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Renewable Energy Update
May 26, 2017

Renewable Energy Focus

SunPower starts project at California Air Force base

Solar Industry Magazine - May 23 SunPower Corp. has broken ground on a 28-megawatt solar photovoltaic project at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc. The company expects the project to be the U.S. Air Force’s largest behind-the-meter solar power system. The project will meet about 35% of the base’s total energy needs. It will also contribute to the entire U.S. Air Force’s goal of meeting 25% of its electricity demand with renewables. “The Air Force has an aggressive target to meet that requires full energy assurance for key missions,” says Dan Gerdes, Air Force Civil Engineer Center rates and renewables division chief. “By diversifying our energy mix at Vandenberg to include SunPower’s high-efficiency solar technology, we’re confident we’ll have the electrons we need, when we need them, creating long-term value for our operations.”


Proposed 2018 White House budget includes cuts to clean energy programs

Greentech Media - May 23 The Trump administration presented a $4.1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018 this week, which includes $3.6 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years in an attempt to balance the budget by 2027. In addition to deep cuts for health care, student loans, and food stamps, the White House has proposed to slash budgets for climate and clean energy programs. The White House also proposed to zero out funding for ENERGY STAR, as well as several popular Department of Energy programs, including the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E).

Nevada Assembly passes ‘pricey’ revised solar restoration bill

PV-Tech - May 25 In an overwhelming majority, the Nevada State Assembly passed a bill that aims to restore the state’s rooftop solar industry. AB 405 was passed by a 38-2 vote. A proposal in the bill put forward by Democrat Assemblyman Chris Brooks is expected to help revive Nevada’s solar market, which took a major hit in 2015 after the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted to end retail net metering by driving up the cost for residents to generate solar power. The regulatory changes promptly halted solar activity in the state for many installers, causing hundreds of layoffs. Brooks’ proposal is a ‘Solar Bill of Rights’ provision, which reinstates net metering under a tiered system for calculating the export rate of electricity based on the overall number of rooftop solar installations in the state.

SolarWorld Americas joins Suniva trade case

Solar Industry Magazine - May 25 Shortly after the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) decided to move forward with an investigation into Suniva’s controversial trade petition, SolarWorld Americas Inc. has announced it filed with the ITC to become a co-petitioner. The news comes as a shock, as SolarWorld Americas initially suggested that it did not support Georgia-based Suniva’s case. Since then, though, German parent company SolarWorld AG declared bankruptcy in local court. Although SolarWorld Americas, which operates a large PV manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, said it would maintain operations, the U.S. subsidiary also recently notified all of its workers about an impending mass layoff and potential plant closure.

Floating solar would be a San Diego County first

San Diego Union-Tribune - May 19 Shortly after the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) decided to move forward with an investigation into Suniva’s controversial trade petition, SolarWorld Americas Inc. has announced it filed with the ITC to become a co-petitioner. The news comes as a shock, as SolarWorld Americas initially suggested that it did not support Georgia-based Suniva’s case. Since then, though, German parent company SolarWorld AG declared bankruptcy in local court. Although SolarWorld Americas, which operates a large PV manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, said it would maintain operations, the U.S. subsidiary also recently notified all of its workers about an impending mass layoff and potential plant closure.

San Diego Gas & Electric picks Powin for California battery project

Energy Storage News - May 25 California investor-owned utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has selected Powin Energy as system provider for a 6.5-megawatt battery energy storage project. The project is understood to form part of the utility’s overall 165-megawatt energy storage target that it must procure by 2020 under California’s AB 2514 mandate, under which SDG&E and two other utilities need to put 1.325 gigawatts of energy storage online in their service areas. Located at a former orange processing site in Escondido, the project is yet to be approved by the California Public Utilities’ Commission.

Limoneira and Tesla working on battery project

Electric Light & Power - May 22 Limoneira Co., an agribusiness firm operating in California, commissioned a new joint project with Tesla Motors to reduce energy costs. Limoneira has 6 solar power installations across the company totaling 4.2 million kilowatt-hours annually. An additional solar project is planned for 2017 which will add 1.5 megawatts on Limoneira’s packing house roof. This will enable the company to be 50 percent off the grid. The company is on track to becoming completely energy independent by 2022.

Fresno County solar electric vehicle charging network established

The Business Journal - May 24 The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is celebrating the completion of a major solar electric vehicle charging network consisting of 13 stations in all of Fresno County’s rural cities. The project, made possible through a partnership with the Fresno County Rural Transit Agency, the California Energy Commission, the California Department of Transportation, and clean energy service provider CALSTART, cost $800,000, with the Valley Air District providing $78,000 through a program funded through DMV fees, with Fresno County Rural Transit Agency handling the balance through a Caltrans grant.

Ameren microgrid enters service

Engineering 360 - May 18 Ameren Corp. completed a $5 million microgrid at its Technology Applications Center adjacent to the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois. The facility is one of the only utility-scale microgrids in the U.S. capable of serving live customer loads on an actual utility distribution feeder. Ameren built the microgrid facility to test monitoring and control methods for aggregating renewable energy sources – wind and solar – and natural gas with advanced automation and battery storage.

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Barry H. Epstein Barry H. Epstein
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Upcoming Events

Bay Area Power Women 2017
May 31, 2017
San Francisco, California
Editor's Note: Elizabeth Clark will be an honoree at this event.

Planning for Utility-Scale Solar PV in the San Joaquin Valley: What Does the Future Hold?
June 6, 2017
San Francisco, California
Editor's Note: Renée Robin will be a featured panelist at this event.


 

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