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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 28, 2017, 02:21:05 pm »

Notes from the Solar Underground:  ;) US Solar’s Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act
April 28, 2017

By Paula Mints  Founder/Chief Market Research Analyst
There is nothing new about protectionism just as there is nothing new about aggressive pricing for market share, dumping of overproduction at low prices and the cascade of unintended consequences of government intervention on markets.

A free market is precisely what the word free implies that is, market prices and the choice of goods are set by the interactions of market participants. Under this definition, there are few, if any, free markets in the world.

Governments intervene to subsidize or incentivize production of goods and the acquisition of goods. In the U.S., farmers sometimes received subsidies not to produce under the assumption that over production would lead to a price collapse. Electricity rates in U.S. states must be approved by state PUCs. Subsidies provide affordable housing for poorer populations. Pick a market and you can find a government incentive, subsidy or a control of some sort.

So, seriously, there are few, if any, free markets .

The global solar industry relies on mandates, subsidies and incentives for its demand. Though it has enjoyed extraordinarily strong growth overtime this growth has come about because of, again, subsidies. Current low prices for PV modules are possible because of China’s support for its PV manufacturers. 

The 2012 U.S. tariff ruling on imports of cells and modules from China resulted in higher prices for small buyers   and, frankly, no price change for larger buyers  .  In sum, for larger buyers the sellers absorbed the tariff. The primary goal of sellers was sales, margin was secondary. Higher margins were gained from smaller sellers who also absorbed the tariff. Exporters were then not truly punished because the goals of the exporter (seller) were not properly understood.
The lesson is that market regulations, incentives, subsidies, mandates and tariffs come with unintended consequences. When tariffs are enacted the primary entity punished via higher prices is the buyer. The price pain felt by buyers is almost always the unintended consequence of the imposition of tariffs.

Just as markets are not entirely free, markets are also not entirely rational or controllable. Tastes change. Competing products rise. Drought and heavy rains affect agriculture. People go on strike. Recessions affect buying ability. Finally, sometimes people make irrational buying choices. Consider the cell phone which went from the size of a person’s arm to the size of a watch face to practically the size of a laptop computer screen and is now migrating back to not just watch face size, but to being an actual watch.

The point is that controlling buying patterns is close to impossible and punishing sellers for low prices typically punishes the buyers and worse … almost never brings back manufacturing jobs.

A good example of the unintended consequence of government intervention is the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. In the 1920s an excess of agricultural production in Europe led to low price imports of produce into the U.S. Farmers suffered and Herbert Hoover promised that if he were elected president he would help U.S. farmers. (As an aside … if this seems familiar it should.     )

Enter Willis Hawley, Congressman, Oregon, and Reed Smoot, Senator, Utah. Smoot-Hawley began as a protection for farmers but after much debate fed by many special interests it was eventually attached to a wide variety of imports (~900). Other countries retaliated with their own tariffs. The U.S. trade deficit ballooned. Smoot-Hawley did not push the world into the Great Depression but it certainly was a card in the Depression playing deck.

In 1934, as part of the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt pushed the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act through and the short reign of protectionism in the U.S. ended … just in time for the beginning of World War II in 1939.

The Solar Point

Immediately following Suniva’s bankruptcy on April 17, rumors of a new trade dispute began and late in April Suniva, a U.S.-based monocrystalline manufacturer over 60 percent owned by a Chinese company, filed its trade dispute asking for a 40-cent/Wp tariff on all solar cells made outside the U.S. From Suniva’s point of view, the request makes sense as it is one of two crystalline solar cell manufacturers in the U.S. — the other being SolarWorld.

Proponents say that it would protect U.S. solar manufacturing but as there is very little U.S. manufacturing and the reasons for its demise are complex, there is little to protect.

Tariff opponents argue that cheaper prices for cells would help module assemblers and cheaper prices for modules would increase solar deployment.

The fact is that larger entities continued to enjoy low prices and will always enjoy lower prices than smaller demand side participants.

The fact is that bringing back U.S. solar manufacturing is close to impossible at this juncture using tariffs. It would require a lot of time (a lot of time), favorable taxes for producers as well as other manufacturing subsidies and most importantly, a healthy incentive for buyers to purchase modules made in America with crystalline and thin film cells made in America and … even then … the aluminum, the glass, the backsheet — something in the module will come from some other country.

The fact is that the products bought in the U.S., including the foods we eat, are often produced using components from other countries.

Finally … well-meaning or crowd-pleasing government intervention in the not-so-free-not-so-rational-extremely-complex global market always brings a host of complications with it and always brings a host of unintended consequences. Just ask Mr. Smoot and Mr. Hawley.  ;D

Don't miss Paula Mints' latest report, available at a discounted price through Renewable Energy World: Photovoltaic Manufacturer Capacity, Shipments, Price & Revenues 2016/2017


Agelbert NOTE: The biggest, and totally unjustified subsidy that we need to GET RID OF to level the energy market playing field is the oil and gas subsidy THEFT:



Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 27, 2017, 08:10:28 pm »

‘Look, Ma, No Fuel!’ … Fire-free Cooking with Solar  

April 27, 2017

By Mahesh Bhave 
Founder, CEO

Mahesh P. Bhave, visiting professor, strategy, IIM Kozhikode, India, is an engineer from IIT Delhi with a Ph.D. from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. He may be reached at mahesh@iimk.ac.in.

… And no smoke, and no pollution either; no match boxes, no fire-wood collecting, no charcoal burning, and no ash. No waiting for the deliveryman to take away the old LPG cylinder and bring in the new. A cooking revolution looms.

The cooking supply chain is being disrupted. Bounty from the sky, delivered free to the roof, drives the new cooking economy, and not the laboriously drilled, mined, transported, stored, and distributed fuel from the ground, say, kerosene or natural gas, let alone charcoal, firewood or biomass of any kind.

This is a reason to celebrate — for it creates choices for homemakers, frees up women’s time to undertake creative and productive work, and reduces health problems that today affect women and children disproportionately when they cook with smoky systems at home.

Precursors to the impending cooking revolution have been with us for a while — microwave ovens, induction cookers, resistive hotplates, electric water kettles. But they are not strictly fire-free, fuel free, or emissions free in that behind the elegant and useful appliances, in the hinterlands far from cities they are based on electricity produced from burning coal, overwhelmingly, and natural gas lately in the US. Hydro-power or nuclear plants contribute a small portion of today’s electricity, and not without hazards and environmentally high costs.

The revolution I am talking about is local electricity — rooftop solar based, complemented by batteries and related electronics — fed into the house;
no electricity grid with giant generation plants and massive transmission and distribution networks necessary.

Wireless “LPG” or “Pipeless” Natural Gas or “Cylinder free Gas”    

When I was a student, I remember how on wintry mornings in New Delhi, just outside the campus gate of our engineering institute, sitting in a huddle around a fire, we ordered and sipped tea straight off the boiling pan, holding a small glass with two fingers in a pincer grip. Accompanying the chatter of those around us was the background noise of a hissing kerosene stove. That sound was integral to the scene. Water was always boiling over the flame, tea made in batches, filtered through a cloth sieve, and poured into the glasses, nominally rinsed, I now shudder to think. I am sure paper cups now replace the glasses.

Walking along the streets of Pune, on certain corners one sees vendors of dosas, often outside the gates of colleges. Half the joy is in watching the master street chef prepare them in front of your eyes. Here too, alongside the bustle of the street, and the circle of observers waiting their turn with the food, is the hissing stove under the large flat iron pan, always kerosene-fired. The sound of the stove is again a part of the overall experience.

Consider backyard cooking in U.S. homes. The setup is elaborate, with coal or propane fires and grilles. The ritual of assembling the food to be grilled, and the lighting of the cooking range builds a festive, holiday atmosphere. ::) But can it be simpler, without loss of atmosphere, with solar panels and batteries? I think so. 

Indeed, on March 29, in Solana Beach, Calif., Dr. Barry Butler, Cindy Davenport, Roger Davenport, and I cooked toor lentils and stir-fried green and red peppers, onions, ginger and spices on a hotplate fired by solar panels, and ate it over rice in Dr. Butler's backyard.

Cooking Without Burn-ers

Fast-forward a year or two out, and the tea and the dosas will be the same, but cooked without fire, without kerosene, without the hissing noise. How? Solar-powered, battery enabled, over resistive hotplate or induction cookers. A portable solar canopy, a large umbrella over the fire-less stove collecting solar radiation and feeding it to the cookstove, mediated by a Li-ion battery. Personal, portable, ad hoc cooking in the open for the common man — no “burn”er necessary.

In the U.S., Sears, Home Depot, IKEA, Target, Walmart, and perhaps Best Buy, may include solar cooking systems in their stores and catalogs.

Solar Systems Design with Cooking at the Center

Solar Home Systems (SHS) have historically focused on lighting, phone charging, sometimes fans and TVs. And the focus on lighting for un-electrified villages in Africa, India, Bangladesh, Haiti, and elsewhere is as it should be — light after sundown must be among the most critical uses of electricity.

To me, lighting is now a done deal, a solved problem. With solar panels and batteries plus extraordinarily efficient LED bulbs, light is, if I may so describe it, easy. Solar systems may now be designed for the most energy intensive, yet critical, application for a home — cooking. If we do so, applications like lighting and charging for phones, laptops, TVs and home electronics will come with cooking at incremental cost, as a byproduct.

At What Cost? ???

The prices of this next generation cooking system will represent amortized capital costs, and not the costs for fuel and the logistics infrastructure as today. The capital first costs are high for rural villagers in emerging economies, but if those costs are translated into monthly payments, paid using phones, as the villagers do today, they are reasonable and affordable, and over time cheaper than for LPG.

For instance, the monthly costs of a solar cooking solution costing, say, $1,200, with an up to 20-year life for solar panels, less for batteries, and with ~ 9 percent cost of money, would be close to Rs. 740/month, the same as that for a LPG cylinder without subsidy in India. This is about $11/month, or $0.37/day, or Rs. 25/day for a family of four. The poorest rural households worldwide pay more than this for kerosene burning today. The only “solution” cheaper would be the “free” cooking by collecting firewood and burning it in a cookstove, however crude or well-designed.

This solar-based cooking solution is not merely for rural households without electricity, or street vendors, or backyard cooking in the U.S. Even in apartment homes in urban areas, the solution can be deployed to deliver an even lower cost solution with suitable optimization.

A broader question arises: What is the hub of a microgrid design of the future? Substation? Supermarket? Municipality? Neighborhood? Home Owners Association? At least one hub might be a solution with cooking as the core application in a cluster of apartment buildings.

Images courtesy of Mahesh Bhave (at article link).

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 27, 2017, 07:35:41 pm »

Researchers Outline Pathway to 10 Terawatts of Solar PV  :o  ;D by 2030
April 27, 2017

By Renewable Energy World Editors 

Current projections for solar PV deployment in the coming years have significantly underestimated the solar market’s potential, researchers say.

In a new Science paper, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), along with their counterparts from similar institutes in Japan and Germany, and researchers at universities and industry, discuss a realistic trajectory to install 5-10 terawatts of PV capacity by 2030.

The International Solar Alliance has set a target of having at least 3 terawatts of additional solar power capacity by 2030, up from the current installed capacity of 71 GW.

Reaching 5-10 terawatts should be achievable through continued technology improvements and cost decreases, as well as the continuation of incentive programs to defray upfront costs of PV systems, according to the paper, which was co-authored by Nancy Haegel, director of NREL's Materials Science Center, and David Feldman, Robert Margolis, William Tumas, Gregory Wilson, Michael Woodhouse, and Sarah Kurtz of NREL.

The researchers predicted that 5-10 terawatts of PV capacity could be in place by 2030 if these challenges can be overcome:

•A continued reduction in the cost of PV while also improving the performance of solar modules

•A drop in the cost of and time required to expand manufacturing and installation capacity

•A move to more flexible grids that can handle high levels of PV through increased load shifting, energy storage, or transmission

•An increase in demand for electricity by using more for transportation and heating or cooling

•Continued progress in storage for energy generated by solar power.


Agelbert NOTE: Overcoming THIS challenge would boost our path to 10 Terawatts and beyond BEFORE 2030 (see below):
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 23, 2017, 02:59:08 pm »

Tesla unveils sleek, barely noticeable solar panels 

Megan Treacy (@mtreacy)
Technology / Solar Technology
 April 10, 2017

Tesla unveiled its solar roof tiles last fall with major fanfare and for good reason. The energy-generating roof tiles could make an entire roof a power station while also looking beautiful at the same time.

The only downside was that the solar roof tiles were only attainable for people who were building a new home or installing a whole new roof. Homeowners wanting a way to add good-looking solar energy to just a section of their roof were out of luck unless they wanted to undertake some heavy renovations.

Until now.

Tesla quietly updated their website this past weekend to reveal an addition to their solar power portfolio: sleek, low-profile solar panels that can be added to any existing roof. The solar panels will be made by Panasonic at Tesla's Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York exclusively for Tesla. The solar panels are made to integrate with the company's Powerwall energy storage units for a round-the-clock clean energy supply.

The 325-watt solar panels have no visible mounting hardware and an integrated front skirt to make the panels as camouflaged and streamlined as possible. Tesla claims that these panels also exceed industry standards for durability and lifespan. Elecktrek reports that the non-exclusive 325-watt module that Panasonic has on the market has an efficiency rate of 21.67% and these new panels are likely similar.

Tesla will start producing the solar panels this summer and will begin using them exclusively for all residential solar installations going forward in replacement of any other third party solar panels. While production hasn't started yet, and there's no information yet on pricing, you can already request a custom quote for your home on the website.

Pictures at link:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 19, 2017, 05:42:25 pm »

20,000 Pakistani Schools to Go Solar   

ByLorraine Chow

17 April

About 20,000 schools in the province of Punjab in Pakistan will convert to solar power, according to government officials.
The project will kick off in Southern Punjab schools and expand in phases across the province, according to a local report.

The Asian Development Bank and France's AFD Bank are backing the program, Cleantechnica reported. This is the first program of its kind in the country.

In Pakistan, nearly half of all residents are not connected to the national grid. Residents who are connected to the grid regularly experience rolling blackouts and power outages. And the problem is only expected to get worse in the coming years.

Renewable resources can help mitigate this growing energy crisis. Pakistan happens to be rich in solar, as the Express Tribune described:

"With eight to nine hours of sunshine per day, the climatic conditions in Pakistan are ideal for solar power generation. According to studies, Pakistan has 2.9 million megawatts of solar energy potential besides photovoltaic opportunities.

"According to figures provided by FAKT, Pakistan spends about $12 billion annually on the import of crude oil. Of this, 70 percent oil is used in generating power, which currently costs us Rs18 per unit. Shifting to solar energy can help reduce electricity costs down to Rs 6-8 per unit."

Solar energy has made great strides in Pakistan in recent years. In February 2016, its parliament became the first national assembly in the world to be powered entirely by solar energy. The legislative body, known as the Majlis-e-Shoora, is in the capital city of Islamabad.

One of the world's largest solar farms is currently under construction in Punjab. Developers of the 1,000-megawatt Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur have already added hundreds of megawatts of energy to the national grid.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 18, 2017, 06:53:42 pm »


Fractal-etched graphene electrode boosts solar energy supercapacitor storage by 3,000%

Tibi Puiu April 17, 2017

nspired by the fractal structure of the fern leaf, researchers used lasers to etch self-replicating structures on a graphene electrode, designing a novel supercapacitor. The resulting energy storage system has a 30-fold higher energy density than anything previously demonstrated and could dramatically improve solar energy applications, especially the thin solar film variety.

The breakthrough electrode prototype (right) can be combined with a solar cell (left) for on-chip energy harvesting and storage. Credit: RMIT.

There are a number of options for storing energy beyond the batteries everyone’s familiar with. For instance, a capacitor stores energy by means of a static charge, as opposed to an electrochemical reaction found in a lithium-ion battery. There are three main types of capacitors, among them the supercapacitor, which, as the name implies, has a much higher capacitance up to thousands of times higher than a classic capacitor. These are great for storing frequent charge and discharge cycles at high current and short duration. Sounds familiar? Well, solar energy is very much like that which is why there’s a great interest in the industry for supercapacitors. The reason why you don’t seem them beyond the lab included in solar energy systems is because supercapacitors were limited by energy storage densities in the order of 3 × 10−3 Whcm−3 or lower.

Australian researchers from the RMIT University in Melbourne may have set the stage for mainstream capacitors for solar energy storage. With a little help from nature, they managed to design a new electrode which when integrated with existing supercapacitors can improve the state of the art supercapacitor-based solar energy storage by an astonishing 3,000 percent.

Their inspiration was the western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) whose leaves are densely packed with veins which efficiently store energy and transport water. It’s one of the most abundant ferns in the world, known for its bright green, tapered, 2- to 3-foot-long (61- to 91-centimeter) fronds. What many gardeners might not realize about the sword fern is that at the nanolevel its leaves have a self-replicating structure akin to that of the snowflake or other fractal-like structures commonly found in nature.

A western swordfern leaf magnified 400 times. The veins of the leaf have a self-replicating structure similar to the snowflake. Credit: RMIT.

The electrode designed by the Australian researchers is based on the fern’s naturally-efficient fractal structure. To mimic the fractals, the researchers fired high precision laser pulses to manipulate sheets of graphene, the wonder material that among its many useful properties is also an excellent electrical conductor.

Tests suggest that when the novel electrode was combined with supercapacitors, the system stored charge for longer, with minimal leakage.

“The most exciting possibility is using this electrode with a solar cell, to provide a total on-chip energy harvesting and storage solution,” said PhD researcher Litty Thekkekara and lead author of the new study published in Scientific Reports.

Specifically, the greatest boost might lie in exploiting this new electrode in conjunction with thin film solar cells which are flexible enough to be used almost anywhere to capture energy from the sun, be it on windows, smartphones or watches. We might not need to charge phones via batteries using such a technology.

“With this flexible electrode prototype we’ve solved the storage part of the challenge, as well as shown how they can work with solar cells without affecting performance. Now the focus needs to be on flexible solar energy, so we can work towards achieving our vision of fully solar-reliant, self-powering electronics,”
the researchers wrote. 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 16, 2017, 07:47:30 pm »

Albuquerque city buildings getting $25M in solar panels

Posted on Sunday, April 16th, 2017 By The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's most populous city has plans to install more than $25 million in solar panels on city buildings over the next two years.

The installations in Albuquerque will mark the first phase in fulfilling a recently set goal of generating more of the city's energy from solar power.

Albuquerque City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton made the announcement Saturday.

They say the project's first phase of the project is expected to save taxpayers about $20 million over 30 years.

City councilors last September passed a resolution calling Albuquerque to generate one quarter of its energy from solar power by 2025.

The first phase of the project will begin later this year.

The project will be financed through the energy savings and federal bond credits.


Do they mean 25% of their electric energy or 25% of total energy?

Spend 25 mill to save 20 mill? Isn't that a net loss of 5 mill?


They are talking about ELECTRICAL ENERGY DEMAND from buildings, light poles, pumping stations, etc.. The city gets their JUICE from a lot of fossil fuel sources now. THAT is what they will reduce. City vehicles aren't in the equation.

AS to your math skills, I see economics isn't your thing. IF they DO NOT spend the $25 million bucks on PV, they HAVE TO SPEND X AMOUNT in electrical energy costs powered by fossil fuels.

THAT "X" amount is projected to be 20 million dollars MORE than they will spend in 30 years with the added PV. Assuming that the PV will (MTBF) crap out in 30 years, or sooner, is probably the reason you came up with the 5 million dollar "loss". There is a bit more too it than that.

The cost savings from NOT adding energy generation capacity from fossil fuels represents additional money (and health) savings not obvious to the casual observer that the city, since they are not a utility, isn't accounting for.

You may claim that building gas or coal fired power plants is cheaper than building solar panel infrastructure of equivalent capacity, but MAINTAINING fossil fuel power plants is FAR more costly than maintaining renewable energy infrastructure. SO, the more renewable energy infrastructure, the lower your operating costs.

In addition, there will be less pollution from the power supplied to the  grid, which will lower city costs in health related expenses THAT YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN POSITIVELY ACCOUNTNG FOR EITHER.

Finally, the cost of solar energy is a known quantity, whereas the cost of fossil fuels in the future is sure to go UP. As the city gets more and more renewable energy the savings will continue to grow for all those reasons. There will be NO price shocks, PERIOD. The more power the city can make on it's own, the less it is forced to pay higher rates to a power corporation. The only people this is a "bad deal" for are the stockholders of corporations owning fossil fuel powered power plants. 

Since you think it's a "bad deal" to lower the city carbon pollution with $25 million bucks, I guess you voted for Trump. IOW, long term cost benefit analysis is not your thing. They will save a lot more than the conservative $20 million dollars they are estimating. And even if they didn't, the improved air quality would be worth it.

 Edpell, you are a one trick, Renewable Energy attacking, pony.

You are also boring.  Go do something productive for a change.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 16, 2017, 05:03:12 pm »

Albuquerque city buildings getting $25M in solar panels

Posted on Sunday, April 16th, 2017 By The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's most populous city has plans to install more than $25 million in solar panels on city buildings over the next two years.

The installations in Albuquerque will mark the first phase in fulfilling a recently set goal of generating more of the city's energy from solar power.

Albuquerque City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton made the announcement Saturday.

They say the project's first phase of the project is expected to save taxpayers about $20 million over 30 years.

City councilors last September passed a resolution calling Albuquerque to generate one quarter of its energy from solar power by 2025.

The first phase of the project will begin later this year.

The project will be financed through the energy savings and federal bond credits.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 11, 2017, 02:14:05 pm »

'In March, during the hours of 8am to 2pm, system average hourly prices were frequently at or below $0 per megawatt-hour'
Surfer Cole Clisby rides his surfboard off the top of a wave as the sun sets off the shores of Leucadia, California

"Yeah, they're out there havin' fun, In the warm California sun," sang The Rivieras in their 1964 hit.

And it could not be more apt today as the sun in the state was so strong – and the number of solar farms so large – that electricity prices in the state have begun turning negative on the main power exchange, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has revealed.

Solar made up a record figure of nearly 40 per cent of the electricity sent to the grid in the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO’s) territory for a few hours on 11 March, after utility-scale solar farms grew by almost 50 per cent in 2016, the EIA said on its website.

However, as the Quartz website pointed out, negative wholesale prices do not translate into an unexpected windfall for consumers.

This is because retail prices are based on the average cost, so people might get slightly cheaper electricity but not an actual cash payment as a result of prices becoming negative for a few hours.

The EIA said: “The large and growing amount of solar generation has occasionally driven power prices on the CAISO power exchange during late winter and early spring daylight hours to very low, and sometimes negative, prices.

“However, consumers in California continue to pay average retail electricity prices that are among the highest in the nation.”

Solar capacity in the state has grown rapidly in the last few years.

There was less than one gigawatt in 2007, but nearly 14GW by the end of last year.

At this time of year, the large amounts of sunlight and the relatively low demand can produce too much electricity around the middle of the day.

“Electricity demand in California tends to peak during the summer months,” the EIA said.

“However, in late winter and early spring, demand is at its annual minimum, but solar output, while not at its highest, is increasing as the days grow longer and the sun gets higher in the sky.

“Although the sun is at a similar angle in September and October, electricity demand is still relatively high, leading to lower solar generation shares than seen in March.

“Consequently, power prices … were substantially lower in March compared with other times of the year or even March of last year.

“In March, during the hours of 8am to 2pm, system average hourly prices were frequently at or below $0 per megawatthour.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 10, 2017, 05:24:22 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: Take THAT, Mr. Trump! You will rue the day you fossil fuel fascists insulted Germany.

Germany's Merkel Encourages Spain, Portugal to Invest in Solar 

by Naomi Kresge

‎April‎ ‎8‎, ‎2017‎ ‎5‎:‎07‎ ‎AM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel encouraged Spain and Portugal to invest more in solar energy and said they need a better link to France amid a push for a unified European power grid.

“The connection between France and the Iberian peninsula is a huge problem,” Merkel said Saturday in her weekly podcast. “These are, for example, two countries in which solar power naturally could be expanded.”

Merkel’s government has promoted wind and solar energy as the country prepares for the closure of its last nuclear power stations in 2022, transforming the country’s power markets. Green output met 29 percent of Germany’s electricity demand last year, about the same as in 2015, but far exceeding the 11 percent level of a decade earlier.

The European Union is aiming to break down national barriers for power, which could make supplies more secure and lower costs thanks to more trade across national borders.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 02, 2017, 11:01:39 pm »

World's Biggest Solar + Battery Farm  Coming to Australia

By Lorraine Chow

30 March, 2017

A massive solar and battery farm is being built in South Australia's Riverland region.

If everything goes to plan, the plant will be running by the end of 2017 and will be the largest such system in the world, Brisbane-based renewable energy developer and investor Lyon Group announced.

The Riverland plant consists of 330MW of solar PV and a 100MW/400MWh battery storage system, or 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million batteries.  :o  ;D

The new project couldn't come sooner. A major gas shortage is looming and the country's decades-old coal plants are shutting down, sparking potential price hikes and putting the nation's energy security at risk.

The $1 billion (US $767 million) project was announced amid South Australia's recent spate of blackouts.

Interestingly, the ball really seemed to roll after an intriguing tweet from none other than Elon Musk.

You may recall that earlier this month the Tesla CEO offered to build a 100MW battery storage farm for the Australian state. To up the ante, he said he would provide the system for free if it was not commissioned within 100 days. Musk's audacious bet led to an eventual conversation with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Days later, the South Australian government announced an open, competitive tender for a 100MW battery storage project.

"The battery will modernize South Australia's energy grid and begin the transformation to the next generation of renewable-energy storage technologies," the government office stated.

According to Australia's ABC News, Lyon Group partner David Green said the company will build its new plant, along with a similar plant near the town of Roxby Downs, regardless of the outcome of the government's tender: 

The Lyon Group has already signaled its intention to bid for a SA government tender to build a battery storage system with 100-megawatt output.

The tender arrangement would give the government the right to tap the battery storage at times of peak demand, but allow the project owner to sell energy and stability into the market at other times.

An expressions of interest process closes on Friday.

Other companies, including Carnegie, Zen Energy and Tesla, have all suggested they could be interested in bidding.

Green said the outcome of the tender would not determine whether or not Lyon's projects were built, but would influence the final storage configuration in terms of the balance between optimizing grid security and capturing trading revenue.

Green said the project was 100 percent equity financed and construction would begin within months, requiring 270 workers, ABC News reported.

"We see the inevitability of the need to have large-scale solar and integrated batteries as part of any move to decarbonize," Green added.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 25, 2017, 03:09:00 pm »

First Utility-Scale Project on Tribal Lands to Power 100,000 Homes
Mar. 21, 2017 01:57PM EST

By Dan Whitten

First Solar held a commissioning event last week on a 250-megawatt solar facility on the Moapa River Indian Reservation. This is the first utility-scale solar project on tribal lands.

Morgan Stanley put together this cool video on the project as part of their series on sustainable solutions called Capital Creates Change and we wanted to share it with you. It highlights the economic opportunity, the jobs and the clean power that utility scale developers are bringing to Indian Country and to Southern Nevada.

Late last year, I was lucky enough to attend a ribbon cutting at NextEra Energy's Silver State South project, a 250-megawatt project developed and built by First Solar at the southern tip of Nevada, on the California border line. Eight years ago, when developers began surveying the Silver State South site, they couldn't have known what the world or even that little corner of the Nevada and California border would look like in terms of solar adoption. But they did know major change was afoot.

Back then, solar accounted for one hundredth of one percent of the nation's power generation and it was considered by some to be the costliest form of electricity.

In hindsight, the project goes a long way toward explaining the phenomena we are seeing in solar energy today. First off, the region now boasts 1,200 megawatts of solar electricity, which is the size of two big coal plants and no emissions, a fact that helps explain why our greenhouse gas emissions as a nation are lower than they have been in more than two decades.

The Moapa Southern Paiute Solar project continues a trend in Nevada that has seen utility scale grow by leaps and bounds and with it has come thousands of jobs. Economies of scale evident from solar adoption help explain why the cost of solar has dropped by about 70 percent in the last eight years.

And while the utility scale revolution is taking hold in the West, policies governing rooftop solar in Nevada have crippled that segment of our industry and the many benefits that a healthy distributed generation market can provide for our electrical grid. The model is in place for many thousands of megawatts of clean electricity in the West and the hundreds and thousands of jobs that come with it.

The key is making sure there is a welcoming policy environment for continued growth of large scale solar, with triggers that can help distributed solar take pressure off the grid.  

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 23, 2017, 02:14:46 pm »

Recent Advancements in the Solar and Renewable Energy Industry

By Daphne Stanford on March 22, 2017 at 15:33 pm   

It’s 2017, but solar cells went into commercial production in 1953, so you do the math: we should probably have access to affordable solar power, by now, but there are numerous dirty fuel proponents working to try to ensure that we continue to be dependent upon them for as long as possible.  However, despite the slow progress, exciting technological breakthroughs are being discovered that should make affordable solar power available to the average consumer sooner rather than later.

Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with how solar energy is generated: first, solar panels collect sunlight; next, power is converted into usable electricity; next, electricity flows into the net meter; and finally, the attached building is able to use the electricity produced by the sun.  In order for solar power to become more widely utilized, it has to become more affordable.  However, National Geographic reports that significant advances in nanotechnology will soon lead to lower costs and higher efficiency rates. 

What kind of advancements, specifically, you ask?  To cite one example, researchers from MIT and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology have developed a new solar cell—what they’re calling a “step cell”—that combines two different layers of sunlight-absorbing material to harvest a broader range of the sun’s energy.

There was also a new development just this month, as reported in Science Daily:

Researchers at The City College of New York-based CUNY Energy Institute announce the development of a novel low cost, rechargeable, high energy density battery that makes the widespread use of solar and wind power possible in the future.   

Think Tesla’s Powerwall, only more affordable.  Moreover, Green Tech Media recently compared the costs of wind and solar to gas, coal, and nuclear-based energy, illustrating the clear advantage that renewable energy has over fossil fuels, price-wise.  Why are our cities’ and towns’ energy grids so slow to implement clean energy sources?  Michael O’Boyle cites two widespread misconceptions: first, “Misguided alarmism about the reliability of renewables,” and second, “Misconceptions of the cost of running the grid with more renewables.”

The potential cost of implementing solar power into energy grids is even lower due to increased loans to solar energy production companies, so there’s that, too.  All in all, the costs of solar energy are going down—no matter how much the Trump administration would like us to believe in its inconvenience and unaffordability.  Moreover, there has been considerable progress in the renewable energy world in terms of new career opportunities unique to the industry, more affordable consumer options, and new technological advancements.

Over the past year, there have been a number of new technologies developed related to solar efficiency, solar energy storage, wearable solar technology, and solar design tech.   Perhaps one of the most exciting developments that has received a good deal of attention is solar roadways: they are roads with the ability to convert sunlight into energy to be delivered to local smart grids.  According to their website, “Our goal is to modernize the infrastructure with modular, intelligent panels, while producing clean renewable energy for homes and businesses.”

Beyond specific products, there are also a number of careers in sustainability-related fields like forestry and geology that should be attractive to those interested in supporting the renewable energy industry.  A common role for a forestry graduate, for example, is that of a conservation scientist or forester.  Companies typically create this position in order to help them manage their use of forests as resources related to their product supply chain.  Georgia-Pacific, for example, attempts to replenish and responsibly preserve the forest elements that they harvest for business use.

Other related fields, such as geography and geology, offer career opportunities in cartography or geoscience.  The advantage of these nature-related jobs is the sense of purpose that they offer to the potential employee in search of ethical work.  Many people these days, faced with dire news about the state of the environment and climate change around the world, are beginning to feel compelled to search for more meaningful job positions that help to improve people’s lives in some way. 

Because of this new awareness of the importance of sustainability, moreover, it’s not as necessary as it used to be to enter the not-for-profit world in order to find meaningful work.  Many small and medium-sized companies—even larger corporations—are becoming more aware of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and developing more substantial ethical compasses that offer more satisfaction to the socially-conscious job seeker.  More and more people are asking, “Is the world a better, safer, or healthier place because of my company?”  And an increasing number of companies are confidently responding with a resounding, “Yes!” 

More people, also, are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of personal responsibility, when it comes to sustainable living and eco-friendly lifestyles.  There are a number of simple, tangible actions that you, personally, can take at home in order to maximize your energy efficiency and long-term monthly expenses, as well.  For example, you’ll be able to save a substantial amount of money just by getting rid of wasteful, out-of-date appliances. 

Conducting a home energy audit requires little energy on your part after you make a call to a local certified energy rater or auditor.  An auditor will be able to determine the areas in your home that need additional insulation and weatherization.  You can also make sure that your appliances and lightbulbs are up to date, in terms of the most energy-efficient models and light sources—if in doubt, look for the “Energy Star” symbol on products when searching for replacements.  Lastly, be mindful of your water usage and the amount of food waste you throw out; the simple act of composting can relieve much of the burden on our local landfills.

*   *   *

Living in a sustainable manner requires all of us working together to ensure we’re picking the most socially and environmentally responsible options—whether it be an appliance, a job position, or a political vote supporting renewable, energy-efficient policies and legislation in favor of clean energy.  What are you doing to contribute to a more sustainable world?

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 19, 2017, 07:55:19 pm »

March 13, 2017 | Rona Fried | Corporate Sustainability, Renewables & Efficiency

Apple Opens Solar Spaceship Headquarters in April, Amazon Also Expands Renewables

After four years of construction, 12,000 employees start moving into Apple’s new spaceship campus in April. Now called Apple Park, the 175-acre campus near Cupertino, California will be a model for energy efficiency and 100% powered by renewable energy.

The building’s circumference hosts one of the largest on-site solar systems in the world – a massive 17 megawatts (MW) of solar panels!  :o   That will supply 75% of the electricity; the rest comes from buying half the output of a nearby 280 MW solar farm and 4 MW of on-site fuel cells. As the world’s largest naturally ventilated building, it will require No heat or air conditioning for nine months of the year  ;D. Almost all of the materials from demolishing previous buildings at the site has been reused or recycled – virtually every piece of concrete, glass, and metal.

Apple spaceship

Worldwide, 93% of Apple’s power for offices and retail comes from renewable energy, and 100% of power for data centers.  The next step is manufacturing – the source of 77% of its greenhouse gases. A 170 MW solar farm in Mongolia will begin powering China’s factories and a supplier in Japan is building 20 solar plants including one of the largest floating solar systems. In tandem with suppliers, over 4 gigawatts (GW) of renewables will be added around the world by 2020, including 2 GW in China.

“We’re switching to greener materials to create safer products and manufacturing processes. We’re protecting working forests and making sure they are managed sustainably. We’re even creating a more mindful way to recycle our devices using robots,” Apple says on its Environment page.

Amazon Steps Up

Amazon.com also made a big announcement – over the next three years, it will put solar on the roofs of 50 warehouses around the world. Solar will provide as much as 80% of power at sites in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware, starting this year. The company is building the 253 MW Amazon Wind Farm Texas and a 180 MW wind farm in Ohio, adding to its wind farms in Indiana and North Carolina.

“We are putting our scale and inventive culture to work on sustainability. By diversifying our energy portfolio, we can keep business costs low and pass along further savings to customers. It’s a win-win,” says Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations.

Last year, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft filed an amicus brief in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, now under attack by the Trump Administration.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 14, 2017, 01:09:20 pm »

Amish tap into God's Grid!        

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 09, 2017, 04:49:56 pm »

New Solar Farm Powers Hawaii at Night   :o  ;D

Tesla unveiled a new 13MW solar farm on the Hawaiian island of Kauai Wednesday, bringing the state closer to its ambitious goal of sourcing 100 percent renewables by 2045.

The farm includes nearly 300 Tesla Powerpack batteries, which provide 52 MWh of capacity and will allow the farm to sell stored power during the evening. The company estimated that the farm will offset 1.6 million gallons of fossil fuel usage per year  in the state, which relies heavily on oil-fired power plants and has some of the highest electric rates in the country.

According to The Verge:

It's the first major solar-plus-storage project for Tesla since its $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity last year, and Tesla said in a statement that it "will work with energy providers around the world seeking to overcome barriers in the way of building a sustainable, renewable energy grid of their own."

Stationary storage is "something I think will probably be as big as the car business long term," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during a tour of the Gigafactory last year. "And will actually have a growth rate probably several times that of what the car business is per year. The growth in stationary storage is really under appreciated. That's a super-exponential growth rate." 


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 09, 2017, 02:36:42 pm »

UK slaps massive 800% tax increase for rooftop solar panels

Mihai Andrei March 9, 2017

The US isn’t the only developed country backtracking on environmental development: the UK recently announced a new law that will bring a devastating tax increase on solar energy. As it has become so common in recent months, the government said it’s a good thing which will help development, but provided no explanation as to how it will help anything.

Although it is still a leader in European solar power generation, the UK    is making huge strides in the opposite direction. The country’s solar industry already lost 12,000 jobs last year and there has been an 85 percent reduction in the deployment of rooftop solar schemes, largely due to political intervention: the government drastically cut incentives for householders to fit solar panels and ended subsidies for large-scale “solar farms”. Now, they’re taking things even further, announcing that schools and businesses who haven’t been paying taxes for solar energy will now have to pay, and those who have been paying will pay 8 times more. To make things even peachier, the tax increase doesn’t apply to private schools, for a reason that has not been disclosed.

Needless to say, reactions have been highly critical of this move. The speech of Chancellor Philip Hammond on the 2017 budget barely even mentioned renewable energy, although he did emphasize a promise to help the oil and gas industry “maximise exploitation” of the remaining reserves in the North Sea.

“This is slightly less than helpful for the British solar industry,” the Solar Trade Association’s Leonie Greene told The Independent, in a very British fashion. “It’s absurd. Energy tax policy is going in the opposite direction to how we know energy needs to change and how it’s changing. What he is doing is advantaging old technology and disadvantaging new ones. It’s nonsensical.”

Despite pleas from the industry, schools, businesses, and the public sector, the government refused to back down on this. They specifically mentioned that this will be beneficial for schools but again, did not mention how. A petition with over 200,000 signatures from a school in London will be delivered to England’s Treasury Department today, but expectations are minimal.

ALSO READ Scotland just powered itself completely from wind power the entire day

This is extremely ironic because according to the government’s own figures, solar is expected to become the cheapest form of electricity generation sometime in the 2020s. It’s like the UK just decided to shoot itself in the leg — and this won’t only affect the businesses (especially small businesses), schools, and farms with solar panels, it will also affect average consumers, driving the price of electricity up by a notch. Leonie Greene adds:

“That is crazy because it is the cheapest and most popular source of energy. What that means is consumers are paying more. We are taking away the competitive pressure solar has put on other technologies. We need something to change for the solar industry. We are just trying to get a level playing field with fossil fuels.”

In a normal world, where politicians are unbiased and simply want the best for their citizens, they should be offering great support for renewable energy — especially in the UK. The country is going through a severe pollution crisis. The situation is so bad that the UK has been taken to court twice and lost, being ordered by the supreme court to take action against climate change. Yet not only are they withdrawing subsidies and support for renewable energy, they’re actually making it harder for renewables to complete against fossil fuels. Just like in the US, the government hangs on to the oil and gas pipedream, ignoring both the environmental and economic reality: renewables are getting cheaper, and fast. Fossil fuels may be the past, they may be a big part of the present, but they’re certainly not the future. Installing new renewables is already cheaper than fossil fuels.

ALSO READ  Pesticides linked to massive bee die off, largest study of its kind confirms

James Thornton, chief executive of ClientEarth, the NGO that sued the UK and won, declared:

“Despite being ordered twice by the courts to take urgent steps to tackle the country’s air pollution crisis, it seems the Treasury has still not grasped the urgency of the situation,” he said. “We fear that Government plans [on air pollution], which are due out next month, may well fall short of what is needed.”

His fears — to say the least — seem rational. With Brexit right around the corner, the government seems set to scrape several of the EU regulations and give into the fossil fuel lobby. Although not as vocal and not as absurd as the Trump government , there are clear similarities to be drawn.  

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 02, 2017, 02:38:04 pm »

Startup makes solar panels that can blend with any environment. It can match a rooftop, show an ad, anything basically :o   ;D

Tibi Puiu February 27, 2017

Credit: Sistine Solar

Less than 1 percent of American homes employ solar to power their homes. Some can’t afford the upfront costs while others don’t make this step because they aren’t convinced it’s going to work for them. But there are also a lot of people who can afford to and would like to install PV panels on their rooftops but choose not out of aesthetic considerations or out of concern their homes’ market value will suffer. A startup fresh out of MIT’s engineering and MBA classrooms hopes to render this argument moot.

The startup in question, called Sistine Solar, is offering solar panels that instead of the familiar blue luster can display virtually any image the client desires. For instance, a homeowner might want to cover all of his rooftop with PV panels and have them match the tiles. Business owners can cover kiosks or offices with panels that display ads or their logos. Strikingly, there are minimal efficiency losses involved.

Credit: Sistine Solar

This design of SolarSkin is not all that different from public transit see-through ads which cover a bus in billboards but inside passengers can see through them. These work by reflecting some of the light in a distinct pattern so people outside the bus can see the ad while allowing enough light through so passengers can see out. In the case of the Sistine panels, however, this effect is stretched to the max so only a minute quantity of light is let to reflect leaving the bulk of photons to hit the module, preserving efficiency. As for the cost, buyers can expect a 10 percent increase over panels of the same rated power capacity.

Credit: Sistine Solar

Sistine Solar is, of course, not the only company catering to solar aesthetics. Last year, Tesla announced with much fanfare a new line of ‘solar tiles’. It reportedly costs less than a new rooftop to install — we’ll just have to see about that now that Tesla announced it will start selling them by the end of the year.

Sistine’s offering, however, is different. While Tesla’s rooftop panels are actually tiles, Sistine is making panels that look like tiles. Any pattern or image can be displayed by the layer that covers the solar panel, no matter how intricate.

“We’ve come up with a process where we color-correct the minimal information we have of the image on the panels to make that image appear, to the human eye, to be similar to the surrounding backdrop of roof shingles,” says Anthony Occidentale, an MIT mechanical engineering student.

SolarSkin was first installed on a house in Norwell, Massachusetts where the 10-kilowatt system mimicked a cedar pattern. Sistine Solar now has 200 orders, mainly in California and Massachusetts. Custom designs aren’t all that popular instead most buyers opting for one of the patterns offered by the company. These include common rooftop patterns in the United States, such as asphalt shingles, clay tiles, and slate.

“We think SolarSkin is going to catch on like wildfire,”  said co-founder Senthil Balasubramanian for MIT News. “There is a tremendous desire by homeowners to cut utility bills, and solar is finding reception with them — and homeowners care a lot about aesthetics.”

While I personally don’t believe rooftop solar is ugly, I know some people think this way — and they’re running out of excuses fast. 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 19, 2017, 09:58:00 pm »

Solar Now Produces a Better Energy Return on Investment Than Oil

The future is not good for oil, no matter which way you look at it. Motherboard

Solar — it’s not just a clean power source producing zero emissions and almost no local water impact, it’s also now one of the best choices on the basis of how much energy you get back for your investment. And with climate change impacts rising, solar’s further potential to take some of the edge off the harm that’s coming down the pipe makes speeding its adoption a clear no-brainer.

In 2016, according to a trends analysis based on this report by the Royal Society of London, the energy return on energy investment (EROEI) for oil appears to have fallen below a ratio of 15 to 1 globally. In places like the United States, where extraction efforts increasingly rely on unconventional techniques like fracking, that EROEI has fallen to 10 or 11 to 1 or lower.

Meanwhile, according to a new study by the Imperial College of London, solar energy’s return on investment ratio as of 2015 was 14 to 1 and rising.      What this means is that a global energy return on investment inflection point between oil and solar was likely reached at some time during the present year.

Great charts and info! 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 16, 2017, 05:28:08 pm »

U.S. Solar Surged 95% to Become Largest Source of New Energy   

Chris Martin

‎February‎ ‎15‎, ‎2017‎ ‎12‎:‎01‎ ‎AM 

Solar installations surpassed gas and wind for first time
Record 14.6 gigawatts of solar panels added in 2016, SEIA says


Solar developers installed a record 14.6 gigawatts in the U.S. last year, almost double the total from 2015 and enough to make photovoltaic panels the largest source of new electric capacity for the first time.

Solar panels on rooftops and fields accounted for 39 percent of new generation last year, according to a report Wednesday from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. That beat the 29 percent contribution from natural gas and 26 percent from wind.

The surge is further evidence that solar power has become an important part of the U.S. energy mix, even as President Donald Trump pushes for wider use of fossil fuels. The solar industry employs 260,000 people and accounted for 2 percent of all new U.S. jobs last year, and Republican and Democratic governors from 20 states sent the White House a letter Monday saying that clean energy is an important economic driver.

Full article with fact filled charts:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 11, 2017, 09:48:06 pm »

Jimmy Carter Continues His Green Energy Legacy With 10-Acre Solar Farm

  Julia Travers


Former President Jimmy Carter leased 10 acres of his land to Atlanta-based SolAmerica to develop a 1.3-megawatt solar farm in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. An opening ceremony was held Feb. 8 to launch the project, which is projected to produce more than 55 million kilowatt-hours of energy in the next 25 years. The project will provide more than half of the power needs for the 683 residents.

Great Pictures!  ;D

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 09, 2017, 02:26:14 pm »

Agelbert Note: Excellent Comments from intelligent Vermonters:


Tom Hengelsberg  • 4 hours ago 

As an architect who has also done many assessments of low-slope roofs, some with solar panels already installed in exactly the manner depicted in the article's accompanying photograph, I would respectfully disagree with Mr. Snell. I have not seen any issues or reduction in the lifespan of the roofing membrane that would have been caused by the placement of the solar panels. If anything, the panels shade and protect the membrane, possibly prolonging its lifespan. Understand that the panels are installed on a rack system that sits on protective "feet" on top of the membrane, and the whole assembly is weighted down with concrete ballast blocks that also sit on protective slipsheets. The rack system does not penetrate the roof. When the lifespan of the roof is up, the racking can be removed, the roof replaced, and the panels reinstalled (or more likely replaced with a more efficient panel - they keep getting better and better.) The good news is, the lifespan of a membrane roof and a set of panels are about the same: 20-25 years. So if they are installed at the same time, they can be replaced at the same time.

I wholeheartedly support this initiative! Many in the architecture profession have been advocating for years to add solar PV to the underused resource of low-slope rooftops.
R.J. Adler  • 5 hours ago 

Requiring solar on big rooftops is a great idea. Big store owners can pay as much as $50,000 or more per year in electricity costs. If they have the space, solar developers can help retailers drive those costs into a system they own, and once the system is paid off that means erasing a $50,000/yr line item from your budget! Think of it as the difference of renting a house vs. buying a house and paying a mortgage. Lower operating costs would make business much easier in the state of Vermont.

Even if those retailers can't foot the bill- solar developers are willing to rent out that roof space (creating another revenue stream), and offer discounted power to other folks in town. That means more power created in Vermont, which is more efficient overall. That also means more job opportunities created in Vermont in a growing field that employs young people like me.

Stephen M. Frey > R.J. Adler  • 3 hours ago 

RJ I think it's a win win for building owners, operators, the public and the clean energy industry. How much Megawattage in statewide flat roof, low-slop roof generation capacity are we talking about? Any sense of this from Sun Common's perspective?

Senator raises idea of requiring rooftop solar for big buildings

Feb. 8, 2017, 8:47 pm by Mike Polhamus

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 30, 2017, 08:15:03 pm »

I have not built my system. I have all the components other than some posts for the ground mounts and a structure to house the batteries to keep them cool.

I had my first system, a small 360W "portable" system up and running for a couple of years, but it just recently died. I need to do a post mortem.

Because I don't live on my rural property full time, I have held off because I worry about possible vandalism. I have spent the last several months working on fencing, to improve security. I have access to cheap grid power, and my well presents another set of problems for solar, as it's a conventional deep well with a submersible pump at 330 ft. Not sure the new system I designed would be adequate to run the pump, without adding a timer and a cistern, or converting to a pump jack system, which would be a better option. I have a pump jack, but it takes a well pro with the right equipment to pull the old pump, change to a windmill foot valve and install the rods, etc.

When it does get built, I expect I'll try to get one big robust inverter (of better quality), better than the AIMS, and keep them for spares. 

Security is a very costly stumbling block to PV system durability. The only thing fossil fuel powered machines ever had going for them is that, unlike Renewable Energy infrastructure such as wind or solar, they are easy to secure. But passive geothermal is just as easy to secure. Even the Bush Ranch had (has?) passive AND active geothermal. With that as a base, you could easily round out renewable energy sources for your spread with monitors and alarm systems for wind and PV for a 24/7 sustainable operation.

I hope you are someday successful in running that place exclusively on Renewable Energy. Expecting the polluting energy sources we have all grown up around to continue to be available is a pipe dream shared by too many. The REAL real world will eventually prevail, regardless of the magical and clueless thinking of so many.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 20, 2017, 05:30:42 pm »

Grid Optimization

First Solar Proves That PV Plants Can Rival Frequency Response Services From Natural Gas Peakers

In California, an important test for solar farms as grid-balancing agents
by Jeff St. John 
 January 19, 2017

Last summer, First Solar and California grid operator CAISO ran a set of tests to show that utility-scale solar PV, instead of being a disruptive influence on the power grid, could actually help stabilize it.

Over a series of days in August, First Solar slightly curtailed power output at a 300-megawatt solar farm in California, enabled its array of inverters, and plugged into CAISO’s system. It then orchestrated the plant’s output to follow CAISO’s automatic generation control (AGC) signals, respond to its frequency regulation commands, and use inverters for voltage regulation, power factor regulation and reactive power control.

The results, according to a report released last week, showed that First Solar was able to meet, and sometimes exceed, the frequency regulation response usually provided by natural-gas-fired peaker plants. First Solar was also able to provide inverter-based services throughout the day -- and possibly even at night.

It turned in a respectable performance matching CAISO’s wholesale market price signals -- even when clouds appeared on the afternoon of the second day of testing, reducing First Solar’s capacity to shift its load.

All told, the data from CAISO, First Solar and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) indicates that a utility-scale solar farm, equipped with standard inverters and software controls, can serve to smooth out grid fluctuations from the solar itself or from other sources.

And for California, a state with 9,000 megawatts of transmission-connected solar and plans for 20,000 megawatts more by 2030, that could be a valuable resource. “If PV-generated power can offer a supportive product that benefits the power system and is economic for PV power plant owners and customers, this functionality should be recognized and encouraged,” the report noted.

Utility-scale solar PV is already causing California some grid challenges, in the form of the duck curve -- a deep midday drop in net load driven by lots of solar flooding onto the grid, and a steep ramp-up starting in the late afternoon that extends into evening as solar fades away.

CAISO is also experiencing “periods of oversupply conditions, especially pronounced during weekends when electricity demand is low and renewable production is high.” Currently, when faced with potentially destabilizing conditions like this, CAISO has no choice but to curtail renewable power.

“Significant levels of renewables curtailment took place during certain days of the spring of 2016,” the report noted, including one day in late April when more than 2,000 megawatts of renewable generation had to be taken offline.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 18, 2017, 02:24:00 pm »

Solar Employs More Workers Than Coal, Oil and Natural Gas Combined

 Lorraine Chow  13 Jan 2017


In a sign of promise for the booming industry, solar employers reported that they expect to increase employment by 7 percent this year.

Solar is becoming the cheapest form of electricity production in the world, according to statistics from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Last year was the first time that the renewable energy technology out-performed fossil fuels on a large scale. 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 12, 2017, 08:37:27 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: Newly elected Governor Scott is a one of the rare Republicans with common sense.  8)


Scott hails solar firm as part of job-creating energy effort

Jan. 9, 2017, 5:09 pm by Mike Polhamus

SunCommon touts its Solar Canopy product Monday at the Hunger Mountain cooperative store in Montpelier. Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger (at article link)

Gov. Phil Scott plans to move forward with the state’s goal of getting 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2050.

The push to move away from fossil fuels will create jobs and invigorate the economy, Scott said Monday to a crowd of around 50 people at the Hunger Mountain cooperative store in Montpelier.

“We want to attract young professionals, like yourselves, and working families to Vermont,” Scott said. “Companies like SunCommon that are creating jobs and innovating here in Vermont are exactly what we need.” That echoed a theme from his campaign.

Waterbury-based solar firm SunCommon hosted the event to show off what the company calls a Solar Canopy, which consists of a timber-frame structure topped with enough solar panels to power a home.

SunCommon unveiled two solar canopies in the parking lot at Hunger Mountain. The structures currently send power to the store but will soon power charging stations for electric vehicles, company representatives said Monday.

The solar canopies serve a growing demand from Vermonters who want to purchase solar panels for their homes, but whose roofs can’t bear the weight of the panels, said SunCommon co-founder James Moore.

“Vermonters ship hundreds of millions of dollars every year outside the local economy, for dirty energy they don’t want to support,” Moore said.

Vermonters and other Americans will continue to demand renewable energy even if financial support from the federal government dries up, Moore said.

“This is happening because people want it to happen,” he said. “It’s not happening because of the government. People want to really lessen (their reliance on) fossil fuels that are hurting the economy and our environment.”

SunCommon offers solar canopies to customers at no upfront cost, using financing obtained through Vermont credit unions, said company spokeswoman Emily McManamy. The structures carry a value of around $30,000 apiece, McManamy said.

She said their timber frame construction was intended to hew to Vermont’s aesthetic sensibilities. The canopy is meant to offer protection from the elements when installed over driveways, patios, firewood stacks or even chicken coops, she said.

The state has committed to reducing carbon dioxide pollution emitted within its borders in coming decades.

Vermont established a goal last year of meeting 90 percent of its power needs from renewable sources by 2050 — a significant expansion over the statutory mandate that the state obtain at least 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025.

Scott on Monday reiterated his commitment to that goal, established in the state’s 2016 comprehensive energy plan under his predecessor, Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 28, 2016, 01:07:51 pm »

It's Official: Solar Energy Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels   

 Lorraine Chow


Renewable energy has reached an important milestone. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has determined that in many parts of the world, solar energy is now the same price or even cheaper than fossil fuels for the first time.

In a handbook released this month, the WEF observed how the price of renewable technologies, particularly solar, has declined to unprecedented lows.

Full article with EYE OPENING chart:  :o  ;D
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 27, 2016, 02:47:06 pm »

Panasonic to invest over US$256 million in Tesla's US plant for solar cells

Posted 28 Dec 2016 03:20

TOKYO: Panasonic Corp will invest more than 30 billion yen (US$256 million) in a New York production facility of Elon Musk's Tesla Motors to make photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, deepening a partnership of the two companies.

Tesla's shares were up 3.5 percent at US$220.75 in early trading on Tuesday.

Japan's Panasonic, which has been retreating from low-margin consumer electronics to focus more on automotive components and other businesses targeting corporate clients, will make the investment in Tesla's factory in Buffalo, New York.

The U.S. electric car maker is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic as part of the deal, besides providing factory buildings and infrastructure.

In a statement on Tuesday, the two companies said they plan to start production of PV modules in the summer of 2017 and increase to one gigawatt of module production by 2019.

The plan is part of the solar partnership that the two companies first announced in October, but which did not disclose investment details.

Tesla is working exclusively with longtime partner Panasonic to supply batteries for its upcoming Model 3, the company's first mass-market car. Panasonic is also the exclusive supplier of batteries to Tesla's Model S and Model X.

(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka and Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

- Reuters

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 25, 2016, 10:18:17 pm »

2 remarkable facts that illustrate solar power’s declining cost

It’s not “the cheapest electricity in the world,” but it’s getting really cheap .

Updated by David Roberts@drvoxdavid@vox.com   Dec 22, 2016, 8:40am EST

Article with eye opening charts!


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