Tag Archives: solar power

Documentary Explores Conflict Between Tribes, Energy Developers | East CA | SoCal Focus | KCET

8 Mar

Arriving in the desert, he found himself in the middle of a battle that seemed eerily similar to the Elwha dams issue: Native people whose life ways were threatened by renewable energy generation. In the early months of the Obama administration, an unprecedented number of solar projects had been fast-tracked for construction on public lands in the desert — lands held to be culturally vital by the Native people in that desert. It was (and is) one of the most widespread assaults on the landscape in the history of European settlement. Some of the people who would have been likely to defend the landscape in the past, the environmentalists and allies who had worked with desert tribes to help stop the Ward Valley nuclear waste dump came down on the other side when industrial desert solar was at issue. Suddenly, when the climate change argument came into play, the desert seemed expendable to the urban greens.

via Documentary Explores Conflict Between Tribes, Energy Developers | East CA | SoCal Focus | KCET.

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Solving Solar’s Biggest Problem Didn’t Take Technology Development – Alexis C. Madrigal – The Atlantic

17 Oct

Lynn Jurich explains in the video above that her company gets money from banks — hundreds of millions of dollars — and then uses that money to finance the installation of solar systems on homes. Homeowners pay on a monthly basis, not up front, at rates that are comparable to or cheaper than the grid (SunRun says).

We still don’t know how much money SunRun makes on each home, but we do know that the company’s model has exploded. Most new solar is now being installed with the leasing model and other companies like SolarCity and Sungevity are trying to horn in on SunRun’s business (even if SunRun remains the largest solar leasing company).

The takeaway from SunRun is simple, though: sometimes the innovations that matter aren’t technical but financial (or even social). Of course, developing more efficient, less expensive solar cells helps, but the technology development alone cannot guarantee successful market deployments.

via Solving Solar’s Biggest Problem Didn’t Take Technology Development – Alexis C. Madrigal – The Atlantic.

Saudi Arabia Unveils $100 Billion Plan To Make Solar ‘A Driver For Domestic Energy For Years To Come’ | ThinkProgress

14 May

In a report from Bloomberg Businessweek on the recent announcement, a consultant with the Saudi government, Maher al- Odan, explained the country’s strategy: “We are not only looking for building solar plants….We want to run a sustainable solar energy sector that will become a driver for the domestic energy for years to come.”

The plan will also help the country save hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude per day. With diplomats and energy experts privately concerned that Saudi Arabia has overstated its oil reserves by as much as 40%, the country will need new resources to make up for declines in production.

via Saudi Arabia Unveils $100 Billion Plan To Make Solar ‘A Driver For Domestic Energy For Years To Come’ | ThinkProgress.

Farmers Foil Utilities Using Cell Phones to Access Solar – Bloomberg

23 Apr

The rest of the world’s going solar, and local, why not the USofA?

From the poorest parts of Africa and Asia to the most- developed regions in the U.S. and Europe, solar units such as Anand’s and small-scale wind and biomass generators promise to extend access to power to more people than ever before. In the developing world, they’re slashing costs in the process.

Across India and Africa, startups and mobile phone companies are developing so-called microgrids, in which stand- alone generators power clusters of homes and businesses in places where electric utilities have never operated.

In Europe, cooperatives are building their own generators and selling power back to the national or regional grid while information technology developers and phone companies are helping consumers reduce their power consumption and pay less for the electricity they do use.

via Farmers Foil Utilities Using Cell Phones to Access Solar – Bloomberg.

Renewable Energy Advances in the U.S. Despite Obstacles – NYTimes.com

11 Apr

The outlook on solar is good, for now:

Many business executives, policy analysts and investors say there is a robust future for domestic solar energy distributed in medium-size arrays and on commercial and residential rooftops, especially in markets with high electricity prices or strong mandates, like Hawaii, California and much of the Northeast.

The low cost of solar panels, whose average price dropped 50 percent last year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, has helped. So have new financing methods that allow owners to lease systems long term, cutting their current electricity costs with little or no upfront investment. Last year, about 1,855 megawatts of new photovoltaic capacity was installed, according to a report by the association, more than double the 887 megawatts of the year before.

Despite having lost the program that allowed developers to recoup 30 percent of their costs as a cash grant, the solar industry is still eligible through 2016 for a tax credit to be taken over five years, making its future seem in some ways more solid than that of the wind power industry, even though it far outstrips solar already.

Wind is iffy:

Although wind has some of the same advantages, development faces a different set of challenges. Unlike solar power, which can operate efficiently on a small scale, wind projects often make economic sense only if they are huge, but they can end up generating electricity far from where it is needed, throwing up the political, logistical and parochial hurdles of streaming electrons across county and state lines.

Still, plans for enormous projects are beginning to move ahead. One such project, by Clean Line Energy, which develops high-voltage transmission lines, would create enough capacity to take 3,500 megawatts of wind power from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota to Illinois and states to the east.

via Renewable Energy Advances in the U.S. Despite Obstacles – NYTimes.com.

Solar PV: no longer “the energy of the future and always will be” — Crooked Timber

5 Jan

Economist John Quiggin writew:

I have piece in the National Interest about developments in non-carbon based energy. It ran under the headline “The end of the nuclear renaissance”, but that’s only half the story and probably the less interesting half. The real news of 2011 was the continued massive drop in the price of solar PV, which renders obsolete any analysis based on data before about 2010. In particular, anyone who thinks nuclear is the most promising candidate to replace fossil fuels really needs to recalibrate their views. There’s a case to be made for nuclear as a backstop option, but it’s not nearly as strong as it was even two years ago.

via Solar PV: no longer “the energy of the future and always will be” — Crooked Timber.

Lease Solar Panels for Your Home

22 Mar

Eco-critic and environmentalist Tim Morton has decided to lease solar panels for his home: “You can lease solar panels from Solar City for about $80 a month for 15 with zero down. That gives you about 25 kilowatt hours of electricity, which is enough for my family of four, sometimes with some to spare. In many places you can now sell the extra back to the grid.” Tim Lives in California. Solar City also serves Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

Has anyone had experience with them? With other solar leasing options?