Why install a solar battery? Batteries allow you to store solar energy and reduce your dependence on the grid. In turn, you use more solar power and fewer fossil fuels! How do solar batteries work? Most solar panel systems are connected to the grid and still rely on grid energy when they are producing below […]
So, what is the deal with all black-solar panels? Most solar panel manufacturing companies now have an all-black model, which is becoming more and more popular with customers. However, many people get confused about the difference between the two, and don’t know which type of panel is better for their home.
Definitions Before we dive into all the inverter details, here is a little refresher on how solar panels work. To generate electricity, sunlight shines on a panel and this panel converts the solar energy into DC current. This current flows to the inverter where the it converts DC current to AC current. Your home uses […]
Adapting Oil and Gas Companies
Many recent studies and reports have pointed to the continued rise in popularity in the future of solar power. A report called Energy Goes Green interviewed 100 CFOs of oil and gas companies and found that 38% of these CFOs believe that solar power will be the leading alternative energy source by 2023. The report demonstrated that these CFOs recognize solar energy as an important opportunity for their business. Solar is not only cheaper than traditional oil or gas, but it is also easier to generate solar energy once the infrastructure is built. Additionally, because of increased demand and better technology, the cost of installing solar power systems has decreased. For these reasons, many of these energy companies plan on implementing solar power as a part of their business.
However, these companies aren’t planning to switch to 100% renewables anytime soon. They face many roadblocks. For example building new infrastructure is expensive. Also, there are currently high tariffs on imported materials used to build solar panels. But, these CFOs do recognize that consumer demand and new technology will continue to lower the cost of solar energy, and they are willing to adapt to renewable energy sources as long as they stay in demand and the prices stay low. This is a big step, considering that these companies are currently 100% focused on fossil fuels.
Energy Consumption Mix
More evidence of the future of energy prices is outlined by a study reported in the Joule Journal. This study found that increasing the US energy bundle to 90% renewables by 2050 would be cheaper than keeping energy consumption as it is. Currently, the average cost of electricity in the US is 13 cents per kilowatt hour. This rate is even higher in Massachusetts and Rhode Island (21 cents and 18.6 cents respectively). The new energy bundle that is 90% renewable would cost about 3.6 cents per kilowatt hour.
Current Energy Demand
Currently, the demand for renewable energy is continuing to grow as fossil fuel consumption falls in the United States. According to the latest EIA report, this April renewable energy provided 25.7% of the total electricity produced in the US. As of this April, fossil fuels contributed a smaller percentage of total electricity than renewable energy, contributing only 22% compared to 25.7% from renewables.
So, the future is bright for solar! Evidence shows that renewable energy consumption is rising, and prices are falling as compared to fossil-fueled powered energy. Even large oil and gas companies recognize this trend as a business opportunity. So, now is a great time to make the investment in solar panels to continue the energy transition!
Good News For Rhode Island Solar!
This week has brought some good news for Rhode Island solar: The Rhode Island Commerce’s Renewable Energy Fund has renewed its funding incentives for solar projects on brownfields. Brownfields are contaminated or polluted sites. They are often old industrial parks or commercial areas. This incentive funds solar developers and encourages them to build solar farms on brownfields. The state allocated another $1 million to the initiative because it saw so much success in 2019 and 2020.
It can take a lot of time and resources to decontaminate a brownfield and make it safe enough to be redeveloped. So, turning brownfields into solar farms is a safe and effective use of this contaminated land. Additionally, since Rhode Island is such a small state, using brownfields are a perfect way to install more solar power without cutting down trees or damaging any other environments. This initiative will help Rhode Island reach its goal of reaching net zero by 2050!
By Mary C. Serreze
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.