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New Homes Requiring Solar :)

There’s no question that solar power is entering the mainstream, but California is about to give it a giant boost. The state’s Energy Commission is expected to approve new energy standards that would require solar panels on the roofs of nearly all new homes, condos and apartment buildings from 2020 onward. There will be exemptions for homes that either can’t fit solar panels or would be blocked by taller buildings or trees, but you’ll otherwise have to go green if your property is brand new.

The plan doesn’t require that a home reach net-zero status (where the solar power completely offsets the energy consumed in a year). However, it does provide “compliance credits” for homebuilders who install storage batteries like Tesla’s Powerwall, letting them build smaller panel arrays knowing that excess energy will be available to use off-hours.

The new standards are poised to hike construction costs by $25,000 to $30,000 (about half of which is directly due to solar), but the self-produced energy is estimated to save owners $50,000 to $60,000 in operating costs over the solar technology’s expected 25-year lifespan.

Short of a surprise rejection at the Energy Commission’s May 9th vote, this will make California the first state to have a solar panel requirement. It’s relatively easy to do this in the region given California’s abundance of warm, sunny days and high real estate prices — it’s hard to see this happening in the American Midwest, where winter and lower home prices could make solar decidedly less practical. Critics have complained that this could make California’s housing shortage worse by pricing people out of those homes that areavailable, and note that most people in the state only really draw on non-renewable energy when they come home from work and strain the electrical grid.

Even so, this could change the landscape for both California’s energy and the market as a whole. Right now, no more than 20 percent of new single-family homes in California include solar power. Boost that by five times and that’s a lot more business for panel makers and installers. That, in turn, could reduce the costs of panels and make solar more affordable in many places, not just in California or even the US.

Orange County Register

  • This article originally appeared on Engadget.

Clean energy Western Massachusetts

By Mary C. Serreze

February 2018

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It’s been a busy year for clean energy in the state and region, and the months ahead promise yet more challenges and opportunities.

A new solar incentive program will go into effect in 2018, providing tariff-based payments instead of production credits. Utilities will firm up contracts to procure massive amounts of clean energy from offshore wind, Canadian hydro and other sources. Greater commitments to reducing emissions from the transportation sector are expected, and innovative pilot programs are helping homes and businesses transform their energy profiles.

In 2017, Massachusetts saw major solar gains, with more than 10,000 projects installed, representing around 480 megawatts of new capacity. The clean energy sector contributed $11.4 billion to the state’s economy, providing jobs for more than 109,000 people at 6,900 establishments, according to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Statewide job growth in the clean energy sector has jumped 80 percent since 2010.

The 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act requires that all sectors of the Massachusetts economy reduce emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. In 2016, the state lost a landmark lawsuit filed by climate activists, and the state’s highest court ordered the Department of Environmental Protection to implement the law.

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Nebraska State Fair Adds Solar Panels

By Steve White

August 9, 2017

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While fairgoers seek the shade, the sun will help power this year’s Nebraska State Fair.

Solar panels are being installed this week, on the south side of the Nebraska Building, near the Game and Parks exhibit.

“You’re going to see about 25 kilowatts, which is roughly 90 solar panels,” said Jason Olberding of J-Tech Solar.

Olberding says his company agreed to put the panels in at no cost to the fair. It’s a welcome addition to a fair that strives to be the most innovative in the country.

The Fair’s facilities director Jaime Parr said, “I do see the solar panels as a great fit for the State Fair. They do touch on our technology needs as well as sustainability, environmental efforts.”

the fair has taken steps to go green, and is certified for keeping nearly everything from going to the landfill.

Parr said, “We do tons of waste diversion at the State Fair. We are a three-time zero waste event, so looking for number four this year.”

They also have a sustainability pavilion, that J-Tech will sponsor, featuring a monitor showing solar power’s impact.

“That will show us how much power is real time live being generated from the solar panels,” Parr said.

Olberding said the screens will “Talk about the footprint, carbon footprint it’s saving, how many computers it could run.”

This installation’s not enough to power even one building at the fair, but Jason says it shows what can be done on a typical home.

“It would take all of a home’s bill away for a month, for an average ranch home, plus some,” he said.

And it’s estimated to save the fair a few thousand dollars in utility bills.

Parr said, “The hope is that it will supply about 15% of the power to the Nebraska Building throughout the year.”

Located near the main entrance to the fair, hundreds of thousands of visitors will pass by and learn something on their way to eat corn dogs and funnel cakes.

Olberding said, “It’s a great place to bring awareness to what we talk about every day.”

J-Tech has a ten-year agreement with the Fair.

Massachusetts seeking bids for largest renewable energy contract in New England history

By Crystal Bui

August 1, 2017

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Massachusetts is now reviewing proposals to bring clean energy to the state.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is seeking project bids worldwide to provide up to 1,200 megawatts of energy.

The governor is taking proposals from water, wind, and solar power companies, with local businesses looking to grab the largest renewable energy contract in New England history.

Other proposals from energy companies come from near and far, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as Vermont, Maine, Indianapolis, Canada and even the United Kingdom.

One familiar company is making a run for the contract: Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind. They’re known for their first off-shore wind farm in the United States, right off Block Island.

Deepwater Wind shared their proposal with NBC 10 News on Tuesday.

“What we’ve proposed is the largest wind-battery combined power in the world,” CEO Jeff Grybowski said.

Grybowski plans to add 18 to 24 wind turbines about 20 miles off the coast of New Bedford — and they’re planning on to partner with an industry power-player: Tesla

Tesla’s new battery technology will store wind farm energy. The company’s founder, Elon Musk, recently visited Rhode Island

“So, it really helps us maximize the value of all that wind power,” said Grybowski.

The wind-farm energy could power about 80,000 Massachusetts households every year.

“But again, this a price competition,” said Grybowski.

The project, if approved, would be ready by 2023 to 2024.

NBC 10 asked Grybowski how many years it would take to bring the cost down for residents because of the initial investment.

“I think from day one, we think this will be a price-competitive project,” said Grybowski.

He also said it’s likely the wind-turbines won’t be seen from shore.

Deepwater Wind is hoping their off-shore wind farm will be a part of that mix for years to come.

It’s also unlikely any of the project bids will be subsidized.

Mass Solar Connect Program Helps Massachusetts Consumers Shop Around

By Joseph Bebon

July 7, 2017

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The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) recently partnered with nonprofit Mass Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) and Boston-based EnergySage to administer the 2017 Mass Solar Connect program, which aims to educate and help consumers go solar and level the playing field between large and small solar installers.

Building off the success of the original program that wrapped up in late 2015, the 2017 Mass Solar Connect initiative offers a simplified and trustworthy solar shopping experience, according to EnergySage. By leveraging an online solar marketplace powered by EnergySage, the Mass Solar Connect platform allows solar shoppers to compare quotes online from up to seven local solar installers, each of which has been vetted by both MassCEC and EnergySage. The quotes have standardized assumptions when calculating the financial benefits, offering an apples-to-apples comparison. The shopper retains control over how much contact information, if any, they chose to share with installers. The customer experience can be completed entirely online through the platform, which is now live.

“Mass Energy is thrilled to be partnering with the MassCEC and EnergySage on a new Mass Solar Connect program,” says Erin Taylor, marketing and membership director at nonprofit Mass Energy. “Two years ago, we were able to help 261 Massachusetts homeowners install rooftop solar affordably.”

“The solar energy industry has matured rapidly over the last few years, and Massachusetts continues to make the process of adopting solar as transparent, easy and affordable for its residents as possible,” says Tess O’Brien, vice president of strategy partnerships at EnergySage. “Mass Solar Connect builds on the success of the original program by empowering solar shoppers with an even more efficient way to explore their solar energy options.”

“Our partnerships with nonprofit groups like MassEnergy and marketplace provider EnergySage help spur the adoption of renewable energy across Massachusetts and drive down the associated costs of installation,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “Through these key partnerships, the commonwealth is increasing access to solar energy for its residents while diversifying the state’s clean energy portfolio.”

“Currently, most people are only exposed to the information that reaches them from the solar companies with the biggest marketing budgets,” adds Taylor. “This program will allow people to shop more locally and benefit from greater competition.”

With a Mass Solar Loan, designed by the state to make solar accessible to all Massachusetts homeowners regardless of income levels, financing solar ownership has become feasible for households that might not have been able to afford it in the past, according to EnergySage.

Mass Solar Connect is targeted at Mass Energy members but is open to anyone who wants to shop for solar for a property in Massachusetts, including commercial properties. EnergySage says more than 200 households have already registered their homes.

Massachusetts Town Saves $101,000 in 12 Months with Solar

By Emily Holbrook

July 25, 2017

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Massachusetts, announced that using solar electric power has saved $101,000 in electricity costs in 12 months.

According to recorder.com, the purchase agreement has met expectations each of the three years of its existence. The contract guarantees a minimum of 85% of the estimated production, but the town has received 97%.

Orange has agreed to purchase 20 percent of the electricity produced for the next 20 years at a fixed price of $0.08 per kilowatt-hour. The town receives net metering credits applied to most of its municipal accounts.

Other towns across the nation have also turned to solar power recently. In April, city officials in St. Paul, Minnesota, negotiated an agreement with GreenMark Solar to power one-quarter of the state capital’s municipal buildings with electricity derived from community solar gardens. Also in April, city council members announced that Albuquerque has begun the process of deploying over $25 million worth of solar projects on the rooftops of municipal buildings.

Key Equipment Finance to fund 22.1 MW community solar portfolio in Massachusetts

By Conor Ryan

July 20, 2017

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Key Equipment Finance, an affiliate of KeyCorp, announced Wednesday that it has provided funding for 16 community solar projects across Massachusetts for both community solar solutions provider Clean Energy Collective (CEC) and global energy developer ENGIE.

As part of the financing deal from Key Equipment Finance, CEC and ENGIE will own and operate the community solar projects and sell the generated energy to local utilities.

The combined 16 projects are expected to have a total generation capacity of 22.1MW, which is equivalent to fully offsetting energy for 3,700 residential homes.

Luis Gutierrez, vice president of energy finance for Key Equipment Finance’s Energy Solutions team, said: “ENGIE and CEC are industry leaders using Key Equipment Finance’s financing solutions to bring a broad expansion of community solar to customers across Massachusetts. Customized financing plays a vital role in bringing the benefits of community solar to more customers, which contributes to Key’s broader sustainability goals.”

The 16 community solar projects in Massachusetts are already constructed and interconnected — with the projects set to serve customers in the Eversource and National Grid utility territories.

These projects include systems developed in the towns of Sutton, Williamsburg, Orange, Goshen, Phillipston, Uxbridge, West Bridgewater, Kingston, North Adams, Clarksburg, and Wareham.

The 25-year lifespan of the systems will produce a solar energy output equivalent to cutting down 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, planting 1.5 million trees or eliminating 1.1 billion miles of driving.

Tom Sweeney, CEC’s president of renewables, said: “Key Equipment Finance’s partnership has allowed CEC to bring its RooflessSolar community solar options to more Massachusetts customers, giving them greater choice in how they meet their power needs. Funding community solar projects can be a very complicated and capital-intensive process, and we are proud to be collaborating with Key Equipment Finance and ENGIE to ‘uncomplicate’ clean energy access and sustain the growing energy movement in Massachusetts.”

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By Danica Bergmann

Massachusetts landfill gets solar panels

By “Waste Today” Staff

July 3, 2017

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A capped landfill in Brockton, Massachusetts, has become a solar energy producer. According to the local CBS affiliate WBZ-TV, the landfill, once nicknamed Mount Trashmore because of the odors it produced is now doing something positive for the environment.
A new solar power system opened on top of the old Thatcher Street landfill in late June. Officials from the city claim the energy produced from the panels is equivalent to offsetting the carbon emissions of 12,000 cars annually. The report adds, the city officials estimate more than $300,000 in revenues generated from the project annually.

 

 

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India launches first solar-panelled train in bid to cut down diesel use

By Loulla-May Eleftheriou-Smith

July 19, 2017

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India has launched its first solar-powered train, which it is hoped will save around 21,000 litres of diesel a year, as the government attempts to make the country’s vast rail network more environmentally friendly.

The new 1,600 horsepower Diesel Electrical Multiple Unit (DEMU) trains are fitted with 16 solar panels on each carriage as well as battery back-ups, UNTV News and Rescue reports.

The first train, which is pulled by a diesel-powered locomotive, has been launched on New Delhi’s suburban commuter railway system, with the routes for the rest of the new trains to be decided soon.

The 7,200kw of energy created each year by the solar panels will be used to power internal lights, fans and other electrical systems on the train coaches.

Each solar-panelled coach will reportedly offset carbon emissions by nine tonnes a year, which is expected to save around 21,000 litres of diesel.

Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu told The Hindu the trains are a “path-breaking leap” towards the goal of making India’s trains more environmentally friendly.

The department of railways is also increasing its use of alternative energy sources as part of its commitment to using cleaner fuels, he added.

The solar panels last for up to 25 years and will be inspected regularly.

“It is not an easy task to fit solar panels on the roof of train coaches that run at a speed of 80km per hour,” Sundeep Gupta, vice chairman and managing director of Jackson Engineers, which worked on the project, told Business Standard.

“Our engineering skills were put to a real test during the execution of this rooftop solar project for Indian Railways.”

 

 

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