Largest U.S. battery resource connects to CAISO grid, signaling next phase in California's storage growth
Utility Dive – July 14
The largest battery storage resource in the country was connected to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) grid in June, adding 62.5 megawatts of storage to the operator's system, CAISO announced this Monday. The resource is the first phase of LS Power Group's Gateway energy storage project in San Diego County. The 250-megawatt project is expected to come online in August, at which point it will reportedly be the largest battery storage system operating in the world. CAISO expects other large deployments, including 300 megawatts from Vistra Energy's Moss Landing project, to come online over the next few years.
FERC unanimously dismisses effort to undermine solar net metering
Greentech Media – July 16
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this Thursday unanimously rejected a plea to declare all state solar net-metering policies illegal, a victory for solar industry groups and state policymakers. All four FERC commissioners voted to dismiss the April petition from the New England Ratepayers Association, which argued that FERC, not states, should have jurisdiction over sales of electricity from customer-sited generators like rooftop solar. That stance drew widespread opposition from solar and environmental groups as well as state regulators and lawmakers, who argued that it could undermine longstanding net metering regimes that are central to state-by-state energy and environmental goals. Comments opposing the proposal were filed by thousands of individual commenters, 30 state public utility commissions, and 35 members of Congress, as well as 31 attorneys general from states ranging from Oklahoma to California.
How “supersized” wind turbines could boost value of wind energy to the grid
Renew Economy – July 14
A new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that “supersized wind turbines” can possibly enhance the value of wind energy to the electricity system by around $4-5/MWh. The study, published in the journal Wind Engineering, highlights how the recent upscaling of wind turbine size – which includes nameplate capacity, rotor diameter, and tower height – has been primarily focused on reducing the levelized cost of electricity of wind energy. However, as the authors note, “with wind’s levelized cost of energy now comparable with that of other generating resources, other design considerations besides cost-minimization have grown in importance.”
New solar investment falls 12% as COVID-19 impacts H1 2020 figures
PV Magazine – July 9
With solar investment down across the board in the first half of the year, the $1.6 billion provided by lenders Bank of America and HSBC to French utility Engie to establish a 2-gigawatt clean energy portfolio in the U.S. dwarfed the other major solar deals announced in the last quarter. Investment in solar fell by a quarter, year-on-year, during the first half of 2020, according to the latest solar funding report from Mercom Capital, with Engie landing more than a third of the funding available. Other major deals included U.S. Bank’s $333 million financing of the 215-megawatt Little Bear Solar Project in Fresno.
Blackouts have triggered an energy storage boom in California
Scientific American – July 13
The threat of chronic blackouts is sparking a rush to install battery backup systems as California homeowners try to avoid disruptive power cuts related to wildfires, and permit applications for energy storage projects are surging. In Sonoma County, 174 permits were issued in the first half of this year, compared with the 161 permits that were approved in all of 2019. Marin County issued 763 “solar” permits in the year ending on June 30, marking a 136% increase compared with the previous year. Those permits are needed for various types of energy projects that would help homeowners keep the lights on during outages, including storage systems.
ForeFront Power completes first two solar projects for San Luis Obispo County
Solar Power World – July 15
San Luis Obispo County celebrated the completion of two solar projects at the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Dairy Creek Golf Course and the Department of Social Services on South Higuera Street, both located in the city of San Luis Obispo. The first of many planned county solar projects, these solar parking canopies total 552 kilowatts. Developed and financed by ForeFront Power, the two projects are designed to supply over 80% of site electricity needs.
GRID IE breaks ground on community solar project
Solar Industry Magazine – July 13
GRID IE, a subsidiary of GRID Alternatives, has been awarded a $2.05 million grant under the California Department of Community Services and Development Low-income Weatherization Program and recently broke ground on its largest community-scale solar project to date. The nearly 1-megawatt solar electric system on the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians reservation – California’s first low-income community solar project – is currently underway. This project will provide $5.4 million in savings to benefit low-income members of Anza Electrical Cooperative.
Kroger unleashes new solar initiative
Retail and Leisure International – July 14
Ralphs and Food 4 Less, subsidiaries of The Kroger Co., have announced the installation of a photovoltaic solar power array at their 300,00-square-foot bakery in La Habra, California. The rooftop installation can produce nearly one megawatt of clean power and 2,009 megawatt-hours annually. This installation follows a 7,000-panel installation in 2019 at the company’s 555,000-square-foot automated distribution center in Paramount, also in California.