Monday, September 22, 2014

China Update

A very long flight took me to Beijing, and a high-speed train took me to the city of Qingdao at over 300 km/hr. The seaside city is famous for its Tsingtao beer, and its wonderful seafood. Solar hot water heaters sit on almost every building!

The air-quality in China leaves a lot to be desired. Solar energy will help address China's most pressing environmental problem.

The Low-Carbon Earth Summit is a high-powered event with sustainability leaders from all over the world. The entertainment has been amazing! I have attended a variety of presentations about exciting new solar technologies.

The Solar Gardens Institute presentation cover community and shared so the models from all over the world. I discussed the opportunity for China, which is hands-down the world's largest potential market for shared solar.

Next I am off to Beijing to meet with NGO leaders about the possibility of using shared solar models in China. I will be traveling throughout China for the next several weeks, so I will have many updates for you as I go along.

Thank you to all of you who donated money or air miles!

Joy Hughes
Solar Gardens Institute Founder

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hawaiian Electric Has Plans For Community Solar Gardens - KHNR

(Honolulu, HI) -- Hawaiian Electric is working on plans for community solar gardens across the state. "Pacific Business News" reports the program is designed to give businesses and residents an opportunity to invest in renewable energy by owning portions of an off-site solar energy facility that sells power back to the utility. Officials say they're open to suggestions.

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Minnesota Community Solar Garden Program Approved, Set to Open | Renewable + Law

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission today issued its long-awaited Order approving (with modifications) Xcel Energy's Community Solar Garden (CSG) Program - Solar Rewards*Community.  The Order starts the clock for the program to open no later than 90 days from issuance of the Order (mid-December) and officially plows the furrow for community solar projects in Minnesota.  It is not, however, clear that Xcel Energy will have the luxury of using the full 90 days for opening its CSG program- the Minnesota CSG Statuterequires Xcel Energy to begin crediting subscriber accounts for each CSG within 180 days of the CSG plan's approval. Stay tuned for additional details.

SEPA Report on Utility-Led Community Solar - Solar Novus Today

Community solar projects are popping up across the United States, offering those without the perfect solar roof, or no roof at all, the chance to cut their electric bills with solar energy. And leadership in the growth of this emerging trend is coming from an unexpected source -- electric utilities.

A new study from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), "Expanding Solar Access Through Utility-led Community Solar," finds that the number of these programs in the US has jumped 64 percent in the past 18 months and an overwhelming majority, more than 90%, have been developed by utilities.

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Community Solar for Our Schools | San Juan Island Update: News about the things that make living here great.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

For Minnesota churches, clean energy is a higher calling | Midwest Energy News

Bethel Evangelical Lutheran and Minnesota Community Solar came together earlier this year to promote a solar garden that will sit atop the roof of the Minneapolis church.
Without a panel yet installed, the 40-kilowatt (kW) solar garden attracted enough support from the church’s members and surrounding Bancroft neighborhood to be fully subscribed. The project encapsulated for Rev. Brenda L. Froisland a deeper spiritual tug that speaks to her faith and the teachings of Christianity.
“Part of our vision is that in gratitude, Bethel amplifies God’s grace, nourishes God’s creation, reaches out and builds community,” she said. “This is very much a manifestation of those points and our vision. “We’re noting this incredible resource called solar energy God gives us, and we’re nourishing God’s creation by reducing our carbon footprint and consuming less coal — all that’s connected to global warming, sustainability and simplicity.”

Routt County commissioners hesitate to invest public monies in community solar garden

 — The Routt County commissioners placed an emphasis on the goal of transitioning to “future energy economies” in their recent strategic planning process, and they already oversee a significant solar array on top of the Routt County Justice Center on the west side of Steamboat Springs. But they weren’t ready Monday to tell Facilities Director Tim Winter to continue to explore investing in the new community solar garden that Clean Energy Collective is planning to begin constructing next month in Craig in collaboration with Yampa Valley Electric Association.

Commissioners Steve Ivancie and Doug Monger said they were uncomfortable investing public dollars given CEC’s unwillingness to share with them some of the financial details involved in building the solar array.

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