Energy Department to offer loan aid for renewable energy projects

Posted by Industry News on Mar 31, 2014

The U.S. Energy Department has announced that it will issue a plan to offer loan aid for renewable energy projects. The department issued a plan last year to offer up to $8 billion in loan assistance for fossil fuel projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz however, did not specify how much loan aid will be offered or the type of projects that the department will fund.
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Texas produces 10,000 MW of wind power and breaks old record

Posted by Industry News on Mar 31, 2014

According to the the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), wind turbines in Texas broke a record when they produced 10,296 megawatts of electricity on March 26. This happened at 8:48 p.m. that night. ERCOT has 11,000 MW of commercial wind power and so at 8:48 p.m. - when the record was broken, the state was using 94 percent of the total wind power available. Read more here.
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Energy Efficiency costs two to three times less than traditional power sources

Posted by Industry News on Mar 27, 2014

According to a new ACEEE report, energy efficiency costs utilities two to three times less to provide electricity than traditional power sources. Energy efficiency programs cost about three cents per kWh while it costs two to three times more to generate the same amount of energy from traditional sources. The report also shows that natural gas utility energy efficiency programs are also highly cost-effective at an average cost of 35 cents per therm. Read more here.
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NRG Energy acquires solar installer Roof Diagnostics Solar

Posted by Industry News on Mar 27, 2014

NRG Energy has announced its intention to acquire residential solar installer Roof Diagnostics Solar. The terms of acquisition have however not been disclosed. Roof Diagnostics Solar will start operating under NRG’s residential solar installation and financing business NRG Residential Solar Solutions within the next month. Read more here.
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Ohio Senate approves bill allowing direct sale of Tesla to consumers

Posted by Industry News on Mar 26, 2014

In more Tesla-related news, an Ohio Senate Committee has approved the direct sale of Tesla electric vehicles to consumers. The decision was a compromise between Tesla and the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association which was against the direct sale of cars without a middleman. Under this new legislation, Tesla would be able to operate its Columbus and Cincinnati stores and can add a third one as long as it isn’t sold or acquired or doesn’t produce anything other than all-electric vehicles. Read more here.
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Cape Wind secures $400 million in financing

Posted by Industry News on Mar 26, 2014

Cape Wind announced that it has secured $400 million in financing for its offshore wind farm project in Nantucket Sound. This brings its total fundraising to $1.3 billion, approximately half of its $2.5 billion cost. Cape Wind also expects to qualify for a federal tax credit, which will cover 30 percent of the capital costs. Read more here.
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FirstEnergy Solutions to charge Illinois customers for extreme spikes in power costs

Posted by Industry News on Mar 26, 2014

Electricity supplier FirstEnergy Solutions plans to charge about 220,000 of its Illinois customers $5 to $15 in a June surcharge for the extreme spikes in wholesale power costs during January’s polar vortex when market referee PJM Interconnection lifted price caps as supply tightened. This will be a one-time charge. Not all suppliers are passing on costs to customers. Read more here.
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New Jersey reverses ban on direct sales of Tesla electric vehicles

Posted by Industry News on Mar 26, 2014

Lawmakers in New Jersey are seeking to undo the ban on direct sales of Tesla electric vehicles. The new legislation would allow Tesla to sell directly to its customers as opposed to going through dealerships. Read more here.
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Arizona moves to legalize direct sales of Tesla electric vehicles

Posted by Industry News on Mar 26, 2014

Arizona has moved to legalize direct sales for Tesla electric vehicles as opposed to the dealership-network model. House Bill 2123 would permit direct sales by automakers that solely manufacture electric vehicles and have a service center within state borders. This follows the state being named as one of the four finalists for Tesla’s “gigafactory” for lithium-ion cells and battery packs. Read more here.
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Report on the cost of saving energy released

Posted by Industry News on Mar 26, 2014

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has released a report showing the cost of saving energy (CSE) through efficiency programs funded by utility customers in 31 states between 2009 and 2011. The report shows that the U.S. weighted-average electricity CSE is a little more than two cents per kilowatt-hour ($0.021/kWh). This is also the value for commercial, industrial and agricultural efficiency programs. Furthermore, efficiency programs in the Midwest had the lowest levelized CSE while those in the Northeast had a higher average CSE value. Read more here.
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Dragonfly Solar and SolarWorld partner to deliver solar array to utility cooperatives

Posted by Industry News on Mar 26, 2014

Solar systems developer Dragonfly Solar has partnered with solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld to deliver a 517 KW solar array to four electric utility cooperatives. The project is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and will be owned and managed by Minnesota-Three, an entity owned by three utility cooperatives in Minnesota.
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Minnesota proposes law to put energy loans on utility bills

Posted by Industry News on Mar 25, 2014

Lawmakers in Minnesota have proposed legislation to encourage the putting of energy loans on utility bills. The proposed law says that banks that lend money are responsible for unpaid loans, not the utility’s shareholder or ratepayer. It also says that a customer who moves is responsible for paying off the loan, not the next owner or tenant of a property. Thirdly, it says utilities would not be allowed to shut off service due to an unpaid loan. Read more here.
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Opower sets IPO price range at $17 to $19

Posted by Industry News on Mar 25, 2014

In its updated S-1 filing today, AEE Member Company Opower has set its IPO price range at $17 to $19 and intends to sell 6.1 million shares during its upcoming IPO. It is also offering 915,000 shares to underwriters. Opower could raise $110 million at the mid-point of the price range. Read more here.
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Con Edison and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power team up on 5 solar projects

Posted by Industry News on Mar 25, 2014

New York City utility Con Edison and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power have teamed up on five solar projects totaling 360 MW on the West Coast. Four of the projects, located in California,  are owned by ConEd’s subsidiary Consolidated Edison Development and total 100 MW. The fifth, is the Sempra-owned 250 MW Copper Mountain Solar Project near Las Vegas and is still under construction.
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SolarCity seeks help from PUC on battery-grid interconnections in California

Posted by Industry News on Mar 21, 2014

AEE member company SolarCity has announced that it has put a halt on paying application fees for grid interconnections on behalf of solar-plus-battery customers with California’s three big investor-owned utilities – Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric – citing a backlog and slowdown. Utilities say they are reluctant to grant net-metering rights when these customers could collect electricity in batteries and then feed it back into the grid. The company is seeking intervention by the state’s PUC to resolve the dispute. Read more here.
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First Solar competes for smaller projects and customer-sited installations

Posted by Industry News on Mar 21, 2014

AEE member company First Solar has begun to pursue smaller projects and customer-sited installations as demand has shifted from utility-scale installations to distributed generation. The company expects higher demand for commercial and industrial rooftops in the U.S. CEO Jim Hughes predicts that this strategy would yield an increase of about 36 percent in sales over the next three years. 
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Employment reaches almost 97,000 in Illinois

Posted by Industry News on Mar 21, 2014

According to a study by AEE partner Clean Energy Trust, almost 97,000 Illinois residents work in clean energy, with growth of 9 percent expected in 2014. Renewables accounted for 21 percent of the jobs while positions in energy efficiency were responsible for 62 percent of the jobs. Positions in efficiency included those in heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as building controls. Read more here. 
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Con Edison offers rich, new initiatives for reduced peak energy use

Posted by Industry News on Mar 19, 2014

New York City utility Con Edison is offering significantly higher incentives for landlords to reduce their power consumption during summer-time peak hours. The richer rewards for participation in demand response are part of an effort to see how much electricity consumption can be reduced in case the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which provides 20% of the city’s power, is shut down when its license expires in 2016. Con Ed is also offering incentives for load-shifting technologies like battery and ice storage. Read more here. 
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Arizona State University and AORA Solar NA team up for hybrid solar project

Posted by Industry News on Mar 19, 2014

Arizona State University and AORA Solar NA have teamed up to build a hybrid concentrated solar power plant that produces electricity and thermal energy. It will be designed to move from solar to natural gas or biogas for 24/7 power. Read more here. 
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Kansas farmers oppose power line for wind

Posted by Industry News on Mar 19, 2014

Farmers in Kansas are opposing the construction of a major Clean Line Energy Partners built power line, which would deliver wind power to Indiana. If built, Green Belt Express Clean Line would begin operation in 2018. The farmers are worried about a change in property values and property right issues. Read more here.
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Cape Wind gets partial go-ahead from Court

Posted by Industry News on Mar 18, 2014

A federal judge rejected key arguments made by groups seeking to overturn environmental permits for the Cape Wind offshore wind farm project in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts. However, he directed two federal agencies to review the possible risks the project could have on wildlife. The project is valued at $2.6 billion and will be the first offshore wind farm in the U.S.
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Minnesota generates a value-of-solar formula for customers

Posted by Industry News on Mar 18, 2014

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 to use a value-of-solar formula when charging customers with distributed generation. This makes Minnesota the first state to develop a formula for calculating the value of customer-generated solar power. It also gives investor-owned utilities the option of using the tariff instead of the retail electricity rate when crediting customers for excess electricity generated from solar panels. Read more here.
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Indiana Senate votes to shut down energy efficiency program

Posted by Industry News on Mar 14, 2014

Indiana’s Senate has voted to shut down the Energizing Indiana Program, an energy efficiency program that provides funding for home and business energy audits and improvements. Senate Bill 340, which was launched in 2012 cleared the House two weeks ago and will now go to Governor Mike Pense. If Pense signs the bill, Indiana utilities will no longer be required to reduce statewide consumption by 2 percent every year through 2019. Read more here.
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SunEdison launches National Women in Solar Initiative

Posted by Industry News on Mar 14, 2014

SunEdison and the SunEdison Foundation have announced a $1.2 million philanthropic partnership with GRID Alternatives to launch a National Women in Solar Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to increase the number of women in the solar industry and support their professional advancement. The investment is both financial and in the form of solar panels.
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SolarCity and Best Buy team up

Posted by Industry News on Mar 14, 2014

SolarCity announced a partnership with Best Buy to make residential solar electricity service available to customers through select Best Buy stores. SolarCity plans to offer its services in about 60 Best Buy stores in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York and Oregon.
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Tesla vs New Jersey

Posted by Industry News on Mar 12, 2014

New Jersey became the latest to say no to Tesla selling its cars directly to the public. On Tuesday, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission on behalf of auto dealers changed a rule to require a franchise license to sell new cars in the state. This is a problem for Tesla as its strategy is to sell cars through company owned stores. Governor Chris Christie’s office insists that the new rule does not represent a change in policy, but “cleans up regulatory language” to ban direct sales. Read more here.
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GEI Global Energy partners to develop advanced fuel cell

Posted by Industry News on Mar 11, 2014

GEI Global Energy and C&S Engineering Solutions have partnered to develop a GEI X5 hybrid fuel cell electric power generator. The GEI X5 will incorporate high temperature Polymer Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell and a high-density energy storage system. It also has the ability to use multiple fuels such as natural gas and bio-renewables fuels. Read more here.
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Price of Solar in Austin: $0.05/kwh

Posted by Industry News on Mar 11, 2014

Austin Utility is about to sign a 25-year PPA with Sun Edison for 150 MW of solar power that it will pay for at 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. This could mean lower rates for customers. Austin Energy has a 35 percent renewable energy resource goal by 2016 and a solar goal of 200 MW by 2010. It’s currently at about 25 percent of this goal with 850MW of wind as its make up. Read more here.
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UNIDO and ICSHP launch world's first hydropower database

Posted by Industry News on Mar 10, 2014

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Centre on Small Hydro Power (ICSHP) have launched the world’s first small hydropower interactive database. The portal is aimed at giving policymakers and other interested stakeholders access to data about the vast potential of small hydropower. It also contains 20 regional overviews and 149 country-level reports. Read more here.
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Mosaic Launches Home Solar Loan Program

Posted by Industry News on Mar 10, 2014

Mosaic, the Oakland-based solar financing startup has launched a solar home loan financing project - Mosaic Home Solar Loan. This is aimed at helping homeowners own their solar system outright, without having to pay upfront for the total cost of the system. They will pay back the loan covering the cost of the solar system over a 20 year term, with an interest rate of 8 percent. Mosaic is in partnership with RGS Energy, which will install the solar systems financed under the program. Read more here.
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Silver Spring Networks and FPL launch connected streetlight

Posted by Industry News on Mar 10, 2014

Silver Spring Networks (SSNI) and its long-time customer Florida Power & Light have launched the first and largest smart-grid connected streetlight project in the U.S. The project will deploy 75,000 streetlights in the Miami-Dade County region. Each networked light will serve a dual purpose for the utility. First, it will remotely control lighting, detect outages and diagnose what parts are needed to replace them. Second, it will extend and strengthen the wireless mesh network they connect to. Read more here.
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Ambri Inc's Liquid Metal Batteries move closer to market

Posted by Industry News on Mar 10, 2014

A Boston-area startup, Ambri Inc. founded by MIT is working on using liquid metal batteries to store solar energy after sundown. Researchers are working to turn this new concept into a commercially viable product, where the liquid-metal batteries will store power for less than $500 a kilowatt-hour. Read more here.
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Duke Energy adds two new solar projects

Posted by Industry News on Mar 7, 2014

Duke Energy Renewables has announced its acquisition of two 20 MWAC California solar projects - Pumpjack and Wildwood Solar Power from renewable energy developer Infigen Energy. Both are situated in Kem County near Bakersfield and will represent Duke’s third and fourth utility-scale solar power projects in California State. The solar energy generated from the project will be sold to the Southern California Edison under a 20-year power purchase agreement. Read more here.
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Solar in AZ drops due to policy shift

Posted by Industry News on Mar 7, 2014

Solar installations in Arizona have plummeted since the introduction of a $5 monthly charge to people with rooftop solar installations. Unlike January last year when 583 solar systems were added, only 280 were built in the same timeframe. Read more here.
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"Tenant Star" passes House

Posted by Industry News on Mar 6, 2014

The House of Representatives passed an energy efficiency bill that will establish a new voluntary efficiency standard for tenants in commercial buildings. The bill, H.R. 2126, also known as “Tenant Star” is designed to help cut utility bills for both landlords and tenants by an estimated $2 billion by 2030. It is also aimed at reducing carbon emissions by nearly 12 million metric tons. Read more here.
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Siemens to supply turbines to Windthorst-2 in Texas

Posted by Industry News on Mar 5, 2014

Siemens Energy has secured a contract from Own-Energy and a fund managed by BlackRock to supply wind turbines  for Windthorst-2 onshore power project in Windthorst, Texas. Siemens will supply 28 SWT-2.3-108 type wind turbines for the project, which is expected to begin commercial operation in fall 2014. Read more here.
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Geopower Energy Acquires Blue Mountain Biogas Project

Posted by Industry News on Mar 5, 2014

Geopower Energy has completed a $5m private debt facility to acquire a joint venture interest in the Blue Mountain biogas project near Milford in Utah. The project will capture swine waste at Murphy-Brown’s Circle 4 Farm. The electricity will be produced at 3.2 MW and will be sold to the Utah municipality under a long-term and fixed rate off-take agreement. Read more here.
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Advanced Energy in 2015 Federal Budget

Posted by Industry News on Mar 5, 2014

President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal calls for an extension of a tax credit for cellulosic biofuels and puts forward the idea of cutting billions in fossil fuel subsidies. The proposed budget also calls for $4 billion in annual cuts to fossil fuel subsidies to oil, gas and other fossil fuel producers.
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Green Charge Networks announced free battery installation

Posted by Lexie Briggs on Mar 5, 2014

Green Charge Networks and TIP Capital announced a $10 million fund on Tuesday to give customers a free installation of Green Charge’s GreenStation battery-plus-energy-management system. Customers will pay off the cost through utility bill savings. This no-money-down financing model is part of TIP Capital’s broader offering for fixed-rate monthly financing payments for lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades and other qualified energy-efficient projects. Read more here.
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SEIA reports US Solar grew by 41 percent in 2013

Posted by Industry News on Mar 5, 2014

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, demand for U.S. solar power increased by 41 percent in 2013 as 4.75 GW of PV panels were installed. Demand is expected to increase 26 percent as rooftop power plants become more common.
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Vivant Solar to fund $280 million in solar energy systems

Posted by Industry News on Mar 4, 2014

Vivant Solar has announced that it has completed three new tax equity transactions which will enable it to fund approximately $280m worth of solar systems. Vivant Solar is the second largest residential solar provider in the U.S. It has already expanded its presence in California, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts this year.
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Clean Energy Loan Program Set to Return

Posted by Industry News on Mar 4, 2014

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Energy Loan Program is set to come back from hiatus soon. The DOE is targeting about $1.5 billion to $4 billion for a renewable energy project loan program. It is aimed at garnering solicitations for a range of smaller-scale, distributed and grid-integrated projects by the end of the year. Read more here.
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Davis Monthan Air Force Base cuts ribbon on 16.4 MW solar array

Posted by Industry News on Mar 4, 2014

The U.S. Air Force cut the ribbon on the biggest solar array in the U.S. military so far in February. The 16.4 MW project will be based in Tucson’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The move to independent on-site energy will give the Department of Defense more reliable energy. Read more here.
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Cool Planet Energy Systems Breaks Ground on Louisiana Facility

Posted by Industry News on Mar 4, 2014

Cool Planet Energy Systems, a technology company producing advanced fuels and biochar products, broke ground on its first commercial facility in Alexandria, Louisiana. The facility, dubbed Project Genesis will be the first advanced fuels facility of its kind in the U.S. Read more here.
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Nation's first all-electric school bus begins route

Posted by Industry News on Mar 3, 2014

The nation’s first all-electric school bus hit the road in the Kings Canyon Unified School District in Foster City, California in early February. Kings Canyon became the first school district in the nation to use an all-electric school bus and there is another unit on order. The pilot for the buses was funded with $400,000 from the California Air Resources Board AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program Electric School Bus Demonstration Project.
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Opower officially files IPO

Posted by Industry News on Mar 3, 2014

Opower officially filed its S-1 on Monday signalling that it plans to go public. The document reveals an increase in revenue from $28.7 million to $88.7 million in 2013. More than 90 percent of revenue came from utility subscription, with the nation’s top utilities being its major source of revenue. The S-1 also shows that Opower recorded net losses of $21.3 million in 2011, $12.3 million ins 2012 and $14.2 million in 2013. Read more here.
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EnerVault and NORAM announce new batteries

Posted by Industry News on Mar 3, 2014

Energy storage system manufacturer, EnerVault and engineering and process design firm NORAM have announced a collaborative agreement to scale production and commercialize EnerVault's iron-chromium redox flow batteries. The battery will begin operation in Spring 2014.
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New Resource: Google Mapping Solar & Wind

Posted by Industry News on Mar 3, 2014

Google and renewable energy assessment and forecasting company 3TIER have collaborated to make 3TIER’s wind and solar datasets available on Google’s Map Gallery platform for free. Each dataset offers annual average values using proven and widely accepted scientific techniques derived from long-term historical weather models of 10 or more years at high spatial and temporal resolutions. Read more here.
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Advanced Energy Accounted for 100% New Capacity in January

Posted by Industry News on Mar 3, 2014

According to a new government report, renewable energy accounted for nearly 100 percent of the new generating capacity installed in the United States in January. 287 MW came from solar in the form of a few big projects in the Southwest, 30 MW from geothermal steam, 4 MW of wind, 3 MW of biomass and 1 MW of other. Read more here.
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SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes solar tower to come online

Posted by Industry News on Mar 3, 2014

SolarReserve’s 110 MW Crescent Dunes solar power tower is due to come online in either Q3 or Q4 of 2014. This will be the biggest solar power technology project in the world that incorporated molten salt storage. Read more about the projects progress here.
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Advanced Energy Can Carry Electricity Transformation: IEA

Posted by Industry News on Mar 3, 2014

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report that shows that the integration of renewables into electricity grids can be done in any country at little cost as compared with the current-fossil-fuel-heavy electricity systems. The report was done using present-day costs for solar PV and wind. According to the IEA, the key to incorporating high levels of wind and solar is for countries to employ renewable energy in a way that supports the grid. It also says that investing in additional flexible generating capacity and improving the operation of the electricy market will help in the incorporation process.
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