Renewable Energy Update - January 2016

Allen Matkins
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3 ways renewable energy can grow in a 21st century grid

Greentech Media  - Jan 6

Some researchers claim there are limitations on solar PV’s growth because the variable renewable will depress wholesale prices when they run which will in turn limit their own economic success. These authors propose that a more integrative assessment of a least-cost, clean and reliable power system of the future will factor in high fractions of variable renewables, along with more-efficient markets (and usage) and new technologies to integrate these resources seamlessly and resiliently.

Silicon Valley Power will go green two years earlier than planned

Solar Industry Magazine - Jan 5 Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the municipal electric utility in Santa Clara, California will become a coal-free utility on December 31, 2017 when it ends electricity imports from a New Mexico coal-fired power plant. The power will be replaced with cleaner energy from renewable and natural gas resources for its 53,000 Santa Clara customers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently issued its final approval of the move. The utility says it currently distributes about 36% of its power from state-mandated renewable resources, far exceeding California renewable energy requirements. Overall, more than 50% of the power supplied by SVP is carbon-free.

MiaSole installs thin-film FLEX solar modules on California carport

Solar Industry Magazine - Jan 5 Mirasole, a thin-film PV module manufacturer based in Santa Clara, California, recently installed its FLEX-02 solar modules over an existing carport at the Oakley Executive RV and Boat Storage facility which was built by Martinez, California-based Baja Construction without any additional racking or reinforcement to support the new solar array. "The MiaSole FLEX module installation was incredibly fast," says Robert Hayworth, Baja Construction's CEO. "The peel-and-stick application was ideal for our standard light-gauge 7.2 corrugated roll-formed steel carport roof, and the completed design is not visible from the ground level. MiaSole allowed me to add solar energy generation to the carport without any changes to the structure."

Mirasole, a thin-film PV module manufacturer based in Santa Clara, California, recently installed its FLEX-02 solar modules over an existing carport at the Oakley Executive RV and Boat Storage facility which was built by Martinez, California-based Baja Construction without any additional racking or reinforcement to support the new solar array. "The MiaSole FLEX module installation was incredibly fast," says Robert Hayworth, Baja Construction's CEO. "The peel-and-stick application was ideal for our standard light-gauge 7.2 corrugated roll-formed steel carport roof, and the completed design is not visible from the ground level. MiaSole allowed me to add solar energy generation to the carport without any changes to the structure."

Google helps analyze if rooftop solar panels are good deal

San Mateo Daily Journal - Jan 4 Google’s Project Sunroof is a new online service which is a fast, easy way to weigh the costs and benefits of installing solar panels on household rooftops. The services combines the eye-in-the-sky images behind Google Earth with calculations on how much shade trees cast over a rooftop, data on local weather patterns, industry pricing and available subsidies to arrive at its bottom line. Interested potential customers are referred to solar-panel installers for further follow-up, cutting their marketing costs, said Carl Elkin, the senior software engineer behind the service. Project Sunroof, initially launched this summer in San Francisco and Fresno, California, and Boston expanded to 16 metro areas in December.

Canadian Solar's Recurrent Energy closes financing for 75 MW PV project

PV Magazine - Jan 5 Recurrent Energy, wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese solar company Canadian Solar, has closed financing for the 75 MW Astoria solar PV project currently under construction in California. A total of $180 million has been secured via a tax equity investment from GE unit GE Energy Financial Services for the completion. Once complete, Recurrent Energy will own and operate the solar farm.

Tesla batteries power North Bay energy innovations

North Bay Business Journal - Jan 4 Jackson Family Wines, Sonoma Wine Company, Amy’s Kitchen and Soiland Company took part in an electric battery storage pilot project with Tesla. The Tesla batteries store energy during off-peak production when rates are cheaper. This helps manage demand spikes during expensive peak consumption hours, significantly reducing the companies’ electricity costs. Another promising North Bay energy project pushing the frontiers of storage is a partnership among Trane, Tesla, Alstrom Grid, and Santa Rosa’s Laguna Wastewater Treatment plant. The Tesla battery enables the water treatment plant to ramp up more quickly than the current generators, allowing the plant to operate using off-the-grid power quickly if necessary and the flexibility allows other demands on the grid to be served making better use of cleaner renewable energy at peak production times.

EDF Renewable Services announces remote monitoring contract with ALLETE Clean Energy

San Diego Business Journal - Dec 29 San Diego’s clean energy firm, EDF Renewable Services, has entered into a contract with ALLETE Clean Energy (ACE) to provide remote monitoring and turbine resets for five of its wind projects. The projects include Condon in Oregon; Storm Lake I and Storm Lake II in Iowa; Lake Benton I in Minnesota; and Armenia Mountain in Pennsylvania. EDF Renewable Services already provides full service operations and maintenance to Chanarambie and Viking in Minnesota, for a total of 534 megawatts comprised of GE, Mitsubishi, and Zond wind turbines.

ARPA-E Funds the next wave of grid-distributed energy integration

Greentech Media  - Jan 5 Two California universities won grants to develop technology to integrate renewable energy into everyday grid operations from the Department of Energy (DOE). Last month the DOE’s blue-sky agency, ARPA-E, announced $33 million in grants for its Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) program meant to assist 12 university, corporate, and DOE laboratory projects in their development. The University of California, San Diego won $2.34 million to develop coordination algorithms and software meant to allow DERs and end loads to serve frequency regulation services. Stanford University won $3.5 million to develop its Powernet technology, an open-source, open-architecture platform that uses a “Home Hub” device to link rooftop solar inverters, appliances and other end loads using smart switches that replace traditional fuses.

 

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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