Green News From Around The World
For the latest developments across the world of renewable energy, here are our top stories for the week:
California’s Governer Jerry Brown has been rather busy.
Brown and the Department of General Services has procured 100% renewable energy for California’s government buildings in downtown Sacramento, and just one week after his ambitious 50% renewables portfolio standard was passed.
The Department of General Services estimates a purchase of 108 gigawatt-hours, equal to 3,000 homes electricity use.
Over the 3-year contract with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the department will transition 23 state buildings to 100% renewables.
This will place the department as the largest green power user among local Californian municipalities, and amongst the top 50 national green power users.
More on California’s SMUD contract here.
NC’s solar industry is leading the south-east US with 1.04GW of PV, making North Carolina the fourth state to reach this milestone after California, Arizona and New Jersey.
Major growth was seen in the sector thanks to North Carolina’s REITC, as well as its Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), which instructs utilities to purchase a certain amount of their power from renewables.
North Carolina’s REPS presently stands at 6%.
The solar power station in Fukushima prefecture is to be built in the wider Tohoku plain which was hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.
The new solar plant will be built on farmland damaged by salt water.
Japanese regional bank, 77 Bank, will be the main lender in the solar park development, and reaffirmed their commitment to promoting “reconstruction and development of the local economy.”
The 70-hectare plant is scheduled for completion by June 2017.
Brazil’s solar market is beginning to stir.
Several states have passed solar tax exemptions, and the Brazilian government has committed between 1-2 GW of utility-scale solar annually.
Though they have many impressive strengths, the country has been slow to adopt solar with a little over 33 megawatts installed.
SolarCity SVP Marco Krapels also noted, “We’ve got our eyes on Brazil, its insolation, electricity rates and demand place it among the most promising solar markets in the world. A few simple, low-cost regulatory changes, such as allowance for third party ownership and expansion of Net Energy Metering, could jumpstart the local distributed solar market and create tens of thousands of new jobs in the process.”
What needs to happen for Brazil’s solar market to grow?
In the face of mounting opposition, Shell has abandoned its controversial Alaskan drilling operation.
Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden was also worried the Arctic drilling row was undermining his attempt to influence the climate change debate.
Greenpeace director John Sauven, in reaction to the news, said: “Big oil has sustained an unmitigated defeat. They had a budget of billions, we had a movement of millions. For three years we faced them down, and the people won.”
The subsidy gives solar farm owners a 30% tax credit, which could drop to 10% starting in 2017.
The solar industry insists that the tax credit is critical for keeping costs low enough that customers continue buying their products.
Companies also argue that it lets them grow large enough to continue driving down their costs.
Pinner reckons the loss of that credit will force a consolidation in the highly fragmented U.S. solar industry, which will help lower costs significantly.
A video of the conference and more on the future of federal tax credits here.
We recently reported on how free solar could be destroying Kenya‘s energy market.
Over the last few months Skypower have begun aggressive expansion into any emerging solar markets.
The latest plan is to double its investment in Kenya from the previous $2.2 billion.
Skypower was set to develop 1 GW of solar power in the country, as well as provide 2 million home solar kits and 3,000 solar powered street lamps.
In April, the company signed an agreement with International Gulf Development (IGD) to set up 3 GW of solar power capacity in Egypt over the next 4 years. The $5 billion investment will create an estimated 75,000 jobs.
Earlier in the year at the international renewable energy investors summit, Skypower announced their commitment to add 9.9 GW of solar capacity in India over the next 5 to 7 years.
It seems the whole world is investing in solar, are you? Here are 4 easy steps to help you benefit from home solar.