California puts solar procurement on hold despite production records

March 12, 2018 by  
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California set two new solar power records this month, Greentech Media reported . But utilities seem to be slowing down their procurement of new capacity. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) proposed utilities procure almost no extra renewables this year — but critics worry how this affects the State’s renewable energy targets. Solar energy is thriving in California. Power plants sourced 0.5 percent of electricity from solar in 2010 in the state, according to the Los Angeles Times , but that figure had risen to 10 percent last year. Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric, the state’s three investor-owned utilities , which “comprise approximately three quarters of electricity supply” according to the California Energy Commission, are all ahead of schedule on clean energy procurement plans, and are on their way to meeting California’s mandate of sourcing 33 percent of energy via renewables by 2020. Related: The U.S. just generated 10% of its electricity from solar and wind for the first time But these investor-owned utilities didn’t procure any new renewable energy capacity last year, and CPUC has proposed they procure nearly none in 2018. Independent Energy Producers Association CEO Jan Smutny-Jones told Greentech Media, “They’re basically saying, ‘There’s too much going on; we don’t know what to do, so we’re not going to do anything for a while.’” The state is still setting records. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) saw solar serve a peak percentage of demand at 49.95 percent on March 4. The peak prior to that was 47.2 percent in May 2017. CAISO senior public information officer Anne Gonzales told Greentech Media, “The record is a result of a cool, sunny day. Because it was a weekend, and the weather was mild, the minimum load was relatively low, around 18,800 megawatts. Meanwhile, solar production was more than 9,400 megawatts.” The next day, March 5, CAISO set another record: solar production hit a peak of 10,411 megawatts. The record before that was 9,913 megawatts, set in June 2017. Smutny-Jones told Greentech the CPUC is “too absorbed in modeling”, adding, “For me, it’s a little hard to sit in a meeting and talk about 100 percent renewables when our chief regulator isn’t moving the ball.” Via Greentech Media Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr and Depositphotos

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California puts solar procurement on hold despite production records

California solar energy generation jumped 1,378% in 5 years

July 6, 2016 by  
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Look out, world, California is coming to save you. A recent report shows that solar energy generation in the Golden State has exploded since 2009 , along with zero emission vehicle use and other renewable resource reliance. We might just have a chance at fighting climate change , after all. Findings from nonprofit group Next 10 ’s most recent California Green Innovation Index were released late last month, revealing how green the state has become in the last few years. Along with the startling 1,378 percent rise in solar energy, renewable energy of all sorts accounted for 25 percent of all retail electricity sales. This high energy efficiency helped lead to a 20 percent lower electric bill for residents, on average, in 2014 alone. Related: MIT’s groundbreaking new transparent film stores solar energy in glass or clothing Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) have seen a 244 percent jump in registrations over the last two years, hinting toward a trend that could put a serious dent in our fossil fuel reliance within the next decade. F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10, said, “ California is not only the fourth-most energy productive economy in the world, the state also leads in key clean tech indicators, like clean tech patents and investment. Much of the rest of the nation is following our lead.” Via Clean Technica Images via Flickr , Next 10

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California solar energy generation jumped 1,378% in 5 years

SunFire fights energy poverty in Africa with parabolic solar kits

July 6, 2016 by  
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The main element of the new Clean Energy Kits is the SunFire12 parabolic cooker . Measuring nearly four feet wide, the cooker concentrates sunlight onto a focal point, where black pots or pans best suited to absorb heat are placed. SunFire says it takes 12 minutes to boil 0.3 gallons (or one liter) of water. This might seem like a lot of time to westerners accustomed to easy energy access, but the additional time spent cooking comes with the benefit of being free and clean. One cooker can easily provide a meal for up to six people, according to the company, requires no maintenance, and boasts a 10-year lifespan. In communities the SunFire folks have visited, local people have told them, “the trees are running away from us”. They’re alluding to deforestation sweeping across Africa as demand for cooking fuel increases alongside population growth. Addressing this, the SunFire Rocket converts “small amounts of food into large pots of food.” Using 50 percent less fuel than a standard wood-burning device and “virtually smokeless,” the Rocket is said to be South Africa’s most efficient wood-burning stove. It is included in the kit for use on days when the sun doesn’t shine. Related: Solar Sister empowers women to bring solar energy to rural Africa Completing their Clean Energy Kits are insulated SunBags, or heat retained bags, which can be used to complete the food-cooking process without using fuel, thereby conserving resources. SunFire says their bags save time for other activities and money, retain nutrients and flavor, and act as “bush fridges” in places that lack electricity to keep food cool. Menzies told Inhabitat, “SunFire believes the best way to make Solar Cookers more accessible is by inspiring entrepreneurs to create small Solar Cooker businesses in their own communities.” This would make a difference at the grassroots level and create new jobs in rural areas. “It still seems incredible to me that there are 3 billion people or just over half the world’s population forced to use firewood to cook when Solar Cookers can easily do the job,” he said. “I aim to spend my life making the tech more readily available where it’s most needed and created SunFire to change the world one meal at a time.” + SunFire Solutions

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SunFire fights energy poverty in Africa with parabolic solar kits

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