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Renewable Energy Update
March 10, 2017

Renewable Energy Focus

U.S. solar market has record-breaking year

Greentech Media - Mar 9 The U.S. solar market had its biggest year ever in 2016, nearly doubling its previous record and adding more electric generating capacity than any other source of energy for the first time ever. Over the next five years, the cumulative U.S. solar market is expected to nearly triple in size, despite a slight dip expected in 2017, according to new data released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. On average, U.S. solar photovoltaic (PV) system pricing fell by nearly 20 percent in 2016. This is the largest average year-over-year price decline since GTM Research began modeling pricing in this report series.

Hydroelectric power is poised for comeback in California

Los Angeles Times - Mar 7 California’s years-long drought put hydroelectric power flat on its back. But one of the cleanest and cheapest energy sources may be poised for a comeback as the state has been drenched with rain and its mountains blanketed in snow in recent months. Energy officials studying the numbers are cautiously optimistic the sector’s output may roar back to levels seen before drought decimated watersheds, streams, and reservoirs. Such a turnaround may not make a big difference in electricity bills because many factors go into what consumers pay, experts said. Instead, the major benefit would come in the form of less air pollution. If the wet winter translates into a productive late spring and early summer for hydro, utilities will probably use less natural gas, the most commonly used energy source in the state’s power mix.

SCE seeks new distributed energy resources

Electric Light & Power - Mar 8 Southern California Edison (SCE) has launched a request for offers (RFO) to buy new distributed energy resources to bolster grid resiliency in the Santa Barbara-Goleta area. The RFO is seeking a range of new distributed energy resources including: energy storage, demand response, permanent load shift, combined heat and power, fuel cells, solar photovoltaic paired with energy storage, and renewable distributed generation.

Colleges, universities could lead U.S. toward 100% renewables

Solar Industry Magazine - Mar 8 According to a new report from the Environment America Research & Policy Center, U.S. colleges and universities are in a good position to help lead the country toward a transition to 100% renewable energy. The report cites a number of factors that make institutions of higher education suited to lead the country’s overall efforts, including the following: serving more than 20 million students, they are significant energy consumers, and their campuses often have physical attributes that make them good locations for hosting renewable energy projects, with space on rooftops, in parking lots, and on marginal land for hosting solar panels, wind turbines, and other clean energy technologies.

Tule Wind farm expansion clears legal hurdle

San Diego Union-Tribune - Mar 8 Opponents of a wind project that will dot the ridgeline of the McCain Valley in San Diego’s East County lost a court decision this week, meaning an expansion to the Tule Wind Project remains on schedule. The Protect Our Communities Foundation battled the project from its inception, claiming the blades from wind turbines pose a danger to birds — golden eagles in particular. But on Monday, a U.S. District Court judge in San Diego turned down the group’s case, saying the federal government did not violate its own procedures when it approved the second phase of the project that will deliver wind energy on lands belonging to the Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians and the state of California. Avangrid Renewables, the company in charge of the Tule Wind Project, has long insisted the wind farm is safe.

Renesola to build 550MW of solar projects in 2017

PV-Tech - Mar 9 Solar project developer ReneSola announced its updated outlook for its solar portfolio in 2017 — noting that it currently has 335 megawatts of projects under construction, with 550 megawatts worth of total generation capacity planned for this year. In the U.S., ReneSola plans to construct 108 megawatts of projects in 2017, of which 70 megawatts are community solar installations. These projects will be developed in California, North Carolina, and Minnesota.

Brookfield to take control of SunEdison units for $1.41 billion

Reuters - Mar 7 Brookfield Asset Management said on Tuesday it would buy one of the two "yieldcos" of bankrupt U.S. solar company SunEdison and take a 51 percent stake in the other, for a total of about $1.41 billion. Brookfield will acquire TerraForm Global for about $787 million and increase its stake to 51 percent of TerraForm Power for $622 million. Yieldcos are publicly traded units that hold renewable energy assets such as solar power plants and wind farms, including those bought from the sponsor or the parent company. TerraForm Power owns about 2,967 megawatts of solar and wind assets in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Chile.

Gaz Métro acquires Standard Solar

PennEnergy - Mar 7 Standard Solar, Inc., a solar power company specializing in the development, installation, and financing of commercial solar electric systems nationwide, is being acquired by Canada-based Gaz Métro, a diversified energy company active in electric distribution and production including solar and wind power, and natural gas distribution, LNG, and renewable natural gas. Standard Solar is committed to making distributed generation (DG) solar projects accessible to all solar segments across multiple states, including California.

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