Sep 17

Some See Garbage, Others See an Opportunity: Installing Solar on Landfills

Green Mountain Power just broke ground on a 2-MW photovoltaic plant in Rutland, Vermont. While some other large PV systems planned for the area have met with strong opposition (some residents worry large, ground-mount solar arrays will be an eyesore on the state’s pastoral landscape), this project seems to be welcomed with open arms. Why? It’s bein

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Sep 17

Panasonic Riding Tesla Wave to Boost Battery Storage Sales in Europe

Panasonic Corp., the supplier of lithium-ion cells that plans to help Tesla Motors Inc. build a battery factory, said cooperation with the U.S. electric-car maker will probably boost demand from European automakers.

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Sep 17

Chevron’s Search for Plant-Based Alternative Fuels Flounders

Chevron Corp.’s attempts to turn plants into alternative fuels for profitable, large-scale production have failed.

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Sep 17

Can the Disembodied Voice of Matthew McConaughey in a Video Sell Solar for NRG Home?

Last week I constructively critiqued Sunrun’s latest solar video marketing efforts. This week, I caught a new video from NRG Home, NRG’s residential solar division. Like Sunrun, NRG also animated its solar message, but there was a big bump to its production values: The voice over talent was none other than Academy Award winning actor, Matthew McCon

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Sep 17

Leading the Charge in Mexico’s Renewable Energy Revolution

August 11 was an auspicious day for Mexico. Some seventy-six years after the government nationalized the country’s oil industry, President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law an energy reform package that many are saying will have a transformative impact on the economy of Mexico. The landmark legislation, which will open Mexico’s oil and natural gas markets to foreign investment, also directs certain changes to the electricity sector that will require grid operator CENACE to procure generation from renewable resources.

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Sep 16

SolarCity Introduces New Zep Mounting Technology in Commercial Solar Space

Nearly one year after SolarCity acquired Zep Solar and its rackless mounting design for $158 million — a move that cut both cost and time for residential solar installations — the installer announced today that it is whetting its appetite in untapped areas of the commercial market with a new Zep product line.

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Sep 16

Get in Line and Get Creative: How to Deal with Module Price Changes

The solar tariff dispute is leading to longer procurement times and altering module selection. Now, as developers build out their initial design specs with a specific module in mind, we are finding that as a project approaches NTP, the modules may become unavailable or too costly. In other words, both developers and investors are finding themselves

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Sep 16

Why Lease Solar Panels When You Can Own Them?

Now more than ever, it makes sense to own a solar power system instead of leasing one. The savings are significant, since purchasing a system presently pencils out to about 50 percent less than leasing over the long term and the payback period is now as low as three years. As prices continue to drop, more builders and developers are offering solar as standard in their new communities and we expect the trend to continue. Around the country, many solar rebate programs administered by states and utilities have begun to expire or at least are being overhauled. This does not mean that solar is going to die. It’s actually stronger than ever. Even without rebates, solar is now cheaper than the electric utilities in many areas, with grid prices typically rising 5 percent each year.

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Sep 16

Underwater Compressed Air Energy Storage: Fantasy or Reality?

Underwater Compressed Air Energy Storage (UW-CAES) — a step beyond underground energy storage in caverns — may soon offer conventional utilities a means of long-duration load shifting for their large-scale electrical grids, and niche microgrid operators a means of reducing their fossil-fuel dependence, say its advocates.

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Sep 15

Duke Energy Invests Heavily in Solar

An RFP issued in February 2014 is paying off in spades for the solar industry with Duke Energy today announcing that it is making a $500 million commitment to solar power in North Carolina. Duke said that the announcement furthers its commitment to renewable energy, helps diversify its energy portfolio and helps it meet North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).

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Sep 15

German Clean Energy Shift Can Ignore Storage for Now, Study Says

Germany’s shift toward renewable energy can do without new storage infrastructure in the next two decades as it’s too expensive, according to a new study.

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Sep 15

Jatropha Biofuel Around the World: A 13-country Tour of Development Activity

In California, SGB announced an $11 million Series C financing to drive commercial rollout, after reducing the time to maturity from 5 years to 1-2 years in its latest generation of Jatropha hybrids.

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Sep 15

India’s Tamil Nadu Sets Solar Power Price as Program Stalls

The electricity regulator for India’s Tamil Nadu set a price for solar-power producers after failing for the past two years to attract investments to a state that gets about 300 days of sun a year.

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Sep 15

A Marriage Between Solar and Forest: Japan Promotes Wooden PV Racking Systems

In the midst of the rapid growth in its solar photovoltaic (PV) market, Japan is looking into its local resources — forests — to provide racking for PV systems. Several firms in Japan are turning domestic cypress or cedar trees into PV racks, which are traditionally made of metal such as aluminum and steel. A 150-kW PV system owner in Mie prefecture stated that it came naturally to choose wood as racking for environmentally friendly solar energy. The company used cedar wood, which was harvested locally.

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Sep 12

Exploring Finance Options: Yield-cos Don’t Fit the Bill for Many Renewable Energy Companies

Yield-cos have been grabbing headlines lately. Typically, large utilities spin off their high-yield alternative energy operations into separate smaller companies called yield-cos. These new companies are then taken public to attract individual and institutional investors.

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Sep 12

Trina and Other Solar Manufacturers Racing To Keep Up with Demand

Trina Solar Ltd., China’s second- biggest maker of solar panels, said its factories are working at full strength and it can’t meet customer demand.

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Sep 12

India Makes Plans To Spur More Renewable Energy Development

India plans to ask power generators to invest in clean-energy projects as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to accelerate the nation’s shift away from the troubled coal industry.

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Sep 12

Trapped in the Down Elevator? A New Perspective on the Net Metering Debate

Given the endless blog articles rehashing the same old net metering arguments, perhaps it can be helpful to examine the experience of another industry.   Specifically, what is probably, after solar, the renewable energy and smart grid storage device with by far the highest market penetration.  I refer of course to the biomass-aerobic-respiration-as

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Sep 12

Preventing Bird Deaths at Solar Power Plants, Part 2

Part 1 of this article lays out the problem of bird deaths at some CSP power plants and begins to offer some solutions. Part 2 gives more solutions and explains how some of the companies involved plan to solve the problem.

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Sep 11

2030 Outlook: A Trillion Dollar Taxpayer Bailout for Electrical Utilities

After bailing out Wall Street in 2008, are Americans ready to provide a one trillion dollar bailout to our electric utilities in 2030?  Even though worldwide demand for energy is estimated to rise 41 percent by 2035, Barclays recently downgraded their outlook for utilities.  The question we should ask ourselves is what does it mean when you downgra

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