Archive for Grants and Incentives

TVA to study value of small providers like solar

KNOXVILLE, TENN. — The Tennessee Valley Authority is studying the value of electricity produced from small, dispersed sites, such as solar, wind or small gas turbine installations.

According to a news release from the utility, the initiative will develop methods to set the value of distributed generation to the electric grid and the value of the grid to the small energy producer. TVA will undertake the study with the help of local power companies and other stakeholders.

Solar energy will be the first resource investigated. The process is expected to last through the end of 2014. Public comments will be accepted and stakeholder group information will be posted at http://www.tva.gov/dgiv .

Note: Stakeholder group meeting should be available to the public as utube, webinar or as published on the TVA site..

Obama Climate Plan Relies on States

President Obama’s new plan to fight climate change depends heavily on states’ devising individual approaches to meeting goals. The regulation unveiled on Monday offers the states flexibility to pick from a menu of policy options. Intended to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 — represented Mr. Obama’s boldest step in using his executive authority to halt the warming of the planet. In order to comply with the new national rule, states can, among other actions, shut down coal plants, install wind and solar power and energy-efficiency technology, or join the California or Northeastern cap-and-trade programs. E.P.A. officials said states could even choose to comply by enacting a state-level tax on carbon pollution.

It will be interesting to see what the Tennessee state legislature plans to do, if anything, to comply with the EPA order. It will be up to the supramajority of state Republicans to decide on how to implement the reduction in carbon emissions. Ask your legislator why Tennessee does not have a master energy plan for the state. Might get some interesting answers.

relevant article on the subject

President Obama to Announce Solar Job Training and REIT Guidance

Obama_in_Georgetown-200x150President Obama is scheduled to speak from a WalMart store in Mountain View, California today.

The President is expected to announce specific commitments from approximately 200 prominent American companies related to solar and energy efficiency. Also, highlighted will be the Administration’s pursuit for solar job training and potential guidance on REIT status for solar energy projects. Expected commitments include:
• WalMart
• Home Depot
• Goldman Sachs
• and Many More!
Stay tuned throughout the day as President Obama makes the announcements.

The White House has released more information on changes to the President Obama’s solar program here

Donate to American Solar Energy Society and Make a Contribution Towards a Better Life for our Children

Dear ASES Member,

I ask you to join me in supporting ASES by becoming either a Life Member or Business Member of the organization.

ASES is working hard to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Our work directly supports the growth of the renewable energy sector job market, which is on track to increase by 30 percent in 2014. We can only continue this work if people like you and me support the ASES programs:

The ASES National Solar Conference. The NSC is the longest-running educational event for solar professionals in North America, now preparing its 43st annual event, to be held in San Francisco, July 6-10.
SOLAR TODAY magazine. The award-winning magazine reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers via its print and digital editions.
Solar@Work. The e-newsletter, published every two weeks to an audience of more than 10,000 professionals, is filled with business and market analysis, tech breakthroughs and career advice.
Solar Citizen. The e-newsletter, published every two weeks to an audience of more than 50,000, covers issues of concern to solar advocates, including developments in policy at the local, utility, state and federal levels. Right now we’re rallying support to defend net metering and renewable electricity standards at the state level.
Emerging Professionals. Our newest program has grown dramatically in its first full year, engaging graduate students and new professionals in ASES networking and career-development opportunities.
Chapters: Our 56 local chapters (including seven student chapters) bring advocates and businesses together to support state and municipal policy promoting renewable energy.
Divisions: Our nine Technical Divisions provide a forum for researchers to exchange and discuss data, accelerating progress in all fields of renewable energy and clean transportation.

For an annual donation of between $250 and $2000 (depending upon the size of your organization), your company can receive the following benefits of a Business Membership:
SOLAR TODAY magazine
ASES Professional membership benefits for your designated Primary Contact (this includes membership in the relevant Technical Division)
ISES Regular membership for the same person
Complimentary conference proceedings
Complimentary copies of all current white papers and reports
Annual recognition in SOLAR TODAY magazine and in the conference program
Listing on the ASES web site

Please help ASES by signing up for an ASES Business Membership today.

Another option to help ASES continue the important work that we do every day is to become an ASES Life Member. For a generous donation of $1,200, you can receive SOLAR TODAY magazine at your home (and digitally) and enjoy professional membership benefits for the rest of your life. But more important, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to improving the U.S. economy through more renewable energy jobs and reduced energy costs. You’ll help reduce dependence on imports of foreign fossil fuels, and mitigate climate change through the use of solar and other renewable energy technologies.

Please help ASES by signing up for an ASES Business Membership or Life Membership today. Upgrade online at www.ases.org/join, or call Nicole Gallegos at 303.443.3130.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Dave Panich
ASES Board Chair

Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, here at U.T. Friday, April 25th to Deliver Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy

moniz-240x300Secretary Moniz coming to Tennessee U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will deliver the Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy and the Environment on Friday, April 25 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the UT College of Law, Room 132, located at 1505 W. Cumberland Ave.

As energy secretary, Moniz leads the U.S. Department of Energy in support of President Barack Obama’s goals of growing the economy, enhancing security, and protecting the environment.

The event is free and open to the public. Paid public parking will be available in the Volunteer Hall Garage.

The lecture will also be streamed live online. More details are available here.

First Time in History that Solar Installations (36.5 GW) Greater than Wind Power Installations (35.5 GW)

Clean Edge predicting that solar PV will experience double-digit growth yearly and that by 2023 revenue growth in the PV industry will be $158.4 billion despite installed prices will continue to fall. The figure shows the projected gains in energy. Renewable Energy Trends 2013 to 2023

The Clean Edge report predicts an installed PV system price as low at $1.21 per watt by 2023. (maybe sooner) Clean Edge believes that in 2014 we will start to see “enlightened utilities begin to embrace distributed generation assets.” As rooftop solar continues its steady march towards adoption, utilities will continue to grapple with how to maintain healthy businesses in the face of declining electricity sales. “Some forward-looking utilities, if not fully embracing a distributed energy future, are making investments, forming partnerships, and acknowledging that the threat of DG might also be a business opportunity,” the report states. Clean Edge points to some examples of this that took place in 2013, such as Edison International’s purchase of SoCore Energy, a Chicago-based rooftop solar developer that does work in the commercial space. It also uses Duke Energy’s investment in Clean Power Finance as another example of utilities starting to think about profiting from distributed PV.

The full report can be found here.

Could Minnesota’s “Value of Solar” Make Everyone a Winner?

Until now, those under TVA Green Partners program have been producing on-site energy from a solar panel has been treated much like any other activity reducing electricity use. Effectively the energy produced from solar is subtracted from the amount of energy used each month, and the customer pays for the remaining amount of energy consumed. The nations utilities are fearful of the financial effects of a reduced distributor income from the energy produced by solar. Increasing evidence suggests that the overall economic benefits to the utility’s electric grid may outweigh the loss of revenue. Xcel Energy, the Minnesota’s largest electric utility, shared estimations for the value of solar in its comments (to reduce the value) to the Public Utilities Commission in mid-February.

Value of solar to electric power distributors


The solar market price includes eight separate factors, but the largest four account for the lion’s share of the value: 25 years of avoided natural gas purchases, avoided new power plant purchases, avoided transmission capacity, and avoided environmental costs.
The value of avoided fuel cost recognizes that utilities cannot buy natural gas on long-term contracts the way they can buy fixed-price solar energy, and it internalizes the risk of fuel variability that utilities have previously laid on ratepayers.
The avoided power plant generation capacity value recognizes that sufficient solar capacity allows utilities to defer peak energy investments (like Xcel’s recently requested three natural gas peaking power plants that an administrative law judge discarded in favor of distributed solar).
Avoided transmission capacity costs rewards solar for on-site energy production, saving on the cost of infrastructure and energy losses associated with long-range imports.
The environmental value may be the most precedent setting, because it means that when buying solar power under Minnesota’s value of solar tariff, a utility is for the first time paying for the environmental harm it had previously been socializing onto everyone else. This value is based on the federal “social cost of carbon” as well as non-carbon externality values adopted by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The preliminary market value of solar estimate by Xcel Energy (14.5¢ per kilowatt-hour) for Minnesota. Here in Tennessee we have a better solar exposure and can expect the solar estimate will be larger. The cost of electricity for the homeowner is now 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. The estimated levelized cost of energy from rooftop solar presently is between 16 and 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Distributors with their buying power can reduce the levelized cost of energy from solar. Interestly Best Buy in partnership with SolarCity that’s now coming out of its pilot phase, roughly 65 Best Buy shops in the U.S. now offer solar arrays to their customers. The company’s solar-as-a-service offerings allow homeowners to go solar with little or no up-front costs.

The Red Faces of the Solar Skeptics

For years, these critics — of solar photovoltaics in particular — have called renewable energy a boutique fantasy. A recent Wall Street Journal blog post continues the trend, asserting that solar subsidies take money from the poor to benefit the rich. this year the total photovoltaic capacity in the United States is projected to reach 10 gigawatts, the energy equivalent of several nuclear power plants. (By one estimate, photovoltaic costs crossed over to become cheaper than electricity generated by new nuclear plants about four years ago.)

Solar subsidies are dwarfed by historical taxpayer support of both fossil-fuel and nuclear-generated electricity. The International Energy Agency warns that continuing fossil-fuel subsidies contribute significantly to global environmental problems. The President has suggested that the 30% tax benefit for solar PV be eliminated or severely reduced. My reply is sure, when you remove all the subsidies for electric power of any type. Especially nuclear and fossil fuels.

To answer the critics that solar will depend on energy storage for it to be considered a dispatchable resources for electricity. Then why did TVA build one of the largest pumped stores before solar was on the horizon? It is simple, it is to balance supply and demand of electricity. it is the same reasoning for coal and nuclear plants where the plant says on line and the extra energy is sent to the store for use later. It is the same deal for solar.

An investment analysis by the financial services company UBS contends that an “unsubsidized solar revolution” has begun that could eventually supply as much as 18 percent of electricity demand in Germany, Spain and Italy. The report goes on to suggest that electric utility companies serving these markets may see their profits take a hit. The UBS analysts say that consumer-supplied solar electricity tends to reduce the spikes in electricity demand on the power grid (so-called peak load) from which these utilities have traditionally derived much of their revenue.

see the original article that led to this blog item at: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/the-red-faces-of-the-solar-skeptics/?_php=true&_type=blogs&src=rechp&_r=0

Apply now for 2014 Rural Energy for America Funding

solar farming2Farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses can apply now for grants and loan guarantees for clean energy projects under the Rural Energy for America Program – or REAP. REAP was renewed in the 2014 Farm Bill and supports a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, including wind, solar, biogas, biomass, small hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal, wave, and hydroelectric technologies.

An official notice of funding availability is expected in early April, with an application deadline 60 days later. This notice would be for funds from the 2014 appropriation plus funds carried over from previous years (total about $28 million). When the final REAP rule is announced, possibly in June or July, a second funding announcement will be issued for the 2014 mandatory funding ($50 million) from the new Farm Bill. Applications submitted but not funded in the first round will be considered in the second round.

Applicants should also be sure to check in early with the state staff of USDA rural development. They can answer questions, provide useful advice and may need to visit the project during the application process.

For more information go to: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Home.html

A One Megawatt Project Planned for Oak Ridge

Restoration SevicesRestoration Services Inc. is partnering with Vis Solis to build a one megawatt solar farm at the East Tennessee Technology Park, former K-25 site, on a site leased from Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET). The solar power generated electricity will go to the TVA grid to run the equivalent of nearly 150 homes. Gil Hough, manager of the renewable energy division of Restoration Services says that is almost a done deal. Construction is expected to start in April. What makes this solar installation unique is the use of Vis Solis tracking of the sun to always keep the panels pointed towards the sun for maximum performance. The increase in power production can be as high as 30% over the conventional fixed arrays.