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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hybrid Power Solutions industry on the rise as popularity and cost-effectiveness of renewables continues to increase

No doubt about it: Hybrid technology is leading us away from fossil fuel as our primary source to power our economy.  Market conditions look great for growth.

The global hybrid power solutions market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2016 to 2021, to reach a market size of USD 689.5 Million by 2021. Download PDF brochure 

Browse 68 market data tables and 47 figures spread through 131 pages and in-depth TOC on “Hybrid Power Solutions Market by System Type (Solar-Diesel, Wind-Diesel, Solar-Wind-Diesel), Power Rating (Upto 10 kW, 11 kW–100 kW, and Above 100 kW), End-User (Residential, Commercial, Telecom), and Region - Global Forecast to 2021"

To enable an in-depth understanding of the competitive landscape, the report includes profiles of some of the leading players in the hybrid power solutions market. These players include SMA Solar Technology AG (Germany), Siemens AG (Germany), Huawei Technologies Co., LTD (China), ZTE Corporation (China), Flexenclosure AB, LTD (Sweden), and Heliocentris Energy Solutions AG (Germany) among others. Leading players are trying to penetrate the markets in rural areas of developing economies and are adopting various strategies to increase their market share.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Could Puerto Rico’s Disaster have a “Solar Lining?” Elon Musk Believes, YES./RNN

Mankind has proven to be resilient.  We steadily pick ourselves up off the mat when flattened and quickly rebuild.  We see this again in an island pounded by Mother Nature this year--Puerto Rico.

One of the things holding them back, and is a potential liability for all of us dependent on an antiquated grid, is restoring electrical service.  Elon Musk steps in and offers new tech to rebuild their system.  Why would we not take advantage of today's smart tech?

The ever business minded, problem-solving entrepreneur, Elon Musk says he could rebuild Puerto Rico’s shattered electrical infrastructure with his solar energy technology.
The vast majority of the island territory remains without power, weeks after it was hit by Hurricane Maria.
On Twitter, Mr Musk said his technology, which powers several smaller islands, could be scaled up to work for Puerto Rico.
The island’s governor responded to Mr Musk with the message: “Let’s talk”.
“Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your Tesla technologies? Puerto Rico could be that flagship project,” the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, said.
Mr Musk’s Tesla company is best known for its electric cars, but it also incorporates SolarCity – a solar panel firm which specialises in efficiently storing large amounts of electricity in power banks.
The company says it has powered small islands, such as Ta’u in American Samoa. There, it installed a solar grid which can power the entire island and store enough electricity for three days without any sun....MORE AT RENEWABLE NOW

Thursday, October 19, 2017

First zero-emissions transport refrigeration unit unveiled by eNow/PBN

eNow is a tech co--focused on using batteries, solar and advanced/smart energy management systems to reduce emissions within the transportation industry--we've been following for many years.  In fact their CEO, Jeff Flath, spent a year with us as a rotating co-host and expert on revamping our global transportation system.

Good to see they continue to innovate with new products that meet the operational, financial and environmental needs of their customers.  It helps all of us breath easier as emissions are significantly cut.

THE REFRIGERATED delivery truck pictured above is equipped with eNow's new zero-emissions Rayfrigeration unit, powered by photovoltaic solar panels mounted on the vehicle's roof. / COURTESY eNOW

WARWICK – Renewable-energy company eNow announced a new solar-powered refrigeration unit last week that has been declared the first zero-emissions unit for the urban commercial transport industry.
Unlike traditional refrigeration units, which are powered by high-polluting, small diesel engines, the Rayfrigeration system features eNow solar photovoltaic panels mounted on the truck’s roof in combination with a Johnson Truck Bodies refrigeration unit and Emerson compressor technology.
The refrigeration unit’s cold plates and auxiliary batteries are initially charged via utility power when the vehicle is plugged in overnight, but while on a delivery route, the roof-mounted solar panels provide power to keep chilled products at the correct temperature.

Tested on a dairy-product delivery truck in Fresno, Calif., the Rayfrigeration unit reduced the truck’s total emissions by 98 percent nitrous oxide, 86 percent carbon dioxide and 97 percent particulate matter over the five-month test period. The 1,800-watt eNow solar system provided enough energy to maintain optimum temperature throughout a typical day of opening and closing the truck doors in California’s summer heat.
In addition to eliminating harmful emissions, the Rayfrigeration unit is projected to reduce operations costs by up to 90 percent compared with diesel-powered units, by eliminating diesel fuel and maintenance costs and improving battery life.
“The Rayfrigeration product is an important step forward in reducing emissions while maintaining the highest levels of efficiency and customer satisfaction for companies delivering perishable goods,” said Jeff Flath, president and CEO of eNow. “[Our] solar technology is powerful, reliable and efficient, and more than up to the task of providing emissions-free energy for critical tasks such as refrigeration of fresh foods, even the most challenging conditions. We are proud to be a part of this important project.”
Rayfrigeration solar-charging technology is available through eNow, which currently has more than 4,000 solar-powered systems operating nationwide on trucks, buses, emergency and utility vehicles.
The Rayfrigeration initiative was funded in part by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Technology Advancement Program, which encourages innovation through the development of new emission-reduction technologies.
Galen Auer is a PBN contributing writer. Email or follow on Twitter at @PBNAuer.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Air Pollution Affects Kids’ Working Memory/RNN

Ouch.  Kids walking to school in dirty air feel the affects in their lungs and, under this study, in their brains.

Of course some kids may now use air pollution as an excuse for bad grades.  Not a bad line.  But as playful as this scenario might get, bad environmental conditions diminish our health--period.

Do we want our kids wearing masks to school?  Is that the solution?  Cans of clean air.  Or, do we speed ahead with a clean energy plan that restores good air quality for all?  What is the better, long-term strategy?  Is that a worthy industrial revolution?


A study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institute supported by the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation, has demonstrated that exposure to air pollution on the way to school can have damaging effects on children’s cognitive development. The study, published recently in Environmental Pollution, found an association between a reduction in working memory and exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon during the walking commute to and from school.
The study was carried out in the framework of the BREATHE project. Previous research in the same project found that exposure to traffic-related pollutants in schools was associated with slower cognitive development. The aim of the team undertaking the new study was to assess the impact of exposure to air pollution during the walking commute to school. The findings of an earlier study had shown that 20% of a child’s daily dose of black carbon — a pollutant directly related to traffic — is inhaled during urban commutes.
“The results of earlier toxicological and experimental studies have shown that these short exposures to very high concentrations of pollutants can have a disproportionately high impact on health” explains Mar Álvarez-Pedrerol, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study. “The detrimental effects may be particularly marked in children because of their smaller lung capacity and higher respiratory rate,” she adds.
The study was carried out in Barcelona and enrolled over 1,200 children aged from 7 to 10, from 39 schools, all of whom walked to school on a daily basis. The children’s working memory and attention capacity was assessed several times during the 12-month study. Their exposure to air pollution over the same period was calculated on the basis of estimated levels on the shortest walking route to their school....

Green space coming along nicely/The Times

Here's one example, in a midsize New England city, of green space growing in urban settings.

The expansion of open space in our most congested cities is critical as we contemplate a future in which 60% of the population will reside in those places.  Sure, there are other factors driving people back into old downtowns:  great schools, mixed-use spaces, good transportation systems but quality of life, with lots of play areas, arts, culture, sports is the main draw.

Whether it is parks, vegetation for controlling rain runoff, grass roofs or tree canopies, green space is much needed amid our concrete jungles:


PAWTUCKET — Work is ongoing on a new passive park in the gateway to the Quality Hill neighborhood, which city officials say will bring green space and a place for recreation to the area of Summit and Division streets.
The Summit Street Park is currently being built on a parcel of land adjacent to Interstate 95 on the city's east side within walking distance of such destinations as the Seekonk River, McCoy Stadium, Saint Raphael Academy, and Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church.
The contract for the construction of a new passive park along Summit Street was recently awarded to Green Acres Landscaping and Construction Co. of Lakeville, Mass. The project will include the installation of a new gazebo, concrete walkways, lighting, fencing, landscaping, lawn areas, new electric and water service, and an irrigation system, city officials said.
“As we continue to invest in our infrastructure, roads, and schools, it’s important that we also create spaces for residents to get outside and enjoy their neighborhood,” Mayor Donald R. Grebien said via email. “I look forward to opening the park with residents.”
The park's budget is $282,065, which is funded through a Community Development Block Grant. It's estimated to be complete and ready for use by the middle or end of next month.
Follow Jonathan Bissonnette on Twitter @J_Bissonnette

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Los Angeles to Receive Two All-Electric Garbage Trucks/RNN

More good news on the trash business--another community (we reported Sacramento's purchase of similar waste haulers) invest in electric.


Coming off a recent announcement on California’s first all-electric refuse vehicle (ERV) heading to Sacramento, Motiv Power Systems is deploying two zero-emission refuse trucks to the City of Los Angeles. As a continuation of a demonstration project funded by the California Energy Commission, these Class-8 ERVs use the Motiv All-Electric Powertrain to drive a Crane Carrierchassis, with an automated side-loader body built by Amrep, Inc. The trucks will be built by Amrep, Inc. in Los Angeles and are projected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018. The City of Los Angeles Sanitation plans to run the ERVs on residential and recycling routes and expects to save as much as 6,000 gallons of fuel per year. Upon delivery, the Los Angeles ERVs bring the all-electric refuse trucks powered by Motiv to a total of three in California and four within North America.
“Fossil-fueled garbage trucks emit about 20 times the carbon of the average U.S. home. They achieve just two to three miles per gallon, and stick to standard routes, making them ideal electrification targets for LA’s sustainability program,” said Motiv CEO Jim Castelaz. “We’re proud that our all-electric refuse trucks will help the city achieve its cleaner air goals, as well as save on operational and maintenance costs.”
As the City of Los Angeles develops pathways to meet an 80 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction by 2050, reducing air pollution from mobile sources plays a key role. Motiv’s scalable All-Electric Powertrain is uniquely suited for helping public works and city service vehicles contribute to GHG reductions by dramatically reducing diesel emissions from a wide variety of vehicles, from refuse and work trucks, to school and shuttle buses....

Battery technology keeping electric car adoption in the slow lane

Recently we ran a piece that confirmed auto manufacture's commitment to electric vehicles.  What might stand in the way of their sales goals?   See the story below.

Battery technology keeping electric car adoption in the slow lane

Oct. 6 — When Tesla unveiled its mass-market electric vehicle, the Model 3, this summer, CEO Elon Musk promised the company would deliver 1,500 cars by the end of September. The latest reports suggest the carmaker has delivered 260.

While production bottlenecks are frustrating for Tesla investors — and the some 500,000 deposit holders waiting for their cars — that’s not what’s keeping electric cars from making true inroads in the mass market.

The major barrier is battery technology. And one questions stands out: Will the lithium-ion battery suffice?

“Today’s technology is almost good enough,” Gerbrand Ceder, a material scientist and engineer working on battery technology at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, told UPI. “Further cost reduction and ‘incremental’ improvements can take EV’s to the 300-mile range. Together with fast charging this can take EV mainstream.”

Not everyone agrees.

Scientists and engineers are working in a variety of capacities to improve the electric car battery on several fronts, including efforts to boost its power, range, safety and durability. These efforts fall into two categories: research into incremental changes and research into step changes.

“Today, all modern batteries are dominated by one type of chemistry — lithium-ion,” George Crabtree, director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory, said.

Those working on incremental change are focused on improving the lithium-ion battery, while those with their hearts set on step changes are trying to invent a new type of battery.
Incremental changes are to thank for the Tesla Model 3’s industry-leading range. Working with researchers at Panasonic, Tesla has steadily tweaked the chemistry and components of the lithium-ion battery to meet the demand of its vehicles. The tweaks have yielded significant cost savings and a 60 percent increase in range. The Model 3 boasts a range of 220 miles and its extended range battery can provide power for 310 miles.

The incremental change blueprint is one followed by the majority of the battery technology industry.

“Historically, this is true, the advances in performance and price have come from a long line of incremental improvements over the last 25 years since Li-ion was introduced in 1991,” Crabtree said. “However the introduction of Li-ion in 1991 was itself not incremental but a step advance. Its energy density was twice that of the next best batteries.”

Lithium-ion batteries provide power, a flow of electrons, by moving lithium ions from one electrode to another across an electrolyte. The negative electrode is called an anode, and the positive electrode is called a cathode.

Many scientists are experimenting with different anode materials to boost the lithium-ion battery’s power and energy density while bringing down cost.
“Right now, most anodes are made of graphite,” Crabtree said. “The lithium goes in-between the layers of the graphite. We can fit one lithium for every carbon atom in the anode. Silicon interpolates four lithium for every silicon atom.”

Unfortunately, silicon expands dramatically during the charging and discharging process. Over time, this action will break down the battery. The solution is to mix graphite and silicon.
“The more silicon you put in, the more energy density you can take on,” Crabtree said. “You get energy density up, you up the capacity, you up the range.”

But at what cost? How much silicon can you put in before you sacrifice safety and durability? Scientists are trying to find out.

“Some scientists are considering replacing the the graphite anode with exclusively lithium,” Crabtree said. “That’s been a goal since the 1980s.”

The problem is that the lithium becomes degraded over time. The layer becomes deformed, roughed up and begins to grow dendrites. These fingers of lithium grow out from the anode and damage the rest of the battery.

“The dendrite growth problem has been around for 40 years,” Crabtree said.
The effort to improve the Li-ion battery’s anode — and the incumbent challenges — offers a snapshot of the problematics of incremental improvements. Scientists don’t completely understand battery chemistry, and their understanding is especially rough during experimental phases. With each new tweak and each new material, new challenges and drawbacks inevitably surface.

“Whenever several materials are brought together — in a battery, for example — there are lots of chemical reactions that can take place,” Crabtree said. “Some of these are the desired energy storage reactions that will make the battery work, some are side reactions that are irrelevant for battery function but occur anyway because they are chemically favorable. When good ideas for batteries fail, these side reactions are usually the reason.”

Scientists are split over whether the slow, slog of incremental change will be enough to take the lithium-ion battery and electric car mainstream. Even Musk has acknowledged that the potential of lithium-ion may soon be maxed out.

A range of 300 miles is a major improvement, but will it be enough? The extended-range version of the Model 3 costs $44,000, more than twice the price of some compact gas cars. Electric car owners must also work 30-minute charging periods into their routine. Filling up a gas tank typically takes no more than 5 minutes.

Despite some resignation that the lithium ion battery might not have what it takes, the majority of research funding is being funneled into projects focused on incremental change.
“I wouldn’t be afraid to say more than 90 percent of funding and research is focused on gradual change,” Crabtree said.

But even for many startups working on gradual improvements, funding is scarce.
While Tesla has invested billions into its efforts to improve the Li-ion battery, startups’ efforts often have to get by on just a few million dollars per year. Many of the scientific tools needed to study the chemical reactions that could boost battery power are too expensive for small research outfits.

“Battery development is a long play,” Ceder said. “That is why it is very hard for startups to do. Big companies need to step up here, potentially together with government incentives.”
If funding for incremental change research is difficult, finding financing for step change research is nearly impossible.

“Pursuing step changes in performance is a high-risk enterprise — several innovations have to work simultaneously, and no unexpected detrimental side reactions can occur,” Crabtree said.

There is good news, though. Researchers have developed advanced computer modeling and molecule databases, like the Materials Genome Initiative, that allow scientists to streamline the experimentation process. Scientists can use the database and their advanced algorithms to identify promising compound combinations and new materials among millions of possibilities.

“Computer modeling is important because the requirements for novel battery materials are extreme and requires us essentially to look for a needle in a haystack,” Ceder said.
Projects like the Materials Genome Initiative rely on public funding. Crabtree believes publicly funded research is essential to taking battery technology and electric cars mainstream. Research at innovation centers like Crabtree’s JCESR “can create basic understanding that reduces the risk of failure of achieving a step advance,” Crabtree said.
With risks minimized, and with objectives and challenges in clear focus, private companies, both big and small, can take over.

Even with public and private entities working together, technological progress is inherently slow, Ceder said. It always has been.

“It is important to keep in mind that commercialization is a very long path,” he said. “Today’s commercial battery materials were all developed at least 15 years ago, and in some cases much longer.”

Monday, October 16, 2017

European business angels are rediscovering cleantech/Energy Post

This opens the below story, "Private investors often lack knowledge about the latest trends in cleantech, says Candace Johnson, president of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN) in an interview with Energy Post. But they are catching up quickly. EBAN has started a partnership with sustainable energy accelerator InnoEnergy to learn more about what is happening in the cleantech sector. “Business angels have more patience than venture capitalists”, notes Johnson. “We could make a real impact here.

What does this mean to us?  A lot, actually.  Investors power start ups with great new products that we eventually consume in large numbers.  Clean tech is diverse, touches many industries, makes most aspects of life more efficient.

So, we hope investors are a quick study on the amazing potential of clean tech, and quickly open up their checkbooks to back our latest innovations.

Private investors often lack knowledge about the latest trends in cleantech, says Candace Johnson, president of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN) in an interview with Energy Post. But they are catching up quickly. EBAN has started a partnership with sustainable energy accelerator InnoEnergy to learn more about what is happening in the cleantech sector. “Business angels have more patience than venture capitalists”, notes Johnson. “We could make a real impact here.”
In June of this year, InnoEnergy, Europe’s largest sustainable energy accelerator, and EBAN, the European trade association for Business Angels, Seed Funds and Early Stage Market Players, set up a partnership under the name of EBAN Energy. The goal: to give EBAN’s network of business angels (EBAN has 197 member organisations in 59 countries) and InnoEnergy’s 170+ pan-European sustainable energy start-ups a networking platform.
The partnership will provide InnoEnergy’s start-ups with direct access to funding, helping to reduce time to commercialization of their products. EBAN’s members invest some €6.1 billion a year in startup ventures.

But the investors also have a lot to gain by the partnership. The most important benefit to them, says their president, Candace Johnson, is not merely to be presented with investment opportunities, but to learn more about the trends in the energy sector as well as about the complex regulatory challenges involved.
Johnson is a famous innovation expert and serial entrepreneur in the telecoms and satellite sector. She is, among many other things, the co-initiator of SES/ASTRA and SES Global, the world’s pre-eminent satellite group, founding President of Europe Online Investments, the world’s first internet-based online service and satellite broadband network, and founder of Loral Cyberstar-Teleport Europe, Europe’s first independent private trans-border satellite communications network.
She is also President of Johnson Paradigm Ventures (JPV), a principal founding shareholder with AXA, Caisse des Depots, Bayerische Landesbank, and the SPEF, of Sophia Euro Lab, Europe’s first trans-border early-stage investment company based in Sophia Antipolis, a technology park near Nice, France. She has now turned her attention to the cleantech sector, because she is convinced this will become a huge market – and because climate change is one of the key challenges of our time. Through EBAN Energy she hopes to become more familiar with this promising market.
Johnson is a panelist at the Inno Energy Business Booster event on 25-26 October in Amsterdam, where she will take part in a discussion about financing new energy technologies. We caught up with her on the eve of that event.
What made you become interested in sustainable energy and cleantech?
“First, any involved citizen today has to be interested in cleantech. Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. Second, private investors invest in what we call the addressable market. That has to be a large, scalable market in order to get a decent return on investment. It is very clear that all countries and citizens need to have new sustainable sources of energy and that a huge market is coming about. It is also clear that the incumbent energy companies today have a problem. They still depend on fossil fuels as a cash cow, but their organisations aren’t really geared to innovation.”
What can business angels bring to the cleantech sector?
“Business angels can be crucial for bringing cleantech innovations to the next level. Cleantech has a long investment cycle and business angels are very good at that game. Better usually than venture capitalists, who invest other people’s money and have to promise a certain return on investment within a limited time. Business angels, because they are investing their own money, can be more patient. They may also feel very strongly that investing in clean energy is good. They get personally involved.” 
What are the biggest challenges for business angels in the cleantech sector?
“I think it is the knowledge of the sector. Many business angels do not have that much knowledge about cleantech innovations. There are new technologies that are coming along that need an expert eye, because developments in this field go so fast. Unfortunately, in the past, a lot of private investors lost money when they invested in solar and wind. Today sustainable energy has become much more competitive and is linked to a host of other technologies, such as sensors, the internet of things, artificial intelligence techniques. Those are fabulous new opportunities to invest in. That’s why we private investors have to become more knowledgeable about energy trends.”

GM Believes in an All Electric Future/RNN

We've come a long way, baby!   From the days of "Who Killed the Electric Car (GM?)", to full-scale adoption of the technology by major US car companies, EV's are clearly rising from the dead.

Why?  Why is it a different market and environment decades later?  We think it is the hybrid technology--the blending together of batteries and fossil fuel, versus forcing consumers to chose one or the other.  That innovation becomes the bridge to an all-electric future.

Regardless, car co's--including Volvo--are lining up on the EV side.  Good news for a transportation system desperately in need of improvements as we look to build a smarter, cleaner future.


Not to be outdone by China’s recent announcement to go fossil-fuel free and Volvo’s plans to go all electric starting in 2019, GM now show’s it’s all in.
General Motors announced how it is executing on a major element of its vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, recently announced by GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”
In the next 18 months, GM will introduce two new all-electric vehicles based off learnings from the Chevrolet Bolt EV. They will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that will launch by 2023....

Thursday, October 12, 2017

New Organics Co-Collection Method Receives US Patent/RNN

Composting organics works on many levels:  it takes a lot of waste out of our landfill;  it has many potential uses--fertilizer, energy production, etc; it creates new jobs.

One of the obstacles on doing composting on a large-scale basis has been the logistics of collecting and centralizing the supply.  This innovation moves us much closer to a statewide program.

Organix Solutions, an organics recovery and municipal solid waste company based in Minnesota, proudly announced it received a full patent for its organics co-collection program on June 6, 2017.  The utility patent US 9,669,431 B2 encompasses the compostable organic waste collection method and materials, establishing its patent portfolio that includes a proprietary product line of compostable bags. The first of its kind program, the patent covers the method of collecting and processing of compostable organic waste material.
Now a single waste collection vehicle can collect both organic waste and municipal solid waste (MSW) in a single trip. Eliminating the need for multiple trucks, on even a relatively small scale, has a significant environmental impact. 
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) evaluated the co-collection method as a separate waste stream and the independent third-party laboratory Aspen Research Corporation conducted its own research on the performance characteristics of the compostable bag as it traveled through the waste stream. Both confirmed that the compostable bags were strong enough to withstand compaction in a waste collection vehicle while preserving the organic waste for further processing.
These traits distinguish Organix Solutions’ Extreme Duty Green Bag Organix™ and Blue Bag Organics® compostable bags from other marketed liners.  “The absence of a compostable bag that could withstand compaction forces in a solid waste truck spurred our efforts to develop our own compostable bags,” said Jim Wollschlager, Organix Solutions’ CEO.  “In 2010 we introduced our co-collection program in Minnesota with our own Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI®) certified bags which have been absolutely integral to the overall success of our organic waste collection and composting program.” 
In 2014 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) reported 258 million tons of MSW were generated in the U.S.  About 37 million tons of that waste stream was organics (food waste) sent to landfill for permanent disposal.

How to choose the right Solar PV System that best suits you?/Lavancha

Solar is topping roof tops all over the world.  Good thing, right?  Potentially.

But, what if buyers are unhappy with their ;purchase?  What if the system, and total investment, was not a good match for them?  Then the gains are short term.

That is why we like this how-to on picking the best PV arrays for you.  With this help, you can get serious about jumping into the clean energy avalanche.  

How to choose the right Solar PV System that best suits you?

Wanting to purchase a new Solar PV system?
Confused about the different types of Solar PV systems and what to purchase?
We have all been there.
It’s tough to make a decision when there are many competing factors involved.
But the good news is:
With the right information at hand, we can make better buying decisions.
This guide will help you understand the different types of Solar PV systems and what best suits you.
We start with understanding the basics of  Load Analysis, AC and DC, working of the Solar PV system before moving on to classifying the Solar PV systems.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Basics Of AC And DC 

AC (Alternating Current)

This is the type of current where the flow of electrons reverses in direction many times a second in regular intervals. It is this type of current that is used by the grid and most of the load or appliances at home. 

DC(Direct Current)

This is the type of current where electron flow is unidirectional. This is is the kind of electricity produced by the solar panels and what gets stored in the battery. 
The Solar Panel contains solar cells that convert the sunshine that falls on the panels to Direct Current(DC). An inverter is needed to convert Direct current(DC) generated by the solar panels / stored battery backup to usable AC Power.

Electrical Load Analysis 

Electrical load refers to appliances which use Alternating current(AC) for their functioning. To perform an electrical load assessment, analyze the specific usage of each individual load to calculate the total load for the building.
Start by assessing loads that take up a lot of energy to gauge the major consumption of power. Also, initiate Energy efficient methods to reduce the power needed from Solar panels.
For more on electrical load analysis for different types of solar PV systems, please refer: Analyzing your Electric loads

Different Types Of Solar PV Systems

There are three basic types of Solar PV systems:
  • Grid-Tied system
  • Off-grid Solar system
  • Hybrid Solar system

Grid-Tied Solar PV System

This system works only when there is grid power. In this system, the load is supplied power mainly from the Solar power.
Inverters convert DC power generated by solar panels to usable AC power. The DC to AC conversion happens as per the voltage and power quality requirements of the grid.
Power from the Solar PV either goes to the AC loads or to the grid via a bidirectional interface setup at the distribution panel.
The system requires no battery backup. If the load requires more power than the solar power generated, then grid power is used.
This setup enables the user to avail the Net Metering option to supply the extra power generated from the solar to the grid and avail credits from the DISCOMs(Distribution companies).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

For Today's Show/Springer Nature

Great show today with their Executive Editor Grand Challenges, Daniel Ferber.  You will find his show soon at Renewable Now Network. com

Springer Nature

Our History

Springer Nature was formed through the merger of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media.
It is a leading global research, educational and professional publisher, home to an array of respected and trusted brands providing quality content through a range of innovative products and services. The company numbers almost 13,000 staff in over 50 countries.
Our brands are some of the most trusted and respected in their fields, with Springer founded by Julius Springer in 1842, Nature first published in 1869 and Macmillan Education a leading publisher for over 150 years.

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With a focus on technology driven solutions and deep insight in the publishing domain, Technology and Publishing Solutions offers a range of services that help publishers acquire, produce and deliver content in the most efficient way possible. From typesetting and manuscript screening to database management and workflow systems that optimise the publishing cycle, we can custom build a solution for you.

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Key to this is our ability to provide the best possible service to the whole research community: helping authors to share their discoveries; enabling researchers to find, access and understand the work of others; supporting librarians and institutions with innovations in technology and data; providing quality publishing support to societies; and championing the issues that matter – standing up for science, leading the way on open access and being powerful advocates for the highest quality and ethical standards in research.
As a research publisher, Springer Nature is home to trusted brands including Springer, Nature Research, BioMed Central, Palgrave Macmillan and Scientific American.
Learn more about Springer Nature - the new force in research publishing

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Transforming the Real Estate Market: Scaling Net-Zero Energy Homes at No Additional Up-front Cost

This new program,very much like the C-Pace (commercial) funding we've been reporting on, is truly a game change around conversion of residential properties to net zero.  The financing is very favorable.   Cash returns are great.  Combined with the hot real estate market, and constant upgrades to those homes, these retrofits will help convert whole neighborhoods to efficient, smart communities.

We hope you look closely at R-PACE, regardless of your location (domestic), and make these much needed, financially rewarding upgrades.

Transforming the Real Estate Market: Scaling Net-Zero Energy Homes at No Additional Up-front Cost

The U.S. residential real estate market is booming, with new home sales steadily rising over the last few years. In March 2017, over 621,000 new single-family homes were sold at a median sales price of $345,800. Imagine if most of these new home developments were net-zero energy (NZE), which not only delivers the homeowner annual energy savings but also enhances the overall performance, comfort, and resilience of these homes. Now suppose residents could afford these high-performance NZE homes at no additional up-front cost using an innovative financing tool that would annually save them more money than they pay toward the financing.

Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI’s) latest insight brief, R-PACE: A Game-Changer for NZE Homes, shows how this dream scenario can be made a reality through a special application of residential property assessed clean energy (R-PACE) financing—a game-changing financing mechanism that has already financed over 158,000 energy and water efficiency retrofits in homes in California, Florida, and Missouri since 2008.
What Are NZE Homes?
NZE homes are smart single-family homes that produce or procure enough zero-carbon renewable energy to offset their annual fossil-fuel energy consumption. These homes present the U.S. real estate sector with an incremental $33 billion market opportunity by 2037, which will not only bring additional investment to the sector and create local jobs but also transform the market trajectory overall.
As policymakers decide on their strategy to build smarter cities and revitalize their aging infrastructure, they must consider the unprecedented opportunity to invest in high-performing NZE new homes, which are more comfortable, affordable, and resilient to power outages and weather extremes. Scaling NZE homes through concerted policy efforts will not only help states and local governments meet their carbon goals but also improve the housing stock and real estate values. Overall, NZE homes are the next big frontier for innovation and competition in the residential real estate market, and they promise a future that is propitious not only for homeowners and real estate developers but also for the U.S. economy and the planet.

What Are the Market Barriers to Scaling NZE Homes?
While the market potential and business case for investing in an NZE home is compelling for both the builder and the homeowner, the up-front incremental cost of developing a new NZE home has been the biggest deterrent for builders and developers looking to invest in NZE development to make it mainstream. According to Rocky Mountain Institute’s research, the average incremental up-front cost of constructing an NZE home is likely to be $24,811 more than an average code-compliant new home (excluding the federal investment tax credit and other state-specific incentives). This estimate was derived by analyzing average code-compliant single-family homes across California, Missouri, Florida, New York, Colorado, and Georgia, which collectively comprise almost one-third of the existing single-family housing market. Builders, who control almost three-fourths of this market, have been unwilling to invest their equity up front during the home construction process since they do not directly benefit from the operational cost savings and have no incentive to maximize them. The misaligned builder incentives and weak market signals coupled with the valuation uncertainty of how NZE home energy performance is presently valued by the market players are some of the main reasons for the latent consumer demand for NZE homes.
We believe that enabling R-PACE for new construction is an effective way to overcome these market barriers and scale NZE new construction around the country.
What Is Residential PACE and How Can It Help Scale NZE New Construction?
Residential PACE, also known as R-PACE, is an innovative financing mechanism used specifically to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, resilience, and water-saving home improvements. This assessment is typically attached to a property’s tax bill, secured by the same type of lien against the property as tax bills, and repaid through property taxes. It is unique because unlike traditional mortgages, it is transferable upon sale of the property and is tied to the property rather than the property owner. This feature allows seamless transfer and resolves the builder-homeowner cost-benefit split incentive challenge by lowering the need for builders to invest their capital equity into the project. RMI’s research confirms that an R-PACE financed NZE home is also a great investment for homebuyers as it allows them to own a home at the same up-front cost while earning more annual cost savings than the amount they pay for the annual PACE assessments, yielding average net monetary benefits of $160 year-on-year. Thus, R-PACE can enable U.S. homes to be more resilient, affordable, innovative, efficient, and high performing while costing less than an average home.

R-PACE can help scale NZE homes at no upfront incremental cost.

How Can We Enable Residential PACE for New Construction?
R-PACE has been extremely effective in tackling a significant market failure by increasing American households’ access to financial resources so that they can realize the benefits of a cost-saving, high-performance smart home. However, its use is ineligible for new construction and has been limited to home improvement retrofits in the existing state-enabled programs of California, Florida, and Missouri. We believe that with a few minor alterations to R-PACE’s existing policy and implementation framework, it could serve as a transformative tool to scale NZE home development. Our insight brief proposes specific “R-PACE for new construction” recommendations for states and local governments considering policy instruments to bolster new NZE residential development. These include:
  • Amending legal state provisions and the underwriting process to allow R-PACE to be used for new construction
  • Defining limits to the total eligible amount based on construction costs rather than home valuation to catalyze investment in the sector
  • Requiring lender consent for employing R-PACE during construction to promote transparency and credibility and build trust with the mortgage lenders in the process
  • Defining an eligible list of energy and water conservation measures that could count as qualifying expenses under R-PACE for new construction while ensuring that any expenses that do not qualify under the list are not financed through the assessment
  • Mandating performance criteria to ensure that the net savings in energy costs are greater than the cost of the energy conservation measures, and that the project meets or exceeds state energy performance code requirements
  • Certifying post-implementation energy performance to document all the measures installed within the new home to help increase the home’s valuation at the time of sale
RMI is working toward a future where every homeowner in the U.S. has the opportunity to buy an NZE high-performance home for the same up-front cost as an average home while accruing net cost savings on the investment annually. This dream can be a reality if we use R-PACE to finance the incremental up-front costs to scale NZE homes in our states, cities, and communities.

RMI appeals to states and local governments to work together to enable R-PACE for new construction in their jurisdictions to scale new NZE developments and make a concerted effort to facilitate enabling policy design and stakeholder engagement to support the mechanism. This effort would not only promote innovation and development in the real estate sector, but would also help leverage the abundant solar potential in states, encourage more local job creation, and increase employment overall. This is a win-win market-based solution with a business case for states, local governments, developers, and homebuyers across the country. We believe that R-PACE, when thoughtfully deployed for NZE home construction with robust state-level consumer protection measures, will scale NZE home development and set an example for other states to emulate. If you share this dream, we look forward to working with you. You can reach us at to learn more about our work on R-PACE for new construction.

Friday, October 6, 2017

St. Lucia Breaks Ground on First Utility-Scale Solar Energy Field

More good news on the solar front, and what better place to capture the power of the sun?

The Caribbean region has become a focal point for renewable and distributed energy advocates and companies in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. St. Lucia was spared Irma and Maria’s worst this past month, but that doesn’t mean the hurricanes did not take their toll, or galvanize the island nation leadership’s intention to enhance energy security and resiliency. 

The island nation’s power utility, St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd. (LUCELEC), and solar energy systems developer GRUPOTEC on Sept. 29 broke ground on a 3-megawatt (MW) solar farm – St. Lucia’s first utility-scale renewable energy project. Located outside of St. Lucia’s Hewanorra International airport outside the main southern city of Vieux Fort, GRUPOTEC will install 14,900 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and associated system components in order to generate emissions-free electricity sufficient to power nearly 3,500 homes while offsetting 3,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

In addition to anticipated reductions in the cost of electricity, the utility-scale solar field sets St. Lucia on a path towards energy independence. The Hewanorra solar PV power field is also expected to reduce the Eastern Caribbean island nation’s vulnerability to tropical storms and hurricanes and enhance energy resiliency – the ability to withstand and/or recover from the impacts of hurricanes or other natural or man-made disasters. 

Tropical storms, hurricanes, centralized grids and fossil fuel dependence
Nestled between St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the south and Martinique to the north, St. Lucia’s reported 2010 census resident population of nearly 166,000 live on a tropical island volcanic in origin that spans an area of 617 square kilometers (238.23 square miles). St. Lucia is one of the Caribbean island that comprise what’s known as the Lesser Antilles islands, more specifically the southern extenson of the Lesser Antilles known as the Windward Islands. That  positions it at the southern end of the so-called Caribbean “Hurricane Belt,” the broad-based area across which tropical storms and hurricanes often travel as they make their way west and north from southeast Atlantic Ocean waters off the coast of West Africa. 
St. Lucia relies almost entirely on diesel fuel for power generation (>99%), as do nearly all island nations and territories throughout the Caribbean. That leaves them subject to high and volatile energy prices, as well as the chronic challenges of paying for diesel fuel imports and trying to mitigate the human and environmental impacts of diesel and fossil fuel use. In addition, Hurricanes Irma and Maria once again exposed the weaknesses and fault lines associated with the conventional model of centralized power generation coupled with long-distance transmission and local distribution grid infrastructure. 

Government, business, civic and environmental leaders in St. Lucia and across the Caribbean have been mulling over projects and plans that would move them away from fossil fuel dependence and centralized power grids and towards energy and power infrastructure centered on locally abundant distributed renewable energy resources for years now. Progress has been made, but a variety of factors, from logistics and technical capacity to opposition from entrenched, typically state’-owned or sponsored utilities, have proven to be difficult to overcome. 
St. Lucia's first utility-scale solar PV facility
The Rocky Mountain Institute, Carbon War Room and the Clinton Climate Initiative have been instrumental in seeing St. Lucia’s first utility-scale solar power project through to groundbreaking. Joining with Netherlands-based distributed energy technology and project development specialist DNV GL, they provided technical assistance throughout the long project development process. 

That included assisting LUCELEC develop and carry out a bidding process that attracted experienced utility-scale solar project developers with genuinely strong interests in the project, evaluating proposals and facilitating contract negotiations. RMI, Carbon War Room and the Clinton Clmiate Initiative also helped LUCELEC manage an open, international procurement process to help ensure the utility-scale solar PV project meets, if not exceeds, international standards and best practices at the lowest possible cost, RMI highlights in a news release.
“LUCELEC’s efforts to add utility-scale renewable energy to its generation mix began as far back as 2002. It’s been a long, and sometimes challenging road since then. It is, therefore, extremely gratifying to finally break ground on this 3 MW solar farm today,” LUCELEC’s Managing Director Trevor Louisy said.
LUCELEC and the Government of Saint Lucia jointly developed the Eastern Caribbean island nation’s National Energy Transition Strategy (NETS) in 2016. The national strategic plan provides a 20-year energy “roadmap” informed by technical analysis from RMI, Carbon War Room and the Clinton Climate Initiative that sets out the pathway for creating an electricity sector that’s sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and equitable, according to the project partners. 
Maximizing use of locally abundant renewable energy resources in a distributed network without one single point of failure was one of the key facets of St. Lucia’s National Energy Transition Strategy. Building out of utility-scale solar power generation and distribution to achieve the least-cost mix of power generation resources, in turn, is a key means of doing so. The 3 MW Heneworra solar farm marks St. Lucia’s first step along this path. 

LUCELEC and GRUPOTEC signed the contract to build the utility-scale solar power field in June 2017. Construction is expected to be completed by spring of 2018.“Caribbean nations like Saint Lucia overwhelmingly rely on imported fossil fuels for electricity generation,” said Jesse Gerstin, Director of Programs and Policy at CCI.
“The solar farm is the first step in building a more resilient power system that generates electricity from a local, renewable source and reduces Saint Lucia’s dependence on imported diesel. This could also help the country recover more quickly in the case of an extreme weather event, such as the recent hurricanes that have devastated neighboring islands.”
RMI and Carbon War Room was able to offer Saint Lucia project guidance thanks to the support of the UN Global Environment Facility in partnership with the United Nations Development Program. Financial support from the government of Norway facilitated the Clinton Climate Initiative’s participation.