January 3, 2017
Bloomberg reports that solar could beat coal to become the world’s cheapest source of energy. Read the full story here.
August 31, 2016
The price of solar energy in the United States continues to tumble
Solar energy system pricing is at an all-time low, according to recent reports by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Read the full story here
August 28, 2016
Renewable energy accounts for 43% of new US electricity generation capacity in the first half of 2016
CleanTechnica reports that the U.S. electrical grid continues to get cleaner and cleaner. Renewable energy accounts for a large percentage of new electricity generation capacity quarter after quarter, while old coal power plants continue to shut down. Read the full story here https://cleantechnica.com/2016/08/27/renewables-43….
August 5, 2016
EIA projects whopping increase in renewables
Solar Industry magazine reported today that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects a whopping increase in the amount of energy generated by renewable and nuclear sources. The agency also sheds light on a recent trilateral agreement between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. for clean energy generation over the next ten years.
July 25, 2016
World’s renewable energy doubles since 2006
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a detailed report entitled Renewable Energy Statistics 2016. Notable amongst its voluminous statistics are how the world’s renewable energy capacity has nearly doubled since 2006, and that the renewable energy industry employed more than 8.1 million people around the globe in 2015 – a 5% increase from 2014. The report can be downloaded from IRENA here.
June 28, 2016
Falling costs earn solar a larger share of global energy mix
By 2040, the costs of solar PV generation per MWh will fall by a steep 60 percent, making solar one of the world’s cheapest forms of energy, according to a recent report by Bloomberg. The New Energy Outlook 2016 is Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual long-term view of the world’s power markets. According to the report, the increasing affordability of solar power in the coming years will lead to huge investments in renewable energy, accounting for 43 percent of all new power generation added between now and 2040. The result: by that year solar will have a 15 percent share of the entire global energy mix compared with 1.2 percent at the end of 2015.
“The renewable energy transition is well underway, with solar playing a key role,” commented Adnan Amin, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency. “Cost reductions, in combination with other enabling factors, can create a dramatic expansion of solar power globally.” Smart grids and innovative storage technologies will encourage further use of solar power, he added.
FIT 4 contract offers coming soon
Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is currently evaluating eligible FIT 4 applications. More than 96 percent of the complete and eligible applications are for Solar PV projects. In Q4 2015, a significant number of FIT 4 applications to the IESO were submitted by entities controlled by Solar Flow Through Limited Partnerships including the 2014 LP, 2013 LP, and the 2015 LP. The IESO expects to have contract offers in the coming weeks.
Concurrently, the IESO is also planning the upcoming FIT 5 procurement with a target of at least 150 MW. The FIT 5 application window will open in November 2016. In its latest 18 Month Outlook report, the IESO states renewable energy installations are having a positive impact on the province’s power grid.
“Growth in embedded solar and wind generation capacity and on-going conservation initiatives reduce the need for energy from the bulk power system, while also putting downward pressure on the peak electricity demands,” stated the report.
April 18, 2016
Developing countries turning to affordable solar energy
Global solar energy capacity rose 26% in 2015, reports The Economist, as solar pv installations in developing countries like China, India, South Africa and even Jordan are on the rise. Analysts credit government incentives and the dramatic 80% drop in the cost of solar panels since 2010.
Last year, China overtook Germany to become the world’s leading producer of solar energy. The Asian nation is expected to install as much as 12 GW of solar power in the first half of 2016. Come 2022, India is looking to increase its solar energy capacity by 20 times its current level, raising solar’s share in the country’s energy mix to 12.5% by 2025 (at 1% today). This summer, Jordan is set to launch its first foray into the solar energy movement with the opening of a 160 MW solar park in an effort to reduce its reliance on fossil-fuel imports.
IESO to launch second phase of Large Renewable Procurement process
Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is opening a second phase of its competitive Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process, which replaced the large FIT program. In March 2016, the agency awarded contracts to 16 LRP applicants for a total of nearly 455 MW of renewable energy capacity.
This second procurement round will begin August 1, 2016 for 930 MW from renewable energy sources including a target of up to 250 MW for solar photovoltaic projects. “The next phase of the Large Renewable Procurement (LRP II) will ensure Ontario remains a global leader in clean energy development,” stated the Ontario Ministry of Energy. “Since 2003, Ontario’s clean energy initiatives have attracted billions of dollars in private sector investment and it is estimated that they have generated over 42,000 jobs in the clean technology sector. There are more than 30 solar and wind manufacturers operating in communities across the province.”
April 7, 2016
Solar investment trumps oil and gas
The Financial Post reports that global clean energy investment, including solar and wind, was double that of fossil fuels in 2015. The main reason is that production costs for renewables are decreasing substantially. The cost of solar power has plummeted to 1/150th of its level in the 1970s. In that same time period, the total amount of installed solar has skyrocketed 115,000-fold.
“We’re in a low-cost-of-oil environment for the foreseeable future,” said Michael Liebreich during his keynote address at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Summit. “Did that stop renewable energy investment? Not at all.” The BNEF Council has noted that every time solar power installations double, costs go down by 24 percent.
IESO to award FIT 4 contracts in Q2 2016
Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is slated to award FIT 4 contracts this quarter. The agency reports it received 1,968 renewable energy (solar, wind, waterpower and bioenergy) project applications representing a total of 582 megawatts (MW) during the October 2015 procurement window. Applications are currently under review and the IESO expects to award contracts up to the procurement target of 241.438 MW.
March 10, 2016
Solar energy markets booming in the U.S. and across the globe
Market research firm HIS expects the global solar PV market to reach 69GW in new installations for 2016, up 17 percent from 2015. The key markets this year will be the U.S., India and China. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently reported that in 2016 solar will add more new electricity-generating capacity to the nation’s energy mix than will natural gas or wind. According to the EIA, planned installations for 2016 in the United States include 9.5 GW of utility-scale solar. “If actual additions ultimately reflect these plans, 2016 will be the first year in which utility-scale solar additions exceed additions from any other single energy source,” said the U.S. agency.
Alberta, Canada offers rebate incentive program for solar installations
The province of Alberta is providing more than $5.5 million to help farms and municipalities install solar panels as a part of the government’s climate-change platform. “By investing now in proven programs we will be better prepared to ramp up our efforts as the price on carbon pollution is phased in,” said Alberta’s Environment Minister Shannon Phillips. The program involves rebates that extend a program already offered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre. So far six Edmonton community leagues have installed solar panels and reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 55 tonnes per year.
December 29, 2015
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), small-scale solar installations in the United States account for nearly a third of the country’s overall grid capacity. “Generation from roof-top photovoltaic systems has become an increasingly important part of total solar generation in the United States,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.
The U.S. House of Representatives included a five-year extension of the solar investment tax credit (ITC) in the omnibus bill, which could have a significant impact on the U.S. solar market. The ITC, which offers a 30 percent tax credit on solar installations, is set to expire in 2016—-which could remove an essential driver of growth in the solar industry.
According to a recent study by IHS Technology, there is currently a domestic PV project pipeline totaling about 58 GW. A five-year extension of the ITC “could spur developers to continue growing the pipeline at the current rate of 15 GW per year,” notes the study. If the extension is enacted, it could mean 12 GW to 14 GW of solar will be installed in the U.S. in 2016 with a potential for 13 GW to 16 GW installed in 2017.
December 21, 2015
Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has released its 18-month Outlook report covering the period from January 2016 to 2017. Over that time period, IESO expects the amount of grid-connected solar generation to increase by about 380 MW while distribution-connected solar generation is expected to increase to 2,150 MW. “Growth in embedded solar and wind generation capacity and on-going conservation initiatives reduce the need for energy from the bulk power system, while also putting downward pressure on peak electricity demands,” stated the report’s authors.
IESO awards major contracts for essential battery storage projects
IESO and SunEdison Inc. have signed a 10-year agreement for the supply of a commercial, grid-connected 5 MW battery storage project. Data from the project will be analyzed to show how storage can be used to optimize the power flow from wind and solar and cut down on expensive system upgrades.
“By integrating energy storage into their grid, the Ontario IESO gains access to a powerful new tool that has the potential to transform how it operates the power system,” explained Tim Derrick, SunEdison’s general manager of advanced solutions. This type of project is a first for the company and one of the first commercial flow battery projects in Canada. Construction is expected to begin in the first half of 2017 and completed by the end of the year.
SunEdison is one of five companies to which IESO offered a total of nine (16.75 MW) energy storage project contracts. These projects are a part of IESO’s plan to secure a total of 50 MW of energy storage in Ontario. “Storage technology remains one of the most innovative and exciting aspects of our energy policy, ” said Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy, “particularly because of the incredible potential it presents. It will help strengthen our system and improve service to electricity consumers.”