Archive for June 27, 2012

Tennessee Watches other States Prosper with Growing Solar Industry

The New Jersey State Assembly has passed a bill that would increase the state’s solar energy requirements under its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program, as well as allow additional facilities to qualify for virtual net metering.

The State Senate passed an earlier version of the bill last month by a vote of 23-8, and a modified version cleared the State Assembly Monday by a vote of 68-4.
Under the bill, utilities would be required to obtain 2.05% of their electricity sales from solar by 2014 – a mandate that would be ramped up on a tiered basis to 4.10% by 2028.
New Jersey’s current RPS requires that each utility obtain 22.5% of its power from renewables by 2021, and features a tiered solar carve-out of 306 GWh beginning in 2011 and increasing to 5,316 GWh by 2026.

“We’re hoping that it will create an environment for more long-term contracts at SREC price levels that will allow projects to get financed,” Naik, co-owner and principal at Old Bridge, N.J.-based solar integrator GeoGenix, explains. “Today, with high electricity [prices] in New Jersey (10.97¢ – 11.90¢) and the current cost of the technology and systems, our model shows that you need $250 SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) in a 10-year long-term contract to make financial sense for a 500 kW commercial system.”

According to the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association, there are more than 10,000 New Jerseyans working in the solar industry.

The legislation also would make public projects (i.e., solar installations on municipal buildings, schools, etc.) eligible for virtual net metering, which would allow them to use solar credits to pay for the power used by non-connected buildings under their jurisdiction.

The bill now awaits the approval of Gov. Chris Christie (R), who is expected to sign the legislation into law.

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TSEA Sponsor ARiES Demos The New CHyP System

This 200 kW system was powering a generator with clean, renewable energy. Source: ARiES Energy

ARiES Energy hosted a special event called Demo Day, to demonstrate the bioenergy technology developed by Proton Power that takes biomass such as switchgrass and municipal solid waste and converts it to electricity.  The system uses biomass to produce a hydrogen-rich syngas that can be combusted to produce electricity in a generator, or converted into diesel fuel through another processing step.  The CHyP system can use up to 70% of the trash that goes into landfills, and emits only 9kg of CO2 per Megawatt of electricity generated (compared to 1110kg for coal).  Over 50 people attended this event.

Although the CHyP system isn’t solar energy, it uses the idea of producing hydrogen from abundant sources of energy (in this case, trash!).  HyperSolar is developing a concept of a solar-powered hydrogen generator using water and solar electricity to produce hydrogen.

ARiES Energy also provides turn-key solutions for solar installations and geothermal, and prepares professional grant proposals to secure all possible funding.

For more information, visit their website http://www.ariesenergy.com/

Energy Policy — Looking for the Broad Side of the Barn

TSEA has been following Craig Shields, blogger on green energy, a battle-hardened veteran in the fight to bring in the Green Energy Age. I strongly recommend his site. This is an excerpt of his latest entry:

Wednesday morning as I was getting ready to conclude my participation in the Renewable Energy Finance Forum, I had a thought I wanted to share. It had been two-days of nitty-gritty financial talk — extremely precise language of tax lawyers and investment bankers, which left me more than ready to resume a discussion of the “broad side of the barn.” As important as all these issues of cost of capital, production tax credits, and Senate bills addressing master limited partnerships may be, this really had been, to some degree, an exercise in missing the forest for the trees.

In this article Craig is focusing on the difficulties in bringing experts from different areas together to focus on ways to create a comprehensive finance program to promote our next generation of electric power. There are so many voices in the discussion that it is hard to imagine a conclusion that will satisfy everybody with a dog in the fight. Maybe what is needed is for a non-biased party that has a solid reputation for integrity to compile all the various inputs and try to make sense in offering a solution that all will hate but begrudgingly agree is a solution they can live with.

That brings to mind our own Baker Center. The University of Tennessee’s Baker Center “Assessment of Incentives and Employment Impacts of Solar Industry Deployment” dated May 1, 2012, last paragraph in the summary section states:
“We find that solar energy is following the same incentive-driven path as other traditional energy sources before it, consistent with the government’s decision to incentivize energy production for a variety of policy purposes. We also conclude that the federal investment in solar energy could bring about a number of tangible benefits, including increased employment, global business opportunities, and energy supply diversity”.

That Baker Center report commissioned by the Solar Energy Industry Association has lead to NY state policymakers debating the New York Solar Jobs Act, which would lay the groundwork for the addition of 3,000 megawatts of solar in the Empire State by 2021. Give some thought to having the Baker Center, with its integrity and excellence, being funded to figure out how Tennessee could increase its use of renewable energy a midst the jungle of TVA restrictions, Tennessee legislature and other factors that would go into a policy that could be presented to our citizens and to TVA board for adoption that would lead to a more stable and consistent overall pathway towards new jobs and cleaner electrical energy generation in Tennessee.

Update:

June 28th, Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) announced a CLEAN solar initiative, otherwise known as a feed-in tariff to spur up to 50 MW of commercial and large-scale solar projects in its region over the next two years. Under the program, LIPA will purchase all of the energy generated by local solar projects at a fixed-rate of 22 cents per kilowatt-hour for 20 years.  Projects must be at least 50 kilowatts (kW) in size so residential systems won’t qualify. LIPA said that it expects the largest projects to be in the 3-MW range. The program is capped at 50 MW.

Craig Shields blog is located here

$2.3 Million in Clean Tennessee Energy Grants Awarded

Seventeen Recipients to Receive Grants for Projects Benefiting Both the Environment and Bottom Line

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau today awarded more than $2.3 million to fund energy efficiency projects for local governments and municipalities, utilities, other organizations and private entities across Tennessee.

The Clean Tennessee Energy Grants were awarded to 17 recipients for projects designed to reduce air emissions, improve energy efficiency and create cost savings.  Today’s announcement in Memphis marks the first time these grants have been made available.  The grant program provides financial assistance to state and local government agencies, utility districts, and private businesses/organizations in Tennessee to purchase, install and construct energy projects.

Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Under the Consent Decree, Tennessee will receive $26.4 million over five years to fund clean air programs in the state (at approximately $5.25 million per year).  In addition to the $2.3 million in Clean Energy Grants announced today, $3 million was announced earlier this year for energy efficiency projects in state government.

Full Article

3M PV Film Replaces Glass for Solar Panels

3M said the project will lower costs for U.S. commercial panel companies at a time when there is increased competition from foreign rivals. 3M said its new photovoltaic film is thin and lightweight, which cuts manufacturing time and replaces the need for the heavy glass used in rooftop solar modules. The film is also waterproof. The sun-facing
side is Fluoropolymer.

With our new production equipment and continued product innovation, 3M is well positioned to not only increase the performance of our Ultra Barrier Solar Film, but also significantly drive down the costs,” Derek DeScioli, 3M’s global business development manager for renewable energy, said Monday.

This revolutionary product is a result of more than a decade of development in transparent barrier technology, as well as over 45 U.S. patents and patent-pending applications. 3M™ Ultra Barrier Solar Film is engineered for flexible Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS), Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) and Organic Photovoltaic (OPV) solar modules. It’s designed to replace glass in flexible thin film solar panels, delivering high light transmission, superb moisture barrier performance and excellent weatherability. Compared with glass-glass modules, flexible PV modules manufactured with 3M™ Ultra Barrier Solar Film can reduce installation time, remove the need for metal racking, cut logistics expenditures and lower module manufacturing costs.

taken from 3M information