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.
research report summary

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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A123 Goes to Wanxiang in $260M Bankruptcy Auction Bid

Congressman Bill Huizenga, a Michigan Republican, wrote on his Facebook page: “I have serious concerns over the Chinese firm Wanxiang Group Corp attempt to buy A123. I am concerned this transaction poses a threat to U.S. national security, America’s global innovation leadership and job creation.” According to Huizenga, A123′s contracts with the DOE involve power grids, advanced armor, unmanned vehicles and portable power systems.
I could not agree more. New technology that is inherent in our military applications is usually limited from export by what is know as ‘export control’ limitations imposed by the Federal Government. I know because I was an export control officer when I served at Fort Monmouth New Jersey. So limiting the technology developed in this country vital to the defense needs must be protected. I am not enough of an expert in batteries to say that A123 is the most vital battery technology available, but other experts at the Department of Energy supposedly are expert in assessing the technology of A123 as compared to what else is available here. The corporate world works on the rule of the fiduciary who acts at all times for the sole benefit and interest of the one who trusts (investors). Forget loyalty, social benefit, patriotism because all these are not the concern of the corporation who are ruled to serve the best interests of their investors, whomever they may be.

“This may be the closing chapter of A123 Systems as a U.S.-owned firm. According to news reports citing sources with knowledge of the matter, lithium-ion battery maker A123 is now owned by Wanxiang Group, China’s largest maker of auto parts and a major supplier to Ford and General Motors.

Wanxiang’s $260 million bid bested a joint offer from Johnson Controls and NEC for control of most of the assets of A123, including the automotive battery business that Johnson Controls had wanted to purchase, a representative of Lazard Freres, investment banker for A123, told Reuters. Germany’s Siemens was also a bidder, according to news reports.

Wanxiang’s apparent winning bid is sure to raise an outcry in Washington, D.C., however. A123 had received $250 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants and has spent about half of the funding to build its key battery plants in Michigan. The company is also developing battery storage technology for the U.S. military, an area that could raise national security concerns — although according to reports, A123′s government business will be sold separately to U.S.-based Navitas Systems for $2.25 million, which could assuage some concerns on that front.”
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