Utility-scale solar remains resilient despite pandemic
Solar Industry Magazine – September 10
The U.S. solar market installed 3.5 gigawatts of new solar photovoltaic capacity in Q2, a 6% drop from Q1 installations. At the same time, utility-scale solar remained resilient despite the COVID-19 pandemic, representing 71% of all new solar capacity brought online in Q2, according to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Q3 2020 report. The report, published by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie, noted that the residential and non-residential segments saw a significant slowdown in the quarter. Installations were down 23% quarter over quarter in the residential segment, and 12% quarter over quarter in the non-residential sector, due to restrictions and shelter-in-place orders imposed to curb the pandemic.
House to probe U.S. lag on leveraging clean energy for COVID-19 recovery, consider bipartisan energy bill
Utility Dive – September 11
The U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and Environment is planning to host a hearing the week of Sept. 21, Climate Week, to examine international efforts to bring climate and clean energy planning into COVID-19 recovery efforts, according to a House staffer. Countries across Europe and elsewhere were relatively quick to tie climate policy into their economic recovery plans, while the U.S. has yet to include green infrastructure and clean energy in any of its COVID-19 recovery packages. Also during Climate Week, a summit organized by the Climate Group in New York City, the House is planning to bring to the floor a companion legislative package to the Senate's bipartisan Energy Innovation Act.
California offshore wind energy shows promise as power source
REVE – September 8
As California aims to provide 60% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and 100% by 2045, a study from California Polytechnic State University provides some good news. Offshore winds along the Central Coast increase at the same time that people start using more energy — in the evening. The Cal Poly research team found that offshore winds are strongest when demand is greatest, making it an ideal candidate to fill the gap left by solar and on-shore wind energy production.
Violet Power plans only vertically-integrated crystalline solar factory in U.S.
Greentech Media – September 9
Violet Power, an Oregon-based solar startup, plans to build a fully integrated manufacturing plant in Washington state. After ramping through 2021, the Violet factory will be ready to roll out between 300 and 500 megawatts worth of solar cells per year. Over time, the company plans to add modules and then wafers, making it the only U.S. crystalline silicon solar plant producing all of those parts of the supply chain.
BayWa r.e. acquires Enable Energy
PV-Tech– September 10
German renewables developer BayWa r.e. has acquired Enable Energy Inc (EEI), taking its pipeline of solar and wind projects in the Americas to more than 5 gigawatts. Since its founding in 2014, California-based Enable Energy has built more than 76 megawatts of rooftop and ground-mount commercial, industrial, and utility solar projects. With 750 megawatts of solar and wind projects under construction in California, North Carolina, Texas, and Mexico, BayWa r.e. expects to pass 1 gigawatt of utility-scale installations in the Americas by the end of 2020.
Clean Power Alliance advances 8minute’s Rexford 1 and Origis’s Chalan solar + storage projects
Solar Power World – September 10
Disclosure: Allen Matkins is representing Origis in the development of the Chalan project discussed in this article.
Clean Power Alliance (CPA) approved 15-year contracts for the Rexford 1 Solar & Storage Center in Tulare County and the Chalan Solar + Storage project in Kern County. The two projects will add a combined 365 megawatts of renewable energy capacity and 205 megawatts/640 megawatt-hours of battery storage to CPA’s long-term portfolio, generating enough electricity to power 158,000 Southern California homes, approximately 8.5% of CPA’s overall demand, with 100% carbon-free energy. 8minute Solar Energy’s Rexford 1 project includes 300 megawatts of solar power and 180 megawatts/540 megawatt-hours of energy storage. When it becomes operational in 2023, Rexford will provide enough energy for over 370,000 Californians, making it the largest solar + storage project for CPA, and the largest for any community choice aggregator to date. Origis Energy’s Chalan project will supply 64.9 megawatts of solar and 25 megawatts/100 megawatt-hours of battery storage capacity when it comes on line in December 2023.
U.S. land managers consider options for Nevada solar project
Associated Press – September 4
The Bureau of Land Management last Friday released its final environmental impact statement for the Yellow Pine Solar Project west of Las Vegas. It includes alternatives for how to handle the proposed development given concerns about the threatened Mojave desert tortoise and other effects on soil, vegetation, and cultural resources. One option for minimizing the environmental effects would be to mow the vegetation where the panels would be installed rather than ripping it up, under a proposal being considered by federal land managers. The environmental review notes that according to conservative estimates, disturbed soils in the Mojave Desert can take a century to recover. Officials will issue a final decision following a 30-day review.
Lightsource bp starts construction on California pollinator friendly solar farm
Renewable Energy World – September 4
Lightsource bp has closed on a $20 million financing package and started building the Wildflower Solar project in Rio Linda, north of Sacramento. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District will purchase all of the electricity generated by the 16.5-megawatt project, enough to power about 2,600 homes, through a long-term power contract. The developer intends to create a pollinator friendly solar farm, designed in collaboration with ecology experts to restore and conserve pollinator habitat.