Monday, May 3rd, 2010
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a new study on the bill savings received by residential customers with solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems, under the net metering rates currently offered by California’s two largest electric utilities. The report focuses on California, as it is the largest PV market in the United States.
The study shows that the bill savings per kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated by a PV system varies by a factor of 4 to 5 for residential customers of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) within the study sample, and by a factor 2 to 3 for Southern California Edison (SCE) residential customers in the sample.
Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows customers with PV systems installed on-site to offset their monthly consumption with PV generation, whether or not the demand for power coincides when their systems are generating power. In conjunction with other policy support mechanisms, net metering has been instrumental in jump-starting the market for distributed PV in California and elsewhere in the U.S. However, alternative compensation methods are under consideration in some jurisdictions. (more…)
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Texas-based Xtreme Power is one of the leaders of the energy storage world, designing and manufacturing large-scale solid-state energy storage and power management systems called Dynamic Power Resources for solar and wind power applications.
CEO Carlos Coe talked with CleanTechies about developments in the energy storage field.
CleanTechies: You have two energy storage projects in Hawaii.
Carlos Coe: The first project is on the island of Maui and it’s affiliated with the wind farm that’s on that island. And that project is a 1.5 megawatt project in size going on a 30 megawatt wind farm. So that project was put into service the middle part of last year and has been in service since then and has done very, very well.
CleanTechies: Any glitches? (more…)
Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
U.S. investors have invested $129.4 million in a promising solar technology that uses plastic lenses to concentrate sunlight onto small but highly efficient solar cells.
The so-called multijunction cells, developed by California-based Amonix, generate more electricity than conventional photovoltaic panels and require fewer costly semiconducting materials, such as silicon.
The company has successfully tested the technology at small solar farms in Spain and the United States. (more…)
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Many moons — and political news cycles — ago, I was very critical of the Obama administration’s “Cash for Clunkers” program, as much on green (environmental) impact as on green (cash) grounds. Later, I briefly became a darling of the Republican right when I was similarly skeptical of the “Cash for Refrigerators” appliance rebate proposal (they subsequently boomeranged on me when I questioned the relevance of ClimateGate).
But this is not about me. It is about the future of the “Cash for Stuff” model. Even as odds of getting a comprehensive energy and environment bill wane in this congressional session, a “Cash for…” proposal worth supporting has emerged.
And to the delight of bloggers and wordsmiths everywhere, it is as alliterative as it is promising. I give you “Cash for Caulkers.” (more…)
Friday, March 12th, 2010
(Reuters) – British Columbia has given the green light to 19 private-sector clean energy projects that will generate enough power to supply nearly 218,000 homes in Canada’s Pacific Coast province.
The approvals, announced late on Thursday by BC Hydro, the government-owned electricity utility, mark the first phase in the provincial government’s long-delayed push to generate more green power.
Fourteen of the 19 proposals are 14 run-of-river hydroelectric projects, in which river water is diverted through turbines to produce power without the use of dams. The remainder are wind power projects. (more…)
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
Wind power generation in Texas is growing so quickly that it is testing the limits of the state’s electrical grid.
The state set a record on March 5 when wind turbines generated 6,272 megawatts of energy, or about 19 percent of the electricity on the state’s main power grid.
That peak far exceeded the 6.2 percent average for wind power in Texas, whose 9,410 megawatts of total wind capacity make it the nation’s wind power leader.
But wind power’s growth poses a critical challenge for the state’s booming wind industry, which includes a 180-megawatt wind farm completed last fall near Corpus Christi in South Texas. (more…)
Friday, February 5th, 2010
Twenty-five solar industry and regulatory leaders shared data and forecast a positive future, especially for small-scale projects, at the third Solar Electric Utility Conference hosted by PHOTON International Thursday in San Francisco.
Smaller Is Better
Keynote speaker Pat Wood III, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and now with Wood3 Resources, summarized the dominant theme of the day. “As I was preparing my presentation, I was struck by the growth of ‘bite-sized’ solar projects and how that is an emerging trend and is based on solid economic data,” he said.
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Felix Kramer of Calcars thinks 2010 will be the year of the plug-in car. He’s got a good case: After years of advocacy and technology development, 2010 is the year that major manufacturers will finally make plug-ins broadly available, and rapidly decreasing battery costs are helping the conversion industry reach new customers and help retrofit the existing fleet at scale. After years of work and promise, 2010 is the payoff year.
I see a similar trend in solar in California, where years of policy and business development are all coming together to make 2010 an extraordinary year for solar development.
There are four major market drivers:
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
It’s that time of year again … no, not when turduckens appear on dinner tables nationwide and it becomes somehow acceptable to call the marshmallow a vegetable. It’s time for the 2009 edition of “Freeing the Grid,” an annual report card to states on their net metering and interconnection standards. Together, these two key policies empower energy customers (that’s you) to go solar and reduce your utility bills.
Although there is still plenty of room for improvement, this year’s report shows solid progress across most states—an indicator that these once-obscure policies are becoming accepted best practices. Oregon was this year’s star pupil. Meanwhile, there were still a number of states that didn’t even show up to class. Want to see if your state made the grade? Download 2009’s Freeing the Grid here from the report’s lead author, Network for New Energy Choices.
Thursday, November 19th, 2009
If Internet companies and some utilities have their way, the smart grid will rely on the existing infrastructure of the information superhighway in order to function. They argue that by relying on existing standards like Internet Protocol (IP), the smart grid will grow faster and more organically than if utilities adopt an assortment of proprietary methods. Issues like security become easier to address too because the Internet manages exceptionally sensitive data quite well with existing technologies. To that end, the players dominating in the Internet arena including Google, Microsoft, and Cisco are all banking on the Internet’s role in the future of electricity management.