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U.S. Residential Solar PV Installations Exceeded Commercial Installations for the First Time in Q1 2014

May 29, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Solar

BOSTON, MA AND WASHINGTON, D.C. – Driven by strong year-over-year growth in the utility and residential markets, the United States installed 1,330 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the first quarter of 2014. According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industry Association’s (SEIA)Q1 2014 U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, the U.S. installed 232 megawatts of residential PV, exceeding the non-residential (commercial) market’s 225 megawatts for the first time in the history of the report.

Ongoing strength in the residential sector and volatility in the non-residential market spurred this historic milestone. Despite the dip in non-residential installations, GTM Research and SEIA expect the market to rebound and exceed the residential market in 2014 annual PV installations.

In another significant development, Q1 2014 was the largest quarter ever for concentrating solar power (CSP) due to the completion of the 392 megawatt (AC) Ivanpah project and the Genesis Solar project’s second 125 megawatt (AC) phase. With a total of 857 megawatts expected to be completed by year’s end, 2014 is on pace to be the largest year for CSP in history.

Source: U.S. Solar Market Insight, Q1 2014 Courtesy of SEIA

Source: U.S. Solar Market Insight, Q1 2014
Courtesy of SEIA

“Solar accounted for 74% of all new U.S. electric capacity installed in Q1 2014, further signaling the rapidly increasing role that solar is playing in the energy market,” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research. “Expect to see a resurgence in the non-residential market, combined with continued incremental residential growth, throughout the rest of this year.”

Not to be outshone by the success of the residential sector, the utility PV market continued its dominance, growing 171% between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014. With 873 megawatts installed, it accounted for two-thirds of total installations during the quarter. Large-scale projects that were under contracts and negotiations between 2010 and 2012 are now becoming a reality.

Source: U.S. Solar Market Insight, Q1 2014 Courtesy of SEIA

Source: U.S. Solar Market Insight, Q1 2014
Courtesy of SEIA

The United States’ solar market is off to a strong start in 2014. GTM Research and SEIA forecast 6.6 gigawatts of PV will be installed in the U.S. by the end of the year, up 39% over 2013.

“Solar energy is now generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to effectively power 3 million American homes, while creating thousands of new jobs nationwide and pumping nearly $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.  “Solar is also providing a big boost for our environment. The 14,800 megawatts of solar currently installed in the U.S. can generate enough pollution-free electricity to displace 18 billion pounds of coal or 1.8 billion gallons of gasoline. That’s the equivalent of removing 3.5 million passenger cars off our roads and highways. For states trying to meet new, enhanced air quality standards, solar can be a real game changer.”

Key Findings:

  • The U.S. installed 1,330 megawatts of solar PV in Q1 2014, up 79% over Q1 2013 and the second-largest quarter for solar installations in the history of the market
  • Cumulative operating PV capacity stood at 13,395 megawatts (DC) with 482,000 individual systems online as of the end of Q1 2014.
  • PV growth was driven primarily by the utility solar market, which installed over 800 megawatts in Q1 2014, up from 322 megawatts in Q1 2013
  • Q1 2014 was the first quarter in which residential PV installations exceeded non-residential (commercial) installations nationally
  • More than one third of residential PV installations came online without any state incentive for the first time ever in Q1 2014
  • Q1 2014 saw school, government, and non-profit PV installations add more than 100 megawatts for the second straight quarter
  • 74% of new electric generating capacity in the U.S. in Q1 2014 came from solar
  • GTM Research and SEIA forecast that PV installations will reach 6.6 gigawatts in 2014, up 39 percent over 2013 and nearly double the market size in 2012
  • Cumulative operating CSP capacity was 1,435 megawatts (AC) as of the end of Q1 2014.

About U.S. Solar Market Insight: The U.S. Solar Market Insight report is the most detailed and timely research available on the continuing growth and opportunity in the U.S. The report includes deep analysis of solar markets, technologies and pricing, identifying the key metrics that will help solar decision-makers navigate the market’s current and forecasted trajectory. For more information, visit

About GTM Research: GTM Research, a division of Greentech Media, provides critical and timely market analysis in the form of research reports, data services, advisory services and strategic consulting. GTM Research’s analysis also underpins Greentech Media’s webinars and live events. Our coverage spans the green energy industry including solar power, grid modernization, energy storage, energy efficiency and wind power sectors.

About SEIA®: Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at

This article is a repost (5-28-14), credit: SEIA.

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Half of power plant capacity additions in 2013 came from natural gas

April 8, 2014 in EIA, Environment, EV News

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, December 2013 edition Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of 1 MW and above only. Note: See details by technology type. Courtesy of EIA

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, December 2013 edition
Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of 1 MW and above only.
Note: See details by technology type.
Courtesy of EIA

Natural gas-fired power plants accounted for just over 50% of new utility-scale generating capacity added in 2013. Solar provided nearly 22%, a jump up from less than 6% in 2012. Coal provided 11% and wind nearly 8%. Almost half of all capacity added in 2013 was located in California. In total, a little over 13,500 megawatts (MW) of new capacity was added in 2013, less than half the capacity added in 2012.

Natural gas. Natural gas capacity additions were less than in 2012, as 6,861 MW were added in 2013, compared to 9,210 MW in 2012. The capacity additions came nearly equally from combustion turbine peaker plants, which generally run only during the highest peak-demand hours of the year, and combined-cycle plants, which provide intermediate and baseload power.

Nearly 60% of the natural gas capacity added in 2013 was located in California. The state is facing resource adequacy concerns as well as the need for more flexible generation resources to help complement more variable-output renewable resources, particularly solar, being added to the system.

Solar. Solar photovoltaic (PV) added 2,193 MW of capacity in 2013, continuing the trend of the past few years of strong growth, helped in part by falling technology costs as well as aggressive state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and continued federal investment tax credits. Nearly 75% of the capacity added was located in California, followed by roughly 10% in Arizona. (Note: these figures do not include distributed capacity under 1 MW. Distributed solar PV capacity additions also grew in 2013, with industry reports estimating nonutility additions of 1,900 MW. Most of this capacity was also located in California.)

After many years of little activity, the solar thermal industry completed several large-scale solar thermal plants in 2013 located in Arizona and California totaling 766 MW of capacity, more than doubling the total solar thermal capacity in the United States. A few more projects are expected to be completed in 2014-16; however, several other announced projectes have since been cancelled or suspended because of a number of challenges such as environmental impacts on desert wildlife and water resources, cost-competitiveness, and delays in transmission development.

Coal. Two coal plants, both delayed projects that were originally scheduled to be completed in 2011-12, accounted for all of the coal capacity added in 2013. The Sandy Creek Energy Station in Texas is a 937 MW conventional steam coal plant that was badly damaged during testing in 2011 and required major repairs before becoming operational. The Edwardsport plant in Indiana is a 571 MW integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plant, one of only two of the many proposed IGCC projects that actually advanced into construction as natural gas prices dropped (the Kemper County IGCC project in Mississippi is still under construction).

Wind. Wind capacity additions (1,032 MW) dropped sharply in 2013 to less than one-tenth of the capacity added in 2012 (12,885 MW). This was a widely expected result of the rush to complete wind projects in 2012 to qualify for the federal production tax credit. Unlike previous versions of the tax credit, the one-year extension for 2013 allowed developers to claim the tax credit for projects that began construction in 2013 even if the project will be completed in a later year. Consequently, developers were not as pressured to complete wind projects by the end of 2013. At this time, there have not been any subsequent extensions of the tax credit. More than 90% of the wind generation capacity additions in 2013 were located in five states: California, Kansas, Michigan, Texas, and New York (see graph at end of article).

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, December 2013 edition Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of 1 MW and above only. Courtesy of EIA

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, December 2013 edition
Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of 1 MW and above only.
Courtesy of EIA

California. California added 6,395 MW of capacity, 47% of all capacity added in 2013. The state has added a large amount of new capacity in an effort to deal with a number of problems challenging the state’s resource adequacy and grid reliability, including:

  • California’s once-through cooling water policy, passed in 2010, is requiring power plants using once-through cooling—a substantial portion of the state’s existing capacity—to either invest in costly retrofits to reduce their water consumption or retire over the next decade.
  • The unexpected outage in 2012, and subsequent permanent retirement in 2013, of the 2,150 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) plant in Southern California further exacerbated the state’s near- to mid-term resource adequacy and reliability concerns.
  • California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard policy requiring 33% renewable energy by 2020 has led the state’s electric utilities to procure new renewable capacity at a far higher rate than any other state. Integrating these growing levels of variable renewable generation has required more flexible resources to maintain grid reliability and to adapt to the grid’s evolving generation needs.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, December 2013 edition Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of 1 MW and above only. Courtesy of EIA

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, December 2013 edition
Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of 1 MW and above only.
Courtesy of EIA

Principal contributor: April Lee

This article is a repost, credit: EIA.

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National Solar Schools Consortium Aims to Bring Solar to Every School in America

April 3, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Image courtesy of SEIA

Image courtesy of SEIA

BOSTON, MA – Nonprofit organizations and solar companies from across the nation today announced the launch of the National Solar Schools Consortium at the widely-attended National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference, which began today in Boston.

The goal of the Consortium is to act as a unified voice for the growing solar schools movement, promoting the use of solar energy on K-12 and post-secondary schools, consolidating and coordinating current and future solar curriculum and resource development, and providing tools designed to help schools explore solar energy options both on campus and in the surrounding community.

“It’s estimated that thousands of schools across America have already installed solar panels – but tens of thousands of others are still tethered to fossil fuels,” said Prof. Sharon Dannels, Chair of the Educational Leadership Department at the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development. “According to a recent study of California schools, an average-sized 313-kilowatt solar system prevents the emission of an estimated 200 pounds of smog-forming pollution a year.”

To kick off its efforts, Consortium representatives will be presenting at several workshops at the NSTA Conference, held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. During these presentations, teachers and other education professionals will be encouraged to share their needs for expanding access to solar energy and related educational resources for their schools. Interested stakeholders can also communicate these needs by completing a brief form on the Consortium website,

“More and more schools across the country are discovering the benefits of going solar,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America, creating thousands of new jobs, pumping billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and helping to reduce pollution. For schools, solar can provide a curriculum where science, economics and the environment all intersect. SEIA is honored to be part of the National Solar Schools Consortium.”

The Consortium comprises representatives of leading environmental, educational, and solar-focused non-profit organizations, as well as for-profit solar businesses. Founding Consortium members include the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund, Community Power Network, Elephant Energy, the Foundation for Environmental Education, KidWind, Make It Right Solar, Mosaic, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Solar Energy Industries Association, The Solar Foundation, SolSolution, The Three Birds Foundation, and Women in Solar.

For more information on joining the Consortium, contact Andrea Luecke at [email protected].

About SEIA:  Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at

About The Solar Foundation: The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line for the U.S. The Solar Foundation is considered the nation’s authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at

This article is a repost, credit: SEIA.

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National Poll Finds American Homeowners Overwhelmingly Want Energy Choice

March 10, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Solar

Data reveals vast majority of Americans support renewables, 73 percent open to receiving clean energy from a provider other than their utility

Photo courtesy of SolarCity

Photo courtesy of SolarCity

San Mateo, Calif. – Mar. 10, 2014 – Clean Edge, Inc. and SolarCity (Nasdaq: SCTY) today announced the results of an inaugural national poll of U.S. homeowners regarding clean-energy products and services. The poll found that a majority of homeowners, 69 percent, want more choices when it comes to their energy and electricity supply. National polling firm Zogby Analytics was commissioned to conduct the poll. The new report, “U.S. Homeowners on Clean Energy: A National Survey,” is available for download at and

The poll confirmed that a significant majority of Americans (88 percent of homeowners) support renewable energy. It was also among the first to ask homeowners directly if they would be interested in solar for their own homes—62 percent said yes. This is particularly notable, given that there are more than 75 million owner-occupied housing units in the U.S., and fewer than 500,000 photovoltaic installations.

The SolarCity-Clean Edge poll also reveals the persistence of a myth that clean-energy products are not affordable. Less than half of all homeowners nationally understand that solar power is more affordable today than it was three years ago, despite the reality that prices for solar panels have dropped by more than half over this time period, and solar electricity prices can beat utility rates in a growing number of locations.

While homeowners generally view their current electric utility favorably, 73 percent of homeowners also said they would welcome clean energy provided by an entity other than their utility. Some utilities have attempted to impose fees and taxes on solar customers as a way of suppressing rooftop solar deployment, but energy providers should take note. Three out of four poll respondents voiced opposition to these types of efforts, saying that utilities should not be allowed to enforce restrictions on on-site energy systems. Though the sentiment was shared across all demographics, it was strongest among Republicans, Conservatives and middle-aged or elderly homeowners.

“Other surveys have looked at general green-consumer activity, but ours is among the first to focus on U.S. homeowners – a group that makes the majority of clean-energy residential purchases,” says Clean Edge managing director Ron Pernick. “The shift to clean-energy solutions was deep and wide across all demographics. Indeed, consumers not only want choice, but also want to protect their right to install their own distributed energy and storage systems.”

Additional Key Report Findings:

  • Economics are driving adoption. Respondents cite zero up-front costs and ongoing cost savings as the top two reasons for considering solar for their homes.
  • Approximately 70 percent of all homeowners consider or investigate the sustainability of big-ticket items when making purchasing decisions, and more than half are more likely to take sustainability considerations into account today than they were three years ago.
  • The most popular planned clean-energy purchases in the next year are LED light bulbs (31 percent of homeowners), followed by smart thermostats, double- or triple-pane windows, hybrid cars, and Energy-Star rated hot water heaters.
  • Over the past decade, clean-energy products and services – including solar PV, utility-scale renewables, hybrid electric vehicles, and green buildings – have experienced double-digit compound annual growth rates more akin to smartphones and the Internet than that of the energy and transportation sectors.

More than 1,400 U.S. homeowners participated in the survey. Respondents were randomly selected to answer questions about renewables, energy efficiency, clean transportation, energy storage and related topics. All interviews were completed in January 2014. The margin of error for the survey is =/- 2.7 percentage points. SolarCity and Clean Edge plan to release the homeowner survey annually.

About Clean Edge

Clean Edge, Inc., founded in 2000, is the world’s first research and advisory firm devoted to the clean-tech sector. The firm delivers an unparalleled suite of clean-energy benchmarking services including stock indexes, utility and consumer surveys, and regional leadership tracking, providing companies, investors, NGOs, and governments with timely research, trending analysis, and actionable insights. Managing director Ron Pernick and senior editor Clint Wilder are coauthors of the widely acclaimed business books The Clean-Tech Revolution (HarperCollins, 2007) and Clean-Tech Nation (HarperCollins, 2012). To keep abreast of the latest clean-tech trends, or for more information on the company, visit

About SolarCity

SolarCity® (NASDAQ: SCTY) provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company offers solar power, energy efficiency and electric vehicle services, and makes clean energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. SolarCity currently serves 14 states and signs a new customer every five minutes. Visit the company online at and follow the company on Facebook & Twitter.

This article is a repost, credit: SolarCity. Video courtesy of SolarCity.


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Testing confirms operational readiness of world’s largest solar thermal project

September 28, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Reaches ‘First Sync’ Milestone

Ivanpah First Sync  Photo courtesy of Brightsource

Ivanpah First Sync
Photo courtesy of BrightSource

NIPTON, Calif.-Sep. 24, 2013- Today it was announced that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System produced its first output of energy when the Unit 1 station was synchronized to the power grid for the first time. Achieving this critical “first sync” is a major milestone for the project, which is jointly-owned by NRG Energy, Inc., BrightSource Energy, Inc. and Google.

This successful test demonstrates the effectiveness of the station’s power tower technology, which includes large heliostats that track the sun throughout the day, solar field integration software and a solar receiver steam generator.

“Given the magnitude and complexity of Ivanpah, it was very important that we successfully complete this milestone showing all systems were on track,” said Tom Doyle, President of NRG Solar. “We couldn’t be more excited about achieving ‘first sync,’ and we share this success with our project partners, BrightSource and Google, as well as Bechtel, which is responsible for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning on the project.”

Power generated from Ivanpah’s initial sync testing will go to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), which has a power purchase agreement (PPA) for energy produced out of the plant’s Unit 1 station. Power generated from Ivanpah’s Unit 3 station is also sold under a PPA with PG&E, while Unit 2 is under a PPA with Southern California Edison. Proof-of-concept testing will also be conducted at Unit 2 and 3 in the coming months.

“This is yet another major milestone that we have successfully achieved as Ivanpah approaches completion,” said David Ramm, Executive Chairman of BrightSource Energy, Inc. “Ivanpah is the showcase project for BrightSource’s power tower technology and technical expertise. Validation at this scale demonstrates the viability of our technology as BrightSource increases focus on international markets and applications for concentrating solar power.”

“The achievement of this major milestone was possible through the tireless efforts of the entire project team – from the craft to the field engineers and technical experts,” said Toby Seay, President of Bechtel’s power global business unit. “With the cooperation of Ivanpah’s owners, we have been able to bring to life a world-class solar project that will help California meet its renewable energy goals safely and effectively.”

“At Google we invest in renewable energy projects that have the potential to transform the energy landscape. Ivanpah is one of those projects,” said Rick Needham, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Google. “We’re excited about the project achieving this first sync – a landmark event along the path to completion. Congratulations to the many people who have worked so hard to get this far.”

Located in California’s Mojave Desert, Ivanpah is the largest solar thermal plant in the world, spanning 3,500 acres of public land. Once fully operational, the 392 megawatt (377 megawatt net) plant will generate enough electricity to power 140,000 homes annually. Ivanpah’s three power tower units will also nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal energy capacity now operating in the United States.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is one of several NRG assets that are subject to a Right of First Offer Agreement between NRG Energy Inc., and the newly-created NRG Yield, Inc. (NYSE: NYLD).

About NRG and NRG Solar

NRG is leading a customer-driven change in the U.S. energy industry by delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices, while building on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive power portfolio. A Fortune 500 company, we create value through reliable and efficient conventional generation while driving innovation in solar and renewable power, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon capture technology and customer-centric energy solutions. Our retail electricity providers – Reliant, Green Mountain Energy and NRG Residential Solutions – serve millions of residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.

NRG, through its subsidiaries including NRG Solar LLC, has more than 2,000 MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects in operation, under construction or in development across the southwestern United States. More information is available at Connect with NRG Solar on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgsolar.

About BrightSource Energy, Inc.

BrightSource Energy, Inc. provides the world’s premier solar field technology for concentrating solar power systems to deliver reliable clean energy to utilities and industrial companies. For more information on BrightSource Energy please visit

About Google Inc.

Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.

About Bechtel

Bechtel is among the most respected engineering, project management, and construction companies in the world. We stand apart for our ability to get the job done right—no matter how big, how complex, or how remote. Bechtel operates through five global business units that specialize in civil infrastructure; power generation, communications, and transmission; mining and metals; oil, gas, and chemicals; and government services. Since its founding in 1898, Bechtel has worked on more than 22,000 projects in 140 countries on all seven continents. Today, our 53,000 employees team with customers, partners, and suppliers on diverse projects in nearly 50 countries. For more information about Bechtel visit

This article is a repost, credit: BrightSource.

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Gov. Malloy: State Selects Two Large-Scale Clean Energy Projects Furthering Connecticut’s Commitment to Renewable Energy

September 21, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar, Wind

In-State Solar Installation and Maine Wind Farm Will Help Achieve Goal of Cleaner, Cheaper and More Reliable Energy for Connecticut Residents
MAPLE RIDGE WIND FARM in and around Lowville, N.Y. (Photo by-Michael  Okoniewski) Courtesy of EDP Renewables North America

MAPLE RIDGE WIND FARM in and around Lowville, N.Y. (Photo by-Michael Okoniewski)
Courtesy of EDP Renewables North America

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced today that Connecticut is taking another step forward toward achieving a cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy future for residents and businesses with the selection of two projects that will generate large amounts of electricity from clean energy sources – helping to achieve renewable energy goals at lower costs to ratepayers.

The Governor said the cost of power from the two projects – a solar installation slated for land in Sprague and Lisbon, Conn., and a wind energy farm in Maine – will average under eight cents per kilowatt hour (k/Wh), a price close to matching the cost of power generated from conventional fossil fuel plants and some of the lowest costs ever obtained for solar and wind power in the region.

“The selection of these two projects is a major milestone in implementing our Comprehensive Energy Strategy,” said Governor Malloy.  “These projects bring real benefits – cleaner power with no air emissions and improved reliability by diversifying our energy portfolio – all at a cost comparable to electricity generated from conventional power plants.  This is the most significant step Connecticut has ever taken to harness the power of clean energy and this announcement is truly a historic moment in Connecticut’s energy history.”

The two projects have signed long-term contracts with the state’s two major electric distribution companies – Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating – for the purchase of the combined 270 megawatts (MW) of electricity and related renewable energy credits they will produce.

The two projects, both expected to be operational by the end of 2016, are:

  • Number Nine Wind Farm, a 250 MW land-based wind farm to be located in Aroostook County, Maine.  EDP Renewables North America LLC, an international leader in large-scale wind installations, is the project developer. 
  • Fusion Solar Center, a 20 MW AC solar photovoltaic system which will be located in Sprague and Lisbon, CT on land primarily owned by the Connecticut-based Fusion Paperboard Company.  The project developer is HelioSage Energy, known nationally for its solar expertise.

“The pricing offered by these projects demonstrates that Connecticut’s new approach to clean energy can spark innovation and competition among various technologies and drive down costs,” said Commissioner Daniel C. Esty of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). “We had wind, solar, fuel cells, tidal and biomass all competing for the same long term power contracts with the electric distribution companies – and the clear winners were Connecticut’s ratepayers.”

Comments from Public Officials

State Senator Bob Duff and State Representative Lonnie Reed, co-chairs of the General Assembly’s Energy and Technology Committee, were principal architects of the legislation that enabled the procurement to move forward.

Sen. Duff said, “I am thrilled to see that we are moving forward with renewable energy projects that provide environmental benefits, diversify our energy portfolio, improve reliability while leveraging federal tax credits to benefit Connecticut ratepayers.”

Rep. Reed said, “This news is exciting evidence that we can indeed fulfill our promise to protect and also expand Connecticut’s ambitious commitment to renewables. And we can do it by purchasing large scale, clean power generation at rational, affordable prices.  It’s proof positive that the new energy policies we fought for and adopted are great for consumers and great for the environment.”

“These projects represent a significant step toward meeting our state’s renewable energy goals in a cost-effective way that protects both the environment and ratepayers,” said Attorney General George Jepsen. “We are pleased to have overseen the legal framework for the innovative and successful selection process. I congratulate Governor Malloy and Commissioner Esty as well as the project developers for these important achievements.”

Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz said, “This renewable energy procurement is a great success achieved in a tight time frame.  We seemed to be facing a potential shortage of the renewable energy needed to meet the state’s legal requirements by the end of the decade but the projects selected in this process will help to alleviate that concern, at prices that are quite attractive.  I am also pleased the procurement process was conducted with great attention to detail, a focus on fairness to all bidders, included solid analysis, and that professionals in my Office were involved and informed at every step.”

Comments from Environmental Leaders

President of the Conservation Law Foundation John Kassel said, “Wind projects like the one in the package of contracts presented today are ready-to-go and are a critical element in both our fight against global warming and regional efforts to build a clean energy economy.  Building thriving communities means working to address climate change and building a sound and stable economy; “going long” for wind, a step the legislature has smartly chosen to take and which the administration and utilities are now moving to make real, is a great way to do both.”

“The New England Clean Energy Council was pleased to see Connecticut move quickly on long term contracting for Class I renewable energy projects since passing its significant energy bill this spring,” said NECEC President Peter Rothstein. “This looks like a major step in the development of these vital new projects.”

“Contracts for wind power are an important part of a diverse energy portfolio for the Northeast. They keep costs down and help avoid pollution and future rate increases because wind turbines need no fuel,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “We’re doing our part to keep the national commitment to reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change that threatens us all.”

Executive Director of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment Don Strait said, “This renewable procurement represents a major win for clean energy in Connecticut and the region. This procurement will provide cleaner generation for Connecticut residents at costs that are competitive with fossil fuel-based generation, which is a major breakthrough.”

Comments from Project Leaders

“We thank Governor Malloy and the Connecticut legislature for their vision of a cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy future,” said Gabriel Alonso, CEO EDP Renewables North America, which will be developing the Maine wind farm.  “EDP Renewables is pleased to have been a winner in this very competitive solicitation, and looks forward to working with the state of Connecticut and providing affordable fixed price clean energy to Connecticut customers for the next 15 years.”

“HelioSage is pleased to continue its role as a major participant in Connecticut’s growing clean energy sector,” said Danny Van Clief, Executive Vice President, Business Development, HelioSage Energy.  “When completed, our project will stand among the largest solar projects east of the Mississippi and will deliver clean, renewable power to thousands of in-state energy users for years to come. This is an exciting day for Connecticut, and for everyone who wants to see solar become a meaningful component of our nation’s energy mix.”

Comments from Electric Distribution Companies

“We commend Governor Malloy and DEEP Commissioner Esty for their on-going dedication and effort to promote regional renewable energy projects as part of the state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy.” said James Daly, Vice President of Energy supply for Northeast Utilities, parent company of CL&P. “These new agreements allow Connecticut Light and Power to further demonstrate our commitment to helping the state reach its goals by adding to the significant amount of renewable energy we currently deliver to our customers.”

“It was exciting working with the procurement team at DEEP to help bring this opportunity to fruition for UI’s customers,” said Alan Trotta, Director of Wholesale Power Contracts at United Illuminating.  “EDP Renewables and Heliosage have been a pleasure to work with, and we are looking forward to the long-term business relationships.”

Background on the Selection of Projects and Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

The two projects were selected after extensive analysis and ranking of 47 proposals submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by DEEP on July 8.  The RFP was released just weeks after the General Assembly approved and Governor Malloy signed into law Public Act 13-303, An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Clean Energy Goals.  This Act restructured Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), authorizing the state to go forward with this clean energy procurement process for up to four percent of Connecticut’s total electricity load and recommitted Connecticut to obtaining 20% of its electric power from clean energy sources by the year 2020.

The two projects selected will provide 3.5 percent of Connecticut’s total energy load, which represents almost one-fifth of the RPS goal (20% by 2020).  The quick timeframe for the procurement process allows the projects to take advantage of federal tax credits for renewable energy projects that expire at the end of 2013, which is helping to reduce the cost of the power they will provide.  The procurement team that reviewed the proposals consisted of members of DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy, the Offices of the Consumer Counsel, and Connecticut’s Attorney General.

Projects submitted in response to the RFP were scored and ranked in three categories, with the most significant being price. The other two categories were: viability, or the likelihood of achieving the proposed commercial operation date; and ability to improve reliability of the electric system in Connecticut, with considerations for  contributions to improved transmission, local sourcing requirements, meeting peak demand and other technical requirements.

Next Steps in the Process

The power purchase agreements signed by both projects and the state’s electric distribution companies will be submitted to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for review and approval.  Under provisions of Public Act 13-303, PURA has 30 days to act on the contracts.  The projects will also be required to obtain all other necessary local and state approvals.

As the next step in broadening Connecticut’s energy mix and achieving the state’s RPS goals, DEEP anticipates moving forward this fall with an additional procurement under Public Act 13-303 that will focus on biomass projects that can meet state requirements.

This article is a repost (release 9-20-13), credit: State of Connecticut.

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by EV News

University of Wollongong Wins SD China! Source: DOE

August 20, 2013 in China, Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Team UOW from Australia rejoices after being announced as the winners of Solar Decathlon China. Photo courtesy of DOE

Team UOW from Australia rejoices after being announced as the winners of Solar Decathlon China.
Photo courtesy of DOE

By Richard King (8-11-13)

I am proud to be an American—and prouder yet to be an employee of the U.S. Department of Energy. We brought an inspiring and beneficial competition to the People’s Republic of China! By the end of the event, a quarter-million people will visit the competition houses displayed at Solar Decathlon China. The event has made a real impression on the government and people of Datong. I hope it leads to positive change.

Team UOW from the University of Wollongong in Australia held the winning trophy high this morning and rejoiced in a remarkable victory. Its entry was the first retrofitted house entered in a decathlon. Instead of designing and building a new house from the ground up, they took an old house and refurbished it. They added new insulation to the walls and attic, installed new windows, and changed some of the interior rooms for more functionality. The end result was a modern, very energy-efficient house that won the praise of everyone—especially the jurors—who went inside for a tour. This morning, the team was awarded first place in Architecture and Solar Application! I will remember them as the team from Down Under who always greeted you with a friendly “G’day, mate!”

Team SCUT from South China University of Technology and Huazhong University of Science and Technology took second place. It moved ahead of Sweden with its near-perfect performance. Team SCUT received the highest score in four of the performance-based competitions: Hot Water, Appliances, Home Entertainment, and Energy Balance. It also won third in the Architecture Contest. The team was overjoyed and so happy to take a top honor. I am sure people throughout China are proud of this team.

Halo Team Sweden Photo courtesy of  Chalmers University of Technology

Halo Team Sweden
Photo courtesy of
Chalmers University of Technology

Team Sweden from Chalmers University of Technology won third place. The team was in the top of the standings throughout the competition and finished with a strong performance. I loved that you had to put your shoes in a basket by the door before entering their house. Then, after touring the house in your socks, you would look for your shoes in a basket by the back door. The house, designed for college students to live in, was enjoyed by all.

As a proud employee of the U.S. Department of Energy, I couldn’t be happier. We nurtured this event in America, watched it grow in Europe, and witnessed it reach new heights here in China. I am so glad to see our good work spread around the world.

There are so many people to thank for making the first Solar Decathlon China a success: The National Energy Administration, the City of Datong, sponsors, students, faculty, and the hundreds of volunteers who worked tirelessly. They deserve our deepest thanks and appreciation. And the student decathletes, especially. They bring us so much hope for a better future.

Richard King is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

This article is a repost, credit: Richard King, U.S. Department of Energy,