Solar

POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 2, 2016

Rice University scientists using gold to unlock solar energy; U.S. Senate restores wind energy R&D funding


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • Researchers at Rice University are developing a method to reduce the cost of solar electricity generation worldwide. By splitting water molecules into their core parts of oxygen and hydrogen, the scientists are able to capture solar energy and produce clean, renewable power made possible by tiny light-activated gold nanoparticles.
  • The U.S. Senate passed an amendment to restore funding for wind energy research and development. The amendment, which passed by a vote of 54-42, will provide $96.4 million to the wind industry (the same level of funding provided in 2016).
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 28, 2016

EIA forecasts 422 MW of new hydroelectric capacity installed; Maine vetoed net metering bill


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • The EIA forecasts that there will be 1,083 MW of hydroelectric capacity installed between 2015 and 2019. Of this, 422 MW will be on dams that did not previously have electric generating units, also known as non-powered dams.
  • Maine’s governor vetoed a bill that would revise the state’s net metering policy and boost solar energy. The legislation would have removed the state’s current retail rate net metering program and replaced it with a program that would require regulated utilities to purchase and aggregate solar generation from private solar owners and utility-scale developers. Utilities would then bid the generation into the region’s electricity markets.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 26, 2016

DOE awards $3.5 million for hydropower development; China halts construction of 200 new coal power plants; Ikea to sell solar panels


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • The DOE has announced that it will award $3.5 million in funding for hydropower development. Hydropower currently provides approximately seven percent of the country’s electricity and is the nation’s leading source of renewable energy.
  • China has postponed its plans for the construction of roughly 200 new coal-fired power plants. These 200 plants would have been able to produce a total of 105 GW of power, more than the U.K.’s electricity-generating capacity from all sources.
  • Ikea stores in the U.K. are adding solar panels to the list of items that shoppers can buy towards the end of 2016. The country’s solar industry regulator reports that in February and March of 2016, U.K. households have installed solar capacity of 21 MW (each), down from the 81 MW that were installed during this same time in 2015. Despite these numbers, the retailer is making a second attempt at selling solar panels to this market. The first was in 2013-2014.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 22, 2016

World leaders to sign Paris Agreement in NYC today; San Francisco to require all new buildings to include solar energy; Venezuela to save electricity by implementing rolling blackouts


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • World leaders are meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to officially sign the Paris Agreement on climate change. At least 171 countries are expected to sign the accord today, setting a record for the most countries to sign an international agreement in one day.
  • San Francisco became the first large city in the U.S. to require new buildings to have solar energy capabilities installed as a way to enable the city to meet its 100 percent renewable energy goal. The city’s goals include a greenhouse gas-free electric system by 2030 and a reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2025. California already has legislation that requires new buildings to set 15 percent of their roof for solar installations. This newly enacted legislation applies to new residential and commercial buildings of 10 floors or less.
  • The government of Venezuela has decided to turn off the country’s electricity for four hours each day in an attempt to conserve energy. Luis Motta, Venezuela’s electricity minister, said that the rationing is set to begin next week with the rolling blackouts lasting for approximately 40 days to allow for the water levels in the Guri Dam to stabilize (this dam provides most of the country’s electricity). This is the latest in a series of attempts the country has taken to conserve electricity as the dam has been affected by a drought in the region.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 21, 2016

Jobs in the solar industry to surpass those in the oil industry by end of 2016; U.S. Senate passed energy sector bill; Paris climate agreement to be signed on Friday


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • While job postings for the solar industry currently make up 39 percent of the global-energy related work postings on Indeed and oil related jobs account for 50 percent, that is about to change. According to an article in Fortune, oil job postings have been declining by 12.6 percent every quarter while solar related jobs have been dropping at an average of 1.7 percent per quarter. At this rate, jobs in the solar industry will overtake those in the oil industry towards the end of 2016.
  • On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that will touch virtually every aspect of the country’s energy sector. The bill includes measures to include $50 million a year towards research into industrial-scale batteries that could revolutionize how electricity is not only generated but consumed. This legislation is said to have earned bipartisan support and passed by 85-12. The bill now moves to the House for review.
  • About 160 government representatives are traveling to New York this Friday to officially sign the Paris climate agreement that was agreed to in December 2015. This signing ceremony will set a record for international diplomacy as this will be the first time that this many countries have signed an agreement on the first day possible. The agreement, which is said to become effective in 2020, commits participating countries to reducing their carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 19, 2016

The Tesla Gigafactory to provide 35 GWh of energy storage; India's Energy Minister says solar is cheaper than coal


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • The Tesla Gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada, which will manufacture batteries for Tesla’s electric cars, is forecasted to produce 35 GWh of energy storage a year for its vehicles. As reported on NPR, the factory has an estimated cost of $5 billion and will stand at 5.8 million square feet, roughly 100 football fields. To date, only 14 percent of the factory has been built. The factory will also manufacture larger versions of the Powerpacks for energy storage at factories, industrial sites and electric utilities.
  • While speaking about India’s action plan for renewables, the country’s Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal, said that solar energy is now cheaper than coal. He sates, “Of course there are challenges of 24/7 power. We accept all of that – but we have been able to come up with a solar-based long term vision that is not subsidy based.” India is on track to deploy more than 100 GW of solar power by 2022, beating its own goal for solar energy.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 18, 2016

Solar energy cheaper in Texas; Venezuela shifting time zones to save power


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • Customers in Texas are seeing the lowest average cost for solar energy (on a per-watt basis) according to EnergySage. While the national average is $3.69 per watt, the price in Texas is $3.21 per watt. However, there is a nine-year payback period in Texas which is higher than the national average of eight years.
  • In order to conserve electricity, Venezuela is switching time zones and shifting its time forward by 30 minutes to save power. This is in addition to government workers being given a day off  each week and the announcement of a public sector holiday being added just before the country’s Independence Declaration Day that will extend the time workers spend outside of the office. The country is facing low water levels in its 18 hydroelectric dams, the source of the country’s electricity.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 14, 2016

Wind, natural gas and solar made up 97 percent of all new electric generation capacity; Solar provided the U.K. with more power than coal; Energy storage set to rise


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • The EIA reports that wind, natural gas and solar made up 97 percent of all new electric generation capacity in 2015, accounting for 41 percent, 30 percent and 26 percent of total additions (respectively). The state of Texas added the most wind capacity at 42 percent of total U.S. wind additions. In 2015, California added more than 1,000 MW of utility-scale solar and 1,000 MW of distributed solar PV capacity. This accounted for 42 percent of overall solar additions.
  • Last weekend, solar power provided the U.K.  with more power than coal-fired power stations for 24 hours. The National Grid showed that 29 GWh of solar power was generated last Saturday versus 21 GWh of power from coal.
  • A study the research group EuPD found that only 34 percent of PV installers offer energy storage solutions to their customers.  However, 26 percent of the installers that currently do not offer solutions hope to begin in 2016. Additionally, 38 percent of the installers that do not offer solutions say that current battery prices prevent them from offering this service.