The US has 43 nuclear power plants' worth of solar energy in the pipeline

The boom in solar energy in the US  in recent years? You haven’t seen anything yet. The pipeline of photovoltaic projects has grown 7% over the past 12 months andnow stands at 2,400 solar installations that would generate 43,000 megawatts(MW), according to a report released today by market research firm NPD Solarbuzz. If all these projects are built, their peak electricity output would be equivalent to that of 43 big nuclear power plants, and enough to keep the lights on in six million American homes. Only 8.5% of the pipeline is currently being installed, with most of it still in the planning stages. Some projects will inevitably get canceled or fail to raise financing. But there’s reason to believe that a good chunk of these solar power plants and rooftop installations will get built over the next two years. That’s because a crucial US tax break for renewable energy projects is set to fall from 30% to 10% at the end of 2016. So there will be a rush to get projects online. In 2012, for instance, wind developers installed a record 13,131 MW as a key tax credit was set to expire, accounting for 42% of all new US electricity capacity that year.  (The US Congress subsequently renewed the tax break for another year.)

SolarCity Completes Industry's First Securitization of Distributed Solar Energy

SolarCity Corp. today announced that it has completed what is reported to be the first securitization of distributed solar energy assets.  SolarCity completed a private placement in the amount of $54,425,000 with an interest rate of 4.80% and a scheduled maturity date of December 2026. "This transaction is a breakthrough and will pave the way for others, but its greater significance is the validation of the quality of SolarCity's assets," said Bob Kelly, SolarCity's chief financial officer. "SolarCity  lowers what is typically the highest operating cost for households and gives them long-term control over that cost.  Customers highly value those attributes, and that's why these assets perform so well." SolarCity's pool of solar contracts received an investment grade rating of BBB+ from Standard & Poor's. The rating reflects the predictability and quality of the cash flows and the minimal operation and production risk of solar assets. Distributed solar is one of the first new asset classes to  achieve an investment grade rating in the asset back securities markets in the past several years.

GE Promises More Wind Power Without New Turbines

GE this fall began pushing a new bit of software wizardry that it says will boost wind farm performance. Looks like E.On is biting. GE said that the Germany-based energy giant would install PowerUp, described as a “customized software-enabled platform that increases a wind farm’s output by up to 5 percent,” at five wind farms. This adds up to 469 GE 1.5-77 wind turbines that E.On uses (through its Climate & Renewables division). GE is suggesting that this is the equivalent of building as many as 19 new turbines of that size, but it’s going to have to prove that’s the case in order to make money off implementing PowerUp for E.On. That’s because this is an “outcomes-based” deal: The companies will measure the impact of PowerUp, and GE will get only a percentage of the gains the technology brings. “The outcomes-based approach aligns well with our goals of providing cleaner, better energy at a more affordable price,” Steve Trenholm, chairman, E.ON North America, said in a statement. “Investment in wind energy has led to technological advancements like PowerUp that continue to make renewables more and more competitive with traditional forms of energy.”

Obama admin. not prosecuting wind farms for bird deaths

The Obama administration is giving wind power producers a pass by not going after them for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of federally protected birds and bats. But the feds have gone after fossil fuel and other companies that have killed these animals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently has 18 open investigations into bird and bat deaths due to wind power operations, according to a service spokeswoman, with 14 of these cases involving the death of at least one golden eagle — which are federally protected under three different laws. Seven of these cases have been referred to the U.S. Justice Department for “potential prosecution.” A spokesman with the Justice Department, however, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that there “have been no prosecutions to date under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and/or the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Act related to the deaths of migratory birds, including eagles, at wind facilities.” The Obama administration’s support for wind energy development and inaction against wind producers that allegedly break these laws has sparked the ire of House Republicans. Earlier this month, Republicans on the Committee on Natural Resources sent letters to the administration slamming them for not providing documentation related to bird deaths from wind farms.

The Solar Energy Industry Sizzles, Offshore Wind Dies Down

With so many major obstacles standing in the way of U.S. offshore wind energy, the plans to launch the renewable energy sites may never come to fruition. Such uncertainty can make it a high-risk investment and turn away many venture capitalists.

Investment in Clean Technologies

The trends we are seeing reflect a broad spectrum of innovations, beyond energy generation (nevertheless a central pillar of clean technologies) to new commercialization models, to energy efficiency, to new applications of advances in materials sciences and molecular structures, and to resource sharing platforms enabled by the web.

More Power to You: Marines Boost Energy, Lighten Load

The Marine Austere Patrolling System (MAPS) combines solar power and an individual water purifier to help lighten the load of Marines conducting lengthy missions in remote locations with few or no options for resupply.

Empowering Rural Cambodia with Solar lighting

As Cambodia is located in one of the sunniest areas of the world, solar power provides an excellent solution to the reduction in kerosene use: it's safe; reliable; and easy to use.

What is osmotic power?

There are enormous benefits with osmotic power, namely that it's the cleanest, most reliable source of renewable energy on the planet, it is always available and more cost-effective than solar or wind power, has a small ecological footprint and it recycles natures resources (seawater or wastewater).

Fortune 500 Companies That Make the World a Better Place

A company's brand extends beyond its product. It also includes the way the business conducts itself in the world around it, by the way it treats its associates, and how far it reaches out of its niche to make a difference in the name of goodwill.

Power on Demand

Designed for the Battlefield …Indispensable on the Construction Site

Nigeria Alternative Energy EXPO 2013

The Nigeria Alternative Energy Exhibition (NAEE 2013) ended at ShehuYar' Adua Convention Centre in Abuja after a successful third edition of one of Africa's biggest energy forum.

Utilities Spend Big In Arizona Solar Energy Fight As Final Decision Looms

Utility commissioners in Arizona will decide the fate of rooftop solar incentives this week, in what has become the biggest fight over renewable energy policy in the country. A two-day hearing on the issue at the Arizona Corporation Commission began Wednesday. The Arizona Public Service, the state's largest utility, is asking the commission to change the current policy, which allows homes and businesses with their own solar power systems to sell any excess energy they generate back to the grid. That policy, known as net metering, was first put in place in 2009. The utility argues that customers with rooftop solar aren't paying their fair share to maintain the grid, and has proposed policy changes that would increase prices for those with solar systems. But local solar advocates have accused the utility of trying to kill the state's burgeoning solar industry, and have launched a counter-campaign. As The Huffington Post has previously reported, the fight got interesting when the utility revealed that it had been secretly funding anti-solar ads produced by a national conservative group. After a commissioner asked the company and other groups involved in the net metering debate to disclose how much money they were spending on the issue, APS disclosed that it had spent $3.7 million on PR work. The solar lobby disclosed that it was spending nearly half a million dollars on fighting the proposed changes.

After Fukushima, Japan Finds Beauty in Solar Power

It looks like some idealistic architecture student’s vision for the future of sustainable energy production. In fact, it's a photo of a real-life solar plant that went into operation on Nov. 1 in Japan. The Kagoshima Nanatsujima Meg a Solar Power Plant , built by the electronics manufacturer Kyocera, boasts postcard views of Kagoshima Bay and Sakurajima volcano. It’s also Japan’s largest, with a capacity of 70 megawatts. That’s enough to power some 22,000 Japanese homes. The $280 million project is part of a national effort to invest in clean, renewable energy as the country continues to grapple with the fallout of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The country’s new feed-i n tariffs  have made it one of the world’s fa stest-growing solar markets .   This sort of sprawling solar-panel farm is hardly the most efficient form of power generation in terms of either cost or the amount of land required. Still, it makes more sense when you consider that Japan has been dealing with soaring energy prices in the wake of a disaster that threw into question its entire nuclear-power program into question. While solar is clearly more expensive than nuclear power, the  Washington Post  noted in June:  Most consumers think that sacrifice is worthwhile, and they say nuclear power has hidden cleanup and compensation costs that emerge only after an accident. Fossil fuels, meanwhile, release harmful greenhouse gases and must be imported from Australia, Russia, Indonesia and the Middle East. In other words, this gorgeous solar plant is what happens when a country comes face-to-face with the full societal costs of more traditional power sources.  

Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Starts Generating

A development to harness the power of the wind about 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Fukushima, site of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, began generating power on an operational basis today. The project, funded by the government and led by Marubeni Corp. ), is a symbol of Japan’s ambition to commercialize the unproven technology of floating offshore wind power and its plan to turn quake-ravaged Fukushima into a clean energy hub. “Fukushima is making a stride toward the future step by step,” Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima, said today at a ceremony in Fukushima marking the project’s initiation. “Floating offshore wind is a symbol of such a future.” The 11-member group’s project so far consists of a 2-megawatt turbine from Hitachi Ltd. )nicknamed “Fukushima Mirai.” A floating substation, the first of its kind, has also been set up and bears the name “Fukushima Kizuna.” Mirai means future, while kizuna translates as ties. The group is planning to install two more turbines by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. with 7 megawatts of capacity each. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has said the floating offshore capacity may be expanded to 1,000 megawatts.

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