Archive for December 19, 2012

Homes with PV Systems Sell at a Premium

Many of our members have asked if there is information on the value of having a solar system on their home’s worth. The answer is yes. The proof is in a report released by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) in April 2011. The report was based on home sales in California so the increased value may be different here in the TVA valley. With that proviso, what the LBL report found was that new homes with PV increased the value of their home between $2.30 and $2.60 per watt installed capacity. Existing homes produced a higher premium, somewhere around $6.00 per watt or more.
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Renewable Energy REITs or MLPs Would Unlock Billions for Project Development

According to Richard Kauffman, Senior Advisor to Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu, making real estate investment trusts (REITs) or master limited partnerships (MLPs) available for renewable energy project financing is the key to advancing the industry.
In his DOE role he is trying to understand where market forces can be harnessed in order to unleash the flood of investment that is needed to bring about large renewable energy projects.
Kauffman explained what he sees as a disconnect between returns in renewable energy projects compared to returns in other investments. On the one hand, today, renewable energy projects are financed in what he called an “old-fashioned, archaic way” where for the most part, projects rely on private sector money that is looking for high rates of returns, typically around 12-14 percent. On the other hand, money managers, wary of the stock market and its risks, have returned to the bond markets, which offer more steady (but lower) rates of return, in the 5 or 6 percent range.
Kauffman explained that this “wall of money” that is looking for a stable rate of return, such as what can be found in the bond markets, could easily invest in renewable energy projects if only the financial vehicle existed that allowed it to. Renewable energy projects with signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) will deliver a healthy rate of return to their investors, one that will be stable for 20 years, exactly what the money managers are seeking.
According to Kauffman, REITs and MLPs, function like a bond and are currently used in more mature markets for project development. If they were available to renewable energy projects, said Kauffman, they would unlock loads of money for project development. Two separate bills have already been introduced in Congress seeking to allow renewable energy projects to be financed through REITs and MLPs but neither bill has come up for vote yet.

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Solar Thermal Workshop December 19th at 6:30 pm at Bearden Beer Market Presented by CaraSol

Join CaraSol Energy and ARiES Energy for a solar thermal workshop to learn how you can lower your energy bills and have a positive impact on the environment at the same time. The workshop will take place Wednesday 12/19 at 6:30PM at Bearden Beer Market located at 4524 Old Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN 37919.

The WORKSHOP will take place INDOORS in the YAZOO ROOM!!

Solar thermal systems, also known as solar water heating systems, have been around for centuries because solar thermal technology is the easiest way to use the
sun to save energy and money to heat water. It is well documented that early American settlers and pioneers would leave a black pot in the sun all day to have heated water for the evenings. In 1891 Clarence Kemp patented the first commercial solar water heater, which consisted of several cylindrical water tanks of galvanized iron that were painted black, insulated with felt paper and placed in a glass-covered wooden box. Thousands of solar hot water systems (SHW) were installed in the early 1900’s in the United States until fossil fuel became readily available at cheap prices. Today, more than 1.3 million SHW systems are in operation in the United States, not including solar-heated swimming pools. Typical solar thermal systems consist of five main components.

CaraSol’s presentation will cover the main components of a SHW system:
Solar Panels (to generate solar energy)
Storage Tank (to store solar energy)
Liquid Fluid (the thermal mass transport medium)
Circulation Pump (to circulate liquid fluid)
Controllers (to operate pump and monitor system)

This workshop is part of Bearden Beer Market’s series of better building practices workshops to raise funding for energy/environmental improvement efforts at Bearden Beer Market (BBM). $1 from every pint sold will go to the “Good Beer. Good Energy.” campaign!!

TSEA Welcomes Brazetek as our Latest Business Member

Brazetek.com is the largest internet distributor of solar water to air, brazed plate, and shell & tube heat exchangers. The website’s product selection, competitive pricing and free shipping option has made it an online destination of choice for residential, commercial, or industrial heat transfer solutions. This is our first solar thermal business member.

Renewable energy was nearly half of new U.S. generation in 2012

According to the latest energy infrastructure update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources — biomass, geothermal, solar, hydropower and wind — accounted for 41.14 percent of new electrical generating capacity installed in October 2012 and 46.22 percent for the first ten months of 2012.
In October, 10 new wind power projects (594 MW) came online as well as three biomass projects (69 MW), 10 solar projects (59 MW) and one hydropower project (5 MW). During the first 10 months of 2012, 92 wind projects (5,403 MW), 167 solar projects (1,032 MW), 79 biomass projects (409 MW), seven geothermal projects (123 MW), and nine hydropower projects (12 MW) have come online. Collectively, these total 6,979 MW or 46.22 percent of all new generating capacity added since the beginning of the year.
By comparison, new natural gas capacity additions since Jan. 1, 2012 totaled 67 projects (5,702 MW), or 37.8 percent, while three new coal projects added 2,276 MW (15.1 percent). Nuclear and oil represented just 0.8 percent and 0.1 percent of new capacity additions, respectively.
The new renewable energy generating capacity added in 2012 represents a 47.7 percent increase over the level recorded for the same period in 2011, according to FERC. Renewable sources now account for 14.93 percent of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity.
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