Renewable Energy Update - May 2015 #3

by Allen Matkins
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Renewable Energy Focus

New legislation proposed to extend ITC

PV-Tech - May 20

A new piece of legislation has been proposed that would help extend the investment tax credit (ITC) for both residential and commercial solar projects in the U.S. The “New Energy for America Act,” proposed by U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (CA-5), would extend the federal tax code for residential and commercial solar installations for another five years.

SEIA analysis shows 97 percent of U.S. solar growth occurred after ITC passage

Solar Industry Magazine - May 19

According to analysis from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 20 gigawatts of solar capacity were installed in the U.S. by the end of 2014, compared with 500 megawatts of total capacity in 2004. According to SEIA, 97 percent of that capacity was added after the passage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC). Over the same time period, the cumulative investment in installed solar installations in the U.S. soared from $2.6 billion to $71.1 billion, the report says.

Drought cuts power production of California dams

Los Angeles Times - May 16

Shasta Dam, looming more than 600 feet tall and gatekeeper of the largest man-made lake in California, was designed to perform two crucial functions: store water and generate power. But amid four years of drought, the reservoir is drained to 50 percent of capacity, cutting the dam's power production by about a third, according to federal reclamation officials. The story is the same at many dams across California, where electricity production at some is expected to be less than 20 percent of normal because of low water levels.

Wind power is poised to spread to all states

New York Times - May 19

All 50 states could become wind energy producers, according to an Energy Department report released Tuesday, once the next generation of larger, taller turbines in development hits the market. The bigger machines, reaching as high as 460 feet, could eventually make faster winds at higher altitudes an economical source of electricity, an important part of reaching the nation’s goals in fighting global warming, said Ernest Moniz, the secretary of energy. The industry, which has spread to 39 states, has at the same time been moving skyward with taller turbine towers and larger blades, reaching on average 260 feet above the ground, according to the Energy Department.

SolarCity turns to bond market to fill tax credit funding void

Bloomberg - May 19

SolarCity Corp., the biggest U.S. residential solar installer, is turning to the bond market as the industry weans itself off a tax credit that’s staged to wind down. The bonds, backed by solar-panel leases and installment financing receivables, would be structured as an asset-backed security, the company said. U.S. solar companies are seeking a more permanent and cheaper source of capital before an investment tax credit to the industry declines from 30 percent to 10 percent after next year.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Closed Hayward dump will be transformed into solar farm

SFGate - May 13

The quest to harvest the sun’s rays moved Wednesday into a Hayward garbage dump where federal and local officials announced plans to build a solar farm that will serve as a model for the nation on innovative ways to combat climate change. The 19,000 solar panels planned for the closed-down West Winton Landfill will be the signature piece of an unusual four-county effort to equip nearly 200 public buildings, city halls, fire stations, and medical facilities with the solar energy equivalent of powering more than 5,000 homes. The effort, known as the Regional Renewable Energy Procurement, is being touted as one of the largest and most innovative solar projects in the country.

San Benito County upholds solar project EIR

Benito Link - May 19

The quest to harvest the sun’s rays moved Wednesday into a Hayward garbage dump where federal and local officials announced plans to build a solar farm that will serve as a model for the nation on innovative ways to combat climate change. The 19,000 solar panels planned for the closed-down West Winton Landfill will be the signature piece of an unusual four-county effort to equip nearly 200 public buildings, city halls, fire stations, and medical facilities with the solar energy equivalent of powering more than 5,000 homes. The effort, known as the Regional Renewable Energy Procurement, is being touted as one of the largest and most innovative solar projects in the country.

sPower acquires 26.5-megawatt project in California

Solar Industry Magazine - May 11

Utah-based Sustainable Power Group (sPower) has purchased the 26.5-megawatt Adera photovoltaic project near Fresno from French company Solairedirect. Solairedirect USA will design and build the facility, which will be owned and operated by sPower. Commercial operation is expected by the end of the year. The project has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison.

SunEdison awarded 17 rooftop solar PV systems to modernize the grid in Southern California

SolarServer - May 21

SunEdison Inc. has been awarded contracts to build 33 megawatts of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems with Southern California Edison (SCE) in the utility company's latest round of solar procurement. The solar systems will be built on rooftops throughout the Orange County and Inland Empire industrial corridors as part of SCE's plan to upgrade and modernize the grid for customers in densely populated metro areas and reduce power interruptions during periods of peak demand.

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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