Oregon Energy Storage Demonstration Project Launches With State-Federal-NGO Partnership

An inaugural Eugene, Oregon backup grid storage program using PV-generated electricity will now be used by the Eugene Water & Electric Board. This follows a joint solicitation from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity and the Oregon Department of Energy calling for an energy storage program. As a result, $295,000 in state and federal funds are being awarded to the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) for this energy storage demonstration project. Of note, this project will incorporate 500…

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Washington-Based zHome Sets National Net-Zero Precedent

Originally published on CleanTechnica Builders seeking a net-zero energy home showcase can look to BuiltGreen’s zHome townhome complex in Issaquah, Washington. White paper released According to a BuiltGreen white paper, the zHome development is the first net-zero energy townhome complex in the US, a project meant to spur the market toward deep green housing for the average person. Built Green is an environmentally friendly, non-profit residential building program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. When launched. this project…

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Changing Net Metering Policies Being Studied In Over Half Of US States

Originally published on CleanTechnica Changes to solar net metering policies are being studied or have been enacted in more than half of the states in this nation, states the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center’s latest “50 States of Solar” report. The NC Clean Energy Technology Center is a UNC System-chartered Public Service Center administered by the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University. Not surprising, “Rate design, net metering, and distributed solar ownership are among the most contentious ongoing renewable energy policy issues,”…

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California Net Metering Petition Gains Traction

A petition drive to leave California net metering policies untouched has garnered more than 130,000 signatures. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) reports it has received this signature-heavy petition, which is calling it to not enact controversial proposals to reform net metering in the state. The petition was organized by pro-solar coalition Vote Solar, a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream. Since 2002, this organization has engaged…

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SDG&E Utility Warns It Will Hit Net Metering Caps By Mid-2016

Last week San Diego Gas & Electric warned distributed energy enthusiasts it expects to reach caps on net metering in the summer of 2016. According to pv-magazine, SDG&E’s numbers show that existing installations and pending applications take up 74% of available capacity in the program. This opens the door to what “net metering 2.0” might look like, pitting utilities and distributed energy advocates in a face-off. Current estimates show 30 MW of rooftop solar is being added each month under net…

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Study Points Out Infrastructure Requirements To Obtain Near 100% Renewable Electricity

To reduce contributors to climate change and grow worldwide renewable electricity use, having the proper infrastructure in place is a critical ingredient. Due to increasing environmental concerns, numerous studies have been reporting on the best ways to reduce GHG emissions. Some of the most effective actions that can be taken are to reduce emissions by increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the electric sector, and increasing the share of electrification in some high energy intensive sectors, such as…

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New York Net Metering Cap Suspended For Now

Adding to the distributed energy/net metering debate involving utilities and solar panel owners, New York State for now has lifted the cap on net metering. pv-magazine reported last week that New York regulators have suspended the existing cap on the state’s net metering program. This suspension will remain in effect until a new valuation is concluded under the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) process. Among other goals for 2030, New York’s REV is targeting that 50% of all New York’s energy will…

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Rooftop solar

Potential Changes From Utilities In Net Metering Will Adversely Impact Rooftop Solar

When it comes to net metering dollars and cents, the utility bill face-off between rooftop solar champions and utilities continues to evolve. While net metering has achieved wins in states like Colorado and Nevada, owners of rooftop solar systems in states like Florida may not be as fortunate, where the development of large-scale solar projects are being planned by investor-owned utility Florida Power and Light (FPL) . As one solar owner has put it: “But the war on solar is…

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Solar farm

Amazon Virginia Solar Farm Approved For Construction

Amazon recently received final approval to begin construction of a 80 MegaWatt solar farm in Virginia’s Accomack County. The farm, called “Amazon Solar Farm US East,” will be owned and developed by EPC Community Energy, and Amazon will buy the power generated through a power purchase agreement. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe revealed that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality had agreed to issue a permit for the facility, which will be made up of 250,000 solar panels and generate enough…

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Solar Lights: Nokero Introduces New Solar Light Bulb In Zimbabwe

I received this news and Zimbabwe photo yesterday from Steve Katsaros, founder of Nokero, a pioneering Denver company that makes great solar lights and solar light bulbs that replace poisonous kerosene lamps that are so prevalent where people have no access to electricity. Katsaros had very good news to share: My colleagues and I have been all over the globe researching, inventing, selling and building Nokero…After nearly 6 years in the solar light business, we have finally created the perfect…

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Solar Gardens Provide Future for Distributed Energy

Before I begin writing about energy gardens, it is incredibly helpful to understand what they are, what they aren’t, and their level of independence from whatever energy utility serves the vicinity. The concept of distributed energy According to the US Department of Energy, “distributed energy consists of a range of smaller-scale and modular devices designed to provide electricity, and sometimes also thermal energy, in locations close to consumers.” A solar garden fits in this category. They include, adds the DOE,…

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Kirigami inspires new solar cell technology

Kirigami Inspires New Solar Cell Technology

Researchers at the University of Michigan have created a lattice-like solar cell that can stretch like an accordion, allowing it to tilt along the sun’s trajectory and capture more energy. The details of the oddly shaped solar film, inspired by the Japanese art of paper cutting called kirigami, are in a paper recently published in the journal Nature Communications. The new design helps fix a problem with most solar power systems – the sun moves and the panels don’t. By…

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New Rooftop Wind Turbine Technology

Wind power is a major source of renewable electric power in many places around the world. We usually associate wind power with tall wind turbines located in remote locations or far out to sea. In July, Denmark produced 140% of its domestic energy from just such turbines, according to The Guardian. Yes, that record was established over a rather windy 24-hour period, but it is remarkable all the same. Until now, small wind turbines that are sized for residential and…

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Solar Decathlon 2015 Kicks Off

Solar Decathlon 2015 Kicks Off

Solar Decathlon 2015, a design and build competition involving university teams from around the globe, kicked off today with keynote speaker US Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz. The Decathlon asks teams to design and build homes powered by the sun that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in, which are judged in several competitions. The homes are on display throughout the competition so spectators can tour them. “These inspiring collegiate teams show the world how energy-efficient building design…

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NexPower’s Building Integrated Photovoltaic Film Goes Anywhere

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) have been around for a few years now. They have graced concrete, storefront systems, glass, and many other materials. The goal of these products is to integrate the photovoltaic system into building materials that are already used in the structure, reducing the weight of the system, providing more design flexibility, and making them aesthetically pleasing. NexPower’s solar glass, which is a form of BIPV, has recently been installed at the Building Research Establishment in Watford in…

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Solar lamp design winner

Solar Lamp Design Winner Will Be Distributed Throughout Africa To Dispel Darkness

The winning design for a solar lamp, shown above, will be distributed to off-grid communities in Africa to help people living there dispel the darkness without the use of carbon-emitting kerosene lanterns. About 14,500 lamps, powered by the sun, will be distributed throughout Zimbabwe, Senegal, and Zambia. The Natural Light contest, sponsored by skylight manufacturer VELUX and Little Sun, which is a social business and a global project founded by internationally renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, asked teams to…

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Team Orange County's entry into Solar Decathlon 2015

Team Orange County Focuses On SoCal Issues In Solar Decathlon 2015

Team Orange County’s entry into this year’s Solar Decathlon addresses some of the issues found in the Southern California home market, including the use of solar energy and landscaping without water. Casa del Sol, as their entry is called, is inspired by the resilient and diurnal characteristics of the California poppy. It is designed with appropriate shading and natural ventilation to allow it to open and close in tune to the path of the sun. Strategically positioned windows automatically open…

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