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Renewable Energy Update
August 1, 2018
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Solar panel glut is muting effect of Trump tariffs

REUTERS - Jul 30 A steep global decline in the price of solar modules in recent weeks is nearly offsetting the effect of the Trump administration’s 30 percent tariff on imported panels, the chief executive of a major U.S. solar company said on Monday. “If you are building a large power plant your pricing has certainly come back at least halfway to what it was pre-tariff if not all the way,” Tom Werner, the CEO of SunPower Corp, said in an interview following the company’s second-quarter financial results announcement. “It’s muting the impact of tariffs.” While the price drop is trimming the profit margins of manufacturers, it is welcome news for purchasers of solar systems, who had been facing higher prices since the tariffs went into effect in February. Solar module prices are down about 12 percent globally since China announced changes to its incentives for solar power on June 1 that have led to an oversupply of panels that had been intended for installation in China, the world’s largest solar market.


Environmental groups come out against Nevada’s Energy Choice Initiative

GREENTECH MEDIA - Jul 26 More choice is usually considered to be a good thing for consumers. In the energy space, messaging around choice is also often aligned with greater access to renewables. But four environmental groups say that’s not the case when it comes to Nevada’s Energy Choice Initiative. Question 3 on the state’s ballot in this fall’s election would end NV Energy’s monopoly and open up the electricity market to competition. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and Western Resource Advocates said last Thursday that they oppose deregulating the Nevada’s electricity market because of the disruption it will cause to the state's clean energy progress. NV Energy is also opposed to the ballot measure, and has vowed to spend $30 million to defeat it.

Community solar can address renewables accessibility gap, report finds

UTILITY DIVE - Jul 31 Community solar could supply 1.7-2.6 percent of all electricity consumed by the U.S. in 2030 if all states were to establish policy-enabled community solar markets, according to a report by GTM Research. The report points to a large gap in solar accessibility, noting between half to three-fourths of Americans cannot access traditional rooftop solar. Community solar is a potential way to grant access to 50 million U.S. households that are classified as low-to-moderate income residences. One of the largest obstacles preventing community solar's growth is state policy, according to the report. While 42 states plus Washington, D.C. have a community solar program in place, only 19 have policy-enabled solar markets, which include virtual net metering and community renewables programs.

Projects

City of Industry wants to terminate its solar project at Tres Hermanos, might lose $20 million

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY-TRIBUNE - Jul 26 After two years and a $20 million investment, the city of Industry is cutting ties with a controversial solar project on one of the largest swaths of open space in the region. The City Council notified the developer of its decision to terminate the lease agreement earlier this month, City Attorney Jamie Casso said. The company, San Gabriel Valley Water and Power (SGVWP), is contesting the termination. According to Casso, SGVWP violated the terms of the lease by not turning over studies and other documents paid for with Industry’s money. The company also failed to file a notice of preparation for the project under the California Environmental Quality Act. Wade Hall, a representative of SGVWP, compared Industry’s efforts to a landlord trying to illegally evict a tenant. He said SGVWP has complied with all of the terms of the lease and noted that a court might need to decide who is right. The lease negotiated in 2016 gave SGVWP the right to develop a 450-megawatt solar farm on Tres Hermanos Ranch, a 2,500-acre plot of land in the hills straddling Diamond Bar and Chino Hills.

California agencies sign PPAs for Pattern’s New Mexico wind farm

NORTH AMERICAN WINDPOWER - Jul 31 Pattern Energy Group 2 LP has signed 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with California’s Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) and Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) to deliver wind power from the 200-megawatt Duran Mesa Wind project, which is currently under development near Corona, New Mexico. Both Community Choice Energy agencies, SVCE serves Santa Clara County, and MBCP serves Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. Power from the wind farm will be delivered to California in part via the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, a 520-mile, 500- kilovolt transmission line under development in New Mexico and Arizona by SouthWestern Power Group.

California fruit and veggie distributor adds more solar

SOLAR INDUSTRY MAGAZINE - Jul 26 California-based Coast Citrus Distributors, a wholesaler of fruits and vegetables in the U.S. and Mexico, has completed a 432-kilowatt rooftop solar system on its Union City facility. Altogether, the company’s solar portfolio now totals 2.1 megawatts. Borrego Solar Systems developed, designed, and built Coast Citrus’ solar projects.

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Barry H. Epstein Barry H. Epstein
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Devine William R William R. Devine
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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