Hawaii Utility’s 100% Renewable Energy Plan Gets the Green Light

Signing the cheapest PPA is like conquering the Iron Throne: Before you even have time to enjoy the accomplishment, someone's on their way to take it from you.

In May, NextEra Energy Resources secured a 4.5-cent per kilowatt-hour solar-plus-storage PPA with Tucson Electric Power. That's low for just solar, but the 100 megawatts of generation will come backed by 30 megawatts of 4-hour-duration energy storage. The system is set to run by the end of 2019.

Now, a usurper approaches. Not from the well-heeled realm of lithium-ion, where the cash flows and the revenues stack, but from the rugged wilds

Why California’s Net Metering 2.0 Calls for More, Not Less, Solar per Rooftop

For the first time ever, an international car race came to the streets of New York. The goal of bringing the event to Brooklyn was nothing short of showing what was possible for the future of transportation and sustainability. On the eve of the FIA Formula E Qualcomm NYC ePrix this past weekend, Sir Richard Branson was giddy at the idea that all-electric racing might be the future of Formula One.

When asked about the possibility of a human driver racing an autonomous car, he said it’d happen within five years. He also isn’t limiting his enthusiasm for electric power just to street racing

Hawaiian Electric Companies, tasked with powering multiple island grids with 100-percent green energy by 2045, has finally secured regulator approval for a plan to get there -- as long as it includes customers and third parties in the mix. 

On Friday, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved (PDF) the utility’s Power Supply Improvement Plan, or PSIP, a sprawling document that contains the recipe for hitting the state’s 100-percent renewables mandate by 2040, five years ahead of schedule. 

It’s an important milestone for the utility, which has seen two previous proposals rejected by the PUC, first in 2015 for being too vague, and then in

California’s shift to a “NEM 2.0” net metering regime has brought uncertainty to the state’s solar industry.

That’s largely due to two main changes -- non-bypassable charges, which reduce the share of a utility bill that can be reduced by net-metered solar, and time-of-use rates, which reduce solar’s value during its mid-day peak, and increases it in late afternoon and evening. 

Developers and installers are trying to adapt to this new regime in the country’s biggest solar market. One common question is whether solar panels should be oriented in a more westerly direction, to capture more late-afternoon sun at higher rates. Another

SolarCity Co-Founder and CTO Peter Rive Is Leaving Tesla

Peter Rive, the co-founder and chief technology officer of SolarCity, is leaving the company in the wake of Tesla's acquisition.

A Tesla spokesperson confirmed Rive's departure. 

“We can confirm that Pete Rive will be leaving the company to explore new opportunities," according to the spokesperson.

"As co-founder and CTO of SolarCity, Pete has played an instrumental role in expanding access to solar to hundreds of thousands of people across the country, helping to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy," the statement said. "Pete’s responsibilities, including work on Solar Roof, will be distributed among Tesla’s existing engineering teams. We want to thank Pete for everything

Renewables Sector Embraces the Promise of Virtual Reality

It's been almost a decade since German utility RWE piloted one of the first virtual power plants (VPP) made up of nine small hydro facilities networked to deliver power to the transmission grid. 

The world of VPPs has evolved considerably since then.

To provide VPP services to the transmission grid, aggregators now draw on a diverse mix of distributed energy resources -- storage, demand response, renewables, microgrids -- from various commercial and residential services. And utilities are warming to the idea of monetizing distributed resources by aggregating them into some kind of virtual plant and selling into the wholesale market.

VPPs are even expanding to include

Why California’s Net Metering 2.0 Calls for More, Not Less, Solar per Rooftop

Late Monday night, California lawmakers approved a group of bills that extend the state’s landmark program capping greenhouse gas emissions. The news comes after months of rejected bills and aggressive negotiations by Governor Jerry Brown.

Before the vote last week, Governor Brown told lawmakers that the bill was “the most important vote of your life.”

“This isn’t about some cockamamie legacy. This isn’t for me. I’m going to be dead. It’s for you, and it’s damn real," he said.

Following the late-night approval on Monday, Brown tweeted: “Tonight, California stood tall and once again, boldly confronted the existential

According to the latest Global Solar Demand Monitor, GTM Research is now tracking 17.4 gigawatts of confirmed solar PV tenders in auctions across the globe. The report highlights that 9.6 gigawatts will be awarded in the third quarter of 2017 alone.

With 8.1 gigawatts confirmed, Europe leads as the region with the greatest share of tendered solar PV. South Asia, led by India, ranks second with 5 gigawatts.

FIGURE: Timing and award volume of confirmed solar PV tendersGlobal solar auction results
Source: GTM Research Global Solar Demand Monitor, Q2 2017

As auctions continue to proliferate, the pipeline will only

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