Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Xcel to proceed with Eau Claire solar project | Chippewa Herald

(Note- this article makes the error of comparing the kilowatt price of the solar garden with incentives factored in with the cost of rooftop solar not including incentives or tax benefits. - Joy)

LA CROSSE — Despite lower than anticipated initial interest, Xcel Energy is poised to go forward with two community solar gardens in western Wisconsin.

Filings with state utility regulators show Xcel has sold only 12 percent of the available panels but anticipates selling 95 percent by the end of the year.

The company’s first annual report to the Public Service Commission shows 42 residential customers have subscribed to just over 99 kilowatts of the 2,000 available. Four commercial subscribers have agreed to purchase more than 140 kilowatts.

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Net Metering Cap Leaves Community Solar Projects Across The State In Limbo | Vermont Public Radio

Solar arrays have sprouted across the Vermont landscape over the past decade, but policy makers weren't ready for one consequence of the solar boom: reaching the cap on new solar projects.

Last fall, Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, hit the cap for how many mid-sized and larger solar projects it can hook up to the grid. That means many that were planned just won't get built this year.

At one farm in South Royalton, the limit has stymied the community’s plan for a shared solar array.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Total Installed Capacity for U.S. Community Solar Programs Is Expected to be 1.5 GW in 2020 | Navigant Research

A new slide-based report from Navigant Research explores the community solar market in the United States, with a focus on technology and policy trends, customer adoption, utility rollouts, and the vendor landscape, through 2025.

Utilities across the U.S. have been deploying community solar programs since 2010, offering solar energy to residential and commercial users in multi-story buildings and those without an adequate roof to support solar electricity generation. Community solar is enabled by virtual net metering, which allows consumers to offset part or all of their electricity bills with the electricity produced by the solar project. Click to tweet: According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, the total installed capacity for community solar programs across the country is expected to be 1.5 GW in 2020, representing a $2.5 billion market.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

“Community Storage” Is a New Way to Think About Reducing Grid Costs | RMI Outlet

Energy storage is one of the hottest topics in the electricity industry today. As battery costs decline, many actors are recognizing the huge potential of storage to lower the cost of the grid and become a booming, multibillion dollar market. But although Tesla and its competitors capture all the headlines, it's always worth noting that energy storage can come from multiple sources—not just batteries—and there are many ways to bring the technology to market.

Now, a promising new initiative launched by a coalition of industry stakeholders aims to promote the concept of "community storage" in utilities across the U.S. Community storage programs let utilities aggregate customer-owned, behind-the-meter resources like water heaters, electric vehicles, and batteries to provide services to the grid. In doing so, these programs help reduce the cost of maintaining and upgrading the grid, and help lower customers' bills.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Report faults Xcel's handling of solar garden project | EnergyBiz

April 09--With solar garden developers chafing at the slow pace of Xcel Energy's approval process, a state-appointed engineer this week released a blistering report on the big utility's handling of one particular Minnesota solar project.

The findings on that one project could apply to many other Minnesota solar garden proposals, according to both solar developers and Xcel.

The independent engineer, working under the aegis of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), among other things criticized Xcel's cost estimates and engineering standards for a proposed community solar garden near Becker, which is being developed by SunShare, one of the largest solar garden builders in Minnesota.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Hawaiian Electric and Varentec to test technology for enabling more rooftop solar on island grids | Renewable Energy World

Hawaiian Electric Company and Santa Clara-based Varentec, Inc. have announced a strategic partnership to install and validate performance of Varentec's technology for ensuring grid reliability and efficiency while allowing more private rooftop solar systems to be added to island grids. 

Starting with a pilot project on the island of O'ahu, Hawaiian Electric Company will use Varentec's Edge of Network Grid Optimizers™ and Grid Edge Management System™ platform to minimize voltage fluctuations along the distribution grid and maintain safe, reliable operations along a neighborhood circuit with a high level of distributed solar generation.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

South Carolina: Santee Cooper launching community solar project | Charelston Regional Business Journal

Santee Cooper customers will be able to purchase shares of Colleton Solar Farm’s output through a new program kicking off Friday.
The state-owned utility’s board of directors recently approved the Solar Share community solar project and new rebates, according to a news release.
Customers in the program will receive a monthly credit on their electric bill based on their share of the solar energy produced at the farm. The current purchase price is $1.88 per watt, which is offset by a $1-per-watt rebate, for a net cost to customers of $880 for a 1-kilowatt subscription, the news release said.