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jpak

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Member since: 2002
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Solar Market Seen Exceeding $134 Billion by 2020, Navigant Says

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-10/solar-market-seen-exceeding-134-billion-by-2020-navigant-says.html

Developers will spend more than $134 billion annually by 2020 on solar-energy systems, up 51 percent from this year, as falling panel prices make electricity produced from sunlight cost-competitive with power from other sources, according to a report from Navigant Consulting Inc. (NCI).

Growing demand for photovoltaic systems in emerging markets including Chile, South Africa and Saudi Arabia will be bolstered in other regions by increased use of both large, utility-scale power plants and smaller, distributed generation systems, the Chicago-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.

“By the end of 2020, solar PV is expected to be cost-competitive with retail electricity prices, without subsidies, in a significant portion of the world,” Dexter Gauntlett, a Navigant analyst, said in the statement.

The company expects a total of 438 gigawatts of solar capacity to be installed from this year through 2020.

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Rooftop solar takes off across California as costs come down

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_23635595/costs-come-down-rooftop-solar-takes-off-across

California's groundbreaking efforts to encourage homeowners and businesses to install rooftop solar panels were so successful in 2012 that the program is now effectively winding down, according to a new report.

A record 391 megawatts of solar power were installed statewide in 2012, a growth of 26 percent from 2011, according to a report by the California Solar Initiative released Wednesday.

"The program has made solar affordable for ordinary Californians," said Susannah Churchill of the San Francisco-based solar advocacy group Vote Solar. "Solar is a classic California success story."

In January 2007, California launched an unprecedented $3.3 billion effort to install 3,000 megawatts of new solar over the next decade and transform the market for solar energy by reducing the cost of solar-generating equipment.

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IPA concedes wind farms successful in displacing coal

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/ipa-concedes-wind-farms-successful-in-displacing-coal-53517

The anti-wind campaigners sometimes have difficulty getting their facts in the right order. One of their most common complaints is that wind energy does nothing to reduce emissions as it doesn’t actually result in any fossil fuel generation being switched off, because fossil fuel needs to keep running as “back-up” in case the wind stops blowing.

Of course, this is not true. As the Australian Energy Market Operator notes in South Australia, where wind energy accounts for around 25 per cent of both capacity and demand, coal fired generation – both local and imported from Victoria – has fallen dramatically. There hasn’t even been any need for new peaking power stations and the use of gas has not increased since the state started building the first of its 1,200MW of wind energy.

The Institute of Public Affairs, one of the most powerful and influential anti-wind groups, whose former head is now the WA state energy minister, is a strong proponent of the “continuous” back-up claim. But at the recent, lightly attended anti-wind rally in Canberra, its director of deregulation, Alan Moran made a crucial admission: wind energy is forcing conventional coal generation out of the market, because it is making it uneconomic.

“(Renewables) are in fact squeezing out conventional energy, conventional, predictable and reliable energy, because they are “must run”, and conventional energy is automatically backed off,” Moran said, according to a transcript published on the anti-wind website Stop These Things. “This is leading to the retirement of coal fired stations, as subsidised wind makes them not profitable.”

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Sioux Tribes Collaborate on Biggest US Wind Farm (1-2 GW)

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/25036

In an unprecedented move, six Sioux tribes are coming together to develop the largest wind farm in the US and one of the world’s largest.

The six South Dakota tribes want to develop an interconnected grid of wind farms totaling a massive 1-2 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, over at least six reservations.

Funding for the project, which will cost between $1.75 billion to $3 billion, would come from the sale of bonds by a new Multi-Tribal Power Authority.

The project was revealed during the Clinton Global Initiative last month. "It gives Native tribes who aren't in populous areas and don't have casino revenue a chance to earn some real money that can then be used to reinvest into the community to diversify the economic base that exists," said President Clinton at the event, according to SF Gate.

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Los Angeles Goes All In on Rooftop Solar Panels

http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/07/los-angeles-all-rooftop-solar-panels/

Don’t think it’s possible to provide clean and renewable energy that creates jobs and fuels private investment? Think again and then check out CLEAN LA Solar.

A program developed and supported by the Los Angeles Business Council, a coalition of environmental, business, health and research organizations, and the CLEAN LA Coalition, it’s the largest urban rooftop solar program in the nation. Its five-year goal is to power more than 34,000 homes while creating some 4,500 construction, installation, design engineering, maintenance and administrative jobs in Los Angeles.

CLEAN LA Solar allows businesses and commercial property-owners to generate energy for the city’s power grid through rooftop solar panels, and then sell the power to the Department of Water and Power (DWP). This policy is known as a feed-in-tariff (FiT), and is a great way to promote clean, solar energy.

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The goal is to generate 150 megawatts of solar electricity, or enough power for 30,000 homes. The business council hopes to attract investments totaling about $500 million from a group of companies that want to invest in the city’s push to go green. The program’s first project site is an 80-unit apartment building in North Hollywood that went online with 336 250-watt panels (for 84 kW of installed capacity) on June 26.

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Solar Power Cheaper Than Coal Foreseen By German Solar CEO

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/10/solar-power-cheaper-than-coal-foreseen-by-german-solar-mogul/

In a new interview with Deutsche Welle, the CEO of a Germany-based global solar developer made a good case for the potential for solar power to become cheaper than coal sooner rather than later.

That would be Bernhard Beck, CEO of BELECTRIC. In the interview Beck had some interesting things to say about the direction of the global solar market and the potential for growth in large-scale solar power generating plants, and if anything, we think his forecast could come true even sooner than he thinks.

BELECTRIC specializes in utility-scale solar power plants as well as rooftop solar, and the former area is where the focus of the Deutsche Welle interview takes place.
According to Beck, large scale solar power in Germany is already “approaching the costs” of conventional power, at 10 euro cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Beck was reluctant to lay out a specific timetable, but he did predict that with additional technological improvements, the cost of solar power in Germany (and by extension, other relatively sun-poor countries), will ultimately fall below the cost of conventional energy.

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World's Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Switched On in Britain

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/green-tech/wind/worlds-biggest-offshore-wind-farm-switched-on-in-britain

Around a year and a half ago, the Walney wind farm in the Irish Sea started spinning and prepared to relish the title of being "biggest in the world." It ended up enjoying that status a bit longer than expected, but the London Array, off the coast of Kent, now leaves Walney and its 367 megawatts in the dust.

Some numbers: 175 turbines. 630 megawatts. Half a million homes. 100 square kilometers. 450 kilometers of offshore cabling.

In other words, it's pretty big. The speed at which these enormous projects are popping around in the waters around the U.K. is impressive, especially considering the ongoing difficulties with getting even a single offshore turbine up and running in the U.S. (Cape Wind might have one by next year! Maybe!) There are now around 20 distinct offshore wind farms around the U.K., generating enough power for 2.3 million homes; when all offshore turbines that are spinning, in construction, or planned are combined, they total 15 gigawatts of capacity—about a quarter of the entire U.S. onshore wind power capabilities.

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BREAKING: Germany Sets Solar Power Record (Again) — 23.9 GW

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/07/breaking-germany-sets-solar-power-record-again-23-9-gw/

It has been a very sunny day here in western Poland, so I knew it was basically the same in Germany (it always is) and that there was a good chance Germany would break its previous solar power output record. So, I’ve been keeping an eye on SMA Solar Technology’s live solar power output tool for the country.

Sure enough, a few hours ago, solar output climbed above the 22.68 GW solar power output record Germany set in April. Not long after, it climbed above the 23.4 GW solar power output record set in June. At its peak at about 1:45pm local time (one hour ago), the output got up to 23.9 GW. (Actually, I thought I saw it reach 24 GW at that time, but the replay isn’t showing it go above 23.9 GW.)

I’m sure an official number still needs to be confirmed, but a full 0.5 GW increase according to SMA’s site makes for a very safe conclusion that we have a new record. It is an estimate based on the output of thousands of SMA solar power systems spread across the country.

Germany’s peak electricity demand at midday is about 60 GW, so at 1:45pm or so, solar power was providing about 40% of the country’s electricity demand. Impressive. Approximately 1.3–1.4 million solar power systems were involved in creating that massive electricity output, our German solar expert Thomas tells me. And about 8.5 million people live in buildings where solar power systems are used to produce electricity or heat.

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Feds Approve Huge Wind Facility Near Lake Mead

http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/wind/interior-approves-huge-wind-facility-on-public-lands.html

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has signed off on a wind power facility that would cover almost 60 square miles of public lands in Arizona near the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The Mohave County Wind Farm, built by BP Wind Energy North America, would include up to 243 wind turbines with blades about 180 feet long.

The project would occupy 35,329 acres of land under the Bureau of Land Management and 2,781 acres of Bureau of Reclamation land, and would butt up against Lake Mead NRA about 44 miles east of Las Vegas. Depending on the transmission connection eventually chosen, the project would max out at between 425 and 500 megawatts peak generating capacity.

"These are exactly the kind of responsible steps that we need to take to expand homegrown, clean energy on our public lands and cut carbon pollution that affects public health," said Secretary Jewell. "This wind energy project shows that reducing our carbon pollution can also generate jobs and cut our reliance on foreign oil."

The one oil-fired power plant in Arizona that this project might have supplanted, the diesel-fueled Grand Canyon Power House in the South Rim area of the National Park, ceased operations in 1956.

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Use of wind power for electricity generation rises as coal declines

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2013/06/26/iowa-releases-new-data-on-sources-of-electric-power-generation-wind-increasing/article

n consecutive stories this week – here on Tuesday and here on Wednesday – the Des Moines Register has cited 2010 data on the sources of electric power generation in Iowa.

Those figures were the best available as of deadline Tuesday evening, and showed the state reliant on coal-fired power plants for 71.8 percent of its power, while drawing 16 percent from wind.

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In short: coal power is falling while the wind is rising.

Here’s the new data:

Coal: 67.82 percent
Wind: 19.0 percent
Natural Gas: 1.76 percent
Fuel Oil/Petroleum: 0.25 percent
Nuclear: 9.25 percent
Hydro: 1.64 percent
Other Renewables: 0.28 percent.

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