Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Energy Democracy for All Map– Center for Social Inclusion

This map pinpoints communities across America that are innovating how to build their local economies while taking into their own hands the fight against climate change by developing community-scale renewable energy projects. Our map highlights over 100 projects that are rooted in communities, with a particular lens toward communities of color, who by 2042, will become the majority in our nation. With the threat of climate change becoming more real everyday, communities are coming together now to be participants, decision-makers and owners in a new energy economy. We call this Energy Democracy.
So what are community-scale renewable energy projects?

Community Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota - CleanTechies

On April 7, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission resoundingly rejected (click the link for an annotated ruling) a severely lacking community solar gardens proposal from Xcel Energy and required substantial improvements for the utility's revised filing.

The regulatory smack-down means a promising community solar market for Minnesota (scroll down for the infographic version).

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Land Too Dry? Water Scarce? How Solar Solves Several Problems at Once

As solar spreads around the country, siting can become an issue. Sometimes that’s resolved by using already compromised land -- we’ve seen solar over parking lots or on landfills, even on some Superfund sites.

Many large solar plants are built in desert areas in the Southwest, which have the advantages of ample space -- often not suitable for farming -- and plenty of sun. Those areas are not problem-free, though.

Researchers at the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford were thinking about this, and they noticed a connection among a few problems:
  • A lot of water is needed to clean solar panels in dusty, arid areas. 
  • Desert areas aren’t good for growing most crops. 
  • A lot of farmland is being used now to grow corn and other grains for ethanol, but grains aren’t the most efficient source for producing the fuel.
What, you ask, can those three things possibly have in common?  Read more:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Solar’s Dramatic Price Plunge Could Trigger Energy Price Deflation | Greentech Media

... And then Bernstein drops this bombshell: while solar has a fractional share of the market now, within one decade, solar PV (plus battery storage) may have such a share of the market that it becomes a trigger for energy price deflation, with huge consequences for the massive fossil fuel industry that relies on continued growth.

“The behavior from here seems clear: the solar industry will expand. Retaliatory steps from distribution utilities will increase the market for cost-effective battery storage. This becomes -- initially -- a secondary market for battery technologies being developed for the auto sector. A failed battery technology in the auto sector (too hot, too heavy, too rigid a form factor) might well be perfect for the home energy storage market...with an addressable end market of 2 billion backyards.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Construction Set to Begin on Solar Garden - KREX - News, Weather, Sports for Grand Junction | Montrose | Glenwood Springs - Coverage You Can Count On

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - In just a few days, construction crews will break ground on a solar garden, unlike any other on the Western Slope. The project has been in the making for two years and partners are ready to see it finally get off the ground. Officials say it will be well worth the wait, will savings in the millions expected.

What is now an empty lot, will soon bloom with energy.

"A community solar garden is very new, new to Colorado and very new to the solar industry," said Eric Anderson, energy manager for School District 51.

Read more:

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Could the ‘Shared Solar’ movement work in shady Connecticut?

Manchester – Eugene DeJoannis stood behind his house one recent sunny morning and explained why it should be the perfect candidate for a solar electric system: “It has a nice, south-facing roof. It’s a simple roof. It has no obstructions on it.”
There’s one problem.
“We have a wall of trees,” he said. And they’re not even his trees, so he’s stuck with them.

Four solar Gardens planned near Durango, Colorado

La Plata Electrical Association is getting into gardening – solar gardening.
LPEA’s board of directors has approved a policy agreement with four community solar gardens that will allow its customers to purchase or invest in solar panels to offset their electrical costs.

Policy 366, as LPEA is calling it, will set the stage for local, independent solar developers to construct community solar gardens, or CSGs, generating up to 2 megawatts of power in the LPEA service territory.
Read more: