Green News From Around The World
This week in solar saw some exciting developments both locally and abroad.
Here are our top stories of the week:
Hundreds of them!
Or, at least the ones in San Antonio with good sun exposure, that is.
In a first-of-its-kind, the SolarHost pilot program is an agreement that would offer residents the chance to host solar panels on their roof in exchange for credits on their energy bill.
Bill credits will be awarded at the rate of $0.03 per kilowatt hour produced by the panels for 20 years, while PowerFin is liable for all costs of installation and maintenance.
Working under a power purchase agreement, the partners of this groundbreaking program intend to install and operate ten megawatts (AC) of rooftop solar on homes and businesses throughout the CPS Energy service territory.
This amazing rent-a-roof program offers the community a chance to realize the benefits of local solar at no extra cost to them. It also falls in line with the Roofless Community Solar program announced by CPS and Clean Energy Collective in July.
Legislators have passed a bill to raise the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard to 50% by 2030.
If signed into law, this bill would immediately become one of the most ambitious renewable mandates the nation has ever seen.
SB 350 targets the increase of building energy efficiency in the state to 50% by 2030 and also boost the amount of renewable energy utilities need to buy to 50% by 2030.
Supporters are happy, but the entire package of energy bills received mixed reviews, and the target to reduce oil use in cars and trucks by 50% over the next 15 years was struck down earlier in the week too.
You can watch California’s solar supply and demand, renewable energy production, emergency notifications and requests for energy conservation in real time here.
The Sacramento Kings this week offered up some more information on their new solar array for the Golden 1 Center, which forms part of their first Legacy Partnership agreement with SPI Solar, officially announced back in March.
SPI Solar, born in Roseville and now headquartered in China, moved its world headquarters in January to take advantage of a booming solar market there.
Officials say Downtown Sacramento’s soon-to-be arena will be as sustainable and energy efficient as possible with he system output designed to produce between 750-771 kilowatts.
The gallery of renderings can be viewed here.
This report concludes that the average global PV system installed cost will fall from $2.16 per watt in 2014 to $1.24 per watt by 2020. This is a 40% decline, thanks to a variety of BOS innovations.
The GTM study also echoes the findings of a separate piece of research published at the end of August by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US.
The latest in its Tracking the Sun series reports that, particularly in the last two years, the importance of non-module costs in driving down overall system costs has increased.
In the wake of European feed-in tariffs, price declines for solar PV are rapidly becoming the biggest driver for deployment, both globally and especially in the United States.
Two of the solar industry’s biggest trade groups are having a head-on clash, and it’s all about extending the federal investment tax credit.
The Federal tax offers a 30% return on the cost of a residential solar installation. It has been one of the most important policy mechanisms supporting solar energy deployment in the United States.
The ITC is set to expire on the 31st of December 2016, however, and SEIA has begun planning a multi-million dollar campaign to extend the investment tax credit for another 5 years.
According to SEIA, the 5-year renewal of the ITC is necessary to save the industry from a collapse in 2017.
Extending the plan will save a projected 100,000 jobs, and prevent a 60% drop in U.S. PV installation.
SEIA is much more focused on funding pro-solar policies on the local and state level, while SEPA’s mission is to get utilities comfortable with solar power.
Although these groups work closely together, they often have very different priorities.
A raging battle over solar net metering policies has ensued across the U.S.
The reasons vary from state to state, but several share common unreported fossil fuel interests.
Net metering has allowed those with rooftop solar installations to send their unused solar electricity back into the grid for others to use in exchange for credit, and the main dispute is over the amount of credits customers receive.
Utility companies are pushing to roll back net metering credits by adding a cap or flat fee for solar users.
Matthew Kasper from the Energy & Policy Institute said, “Utilities make their money by building big, new infrastructure projects and then send ratepayers the bill, which is exactly why utilities want to eliminate solar.”
Net metering is huge competition for utilities because it disrupts their long-standing monopoly in the energy market.
The media focuses on opposition utilities when, in fact, there are much bigger ball players at work behind the scenes.
Outside interests are influencing the battle through front groups and legislation.
It now seems that there’s dirty money behind solar net metering.
The great American solar rush is on and everyone is on board as the Federal Tax Credit slowly draws to a close.
The latest quarterly figures prove that solar is only going one way, and that’s up!
Even Ben Van Beurden, Shell Oil’s CEO, has endorsed the solar industry.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Van Beurden said he had, “…no hesitation to predict that in years to come solar will be the dominant backbone of our energy system, certainly of the electricity system.”
If Shell’s CEO believes it, you should too!
Thanks to a collaboration between SEIA and GTM Research, some rather compelling statistics have been made available. Their high-tech analysis and industry leading forecast proves that residential solar deployment is up 70% over the last year.
And over the next 18 months, the solar industry is expected to complete a whopping 18 gigawatts of new solar installations.
Just to show how far we’ve come, it wasn’t until 2010 that we first installed 1GW of solar in a year…
Porsche has just released it’s latest futuristic concept car at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show.
Behold, the Porsche Mission-E, a fully electric-powered vehicle boasting some really impressive specs, not only performance-wise.
This vehicle makes use of wireless charging technology and can recharge 80% power within 15 minutes!
It’s still only a concept car for now, but if it does go into production, Tesla is going to have some serious competition on their hands.
Porsche’s CEO Matthias Müller said, “We have great respect for Tesla, they are the only one who have brought an electric vehicle on the market that you have to take seriously.”
Porsche is expected to decide on the go-ahead, or not, by the end of this year.
If it does get the green light, however, it will only be available earliest by 2019.
Here is a video of the Mission E. Would you agree that it stole the show?