By 2018, a large solar power plant in the Tunisian part of the Sahara desert may start sending power to energy-hungry Western Europe. The company running the plant says once it is fully operational it will generate almost twice as much electricity as an average nuclear plant and supply two million homes in Europe.
Solar Power Rocks, the nation’s leading source for clear and detailed information about U.S. residential solar energy policy, has just released its 2015 State Solar Power Rankings report.
The report contains ratings of all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on twelve key criteria leading to strong financial results for homeowners interested in installing solar panels. State summaries include links to pages with detailed discussions of policy, incentives and rules that affect each state’s residential solar power prospects.
Solar Power Rocks is committed to giving homeowners a clear picture of the policy, incentives, and investment returns on local solar panel installations. The organization also seeks to recognize the best states for solar and clearly illustrate how all state legislatures can encourage residential solar energy growth based on the best practices in the most successful states.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) today announced that U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will keynote the general session at Solar Power International (SPI) in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday, Oct. 22. In his cabinet role, Dr. Moniz implements critical Department of Energy missions in support of President Obama’s goals of growing the economy, enhancing security and protecting the environment.
“Since Secretary Moniz took office, he has been a strong supporter of the solar industry and the 143,000 Americans who work in solar energy,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “From the new pilot job training program for veterans to the continuation of the hugely successful SunShot Initiative and the important research at its national laboratories, the Energy Department under Secretary Moniz has helped reduce red tape and facilitated the development of clean, renewable solar energy. This Administration’s forward-looking public policies – which allow emerging technologies to compete with entrenched energy sources – are helping to ensure a clean, prosperous future for our nation.”
”Under the leadership of Secretary Moniz, the Department of Energy recognizes the important role of collaboration between the solar and utility industries to successfully advance our nation towards a cleaner energy future,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA president and CEO. “Through funding of partnerships on smart grid deployment, solar research, and soft cost reduction, Secretary Moniz and the Energy Department are helping parties with often disparate interests to collaborate on areas of common interest. His participation in SPI 2014 is a demonstration of his commitment to further those positive efforts.”
Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, pumping $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy and helping to reduce pollution.
New analysis by the Worldwatch Institute examines global trends in solar power
Washington, D.C.—-The year 2013 saw record-breaking growth for solar electricity generation as the photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) markets continued to grow. With over 39 gigawatts installed worldwide, the PV solar market represented one third of all newly-added renewable energy capacity, write Worldwatch’s Max Lander and Climate and Energy Intern Xiangyu Wu in the Worldwatch Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend (www.worldwatch.org).
Solar PV installations nearly matched those of hydropower and, for the first time, outpaced wind additions. Even though photovoltaics continue to dwarf CSP capacity, the CSP market also had another year of impressive growth. By the end of 2013, a total of 19 countries had CSP plants installed or under construction.
Consumption of power from PV and CSP plants increased by 30 percent globally in 2013 to reach 124.8 terawatt-hours. Europe accounted for the majority of global solar power consumption (67 percent), followed by Asia (23.9 percent) and North America (8.1 percent). Worldwide, solar consumption equaled 0.5 percent of electricity generation from all sources.
Despite the record growth in installations, global investments in solar electricity were down 20 percent (from $142.9 billion in 2012 to $113.7 billion in 2013), reflecting a significant decrease in costs. In July 2014, global PV module spot prices reached an all-time low of $0.63 per watt. For the first time, Asia overtook Europe as the largest regional market.
While global PV module production increased by only 3 percent over 2012, module shipments jumped by 24 percent, signaling an easing of oversupply problems.
Prospects are bright for solar development as prices continue to fall and approach grid parity in an increasing number of contexts. Rooftop solar is already less expensive per megawatt-hour than retail electricity in Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Italy, and Germany. Estimates now also show that PV has become price-competitive without subsidies in 15 countries. For 2014, solar installations are estimated to reach 40-51 gigawatts.
Country Highlights from the Report:
~ China installed 12.9 gigawatts of PV, the most ever installed in one year by any country. The country’s momentous expansion was fueled largely by its feed-in tariff (FIT) program, which supports large, grid-connected utility-scale projects as well as distributed generation projects. However, grid connections are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of China’s PV deployment.
~ Europe installed close to 11 GW of PV. This represented the second annual decline in installations after peaking at 22.3 GW in 2011. In Germany, a reduction of FIT rates and an increase in regulations for utility-scale projects contributed to the fall in installations.
~ North America added 5.2 GW of PV. The United States installed the third most PV worldwide, with 4.8 GW.
~ In Central and South America, solar development has been sluggish. Despite power consumption more than doubling in 2013, the region still accounts for a small fraction of the world’s solar power.
~ The Middle East and Africa had little PV activity, with the exception of Israel and South Africa, which added 420 MW and 75 MW, respectively.
About the Worldwatch Institute:
Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute’s State of the World report is published annually in more than a dozen languages. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.
In 2014, major debates and discussions surrounding climate change and green living in the United States has placed an unprecedented focus on renewable energy. The future growth in the renewable energy sector is slated to be significant as American’s make an effort to minimize their energy footprint on Earth.
While the support and evolution of renewable energy technologies is growing rapidly in 2014, supporters of renewable energy have been considering and exploring such technologies for close to a century.
For instance, the technological growth during the World Wars lead to the military exploring different renewable energy sources. In the 1950’s, solar power began to be developed, with the first high power solar cell made of silicon developed in 1954. It provided 6% efficiency, with a cost of $286/watt.
The early 1970’s marked further interest, as the Club of Rome think tank published a report stating that Earth has finite resources.
During the 1980’s, a 1 megawatt solar power station was built in California. This was the first facility designed on a utility scale.
Nuclear power had been considered a serious possibility for clean energy, though the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear incident cast doubt on this as a viable energy source.
Throughout the early 2000’s, talk and use of renewable energies has increased significantly, with an 8% use in 2007 in the US. Europe also saw an increase, with a 62% new power generating capacity in 2009.
There are several indications of positive future trends when it comes to clean, renewable sources of energy. These include the following:
*Importing of net energy in the US has decreased since 2012, by 15%, while there has been a 13% increase in renewable energy production within the US since 2012.
*There are 80,700 workers in the field of wind power, as of 2012, 25,000 jobs in the geothermal field, and 70,400 jobs in the field of biopower. Also, other careers have seen an upward trend in recent years.
*This is a global trend, with 5.7 million workers who work in the field of renewable energy. There is currently a shortage of workers in these fields, so an increase in technical training is necessary.
*2030 is the year that is being focused on for projected growth of trained professionals in these areas, and increased use of these energy sources.
To learn more about the future of renewable energy, checkout the infographic below created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology
April 29, 2014 CARLSBAD, Calif. & PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG), through its wholly-owned subsidiary NRG Solar, along with partner MidAmerican Solar announced they have achieved substantial completion at their Agua Caliente Solar Photovoltaic Facility, a 290 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic facility located on 2,400 acres of land between Yuma and Phoenix, Ariz. The electricity that is generated by the station, which can support 230,000 homes at peak capacity, is being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
“It is exciting to see this project become fully operational and begin to realize the full benefit of emissions savings with the clean energy generated at Agua Caliente.”
“Large-scale utility accomplishments, like our Agua Caliente project, raise the bar in terms of our clean-energy technology and production,” said Tom Doyle, president, NRG Solar. “Proving that we can build both the world’s largest solar thermal and now one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic facilities advance NRG’s mission to reshape the energy landscape that is incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy. Whether it’s partnering, developing or investing, NRG will lead the way in providing a diverse set of solutions and technologies to get the US to the ultimate goal of providing affordable, reliable clean energy for everyone.”
The Agua Caliente project uses clean solar power to avoid the annual emission of approximately 324,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of taking nearly 70,000 cars off the road. The creation of 400 jobs during the project’s construction provided a boost to the local economy and it benefits the environment by producing clean, renewable energy. The project received a $967 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office.
“In 2012, our company made a commitment to invest in its first utility-scale solar project to foster economic development while demonstrating our commitment to the environment,” said Richard Weech, chief financial officer, MidAmerican Renewables, who also oversees the activities of MidAmerican Solar. “It is exciting to see this project become fully operational and begin to realize the full benefit of emissions savings with the clean energy generated at Agua Caliente.”
The Agua Caliente Solar Project was named Solar Project of the Year by Renewable Energy World, a leading industry magazine, and PV Project of the Year by Solar Power Generation USA, the industry’s leading utility-scale solar power conference.
Agua Caliente is the largest of 10 operational utility-scale solar PV facilities in three states in which NRG has ownership interest. Agua Caliente is also one of several NRG assets that are subject to a Right of First Offer Agreement between NRG and its publicly owned subsidiary, NRG Yield, Inc. (NYSE: NYLD). First Solar, Inc. designed and constructed the project using its advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules and will operate and maintain the facility for NRG and MidAmerican Solar.
About NRG and NRG Solar
NRG is leading a customer-driven reinvention of the US energy industry by delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices – and solar power is a great resource to provide a more sustainable (and more affordable) lifestyle. From the world’s largest photovoltaic project to professional sports stadium rooftops to customizable canopies to parking covers, NRG Solar’s innovative solutions reduce environmental impact and demonstrate the availability and performance of cleaner energy choices to a broad public audience. A Fortune 500 company, NRG creates value through reliable and efficient conventional generation while driving innovation in solar and renewable power, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon capture technology and customer-centric energy solutions. NRG’s retail electricity providers serve almost three million customers throughout the country. More information is available at nrgenergy.com and nrgsolar.com. Connect with NRG Energy and NRG Solar on Facebook and follow us on Twitter@nrgenergy and @nrgsolar.
About MidAmerican Renewables and MidAmerican Solar
MidAmerican Renewables, LLC owns and operates wind, geothermal, solar and hydro projects in the unregulated renewables market. MidAmerican Renewables is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and has offices in Phoenix, Ariz., and Calipatria, Calif. Information about MidAmerican Renewables is available on the company’s website and its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via www.midamericanrenewablesllc.com.
MidAmerican Solar is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables and is headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. MidAmerican Solar’s projects include the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farms in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.; the 579-megawatt Solar Star projects, two projects co-located in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California; and the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, Ariz. More information is available at www.midamericanrenewablesllc.com.
Deserts are ideal locations for solar farms – they get a lot of sunshine and the land is relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, their arid nature means that a lot of sand flies around, and sand on a photovoltaic panel blocks valuable sunlight, decreasing its output. Depending on location and weather conditions, dusty panels could decrease solar farm production by 3% to 15% in a given month. Periodic cleaning ensures that the panels get as much light as possible, but it’s a labor intensive process that may not pay for itself.
Ecoppia, an upstart company out of Israel, has an innovative, water-free solution: the E4 robotic PV cleaning system that dusts the panels using a self-cleaning microfiber cloth.
Please see link above for complete article. Video below courtesy of Ecoppia.