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New solar roadmap shows how Long Island can produce more electricity than the region uses each year

The Long Island Solar Roadmap (the Roadmap), a new report and interactive map from The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife, demonstrates how Long Island could produce more solar electricity than the region uses all year by developing solar capacity on “low-impact” sites such as parking lots, capped landfills, and commercial building rooftops. Crucially, the Roadmap finds that these solar installations can be deployed without negatively affecting the region’s natural areas, forests, or prime farmlands. Public opinion research, conducted in 2019 for the report, found overwhelming support for solar energy, with 92% of surveyed Long Islanders in favor of solar development in their communities.

To address the effects of stronger storms, flooding, and extreme heat due to climate change, New York State has adopted bold legislation requiring 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. Due to its unique geographic position, Long Island enjoys the state’s highest solar resources. Developing even one-quarter of the island’s low-impact solar potential could help meet the state’s critical clean energy goals while delivering an estimated $10 billion in local economic benefits and an additional $5 billion in earnings for workers in the construction industry.

The Roadmap reflects the input of a diverse group representing state, local, and county government; the solar industry; farmers; environmental and community organizations; the electric utility; businesses; and academic institutions. These members have worked together since 2018 to design a Roadmap for accelerating smart siting of mid- to large-scale solar power on Long Island. While Long Island already boasts the highest concentration of small, residential solar rooftop installations in the state, the development of mid- to large-scale solar installations would enable more Long Islanders, like renters, to use clean energy in their homes and businesses. The Roadmap identifies existing barriers for low-impact solar development as well as the benefits of expanding solar in the region, detailing eight strategies to advance renewable energy development that maximize benefits to the region with minimal environmental impact.

The Roadmap’s methodology included three main research components—public opinion research, economic analysis on the costs and benefits of solar development, and geospatial analysis. Spatial data scientists from the Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife’s Center for Conservation Innovation used advanced mapping techniques to identify low-impact sites for solar arrays in Nassau and Suffolk counties and show their energy generation potential. The data is now available as a public map and can be used by municipal officials, property owners, and solar developers to identify potential sites before solar development in each of Long Island’s 15 cities and towns with the least impact to the environment.

Mid- to large-scale solar arrays, like the one at the H. Lee Dennison County Center in Hauppauge, Long Island, offer a host of benefits.

“The Long Island Solar Roadmap provides a path to responsibly add significant amounts of renewable solar energy while preserving our most important open spaces. The climate change we are experiencing now shows that we need to add more solar energy as quickly as possible. We cannot afford to wait for large-scale offshore wind projects whose construction may be caught in bureaucratic delays,” said Peter Gollon, Trustee, Long Island Power Authority. “On-island solar will complement that offshore wind when it is built, and in the meantime will provide thousands of good-paying local jobs, as well as low-cost renewable energy for families that cannot have their own rooftop solar.”

“PSEG Long Island is pleased to have contributed to the development of the Long Island Solar Roadmap,” said Michael Voltz, Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewables, PSEG Long Island. “Long Island has the largest deployment of residential rooftop solar in New York State. This project will help more customers realize the benefits of solar energy and put Long Island on the path to achieving New York’s goals of a safer, cleaner and greener environment.”

“The Roadmap unveils tremendous potential for solar power on Long Island and confirms that we can tackle climate change while protecting our natural world. We were pleased to partner with the Long Island Power Authority, PSEG Long Island, and other stakeholders to develop the Roadmap, and The Nature Conservancy looks forward to continuing to work with Long Island leaders to help seize this critical opportunity. Building solar energy on Long Island would create thousands of new jobs, reduce pollution, improve public health, and strengthen the region’s economy,” said Bill Ulfelder, New York Executive Director for The Nature Conservancy. “And critically, it helps us combat global warming and leave a safer world for our children and our grandchildren. No wonder low-impact solar is so popular with Long Islanders.”

“There is no doubt that we need to deploy more renewable energy around the country, including in densely populated areas like Long Island,” said Joy Page, Director of Renewable Energy and Wildlife, Defenders of Wildlife. “Developing solar energy in low-impact low-conflict areas with support of the local communities such as the ones identified by this project is a great way to advance renewable energy without adversely affecting wildlife and habitat.”

“As a member of the Suffolk County Legislature, I am pleased to have been able, along with former Legislator Kate Browning, to have played a small role in moving this important initiative forward, along with the GIS departments of the Towns of Southampton and Huntington. Having observed the challenges that can arise when communities are called on to ‘trade green for green,’ we recognize that the formidable talent and commitment brought to bear in this important undertaking will serve the community well. Armed with the data contained in the comprehensive map and report, we can more ably address the thorny challenge of expanding solar energy resources without adversely impacting wildlife habitat and critical open space,” stated Legislator Bridget Fleming, Chair of the Suffolk County Legislature Renewable Energy Task Force.

“The Long Island Solar Roadmap charts an important path forward in our region’s ability to meet much needed renewable energy goals and demonstrate the region’s commitment to fighting global climate change. We believe the recommendations included represent a careful but achievable path to accomplish these goals while expanding economic opportunities for local businesses, including local agriculture, and reducing long-term energy costs for private citizens,” said August Ruckdeschel, Farmland and Open Space Coordinator, Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning.

“I am very grateful for the work that went into this Roadmap. The Nature Conservancy did an excellent job of convening stakeholders, collecting data, and facilitating thought leadership to the end of producing an impressive and practical set of ideas and resources to move solar projects forward on Long Island. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of this endeavor,” said Sammy Chu, CEO for Edgewise Energy & Chairman of U.S. Green Building Council Long Island Chapter.

“The Long Island Solar Roadmap demonstrates that solar energy can power Long Island and charge our electric vehicles. We are now challenged to be innovative and strategic by modernizing the electric grid and utility business models in ways that will accelerate deployment and deliver benefits to all stakeholders. EmPower Solar is thrilled to be working with The Nature Conservancy, our utilities, elected leaders and many stakeholders to forge a path forward and meet out clean energy goals for the region,” said David G. Schieren, CEO, EmPower Solar.

“This was one of the best inclusive efforts for all stakeholder groups I have ever been involved in. The team has developed a valuable tool that will speed our transition to renewables that is so critical to mitigate the high cost of climate change,” said William Feldmann, CEO of Empire Clean Energy Supply.

“This first-of-its-kind report gives us a timely tool to tap into the large and mostly untapped potential of low-impact solar sites on Long Island. Much work remains to remove barriers to solar development but the report’s comprehensive strategies to overcome these challenges offer an excellent roadmap as Long Island and the state begin to build back better and greener,” said Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island.

“Our primary goal in the renewable energy transition is to support communities and workers most impacted by climate change. Through the Long Island Solar Roadmap consortium, our priorities to center equity, promote cooperative ownership of community solar, and advance participatory planning in renewable energy development were heard, valued, and incorporated. This Roadmap process has been an impressive and thorough one, and we are grateful to have played a role in shaping it,” said Ryan Madden, Sustainability Organizer, Long Island Progressive Coalition.

“We know that the development of clean, renewable energy will help provide Long Islanders with good, family-supporting jobs, new revenue for local governments, and help address our climate crisis. The Roadmap is a critical tool in providing a path to get there while ensuring a clean and healthy environment,” said Jessica Enzmann, Organizing Representative, Sierra Club.


About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Defenders.org/newsroom or follow @Defenders on Twitter. 


 

 

The post New solar roadmap shows how Long Island can produce more electricity than the region uses each year appeared first on Renewable Energy World.

New solar roadmap shows how Long Island can produce more electricity than the region uses each year

The Long Island Solar Roadmap (the Roadmap), a new report and interactive map from The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife, demonstrates how Long Island could produce more solar electricity than the region uses all year by developing solar capacity on “low-impact” sites such as parking lots, capped landfills, and commercial building rooftops. Crucially, the Roadmap finds that these solar installations can be deployed without negatively affecting the region’s natural areas, forests, or prime farmlands. Public opinion research, conducted in 2019 for the report, found overwhelming support for solar energy, with 92% of surveyed Long Islanders in favor of solar development in their communities.

To address the effects of stronger storms, flooding, and extreme heat due to climate change, New York State has adopted bold legislation requiring 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. Due to its unique geographic position, Long Island enjoys the state’s highest solar resources. Developing even one-quarter of the island’s low-impact solar potential could help meet the state’s critical clean energy goals while delivering an estimated $10 billion in local economic benefits and an additional $5 billion in earnings for workers in the construction industry.

The Roadmap reflects the input of a diverse group representing state, local, and county government; the solar industry; farmers; environmental and community organizations; the electric utility; businesses; and academic institutions. These members have worked together since 2018 to design a Roadmap for accelerating smart siting of mid- to large-scale solar power on Long Island. While Long Island already boasts the highest concentration of small, residential solar rooftop installations in the state, the development of mid- to large-scale solar installations would enable more Long Islanders, like renters, to use clean energy in their homes and businesses. The Roadmap identifies existing barriers for low-impact solar development as well as the benefits of expanding solar in the region, detailing eight strategies to advance renewable energy development that maximize benefits to the region with minimal environmental impact.

The Roadmap’s methodology included three main research components—public opinion research, economic analysis on the costs and benefits of solar development, and geospatial analysis. Spatial data scientists from the Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife’s Center for Conservation Innovation used advanced mapping techniques to identify low-impact sites for solar arrays in Nassau and Suffolk counties and show their energy generation potential. The data is now available as a public map and can be used by municipal officials, property owners, and solar developers to identify potential sites before solar development in each of Long Island’s 15 cities and towns with the least impact to the environment.

Mid- to large-scale solar arrays, like the one at the H. Lee Dennison County Center in Hauppauge, Long Island, offer a host of benefits.

“The Long Island Solar Roadmap provides a path to responsibly add significant amounts of renewable solar energy while preserving our most important open spaces. The climate change we are experiencing now shows that we need to add more solar energy as quickly as possible. We cannot afford to wait for large-scale offshore wind projects whose construction may be caught in bureaucratic delays,” said Peter Gollon, Trustee, Long Island Power Authority. “On-island solar will complement that offshore wind when it is built, and in the meantime will provide thousands of good-paying local jobs, as well as low-cost renewable energy for families that cannot have their own rooftop solar.”

“PSEG Long Island is pleased to have contributed to the development of the Long Island Solar Roadmap,” said Michael Voltz, Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewables, PSEG Long Island. “Long Island has the largest deployment of residential rooftop solar in New York State. This project will help more customers realize the benefits of solar energy and put Long Island on the path to achieving New York’s goals of a safer, cleaner and greener environment.”

“The Roadmap unveils tremendous potential for solar power on Long Island and confirms that we can tackle climate change while protecting our natural world. We were pleased to partner with the Long Island Power Authority, PSEG Long Island, and other stakeholders to develop the Roadmap, and The Nature Conservancy looks forward to continuing to work with Long Island leaders to help seize this critical opportunity. Building solar energy on Long Island would create thousands of new jobs, reduce pollution, improve public health, and strengthen the region’s economy,” said Bill Ulfelder, New York Executive Director for The Nature Conservancy. “And critically, it helps us combat global warming and leave a safer world for our children and our grandchildren. No wonder low-impact solar is so popular with Long Islanders.”

“There is no doubt that we need to deploy more renewable energy around the country, including in densely populated areas like Long Island,” said Joy Page, Director of Renewable Energy and Wildlife, Defenders of Wildlife. “Developing solar energy in low-impact low-conflict areas with support of the local communities such as the ones identified by this project is a great way to advance renewable energy without adversely affecting wildlife and habitat.”

“As a member of the Suffolk County Legislature, I am pleased to have been able, along with former Legislator Kate Browning, to have played a small role in moving this important initiative forward, along with the GIS departments of the Towns of Southampton and Huntington. Having observed the challenges that can arise when communities are called on to ‘trade green for green,’ we recognize that the formidable talent and commitment brought to bear in this important undertaking will serve the community well. Armed with the data contained in the comprehensive map and report, we can more ably address the thorny challenge of expanding solar energy resources without adversely impacting wildlife habitat and critical open space,” stated Legislator Bridget Fleming, Chair of the Suffolk County Legislature Renewable Energy Task Force.

“The Long Island Solar Roadmap charts an important path forward in our region’s ability to meet much needed renewable energy goals and demonstrate the region’s commitment to fighting global climate change. We believe the recommendations included represent a careful but achievable path to accomplish these goals while expanding economic opportunities for local businesses, including local agriculture, and reducing long-term energy costs for private citizens,” said August Ruckdeschel, Farmland and Open Space Coordinator, Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning.

“I am very grateful for the work that went into this Roadmap. The Nature Conservancy did an excellent job of convening stakeholders, collecting data, and facilitating thought leadership to the end of producing an impressive and practical set of ideas and resources to move solar projects forward on Long Island. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of this endeavor,” said Sammy Chu, CEO for Edgewise Energy & Chairman of U.S. Green Building Council Long Island Chapter.

“The Long Island Solar Roadmap demonstrates that solar energy can power Long Island and charge our electric vehicles. We are now challenged to be innovative and strategic by modernizing the electric grid and utility business models in ways that will accelerate deployment and deliver benefits to all stakeholders. EmPower Solar is thrilled to be working with The Nature Conservancy, our utilities, elected leaders and many stakeholders to forge a path forward and meet out clean energy goals for the region,” said David G. Schieren, CEO, EmPower Solar.

“This was one of the best inclusive efforts for all stakeholder groups I have ever been involved in. The team has developed a valuable tool that will speed our transition to renewables that is so critical to mitigate the high cost of climate change,” said William Feldmann, CEO of Empire Clean Energy Supply.

“This first-of-its-kind report gives us a timely tool to tap into the large and mostly untapped potential of low-impact solar sites on Long Island. Much work remains to remove barriers to solar development but the report’s comprehensive strategies to overcome these challenges offer an excellent roadmap as Long Island and the state begin to build back better and greener,” said Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island.

“Our primary goal in the renewable energy transition is to support communities and workers most impacted by climate change. Through the Long Island Solar Roadmap consortium, our priorities to center equity, promote cooperative ownership of community solar, and advance participatory planning in renewable energy development were heard, valued, and incorporated. This Roadmap process has been an impressive and thorough one, and we are grateful to have played a role in shaping it,” said Ryan Madden, Sustainability Organizer, Long Island Progressive Coalition.

“We know that the development of clean, renewable energy will help provide Long Islanders with good, family-supporting jobs, new revenue for local governments, and help address our climate crisis. The Roadmap is a critical tool in providing a path to get there while ensuring a clean and healthy environment,” said Jessica Enzmann, Organizing Representative, Sierra Club.


About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Defenders.org/newsroom or follow @Defenders on Twitter. 


 

 

The post New solar roadmap shows how Long Island can produce more electricity than the region uses each year appeared first on Renewable Energy World.

3 cost-effective steps President Biden can take to accelerate a clean energy revolution

By Whit Fulton, ConnectDER

With the new administration inaugurated in January, and with Secretary Jennifer Granholm confirmed last week, those of us working to help solve the climate crisis can’t help but feel hopeful with what should be a new, aggressive approach to energy policy. As the world is facing a daunting climate crisis, and with a nearly 4-year delay in taking action to solve it in Washington, I was pleased to see that President Biden selected Governor Granholm as Energy Secretary. While so many have spoken volumes about her work resurrecting the auto industry after the 2008 financial crisis, it was her efforts on the state level shepherding aggressive renewable energy policies which helped create 125,000 green jobs in Michigan. 

I was equally thrilled to see the new President appoint former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy and Ali Zaidi to the top two climate advisory positions in his administration. All three have an impressive track record of moving the country towards a sustainable future for generations to come.

Now that all three are officially in place, it’s time to get to work.

In Mr. Biden’s own words, climate change will have the urgency of a “day one” issue. Beyond re-joining the Paris Agreement in his first 100 days, Biden and Granholm will need to begin rolling out practical policy plans to make significant investments in clean energy, technology, and infrastructure to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs. 

More than anything else however, and as with any industry, the renewable energy industry needs policy certainty. Wind, solar, and distributed energy resources (DERs) have all faced major policy uncertainty through shifting dynamics in Washington over the past six years. While it’s clear now that renewables are making unprecedented progress, the new administration must work to solidify policy so we can help simplify and accelerate the creation of jobs and our energy transition. Here are my thoughts.

Set Reliable Standards that Drive Interoperability

One unfortunate quirk of the US’s historic balancing act between Federalism and Republicanism is the patchwork of city, state, and regional standards that govern how clean energy can be installed and attached to the grid.  Simplifying, streamlining, and normalizing on key standards would reduce transaction costs and promote safety, unlocking massive acceleration in new deployments and jobs, and all at a fraction of the cost of straight subsidy to industry (don’t get me wrong, subsidies are great too, but let’s focus on the best returns on investment out there).  For example: there should be a standard one-page application for interconnection that can be filled out and filed electronically that is universal for utilities and local inspectors across the country.

So how do we do it?  First, Biden’s team should empower a single national certification organization that would examine, regulate and certify compliance for stakeholders with all relevant standards for electrical systems, processes and interconnections in the new energy economy.  Second, take a carrot approach: organizations that meet the standards should be rewarded with modest but meaningful tax or other incentives.  Forget sticks, since many organizations may have unique circumstances that justify taking a slower approach.  Best of all, there are excellent organizations working on this problem already like SEPA, NABCEP, SEIA, and EPRI, to name a few.  Empowering them with the needed funding and mandate to execute their mission at a larger scale would generate outsize returns for the industry and the planet.  

Promote Certified U.S.-made and Manufactured Products

Clean energy technology is only as clean as the components it’s made from.  While we do depend heavily on imports, and will continue to do so, we can’t really call our infrastructure clean if it’s built using abusive labor practices and carbon-intensive energy.  In this moment, there is an unprecedented opportunity to promote onshoring of renewable energy technologies to aid meaningful domestic job creation. This is where Granholm’s experience in the rust belt and with the auto industry will be vital; these areas of the country are and will continue to feel the strain of decarbonization. They need new opportunities and areas for advancement. Certified U.S. made and manufactured products earn a home field advantage not only through these job creation benefits, but because they also support the greater human rights and environmental justice mission of the U.S., and don’t offshore our carbon footprint. 

The Biden Administration should realign its trade policy with China and others to quantify any tariffs not in terms of arbitrary tit-for-tat retaliation but in terms of entrained carbon and other related CO2e measures.  The funds collected from the tariffs should then be allocated directly to a dedicated fund for carbon negative investments at home, thereby helping offset the cost of the tariffs, stimulating onshore cleantech industry activity, and creating a virtuous cycle to incentivize lower carbon everywhere.

Establish A Transparent Carbon Market

Markets work. At least, they work more cost-effectively than overbearing regulatory edicts.  Establishing a national carbon market, a simple process that charges electric generators and other major carbon emitting industries a cost per ton of carbon, can act as a disincentive to produce power from highly-polluting means and spur clean energy deployment (read: jobs). This is a powerful motivator for the energy transition, creates new funds for beneficial uses, and is already being done regionally.

Our working model: The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI (pronounced “Reggie”), is a cooperative effort among Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. RGGI works by capping and reducing CO2 emissions from the power sector. Each RGGI state’s Budget Trading Program limits emissions of carbon dioxide from electric power plants, issues CO2 allowances, and even offers a secondary market for tradable certificates, allowing generators that more effectively reduce emissions to benefit financially.  Long-established U.S. emissions markets for nitrogen oxides and sulphur, bi-partisan creations, have shown enormous cost savings relative to imposed technology controls. This model should be applied to carbon and expanded nationwide.

Our Last Chance & Greatest Opportunity

The way the new administration perceives and reacts to climate change will set it apart from international peers (not to mention the outgoing administration). Avoiding a two degrees Celsius global temperature increase will require not only infrastructure investments but also a completely different way of looking at our need for and use of energy as individuals and homeowners. 

At this exact moment in time, we Americans have an unprecedented opportunity to improve our energy system, one that, done right, leads to a stronger economy and a cleaner, safer planet. With resolve and clear policy, America can assume the mantle of leadership needed to carry us into the next century and beyond.


About the Author

Whit Fulton is the founder and CEO of ConnectDER. ConnectDER devices enable easy, safe, low-cost, and rapid connection of distributed energy resources (DERs) to the power grid, via a connection to a collar that installs between the electric meter and meter socket. Whit founded ConnectDER to give inventors a place to solve meaningful problems and to ensure they have an ownership stake in the solutions they create.  His personal mission is to create technologies and business approaches that unlock profitable models for renewable energy.  Whit honed his analysis, negotiation, and product development skills through a series of senior managerial positions in energy analytics consultancies and cleantech startups.

The post 3 cost-effective steps President Biden can take to accelerate a clean energy revolution appeared first on Renewable Energy World.

3 cost-effective steps President Biden can take to accelerate a clean energy revolution

By Whit Fulton, ConnectDER

With the new administration inaugurated in January, and with Secretary Jennifer Granholm confirmed last week, those of us working to help solve the climate crisis can’t help but feel hopeful with what should be a new, aggressive approach to energy policy. As the world is facing a daunting climate crisis, and with a nearly 4-year delay in taking action to solve it in Washington, I was pleased to see that President Biden selected Governor Granholm as Energy Secretary. While so many have spoken volumes about her work resurrecting the auto industry after the 2008 financial crisis, it was her efforts on the state level shepherding aggressive renewable energy policies which helped create 125,000 green jobs in Michigan. 

I was equally thrilled to see the new President appoint former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy and Ali Zaidi to the top two climate advisory positions in his administration. All three have an impressive track record of moving the country towards a sustainable future for generations to come.

Now that all three are officially in place, it’s time to get to work.

In Mr. Biden’s own words, climate change will have the urgency of a “day one” issue. Beyond re-joining the Paris Agreement in his first 100 days, Biden and Granholm will need to begin rolling out practical policy plans to make significant investments in clean energy, technology, and infrastructure to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs. 

More than anything else however, and as with any industry, the renewable energy industry needs policy certainty. Wind, solar, and distributed energy resources (DERs) have all faced major policy uncertainty through shifting dynamics in Washington over the past six years. While it’s clear now that renewables are making unprecedented progress, the new administration must work to solidify policy so we can help simplify and accelerate the creation of jobs and our energy transition. Here are my thoughts.

Set Reliable Standards that Drive Interoperability

One unfortunate quirk of the US’s historic balancing act between Federalism and Republicanism is the patchwork of city, state, and regional standards that govern how clean energy can be installed and attached to the grid.  Simplifying, streamlining, and normalizing on key standards would reduce transaction costs and promote safety, unlocking massive acceleration in new deployments and jobs, and all at a fraction of the cost of straight subsidy to industry (don’t get me wrong, subsidies are great too, but let’s focus on the best returns on investment out there).  For example: there should be a standard one-page application for interconnection that can be filled out and filed electronically that is universal for utilities and local inspectors across the country.

So how do we do it?  First, Biden’s team should empower a single national certification organization that would examine, regulate and certify compliance for stakeholders with all relevant standards for electrical systems, processes and interconnections in the new energy economy.  Second, take a carrot approach: organizations that meet the standards should be rewarded with modest but meaningful tax or other incentives.  Forget sticks, since many organizations may have unique circumstances that justify taking a slower approach.  Best of all, there are excellent organizations working on this problem already like SEPA, NABCEP, SEIA, and EPRI, to name a few.  Empowering them with the needed funding and mandate to execute their mission at a larger scale would generate outsize returns for the industry and the planet.  

Promote Certified U.S.-made and Manufactured Products

Clean energy technology is only as clean as the components it’s made from.  While we do depend heavily on imports, and will continue to do so, we can’t really call our infrastructure clean if it’s built using abusive labor practices and carbon-intensive energy.  In this moment, there is an unprecedented opportunity to promote onshoring of renewable energy technologies to aid meaningful domestic job creation. This is where Granholm’s experience in the rust belt and with the auto industry will be vital; these areas of the country are and will continue to feel the strain of decarbonization. They need new opportunities and areas for advancement. Certified U.S. made and manufactured products earn a home field advantage not only through these job creation benefits, but because they also support the greater human rights and environmental justice mission of the U.S., and don’t offshore our carbon footprint. 

The Biden Administration should realign its trade policy with China and others to quantify any tariffs not in terms of arbitrary tit-for-tat retaliation but in terms of entrained carbon and other related CO2e measures.  The funds collected from the tariffs should then be allocated directly to a dedicated fund for carbon negative investments at home, thereby helping offset the cost of the tariffs, stimulating onshore cleantech industry activity, and creating a virtuous cycle to incentivize lower carbon everywhere.

Establish A Transparent Carbon Market

Markets work. At least, they work more cost-effectively than overbearing regulatory edicts.  Establishing a national carbon market, a simple process that charges electric generators and other major carbon emitting industries a cost per ton of carbon, can act as a disincentive to produce power from highly-polluting means and spur clean energy deployment (read: jobs). This is a powerful motivator for the energy transition, creates new funds for beneficial uses, and is already being done regionally.

Our working model: The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI (pronounced “Reggie”), is a cooperative effort among Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. RGGI works by capping and reducing CO2 emissions from the power sector. Each RGGI state’s Budget Trading Program limits emissions of carbon dioxide from electric power plants, issues CO2 allowances, and even offers a secondary market for tradable certificates, allowing generators that more effectively reduce emissions to benefit financially.  Long-established U.S. emissions markets for nitrogen oxides and sulphur, bi-partisan creations, have shown enormous cost savings relative to imposed technology controls. This model should be applied to carbon and expanded nationwide.

Our Last Chance & Greatest Opportunity

The way the new administration perceives and reacts to climate change will set it apart from international peers (not to mention the outgoing administration). Avoiding a two degrees Celsius global temperature increase will require not only infrastructure investments but also a completely different way of looking at our need for and use of energy as individuals and homeowners. 

At this exact moment in time, we Americans have an unprecedented opportunity to improve our energy system, one that, done right, leads to a stronger economy and a cleaner, safer planet. With resolve and clear policy, America can assume the mantle of leadership needed to carry us into the next century and beyond.


About the Author

Whit Fulton is the founder and CEO of ConnectDER. ConnectDER devices enable easy, safe, low-cost, and rapid connection of distributed energy resources (DERs) to the power grid, via a connection to a collar that installs between the electric meter and meter socket. Whit founded ConnectDER to give inventors a place to solve meaningful problems and to ensure they have an ownership stake in the solutions they create.  His personal mission is to create technologies and business approaches that unlock profitable models for renewable energy.  Whit honed his analysis, negotiation, and product development skills through a series of senior managerial positions in energy analytics consultancies and cleantech startups.

The post 3 cost-effective steps President Biden can take to accelerate a clean energy revolution appeared first on Renewable Energy World.

How to make the most of the bifacial solar module opportunity

By Leonardo Botti, FIMER

Without doubt, the solar PV industry is one of the most exciting sectors to be working in at the moment. With the International Energy Agency (IEA) reporting a huge 18-fold increase in the amount of installed solar PV capacity between 2010 and 2020, and IEA executive director Fatih Birol, stating that “I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets”, the growth of solar looks set to continue.

During this time, we have also witnessed a huge increase in innovative applications – solar is no longer ‘just’ a pure power conversion but it has been the foundation of the DG (Distributed Generation). It can be installed in the most extreme locations to harness the power of the sun and generate renewable power.  At FIMER, we have had the pleasure of working on projects based in locations as diverse as deserts and mountains and even in the sub-zero temperatures of the Antarctic.

One of the major trends we have seen in recent years has been the growth in bifacial module installations.  Although the technology itself is not ‘new’ — bifacial modules have been around for many years — it is only relatively recently that the use of these modules has become more common in the solar PV sector, having previously been regarded as a fairly novel technology.

It’s easy to see why it has become more popular.  As well as achieving maximum energy performance by utilizing both sides of the panel, the technology itself has seen a significant reduction in cost compared to standard modules, making it a more realistic solution for a greater number of projects.  Growth has been also fuelled by the development of PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) technology and favourable tariffs and subsidies in some markets.

In fact, a report last year from the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV) predicted that the marketshare for bifacial modules will increase from ten percent in 2020 to at least about 35 percent by 2030. This reflects a 2019 report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables that predicted that bifacial module capacity will exceed 21 GW by 2024 with Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East being cited as the biggest growth markets. 

So, what are the benefits of using bifacial modules?

As mentioned earlier, the primary benefit is that they provide higher energy performance.  According to a SolarPro study of PV module manufacturers, bifacial modules have shown energy yield increases of up to 11 percent for fixed tilt systems and 27 percent for tracker systems, when compared to similarly rated traditional modules.  This trade-off between additional cost and extra performance is increasingly seen as worth the investment.

This has been particularly evident in the increasing adoption of bifacial modules in the utility-scale, industrial and large commercial markets, as they benefit from higher solar generation and lower energy costs, particularly for tracker systems.

What are the challenges?

However — as with many technologies — there are still challenges.  While the side facing the sun works in the same way as traditional modules, variables on the rear side do impact the level of reflective light it receives, for example, the quality or color of the roof or ground.  This unpredictability means that it is not a suitable technology for all applications.  

Bifacial modules also present a challenge for inverter manufacturers who need to ensure that their technology can respond to the higher level of input current generated compared to traditional modules.  In any installation, the inverter must allow for maximum current from strings — with bifacial modules, the inverters installed need to be able to cope with an even higher current.

Therefore, the requirement for inverter load flexibility is crucial, which means that matching the right inverter to a bifacial module project is a critical action to undertake if the project is to be a success. 

As a result, the newly launched and the next generation of inverters are being designed to cope with the increased incoming current requirements for bifacial module systems.  Inverter improvements also include greater granularity of maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and support to higher incoming currents, so, for bifacial module installations, a multi-MPPT string inverter is the optimal choice. 

We recently launched our new string inverter — the PVS-10/33-TL — that is designed to provide this high level of flexibility.  While designed specifically for the commercial and industrial markets, the higher kW units (20, 30 and 33k W) are particularly suited to bifacial module installations, forecasted to increase in those applications too going forward. 

As a result of reducing costs and an increase in successful projects utilizing bifacial modules, installations are expected to grow in almost all territories.  While they do come with their challenges, the possibilities of a higher energy yield mean they will continue to be a popular choice for utility-scale, industrial and larger commercial installations, particularly tracker systems.  This means that, for installers, choosing the right inverter partner will be crucial to maximizing the bifacial opportunity.


About the Author

Leonardo Botti is Managing Director – C&I Line of Business with FIMER. Based in Tuscany, Italy, Leonardo has over 15 years in the renewable energy sector. Heading up FIMER’s Commercial and Industrial business line, he is responsible for growing market share, bringing new solutions to the market and delivering high standards of customer care. 

His career spans roles as Director of Business Development for Power One Renewable Energy Solutions and Global Head of Product Management for ABB Solar. With Master’s Degrees in Governance and Business Strategy and Electronic Engineering he brings broad knowledge of the sector to the FIMER team.

The post How to make the most of the bifacial solar module opportunity appeared first on Renewable Energy World.

How to make the most of the bifacial solar module opportunity

By Leonardo Botti, FIMER

Without doubt, the solar PV industry is one of the most exciting sectors to be working in at the moment. With the International Energy Agency (IEA) reporting a huge 18-fold increase in the amount of installed solar PV capacity between 2010 and 2020, and IEA executive director Fatih Birol, stating that “I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets”, the growth of solar looks set to continue.

During this time, we have also witnessed a huge increase in innovative applications – solar is no longer ‘just’ a pure power conversion but it has been the foundation of the DG (Distributed Generation). It can be installed in the most extreme locations to harness the power of the sun and generate renewable power.  At FIMER, we have had the pleasure of working on projects based in locations as diverse as deserts and mountains and even in the sub-zero temperatures of the Antarctic.

One of the major trends we have seen in recent years has been the growth in bifacial module installations.  Although the technology itself is not ‘new’ — bifacial modules have been around for many years — it is only relatively recently that the use of these modules has become more common in the solar PV sector, having previously been regarded as a fairly novel technology.

It’s easy to see why it has become more popular.  As well as achieving maximum energy performance by utilizing both sides of the panel, the technology itself has seen a significant reduction in cost compared to standard modules, making it a more realistic solution for a greater number of projects.  Growth has been also fuelled by the development of PERC (passivated emitter rear cell) technology and favourable tariffs and subsidies in some markets.

In fact, a report last year from the International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV) predicted that the marketshare for bifacial modules will increase from ten percent in 2020 to at least about 35 percent by 2030. This reflects a 2019 report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables that predicted that bifacial module capacity will exceed 21 GW by 2024 with Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East being cited as the biggest growth markets. 

So, what are the benefits of using bifacial modules?

As mentioned earlier, the primary benefit is that they provide higher energy performance.  According to a SolarPro study of PV module manufacturers, bifacial modules have shown energy yield increases of up to 11 percent for fixed tilt systems and 27 percent for tracker systems, when compared to similarly rated traditional modules.  This trade-off between additional cost and extra performance is increasingly seen as worth the investment.

This has been particularly evident in the increasing adoption of bifacial modules in the utility-scale, industrial and large commercial markets, as they benefit from higher solar generation and lower energy costs, particularly for tracker systems.

What are the challenges?

However — as with many technologies — there are still challenges.  While the side facing the sun works in the same way as traditional modules, variables on the rear side do impact the level of reflective light it receives, for example, the quality or color of the roof or ground.  This unpredictability means that it is not a suitable technology for all applications.  

Bifacial modules also present a challenge for inverter manufacturers who need to ensure that their technology can respond to the higher level of input current generated compared to traditional modules.  In any installation, the inverter must allow for maximum current from strings — with bifacial modules, the inverters installed need to be able to cope with an even higher current.

Therefore, the requirement for inverter load flexibility is crucial, which means that matching the right inverter to a bifacial module project is a critical action to undertake if the project is to be a success. 

As a result, the newly launched and the next generation of inverters are being designed to cope with the increased incoming current requirements for bifacial module systems.  Inverter improvements also include greater granularity of maximum power point tracking (MPPT) and support to higher incoming currents, so, for bifacial module installations, a multi-MPPT string inverter is the optimal choice. 

We recently launched our new string inverter — the PVS-10/33-TL — that is designed to provide this high level of flexibility.  While designed specifically for the commercial and industrial markets, the higher kW units (20, 30 and 33k W) are particularly suited to bifacial module installations, forecasted to increase in those applications too going forward. 

As a result of reducing costs and an increase in successful projects utilizing bifacial modules, installations are expected to grow in almost all territories.  While they do come with their challenges, the possibilities of a higher energy yield mean they will continue to be a popular choice for utility-scale, industrial and larger commercial installations, particularly tracker systems.  This means that, for installers, choosing the right inverter partner will be crucial to maximizing the bifacial opportunity.


About the Author

Leonardo Botti is Managing Director – C&I Line of Business with FIMER. Based in Tuscany, Italy, Leonardo has over 15 years in the renewable energy sector. Heading up FIMER’s Commercial and Industrial business line, he is responsible for growing market share, bringing new solutions to the market and delivering high standards of customer care. 

His career spans roles as Director of Business Development for Power One Renewable Energy Solutions and Global Head of Product Management for ABB Solar. With Master’s Degrees in Governance and Business Strategy and Electronic Engineering he brings broad knowledge of the sector to the FIMER team.

The post How to make the most of the bifacial solar module opportunity appeared first on Renewable Energy World.

Tips for utilities making the transition to renewables

By Allen Austin, ABB

Renewable energy has arrived, and it makes up the majority of new generating capacity being added in the United States. The US Energy Information Administration projects renewables’ share of the national generation mix will rise from 21 percent in 2020 to 42 percent in 2050, even as the federal tax credits for both wind and solar close out over the next few years.

Wind power had a banner year in 2020 with a single-year record of 12GW of new capacity additions and, on December 23, 2021 a new daily record of 1.76 million MWh or around 17 percent of total generation. Solar added slightly more new capacity, 15.4GW, accounting for 39 percent of the total, the largest contribution of any generation type.

Most of the growth in renewable generation is in utility-scale projects and by now America’s utilities have gained a good deal of experience in bringing wind and solar projects online. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Look for modular, integrated solutions

Solar PV equipment manufacturers already package modules, inverters, and tracking systems — the same can be found with balance-of-plant (BoP) equipment like transformers, breakers, and collection systems. Even if the utility is working with an EPC, they can still exert some influence over equipment selection. If the utility is managing its own project, consider single sourcing as an alternative to managing a patchwork of low-cost suppliers. Plug-and-play compatibility at the beginning and a long-term relationship for support after the sale can add considerable value over the life of the plant (20 years in some cases).

Budget for O&M

This may seem obvious, but small line items can be essential to preserving uptime and project economics. Today, there are a number of inspection technologies that can spot potential problems before they can cause a failure. Infra-red (IR) and x-ray devices can see into switchgear and transformers while they are still energized. Oil sampling is also highly recommended to identify dissolved gases in transformers that can cause catastrophic failure, and to take remedial action before that happens. Inspection services using these capabilities are readily available from OEMs and third party providers.

Mind the data

Set the plant up for performance and condition monitoring from the beginning. The cost of capturing the requisite data continues to fall with the cost of sensors and related systems. Smart relays and breakers, for example, can flag potential problems as well as providing operational data in real time. Meanwhile, the same data flows feed condition-based maintenance that allows asset owners to direct O&M spending toward only those devices that actually need it. Data-driven O&M can make the difference between a project that is profitable/bankable and one that is not.

As coal retirements continue and renewables—often in remote locations—fill the capacity void, best practices will take on more and more importance, particularly as tax incentives begin to phase out. The knowledge and experience utilities are gaining now will serve them well in a future dominated by renewable generation.

About the Author

Allen Austin is the Senior Renewable Energy Market Development Manager at ABB Electrification USA. He began is work with the Renewable Energy market in 2008 with ABB Inc Low Voltage, where he developed and launched the local USA Low Voltage Products division strategy for the solar market. Within two years, he achieved more than 8X growth in solar. Since then, his responsibilities have expanded to all renewables including wind, energy storage and power generation for the Electrification Division-Americas with focus on the USA. Interests include all aspects of renewables, such as OEM’s utilities, developers, EPC’s, contractors, specifiers, distributors and industry associations.  

The post Tips for utilities making the transition to renewables appeared first on Renewable Energy World.

Tips for utilities making the transition to renewables

By Allen Austin, ABB

Renewable energy has arrived, and it makes up the majority of new generating capacity being added in the United States. The US Energy Information Administration projects renewables’ share of the national generation mix will rise from 21 percent in 2020 to 42 percent in 2050, even as the federal tax credits for both wind and solar close out over the next few years.

Wind power had a banner year in 2020 with a single-year record of 12GW of new capacity additions and, on December 23, 2021 a new daily record of 1.76 million MWh or around 17 percent of total generation. Solar added slightly more new capacity, 15.4GW, accounting for 39 percent of the total, the largest contribution of any generation type.

Most of the growth in renewable generation is in utility-scale projects and by now America’s utilities have gained a good deal of experience in bringing wind and solar projects online. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Look for modular, integrated solutions

Solar PV equipment manufacturers already package modules, inverters, and tracking systems — the same can be found with balance-of-plant (BoP) equipment like transformers, breakers, and collection systems. Even if the utility is working with an EPC, they can still exert some influence over equipment selection. If the utility is managing its own project, consider single sourcing as an alternative to managing a patchwork of low-cost suppliers. Plug-and-play compatibility at the beginning and a long-term relationship for support after the sale can add considerable value over the life of the plant (20 years in some cases).

Budget for O&M

This may seem obvious, but small line items can be essential to preserving uptime and project economics. Today, there are a number of inspection technologies that can spot potential problems before they can cause a failure. Infra-red (IR) and x-ray devices can see into switchgear and transformers while they are still energized. Oil sampling is also highly recommended to identify dissolved gases in transformers that can cause catastrophic failure, and to take remedial action before that happens. Inspection services using these capabilities are readily available from OEMs and third party providers.

Mind the data

Set the plant up for performance and condition monitoring from the beginning. The cost of capturing the requisite data continues to fall with the cost of sensors and related systems. Smart relays and breakers, for example, can flag potential problems as well as providing operational data in real time. Meanwhile, the same data flows feed condition-based maintenance that allows asset owners to direct O&M spending toward only those devices that actually need it. Data-driven O&M can make the difference between a project that is profitable/bankable and one that is not.

As coal retirements continue and renewables—often in remote locations—fill the capacity void, best practices will take on more and more importance, particularly as tax incentives begin to phase out. The knowledge and experience utilities are gaining now will serve them well in a future dominated by renewable generation.

About the Author

Allen Austin is the Senior Renewable Energy Market Development Manager at ABB Electrification USA. He began is work with the Renewable Energy market in 2008 with ABB Inc Low Voltage, where he developed and launched the local USA Low Voltage Products division strategy for the solar market. Within two years, he achieved more than 8X growth in solar. Since then, his responsibilities have expanded to all renewables including wind, energy storage and power generation for the Electrification Division-Americas with focus on the USA. Interests include all aspects of renewables, such as OEM’s utilities, developers, EPC’s, contractors, specifiers, distributors and industry associations.  

The post Tips for utilities making the transition to renewables appeared first on Renewable Energy World.