Tag Archives: Pv Solar Installations

Palm Springs to save $25 million by going solar

By Sammy Roth, The Desert Sun

Palm Springs expects to save nearly $25 million over the next 25 years by installing solar panels at eight sites around the city, including the convention center and the downtown parking structure.

The city has entered into final contract negotiations with two national solar companies: SolarCity and SunEdison. SunEdison will install solar panels at the convention center, the downtown parking structure, and several other civic buildings and city parks. SolarCity will tackle installations at the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the Sunrise Plaza complex. The city expects all eight systems to come online by the end of 2016.

City staff estimates Palm Springs will save nearly $33.8 million over the next 25 years on its electricity bills, while spending about $9 million to install the panels and pay off the solar firms over time. The city will pay just $3.2 million in up-front costs, with some of that money covered by grants from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  The city could save an additional $1.2 million if money from California’s solar rebate program comes through as expected.

Read full article in the Desert Sun

InterSolar 2015: Industry Growth or Decline is Up to Us

By Gerald W. Bernstein
Managing Editor, California Solar

One advantage of living in San Francisco is that the world periodically beats a path to our doorstep. For solar professionals and aficionados, this has happened for the past eight July’s with InterSolar North America at the Moscone Convention Center, the show claiming the highest attendance of any solar event in North America. I have attended these since 2012, by which time attendance had reached approximately 18,000 visitors (excluding exhibitors), a level it has since sustained.

What I find interesting in trade shows is walking the exhibit floors, talking with company reps, talking with press people who have attended many conferences over time, and “taking the pulse” of the event. InterSolar expands this opportunity with the companion conference comprised of 45 sessions on a variety of solar topics and over 200 speakers at the InterContinental Hotel next door.

This year’s emerging issue was storage. Conference sessions, press announcements and exhibits provided perspectives on utility scale, commercial, institutional and residential-scale systems with possibly favorable economics (subject of course to the individual user’s tariff structure) and numerous non-quantifiable benefits. But what I sensed as the mood of the show was different. I will be surprised if the organizers write “the mood of the show was optimistic” (as followed the 2012 show) or “the mood of the show was very optimistic” (as followed the 2013 show). I found exhibitors enthusiastic about their products, but I would not describe them as “optimistic.” More telling was the observation of a long-time attendee that the number of exhibitors was down to perhaps 500 this year from 750+ a few years earlier. (And yes there have been recent consolidations, but when have there not been?)

The conference and plenary sessions I attended also conveyed two tones. Industry (including trade association) leaders spoke of the growing number of megawatts and gigawatts of installed PV in an increasing number of states. Declining installation costs were often cited as a driver for future sales, driven both by declining panel prices and by reductions in other (balance-of-system and soft) costs. Individual states have additional demand drivers, such as the proposed RPS increase to 50% in California (in 2030), growing demand for community shared solar systems, and efforts to develop carbon cap & trade systems or markets.

But the elephant in the room (actually, overhanging all events) was clearly the possible effect of the 30% investment tax credit reduction to 10% for commercial investors and the possible elimination of the 30% tax credit for homeowners at the end of 2016. Some speakers minimized these impacts in light of favorable demand drivers such as those above. Conversely, one speaker (citing findings from an unnamed Stanford Business School-George Washington University study I have not been able to identify) warned listeners to “expect a massive drop in the PV industry.”

Yet the dominant theme of speakers was that solar does not have to be a political issue. There are blue and red state customers of solar technology who benefit from lower electric costs. Benefits accrue to rural and urban families. Individuals of all beliefs need to let their senators and representatives know that extending the tax benefits is good for consumers, businesses and the 170,000 individuals employed in this industry.

No one can realistically predict what will happen to the solar industry after the 2016 reduction in tax credits. But one thing seems certain: if we all participate in determining governmental policies regarding solar energy, we can build on recent success. If we stand up for solar, if we become even more engaged, more active, more committed to influencing decision-makers, thought leaders, and policy wonks — that can only bring benefit to our planet.

Powering Forward: Clean energy empowers Native American tribes seeking self-sustainability

By John Blomster, Comstock’s Magazine

Tribal sovereignty is an age-old Native American value that today is becoming synonymous with energy independence. With help from JLM Energy in Rocklin, the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria tribe is on the leading edge of the movement in California.

This summer, the tribe and JLM Energy are partnering to install the first integrated renewable energy system of its kind in California, comprising wind, solar and energy storage power — called a microgrid — on the Rohnerville Rancheria reservation in Humboldt County just south of Eureka. In addition to offsetting the utility bill, the microgrid will allow the tribe to be more independent, provide training and jobs for its residents, and reduce its carbon footprint, all of which reflect tribal values. The small but significant endeavor is setting a new precedent for future projects as more California tribes look to follow suit.

The tribe first began working with the company to install a battery storage system — purchasing power at times when demand and costs are lower (say at 2 a.m. instead of 2 p.m.), and charging batteries to provide power during peak hours when demand spikes and the cost goes up. Construction on the microgrid began this month and will include a 100-kilowatt solar panel power system, 20 wind turbines and 30 kilowatts of microgrid electricity. The wind and solar systems power batteries that will supplant electricity needs when it costs the most with what is already generated and stored.

Read full article in Comstock’s Magazine

sPower Awarded Three New 20-Year PPAs in California for 19.4MW

U.S. renewable energy provider sPower (Sustainable Power Group) has secured long-term power purchase agreements for three new solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in California with a combined capacity of 19.4 MW.

The company was awarded 20-year PPAs for the 3.7 MW Central Antelope Dry Ranch B and 4 MW Lancaster WAD B facilities in Lancaster, CA, and the 11.7 MW Aspiration Solar G facility in San Joaquin, CA. sPower expects the three facilities to be operational in 2016. When fully operational, the three facilities will cumulatively generate enough clean, renewable energy for more than 2,500 homes.

Read full press release from sPower