Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Huge Solar Farm Gets Go-Ahead ... And The Sheep Can Still Graze

Sheep beside solar panels in a farm in England. A similar set-up is to be established near Crumlin, Co Antrim, which will produce enough power for 1,627 homes
A huge solar farm near Crumlin capable of powering more than 1,500 homes has been given planning permission.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan yesterday announced the decision to give the go-ahead to Northern Ireland's second large-scale solar farm, which is more than 30 acres in size.

The development by Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd will be capable of generating 6.5MW of electricity, enough to power 1,627 homes during its 30-year lifetime.

That equates to an annual saving of 2,775 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Mr Durkan said: "This type of development helps sustain our environment through the use of renewable energy.

"These new, more sustainable technologies will contribute to key Programme for Government targets for increasing renewable energy.

"This application was turned around in under four months, which demonstrates my commitment to improving service delivery and supporting the green economy."

DoE Planning consulted Antrim Borough Council and it raised no objections to the proposal.

The solar farm at Knockcairn Road will be built on land that was formerly used for the grazing of cattle.

The company says that due to the small footprint of the solar farm, with panels occupying less than 30% of the land, the site will be seeded with grass and sheep grazing can continue.

The panels will be mounted on an aluminium framework with steel legs which can be pile-driven into the soil, so at the end of the lease period the installation will be dismantled and removed without harming the land and wildlife should be unaffected.

Conor McGuigan, business development director at Lightsource Renewable Energy, said: "We are essentially a new generation of tenant farmer – primarily generating energy, but also taking care of the land – keeping livestock, maintaining hedgerows, building wildlife habitats and sowing wild flowers.

"We want to ensure a bright future for renewable energy in Northern Ireland and the approval of this development is an encouraging step as we work towards that goal."

Technical director Chris Buckland said: "Local energy consumption take-off will consume some, if not the majority, of the energy generated.

"Depending on the voltage level at which the generated energy is connected to the grid, and where this is in the local distribution network, there may well be a voltage reinforcement or stabilisation of the line to which the power is connected.

"So local consumers might see any 'voltage drop' problems, such as dim lights, much improved whilst the solar farm is generating."

Background

Solar panels do not require direct sunlight to produce electricity, only daylight. So they still work well on cloudy days, and actually perform more efficiently in cooler temperatures. All existing hedgerows and vegetation around the site will be retained. New hedgerows will be planted to minimise views into the site and provide a further boost to wildlife through the strengthening of foraging habitats.

Source: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/huge-solar-farm-gets-goahead-and-the-sheep-can-still-graze-30390492.html

How Solar Can Help us and NV Energy

A recent article said the Public Utilities Commission may be considering whether homes with solar power are paying their fair share (whatever that means).

Some states are downright hostile to solar homes because of vested interest in fossil fuels.

In Kansas, the Legislature recently tried to put limits on renewable energy. However, the governor sided with the many farmers who have wind power on their farms.

In Southern Nevada, we are blessed with sunshine. NV Energy is not unfriendly toward solar homes, but the company may begin to worry about the so-called death spiral whereby there are too many solar homes.

NV Energy will be closing coal plants and replacing them with some natural gas units and solar farms. This is a step forward, but with all the sunshine we have, we can do better.

Since climate change is forcing us to move to renewable resources, we (and especially the PUC) should encourage more solar homes, not increase their cost of ownership.

NRG Energy, a major Texas utility, is now in the business of installing solar systems. It also operates a network of electric-car charging stations. NRG Energy wants to evolve beyond its traditional generation-and-distribution model.

If NV Energy installs and leases such systems, residents will have solar power, which will be cleaner and may be priced somewhat lower than their existing costs, and there will be more jobs for our workers. NV Energy would not have to worry about the death spiral because it will have continuing income from the solar systems, and Earth will be rid of much of the carbon dioxide spewed out by fossil-fuel plants.

Of course, until we have an efficient way to store electricity, we still will want to partner with NV Energy, which, under this process, would be using fewer fossil fuels.

Source: http://lasvegassun.com/news/2014/jun/28/how-solar-can-help-us-and-nv-energy/

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quinn Signs Band-Aid Fix for Solar

Mike Marrese, General Manager of Earth Friendly products in Addison, walks past the 312 solar panels atop the company's roof. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
Gov. Pat Quinn said he will sign legislation Saturday to free up $30 million for the purchase of solar energy for Illinois electricity customers, a move expected to help the state catch up on its lagging renewable energy goals.

“Thousands of average residents will soon get cheaper, cleaner energy, and we will create good paying jobs for working families in the process,” Quinn said in a statement.

The law, which is effective immediately, establishes a competitive procurement process to purchase energy from existing solar installations and new solar projects, particularly rooftop solar, which allows consumers to sell excess electricity back to the grid and receive “solar credits” if purchased as part of the state solar program.

“Increasing our investment in clean energy creates jobs, protects the environment and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels,” said state Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), who sponsored the bill along with state Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston). “Over the past few years, we’ve seen wind energy take off in Illinois. I hope that this investment starts a similar revolution in solar energy.”

A glitch in the wording of state law has prevented solar power from being bought for Illinois electric customers over the last two years even though they have paid $53 million into a fund set aside for that purpose. An additional $80 million is expected by fall, according to Illinois Power Agency Director Anthony Star.

The problem is that the law allows the money only to be spent when power is purchased for Commonwealth Edison and Ameren Illinois customers. But those utilities have more power than they need because most of their customers fled for alternative suppliers. ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corp.

Several legislative attempts to fix the law have failed in Springfield. As a result, the state is failing to meet its goals for renewable energy purchases. Under the Renewable Portfolio Standard, the state is aiming to have 25 percent of the state's energy come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2025.

Even though the state hasn’t been buying solar energy for Illinois consumers, some companies and homeowners are still generating solar power on their own. A billing mechanism called "net metering" allows those solar producers to run their meters backward when they produce more electricity than they consume.

But now solar owners could offset the cost of installing the solar panels by selling their renewable energy credits to Illinois electricity customers, as was intended under a 2007 law, adding an extra source of revenue.

The credits, whose values vary by state, are based on power production. Renewable energy producers receive one "credit" for each megawatt-hour produced in addition to offsetting electricity costs.

In May, lawmakers offered the solar bill as a temporary fix to the problem. A broader energy bill is expected to be hashed out as early as this fall – one which policy analysts say is expected to also incorporate reforms that would benefit the state’s nuclear plants which have been struggling financially against competing forms of energy, including renewables such as electricity generated by wind and solar.

The support of Exelon, which owns six nuclear plants in the state, is a key to any broader deal. Since wind and solar power compete with Exelon’s nuclear plants, the company has no reason to support a legislative fix for renewable energy unless there’s something in the mix for its nuclear plants.

In a note to investors Friday, Julien Dumoulin-Smith, executive director of equity research for electric utilities at UBS Securities in New York, said “ultimately any deal will focus on providing a quasi ‘market solution’ to compensate Exelon’s nuclear units” and that he expects that could include some adding nuclear power to the state’s definition of “clean energy,” a deal that would ultimately mean subsidizing those plants in some way.

Lawmakers signaled their support for Exelon in the last session by signing on to a resolution the company pushed that calls on state lawmakers to aid in pro-nuclear lobbying of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, electric grid operators and Congress.

Source: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-06-28/business/chi-quinn-solar-20140627_1_solar-energy-illinois-electricity-customers-portfolio-standard

Solar Leaders Launch Operations in India and East Africa for Industrial Energy Cost Reduction

NEW YORK---Astonfield Renewables, a leading solar independent power producer across India, Eastern Africa and the Middle East, and Solesa, an international engineering and project management leader in commercial and industrial solar projects, announced a strategic partnership to deliver highly customized solar energy solutions to save fuel costs, reduce power outages and increase the cost competitiveness of industrial businesses across India and Eastern Africa.

Marketed under the name Astonfield Solesa Solar in India and Eastern Africa, the company has developed a unique and innovative PV-diesel hybrid system, marketed as the Hybrid Power Controller, which integrates solar PV with existing diesel generators to significantly offset the high and rising costs of diesel fuel for commercial and industrial power systems. Applications range from industrial rooftop solar systems to ground-mounted solar and off-grid systems.

Astonfield Solesa Solar has already secured contracts with customers for systems between 100 kW to 10 MW within its first 90 days of operation. It has commissioned its first project in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu — a 100 kW ground-mounted solar hybrid system for Indo Shell Cast Pvt. Ltd., a leading iron manufacturer for motorcycle, automotive and other industries. Its first projects in Eastern Africa for industrial rooftops are under construction as well.

It is estimated that diesel gensets total 30 GW of capacity in India alone. Industrial companies rely on diesel as a hedge against frequent power shortages from the grid. According to Navigant Research, the market growth for diesel gensets between 15 kW and 6 MW for residential, commercial and industrial applications will reach 82 GW globally per year by 2018. The potential for solar rooftops for industrial and large roofs just in India has been estimated to be 27 GW.

"We are well positioned to take advantage of this market opportunity and become leaders in India and Eastern Africa," said Ameet Shah, Co-Chairman of Astonfield Renewables. "With our strong international project finance and procurement experience and Solesa's long track record designing and engineering projects for commercial and industrial customers worldwide, we have an unbeatable combination of local and international expertise across the project spectrum, from design and finance to EPC and operations."

Astonfield has emerged as a leading independent power producer in India with 20 MW of operational assets, 17 MW under construction, 270 MW under advanced development, and a strong commitment to cost leadership in the power sector. Outside of India it has projects moving into the construction phase in Oman, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Solesa, an Italian engineering and solar project development leader, has significant design, engineering and project management experience delivering rooftop and ground-mounted solar projects. Its track record consists of developing 150 MW of solar projects, 30 MW of EPC projects and 30 MW of operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts.

"Our scalable and customizable solutions are uniquely compatible with other power sources, and complement most industrial and commercial load profiles, thus reducing reliance on diesel generation. And, at a minimum, they deliver a 30-40 percent discount relative to the cost of utilizing emergency power supply," said Alfredo Giardina, CEO of Solesa. "Our innovative Hybrid Power Controller seamlessly integrates into industrial operations, delivering affordable solar energy consistently even in a fluctuating load environment."

Source: http://www.indusbusinessjournal.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=A5C79BBCC34545C98D85A2E99BA58030

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Solar Farm Considered in Spartanburg County

A solar farm could be in the works for two large sites on Spartanburg's south side, S.C. Rep. Harold Mitchell said.

Mitchell confirmed talks are underway among various parties for a solar farm on the 40-acre site of the former IMC fertilizer plant and possibly, the 30-acre, city-owned Arkwright dump site. The city spent about $5.6 million to cap the former landfill — a process that was completed in 2012. Since the site was formerly used as a dump, the city would have to get state approval before developing the property in the future. In the past, city officials have said the site has very restricted uses.

Mitchell told a handful of people gathered at C.C. Woodson Community Center Thursday for an EPA public hearing that a solar farm could be an option for properties, which he said were too large for a single public entity, such as Spartanburg County, to maintain alone.

Mitchell mentioned the solar farm in response to a constituent question on the future of the former fertilizer plant site. South side residents who live near the former fertilizer site have worried another large industry could come back into their neighborhood. An EPA official said deed restrictions would be placed on the property.

"We've been working with the city, Duke Energy and a solar company to try to see whether (a solar farm) would be feasible here," Mitchell said. "There is potential for reuse, and it's something worth exploring."

Mitchell said the discussions are in the preliminary stages, but the argument to bring a solar farm to the south side is bolstered by the S.C. House of Representatives recent passage of a solar energy bill that had the support of utility providers.

City of Spartanburg Communications Manager Will Rothschild said the city is always interested in exploring options for the former Arkwright landfill property. The site of the former fertilizer plant is outside the city limits.

"We're always interested in any possibilities for that site, and we're open to exploring options," Rothschild said.

Source: http://www.goupstate.com/article/20140627/ARTICLES/140629697/1083/ARTICLES?Title=Solar-farm-considered-in-Spartanburg-County

Santa Fe School Goes Solar

Workers Thursday pour cement in one of numerous pillars that
will hold up the solar panels at Santa Fe Elementary School.
By the time the new school year begins, the staff from Santa Fe Elementary School driving to work will be able to park their vehicles in a shaded parking lot.

On Thursday, the pouring of cement at Santa Fe Elementary marked Porterville Unified School District’s last solar project of the summer.

Completed during the summer because it is the least disruptive time for education, the solar project included installations at Santa Fe Elementary, Vandalia Elementary and Pioneer Middle School, said Porterville Unified School District Superintendent John Snavely. Completed recently were other solar projects at Monte Vista Elementary and Bartlett Middle schools.

The combination of California Solar Initiative rebates and energy savings would be self-funding if there is enough savings and revenue to meet the repayment obligation, said Assistant Superintendent Ken Gibbs.

The solar projects included roof mounted, parking structure and ground mounted systems for several elementary and middle school sites, including Los Robles, Olive Street, Roche, Monte Vista, West Putnam, Westfield, Bartlett, and Sequoia, elementary and middle schools.

West Putnam and Belleview elementary schools’ solar projects are pending, Snavely said.

Source:http://www.recorderonline.com/news/santa-fe-school-goes-solar/article_e8fe9944-fe5b-11e3-ae9e-001a4bcf6878.html

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Solar-Powered Bins Installed on Seafront

Budleigh district councillors Tom Wright and Alan Dent with one of the new Big Belly bins which have been installed on the seafront.
The problem of litter on Budleigh seafront has been given a 21st century solution, after district bosses installed new hi-tech bins.
The Big Belly bins, which have been installed by East Devon District Council, are solar powered, and have a mechanism to crush rubbish inside, allowing them to take eight times as much waste before being emptied.

The council has a five-year lease on 21 bins across the district, which it says will pay for themselves as they need to be emptied less often, meaning staff can concentrate on other work.

The bins have a closed access point, stopping seagulls rummaging through them, and in time will have wi-fi hotspot access, allowing people to find out about the town.

Councillor Iain Chubb, EDDC’s cabinet member for environment, said: “This new type of bin is a very exciting departure for East Devon because they have so many benefits rolled into one deal.

“Cutting edge technology means that the bins use solar power to drive the compacting ram and there is also a chance for us to communicate with our customers through static or wi-fi advertising.

“Not only do they reduce the amount of street furniture but they also limit scavenging by gulls and other pests.

“In many cases the bins will start paying for themselves from day one. In these austere times, the ability to improve the service without increasing our overall budget is a definite win-win.”

Source: http://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/solar_powered_bins_installed_on_seafront_1_3659764

Illinois Putting $30M of Solar into Energy Mix

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois will buy up to $30 million worth of solar power and pump it into the energy mix for electricity customers under legislation signed into law Saturday that also promotes the spread of home rooftop panels.

The law, which takes effect immediately, requires the Illinois Power Agency to purchase solar power to meet a portion of the state's electricity needs. It establishes a competitive process to purchase the energy from new or existing solar installations, which could include rooftop solar panels that homeowners can use to sell any leftover power back to the electricity grid.

"Thousands of residents will soon get cheaper, cleaner energy, and we will create good-paying jobs for working families in the process," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a news release announce the bill signing.

The Illinois Power Agency was set up in 2007 to develop plans for buying renewable energy for utilities to feed into the grid. The money for the solar power purchases comes from the agency's Renewable Energy Resources Fund, which is made up of clean energy fees paid by power suppliers.

The measure signed Saturday was sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Robyn Gabel of Evanston and state Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat.

"Over the past few years, we've seen wind energy take off in Illinois," Harmon said. "I hope that this investment starts a similar revolution in solar energy."

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ill-putting-30M-worth-of-solar-into-energy-mix-5586798.php

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kings Mountain City Council Approves Equestrian, Solar Farms

An equestrian farm and a solar farm were approved by Kings Mountain City Council this week after public hearings were heard on both projects.

The equestrian farm was first brought before council in March, when a Kings Mountain couple, Edy Jakubiak and Eric Bergstrom, made a rezoning request to turn their property into a horse training and boarding facility.

The facility, which would be on Grand View Drive, off Chestnut Ridge Road, would include a barn, pasture, arena and parking. The farm could have other animals as pets, but would not include any mobile homes or poultry houses, according to the application. Council approved the rezoning request.

The solar farm, which was also approved by city council, would be on about 17 acres on Bolin Drive, near the intersection of Hardin Drive and Stony Point Road.

Dennis Bolin, property owner, told council the farm would be located on a small part of his property and would not have an impact on the surrounding area. Once constructed, it would be a passive farm only needing routine maintenance.

Here’s a look at other city council business from the meeting Tuesday night.

 What else was on the agenda?
  • Special events director Ellis Noell gave city council an update on Kings Mountain’s upcoming special events. The Revolutionary Fourth celebration at the Walking Track Park begins at 2 p.m. on July 4. The two-day event will feature a concert, colonial encampment, local Revolutionary War militias and the largest fireworks show between Charlotte and Asheville. The city is also holding its annual BeachBlast event on July 19, which will include music, a beach ball drop and a “Best Backyard Burger” grilling competition.
  • Nelson Cody Clemons, a student at Kings Mountain High School, was recognized for being promoted to the rank of Eagle Scout. Clemons’ project was a patio enhancement at the Council of Aging Senior Center. Clemons was also an active volunteer at the Cleveland County Memorial Library.
  • Multiple members of the Kings Mountain Awareness Group spoke during the meeting’s public comment against the proposed casino, asking city council to rescind its letter in support of the casino. Beauford Burton said he was a recovering gambling addict himself and did not want to see others fall into addiction. Eddie Lovinggood told council about a man who committed suicide after gambling everything away at a casino. Marie Jackson said she would not have moved to Kings Mountain years ago if a casino had been there.

Source: http://www.gastongazette.com/news/local/kings-mountain-city-council-approves-equestrian-solar-farms-1.339245

Power-Hit Farmers in AP to Get Solar Pump-Sets

APEPDCL officials explaining about solar pump sets in Srikakulam on Saturday.
Move to overcome problems faced due to a huge gap in demand and supply

The State government decided to supply solar pump-sets on subsidised prices to overcome the power crisis being faced by farmers due to a huge gap in demand and supply. The Union government has allocated 1,000 pump-sets to both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The residuary State of AP would get around 6,00 sets each costing Rs.3.50 lakh to Rs.5 lakh based on its capacity. However, the farmers would get subsidy up to 70 per cent based on their reservation category. The pump-sets will be supplied to farmers of Scheduled Castes in the areas where Indira Jalaprabha scheme was being implemented.

APEPDCL Superintending Engineer P.V.V. Satyanarayana, New and Renewable Development Corporation of A.P District Manager M.V.K. Raju and other officials said that the pump-sets would be useful for farmers to get assured water for their fields. The pump-sets would be a great boon as energy is stored for many days and could be utilized whenever necessary.

“The solar pump-sets would be useful in places where electricity is not available. These will function for 20 years without any interruption. NREDCAP will provide support for their maintenance.” said Mr. Raju.

Mr. Satyanarayana told media persons that Agriculture Department, District Water Management Agency and other departments were also promoting solar pump-sets for agriculture purpose.

Deputy Director of Agriculture Bhavani Sankar Rao said the solar pump-sets which were installed in Seethampet mandal were working very well.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/powerhit-farmers-to-get-solar-pumpsets/article6158260.ece

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Solar Farm Gets Bright New Look

Students with some of the bird boxes. (s)
CHILDREN from a Broadway primary school put their artistic skills to the test in a bid to brighten up a new solar farm.

Youngsters from Willersey CE Primary School, on Church Street, painted bird boxes for the new farm at Willersey to highlight the importance of preserving wildlife in the area.

Bat and hedgehog boxes were also painted by the four- to seven-year-olds, to form part of a new nature reserve which is being built around the solar panels.

The competition was arranged by the farm operators, BELECTRIC UK, who visited the school to teach pupils about the vital nature reserve.

Raoul Tufnell, BELECTRIC UK development and planning manager, said: “I’m thrilled to see the solar farm at Willersey now operational.

“We have sought at every point in the process to listen to the views of the community and since the site has been commissioned, we have worked with the local community on the implementation of ecological and biodiversity

enhancements to the site.

“The feedback from the village has been extremely positive and we will continue to build our relationship with the village for the full 25-year lifetime of the project’s operation.”

The farm will be open to the public on Solar Independence Day on July 4.

Source: http://www.eveshamobserver.co.uk/2014/06/28/news-Solar-farm-gets-bright-new-look-110098.html

Students Spending Their Summer Building A Solar Bicycle

From left, Katie Murphy, Sam Brown and May Palace work on their solar-powered e-bike at Salisbury University. (SU Photo)
SALISBURY — While many are enjoying the warm weather riding their bicycles outdoors this season, three Salisbury University physics majors are spending their summer indoors, building one.

Seniors Sam Brown of Annapolis and Katie Murphy of Bel Air, MD; and junior May Palace of Kent Island, MD, received $1,000 in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding to construct a solar-powered e-bike. The project is part of SU’s NSF-funded Bridges for SUCCESS (SU Connections to Careers for Every STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Student) program.

Dr. Joe Howard, SU professor of physics, serves as the group’s faculty mentor.

Though motorized bicycles date back to the 19th century, the SU team is putting a decidedly 21st-century twist on its bike, adding solar panels as the energy source.

“That way, it’s completely clean, independent energy,” said Brown.

According to Palace, the project fits well with SU’s “green” philosophies: “Salisbury is a school that is really interested in clean energy and sustainability. We thought a solar bike would complement those interests, as well as our own.”

Princeton Review, the U.S. Green Building Council and others have lauded SU for its sustainability efforts, which include everything from LEED-certified construction projects to the installation of the Eastern Shore’s first public electric vehicle charging stations.

Its cycling-related initiatives have included the dedication of a bike lane connecting SU with downtown Salisbury, construction of bike storage areas at residence halls, the addition of do-it-yourself bicycle repair stations around campus, an increase in bike racks at most University-owned properties and a recent independent student study of bicycle use on campus.

The e-bike team would like to take that dedication one step further.

“We want to reduce the carbon footprint while maintaining the convenience of travel people are used to,” said Murphy, noting that a solar-powered e-bike would combine the environmental friendliness of a bicycle with the flexibility of regular automobile travel.

Brown added that the ease of use would trump even that of an electric car since users would not need to rely on charging stations or electrical outlets to power the vehicle. And if all else failed … they could pedal.

The group hopes to complete construction of the bike by mid-July, at which time it will run tests and calculations to determine carbon footprint reduction and total energy savings — in terms of both power supply and human exertion. They present their findings to the Physics Department in early August.

After that presentation, the department plans to keep the bike as a demonstration tool. Brown, however, sees the potential for more: “Who knows? Maybe this could be the basis for a business.”

Source: http://maryland.newszap.com/crisfieldsomerset/133178-92/students-spending-their-summer-building-a-solar-bicycle