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Renewable Energy Update
March 3, 2017

Renewable Energy Focus

Solar generation hits new record high on California ISO grid

Solar Industry Magazine - Feb 28 On Feb. 24, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) reported a new all-time solar generation peak of 8,792 megawatts on its power grid. That instantaneous production high beat the ISO’s previous solar peak record of 8,545 megawatts, which was set on Sept. 14, 2016. More broadly, the new ISO record also underscores the ongoing success of California’s renewable portfolio standard. Editor's note: Subsequent to publication of this article, the California ISO reported even higher solar generation peaks of 9,044 and 9,066 megawatts on March 1 and 2, 2017.

AES and AIMco to acquire sPower for $1.58 billion

PV-Tech - Feb 24 AES Corporation and Canada-based investment manager Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) have agreed to acquire utility-scale solar developer sPower from Fir Tree Partners and its minority owners. sPower, headquartered in Salt Lake City, develops and owns utility-scale solar projects across the U.S., with a portfolio of 1,274 megawatts of solar and wind projects in operation or under construction. The company's utility-scale projects are mostly based in California and North Carolina, while its distributed generation assets are mostly clustered in the northeast and California. 

How drones are helping design the solar power plants of the future

The Guardian - Feb 26 At the solar company’s research and development center, which is under construction and about a two-hour drive northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area, SunPower engineers are testing the use of drones to survey wide regions and help design a solar power farm that can fit more solar panels on a piece of land, more quickly, and for lower costs than it previously could. The test highlights a growing use of the latest computing technologies, drones, robots, software, sensors, and networks, by U.S. companies to design, build, and operate solar farms. After seeing the prices of solar panels drop dramatically over the past decade, companies are looking for new ways to cut costs and compete with fossil fuel power through project design.

New projects to make geothermal energy more economically attractive

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Mar 1 Geothermal energy, a clean, renewable source of energy produced by the heat of the earth, provides about 6 percent of California’s total power. That number could be much higher if associated costs were lower. Now scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have launched two California Energy Commission-funded projects aimed at making geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate.

Community choice energy coming to Silicon Valley in April

San Jose Mercury News - Feb 24 Residents and businesses in a number of South Bay communities have started to receive notices in the mail informing them of their automatic enrollment in a new program that will deliver renewable energy starting in April by way of PG&E. The objective of the program, started by a nonprofit called Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), is to offer cleaner electricity to residents, businesses, and municipal facilities at a cheaper rate than PG&E. SVCE is considered a community choice energy agency, which is a system adopted into law in various states, including California. The law allows cities, counties, and some special districts to purchase and/or generate electricity for residents and businesses within their jurisdiction and have it delivered through PG&E’s transmission and distribution system.

Amazon looks to go big on solar, clean energy

CNBC - Mar 2 In an announcement on Thursday, Amazon said it was planning to install large-scale solar systems on the rooftops of over 15 "fulfillment" and "sortation" centers across the U.S. this year. The initial projects, set to be completed by the end of this year, will produce as much as 41 megawatts of power at facilities in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada, and Delaware, Amazon said. Further afield, Amazon said it was planning to deploy solar systems at 50 of its facilities globally by 2020.

SDG&E, AES bring world's largest lithium ion battery storage online in California

Utility Dive - Feb 24 San Diego Gas & Electric, in partnership with AES Energy Storage, has completed the installation of what it says is the largest lithium-ion battery storage facility in the world. The 30-megawatt facility in Escondido is capable of serving 20,000 customers for four hours.

SunPower breaks ground on Oregon’s largest solar plant

Commercial Property Executive - Feb 24 SunPower Corp. announced the start of construction on a 56-megawatt (AC) solar plant in Crook County, Oregon. Gala Solar Plant is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017 and is anticipated to be the state’s largest operating solar power facility.

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