From our beginning, the KiloNewton team has been developing software solutions to make site analysis easier, faster, and smarter to significantly lower LCOE across the industry.
Along with that remarkable team, we’re making tremendous progress with the support of our partnerships with AutoDesk and Esri.
AutoDesk and Esri support the development of our solutions that, in turn, extend their products and technologies. We get access to software, resources, and services that help us develop, test, and market our projects.
AutoDesk is supporting entrepreneurs making a positive impact. They are committed to helping early-stage hardware startups and entrepreneurs in the social, cleantech, and environmental sectors get to market faster. Autodesk’s digital prototyping software helps you design, visualize, and simulate your ideas, so you can build a better world.
“The Esri Partner Network is a rich ecosystem of organizations that work together to amplify The Science of Where. Partners deliver solutions, content, and services using the Esri Geospatial Cloud…Complementary Technology partners offer solutions compatible with ArcGIS, and Hardware partners offer packaged solutions, bundled offers, and devices for use with Esri technology.”
– Learn more about how AutoDesk and Esri partnerships work here:
We’re Going to SPI!
It’s that time of year again, and KiloNewton is heading to SPI in Salt Lake City!
Let us know if you’d like to meet up, have a drink, or talk about the exciting things we are working on.
KiloNewton is excited to be working on a new and rewarding community solar project with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Lame Deer, MT. We are serving the Tribe in the role of consultant and owner’s engineer to ensure that they build the lowest possible levelized cost of energy (LCOE) project on their lands.
The Northern Cheyenne people are consistently anti-fossil fuels and pro-renewable energy, yet have had difficulty implementing renewables, until now. KiloNewton worked with the Tribe and their representatives to help them obtain a $2 million DOE grant to help fund a 2.6MW ground-mount solar plant to serve the energy needs of the town of Busby and various tribal facilities.
“Under the White River Community Solar Project, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe will install 2.6 MW of solar PV on two parcels of undeveloped land, plus 400 kW to provide behind-the-meter solar electricity to three tribal facilities. The project is estimated to generate $5 million of combined annual energy savings and revenue for the life of the system, offset 80% of electricity usage in critical community buildings, and substantially reduce the Tribe’s carbon footprint…
The selected projects are consistent with the principles of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, with a fuel- and technology- neutral energy strategy that recognizes the breadth of energy resources on tribal lands, and each tribe’s right to use them as they see fit,” said Office of Indian Energy Director Kevin R. Frost.
Read more about the DOE energy grants for this and the other award winners here:
KiloNewton has so much good fortune to share, and will be sharing in the coming weeks. Even though our social media has been a little quiet, it’s not for the lack of budding opportunities.
We’ve taken up residence at the historic Insurance Building in Downtown ABQ, and are excited to work with the local community!
We will be having an Open House on July 26th from 4:30 – 7:30. Please feel free to stop by!
We will have raffles, door prizes, food from Frenchish, and refreshments from local breweries.
Stay tuned for more exciting news!
“The same day that a Navajo Nation legislative committee rejected a bill favoring acquisition of the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station, legislator Elmer Begay introduced a new bill to ‘move the Navajo Nation beyond coal source revenues and forward to sustainable, renewable energy sources.” - PV MAGAZINE: Navajo Nation Bill Would Replace 2.25 GW of Coal with Renewables
The announcement of the decision to close the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in Northern Arizona has been applauded by environmentalists, but the plant’s looming closure is not great news for the Hopi and Navajo tribes. For more than 40 years NGS and the Kayenta coal mine serving the plant have provided more than 700 jobs and $40 million per year to the Navajo and Hopi Nations, making their economies highly dependent on coal.
The story is a common one these days. Utilities are pulling out of coal rapidly. The San Juan Generating Station in Northern New Mexico and the Colstrip Power Plant in Montana are also in the process of shutting down, potentially leaving communities and tribes that have been highly dependent on coal in a difficult position.
But another common story is that those communities are moving forward beyond coal. Given the opportunity to buy NGS and keep it operational, the Navajo Nation has declined, and new legislation has been introduced to move the energy economy of the Tribe towards renewable energy.
New Mexico has a new law that outlines a plan to not only move beyond coal, but to transition communities to renewable energy, including job training and severance for displaced coal workers. The San Juan plant is slated to close in 2022 due to continuing economic losses.
The Colstrip Power Plant is closing two of its four units by 2022, also due to economics. And, the owner of the mine that supplies Colstrip, Westmoreland, filed for bankruptcy last year, leaving the status of the plant and hundreds of jobs to the Northern Cheyenne and other nearby tribes in jeopardy. Westmoreland also owns the mine that solely supplies the San Juan Generating Station.
The Northern Cheyenne Tribe has for decades rejected efforts to mine the vast deposits of coal on Tribal land, despite the potential economic boom. However, instead of embracing coal, the Tribe has been moving in the other direction. For several years, the Northern Cheyenne have been exploring developing renewable energy as a means towards energy independence and sustainable, well-paying jobs. KiloNewton is currently working with the Tribe to advise on their development of sustainable and renewable energy generation.
There’s a pattern here. Utilities, such as the Public Service Company of New Mexico, the owners of NGS (Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service Co., Tucson Electric Power Co., and NV Energy), and some of the owners of the Colstrip Power Plant (Puget Sound Energy, Portland General Electric), are pulling out of coal rapidly and transitioning to renewable energy. Communities that have been economically dependent on coal are rejecting continuing operations and mining in favor of renewable resources.
The move away from coal towards renewables isn’t just driven by environmental concerns. Economics are playing a large, if not larger, part in the transition.
“At the end of the day, [the Energy Transition Act] embraces compromise as a means of moving forward; it looks to unite state, customer, and utility interests under single cover, working to navigate a viable path out of the deep and tangled morass.” - JULIE MCNAMARA, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS : SB 489 is the Clean Energy Catalyst New Mexico Needs
New Mexico, where KiloNewton calls home, is a historically economically depressed state. The state’s economy notoriously relies on Federal money, with two national labs (Sandia and Los Alamos), and numerous military bases. Aside from Federal money, the state relies heavily on the energy industry, primarily oil and gas. Yet legislation to move the state towards a renewable energy economy is working its way through Santa Fe after years of similar bills dying in committee. The Energy Transition Act (SB 489) is a multi-pronged approach towards meeting renewable energy goals and meeting the economic challenges that may come from that transition.
Part of the transition includes the closure of the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) San Juan Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant near the town of Farmington in Northern New Mexico, by 2022, about 20 years before the end of its projected lifespan. The plant employs approximately 400 people directly, and the San Juan Mine, which solely supplies coal to the power plant, employs approximately another 360 people. For the small towns in Northern New Mexico, that makes the coal plant and mine the biggest employers of the area. Only a couple of years back, PNM’s plan was to keep the plant operating indefinitely. The concern in the region about closing the plant is prevalent, including among the Navajo Nation.
With New Mexico ranking near the bottom in employment and economic rankings, the question arises: why rock the boat?
The answer is that the boat was already rocking.
In 2017, PNM released an integrated resource plan that included an estimate showing the utility would save between $80 and $450 million in a 20-year period, savings that would be (eventually) passed onto PNM’s customers. PNM’s plan also calls for the utility to be completely coal-free by 2031, when its coal supply agreement ends with the Four Corners Power Plant. The economic evaluation by PNM shows that investing in new renewable facilities, supplemented (for now) with natural gas facilities for peak demand and existing nuclear generation, is cheaper in the long run than keeping the San Juan plant open and retaining investment in the Four Corners plant.
This isn’t just a PNM thing or utilities bowing to pressure. Coal plants all around the country are closing prematurely because they are no longer economically viable. Coal mines are feeling the pressure as well. The owner of the San Juan Mine, Westmoreland Coal, filed for bankruptcy last year.
But, the economic ship of New Mexico doesn’t solely reside on the prowess of PNM’s financial success. The economic impact of coal-fired generation plants closing goes beyond the cost of renewables compared to coal. The San Juan plant and the mine have high-paying jobs, tax revenue both to the state and locally, and other peripheral aspects like scholarships and charitable donations, that are not easily replaced.
These economic waves are already rocking the boat of New Mexico’s economy, and indeed might sink it if not addressed. That’s where the Energy Transition Act (SB 489) comes into play.
PNM has admitted that the debts involved with the San Juan plant, the cost of closing it down, and the investment required to replace the generation new resources will in the short-term result in higher rates for consumers. The Energy Transition Act addresses the financial aspects of PNM’s outstanding debt associated with the San Juan station, providing a way out to lessen the burden passed onto consumers.
More importantly, the bill sets aside money for severance and job training for those affected by the closing of the plant, including those working in the mine that serves San Juan. It requires that new generation facilities host apprenticeships, further developing a skilled labor pool and higher-paying jobs. And while encouraging job growth and stability, it also encourages innovations in technology as a way to ease the transition.
Along with the requirement the state achieve a 50 percent renewable energy portfolio by 2030, and 80 percent by 2040, the Energy Transition Act is powerful tool to not only keep the ship upright, but make it sail. While not as aggressive as the Green New Deal that is making headlines on the Federal level, it’s along the same vein. It doesn’t just require a transition to renewable energy, it creates a feasible path with the potential to lift the economics of New Mexico from the bottom rankings of the nation. In a broader view, it shows the economic promise of investment in renewable energy when an economically-depressed state embraces it over the sinking ship of coal.
“The most controversial part of PG&E’s plan is to dramatically expand the scope of planned grid outages, which are intended to preempt the risk of its grid sparking more deadly wildfires this summer, and the disruptions and dangers those blackouts could cause… [PG&E is] also proposing some novel concepts, like working with non-utility partners to install or utilize on-site generation or distributed energy resources for continuous power during safety outages, and exploring the potential for true microgrid systems to play a role.” - GTM: Breaking Down PG&E’s Plan to Use Power Outages to Prevent Wildfires
California utility PG&E has a plan to prevent catastrophic forest fires like last year’s Camp Fire, but it potentially leaves millions without power during the upcoming summer. The California utility has been linked to multiple wildfires, including the devastating Camp Fire last November, as their transmission lines and equipment were found to have started the fires. So, the essence of the plan is to turn of the grid during peak fire times.
While the power outages are making the headlines, buried in PG&E’s plan is to develop distributed (on-site) power generation and “sectionalizing” its grid or creating true microgrids.
Distributed generation is done best with renewable energy. While wind power isn’t best for residential areas, it has been a good fit for industrial installations. Solar works well in all areas. The main difficulty with this is the variability of generation inherent in renewables. The wind and sun don’t necessarily blow or shine when power is needed. But established microgrids with multiple sources of renewable power and the capability for power storage would be ideal for the Northern California areas susceptible to catastrophic fires. Michael Wara, the director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, notes in an LA Times op-ed last December, the utility needs to “make it acceptable” to turn off the grid, and implementing these changes is how it needs to happen.
This approach could work well nearly anywhere in the US. For example, renewable energy coupled with microgrids could help the recovery of areas affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, or a man-made catastrophe.
The more than a dozen fires that PG&E has been linked to have driven the utility to bankruptcy. The utility literally cannot afford to be the cause of more forest fires and is looking for options from the state to implement its plan. However, the integration of distributed generation, microgrids, and other renewable options is nearly impossible to achieve before the fire season of 2019. Expect the pressure on PG&E from consumers without power, or if another wildfire is caused by the utility, to increase 10-fold to implement these changes. And expect other utilities to follow suit.
“While the unveiling of a Green New Deal resolution including 100% clean energy by 2030 is making headlines today and is a powerful political statement, the real policy action is elsewhere.” - PV MAGAZINE - The Green New Deal Is Going to Happen at the State, Not Federal Level
The new Democratic majority recently unveiled the framework for an ambitious piece of legislation called the Green New Deal, named after President Franklin Roosevelt’s signature New Deal that helped lift the United States out of the aftermath of the Great Depression. The Green New Deal proposes a massive energy infrastructure transition clean, renewable, and zero-emission sources, with the benefit of job creation and tackling economic inequality.
The bill has no real chance to become law with a Republican Senate and President, who claim its objectives are impossible and are too expensive.
The initial framework lacks specifics and proposes some nearly impossible goals (for example: upgrading or replacing every building in the country and making air travel obsolete).
However, the Republicans’ the blanket dismissal is shortsighted, especially with respect to renewable energy. In fact, as PV Magazine points out, the push towards implementing renewable energy on a larger scale is already happening at the state level. Thirty-eight states (including D.C.) have some sort of renewable energy goal, of which 30 are mandatory standards. Seven of those states have goals of more than 50 percent. Five more states will most likely join those ranks, as their newly-elected governors have pledged to implement a transition to 100 percent renewables.
In addition, a fundamental shift is happening among energy consumers. According to a Monmouth University poll released in November 2018, much of the country now acknowledge that climate change is happening, including Republicans, who have historically denied it is happening. Despite the acceptance, the cause and severity are topics where public opinion is widely split. Yet, nearly 70 percent believe that the Federal government should do something to mitigate climate change.
More than 160 companies worldwide have made commitments to get their energy from 100 percent renewable sources. Residential customers are also demanding a transition to renewable energy. Utilities are responding. In December 2018, Xcel Energy became the first US utility to going to carbon-free energy sources (80 percent by 2030, 100 percent by 2050). However, the transition isn’t fully embraced by utilities, echoing the Republican position that going to 100 percent renewable energy is impossible and too expensive.
However, investment in renewable energy is starting to pay large dividends. In 2017, solar and wind industries were creating jobs 12 times faster than the entire US economy, and more than 500,000 jobs globally. However, the majority of those jobs were created in Asia, partially because of government investment in renewables. In April, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that wind and solar jobs would be among the fastest in employment growth from 2016-2026. If the Green New Deal were to be implemented, the job growth would be potentially exponentially more. The investment would payoff rapidly with the economic boom, long-term and well-paying employment, and tax revenue.
So, while the Green New Deal may not happen now, the transition to a renewable energy infrastructure is already happening. The question is, will we be able to move fast enough to mitigate climate change without something as ambitious as the Green New Deal?
Jennifer Runyon writes: “The Commission’s report ‘A New World’ suggests that the energy transformation will change energy statecraft as we know it. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy sources are available in one form or another in most geographic locations. This abundance will strengthen energy security and promote greater energy independence for most states.”
It’s interesting that they are predicting that renewable energy will ease tension over energy conflicts, though it makes sense. With energy more distributed (i.e. more owners), power won’t be so centralized with the old fossil fuel powers-that-be.
Follow the link below to the full article:
New York Times: How the United States generated electricity from 2001 to 2017
NADJA POPOVICH writes in a New York Times article published late last year, they have researched how each State in the US has generated electricity for the past 16 years.
“We charted every state’s electricity generation mix between 2001 and 2017 using data from the United States Energy Information Administration.”
These charts demonstrate the potential for wind and solar to take over the energy landscape as they become more economical, in a similar fashion to how natural gas has overtaken the coal industry in many states. States like California and Hawaii are leading the pack in solar while northern states like Iowa and Idaho are leading the way in wind! Very interesting breakdown.
Here’s the link to the NYT article:
“In this op-ed for pv magazine, KiloNewton Founder and CEO John Williamson looks at both the importance of reducing soft costs and the likely paths to get there.”
Module prices are expected to decline from $0.30/W to $0.18/W over the next 5 years through material cost reductions and efficiency gains. While this is going to further reduce the cost of solar energy, there is virtually no way that we can hit the goal of reducing solar costs by 50% by 2030 without reducing soft costs.
Photo credit: Amy Suarez
Here’s a link to the full article I wrote for PV Magazine below:
In a member update for SEIA, Abigail Hopper writes:
On Saturday evening over dinner in Buenos Aires, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that they would suspend any further trade action for 90 days to allow for continued negotiations. In a follow-up statement, the White House indicated that the recently imposed Section 301 tariffs would remain at 10% for the next 90 days. The tariffs were originally scheduled to increase to 25% on January 1, 2019. For the solar industry, this means that the Section 301 tariff on Chinese inverters will remain at 10% for at least the next 90 days. U.S. module manufacturers who rely on Chinese inputs will also avoid higher tariffs. If at the end of 90 days the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10% tariffs will increase to 25%.
The White House further indicated that China agreed to purchase a “not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance” between the two countries. President Trump and President Xi also “agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.”
While this temporary truce is good news, the structural issues at the heart of the dispute will be difficult to resolve in 90 days. Indeed, to date, China has made no indication that it is prepared to adopt any of the structural changes sought by the Trump Administration. The solar industry should also recognize that any U.S.-China agreement would likely only cover the Section 301 tariffs, and not the Section 201 tariffs (cells and modules), Section 232 tariffs (steel and aluminum), or antidumping and countervailing duties.
Abigail Ross Hopper
President & CEO
Some additional industry and outside perspective on the temporary truce can be found in the links below:
Utility dive: Solar industry sees short-term pluses from U.S.-China trade truce
“Trade experts on a panel at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Policy Summit on Wednesday viewed the 90-day delay on tariff escalation favorably, while hinting that the negotiation period may be too brief. Putting off the tariff increase "actually helps" companies making new manufacturing investments "in the short term," SEIA's vice president of market strategy, John Smirnow, told Utility Dive.”
solar power world: Chinese inverter tariffs won’t jump to 25% yet on January 1
“According to a White House statement, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to suspend further trade action for 90 days to continue negotiations.”
bbc: US-China trade war: Deal agreed to suspend new trade tariffs
“China has pretty much given up nothing in this deal because the future tariffs threatened from the Beijing side were retaliatory in nature and only to be applied if the United State escalated.”
Generally, the consensus is that this is a short-term boon for those who have budgeted for the tariffs to escalate as previously scheduled. At this point, there is little likelihood that there will be any long-term reprieve from the tariffs for solar power, and the effects will be most substantially felt on projects with the lowest margins, i.e. utility and large commercial installations. With Trump’s twitter account stating he is a “Tariff Man” days after the supposed truce, there seems to be no end to the trade war, and the proposed “truce” seems more like a temporary cease-fire.
Matthew Gagne has more than 10 years of experience in the renewable energy industry. An Albuquerque native, He has performed an assortment of tasks for more than 5000 MW of installed renewable energy projects across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America. He has worked on prospecting, pre-construction energy and other environmental assessments, re-powering assessments, refinancing due diligence reports, and operational evaluations.
Previously he was an independent contractor for multiple clients working on anything from renewable energy grant proposals to bankable assessment reports. Matthew joined KiloNewton in October 2018 to provide GIS analysis, wind energy expertise, and assist with solar assessments.
Matthew also received a Graduate Certificate in Wind Energy (Technical) from Texas Tech University and a graduate credential through Texas Tech’s National Wind Institute and DNV GL in 2016. He also has B.A. from Western Washington University where he focused on GIS and journalism.
With Matt’s expertise in renewables optimization, solar, product development and technical business analysis, he is a welcomed addition to the Kilonewton team.
Matthew Gagne, GIS/Renewable Energy Analyst, and Ehtesham Tariq, Mechanical Engineer, from Kilonewton LLC write:
In the last 10 years, renewable energy has quickly become competitive with conventional generation sources that have historically dominated the energy market. Renewables have traditionally relied on incentives at both state and federal levels in the United States to get a foothold in the market. But the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar and wind has dropped significantly according to the Lazard Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis released earlier this week, even without consideration of those incentives. While subsidies remain a factor in the renewable energy economic picture, utility-scale PV solar and wind energy are competitive with conventional generation. We expect that trend to continue as renewable technology improves, supply chains reduce costs, and market penetration increases.
The main factor for LCOE for utility-scale PV solar and wind energy has been capital costs, or the cost of manufacturing and installation of projects. The LCOE for solar and wind, as stated by the US Energy Information Administration earlier this year, is affected proportionally by the capital cost of generation capacity. Capital costs for PV solar and wind have historically been high when compared to conventional generation. However, renewables have an inherent advantage over fossil fuels generation sources in that the fuel is free from massive extraction, transportation, and storage costs, and operations and maintenance is comparatively low.
Subsidies have helped reduce those costs. But reliance on those subsidies has been somewhat problematic. Wind has been especially affected, as the periodic expiration and renewal of the Production Tax Credit at the federal level has led to economic fluctuations in the industry. However, the subsidizing of PV solar and wind and an increasing demand for renewable energy has allowed for the development of a robust competitive market, resulting in reduced supply chain costs and improved technology.
This is reflected in the Lazard report. The report shows a steep decrease in the LCOE for PV solar, with a drop of 88 percent in the last 9 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent. The LCOE for wind energy has a similar trend with a decrease of 69 percent in the last 9 years and a CAGR of 12 percent.
While incentives are still a large component of the renewable energy market, the Lazard report shows that its influence, especially with utility-scale PV solar, is waning. Incentives have much more of an effect on residential PV and wind energy.
When compared to conventional generation such as nuclear and coal, the Lazard report shows that utility-scale PV and wind have a much lower LCOE. Much of this is due to increased competition in the market as well as capital cost factors, such the supply chain and improved technology. While wind has been competitive since 2011, according to Lazard, utility-scale PV solar has only been competitive in the last couple of years.
We expect the trends shown in the Lazard report, especially with utility-scale PV and wind, to continue in the next 10 years. The Department of Energy’s SunShot 2030 goal is to cut the LCOE of utility-scale PV by an additional 50% by the year 2030. Following the current trend, we expect the LCOE for PV solar will reach the goal in 2028. The SunShot program, which began in 2011, has been instrumental in reducing the cost of LCOE for PV solar without subsidies. The solar industry achieved the initial SunShot 2020 goal of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour for utility-scale PV 3 years ahead of schedule.
Our analysis is based on several factors. Capital costs will continue to reduce, while technology will continue to improve. Also, the implementation and advances in energy storage will be crucial to wind and solar. The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine during peak demand, resulting in curtailed wind energy production and clipped solar production. The SunShot 2030 goal includes integration of PV solar with storage as an integral part of reducing the LCOE by half. The Lazard analysis cites the ability for energy storage to not only capture otherwise lost energy, but also share interconnection and inverter costs, as reasons why the LCOE of utility-scale PV solar and wind may decrease in the future. In addition, the trend of mothballing and not replacing older conventional generation facilities will only increase demand and market penetration for renewables.
Photo By Matt Pankuch
CHRISTIAN ROSELUND from pv-magazine writes: CPUC has signed off on four lithium-ion battery projects in California, one of which at 300 MW is the largest battery project to date known by pv magazine.
This is really great news for renewable: “These batteries will not only connect to the substation and transmission infrastructure built for the Moss Landing Power Plant, but will replace the services provided by the plant itself. Plant owner Dynegy announced last February that it may close the plant, and according to CPUC another cogeneration plant in Gilroy has has signaled that it may go offline.” This is a really big deal, and can be an example for other Cities to follow.
It’s not easy making decisions about who to vote for these days, but perhaps seeing which candidates rate greener can help you choose. Here is a piece that PV Magazine did along with Advanced Energy Economy, giving a list of states (including New Mexico) along with their endorsements for prioritization of renewable energy. You can also check your current representatives’ voting history in the League of Conservation Voters website below. Your vote counts, do your research.
PV MAGAZINE: Democrats sweep AEE clean energy scorecards
“Trade group Advanced Energy Economy has published a scorecard which ranks candidates in nine gubernatorial races on clean energy issues, and one of the two major parties is largely missing in action.”
League of Conservation Voters
Creating successful community solar projects is a difficult proposition, virtually impossible in some areas, however it is growing at an incredible rate. From a customer perspective, this article explains some of the frustration and confusion that happens when companies inform about solar in your community. According to the writer, customers are already sold on the idea, they need to understand more of the details early on. Read the article below to find out more:
GTM: My Experience With Community Solar: Excessively Complicated and Frustrating https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/my-experience-with-community-solar?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Daily&utm_campaign=GTMDaily#gs.Z163oWY
JOSH GARRETT of GTM writes:
“If someone is considering subscribing to a community project, chances are they’re excited about “going solar” and realizing its environmental and climate benefits. What potential subscribers are not excited about is a 20-year contract and figuring out where exactly their money is going. That’s why marketers and salespeople should cut right to the chase on the less-feel-good aspects of community solar early in the process and be prepared to explain and answer questions about them over and over, in different ways.”
SPI was a whirlwind! We visited with several clients over the span of the event, spent some time with industry leaders at the Future PV Roundtable, checked out some of the new technology on display, and even tried to have some fun! The venue was huge, but the weather was great, so we took advantage of the tables outside the event for some meetings. It was well-attended, and we had a hard time getting around to see everyone we wanted. Sorry if we missed you!
Some key takeaways were that module and tracker companies are more and more focused on bi-facial technology. We expect to see more of this trend as better certainty of bifacial production can be realized. First Solar series 6 modules were everywhere as well, it seemed, through their new Ecosystem initiative.
We also are seeing more and more interesting software out there – some of these guys had booths as big as the module companies, and about half of startup alley was filled with various technologies we can use to make fields better, faster, and cheaper! Of course, storage was a big topic, but we’re still not seeing compelling commercial/utility-scale options. The primary strategy for now is to distribute the batteries at the load side, rather than build huge battery farms at utility fields.
We’re sharing some photos of the show and us having some fun below. Greentech Media had a nice article featuring some of the newest tech, which you can read below as well, covering car chargers, modules, inverters, and batteries. Check it out!
“The scrappy industry has found a new fantastic point of view.” JULIAN SPECTOR, EMMA FOEHRINGER MERCHANT
GTM - A Whole New World of PV: Product Launch Roundup from Solar Power International:
PV MAGAZINE: Solar Slowly Comes Back Online in North Carolina
“Failures of the electric grid have affected large solar plants after Hurricane Florence, just as they are affecting centralized generation.”
INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS: Solar Energy Largely Unscathed by Hurricane Florence’s Wind and Rain
“In North Carolina, the #2 solar state, Florence was the first extreme weather test for much of its renewable energy.”
CBS NEWS: Hurricane Florence crippled electricity and coal -- solar and wind were back the next day https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hurricane-florence-crippled-electricity-and-coal-solar-and-wind-were-back-the-next-day/
“Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence swamped North and South Carolina, thousands of residents who get power from coal-fired utilities remain without electricity.
Yet solar installations, which provide less than 5 percent of North Carolina's energy, were up and running the day after the storm”
QUARTZ: Resiliency in the face of hurricanes makes the case for renewables even stronger
“People of the Carolinas are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Florence, the wettest tropical cyclone on record. Among the news of dozens of deaths, overflowing pig-manure lagoons, and flooded coal-ash fields, there are some bright spots. Solar-power installations were largely able to escape without harm.”
North Carolina is home of the second largest capacity of solar in the US other then California. Find out how solar asset managers restored electricity after one of the most damaging hurricanes to ever hit the East Coast in the articles above, both giving different perspectives on the outcomes.
Solar has fared well compared to the coal ash disasters and nuclear shutdowns resulting from hurricane Florence. However, reports show flooded solar fields still down, but coming back online. Tracker projects can be particularly vulnerable to flooding if mechanical and electrical components are submerged, but are reporting good outcomes. Good job NC project engineers!