Renewable Energy Update - October 2016 #2

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Reaction mixed on proposed California solar-wind resource adequacy scheme

Renewable Energy World - Oct 12 The power and energy regulatory environment is in a high state of flux in California amidst increasing integration of distributed renewable energy generation and storage capacity and realizing a statewide goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. One of the significant changes under consideration is the institution of a new methodology to assess solar and wind power resource capacity. Known as “effective load carrying capability” (ELCC), the new methodology would replace the existing, simpler “exceedance” method. California Independent Systems Operator's proposed development of a solar-wind power ELCC elicited mixed reactions from industry stakeholders.

As the solar industry matures, business gets a little more complicated

Utility Dive - Oct 6 Solar composed 26% of new electric generating capacity in the U.S. during the first half of the year, with utility-scale making up 56%. Overall growth in the solar sector was 43% bigger in this year’s second quarter compared to the same time last year, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. But the residential solar market appears to be showing signs of slowing down, as Q2 growth was largely driven by the utility-scale solar sector adding more than 1 GW of new capacity, according to a new GTM Research report. Two policy factors in particular are driving the market slowdown: solar incentives and the extension of the ITC. A report from the Consumer Energy Alliance said high penetration from distributed generation has sparked questions over the right incentives for this type of growth.

Rooftop solar is booming, despite political battles

The Desert Sun - Oct 12 Five years ago, Californians had installed 648 megawatts' worth of rooftop solar panels. As of earlier this month, that had jumped seven-fold to 4,500 megawatts, spread across 580,000 homes and businesses. Five years ago, the solar industry employed 25,000 people in California, some installing rooftop panels and others working on large-scale solar farms. By last year, that number had grown to 75,000. That growth has continued despite a slew of political battles that have pitted the solar industry against utilities like Southern California Edison and the Imperial Irrigation District, which have fought to extract more revenue from rooftop solar customers. And while those fights are on hiatus in California, they've continued in states like Nevada and Arizona, and elsewhere across the country.

Arizona Public Service passes 1 gigawatt solar capacity mark

Arizona Business Daily - Oct 13 Arizona Public Service (APS) announced recently it has become the first utility outside of California to surpass 1 gigawatt of solar energy capacity. When generating at full 1-gigawatt capacity, APS generates enough power to meet the partial daytime needs of 250,000 homes in Arizona. APS said its total investment in solar energy is approximately $2 billion and its solar portfolio is almost half rooftop systems and half grid-scale projects.

Sunworks sets sights on providing solar to U.S. government

Solar Industry Magazine - Oct 12 Sunworks Inc., a California-based solar company serving the commercial and residential markets, has established a new unit focused on contracting solar deals with the U.S. federal government. Sunworks notes that the U.S. Department of Defense, the largest government consumer of energy in the country, is under mandate to procure 25% of energy from renewables by 2025. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy leads the effort to catalyze the transformation of the nation’s energy system and secure U.S leadership in clean energy technologies.

Developer of huge solar array near Tonopah wants to build 10 more

Las Vegas Review-Journal - Oct 11 A California-based energy company announced plans Tuesday to build the world’s largest solar project in Nevada, a $5 billion endeavor involving at least 100,000 mirrors and 10 towers as tall as any building in the state. SolarReserve’s Sandstone project would include up to 10 concentrated solar arrays, each equipped with a molten salt system capable of storing the sun’s energy to generate power after dark, CEO Kevin Smith said. Smith said Sandstone would generate between 1,500 and 2,000 megawatts, enough to supply about a million homes. Construction probably won’t start for another two or three years, Smith said, but when it does, it should create around 3,000 jobs lasting about seven years, as the solar arrays and towers are built one or two at a time.

60-MW solar project reaches commercial operation in LA

Commercial Property Executive - Oct 10 Canadian Solar Inc. announced it began commercial operation of the 60-megawatt Barren Ridge solar project in Los Angeles. Also known as the RE Cinco, the facility supplies electricity and associated renewable energy credits to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) under a long-term power purchase agreement. Barren Ridge was developed by Canadian Solar’s wholly-owned subsidiary Recurrent Energy. LADWP will use the solar energy generated to power more than 25,000 homes in Los Angeles.

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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