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Renewable Energy Update
April 13, 2018
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U.S. corporate solar procurement surges in 2017

GREENTECH MEDIA - Apr 12 Corporate procurement of solar is on the rise for both distributed generation and offsite utility PV. As a testament to that trend, Apple hit its 100 percent renewable energy target this week, Google achieved its 100 percent renewable energy goal earlier in the month, and Microsoft recently set a new solar procurement record. At the same time, smaller companies from Taylor Farms to Kingspan, a building materials firm, are choosing to put solar at the center of their corporate sustainability strategy. In the U.S. there is currently a combined 11.6 gigawatts of offsite, front-of-the-meter projects, and distributed, behind-the-meter projects with commercial or corporate offtakers. There has been more than 1 gigawatt of distributed solar installations annually since 2012, reaching over 2 gigawatts in 2017. Looking ahead, corporate solar procurement is forecast to slump in 2018 as the market readjusts. For both distributed generation and offsite solar, 2016 and 2017 were massive years because of the anticipated expiration of the Investment Tax Credit. Additionally, uncertainty about the Section 201 tariffs caused companies to hold off on procurement in the latter half of 2017. However, GTM Research expects the combination of distributed generation projects and offsite, utility deals this year to cause an increase in 2019 total capacity additions.


Clean Coalition partners with the City of San Diego to drive local solar development

SOLAR POWER WORLD - Apr 12 The Clean Coalition has partnered with the City of San Diego, which was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to participate in a collaborative effort to explore new ways solar energy can improve the affordability, reliability, and resilience of the nation’s electric grid. The City of San Diego is one of nine teams selected to join the program, known as the Solar Energy Innovation Network. San Diego's participation will include financial, analytical, and facilitation support as it develops programs to address the new challenges and opportunities stemming from local solar and other distributed energy resources in San Diego. With over 100,000 solar installations, San Diego is already one of the nation’s top solar cities. But as in many U.S. cities, the potential for commercial-scale solar in the area remains largely untapped.

Insurance for cloudy days at the solar farm

BLOOMBERG - Apr 10 Insurance giants like Swiss Re AG, with the help of a San Francisco firm, now have a way of guaranteeing production from solar farms -- not an easy feat considering supplies from these plants rise and fall with the sun. The product that at least one insurance company is now offering is called a solar revenue put. It was developed by risk-management software firm KWh Analytics and can guarantee as much as 95 percent of a solar farm’s expected output, according to an email the company sent to clients Tuesday. This insurance policy stands to strip away uncertainty surrounding solar projects. With a put in hand, lenders may be willing to offer financing at better terms, driving down the overall cost of a farm, said Richard Matsui, KWh Analytics’s chief executive officer.

Searchlight residents blast proposed wind turbine project

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL - Apr 9 A proposed Nevada wind project hit a gale of opposition Monday, as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hosted the first of four meetings on the massive project. About 50 people in Searchlight, a town of about 400 residents, turned out to voice their displeasure with the project, which could bring more than 200 wind turbines, each the height of a skyscraper, to the hills 10 miles to the west. Swedish energy company Eolus wants to build its Crescent Peak Wind Energy Project along a 22-mile stretch of the Nevada-California border. The BLM has agreed to conduct a review of the wind farm, which could cover more than 32,500 acres of public land, all in Nevada.

Vandenberg Air Force Base solar project commences operations

SOLAR INDUSTRY MAGAZINE - Apr 10 At a ribbon-cutting event this week, SunPower Corp., the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy celebrated the operations of a 28-megawatt solar PV system at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. The power generated by the system is expected to meet about 35 percent of the base’s energy needs, estimates SunPower. The base will purchase electricity under a 25-year power purchase agreement, and the Air Force will retain all of the associated environmental credits. The on-site system is the largest Air Force solar project for which the Air Force consumes all of the energy produced, claims SunPower. The system is expected to provide 54,500 MWh of energy annually.

Disclosure: Allen Matkins represented SunPower in the development of the Vandenberg Air Force Base solar project discussed in this article.

350-MW solar + 350-MW storage project moves forward in California

PV MAGAZINE - Apr 6 One of the world’s largest solar + storage projects has taken a bureaucratic step forward. Recurrent Energy’s ‘Crimson Solar’ 350-megawatt solar power project is planned for coupling with 350 megawatts of energy storage. The project does not yet have an offtaker, but, on March 9th, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management filed a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and land use plan for the project in Riverside County. The Notice of Intent is focused on details of site analysis, with environmental and tribal concerns paramount. This most recent incarnation of the project has been in development since at least January 2016, after Recurrent Energy acquired the development rights in 2015.

Brighter days ahead following installation of school solar panels

THE ACORN - Apr 12 It’s been less than a year since Oak Park Unified School District in Ventura County installed solar panels at all six of its schools, and the investment is starting to pay off, officials say. The district turned on the solar panel system in July 2017 at a cost of nearly $7 million. The project was funded by the voter-approved Measure S bond passed in 2016. Martin Klauss, assistant superintendent of business and administrative services, said the solar panels installed at six school sites are now reaping financial rewards. The return on the nearly $7 million investment for the solar installation will save about $8.3 million over 15 years. The savings take into consideration the yearly maintenance cost of $33,000. In 2016, before the solar panels were installed, the total electricity cost for the district was about $500,000. After installing the panels in July, the district estimates that the annual cost for last year had dropped from $500,000 to about $322,000.

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