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12.02.15 Solar Media Update

December 2, 2015

By Clara Schopf, Incentive Coordinator, SoCore Energy

SEIA Report: More US Corporations Show Commitment to Solar Installation

  • A new study from SEIA reveals that more and more American businesses are making the switch to solar energy.
  • According to the report, growth in the solar energy market has grown by 183% among top US-based companies in the four years since the first Solar Means Business report was published.
    • SEIA also noted that their study reveals a 59% growth in solar plants since just last year.
  • For the fourth consecutive year, Walmart ranked No. 1 in the Solar Means Business report after boasting a generation capacity of 142 MW at 348 locations.
  • Other companies listed on the Solar Means Business report include Kohl’s, FedEx Ground (article includes a picture of our array in Hagerstown, MD), Apple, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, IKEA, General Motors, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson and more.
  • In total, America’s top corporate solar utilizers installed 1,686 systems for 907 MW of solar this year.

Delaware Regulators Reject Vivint Solar’s Bid for Non-Regulated Status

  • The Delaware Public Service Commission rejected the request from Vivint Solar for a guarantee it would not be regulated as a public utility or electric supplier if it provides third party ownership (TPO) financing in the state.
  • Vivint asked for a declaratory order from the PSC assuring its TPO business activities building rooftop solar in Delaware could proceed without commission oversight.
  • The PSC does not regulate the residential solar business, but TPO is controversial and unsettled legally in many states.
  • The commission is expected to call for legislation or a formal rulemaking process offering guidance for entire solar industry.

Four Reasons to Be Excited about Mexico’s Solar Market

  • Mexico’s market is growing rapidly: by the end of December, GTM Research expects Mexico to be a cumulative 286-megawatt market, with over half of that having been installed this year alone.
  • Mexico will reach close to 1 gigawatt in just two years: GTM Research forecasts Mexico to install 1 gigawatt in 2017 and as much as 2.6 gigawatts in 2020.
  • Utility-scale solar is a huge opportunity in Mexico: GTM Research is tracking a 9.4-gigawatt pipeline, though the actual number of projects that are completed will likely be lower.
  • Mexico could become a future destination for manufacturing PV modules: of the 50 countries that GTM ranked as the most attractive to manufacture PV modules, Mexico was in the top 10 in the “access to demand” category, which was weighted as the single most important attribute for manufacturing solar modules.

US DOE Awards $125 Million for 41 New Energy Technologies

  • US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced that $125 million has been awarded by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to 41 new energy projects and technologies.
  • These new projects will be funded through the ARPA-E’s OPEN 2015 program and comes a week before the UN Climate Negotiations in Paris.
  • Through open solicitations, the ARPA-E funds innovative technologies that showcase potential technical and commercial impact, but are too early for private-sector investment.
  • The OPEN 2015 projects hail from 21 different states and are made up of 10 different categories, including transportation, electricity generation and delivery and energy efficiency.
  • In total, the 41 projects were produced by a number of sources, with 36% led by universities, 39% by small businesses, 10% by large businesses, 10% by national labs and 5% by non-profits.

In Other News…

Goldman Sachs urged investors to focus on solar, wind, LEDs, and electric cars for maximum climate impact. See article here

SolarCity, a solar panel leasing company with more than 2,000 Nevada employees, will acclimate employees to working on roofs at a new 13,000-square-foot training center in Las Vegas. See article here

Amazon Web Services has contracted with EDP Renewables to construct and operate a 100 MW wind farm in Paulding County, Ohio, with an anticipated startup in May 2017. See article here

Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power has acquired a controlling interest in the 157 MW Roserock solar facility, the company’s first solar project in Texas, from solar developer Recurrent Energy. See article here

ExxonMobil is hurling ethics accusations against a team of Columbia University journalists whose reporting helped stoke calls for probes into whether the company deliberately misled the public about climate change. See article here

Dallas-based renewable energy company Tri Global Energy, which has a 6 GW portfolio of utility-scale wind projects, has formed a new solar energy business unit named TGE Solar, and acquired California-based rooftop solar provider K12Solar. See article here

German battery-company, Sonnenbatterie, introduced a community storage system that combines photovoltaic panels, batteries, and a digitally control software platform that it says will render conventional electricity suppliers obsolete. See article here

Appalachian Power will get 6% of its electricity from renewable sources within the next 15 years, but critics say the utility should be moving faster and investing more heavily in solar energy. See article here

New From BNEF

NextEra to Build 17 Megawatts of Solar in Hawaii for U.S. Navy

NextEra Energy Inc., the biggest North American generator of renewable energy, plans to build 17 megawatts of solar capacity in Hawaii to serve the U.S. Navy.

Gates Leads Billionaires in $2 Billion Climate Investment

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, led a group of philanthropists in vowing to plow $2 billion into clean energy through personal investments and a new fund to be set up next year.

America to Decide Whether a Nuclear Reactor Can Outlive a Human

The U.S. is set to become the first nation to decide whether it’s safe to operate nuclear power plants for 80 years, twice as long as initially allowed.

The Silicon Valley Idea That’s Driving Solar Use Worldwide

Silicon Valley has something to offer the world in the drive toward a clean energy economy. And it’s not technology.

Solar and Home-Sharing Go Hand-in-Hand in Airbnb Deal With NRG

Rooftop solar power is about to get cheaper for hosts in Airbnb Inc.’s home-sharing service.

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