U.S. sitting on 145 GW of unused commercial solar potential, according to new Wood Mackenzie study
Greentech Media – August 10
Wood Mackenzie is forecasting a 32 percent drop in commercial solar installations in 2020. But what’s the true potential of this market in the post-2020 period? According to new data prepared by Wood Mackenzie and Station A, about 3.5 percent of all commercial buildings have solar and another 1 percent are attached to community solar subscriptions, where customers buy power from a solar project located in the same utility territory. Not all buildings spend enough money on electricity to make solar a worthwhile investment. Once you account for those buildings — roughly 25 percent of the building stock — you’re left with approximately 70 percent of the commercial buildings as potential targets for solar installers. That equates to more than 600,000 sites and 145 gigawatts of solar capacity potential.
U.S. solar-storage hybrid pipeline exceeds 100 GW
PV-Tech – August 12
According to a new report published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory last month, counting systems with more than 1 megawatt of generation capacity, and including both co-located projects and hybrids, more than 102 gigawatts of hybrid solar-plus-storage projects are sitting in the nation’s connection queues. While these are proposed projects that may not yet be built, this still implies enormous growth from about 125 co-located hybrid plants representing at least 14 gigawatts of aggregate capacity already deployed in the U.S. by the end of 2019.
BloombergNEF: California home solar battery sales could quadruple in 2020
Solar Industry Magazine – August 12
BloombergNEF has predicted that at least 50,000 California homes will install storage systems this year. That figure would quadruple the total from 2019. The forecast came on the heels of a year of record-breaking growth for home solar storage in the U.S, due to the increased need for blackout protection and utility rate hedging. While the COVID-19 pandemic has likely delayed home storage installations statewide, the demand forces are still there. Bloomberg cited California’s power shutdowns in 2019 and the adoption of “time of use” utilities pricing as key motivators for the increased demand.
FERC staff to Congress: HV transmission essential to reducing carbon and deploying renewables
Utility Dive – August 10
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff last Friday sent a report to Congress outlining opportunities and barriers around transmission development, in a move clean energy advocates see as a “strong endorsement” of the need for large scale transmission. The report, sent to the U.S. House and Senate, concluded in part that high voltage transmission can improve reliability and “improve frequency response and ancillary services throughout the existing system,” among other things. Large-scale transmission planning is often cited by clean energy advocates as an essential tool to bringing more renewable energy onto the power grid, but barriers to growth include navigating regulatory processes across the federal, state, and local levels, the report noted.
Decline in hydropower hampered by drought will impact utility costs
The Mercury News – August 9
Hydroelectric power from dams usually provides about 15 percent of California’s electricity needs. But in 2015, at the zenith of the worst drought in California’s recorded history, it supplied only 6 percent. That loss in electricity generation during the 2012-16 drought cost PG&E and other California utilities about $5.5 billion, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Although the resulting energy shortfall was softened by increases in wind and solar production, natural gas plants closed the bulk of the gap. Using more natural gas, a much costlier form of energy production than hydropower, substantially increased the cost of producing California’s electricity.
Facebook expanding renewables footprint with big solar and wind buy
Data Center Knowledge – August 7
Facebook Inc. is buying a huge amount of clean power across the U.S. and Ireland to support its operations. The social media company, already one of the world’s biggest corporate consumers of renewable energy, signed contracts to buy 806 megawatts of additional solar and wind power. The contracts support eight projects in Utah, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, and Ireland, and involve several different developers, including Brookfield Renewable Partners LP, D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments, and Apex Clean Energy.
J-Power and AP Solar to build 400-MW solar project in Texas
Renewables Now – August 6
Texas will become home to a 400-megawatt solar park to be built by a joint venture of Avondale Solar LLC and Plus Renewable Technologies and Japan’s J-Power. Construction of the project, dubbed Charger Solar, is slated to begin in the second half of next year. The partners will aim to bring it online by the summer of 2023.
Invenergy reaches financial close on Oregon solar project
ReNews – August 6
Invenergy and CoBank have completed construction financing for two solar projects totaling 100 megawatts, the Prineville and Millican Solar Energy Centers. The two projects in Crook County, Oregon are under construction and scheduled to be operational at the end of 2020. The projects are contracted under long-term power purchase agreements with PacifiCorp under a partnership which was announced in 2018 to support Facebook’s data center in Prineville, Oregon, with new solar power.