Saturday, April 7, 2012

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

Largest Rooftop Solar Power Plant in North America Formally Completed

Posted: 07 Apr 2012 08:02 AM PDT

Riverside Renewable Energy Solar Array- Largest Rooftop Solar Array in North America

New Jersey loves setting rooftop solar power records. It did in 2009 when it opened the largest solar rooftop in North America (2.4 MW of capacity), again in 2011 when Toys”R”Us got a 5.38-MW solar roof, and again later in 2011 when a 9-MW solar roof was installed on a large Holt Logistics refrigerated warehouse, the Gloucester Marine Terminal. This solar rooftop just achieved its formal completion this week.

The solar rooftop project is called Riverside Renewable Energy, LLC. It cost $42 million, includes 27,526 photovoltaic rooftop solar panels, and covers 1.1 million square feet.

U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) this week “presented Gloucester Marine Terminal officials with an award letter announcing an $11 million federal tax credit rebate” for the project, a news release stated.

“The Riverside project is an outstanding example of how we can create jobs that move us towards cleaner, more efficient and cost-saving energy that doesn’t come from overseas,” said Congressman Andrews.  “By partnering with the federal government, private industry is able to make strides that are good for job creation and the economy right now, and also for a cleaner, healthier and more energy efficient future here in South Jersey and the country.”

The project, construction of which started in June 2011, was completed on budget and ahead of schedule — not something you’re likely to read about some of solar power’s conventional competitors. And this despite the fact that it is located in a high-wind location on the Delaware River, is located on a federal EPA Superfund site, and required oversight from the Terminal by the Department of Homeland Security.

Riverside will generate the equivalent of up to 80 percent of the Terminal’s power demand. The system is expected to offset more than 8,100 tons of carbon dioxide, approximately the same amount that would be offset by planting 400,000 trees or removing 1,200 cars from the road.

Aside from Holt Logistics, SunPower, Rabobank, and PSE&G were involved in this record-breaking solar power project.

Connect with me on Google+, Twitter, or the little-known social networking site referred to as ‘Facebook‘.

Image: Riverside Renewable Energy Solar Array courtesy Holt Logistics

Related posts:

  1. Italy to Get Largest Rooftop Solar Power Plant in the World
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  3. N. America's Largest Rooftop Solar Array Opens in New Jersey


A (Non-)Loan Guarantee Non-Scandal with Another Solar Company ($2 Billion Conservative Media Mistake)

Posted: 07 Apr 2012 07:07 AM PDT

 
First of all, it’s important for anyone not familiar with the solar industry to know that it has been the fastest-growing industry in the US recently, and with this fast growth comes a lot of change — costs dropping fast, some technologies improving, other technologies being priced out of competition, and so on.

Next, here’s a good quote on this topic from the comments section of a recent post in reply to a slightly confused commenter: “Your confusing risk of the industry as a whole with the risk profile of individual companies. Niche industries attract many small operators, as these industries transition to mainstream most of the individual companies fail leaving a few consolidated efficient operators. The motor vehicle industry is a perfect example, in their early days there were more than a hundred small US car companies with essentially equal shares of the industry. As it grew this fell until the big three represented over 95% of the domestic industry.” [sic] The point being: solar is in those early stages now.

Now, getting on to the story…. Solar haters (the very few that exist) jumped all over news this week of solar company Solar Trust filing for bankruptcy (again, nothing surprising in this fast-growing, fast-changing industry full of companies that won’t last this industry maturation process). In these solar haters’ zealousness, they focused on one thing that is completely untrue (actually, even mainstream media agencies like AP and Reuters messed up on this point) — they stated that the company was again a recipient of a US Department of Energy loan guarantee,… but it wasn’t.

Solar Trust never received a loan guarantee from the DOE.

Here’s more from Politico (a political news site that actually leans conservative):

The misunderstanding underscores the complexities of DOE's loan guarantee program, the uncertainty of the global solar market and the eagerness of many in the media to discover the next Solyndra.

Right-leaning blogs and websites seized on the news with headlines blaring about $2 billion of taxpayers' money lost — even if the accompanying story correctly noted that Solar Trust never got a dime.

"One year ago this outfit got $2.1 billion in taxpayer loans," Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program Tuesday. "So down the tubes. Solyndra was solar panels, and now Solar Trust of America has filed bankruptcy."

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) took to Twitter on Tuesday to lament the failure: "This costs us $2.1 bill. Equal to all 'Big Oil' tax breaks last yr."

David Roberts of Grist notes:

Most disturbingly, Guillen notes that Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), who's on the Energy and Commerce oversight committee, didn't seem to know that the company was never actually given money.

Surprised? Of course you shouldn’t be. As Joe Romm of Climate Progress follows up: “we expect those folks to get stories wrong — that's what they do for a living.”

More on that:

When the media latches on to a narrative, mistakes happen. Why? Confirmation bias sets in, so reporters and editors don't do the same amount of due diligence as they would on a story that strikes their intuition — their nose for news — as incorrect.

The media mistakenly believes unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases are unlikely to have a catastrophic impact, so they downplay the story and play up the 1 in 20 articles that doesn't show  the situation is more dire than scientists thought.

And, back to the solar industry, why is this company going under? Because its focus on solar thermal can’t compete with solar PV costs that have fallen off a cliff in the past year or so, at least not as much as was previously thought. (A key reason why Solyndra is now gone.) Of course, you would never know any of this watching FOX News or listening to Rush Limbaugh.

… and I’ll just put this here (h/t David Roberts):

Connect with me on Google+, Twitter, or the little-known social networking site referred to as ‘Facebook‘.

Image via Solar Trust

Related posts:

  1. Solar Increasingly Attractive to Large Investors, Now ‘Bankable’ — Thanks, Solar Loan Guarantee Program
  2. Boehner: Energy Subsidies “Wrong” (& Can I Please Have a $2-Billion Loan Guarantee for a Nuclear Power Plant?)
  3. New Kind of 40% Efficient Solar Farm Gets $90 Million DOE Loan Guarantee to Cogentrix


Wireless EV Charging Gets a $4 Million Charge from DOE

Posted: 07 Apr 2012 06:21 AM PDT

DOE funds $4 million for wireless EV charging systemsHappy days for electric vehicle owners are just around the corner: the U.S. Department of Energy is revving up wireless EV charging systems with a new round of $4 million in funding through its Vehicle Technologies Program. The initial goal is to get a wireless EV charging system for parked cars into the mass market within the next ten years, but DOE isn’t stopping there. Ultimately, the agency expects to accelerate the development of road-based wireless systems that will enable you to grab a charge while cruising down the highway.

The ripple effect of wireless EV charging

The immediate goal of the funding program is to raise the consumer attraction level of EV’s. Charging up an EV while parked at home or at a workplace is convenient enough but on the road the experience is pretty similar to gassing up: no matter what the weather, you have to get out of the car (unless you live in a no self-serve state). For most drivers, a wireless, hands-free charging system would mark a truly major difference between EV technology and conventional gasoline vehicles.

In terms of national energy and environmental policies, when coupled with the adoption of solar power and other forms of renewable energy more EV’s on the road will mean less reliance on fossil fuels, lower greenhouse gas emissions and cleaner air for metro areas.

Wireless charging, especially road-integrated charging, also helps to reduce the need for bulky on-board energy storage equipment. That in turn will help manufacturers develop lighter, less expensive and more efficient vehicles with a smaller lifecycle footprint.

Closer than you think to wireless charging

Wireless charging is already in development for small devices, and last year GM announced that the Volt EV will be equipped with wireless charging capability for portable electronics.

Charging an entire vehicle without a plug and socket is a much taller order, but Hertz for one is already testing wireless EV charging in the U.S., and a wireless charging test has been under way in London for the past few months.

Grab-n-go EV charging

For a nation on the go, being able to “refuel” your car while cruising down the highway is a nifty piece of multitasking. Unfortunately that’s some time off in the future, but on the positive side a team of researchers at Stanford recently announced that they have found a workable path to nonstop wireless charging based on magnetic fields.

Under that system, depending on the length of the trip, the vehicle’s speed and road conditions you could begin a journey with less than a full charge, and reach your destination with more juice in the tank than when you started.

Aside from working out technological issues, the expense of embedding the system in roadways is a major obstacle, but cost-effectiveness could be

enhanced by focusing the system on the most heavily traveled corridors and installing it in the course of routine road resurfacing projects.

Image: Courtesy of U.S. DOE

Follow Tina Casey on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.

Related posts:

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  3. Hertz Tests Wireless EV Charging in the U.S.


George H.W. Bush Buys Chevy Volt for Son’s Birthday

Posted: 07 Apr 2012 05:14 AM PDT

 
Yet again, I thought this surprising car story was an April Fools’ Day joke and it turned out it wasn’t. Former, former president George Bush (George H.W. Bush) has apparently ordered a Chevy Volt for his son Neil Bush’s birthday. (Sorry, but who even knew there was a Neil Bush?) He ordered the car from a Chevy dealer in Houston. Here’s more on the Bush Volt sale from Gas2 (and yes, I completely agree with the comment at the end):



George W. Bush Buys Chevy Volt For Son (via Gas 2.0)

The Republican Party and President Obama have made the Chevy Volt into something of a political football. Lost in the rhetoric is the fact that the Republicans themselves helped promote the Volt before Obama ever even sat down in the Oval Office. Former President George W. Bush George H.W. Bush, …

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Geothermal Sees Steady Growth in 2011

Posted: 07 Apr 2012 05:01 AM PDT

 
According to the annual update on the geothermal industry from the Geothermal Energy Association, the U.S. geothermal industry continued in 2011 with steady growth, seeing approximately 91 megawatts installed.

The Annual U.S. Geothermal Power Production and Development Report revealed that in 2011 the geothermal industry rose to an installed base of 3,187 MW, more than any other country in the world.

Annual US Geothermal Power Production

Annual US Geothermal Power Production

"As the economy strengthens, our industry is expected to bring even more geothermal capacity online in the coming years," said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. "In 2012, another 100 MW of capacity is expected to come online representing nearly one billion dollars of investment in the clean energy economy."

"We've seen slow but steady growth for geothermal, even in a challenging economy. The drivers for that growth have been state renewable portfolio standards, federal tax credits, DOE demonstration project support, and the fact that utility scale geothermal energy offers clean baseload energy that's competitive with other clean energy technologies," Gawell said. "The geothermal industry looks to our policy leaders to provide a stable environment to foster growth that could lead the U.S. toward greater energy independence."

Gawell continued: "With federal tax credits expiring at the end of 2013, many new geothermal power plants cannot count on federal help. Most plants need between four and eight years of lead time before the geothermal resource is on tap. As Washington debates whether or not to extend renewable energy tax incentives, the industry struggles to continue steady growth. Stable tax credit policies would further enhance this development. State policies also continued to support new development, but need to better recognize the full value of geothermal, particularly its contribution to the reliability of the power system."

The Big Players

The report outlined all the geothermal electric power generation currently in operation as well as those with geothermal capacity in development. From the former are eight states across the U.S. — Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming — and another seven in deployment — Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas and Washington.

Out of those players California leads the way with 2,615 MW already installed and online and another 2,000 MW of capacity in development.

Nevada, however, takes the prize for sheer number of projects in development with 59.

"The US geothermal industry continues to be actively engaged in a faster growing world market, which is helping many companies through the slack in the U.S.," Gawell noted.

The full report can be found in PDF form here. May 23 will see geothermal leaders and policy makers meet in Washington, D.C. for the International Geothermal Energy Showcase. For more information on this event follow the link here.

Source: Geothermal Energy Association

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Chevy Volts Testing Chinese Market Now

Posted: 07 Apr 2012 04:37 AM PDT

 

Just prior to news last week that Chevy Volt sales are way up in the US, GM announced that it was sending some Volts to car-booming China to test the market for them there.

"GM has signed a memorandum of understanding with China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) to manage a fleet of Chevy Volts for ‘data collection purposes’," Chris DeMorro writes on sister site Gas2.

It's no secret though that GM wants to prop up Volt sales, and where better than the Chinese market? Auto sales are booming in China, and the central government is raining money down on carmakers and consumers who opt to build and buy fuel-efficient hybrid, electric, and fuel-cell vehicles.”

The Volt’s cousin, the Opel Ampera, is doing quite well in Europe, and it won the European Car of the Year Award there (reportedly the first “American-made” car to win that award). So, it’s shown that it can do well on other continents. Note, however, that China’s got different rules for foreign and domestically built cars, and GM has to do some maneuvering to get the Volt a fighting chance.

“Recent changes to the tax and rebate program have shut out companies like GM from benefitting from these subsidies. That's where CATARC comes in. This influential lobbying group helps shape government policy in regards to EVs. If GM can get the Volt into China, and benefit from government subsidies, they could have a hit on their hands (though it'd probably be better received if it wore a Buick badge).”

What do you think? Will the Volt make it into the Chinese care market? And if so, will it succeed there?

Related posts:

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Largest Rooftop Hybrid Solar System in US Unveiled

Posted: 07 Apr 2012 04:20 AM PDT

 
The US’s largest rooftop solar cogeneration array (a hybrid solar photovoltaic and thermal array) has been unveiled in, of course, California. The solar cogeneration array is supposed to save the winery where it was installed $30,000 a year. Here’s more from sister site Green Building Elements:

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Electric DeLorean Price — $95,000 & Up

Posted: 07 Apr 2012 03:51 AM PDT

 
Similar to Chris DeMorro, when news first came out about an electric DeLorean, I first thought it was a joke, and then a fanciful dream — but now it looks like it’s a true reality. The estimated starting price of the electric DeLorean is apparently supposed to be $95,000 — out of my arena, but I think that’s likely low enough for many a Back to the Future fan. Here’s more from Gas2:



Electric DeLorean Priced From $95,000 (via Gas 2.0)

When I first heard about the DeLorean Motor Company returning as an electric car maker, I sort of dismissed it as a fanciful wish. But as it turns out, the new owners behind the old DMC are quite serious about building and selling an electrified DeLorean, and soon. At the New York Auto Show, DeLorean…

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