Unique National Clean Energy Credentialing Alliance Created, Uses Solar Power International as Launchpad

In response to groundbreaking growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, a group of highly respected, nationally accredited credentialing organizations announces the formation of a unique Clean Energy Credentialing Coalition (CECC). The Coalition was announced in conjunction with Solar Power International 2013 (SPI '13), the solar energy industry's most powerful, comprehensive educational conference and product exhibition, being held at Chicago's McCormick Place, October 21 - 24. The newly-formed group joins together organizations to demonstrate and promote the collective importance of third-party quality assessment, and the value it brings to building strong and competent renewable energy and energy efficiency markets.  The Coalition is creating a campaign to build awareness of the value of credentialing - particularly as a distinguishing tool for consumers, energy incentive programs, employers and industry. A quality credential is a mark of excellence that can boost consumer confidence in renewable energy and energy efficiency professionals, products and programs.  The goal of the campaign is to educate, enlighten and elevate interest in the benefits associated with clean energy credentialing - from consumers and educators, to manufacturers and government decision makers. 

Solar Power International 2013 Tradeshow Report

Here we have compiled a report with several product releases from this years show.

Solar Power International up and running in Chicago

Solar Power International, the solar energy industry’s most powerful, comprehensive educational conference and product exhibition, is happening in Chicago now, October 21 – 24, 2013. This year Solar Power International  more than doubled the educational offering, with nearly 60 concurrent sessions  and Quick Talks ,  more than 60 new sessions in key areas on the Expo floor , and more than 50 new educational posters. As a media partner AltEnergyMag.com will be covering Solar Power International 2013 and bringing all the industry news and exciting new products to our eMagazine to help our readers make sense of the massive event. Make sure to check out our special  SPI 2013 Newspage  for Exhibitor news. Stay tuned for our SPI 2013 Tradeshow report later this week.  

California adopts first-in-nation energy storage plan

In a bold move being closely watched by utilities, environmentalists and the clean technology industry, California adopted the nation's first energy storage mandate for utilities Thursday. State regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission, meeting in Redding, unanimously approved Commissioner Carla Peterman's groundbreaking proposal that requires PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to expand their capacity to store electricity, including renewable energy generated from solar and wind. "The decision lays out an energy storage procurement policy guided by three principals: optimization of the grid, integration of renewable energy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," said Peterman, a rising star who was appointed to the agency by Gov. Jerry Brown in late 2012. The state's three investor-owned utilities must collectively buy 1.3 gigawatts, or 1,325 megawatts, of energy storage capacity by the end of 2020--or roughly enough energy to supply nearly 1 million homes. The ambitious 1.3 gigawatts is a capacity target, because different storage technologies have different rates at which they can accept and discharge energy, and the mandate aims to be technology neutral.

In sunny Arizona, a battle over solar power

An insider fight over how much a utility company must pay for electricity generated by solar panels on private rooftops is boiling over into a full-fledged campaign, complete with shadowy  money, expensive television advertising, calls for grass-roots action and some of the best pollsters and consultants money can buy. The feud between the utility and solar panel industries revolves around net metering policies, which govern part of the relationship between utilities and their customers. If the customers have solar panels that generate surplus electricity, the customers can feed that power back into the electric grid; utilities are required to pay the consumer a set rate for the electricity they generate. When those rates were first implemented, the nascent solar industry had few residential customers. But now, as more customers invest in solar panels for economic or environmental reasons, public utilities are starting to feel the pinch — and they want to stop paying rates they say are above market value for power they can’t always use. When the Arizona Corporation Commission holds its November meeting, commissioners will consider a request from Arizona Public Service Company, the state’s largest electric utility, to change those rates. The utility industry wants permission to pay rates below market value, and to charge customers who feed electricity back to the grid a monthly fee for maintenance costs.

High Altitude Wind Energy

Technologies to harness high-altitude winds have been around for several decades now but are still in the planning or prototype stage. When these systems are placed into use, the cost of high-altitude wind energy will range from two to four cents per kilowatt hour.

Ceramics Provide High Voltage Insulation For Unique Gas Plasma Engine

Electric propulsion satellites part of new and greener space technology.

Solar Power International - Some Perspectives

We had a chance to talk to some of the folks representing their companies at the show to find out why they go and what they do.

Thin Layers With A Big Impact

How Cascading Arc Plasma Coatings Help Deliver the Highest Efficiency

The Power to Save Lives

Like all of the New Jersey National Guard's solar power projects, this project is under the State of New Jersey's Solar Renewable Energy Certificate Program. Under this program, solar system owners that generate over 1,000 kilowatts of electricity per year that's connected to the public power grid, receive certificates.

Real Examples Renewable Energy Shows Promise Now!

A gentlemen doing his own start up in green asked me to explain clearly what are some examples how going renewable is the business trend of the markets and the government.

Are Operators Ready to Meet the Alternative Energy Risks?

By investing in the right risk management solutions, owners and operators can reduce their potential long-term costs as well as protect against business disruptions.

Team Austria Wins Solar Decathlon 2013

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 today announced the winners of this global competition among collegiate teams to build the most energy-efficient solar-powered house at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. Team Austria, made up of students from the Vienna University of Technology, won top honors overall by designing, building, and operating the most cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive solar-powered house. University of Nevada Las Vegas took second place, followed by Czech Republic, comprised of students from Czech Technical University, in third place. “The Solar Decathlon is inspiring and training the next generation of clean energy architects, engineers and entrepreneurs, and showing that affordable, clean energy technologies can help homeowners save money and energy today,” said U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Congratulations to the Solar Decathlon 2013 competitors – your hard work and creativity is helping to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.” Reflecting the quality of the Solar Decathlon 2013 houses, the winning teams’ final scores were the closest they have ever been since the beginning of the competition. Team Austria earned 951.9 points out of a possible 1,000 to win the competition, followed by University of Nevada Las Vegas with 947.6 points, and Czech Republic with 945.1 points. Contributing to their overall win, Team Austria performed well in several of the individual contests, finishing first in the Communications Contest, second in Market Appeal, and tied for first in the Hot Water Contest. Every house in the 2013 competition produced more energy than it consumed. Nineteen collegiate teams from across the country and around the world competed in 10 contests over 10 days that gauged each house’s performance, livability and affordability. The teams performed everyday tasks, including cooking, laundry, and washing dishes, that tested the energy efficiency of their houses. The winner of the overall competition best blended affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.  Full competition results and details about the individual contests may be found at www.SolarDecathlon.gov .

Abengoa's Gigantic ‘Salt Battery' Stores Utility-Scale Solar Energy

The global solar company Abengoa Solar has just announced that its massive Solana solar power plant has begun commercial operation in Arizona. The plant represents a transformational breakthrough in utility scale solar power, because it includes an energy storage system based on molten salt. The storage feature enables the plant to keep generating electricity long after the sun goes down. CSPs use mirrors to concentrate solar energy on a focal point, typically a large tower. According to Abengoa, at 280 megawatts the Solana plant is the world’s la rgest CSP plant  to use parabolic trough mirrors to concentrate solar energy (typical CSP mirrors, called heliostats, are flat and quadrilateral). It is also the first solar plant in the U.S. with thermal energy storage, in the form of a molten salt system. The storage capacity is about six hours. That enables the plant to keep generating electricity from solar energy well into the early evening hours, when demand in the region typically peaks out. Solana officially went online yesterday after completing a series of tests that included charging the thermal energy storage system and demonstrating that it could produce electricity for six hours using only stored energy.

Battery-Stored Solar Power Sparks Backlash From Utilities

California’s three biggest utilities are sparring with their own customers about systems that store energy from the sun, opening another front in the battle that’s redefining the mission of electricity generators. Edison International (EIX), PG&E Corp. and Sempra Energy (SRE) said they’re putting up hurdles to some battery backups wired to solar panels because they can’t be certain the power flowing back to the grid from the units is actually clean energy. The dispute threatens the state’s $2 billion rooftop solar industry and indicates the depth of utilities’ concerns about consumers producing their own power. People with rooftop panels are already buying less electricity, and adding batteries takes them closer to the day they won’t need to buy from the local grid at all, said Ben Peters, a government affairs analyst at Mainstream Energy Corp., which installs solar systems. “The utilities clearly see rooftop solar as the next threat,” Peters said from his office in Sunnyvale, California. “They’re trying to limit the growth.”

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