Renewable Energy Update - January 2016 #3

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Utilities push a solar pricing proposal they say is fairer for non-solar users

Los Angeles Times - Jan 20

Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric Company are pushing back against a regulator proposal for new rules on compensating California homeowners and businesses for the solar power they produce. The PUC plan involves connection and usage fees for new solar power users. In addition, utilities would place new solar customers on time-of-use rates, which rise during periods of high electricity demand. In response, the utilities have proposed a fixed rate of compensation which has been criticized by the solar industry and its proponents and they also stated the utilities' move was a violation of protocol as the proposal came after the opportunity for submitting such information to the record had closed.

DOE funds six new solar projects for grid modernization program

Solar Industry - Jan 19 As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new multi-year plan to modernize the nation’s grid, the DOE has allocated $18 million in funding for six new solar power projects across the U.S. These projects will enable the development and demonstration of integrated, scalable and cost-effective solar technologies that incorporate energy storage to power American homes in all circumstances, including at night and in cloudy conditions. The integrated PV and energy storage projects in Austin, TX, Pittsburgh, PA, Chicago, IL, Knoxville, TN, Boston, MA, and Honolulu, HI, will utilize Internet-capable inverters and will work with smart buildings, smart appliances, and utility communication and control systems.

California regulators approve pilot EV charging program for Southern California Edison

Renewable Energy World - Jan 19 The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authorized Southern California Edison (SCE) to develop a pilot program to incentivize the deployment of approximately 1,500 electric vehicle charging stations in the utility’s service territory. SCE will spend $22 million to implement the first phase of its Charge Ready and market education programs. Electrical infrastructure will be install and maintained by SCE while participants will own, operate and maintain qualified charging stations

The solar tax credit extension will make net metering battles much more intense

GreenTech Media - Jan 18 Solar is set to explode in the U.S., due to the recent five-year extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit. But now the battle over solar policy is likely to intensify at the local level as demonstrated in Nevada when regulators upheld a decision to slash net-metering rates for all solar customers in the state. Changes were already underway in many leading solar states, such as California, before the ITC extension was passed. California recently proposed keeping retail rates for residential solar customers, but with some modest changes.

SolarCity introduces SunRaising, a solar referral fundraising program for nonprofits

Clean Technica - Jan 20 California-based SolarCity announced SunRaising, a referral program allowing nonprofit organizations to raise additional funds by encouraging members to adopt solar. Once enrolled in the program, each time a supporter of a specific SunRaising partner organization signs up, SolarCity will donate $200 to that nonprofit. Homeowners who go solar through a SunRaising partner will also receive their system’s first month of power for free as a thankyou from SolarCity for supporting their local nonprofit.

Contra Costa could form agency to buy, provide electricity

Contra Costa Times - Jan 20 Contra Costa County contributed $25,000 to help fund a study to analyze demand for electricity in the county and estimate potential rates if the county was to form an agency that would purchase power from renewable sources through the wholesale power market, providing an alternative to Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Under state law, local governments may create community choice energy agencies to provide solar and wind-generated electricity to residential, business and government customers over existing transmission lines owned by PG&E and other utilities. Proponents of this model say its benefits include an increase in the proportion of electricity from renewable sources, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, competition, consumer choice and local control.

First Solar nets 500MW of PPAs with California utility

PV-Tech - Jan 19 First Solar has secured 500MW of off-taker agreements with Southern California Edison (SCE). The contracts, announced on Tuesday, make SCE the single largest off-taker of First Solar projects with 2.2GW of capacity under contract. The latest deals cover four projects: the 150MW North Rosamund project and 100MW Willow Springs, both in Rosamund, California, the 100MW sunshine Valley project in Nevada and the 150MW Sun Stream project in Arizona. All are expected to be commissioned by the end of 2019.

3 Phases Renewables helps Santa Monica achieve 100% renewable power

Solar Industry Magazine - Jan 18 Clean energy provider 3 Phases Renewables has signed a contract with the City of Santa Monica to supply 100% renewable power for all of the city's municipal operations, effective this month. This contract provides Santa Monica with a mix of renewable energy primarily comprised of solar and wind generated in California. It meets California's renewable portfolio standards for 100% of the energy provided and covers more than 500 city-owned direct access eligible accounts and approximately 26,000 MWh of annual consumption.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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