Black Oak Wind Farm Looking for Investors

The first community owned wind farm in New York is looking for investors. Black Oak Wind Farm, LLC has opened a new equity investment round for New York residents and companies to join the existing investors in owning the wind farm. The project will consists of 7 turbines located on a ridge in Enfield, New York.

Black Oak Wind Farm LogoAn AA credit rating institution is purchasing all the power output from the project for ten years. The project was awarded a ten-year contract with NYSERDA for its Renewable Energy Credits and qualifies for the Federal Investment Tax Credit. Black Oak has protected itself against the financial risk caused by wind variability through the use of an innovative risk management product offered by Nephila Capital, in partnership with REsurety.

Project Manager Marguerite Wells is leading the project. Her vision for community ownership stems from the fact that most wind farms don’t allow local residents to invest in the projects they live among. “I asked myself a long time ago…if wind farms are profitable then why shouldn’t they be owned by regular local people instead? I quickly learned that wind farm financing is extremely complex, and although community ownership is a common model in Europe, there are few such projects here in the U.S.”

One similar project is South Dakota Wind Partners, a 7-turbine wind farm owned by 614 South Dakotans. Val-Add Service Corporation, the financial consultants who developed that project, are members of the Black Oak team, as is Juhl Energy, based in Pipestone, MN. The PPA was negotiated by Altenex; GE will be providing the turbines (1.7-100’s) and the O&M services. Tetra Tech Construction, based in Gloversville, NY will build the project; COD is expected Fall 2015.

The current round is open only to accredited investors in the State of New York, with another round opening this fall for non-accredited investors.

West African Solar Project Gets Funding

A large photovoltaic solar farm to be located at Zagtouli on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso in sub-Saharan Africa is moving ahead. The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide EUR 23 million to support the project. When completed the 30 MW solar plant is expected to act as a reference for future solar investment across the continent.

Once operational the new solar plant will significantly increase power generation in Burkina Faso, reduce dependence on energy imports from Ivory Coast and Ghana and help prevent power cuts. It is estimated that less than a quarter of the country’s inhabitants have access to electricity. In recent years power demand in the country has increased annually by 10 percent; however, power cuts and limited electricity access have seriously hindered economic growth.

Burkina Faso Flag“The European Investment Bank is a strong partner for Burkina Faso and this close cooperation over many years has enabled significant investment in new water and energy infrastructure that has created jobs across the country. The new support agreed today for investment by SONABEL in renewable energy is an importance milestone in the long-standing cooperation between Burkina Faso and Europe,” said Lucien Bembamba, Minister of Economy and Finance for the Republic of Burkina Faso.

Agreement for financing the solar project follows detailed feasibility studies to evaluate local energy needs and strengthen project implementation supported by the European Union. The European Union Delegation in Ouagadougou has supported the project since the start and worked closely with promoter SONABEL. Alongside the EIB, financing will also be provided by the French Development Agency and European Union and over a hundred jobs will be created during construction of the solar plant.

“Electricity in essential for economic activity and the European Investment Bank is committed to supporting energy investment that will improve lives across Africa,” added Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank vice president. “The significant support for the new solar farm builds on our strong partnership over many years with Sonabel. Burkina Faso can be proud to host the new facility that will act as a benchmark for renewable energy in West Africa.”

10 Facts About Geothermal Energy in Oregon

geothermal power plantThe GRC Annul Meeting and Geothermal Energy Expo is taking place September 28-October 1, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. To get people excited, the Geothermal Energy Association has created 10 facts about geothermal energy in Oregon.

  1. There is about 33 MW of geothermal power on-line in Oregon producing 165 GWh in 2013.
  2. The latest industry survey identified 19 projects under development in Oregon with estimated subsurface resources of 340 MW that developers expect could provide 60 MW of additional power within the next few years if appropriate contracts are secured.
  3. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are an additional 500 MW of discovered geothermal power resources in Oregon and 1,800 MW of undiscovered resources.
  4. Geothermal power provides affordable power according to studies produced in 2014 by the Energy Information Agency, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, California Public Utilities Commission and others.
  5. Geothermal power provides significant numbers of permanent jobs. For every 100MW of geothermal power there are 170 permanent jobs supported and development of 100MW of new projects produces over 600 annual construction and manufacturing jobs.
  6. According to studies geothermal has the lowest life-cycle emission of any renewable technology besides hydropower.
  7. Geothermal power projects have the lowest land density compared to any other renewable power technology.
  8. Geothermal power plants can be engineered to be firm and flexible power sources in addition to being source of a renewable baseload power.
  9. Geothermal fields can operate for 30 years or longer, the largest geothermal field in North America, the Geysers in California celebrated its 50th birthday this year. Geothermal fields in Italy have been generating electricity since 1912.
  10. Every additional megawatt of geothermal power can enable the installation of 3 to 5 megawatt of additional intermittent power like solar and wind power.

Registration is still open. Click here for more information.

Report: Solar Costs Continue to Decline

According to a new study from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the average cost of going solar in the U.S. is continuing to decline. The findings were applauded by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar.

“In just a few years, American ingenuity and smart policy have made solar a true success story. These price declines mean that solar power is now an affordable option for families, Tracking the Sun VIIschools, businesses and utilities alike,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar. “The result is that solar and its many grid, economic and environmental benefits are shining in communities across the country.”

The seventh edition of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Tracking the Sun, an annual report on solar photovoltaic (PV) costs in the U.S., examined more than 300,000 PV systems installed between 1998 and 2013 and preliminary data from the first half of 2014.

“This report highlights yet another reason why solar energy has become such a remarkable American success story. Today, solar provides 143,000 good-paying jobs nationwide, pumps nearly $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy and is helping to significantly reduce pollution,” said SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch. “There are now more than half a million American homes, businesses and schools with installed solar, and this is good news for freedom of energy choice as well as for our environment.”

Key findings include:

  • Installed prices continued their significant decline in 2013, falling year-over-year by 12 to 15 percent depending on system size.
  • Data for systems installed in a number of the largest state markets – Arizona, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – during the first six months of 2014 found that the median installed price of systems installed in the first half of 2014 fell by an additional 5-12 percent, depending on system size, over 2013.
    Solar installed costs declined even as PV module pricing remained relatively steady, indicating success in efforts targeting non-module soft costs – which include marketing and customer acquisition, system design, installation labor, and the various costs associated with permitting and inspections.
  • Cash incentives provided through state and utility PV incentive programs (i.e., rebates and performance-based incentives) have fallen by 85 to 95 percent since their peak a decade ago.

The National Lab notes that these findings mark the fourth consecutive year of major cost reductions for the U.S. solar industry. Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, employing 143,000 Americans, pumping $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy and helping to reduce pollution.

Saudi Poultry Industry Eyes Solar-Diesel Hybrids

The agricultural industry in Saudi Arabia is looking to reduce fuel costs and increase energy efficiency with solar-diesel hybrid solutions. In particular, the poultry industry could greatly benefit from using solar-hybrid generators replacing traditional diesel generators. The technology was discussed in Riyadh leading up to the Desert Solar Saudi Arabia conference taking place September 17-18, 2014.

“Hybrid solar-diesel systems are an effective solution to provide power to poultry houses, many of which are not connected to the national electric grid. Solar-based solutions are well adapted to the Kingdom’s sunny Desert Solar Aerialconditions, and they can help reduce the poultry industry’s heavy reliance on diesel fuel,” said Mark Webster, agribusiness and food practice lead at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Webster was addressing the Sustainable Agriculture: A Solar Solution roundtable, which was organized by the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association, in partnership with PwC and Dar Solar.

As a result of the heavy dependence on diesel fuel, Saudi poultry producers, accounting for nearly 79 percent of the Kingdom’s poultry import, are incurring notably higher energy costs than Brazilian producers due to their heavy dependence on diesel fuel.

“Domestic producers are expected to double national poultry production in the next few years, creating even further pressure on the demand for diesel fuel. A hybrid solar-diesel system will help poultry producers remain competitive against imports by ensuring a secure and affordable source of power to cool their poultry houses,” added Webster.

At present, domestic poultry production accounts for only 40-45 percent of the Saudi market. However, the share is expected to increase to 60-65 percent in the next 5-10 years, due to massive investments in additional production capacities planned by the top Saudi producers. Continue reading

Lotnisko Wind Farm Contruction Begins in Poland

September 10, 2014 marked the official beginning of construction of the 90 MW Lotnisko wind farm based in Kopaniewo, Poland. It is one of the largest projects in the Polish wind power industry. The ceremony was attended by Marek Woszczyk, PGE Odnawialna S.A1, President of the Board; Maciej Górski, PGE Energia 90 MW Lotnisko wind farm in PolandOdnawialna S.A., President of the Board; Lesław Kuzaj, Alstom, President of the Board; Mirosław Kowalik, Alstom Thermal Power and Renewable Sales and Marketing Director; Alexis de Beaumont, Alstom Renewable Spain, Regional Vice President; and several local officials.

The construction of the Lotnisko wind farm will be conducted by Alstom who was awarded the contract in June 2014. This is the first wind power project implemented by Alstom Poland. The project includes supply, installation and commissioning of 30 Alstom ECO 110 3MW wind turbines, equipped with a 110m diameter rotor, 90m high steel tower and a SCADA2 remote control system. Completion of the wind farm is scheduled for Q 4 of 2015.

“Alstom is proud to contribute to this project, thus confirming our involvement in the development of the wind power sector and the effort to build a sustainable energy mix in Poland,” said Yves Rannou, Senior Vice President of Alstom Wind business.

Brazilian Football Players Create Energy

Brazilian football legend Pele is helping Shell shine a light on the world’s energy future with a first of-its-kind player-powered community football pitch in the heart of aRio de Janeiro favela.

As a real-world example that ideas can come from anywhere, Shell has used the invention of a young entrepreneur to solve a challenge for the Morro da Mineira community. The football pitch, a key part of life for favela residents, was refurbished by Shell using 200 high-tech, underground tiles that capture kinetic energy created by the movement of the players. This energy is then stored and combined with the power generated by solar panels next to the pitch to convert into renewable electricity for the new floodlights, giving everyone in the favela, and especially young people, a safe and secure community space at night.

Pele who joined Shell to officially open the pitch, said, “Football is Brazil’s biggest passion and the sport has gone through so much technological innovation since the last time I played. This new pitch shows the extraordinary things possible when science and sport come together. The Morro da Mineira community will now be able to use this sports facility as a safe gathering place – all thanks to the floodlights powered by the community’s football players.”

The Morro da Mineira project is part of the Shell #makethefuture programme, which aims to inspire young people and entrepreneurs to look at science and engineering as a career choice, and in particular use their minds to develop energy solutions for the future of the planet. The kinetic technology used at this football pitch has been developed by a grant recipient of the UK Shell LiveWIRE. The Morro da Mineira project illustrates how creative ideas delivered through committed partnerships can shape neighbourhoods and transform communities.

“By 2050, the world will be using 75 percent more energy than it does now. Meeting that extra demand will require a set of energy sources – and a new generation of scientists and engineers with the passion, ideas and innovation to develop it,” said Andre Araujo, Shell Brazil Country Chair. “The pitch proves the potential and power when scientists and entrepreneurs focus their efforts to develop creative and innovative energy solutions. By tapping into the world’s passion and interest in football, we aim to capture the attention of youngsters around the world so they think differently about energy and the opportunity of science studies and careers.”

Pedro Veiga, coordinator of the Rio+Social programme of the Instituto Pereira Passos (IPP) added: “To have a project like this on our doorstep will make a real difference to Morro da Mineira. Until it was redeveloped by Shell, the football pitch was largely unusable and many of our young people were being forced to play in the streets. You never know, this example of innovation might even inspire some of the kids to dream of being the nextIsaac Newton!”

Pico Solar & Solar Home Systems to Top $2.1B

According to Navigant Research global market share for miniature solar photovoltaic systems, including pico solar and solar home systems, will grow from $538 million in 2014 to more than $2.1 billion in 2024. These systems are moving rapidly from specialized niches for solar enthusiasts and early adopters into the mainstream. They are particularly well suited for applications in the developing world where the provide lighting, cell phone charging and power for small direct current (DC) appliances in areas where the grid is unreliable or nonexistent.

Pico Solar System“Although the majority of solar consumer product activity is, for now, in developing regions of the world, similar products are also emerging in the developed world in the form of solar PV generators and kits,” said Dexter Gauntlett, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “NRG’s recent acquisition of Goal Zero exemplifies the growing interest in the sector among major corporations, with more acquisitions and strategic partnerships likely to follow.”

According to the report, in the developing world pico solar systems are providing new alternatives for people who previously had no choice but to pay high prices for low-quality and polluting fuel-based lighting, such as kerosene lamps. In addition to providing inadequate illumination, kerosene lamps pose significant health risks. The spread of pico solar systems gives these communities access to compact, clean, and affordable off-grid lighting and other electric devices.

The report, “Solar Photovoltaic Consumer Products”, analyzes the emerging global market for solar PV consumer products. It focuses on pico solar products and solar home systems, but also analyzes growth opportunities and key players for solar PV generators and kits. The report examines the distinct market issues for each product type in both developed and developing countries, including drivers and barriers, business models, and pricing trends.

Northern Power Launches Distributed Wind Turbines

Northern Power Direct Drive Distributed Wind TurbineNorthern Power Systems has unveiled its next generation permanent magnet/direct drive distributed wind turbines. The 100 kilowatt NPS 100C and the 60 KW NPS 60C are now commercially available for use around the world.

According to the company, new 24.4 meter rotor features state-of-the-art hub and blade technology with superior aerodynamics providing a larger swept area compared to the outgoing model. This increases the annual energy production (AEP) of the NPS 100C-24 and 60C-24 by up to 15% depending on wind conditions. In combination with Northern Power’s proprietary permanent magnet/direct drive technology, the company says these new turbines are industry leading in power performance, energy production and lifetime cost of ownership.

Northern Power System’s first turbines were deployed in 2008. The improved, design reduces foundation and installation costs according to the company, and further improvements include a new best in class brake system, industry leading yaw configuration, an enhanced electrical layout, more efficient generator cooling, and an ultrasonic wind vane and anemometer. The new class III 24.4 meter rotor is available on the 100kW and 60kW model. The NPS 100C is alternatively available with a class II 21 meter rotor option.

Wind Turbines Outperforming Expectations at Honda

Wind turbine energy output is exceeding expectations just six months after installation at the Honda Transmission Mfg of America plant located in Russells Point, Ohio. The two wind turbines have exceeded the projected power output figures by 6.3 percent. The turbines, standing 260 feet tall with 160-foot blades, were initially projected to produce upwards of 10,000 megawatt hours (MWH) of electricity per year, accounting for approximately 10 percent of the plant’s annual power needs. The turbines have outperformed company projections in four of the six months since operation began. At their highest output, the turbines provided 16.26 percent of the plant’s power requirements for the month of April.

“We are extremely pleased with the performance of the wind turbines’ production over their first six months,” said Gary Hand, Vice President of Honda Transmission Mfg. of America. “The turbines’ operation has exceeded the projections established during the project development.”

The wind turbines have also contributed toward reducing the CO2 emissions of power production, helping HHondaturbinesSMrevonda reach its voluntary goals to reduce the environmental impact of its products and manufacturing operations by 2020. This includes a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from Honda products, and significant CO2 reductions from the company’s plants and other operations, compared with year 2000 levels.

We are pleased to observe the performance of the two on-site wind turbines are achieving results over and above what Honda had anticipated. From the outset, we were confident that the site location selected would allow the GE turbines to produce a significant amount of the facility’s’ energy requirements,” said Tyler Juhl, vice president of operations for Juhl Energy who developed and installed the turbines.

The installation of the turbines makes the plant the first major automotive facility in the United States to receive a substantial amount of its power from on-site wind turbines. The two turbines are owned by ConEdison Solutions.

Michael W. Gibson, vice president of energy services at ConEdison Solutions, added of the wind power achievement, “ConEdison Solutions takes tremendous pride in our commitment to customers, and we are proud to be helping Honda implement its innovative energy program at Russells Point. With this initiative, Honda has set an excellent example for the American manufacturing sector, and we are gratified that they have been pleased with its success.”

Western US Slowly Adopts Geothermal Energy

EIA operational geothermal plants in USCalifornia has been the leading geothermal energy state in the U.S. but according to a recent Today in Energy published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) other western states are slowing adopting geothermal energy.

There are currently 64 operating conventional geothermal power plants in the U.S., accounting for nearly 2,700 megawatts (MW) of total capacity at the end of 2013 or 0.4 percent of total U.S. generation. Over three-fourths of U.S. geothermal power generation in 2013 was in California, largely because of favorable geothermal resources, policy, and market conditions in the state, according to Today in Energy. The largest group of geothermal power plants in the world, a complex called the Geysers, located in Northern California, has more than 700 MW of capacity.

Since 2001, only 7 of 30 new plants exceeding 1 MW have been built in California, where most available low-cost geothermal resources have previously been developed. Sixteen of those 30 plants built after 2001 are in Nevada, with the remainder in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Hawaii. Most of the newer plants are relatively small, and while geothermal generation rose 11% between 2008 and 2013, the geothermal share of total U.S. electricity generation has remained consistently around 0.4% since 2001.

Geothermal plants are virtually emissions free, and unlike renewable sources such as wind and solar, they provide an available, dispatchable source of baseload power that is able to operate at a relatively high capacity factor. EIA projects that geothermal electricity generation could more than quadruple between 2012 and 2040 (increasing to over 67,000 GWh), helping California and other states with renewable portfolio standards satisfy their mandated renewable generation requirements.

Yelo- A Solar Powered Desk in a Bag

Students in need of electricity in rural schools have a new way to learn: YELO. Designed by Prayas Innovation the bag converts into a school desk. It comes equipped with a LED light that is powered by solar energy kit. The rechargeable battery in the solar kit can be charged through solar energy as well as supports AC charging. YELO is made up of corrugated sheet is durable and has strength to carry belongings worth more than 5 kg and is the outcome of several months of research and user trails.

With millions of stEmpowering Rural Education - 'YELO' an Innovative Solar Powered School Bag that Converts into a Deskudents out of school world-wide, India ranks highest amongst countries with students not attending school. Students in rural areas lack access to basic educational infrastructure. Sitting on the floor in incorrect posture for long working hours results in back pain, bad eyesight and inability to concentrate and study.

YELO addresses these needs by helping children carry their books and belongings irrespective of weather conditions. The same bag with a single fold technique smartly transforms into a school desk. The desk offers an angle of 30-35 degrees for students to write and read, thus ensuring they maintain an ergonomic posture while studying at school or at home.

“We look forward to collaborate with corporates, NGO’s and other social organizations who share similar vision for working towards this cause,” said Manish Mathur, managing director of Prayas Innovation.

Tender Issued for Isreal Timna Solar Park

A tender is being issued to organize and operate the Tima Solar Park, an new 50 MW PV tracker solar energy farm in southern Isreal. The solar project is being led by the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative. The new Timna Solar Park will be located on a 247 acre plot of land adjacent to the site of the former Timna Mines, which is approximately 18 Eilat Eilot logomiles north of Eilat. The tender will be open to only PV Tracker solar systems and the cost of the bid will cover only the acquisition of the land. The tariff per installed kilowatt has already been determined by the government of Israel according to regulations established in 2012 for solar energy harvested by PV systems. The allocation of the land and project have already been approved by the Israeli Land Authority.

“We are very proud to announce this tender for the Timna Solar Park and significantly expand the amount of solar energy produced in the Arava and Eilat regions, which currently stands at 65 megawatts,” explained Dorit Davidovich-Banet, CEO of The Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative and Chairperson of the Eilat-Eilot Green Energy Conference “The new Timna Solar Park offers bidders and their investors an attractive opportunity to build a profitable solar energy field supported excellent infrastructure and a dynamic renewable energy ecosystem.”

The tender to build and operate the Timna Solar Park is scheduled to be published on October 19,2014 and is open to qualified bidders worldwide, while the Timna Industrial Zone, where the Timna Solar Park will be located, will be managed by the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative. Detailed maps of the area and a completed environmental impact report will be provided to qualified bidders as part of the bid process. Each bidder will be required to submit a detailed plan of its proposed technology and systems to the Israeli National Planning Committee for approval.

Eitan Parnass, director general of the Green Energy Association of Israel, added, “The Timna Solar Park will substantially increase Israel’s renewable energy production and will play an important role in diversifying the country’s energy mix,” said “This project also holds the potential to serve as the basis for international cooperation throughout the region with connectivity and supply of solar energy to the national grids of neighboring countries.”

At the Eilat-Eilot Green Energy Conference, there will be a special conference session dedicated to discussing the project details and bidding process for the Timna Solar Park. This conference session is scheduled for 1pm on December 9, 2014 with bidders taken on a tour of the Timna Solar Park site the following day.

CESA Releases Solar Group Purchasing Guide

Clean Energy States Alliance GuidebookThere is a new guide available for state program managers who are looking at the opportunity of community group purchasing for solar energy. “Planning and Implementing a Solarize Initiative: A Guide for State Program Managers,” was produced by The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership, a coalition of five New England States managed by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA).

This guide features detailed cases studies of two particularly well-developed and successful programs from New England: Solarize Connecticut and Solarize Massachusetts. Solarize is a group purchasing program for solar PV systems that lowers acquisition costs for rooftop solar installations. As more homeowners join the group purchasing program, the cost goes down, because of a tiered-pricing plan with reduced prices for more participation. The guide will be helpful to program managers and other stakeholders in states across the country seeking to develop their own Solarize programs.

According to the guide, solarize programs in both Connecticut and Massachusetts have been tremendously successful in increasing the rate of residential solar adoption in three ways:

  • First, Solarize expands the potential customer base. In Connecticut, 20% of households who signed a contract for a new solar PV system through the Solarize CT program had never previously considered installing solar.
  • Second, the program speeds up solar deployment. In Massachusetts, the number of small-scale solar projects more than doubled in the vast majority of participating Solarize communities as a result of the program. In Connecticut, during Phase I of their Solarize program, selected Solarize municipalities achieved 24-65 times the rate of new solar installation contracts as compared to the rate during the prior seven years.
  • Third, Solarize programs help drive down the installation prices for consumers. In Connecticut, Solarize has resulted in cost reductions of between 20-30 percent for customers. Solarize Mass has achieved an average price reduction of 18-20 percent for installed projects.

The guide is available here.

OCI Solar Power Fires Up New Solar Farms

Three new solar projects have been fired up by OCI Solar Power adding 45 MW of solar energy. The newly operational Alamo 4 project in Brackettville, Texas, generates 39 MW for CPS Energy, San Antonio’s community-owned utility. The solar farm features more than 150,000 solar panels and covers 600 acres of privately-owned land. Alamo 4 is OCI Solar Power’s first Texas project outside of metropolitan San Antonio and employed approximately 550 people during construction.

OCI Solar Power Alamo 4 Solar Farm“The progress we’re making with the opening and construction of new projects means more than half of our Texas projects are now complete or underway,” said OCI Solar Power President and CEO Tony Dorazio. “This also means the number of solar jobs in the state is increasing.”

With the commencement of operations of Alamo 4 comes the start of construction for Alamo 3 in San Antonio and Alamo 5 in Uvalde, Texas. OCI Solar Power is partnering with the San Antonio River Authority to lease land for the 5.5 MW Alamo 3 project near Loop 1604 and IH10 on the northeast side of town. Alamo 3 will be the first Alamo project to feature locally made solar panels from manufacturing partner Mission Solar Energy and a new dual axis tracker technology from Sun Action Trackers. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“We are very excited to be partnering once again with OCI Solar Power for the expansion of this valuable resource in the San Antonio region,” added SARA General Manager Suzanne Scott. “This partnership has proven to be a successful venture and we look forward to the continued growth of sustainable practices in our community.”