Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Solar Charging Would Significantly Augment Mobile Device Battery Power

Summary
  • It was recently reported that a GT Advanced Technologies process could be used to grow high-efficiency, thin-film solar cells with possible applications for mobile devices.
  • Solar-charging mobile devices would be desirable for manufacturers and consumers.
  • Here, I present calculations showing that solar charging would also provide significant augmentation to battery power.
  • Based on these calculations, I conclude that it is only a matter of time until solar-charged mobile devices become a reality.
  • I believe the companies that supply the solar-charging technology stand to benefit much more than the companies that make the mobile devices that use it.
A recent article on Seeking Alpha suggested that a GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) patent with applications for epitaxial-grown, thin-film, multi-junctional, high-efficiency PV cells will lead to solar-charged mobile devices. I have no doubt that such technology would be desirable to consumers and manufacturers, so long as it was not just a gimmick. By that, I mean it must actually provide a meaningful benefit. In particular, solar-charging capability would have to provide a meaningful increase to battery longevity. I was skeptical of a high-efficiency mobile-device-sized solar cell being able to supply enough power to do this, so I did some calculations to find some clarity. My conclusion is that solar charging would provide significant power advantages. So, if a method to manufacture durable, thin-film, high-efficiency solar cells in mobile-device-sized form-factors is developed, it is likely to be commercialized. Moreover, the companies (including perhaps GTAT) that can cost-effectively provide this technology stand to benefit.

Source: http://seekingalpha.com/article/2090203-solar-charging-would-significantly-augment-mobile-device-battery-power?source=google_news

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mass. Must Welcome Hydropower, Even as it Promotes Wind, Solar

Deep in the forests of Quebec, a network of dams churns out massive amounts of hydropower that could help quench New England’s thirst for electricity and bolster the region’s climate-change agenda at the same time. Owned by the province of Quebec, Hydro-Quebec is the world’s largest hydropower producer, and some of its electricity already trickles onto New England’s grid, hundreds of miles away. Now, as Massachusetts and other states in the region hunt for cleaner energy sources to replace fossil fuels and aging nuclear reactors, Quebec officials want to expand.

But despite its proximity, Hydro-Quebec has never received the warmest of welcomes here, amid anxieties that if large-scale hydropower receives all the incentives offered to green energy suppliers, an onslaught of cheap Canadian power would crowd out wind, solar, and other emerging clean-energy technologies in New England. Now, though, a new bill before the Massachusetts Legislature, backed by the Patrick administration, finally strikes the right balance. The legislation invites more Canadian hydropower into New England, without making it eligible for the full range of supports reserved for the cleanest energy sources. The Legislature should approve it.

The bill, sponsored by state Representative Mark Cusack and state Senator Barry Finegold, would require electric utilities to put out a large solicitation for valuable long-term power contracts that would only be open to cleaner energy sources. Two previous rounds of solicitations in recent years have only been available to wind, solar, and small-scale hydropower generators. They’ve yielded contracts that have helped foster the fledgling alternative energy industry. The new legislation envisions a far larger solicitation in the third round and, for the first time, opens the bidding to huge dams like Hydro-Quebec’s. But it would not change a separate set of requirements that utilities purchase an ever-increasing percentage of their power from the cleanest sources, like wind and solar.

In addition to its climate benefits, using more hydropower is also strategically sensible: Right now, the region relies too heavily on a single energy source, natural gas, leaving consumers vulnerable to price spikes like the one in January. But two factors have prevented Canadian hydropower from playing a bigger role in the region: inadequate transmission lines from Quebec, and political uncertainty about how precisely Canadian power would mesh with the state’s clean-energy regulations. The bill would help address both concerns.

No fewer than four proposals have emerged to increase transmission capacity for Canadian power, including the controversial Northern Pass line through New Hampshire. But the same glut of cheap natural gas that has driven gas use in Massachusetts to such high levels has also made power lines to other generators harder to finance. By making Canadian hydropower eligible for long-term contracts, the legislation would make building new transmission infrastructure more economically feasible.

Hydro-Quebec’s political issues have been even thornier, since as an energy source hydro doesn’t fall neatly into either the clean or dirty category. Water rushing past turbines doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, but the destruction of forests for dams does exact an environmental toll. Plus, if utilities were allowed to count large hydropower toward their renewable requirements — as NStar, now part of Northeast Utilities, long urged — the incentive to develop local alternative energy sources like Cape Wind would vanish overnight. The new legislation would move past that debate, essentially creating a third category of energy source that’s not entitled to all the protections for wind and solar, but still gets preferential treatment over fossil fuels through access to long-term contracts.

Granted, it’s not universally accepted that cleaner energy from Canada is preferable to fossil-fuel generation closer to home. As coal plants shut down, some towns worry about a loss of revenue. But that’s a good reason to get moving on wind and solar projects in Massachusetts. When critics say that Canadian workers stand to benefit from the bill, they’re right. But that’s not an argument for the status quo; it’s an advertisement for what local governments have to gain if they welcome new renewable power generators.

The Legislature should, however, take steps to ensure the language of the bill establishes a neutral playing field among eligible energy sources. While Hydro-Quebec is probably the only generator that could realistically provide all the electricity envisioned in the bill by itself, there should be no unnecessary barriers to another bidder or combination of bidders. Multiple small clean-energy producers might be able to offer a better overall deal than Hydro-Quebec.

A final complaint, lodged by some power generators, is that, with the price of natural gas rising, market forces will make the transmission lines to Canada viable without any state intervention. But gas prices fluctuate, and one spike in January doesn’t change the reality that gas production in the United States has been rising for years. Given the urgency of tackling climate change, it would be unwise to put progress at the mercy of volatile energy markets. This bill could get more energy into the grid, without imperiling New England’s other alternative energy programs, and deserves approval.

Source: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2014/03/16/mass-must-welcome-hydropower-even-promotes-wind-solar/50ZQ90wTL3faEZVzU9AGoK/story.html

Sunday, April 20, 2014

600 More Solar Panels Installed At Lake Mead NRA

The Lake Mead National Recreation
Area has added 600 solar panels which
will provide power for a park warehouse,
communications center and other offices.
PV panels (above) were added to the Alan
Bible Visitor Center during a 2013 renovation
of the facility.
Photo courtesy of iH Agency
Lake Mead National Recreation Area continues to "Go Green" with the addition of photovoltaic systems that not only ensure conservative energy, but also provide shade to government vehicles.

More than 600 PV panels were installed on the tops of three shade structures in an administrative area parking lot. These panels generate energy by absorbing sunlight that is transferred to solar energy that can travel through electrical circuits to power electrical devices.

The 10,205 square feet of panels produce a total output of 158.6 kilowatts, which power the Lake Mead maintenance warehouse, Interagency Communications Center and other nearby offices in Boulder City.

"This was a great project for a couple of reasons," said Bruce Nyhuis, chief, park maintenance and engineering division. "It demonstrates the National Park Service commitment to renewable energy. The new PV system will offset approximately 35 percent of the total energy used in our warehouse complex.

"Secondarily, this project has the added benefit of providing shade for vehicles, which really helps keep the interior of our vehicles cooler in our climate, as well as protection from sun damage," he added.

Lake Mead NRA continues to make green goals. PV panels were added to the renovated visitor center and native plant nursery in 2013. Single-stream recycling bins are being added throughout the park, and the park's Green Team is promoting recycling, composting and other environmental goals.

The construction project was funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act. The contractor for the project was SunWize, a sustainable energy contractor out of San Jose, Calif.

Source: http://www.hendersonpress.com/Articles-Top-Story-c-2014-03-14-87196.113122-600-MORE-SOLAR-PANELS-INSTALLED-AT-LAKE-MEAD-NRA.html

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Park District to Pay $43,000 for Solar Panels at Nike Sports Complex

File photo.
Naperville Park District commissioners approved a contract Thursday night for just more than $43,000 to Solar Service for the installation of solar voltaic panels at the Nike Sports Complex.

According to staff reports, the panels will be able to generate as much as 30 percent of the energy used at the complex throughout the summer months and save the district at least $1,000 a year.

The majority of the cost for the panels was paid by other sources, including a renewable energy grant the Park District received from the city of Naperville worth $16,500 and a state rebate worth almost $19,000 that was approved by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Commissioners also approved an intergovernmental agreement between the Forest Preserve District of Will County and the Park District for the design, construction and operation of the DuPage River Trail extension project from 95th Street to Knoch Knolls Park.

Director of planning Eric Shutes said the project reflects a portion of the district’s trail master plan.

“This is a multi-purpose asphalt bike and pedestrian trail connection to extend 95th Street northeast through Rivercrest Estates Park to the existing segment 4 trail located at Knoch Knolls Park,” Shutes said. “We expect this trail extension to enhance connectivity and recreation for activities such as walking, jogging and biking throughout the Naperville community.”

Terms of the agreement include construction of the trail by the Forest Preserve District with the Park District providing reimbursement for a portion of the trail cost. The Park District also will be charged with maintaining the extension after completion. The project is expected to begin in 2015.

Source: http://napervillesun.suntimes.com/news/parkboard-NAP-03162014:article

Friday, April 18, 2014

Company Proposes Sprawling Solar Farm

Planned for 10 acres overlooking I-495 

METHUEN — A Tennessee-based renewable energy company wants to build a 1.2-megawatt solar farm on a hill next to Old Ferry Road using plans that align closely with a 2011 proposal which failed.

Ultimate Energy Source, based in Knoxville, Tenn., submitted a proposal on March 4 to build between 4,500 and 4,700 solar panels on nearly 10 acres on a hill overlooking Pleasant Valley Street and Interstate 495.

The Community Development Board will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its meeting April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall.

The land and some neighboring properties are zoned light industrial. However, some residential areas, including an apartment complex and subdivisions, lie immediately to the north and west.

Atlantic Group Development LLC, of Lunenburg, controlled by Scott J. Peacock, owns the property. A message left at his office seeking comment Friday was not returned.

Ultimate Energy Source will lease the land and sell the electricity generated there to National Grid, the company said on its website.

A voice message left at Ultimate Energy Source Friday seeking comment was not returned.

According to plans submitted to the city, Ultimate Energy Source, under the name Methuen Solar LLC, plans to build the panels in two large dense clusters on the east side of the hill, and one smaller group just off Old Ferry Road. The two large groups will have an access road around them and in between them, and the installation will be surrounded by a chain link fence with security cameras.

Regrading will be required. The plot sits to the east and below the crest of the hill.

Aerial Spectrum Energy of Burlington submitted a similar proposal in November 2011, but that project was not built. Stephen DeFeo, chairman of the Community Development Board, said concerns arose over the stability of the system used to anchor the panels into the ground, given the type of soil on the hill.

“We were very concerned that the hill would wash away,” DeFeo said.

Those plans, however, showed a similar number of panels spread out across the lot, including on a steep incline on the northwestern edge. The current plan shows the panels being clustered on a relatively flat cut on the hill, although the anchoring system appears to be the same.

Ultimate Energy Source is working on a half dozen solar projects in the United States, including the Methuen proposal, a 37-acre eight-megawatt project in Springfield, three projects in northeastern Pennsylvania and one in North Carolina.

One megawatt can power about 750 homes.

The proposed natural gas power plant in Salem, Mass., would generate 630 megawatts of electricity.

Source: http://www.eagletribune.com/latestnews/x1387867092/Company-proposes-sprawling-solar-farm

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SolarCity & Best Buy Team Up to Sell Solar in 60+ Stores

SolarCity and Best Buy announced this week that they have teamed to sell residential solar in New York, Oregon, Arizona, Hawaii, and California. There are now SolarCity kiosks in over 60 Best Buy stores.

“This is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the United States,” said SolarCity vice president Jonathan Bass. “When you come into Best Buy, at our kiosk we can look at your home on a satellite map and determine if it will be a good fit for solar.”

The deal is even being kicked off with $100 Best Buy gift card for anyone who signs up for SolarCity’s service before Earth Day, April 22.


It is part of SolarCity’s push to go mainstream. In the poll it recently conducted with Clean Edge, 62% of American homeowners said they want solar panels on their homes. SolarCity wants to help them do this. According to their brochure:
  • SolarCity and Best Buy have beta tested the program since September, and based on the success of the early pilots, are currently rolling out services in approximately 60 Best Buy locations in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York and Oregon.
  • The decreasing cost of solar technology and the expansion of solar service models have made solar power far more affordable and accessible than was previously possible—SolarCity can make it possible for Best Buy customers to install solar panels for free, and pay less for solar electricity than they currently pay for utility bills.
  • A SolarCity representative at each Best Buy location will be able to provide Best Buy customers with a satellite-based assessment of their home’s solar potential—including how much they could expect to save on energy costs—in less than five minutes.
  • A great swath of Americans believe we should be using more solar, but fewer than 1 percent have it today. Best Buy is making solar power far more accessible—bringing it into the mainstream—as the first national consumer electronics retailer to offer a solar service option in-store.
  • Solar power can be used to operate any device that runs on electricity, and generates zero emissions. The use of solar power also significantly mitigates the air and water pollution associated with other forms of electricity generation.
Want to see how much you could save switching to solar? It all starts with a free consultation in your home.

If you don’t live in one of the specified areas, you can still phone one of SolarCity’s Energy Advisors (888.765.2489) or go to their website solarcity.com.

Source: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/15/solarcity-best-buy-team-sell-solar-60-stores/

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Strawberry Trees Offer Free Public Solar Charging for Gadgets

© Strawberry Energy
In a bid to bring more renewable energy choices to the public, while educating people on the benefits of solar power, one Serbian startup is building public solar charging stations that will energize mobile gadgets and serve as a social hub.

The vision of Strawberry Energy is to make renewable energy sources more accessible for all people, and to show that solar power and other clean energy solutions aren't just abstract concepts, but are instead practical and desirable. The way they're helping to get that message across is through their public solar charging stations, dubbed Strawberry Trees, which offer free charging for mobile devices, and in some cases, free WiFi.
"Recognizing that the best way to raise awareness about the issues of clean green energy is to present the benefits through practical example, Strawberry energy engages in research and promotion of renewable energy sources and sustainable development."
Because so many of us are dependent on our phones, our tablets, and our music players, all of which are likely to run out of juice just when we need them, offering a way for users to recharge them with the power of the sun might be a great entry point for showing how solar energy has a place in our everyday lives.

The Strawberry Tree public solar stations, which are designed to be permanently installed in busy public places, include 16 charging cords (so users don't have to have their charger with them), and can serve as a meeting place and WiFi hotspot.
© Strawberry Energy
Currently, 12 of the Strawberry Tree charging stations are installed in Europe, with ten of them in Serbia and two in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and have proven to be popular with the public. The company recently signed a US distribution agreement with 3fficient Energy of California, which could open the door for wider adoption of these public solar chargers. According to 3fficient, the California Community College system has already expressed interest in the Strawberry Tree system.



Strawberry Energy also makes two other versions of the solar chargers, the Strawberry Mini, which is a smaller portable model that could be used for festivals and events, and the Mini Rural, which is even smaller and is designed for offgrid and rural use in areas without electricity.

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/strawberry-trees-offer-free-public-solar-charging-gadgets.html

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vermont Lawmakers, Towns Worry About Solar Projects that Could be Seen as an Eyesore

Sungen Sharon Solar Farm in Sharon. (Photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDigger)
MONTPELIER -- Vermont has become the nation's leader in solar jobs per capita -- an achievement praised by the Shumlin administration, environmental groups and solar developers. But solar's growth is not so bright for those near the state's so-called "Solar Capital" in Rutland, who say they are struggling to keep up with the burgeoning industry.

Don Chioffi, clerk of the Rutland Town Select Board, said while Rutland City has been called the solar capital of the state (thanks to a notable Green Mountain Power project), Rutland Town - a rural community of about 6,000 citizens is not ready adopt that moniker because of the impact large solar could have on the town's rural character.

"Like most of the rest of the state, we have been pretty much overwhelmed by the rapid expansion of the solar industry within our state and as the duly elected officials of our community, we have been attempting to get ahead of a steeply rising curve," Chioffi told the Senate Natural Resources Committee Thursday.

Chioffi said he does not oppose solar, but the town would prefer to site solar projects in locations that do not disturb the aesthetics of the local landscape. "We do not want this quality destroyed by unregulated and industrial solar," he told the committee.

The committee passed a bill Friday designed to lump solar projects into the same zoning process as other commercial development. Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, introduced S.191 this year.

The bill is not designed to stop solar projects, said committee Chair Bob Hartwell, D-Bennington. But lawmakers say something must be done to balance the state's renewable energy goals with the state's bucolic landscape, which includes giving towns a voice in deciding where solar projects are located.

"While it may be helpful for energy, it's not the most beautiful thing to look at," said Vice Chair Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden.

Chioffi said Rutland Town has been under pressure to adopt a zoning plan that includes solar in order to maintain the town's current agrarian landscape as the the solar industry moves in.

Environmental groups say anything that makes it harder to develop renewable power will delay the state from moving toward its goal of tapping 90 percent of its power from renewables by 2050.

Dylan Zwicky, a clean energy associate for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, said Rutland Town's working energy plan will put "new barriers at the local level, making it more difficult for folks to generate their own power." VPIRG supports an expansion of solar energy projects under the state's net metering program.

"We feel that if we're serious about addressing global warming, Vermonters need to be able to take steps to generate their own power," Zwicky said.

Lawmakers want to be sure town plans have been weighed as part the Public Service Board's review process of solar projects. Snelling is concerned about town review and public input for solar projects. She recently participated in a hearing for the 2.2 megawatt "Charlotte Solar Farm."

"It was very sad as a legislator to be sitting in the Charlotte public hearing on this project and feel like the voices of the people were not being heard," Snelling said.

The developer, a company from North Chelmsford, Mass., has not received a letter of credit from the Public Service Board. The project received a certificate of public good last January.

Source: http://www.reformer.com/state/ci_25354460/vermont-lawmakers-towns-worry-about-solar-projects-that

Monday, April 14, 2014

Indiana County Considering Solar Farm Project

In this Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 photo, an Indian security man walks by solar panels at a solar power project in Raisan village near Gandhinagar, India. For six years, India's monopoly coal producer has missed production targets that already fall short of the country’s demand. Industry has been left scrambling for pricier imports. Power cuts are chronic, and hundreds of millions still have no access. But what looks like a looming power crisis could actually be a rising energy transformation, with the country poised for a shift toward solar to end chronic energy woes and offer first-time access to hundreds of millions nationwide. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana county is weighing a company’s proposal to build a five-megawatt solar energy farm on county-owned land.

Solar Zentrum has proposed using 15 to 20 acres in Monroe County for the project. That land is a part of an 85-acre plot owned by the county.

The company is seeking a site that could house between 4,000 and 5,000 solar photovoltaic panels that would turn sunlight into electricity.

The Herald-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1gnu7FV ) that Duke Energy has issued a request for proposals for solar farms that would gather the energy and then sell it to Duke.

The county property in question is near a power transfer station, making it an ideal site.

Monroe County’s commissioners and members of the county’s environmental quality commission have agreed to move the idea forward.

Source: http://wthitv.com/2014/03/16/indiana-county-considering-solar-farm-project/

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Company Tests Solar Power

Energy source could help astronauts travel solar system

A California-based private aerospace, defense and commercial products company, ATK, agreed to test its solar arrays at the NASA Plum Brook Station.

The work started earlier this month and extends into late April. Solar arrays can convert sunlight into electricity or energy needed for powering astronauts into deep space.

“The testing of the ATK array is a major milestone toward development of a new solar electric power system that will generate the high power needed for extending human presence throughout the solar system,” NASA officials stated in a release.

Severe weather forced ATK and NASA administrators, including those from Cleveland and Washington, to postpone a tour at Plum Brook this past Wednesday.

No make-up date has been announced.

NASA spokeswoman Katherine Martin answered questions about this new partnership at the Plum Brook Station:   

Q: What is the purpose of this testing?

KM: The testing will expose the array system to the unique conditions that Plum Brook can simulate.

Because this is a new, never-before-tested design for advanced solar array systems capable of collecting more energy than previous designs, it is imperative we test them before going forward with a space-ready version.

ATK is under contract to design, analyze and test a single solar array capable of generating more than 15 kilowatts of power. The Phase I teams also will demonstrate how this array can be scaled up to provide 250 kilowatts or more for future spacecraft with very high power requirements.

Q: What will this testing ultimately accomplish or strive to achieve?

KM: High power solar electric propulsion, where the power is generated with advanced solar array systems, is a key capability required for extending human presence throughout the solar system.

These advanced solar arrays will drastically reduce weight and stowed volume, meaning it takes up less room, when compared to current systems. They also will significantly improve efficiency and functionality of future systems that will produce hundreds of kilowatts of power.

These advanced solar arrays could be used in future NASA human exploration and science missions, communications, satellites and other future spacecraft applications.

Q: Where is testing occurring at the NASA Plum Brook Station and why?

KM: The Space Power Facility houses the world’s largest and most powerful space environment simulation facilities. The Space Simulation Vacuum Chamber is the world’s largest, measuring 100 feet in diameter by 122 feet high. The Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility is the world’s most powerful spacecraft acoustic test chamber.

Q: How many solar arrays are being tested?

KM: Two: ATK is testing their prototype array system at Plum Brook Station, and DSS (Deployable Space Systems) is expected to test their prototype array system later this year in California.

Q: How much does the testing at Plum Brook cost?

KM: The cost of testing the array is about $500,000. Note that this includes the use of the facility for about eight weeks and includes ‘vibro-acoustic’ testing, hot vacuum testing, cold vacuum testing, deployed dynamics testing and all instrumentation and cabling and labor to support the tests.

Solar power testing at a world-class facility in Erie County could help astronauts get to Mars and explore the universe.

Source: http://www.sanduskyregister.com/article/nasa-plum-brook/5434136

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Solar Could Bring in Even More Money

SOMERSET — The companies that won the bid to put a solar farm on town-owned property off of Wilbur Avenue have changed their proposal to use less land but would generate more power, which will result in more money to the town than had been originally discussed.

The original proposal from Borrego Solar and NextEra Energy Resources would have generated four megawatts of power by installing solar panels on 27.7 acres of the property while the new proposal will generate six megawatts of power on 23.8 acres of the property.

Town Administrator Dennis Luttrell said the town could be compensated from the companies by a combination of buying electricity at a reduced rate, a lease they will have to pay for the property and taxes on personal property, which would be the equipment used on the land.

Over 20 years, Mr. Luttrell said the town could realize $16,390,091 from the solar farm, while over 25 years, the town could realize $19,814,844. Under the previous proposal, the town would have realized $9.1 million over 20 years.

"This is all subject to negotiations," Mr. Luttrell said. "It means a lot to the town when we don't have as much revenue these days. Every dollar we make from this is a dollar we don't have to charge the taxpayers or take from the budget."

He said the companies are requesting a payment-in-lieu of tax agreement that town meeting voters would have to approve.

The original proposal would have used five lots on the town-owned land, but some wetlands presented a problem with the layout of the solar farm, so the companies have proposed using a different part of the town-owned property. The parcel of land that the town owns off of Wilbur Avenue has 98 acres. It was formerly owned by New England Power and after the town bought it, it was leased out for farming. The design for the solar panels has been shifted west on the property.

Mr. Luttrell said the new layout of the solar farm would have to be approved by town meeting voters.

"Hopefully, the town meeting will see the wisdom of doing this," Mr. Luttrell said.

The new proposal would have more solar collectors on the property. The original design had the solar panels being closer to Wilbur Avenue and to the Somerset Ridge Center nursing home and Alzheimer's unit.

"This takes it farther away from populated areas," Mr. Luttrell said of the proposed new design for the solar farm.

Mr. Luttrell said there will be a buffer zone to the solar farm along Brayton Avenue and said there may be two houses that could see the solar panels. But he said a town bylaw requires plantings to screen the solar panels from the houses.

Mr. Luttrell said the new solar farm plan requires cutting more trees down on the town property. The selectmen last Wednesday tabled their decision on the solar farm proposal.

Source: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140316/PUB05/403120339

Friday, April 11, 2014

Solar Power More Economical than Natural Gas, Coal, Nuclear in Texas

Image CC licensed by Steve Rainwater
Austin Energy is going to pay under 5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity from 2 new solar power plants, Cleantechnica has reported. This is a couple of cents less than it estimates it could have paid for electricity from a natural gas plant (7 cents), 5 cents less than from a coal-fired power plant (10 cents), and 8 cents less than from a nuclear power plant (13 cents).

The 5 cents per KWh is even more significant because solar produces the most electricity at peak demand times, around the middle of the day in Texas. When electricity demand is up, electricity prices rise, and when demand goes down, electricity prices fall. That 5 cents per KWh for solar power in the middle of the day is a good deal indeed.

Cleantechnica points out that although there are no subsidies for solar that help with this project in Texas, there is a federal investment tax credit (ITC) at work. Without the credit, the cost of the solar electricity would actually be 8 cents per KWh, just a little more than gas, and still a lot less than coal and nuclear. If the environmental cost of gas and coal were factored in, solar would already be far less expensive than fossil fuel-based electricity.

Source: http://www.the9billion.com/2014/03/16/solar-power-more-economical-than-gas-coal-nuclear-in-texas/