Green Energy News From Around The World
This week in solar saw Hawaii’s net metering plan sink with other alternatives coming up way too short.
Here are our top green energy stories of the week:
This week Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission approved the proposal to end net metering for solar customers. This is the first big decision in the long-standing battle between utilities and solar… and it’s a bad one.
It seems that Hawaii’s net metering alternatives are coming up way too short.
Net metering began before solar was cost competitive, but solar now provides 30%-53% of Hawaii’s system peak load.
A new “grid supply” tariff offers less credit for solar power. From the full retail rate of power to a supposed wholesale rate.
Will Hawaii’s legislation still have any benefits for solar customers in this energy crossroads?
No matter what, solar power’s falling costs and energy storage will continue to threaten the utility’s business model.
The solar industry has been lurking behind electric utility for many years. And now, thanks to rapid cost cuts and rooftop solar expansion, utilities can no longer ignore the future of renewable solar energy.
The majority of solar installed in the US is utility-scale solar, which isn’t such a major headache for utility companies. They know exactly how much energy these solar plants will produce.
Residential solar, on the other hand, is a huge threat! It allows customers to become their own power and electricity generators, which means they can send electricity back to the grid any time and get paid for it.
Utilities do not know how to deal with this new energy threat, but some are finding ways to profit off of solar.
They are paving a path to long-term profit and a lowered business model risk.
Here are the main structures utilities are trying to put into place and the utility companies behind them.
Earlier this year Fort Wayne-based Indiana Michigan Power (IMP) announced the development of five solar facilities, and Monday marked the ceremonial start of a $7 million solar farm project in eastern St. Joseph County.
This solar facility will have nearly 29,000 panels, and is expected to generate energy equivalent to that required for powering more than 350 homes annually.
IMP has also launched IM Solar, a program that allows Indiana-based customers to use the local solar power without the expense of installing their own system.
With four combined mega plants along with hydro and wind, the solar station will be able to supply almost half of Morocco’s power needs from renewable energy.
The plant will be fully completed by 2020, and is a key plan in Morocco’s ambitions to tap into unused desert space and become a global solar superpower.
CSP has the advantage of still being able to create power at night from the heat generated by the 500,000 crescent-shaped mirrors which focuses the suns heat toward a tower where it creates steam to power electric generators.
So far the first, or “Noor 1“, of the 4 phases is complete, and will go live next month. Noor 1 itself has a generating capacity of 160 MW.
The project will consist of 12,000 solar panels covering an area of 45,500 square meters, and will provide 2.7 GWh of electricity a year.
“We have a target to generate 35% of our power requirements by 2020 and this project will make a significant contribution to that aim,” explained Chris Stubbs, head of renewable energy at United Utilities [Video].
The new plant will dwarf UK’s only other floating power plant in Berkshire.
The current developer of the project, Japanese manufacturer Kyocera, is behind a number of these projects all over the world.