Archive for SLevy

SPECTRUM exhibit at Knoxville Center

SPECTRUM exhibit at Knoxville Center

SPECTRUM, the University of Tennessee’s interactive solar energy exhibit at Knoxville Center Mall, will host a solar energy workshop at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 14. ARiES Energy will present information about installing solar panels — the process, pay-back period, impact on electricity bills, and more. A solar energy expert from ARiES Energy will be available to answer questions about solar energy. The event is free.

Info: http://solarfarm.tennessee.edu/education/spectrum/.

Solar Power Sees 30% Increase Over Last Year

Peery family dentistry in Lynchburg, Virginia installs 1,430 square feet of solar panels to new office property in 2014.

Peery family dentistry in Lynchburg, Virginia installs 1,430 square feet of solar panels to new office property in 2014.

 

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research, U.S. solar power grew by 6.2 gigawatts in 2014, a 30% increase over the previous year–representing nearly $18 billion in new investment. Thousands of new photovoltaic (PV) arrays in homes, schools, businesses and utilities, as well as large concentrated solar power facilities raised the U.S.’s profile as one of the world’s leading adopters of solar power.

“Shayle Kann, senior vice president at GTM Research, noted that in just five years, the U.S. PV market—which does not include concentrated solar plants—has witnessed a fourfold expansion, from an estimated $3 billion in 2009 to $13.4 billion last year.”

Solar energy accounted for 32 percent of the nation’s new generating capacity in 2014, surpassing both coal and wind energy. Emerging solar states and large utilities desiring to take up renewable energy options are reasons for such increase, in addition the growing popularity of third-party leases offered by firms like SolarCity and Sunrun.

“Today the U.S. solar industry has more employees than tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter combined,” Rhone Resch, SEIA’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Many states have developed well-established solar markets in the last year, leading to the residential sector adding 1.2 GW of capacity in 2014, surpassing its previous annual record of 1 GW.

States rising in the solar ranks include New Mexico, Missouri, Maryland, New York, Texas and Hawaii, each adding close to 100 MW of solar capacity in 2014.

The southeast saw an increase as well. Tennessee and Georgia experienced increases in utility-scale solar and Louisiana and South Carolina sustained growth in the residential sector.

A continued boom is expected in U.S. solar markets is expected, with a projected 31% growth target for 2015.

 

TVA Holds Meeting Open to Comments on Their Integrated Resource Plan

April 6 is scheduled for a webinar and public meeting at the TVA Knoxville Tower which usually starts at 7 am and typically lasts for an hour and a half. During that time the public is encouraged to provide comments on the draft Integrated Resource Plan and associated draft Environmental Impact Statement. To prepare for providing comment, TVA has made downloads of both plans available for public inspection.
TVA seal

The purpose of the IRP is to determine how TVA can best meet the Tennessee Valley’s demand for electricity over the next 20 years and fulfill its mission of low cost reliable power, environmental stewardship, and economic development.

The draft IRP and EIS are available for review on the IRP website at http://www.tva.com/environment/reports/irp/. TVA will hold a series of public meetings beginning on March 19 to discuss the draft IRP and EIS, to answer questions, and to receive comments on the drafts. Details on the public meetings are posted project webpage.

Comments on the draft IRP and EIS must be submitted no later than April 27, 2015. Comments may be submitted online, at the public meetings, by mail to the address below, or by email to IRP@tva.gov. Please note that any comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the project administrative record and will be available for public inspection. TVA will consider all comments in preparing the final IRP and EIS.

Net Metering, Smart Metering What is Fair to all Parties?

When homeowners install solar on their residences, he/she needs permission from the company that supplies your electricity. There are 578,000 individual solar installations in the U.S. representing less than 2 per cent of the nation’s total capacity. So what is the problem that faces your power provider? The most expressed opposition is due to those homes that have enough solar so that at the end of the year, their electric bill is zero. The power company still provides power when the solar output is insufficient to power the home. Obviously, between sunset and the next sunrise, the home depends on the local power company for its electricity. Yet the power company receives no compensation for the service or for the upkeep of its power system.
As the editor of Power Engineering magazine, February 2015 issue says, “The debate over solar is about creating a just cost structure that is fair to both sides” (provider and user). I believe that such a fair cost structure could be created based on the power delivery and infrastructure upkeep costs.
Take the power delivery issue. The electric power provider is responsible for providing sufficient power based on the residential demand. That responsibility comes with a price. What should the price be based is the issue. Should it be a fixed cost? Should it be based on the amount of energy that the home uses when the solar PV is insufficient? This is a great topic for discussion.

Now the other cost consideration, infrastructure upkeep. Should the pricing of the power delivery be based on the cost of power to the distributor and a separate cost for system infrastructure?
“Consumers Energy is a regulated utility, meaning that the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approves all rates for electric and natural gas service provided to customers.
Rates are primarily established in two basic regulatory proceedings that address:
The base costs of utility service that incorporate the pipes and wires through which service is delivered and the costs of owning and operating power plants, and, the costs for fuel and purchased power for electric service (power supply) or gas commodity costs.”
(http://www.consumersenergy.com/content.aspx?id=4589)
So now we have an example that separates the cost of electric power and the upkeep cost of providing the system that delivers the power. Every customer tied to the grid should pay for the cost of providing the system upkeep and separately noted on the monthly electric bill. It leaves one nuance remaining; the cost of providing electric power reliably. This cost is a guarantee that you will have electric power at all times and has a value that needs to be defined. Please comment on what you think is a reasonable approach and why.

LightWave Solar Opens Knoxville Office

Steve Johnson.Steve Johnson opens a Knoxville office extending his solar installation business eastward. Jon Bates will be the resident here in Knoxville representing LightWave Solar. For the present, Jon is operating the business from his home in Lenoir City. It has an office in Johnson City and has done a number of solar installations in East Tennessee. It is now working with Restoration Services and Vis Solis developing a 1 megawatt solar installation at East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge.

LightWave will be holding its Commercial Solar Lunch and Learn Events with the first event to be held 11:30 a.m. lasting to 1 p.m. Friday, March 20 at BB&T 900 S. Gay St. The event is free and open to the public.

According to Jon Bates, this year TVA have shown a little more interest and willingness to work with us and give a little more capacity.

LightWave joins a number of solar installers headquartered in East Tennessee including Aries Energy, Efficient Energy of Tennessee, Green Earth Solar, Restoration Services and FLS Energy — East TN Division; there may be others that are not listed by the city of Knoxville.

First Solar Inc. and Sunpower Corp are Planning a Joint Venture

(Bloomberg) — First Solar Inc. and SunPower Corp., the two largest U.S. solar-panel manufacturers, are planning a joint venture that will own and operate some of their projects.
The companies expect to register for an initial public offering for the new venture, according to a statement Monday. They didn’t say when that may occur or how much they would seek to raise through the IPO. The shares surged in after-hours trading.
The SunPower-First Solar venture would be part of a growing trend in the renewable-energy industry to pool projects into publicly traded entities that offer shareholders payouts, known as yieldcos. Companies that build power plants, including Abengoa SA and NRG Energy Inc., sell completed projects to their yieldco affiliates and use that capital to fund new power plants.

Read the article here.

The Carport of The Future

With more than 40 percent of the pavement in an average city tied up in parking areas, it’s safe to say that garages and carports are all around us. Many urban areas are changing the way these concrete blocks are being viewed–one solar panel addition at a time. Solar panel carports have the ability to incredibly impact energy-production all while looking like something straight out of the future.
Certain high-profile corporations and universities have given the special carports a whirl and have since generated an abundance of power. Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ, currently houses the largest solar parking canopy project in the U.S. With a 28-acre installation, it is no wonder over 60% of the campus’ annual electricity is provided for by the plant. With such incredible amounts of energy produced at Rutgers University by way of “solar parking”, many are left to wonder why similar additions have yet to be started in their area. The discouraging factor for such projects, as stated by Chase Weir of TruSolar, is money. Weir goes on to say, such projects are “The most expensive type of system to build”. Solar carports may be impressively beneficial and aesthetically awing, however there is no denying they are also incredibly expensive…“So at least for now, the market remains relatively niche.”

Read the article here.

Ohio State Researchers Invent Solar Battery

By Andre Merino

Researchers at the Ohio State University have invented a solar battery, which combines the applications of a solar cell and battery into one device. In the October 3, 2014 issue of Nature Communications, it is reported that researchers at Ohio State University have succeeded in combining a solar cell and a battery into one device. This solar battery is made possible due to the innovative mesh solar panel design, which allows air to enter the battery, and electrons are transferred between the solar panel and battery electrode. Ohio State University will license the hybrid device to industry, where Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State, says the solar battery will help tame the costs of renewable energy. He and his students believe that the battery can bring costs down by 25 percent. The U.S. Department of Energy funds the project, and it will continue to advance as researchers find new ways to enhance the battery’s performance with different materials.

Read the full reports here: Batteries included: A solar cell that stores its own power

Integrating a redox-coupled dye-sensitized photoelectrode into a lithium–oxygen battery for photoassisted charging​

Solar shows strong growth in second quarter.

Every Tuesday our interns here at TSEA will post and abstract and link to a recent article on news about the solar industry. This is the first of (hopefully) many. Check back often for solar news, info, tips, etc. Also, be sure to follow us on @TNSolarAssoc for updates every week and info about TSEA!

Solar shows strong growth in second quarter.

By William Giese

Solar in general is seemingly more and more like a good investment. According to a recent CBS article (linked below) solar photovoltaic (PV) installations surpasses the gigawatt produced energy mark for the third consecutive quarter. Additionally, significant growth has been seen in the residential solar market, as home solar systems are becoming increasingly more common. Solar energy cost decrease combined with more accessible and efficient systems lead to solar taking the majority share (53%) of new energy generation capacity in 2013. Not only that, but the solar industry is creating more jobs for Americans as our economy continues to recover, adding upwards of 142,000 jobs this year! Even governmental institutions are considering the solar option by adding solar “micro grids” to insulate buildings and facilities from power outages. Please read the CBS article posted below for further information about solar and feel free to contact TSEA as well.

@TNSolarAssoc

will@tnsolarenergy.org

Link: US Solar Power Industry Small But Growing Rapidly

How much fuel does it take to power a 100 watt light bulb for one year?

How much fuel does it take to power a lightbulb

Good Magazine performed an interesting experiment which underscores the benefits of renewables while simultaneously showing off the shortcomings of coal, nuclear and natural gas. It calculated how much energy it would take to keep a 100 watt light bulb burning for an entire year. The results are charted in the infographic below but here is a quick rundown:

Coal: 714 pounds.
Natural Gas: 143 pounds.
Nuclear: 0.35 pounds.
Solar: 8 days, 8 hours and 14 seconds of energy from 100 square meters of solar panels.
Wind: 2 hours, 20 minutes and 9 seconds from a 1.5 MW turbine at 25% capacity.
Hydroelectric: 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Yes, it is an incandescent light bulb.
Forbes Magazine