turbine, foundation and electrical interface engineering is advancing on schedule to meet Deepwater Wind’s project specifications, including installation of the five foundations during summer 2015. Located about three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, the Block Island Wind Farm is scheduled for commercial service in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Net electrical generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources increased by 10.9 percent over the previous year (2013), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest “Electric Power Monthly“. The solar contribution to net electrical generation more than doubled (102.8%) while wind grew by 8.3 percent, biomass by 5.7 percent, and geothermal by 5.4 percent.
Comparatively speaking, nuclear power and coal increased by only 1.0% and 0.3% respectively while electrical generation using natural gas dropped by 0.3 percent. Conventional hydropower also declined by 3.7 percent. Net electrical generation from all energy sources combined increased by 0.7 percent in 2014 compared to 2013.
During the last decade, electrical generation from non-hydro renewables has more than tripled. And, significantly, 2014 was the first year in which non-hydro renewables provided more electrical generation than did hydropower (281,060 thousand MWh vs. 258,749 thousand MWh).
Including hydropower, EIA reports that renewable energy sources accounted for 13.19 percent of net U.S. electrical generation in 2014 (hydropower – 6.32%, wind – 4.44%, biomass – 1.57%, solar – 0.45%, and geothermal – 0.41%). These numbers, however, almost certainly understate renewable energy’s actual contribution to the nation’s electrical supply because EIA does not fully account for electricity generated by distributed and off-grid renewable energy systems (e.g., rooftop solar).
“Given current growth rates – especially for solar and wind, it is quite possible that renewable energy sources will reach, or exceed, 14% of the nation’s electrical supply by the end of 2015,” said Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “That is a level that EIA, only a few years ago, was forecasting would not be achieved until the year 2040.”
- Dyadic International, a global biotechnology company, has announced that it has completed a private placement of $2,000,000 in convertible subordinated secured promissory note (Note). The Note will pay interest quarterly at a rate of 10% per annum and is convertible at the holder’s option into shares of Dyadic common stock at $1.28 per share. Dyadic expects to use the proceeds from this offering for working capital including continued investments in research and development, and general corporate purposes.
- Gevo, Inc. has announced that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has purchased Gevo’s renewable Alcohol-to-Jet fuel (ATJ) for aviation use at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH. Gevo’s ATJ is manufactured at its demonstration biorefinery located in Silsbee, TX, using renewable isobutanol produced at its Luverne, MN, isobutanol plant.
- Green Plains Inc. has announced today that its newly-formed subsidiary, Green Plains Partners LP has confidentially submitted a draft registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The registration statement is for a proposed underwritten initial public offering (IPO) of common units representing limited partner interests in the newly-formed Partnership. It is anticipated that the IPO will raise approximately $200-$250 million in gross proceeds; however, the date, number of common units to be sold and the price range for the proposed IPO have not yet been determined.
- The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has announced this year’s Amateur Photo Contest. The purpose of the contest is to showcase quality photography featuring geothermal energy around the world. The first place winner will receive $150, second place – $100, and third place – $75. Honorable Mention photos will receive certificates. Photographs on any subject related to geothermal energy can be submitted. More information, including a submission form, can be found on the GRC website. The deadline for submissions is August 14, 2015.
According to a new report released this week by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA), more wind power was added to the grid in 2014 than any other energy resource. The data shows wind power generated 4.4 percent of all the electricity in America in 2014 and maintained its position as the fifth largest electricity source in the U.S. Iowa led the nation by producing 28.5 percent of its electricity from wind power, followed by South Dakota at 25.3 percent and Kansas at 21.7. Wind energy provided more than 15 percent of electricity in a total of seven states, more than 10 percent in a total of nine states, and more than five percent in a total of 19 states.
All renewable energy sources including hydropower now deliver more than 13 percent of the nation’s electricity, with wind energy providing more than one-third of that total.
“The U.S. is blessed with an abundant supply of wind energy. Pairing this homegrown resource with continued technology innovation has made the U.S. the home of the most productive wind turbines in the world,” said Emily Williams, deputy director of industry data and analysis for American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Analysis released last year found the U.S. is number one in the world in wind energy production.
AWEA cites the wind industry growth as being driven by technological improvements and cost declines that have reduced the cost of wind energy by more than half over the last five years, as documented by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
In 2014, wind provided enough electricity to power the equivalent of 16.7 million homes, or all the residential households in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, and Montana. Once recently added U.S. wind projects have had a full year of production, total wind output will likely rise to powering the equivalent of 18 million homes.
“Wind has more than tripled since 2008, it can double from where it is today to 10 percent by 2020, then double again to 20 percent by 2030, and become the leading source of electricity in the U.S. by 2050,” said added Kiernan. “However, to get there Congress must provide wind with the same policy certainty it provides to other energy sources by rapidly extending the Production Tax Credit for as long as possible.”
NTEA Work & Truck Show took place this week in Indianapolis, Indiana and several propane announcements were made during the show including a new bi-fuel autogas conversion system. The news was delivered by BSI President Ed Hoffman, and said the Ford Transit 3.7L engine conversion to propane autogas was under development and expected to be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for certification this spring.
Hoffman said the bi-fuel system conversion on the Transit requires no intake manifold drilling, cutting, or splicing of wiring, and the system provides OEM quality components and engineering with ½ the install time. He also noted with extended range capabilities the bi-fuel system insures a fleet gets where it needs to go.Twenty one gallons of propane will be added to the “tank” to be used in conjunction with traditional fuel. The Transit will be the first “plug & play” conversion to be installed by the Alliance AutoGas.
Replacing the Ford E-Series, the Ford Transit vans and wagons are in several configurations the wagon offers higher fuel economy ratings. The 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 surpasses the E-Series standard 4.6L V8 gas engine in EPA estimated highway mpg by 19 percent.
- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $35 million in funding to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, and enable early adoption of fuel cell applications, such as light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles. This funding opportunity will accelerate U.S. innovation in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The program is focused on reducing the costs and increasing technical advancements of critical hydrogen infrastructure, including production, delivery, and storage.
- A new report “Wind Turbine Composites Material Market,” is available and profiles competitive strategies adopted by top composites wind turbine blade manufacturers. In addition, the report defines driving and restraining factors for the global Wind Turbine Composites Material Market with the analysis of trends, opportunities, burning issues, winning imperatives, and challenges.
- SunEdison and Solar Grid Storage have announced that SunEdison has acquired the energy storage project origination team, project pipeline, and subject to customary consents and assignments, four operating storage projects from Solar Grid Storage. SunEdison now offers battery storage solutions to complement solar and wind projects worldwide, providing solutions that can benefit utilities, municipalities, businesses, and consumers alike.
- The U.S. Energy Department and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association have recognized Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri-State), which serves Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wyoming, and San Isabel Electric Association (San Isabel) of Colorado as the 2014 WINDExchange Wind Cooperatives of the Year. The awards honor electric cooperatives that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing U.S. wind power.
This month marks the 102 anniversary of tax breaks signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, for the oil industry. They were part of the first income tax code that took effect on March 1, 1913. As America marks this anniversary, Fuels America has launched a new campaign, “Clean, Secure, American Energy,” to highlight the success of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). This August will mark the 10th anniversary of the renewable energy legislation, a policy that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been dragging their feet on finalizing for 2014 and announcing renewable fuel volumes for 2015.
While oil companies have been benefiting from hand outs for more than a century, tax credits for corn-based ethanol expired several years ago. Fuels America cites that during the past 10 years, the commonsense, bipartisan RFS has tripled America’s biofuel production and helped lower our the country’s dependence on oil to the lowest level in decades – all while delivering environmental and economic benefits.
According to Fuels America, the “Clean, Secure, American Energy Campaign” is launching this week with a significant digital advertising campaign that will run on RollCall.com. The ads congratulate the oil industry by “Celebrating 102 Years of Oil Spills and Pollution”.
Last week, renewable fuel supporters highlighted the environmental benefits of the RFS by sending a letter to President Obama, urging him to ensure the EPA’s new multiyear rule for the RFS supports growth for existing and new biofuels technologies and lives up to the original intent of the bipartisan law.
“The RFS is working and has resulted in significant environmental gains,” the letter said. The RFS is America’s only fully implemented policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.”
Calling student energy entrepreneurs. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $2.5 million in funding for the Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP), which hopes to inspire the next generation of clean energy gurus. This funding opportunity will support the commercialization of promising technologies for sectors such as solar and wind that reduce carbon pollution and grow the clean energy economy.
According to DOE, the goal of the Cleantech UP is to create a strong national infrastructure focused on collegiate high-tech entrepreneurship that accelerates the rate of clean energy innovation in the U.S, while also establishing a national Cleantech UP Hub. The program will support up to eight Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions.
The Cleantech UP Hub will create a national prize, train student entrepreneurs, and serve as a coordinating body for energy entrepreneurship training, while the Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions will provide prizes for eight individual university-focused competitions that will equip students with business skills to move clean energy technologies from the discovery phase to the marketplace. Together, the Cleantech UP Hub and Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions will form a strategic network that increases student entrepreneurs’ participation—both in quantity and quality—in clean energy, and addresses the existing gaps in early-stage commercialization training.
AmeriPride Services has adopted propane autogas fueled trucks for its fleets after a successful pilot test program. In addition to the five ROUSH CleanTech Ford F-59 delivery trucks in Topeka, Kansas, the uniform and linen company is adding 20 more in Northern California later this year. AmeriPride announced their program expansion plans at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
“We’ve been extensively testing fuels and vehicles to find the right area and application that gives us the best environmental and economical benefits,” said Banny Allison, fleet services manager for AmeriPride. “Propane autogas reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has easy, cost-efficient fueling infrastructure. Because of our success in Kansas, we are implementing the same propane autogas vehicles in the Sacramento and Fresno areas.”
According to AmeriPride, each of their propane autogas trucks will emit about 95,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifetime. To fuel its vehicles, AmeriPride installed a private autogas station with 1,000-gallon tank at their Topeka facility because infrastructure for propane autogas is less expensive than any other alternative fuel, partly due to fewer requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Currently the company pays $1.55 per gallon for propane autogas that, historically, has cost up to 50 percent less than diesel.
“AmeriPride has long been a champion for supporting the environment and the communities they serve,” said Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing for ROUSH CleanTech, who is Ford’s only Qualified Vehicle Modifier for propane autogas. “Emissions-reducing, domestically produced propane autogas has met their criteria and now they are ready to expand into different markets with reliable Ford F-59 workhorses.”
- The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) has added Joanne Ivancic, Executive Director, Advanced Biofuels USA to the MCEC 2015 Advisory Council. Advanced Biofuels USA , a nonprofit educational organization headquartered in Frederick, Maryland, advocates for the adoption of advanced biofuels as an energy security, economic development, military flexibility and climate change/pollution control solution.
- Clean Focus has announced the completion of a new 3.75 MW solar project in the City of Adelanto, CA. The ground-mounted system, interconnected in late January, received its certificate of occupancy earlier this week. Construction financing was provided by Seminole Financial Services; Sol Construction led building efforts; and MPE Consulting served as lead engineer. The Adelanto project, sited on 20 acres will generate 7,156,000 kW hours of clean electricity a year.
- A week ahead of the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima reactor disaster, five leading organizations fighting for America’s clean-energy future – Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club – are unveiling an interactive online video, “Our Epic Future: Create It With Clean Energy.” The entertaining, fact-filled video allows visitors to explore three scenarios in the “Epic Energy Labs” with very different future outcomes: one dominated by fossil fuels, another in which nuclear power is the focus, and a third relying on renewable energy.
- Terra Motors Corporation, Japanese innovator of electric two- and three-wheelers, is establishing a joint venture to deal with the manufacturing and sales of electric vehicle in Dhaka with Runner group of companies, the most famous motorbike manufactures in Bangladesh, on February 18, 2015. The name of our joint venture is “Runner Terra EV ltd.”