Archive for National

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

Separate Delivery of Electricity from its Generation

distribution_linesThe distribution grids that deliver TVA electricity consist of a network of wires that carry the power around (to consumers). Distributors within the TVA system must agree to carry the power of all comers, at non-discriminatory rates too. And it can charge a fee sufficient to cover the cost of providing a reliable, responsive grid.

“Then you’ve two other parts of the system: those who own the power stations that feed electricity into the grid and those who run marketing organisations to bill for what consumers pull from the grid. And within such a system it’s simple enough to make sure that everyone who has a grid connection is charged for the use (even if that use is only insurance against cloudy days) of the grid in the appropriate manner and amount. Without having to worry about how much electricity they’re actually using.

This really is a real problem with solar power: and that really is the solution. Unbundle the utilities into a pure grid charging all for the use of it and keep that very separate from who is generating power by what means”, suggests Tim Worstall Forbes’ contributing author

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.

Solar Energy compared to the Affordable Care Act? Koch Brothers Think So

koch brotherSolar, once almost universally regarded as a virtuous, if perhaps over-hyped, energy alternative, has now grown big enough to have enemies.”
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states.

The power industry argues that net metering provides an unfair advantage to solar consumers, who don’t pay to maintain the power grid although they draw money from it and rely on it for backup on cloudy days. The more people produce their own electricity through solar, the fewer are left being billed for the transmission lines, substations and computer systems that make up the grid, industry officials say.
That’s the argument that worked in Oklahoma, which is why consumers who embrace renewables are facing new charges.

And there’s no reason to think Oklahoma will be the last – the American Legislative Exchange Council has already drafted model legislation on the issue, which is being touted by the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity. Indeed, AFP has been especially aggressive in Kansas, hoping to eliminate the state policy that aims for 20% reliance on renewable energy sources.

To that end, AFP has begun equating green energy mandates with – what else? – the Affordable Care Act.

original article

Factory taking shape: 1,000 workers building $2 billion Wacker plant

Wacker plant today CHARLESTON, Tenn. — Construction of Wacker’s $2 billion polysilicon production plant now has about 1,000 builders on site daily as the factory’s planned startup is a little more than a year away. Unlike the Hemlock plant, this plant will open as scheduled.

“We’re pushing the project forward,” he said about the factory’s current construction schedule. “It’s pretty exciting to us.”

Wacker has hired 180 employees of the 650 it will need when production starts next year, Bachhuber said. “The backbone of the future is on board,” he said about those employees who are doing about 30 different tasks for the company. Some of the rest of the hiring is slated for later this year, though most will be done in 2015, Bachhuber said. “Many of the new workers will go to Germany for on-the-job training,” he said. “It depends on the specific task.”

The first chunks of polysilicon are to come out of the plant in the second half of next year, the plant official said in a recent interview at the sprawling site off Lauderdale Memorial Highway.

Jobs in Solar

I recently received an email from a former student who is now employed by SolarCity. The following is the message I received. If you are interested in working in the solar field and have taken my course in solar energy or any other institution and are looking for work with a formidable company, let me know and I will forward your inquiry to Alex.

Hi Steve,

It is nice to hear from you! SolarCity is constantly hiring and they encourage us to give referrals. If any of your students or if you know of anyone who is interested in joining the solar field, put them in contact with me. In particular we are hiring for the deign position all over the country! Its a great opportunity with such an innovative company.

I am the Senior PV Design Engineering at one of our regional offices in Mililani, Hawaii. I design approximately 7 homes a day for solar. The sales and audit teams are upstream of the design team. The auditors collect all the information that I need to the electrical and structural design. It is all about team work here!

Hope all is well

Alex

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.

Electrochemical Energy Storage ASM Educational Symposium

Energy Storage is the key to large scale solar plants as well as the smart grid. Here is an opportunity to find out where we are in energy storage and what will the future bring. More importantly, when low cost energy storage will hit the Walmarts of this world.

WHAT: This educational symposium will bring together speakers from industry, academia, and national laboratories to review the state of the art of lithium ion batteries and the future of electrochemical energy storage within the materials and device level and advances in characterization techniques for these devices and materials. There will also be a tour of the DOE Battery Manufacturing R&D Facility at ORNL. Electrochemical energy storage has become more and more important. In the past, electrochemical energy storage has been limited in size and energy density. Associated with its high cost for higher energy density, consumer electronics was the sole market for electrochemical energy storage until recently. Now, electrochemical energy storage transforms power tool, automotive, and electricity grid markets. Power tools benefit from the tremendous power capabilities of newly developed lithium ion batteries, automotive and grid scale storage which has become more available with new manufacturing technologies for large format devices. This educational symposium will bring together speakers from industry, academia, and national laboratories to review the state of the art of lithium ion batteries and the future of electrochemical energy storage within the materials and device level and advances in characterization techniques for these devices and materials.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
TIME:
WHERE: National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) and Manufacturing Demonstration Facility
2360/2370 Cherahala Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37932
COST: General – $100
Student – $30
Retirees – $50
REGISTER: Registration deadline is March 27
RSVP/
QUESTIONS: Claus Daniel
danielc@ornl.gov
Melanie Kirkham
kirkhammj@ornl.gov

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