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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.

 

Category: Solar

Solar


Claims for Solar Cell Efficiency Put to Test at NREL

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Feb. 4, 2016, Wayne Hicks.
http://www.nrel.gov/news/features/2016/21635

"The sheet of paper taped to the door of Keith Emery's office tells the story. On the paper is a simple fever chart showing the improvements made in increasing the efficiency of two dozen types of solar cells. Some of the lines marking record efficiencies date to the mid-1970s. Others start much more recently, with the advent of newer 
technologies. More than anyone at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Emery has seen the lines on that chart move ever higher. Since joining what at the time was the Solar Energy Research Institute, Emery has made the process of recording record efficiencies of solar cells and modules more accurate
."

New Solar Career Mapping Tool Available


Electrical Contractor, Nov. 2015, by William Atkinson.
http://www.ecmag.com/section/your-business/new-solar-career-mapping-tool-available%E2%80%A9

"In September, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), announced the introduction of a newer and much more highly interactive Solar Career Map (SCM) tool. IREC is the national administrator of the Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN).
"

Survey of Buyers, Sellers and Realtors Involved In San Diego Third-Party Owned Solar Home Transactions – A Qualitative Assessment

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Dec. 2015. https://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-1003917.pdf "Third-party ownership (or “TPO”) structures have revolutionized the residential solar photovoltaic (“PV”) industry, opening up new customer segments and growing to dominate the market – they include leases and power purchase agreements (“PPA”).  While the immediate benefits to customers are well-documented, there remains some question as to the long-term impacts of the TPO agreements, particularly as they relate to home sales.  This research utilizes data collected through a combination of surveys and interviews with various participants involved in actual home transactions (i.e. buyers, sellers, and realtors) to explore how TPO PV systems impact homes sales in the San Diego region.  These data indicate that while the presence of TPO systems do add some complexity to the real estate transaction, the overall impacts in terms of sales price, time on market, agreement transfers and customer ... Read the rest of entry »

To ITC or Not to ITC: What Happens if Solar's Federal Tax Incentives Aren't Extended

Utility Dive, Oct. 1, 2015, by Herman K. Trabish.
http://www.utilitydive.com/news/to-itc-or-not-to-itc-what-happens-if-solars-federal-tax-incentives-arent/406304/

"What will happen if the federal investment tax credit (ITC) so many solar developers depend on isn't extended?  “If the investment tax credit is not extended, we see it as a disruption, not a death for the industry,” said Maddy Yozwiak, U.S. Power and RECs analyst  and co-author of the recently-released report, “How extending the investment tax credit would affect US solar build,” from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)."

Proof of Concept: Community Solar is Ready to Soar Despite Complications

Solar Industry, Sep. 2015, by Sara E. Bergan and Andrew P. Moratzka.
http://www.solarindustrymag.com/issues/SI1509/FEAT_05_Proof-Of-Concept-Community-Solar-Is-Ready-To-Soar-Despite-Complications.html

"Minnesota's turmoil over solar gardens provides a laboratory for handling similar efforts across the U.S."

How Solar-plus-Battery Systems Insulate Customers from Rising Retail Electricity Prices

Rocky Mountain Institute, Oct. 5, 2015, by David Labrador.
http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2015_10_05_how_solar_plus_battery_systems_insulate
_customers_from_rising_retail_electricity_prices


"In the face of rising retail prices for grid electricity, investing in solar-plus-battery systems can insulate grid-connected customers from those increasing prices and effectively lock in a peak price that won't continue to climb, according to a recent analysis by RMI. The result for customers across diverse geographies will be substantial savings relative to what they would have paid for a full-fare utility bill. For utilities and regulators this will be challenging—and present an opportunity."

[NW Energy] Coalition Honors Clean Energy Leaders with Headwaters Awards

NW Energy Coalition, Oct. 13, 2015.
http://www.nwenergy.org/news/coalition-honors-clean-energy-leaders-with-headwaters-awards/

"Two clean energy pioneers have been honored for their efforts with NW Energy Coalition Headwaters awards. Coalition executive director Nancy Hirsh recently presented colorful plaques and vials of water drawn from the headwaters of the Columbia River – Columbia Lake in British Columbia, to Alan Zelenka and Mike Nelson."

PV Modules Update & Trends

Home Power, Sep./Oct. 2015, by Justine Sanchez.
http://www.homepower.com/articles/solar-electricity/equipment-products/pv-modules-update-trends?v=print

"Now that solar technology is cropping up on rooftops across the country, you might be finding your friends and neighbors looking for more information about this “new” industry. Here are some current solar industry statistics and PV module trends for those increasingly common over-the-fence conversations."

Inverter Benchmarking Results in Smarter Residential Inverter Solutions

Solar Industry Magazine, Aug. 2015, by Michael Mills-Price.
http://www.solarindustrymag.com/issues/SI1508/FEAT_03_Inverter-Benchmarking-Results-In-Smarter-Residential-Inverter-Solutions.html

"Today’s residential and small commercial solar photovoltaic inverter marketplace includes a myriad of solutions and choices... These products are expected to operate in electrically and environmentally harsh environments, with service lifetimes that can approach and exceed 20 years. The PV inverter landscape is also marked by many new entrants and products from established industry players. These dynamic market characteristics increase the importance of thorough due diligence in the inverter selection process. Independent third-party data can be very beneficial in choosing the optimal inverter solution. "

IRS Ruling Could Be A Huge Boost For Community Solar Investment

Solar Industry Magazine, Sep. 10, 2015, by David K. Burton and Richard T. Page.
http://www.solarindustrymag.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.15651

"In a newly released private letter ruling (PLR), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has approved an individual taxpayer's plan to claim residential solar tax credits for investing in a community/shared solar energy project, even though the facility's solar panels are not on the taxpayer's residential property. The ruling encourages residential property owners to invest in such projects." 
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