Solar Power Installations Jump to a New Annual Record

Posted by 29 July, 2014 (0) Comment

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.

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KYOCERA Solar Captures Sun and Creates Shade at Tucson Airport

Posted by 19 December, 2013 (0) Comment

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Scottsdale, AZ – December 19, 2013 – As the holiday travel season begins, Kyocera Solar Inc. today announced that its industry-leading solar modules were selected to power the first phase of a 2.5MW parking lot canopy installation at Tucson International Airport. The 1MW first phase of the photovoltaic (PV) array, which offsets about a fifth of the terminal complex’s total power needs, is now operational and a dedication ceremony will be held at 11 am Mountain Time, December 20.

The project converts the abundant sunshine in “The Old Pueblo” into renewable energy powering the airport’s main terminal. It’s part of the airport’s ongoing environmental efforts, utilizing $5.7 million in funding awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration and $280,000 contributed by the Arizona Department of Transportation to offset a federal grant matching requirement.

Collaboration with Natural Power & Energy helped ensure that the system was properly sized for the airport’s power output and glare avoidance requirements. By working closely with Tucson-based contractor Barker-Morrissey Contracting, the Design-Build team was able to meet the tight installation deadlines of the 5-acre first phase with time to spare.

“Airports are an ideal location for solar canopies because of the large amounts of space they can cover, additionally serving as desired shade to cars parked for hours or even days,” said Steve Hill, president, Kyocera Solar Inc. “We are glad to have completed this first phase before the busy travel season; it’s a nice holiday bonus to know that part of the electricity usage in the main terminal is being offset by the parking lot’s large solar array. Kyocera Solar is proud to power this important project in our home state.”

The solar canopy structure is a 20-foot tall curved, open-lattice design comprised exclusively of efficient, durable Kyocera modules that create shade for parking spaces. Vegetated “green walls” are also planned, which will use live plants to create a cooling microclimate effect in the parking area. There is no additional charge for the parking spaces under the solar canopy.

This project’s federal grant is part of a program that provides funding for airport projects that promote energy efficiency under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

“Kyocera’s responsibilities with every project are to assist throughout the lifecycle of that installation,” Hill stated. “Our technical expertise in addition to our 38 years of high quality module production experience adds value and can help reduce project costs. Kyocera’s success depends on our customer’s success.”

Construction on the main public parking lot began in May 2013, kicking off a three-phase installation expected to be completed in 2-3 years. Work has already begun on phase 2 in the remaining 7 acres of the parking area.

Tucson joins Chicago’s Midway as another major airport going green with Kyocera. Midway’s Quick Turn Around rental car washing and refueling facility was outfitted with Kyocera photovoltaic solar modules in October 2013.

To learn more about Kyocera Solar Solutions for both residential and commercial projects, please contact infosolar@kyocera.com or 800-223-9580.

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Clean Energy Collective Powers Up Three More Utility-Scale Community-Owned Solar Facilities

Posted by 16 October, 2013 (0) Comment

CEC_Breckenridge_Arial

BOULDER, COLO. – (October 15, 2013) Three new community-owned solar PV facilities by community solar pioneer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) began delivering power to ratepayers in Colorado this week, bringing to 10 the number of shared utility-scale arrays operating in the state. An additional 10 facilities, about 5 MW, are in the development pipeline for Colorado.

The resort town of Breckenridge, Colo. is now host to two 500 kW community-owned solar facilities that will serve Xcel Energy customers in Summit County. Both systems were sold out before construction was complete. A 400 kW community-owned system perched on a former Air Force hangar is also now delivering clean power to Denver County ratepayers. Combined with the 106 kW original array on the historic Hangar 2 building, this creates the nation’s largest building integrated PV (BIPV) installation at over 500 kW.

Introduced in 2010, CEC’s community-owned solar model (COS) was designed to provide every ratepayer in a utility territory the opportunity to purchase individual solar panels in a shared, locally-sited, utility-scale array. This innovation opens up solar PV ownership to renters, people in multi-dwelling buildings, properties with poor solar exposure, and individuals of all income levels. Because they are sited and maintained for maximum production, utility-scale facilities provide more energy for longer than smaller, individual systems, allowing for a faster and greater financial return.

“Our model is not supplanting people who want to and can put solar on their house, but rather opening the market to the other 75% of electric users who have until now faced insurmountable barriers,” said CEC founder Paul Spencer.

While community solar makes PV energy available to everyone on the grid, real traction for rapid deployment has come from its broad appeal for utilities. Large IOU’s, municipal utilities, and rural cooperatives can add solar to their mix with a turn-key solution. It provides in-network, reliable, utility-scale clean energy generation at reasonable power rates that applies nicely to RPS requirements without capital outlay or responsibility for monitoring, customer administration, operations and maintenance.

CEC has partnered with six utilities so far in Colorado, including 11 facilities rewarded through Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Communities program. Once complete, access to solar ownership will be available to more than 95% of Colorado ratepayers. CEC has also installed the state’s first community-owned solar gardens for New Mexico, Minnesota, and Vermont, and has topped $40 million in facility developments.

“CEC has cracked the code, opening a consumer solar market that is four-times larger than the onsite solar marketplace as we have traditionally known it,” said Nikhil Garg, Vice President of Black Coral Capital, a Boston-based investment firm focused on cleantech and alternative energy.

About Clean Energy Collective (CEC)
Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective is a developer of community-based renewable energy facilities and a national leader in community power generation. CEC pioneered the model of delivering clean power-generation through utility-scale facilities that are collectively owned by participating utility customers, establishing the first community-owned solar garden in the country near El Jebel, Colorado. Today, CEC has 23 community-owned facilities online or in development, representing more than 10 MW of community-sited clean energy.

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Georgia Companies Join Forces on One of State’s Largest Rooftop Solar Installations

Posted by 19 June, 2012 (0) Comment

Rooftop Solar Array

ATLANTA, GA—June 19, 2012—Renusol America, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has announced that its American-engineered and manufactured mounting system—the Renusol CS60—has been installed at the Aquafil Headquarters in Cartersville as part of one of the state of Georgia’s largest solar PV energy systems. The 400 kWh system will generate 525-thousand KWh of power annually.

The project includes 1,572 Renusol CS60 mounting units and 1,572 of Suniva’s Optimus 250 W panels. Suniva is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia. Radiance Solar, a Georgia owned and operated solar contracting company, installed the system, which is interconnected to the Cartersville Electric System.

Aquafil, a chemical and textile firm and leader in carpet fiber technology, is known for producing fibers made from 100-percent recycled materials. The company takes its commitment to sustainability one step further with the installation of this solar system on top of its 234,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Cartersville.

The Renusol CS60 represents the latest in American technology and is the first-ever ‘one unit per one PV panel’ mounting system, which is changing how solar arrays are deployed on flat rooftops in America by eliminating the layout restrictions inherent to traditional, rigid aluminum racking rails. Manufactured in the Midwest, the Renusol CS60 offers several solutions developed specifically for the US solar market.

The Renusol CS60 innovation also incorporates the latest groundbreaking American-based wind tunnel study results showing how wind forces vary across a roof, making the flexible rooftop panel placement solution of the Renusol CS60 even more valuable.

“The Aquafil USA solar rooftop installation is emblematic of how the deployment of solar energy creating and keeping jobs right here in Georgia and across America , said Renusol America CEO Bart Leusink.

About Renusol America
Renusol America is a leading innovator in flat-roof and pitch-roofed mounting systems for Solar PV modules in the US solar industry. A U.S. company with systems installed in 18 states, Renusol America provides sales, service, and customer support from its headquarters in Atlanta , Georgia and operates full-scale warehouse and distribution facilities across the country. Building upon its heritage of excellence in German engineering with American innovation, in 2011 Renusol America introduced the groundbreaking, American-made Renusol CS60—the first one piece mounting system for PV panels. The company is part of the Centrosolar Group, a publicly traded company on the German stock exchange, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Renusol GmbH, a market leader in Europe with more than 500MW of solar power mounted on Renusol systems. More information at www.renusolamerica.com

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US Antidumping Tariffs Could Suspend 45 Percent of Solar Module Shipments to North America

Posted by 29 May, 2012 (0) Comment

MICHAEL SHEPPARD, iSuppli.com

U.S. government antidumping penalties on imports of photovoltaic (PV) cells from China could suspend nearly half of solar module shipments to North America this year, impacting pricing, inventories and project timelines, according to an IHS iSuppli PV Perspectives report from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).

The U.S. Department of Commerce on May 17 announced a preliminary determination in its antidumping duty  investigation of imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from China. These cells are used in modules that form complete solar systems installed on houses, buildings or commercial PV-generation facilities.

Before this announcement was made, IHS estimated that 2 gigawatts (GW) worth of solar modules shipped into North America in 2012 would be imported from Chinese manufacturers. This would have represented as much as 60 percent of the market for North American use.

Given the high tariffs proposed by the Commerce Department, many Chinese players will suspend shipments to North America while business plans are modified to account for the tariff. This could represent the temporary removal of up to 1.5GW worth of stopped shipments to the region, accounting for 45 percent of the total market in 2012

“The Commerce Department action will have a major impact on the North American solar market, constraining supplies and driving up prices for modules and systems,” said Mike Sheppard, photovoltaics analyst with IHS. “Even when alternative supply lines are adopted, the penalties are likely to add as much as 12 percent to the cost of solar modules, lowering the average return on investment (ROI) for solar systems in the region by as much as 2.5 percent.”

Solar Flare Up
The Commerce Department preliminarily determined that Chinese producers/exporters sold solar cells in the United States at dumping margins ranging from 31.14 percent to 249.96 percent.

The Commerce Department’s mandatory respondents were Suntech-Power and Trina Solar, and these two companies were subject to unique tariff rates of 31.22 and 31.14 percent, respectively. All other companies singled out in the investigation received an average duty of 31.2 percent. However, Chinese companies not singled out in the investigation will receive an even larger 250 percent duty.

The reasoning the Commerce Department gave for the large tariff on these players is to deter Chinese companies from forming new joint-venture companies with existing firms that are not on the list of penalized entities.

The duties to be imposed are preliminary in nature and will need to be finalized by both the Commerce Department and International Trade Commission (ITC) through final determinations on October 9 and November 23 of this year. However, these duties will be enacted retroactively 90 days prior to the date ofthe preliminary decision in February 2012 if they are imposed.

The Outsourcing Option
Interestingly, the Commerce Department included this statement in its announcement:

“Modules, laminates, and panels produced in a third country from cells produced in the PRC are covered by this investigation; however, modules, laminates, and panels produced in the PRC from cells produced in a third country are not covered by this investigation.”

For the Chinese module suppliers, this represents an opportunity to sidestep the tariffs.

“The Commerce Department statement means that many Chinese cell manufacturers will be incentivized to outsource to third-party companies in other countries in order to get around the duties,” Sheppard said. “A popular option will be to utilize cell specialists operating in Taiwan. This will allow the Chinese players to avoid the high tariffs ranging from 34 to 250 percent. However, such a strategy also will add 10 to 12 percent additional cost for the modules, based on the margins required from the third-party contract manufacturers and from additional logistics charges.”

System-level Impact
The impact of the outsourcing to Taiwan will be somewhat more limited on solar system prices compared to module prices. System pricing behaves in a different manner from module pricing given the additional cost elements involved.

Accounting for a 10 percent increase in total module cost based on the cell outsourcing strategy mentioned above, the cost of installation for a ground solar system rises to $2.65 per watt, up from $2.56 per watt.

As a result, the ROI for solar installations is expected to only decline by 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent based on the cell outsourcing strategy.

“This reduced ROI means some investors may think twice when valuing other vehicles to put their money,” Sheppard said. “However, most investors will not be deterred.”

Inventory Story
Solar module inventory levels will quickly deplete in North America based on the lower shipments from Chinese players, increasing module prices as a result given that Chinese modules were also the most aggressively priced. These price increases will be passed onto the system level, negatively affecting ROI for projects installed this year.

Learn More >  IHS iSuppli PV Perspectives

About IHS (www.ihs.com)
IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. Businesses and governments in more than 165 countries around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to make high-impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS employs more than 5,500 people in more than 30 countries around the world.

IHS is a registered trademark of IHS Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners. © 2012 IHS Inc. All rights reserved.
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New Jersey’s Largest Sawmill Looks to The Sun To Save On Energy Bills

Posted by 22 May, 2012 (0) Comment

Riephoff Sawmill

Solis Partners, a leading provider of commercial solar power systems, has announced that it has completed the installation of a 243-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system at Riephoff Sawmill.  Located in Monmouth County in the borough of Upper Freehold, N.J., the Riephoff facility is New Jersey’s largest hardwood sawmill.

The system was designed, engineered and constructed by Manasquan, N.J.-based Solis Partners and comprises of two ground-mounted systems — a 165-kilowatt array that generates power for the sawmill and a 78-kilowatt array that generates power for additional facilities on the property, which include a barn for livestock and an aquafarm.

Located at 763 Route 524, the Riephoff Sawmill is a family-owned business that has been supplying the Northeast with high quality lumber products for the industrial, construction and manufacturing industries for more than 45 years. The two solar systems are housed within the company’s 7-acre yard that is used for scaling and storing logs.

“We are thrilled to announce the completion of this innovative project,” said Jamie Hahn, co-founder and managing director of Solis Partners. “This project allows Riephoff to lower its operating costs and acts as a hedge against the rising costs of electricity, which is especially important in a state that has some of the nation’s highest electricity rates. The ability to produce clean, renewable energy is also very important to Riephoff as an organization reliant on the natural environment for raw materials.”

The 15,000-square-foot mill, which includes a 56-inch circular saw and a 20-foot frick carriage, a device used to pass large pieces of lumber through the saw, as well as the pumps needed for aquafarming, requires a lot of electricity. The solar PV system offsets approximately 100 percent of Riephoff’s electricity consumption, which equates to approximately $36,000 in annual savings.

Built with 1,036 solar PV panels, the solar system will produce approximately 300,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation. This equates to the reduction of more than 456,000 pounds of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of offsetting the power demand of 26 residential homes or removing 40 cars from the road each year.

“We care about the environment,” said John Falconio, principal at Riephoff. “Because our company relies on natural resources, we continuously implement projects and methods that are environmentally responsible. However, the decision to pursue a solar project was easy because there is a strong business case in addition to the environmental benefits.”

Riephoff, which produces products from fencing and posts to hardwood crane mats, which are used to support the weight of a crane, is very resourceful in its operations. Riephoff buys approximately 98 percent of its timber locally and harvests all its wood responsibly, using consultants — when necessary — and techniques that best ensure the rejuvenation of the trees.

“There’s a big misconception that when you cut timber it never grows back, but it’s quite the opposite, “ said Falconio. “We cut timber in a way that we can continue to do so for years to come. And whatever we cut, we use – the only thing we don’t sell is the  buzz and sawdust. Scrap pieces get recycled into landscape mulch, sawdust goes for horse bedding and anything that can’t be sold we use in our wood burning stove.  When managed appropriately, timber is truly a renewable resource.”

“In this business, to stay competitive, you have to be as efficient as possible,” said Falconio. “This solar system is an extension of the efficiency strategies we employ throughout the business, and with plans for expansion with our aquafarming business, the timing was perfect.”

About Solis Partners
Solis Partners is a leading turnkey provider of solar power systems for commercial, industrial, utility and nonprofit clients. Solis specializes in financing, constructing and operating distributed solar power plants that enable clients to meet their long-term energy needs while reducing operating costs and addressing their carbon liabilities. Solis is committed to providing its clients with the most efficient and cost effective path to solar. Solis Partners is headquartered in Manasquan, N.J. For more information, please call (732) 800-0052, or visit www.solispartners.com.

About Riephoff Sawmill

Family-owned since 1964, Riephoff Sawmill, based out of Upper Freehold, N.J., is New Jersey’s largest hardwood sawmill. Servicing clients throughout the northeast and Canada, Riephoff offers top quality lumber products for industrial, construction and manufacturing industries. For more information about Riephoff and its products, please visit www.riephoffsawmill.com.

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Borrego Solar Completes 3.4 MW Solar Power Installation at Edwards Air Force Base

Posted by 3 March, 2012 (0) Comment

© 2012 Borrego Solar Systems, Inc.

SAN DIEGO, Calif.–February 28, 2012—Borrego Solar Systems, Inc., a leading designer, installer and financier of grid-tied government solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, today announced the completion of a 3.4 megawatt (MW) solar power installation at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. Comprised of 3 ground-mounted, single-axis tracking solar farms, the system is the largest military project completed by Borrego Solar to date, and demonstrates the value of the company’s end-to-end solar power installation services for military facilities.

The system was financed via Borrego Solar’s in-house Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Per the agreement, Borrego Solar financed, designed and installed the system at no upfront cost to Edwards Air Force Base. Borrego Solar will sell energy back to Edwards Air Force Base at an economical and fixed rate, offsetting an average of 6 percent of the energy consumption across the three facilities.

“As we work to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, solar energy is one of the most reliable and cost-effective tools available to us,” said Ms Amy Frost, Chief of the Civil Engineer Asset Management Branch for Edwards Air Force Base. “Financing large-scale projects can be tough in this economic climate, so a PPA made a lot of sense for us, as it eliminated the need for upfront investment and long term maintenance. The deal allowed us to quickly implement solar on our facility and deliver immediate operational savings.”

Scaling up efforts such as this to promote energy security, the Department of the Army recently established the Energy Initiatives Task Force (EITF) to oversee the Army’s goal of transitioning to 25 percent renewable energy use by 2025. Despite the Army’s goals, financing solar projects can still be a challenge. By entering into a PPA with Borrego Solar, military facility managers can move solar projects forward, and enjoy many of the benefits of solar energy while investing zero upfront capital costs.

“We are proud to have completed this project as it is a great example of how public-private partnerships can succeed and allow the development and installation of large-scale solar energy systems on government property,” said Mike Hall, CEO of Borrego Solar. “Edwards Air Force Base should be applauded for making renewable energy a priority at their facility. We look forward to continuing our work with military facility managers to help them take full advantage of the financial benefits that come from using solar to generate clean and sustainable energy, and local jobs.”

Borrego Solar continues to deliver on its mission to help federal organizations go solar. Last week, the company was awarded a contract by the General Services Administration (GSA), certifying it to provide solar installation services to federal agencies. Edwards Air Force Base is the largest project in Borrego Solar’s growing military portfolio to date. The company completed a nearly one MW project in 2010 at the Point Loma Navy Base in San Diego Bay.

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