Category: Solar

Solar Panel information, ideas and do-it-yourself suggestions.

How To Make Solar PV2EV Profitable

Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) is saving everyone in Sonoma County a little money on their PG&E bill and that’s a pretty big deal, but it’s just part of the story.  In February I purchased a 2011 Nissan Leaf electric vehicle (EV) for $10,000 and in May I switched to PG&E’s EV seasonal, time-of-use (TOU) rate.  Figure 1 is an excerpt from by PG&E bill showing the $80.93 earned since switching to the EV rate.  

Tesla CTO: Bulk Energy Storage Will Grow Much Faster Than People Expect

At the standing-room-only opening keynote at Intersolar 2015, all the talk was on the future of solar and how energy storage was helping to pave the way for greater adoption of it. Dr. Eicke R. Weber, the director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) opened the show outlining the great progress that solar has made in the past two years by stabilizing supply and demand. “Therefore in 2016, 17, 18 you will see production capacity and the market catch up, which means we should not expect further falling prices for PV modules,” he said, adding “You can expect stable prices and maybe even some modest increases.” 

FERC Removes Obstacles that Limit Distributed Renewable Energy in Colorado

In a July 1 ruling FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) cleared the way for Colorado’s Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), along with other electric co-ops, to step outside the bounds of a 40-year power supply contract with Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association and tap into local renewable energy supplies. FERC’s ruling, which was unanimous, clarifies what had been deemed unclear wording in PURPA (Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act), as well as Tri-State’s regulatory status.

The contract DMEA and 43 other electric co-ops had signed with Tristate in 2001 required them to purchase 95 percent of their electricity from Tri-state. In short, FERC ruled that as per PURPA DMEA not only had the right but the obligation to purchase electricity directly from “Qualifying Facilities” (QFs) over and above the five percent cap it’s limited to in its contract with Tri-State.

With the ruling, FERC opened the door for DMEA and other Tri-State electric co-op members to tap into cost-competitive renewable energy resources right in their backyards. DMEA intends to move forward and contract for electricity from a small-scale hydropower facility to be built on a local irrigation canal proposed by Percheron, DMEA’s Manager of Member Relations and Human Resources Virginia Harman said. 

Note To PUC: Changes to Electricity Rate Design Could Dramatically Impact the Future of Solar PV

A new report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) finds that the future growth of distributed generation solar PV is heavily influenced by retail electricity rate design – and that proposed changes to net metering rules and retail rate structures could harm increased adoption of distributed solar.

The report, titled Net Metering and Market Feedback Loops: Exploring the Impact of Retail Rate Design on Distributed PV Deployment, is meant to inform the public and utility regulators that about the effects of changes proposed by a growing number of states to their net metering rules and retail rate structures – changes fueled by worry that increased adoption of distributed PV could result in unwelcome financial impacts on utilities and consumers.

Ryan Wiser, one of the report’s authors, said utilities are primarily concerned that solar customers don’t always pay their fair share of fixed infrastructure costs. “Utilities sometimes claim that net-metered solar customers are unfairly subsidized under existing net metering rules, with non-solar customers paying a larger share of the fixed costs of the electric grid,” Wiser said.

German Wind and Solar Power Overwhelming Neighbor Country’s Grids

Germany’s drive to harness wind and solar power is producing so much electricity that it’s spilling over into neighbors’ grids and increasing the threat of blackouts.

Poland and the Czech Republic are spending $180 million on equipment to protect their systems from German power surges, while Austria is curbing some trading to prevent regional networks from collapsing. On a windy day, the overflow east can exceed the output from four atomic reactors.

Germany’s fivefold increase in green energy in the past decade has outpaced investment in power lines to move it across the country. Electricity is looping through Poland and the Czech Republic to reach southern Germany, where supply is constrained as Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered the closure of nuclear plants after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. The disruptions show the limits to the European Commission’s vision of a single power market.

First Ever Utility-Scale Solar PV Project Breaks Ground in Jordan

Last month, Jordan took a major step toward achieving increased independence from imported energy. In the coastal city of Aqaba, the kingdom’s very first utility-scale PV project broke ground. The 10-megawatt (MW) Shamsuna Project is scheduled to enter into full operation when construction is completed in October of this year.

Spearheaded by a partnership between Desert Technologies and Enerray SpA, the Shamsuna Project is the first of 12 renewable energy projects under management by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR). Jordan’s National Electrical Power Company (NEPCO) is backing the project with a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Three Island Nations Are Ready for Renewable Energy

Powering and fueling societies by harvesting solar, wind and other clean, renewable energy resources makes good sense anywhere, anytime – especially now that technical performance has improved and costs have dropped so dramatically. Nowhere is this more true than it is for small island nations where energy costs are high and human populations, not to mention ecosystems and natural resources, fragile and threatened.

Releasing its Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) reports for three South Pacific island nations – Fiji, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu – IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), concludes that tapping into solar, wind, geothermal, marine, biomass and biofuel energy would not only meet electricity needs, it would reduce energy costs, create gainful employment, broaden energy access, and set these and other island nations firmly on the path towards sustainable energy self-sufficiency.

Though very different in terms of geography and geology, the three small island nations are blessed with an abundance of renewable energy resources but have only recently launched efforts to harness them for power.