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Renewable Energy Update
September 29, 2017
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Renewable Energy Focus

Tariffs could make California solar pricier, cost thousands of jobs

KPCC - Sep 25 Last Friday, U.S. International Trade Commission officials unanimously agreed that two American solar panel manufacturers have been harmed by imported panels. Next week, they meet again to consider ways to fix the situation – which could lead to tariffs. Nearly 90 percent of all solar panels installed in the United States are foreign made, so "if you raise the price on all of those imports by implementing tariffs, that will flow through to customers who will end up paying more for solar," said Shayle Kann with GTM Research. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates nearly 16,000 Californians working in the solar industry would lose their jobs if the proposed 40-cent tariff were enacted – more layoffs than in any other state. While 16,000 is a large number, it is less than 35 percent of the solar jobs in California. 


CAISO proposes load-shifting product for energy storage

Utility Dive - Sep 25 The California ISO (CAISO) has begun a program to develop a product that would pay energy storage resources for absorbing energy from the grid and making it available later. The program aims to reduce the need to curtail solar power during peak generation hours, combating negative prices that can sometimes result in California from midday solar generation. The initiative marks a shift to a "load shift" product from "load consumption" products previously under consideration, emphasizing that excess clean energy should be saved for future use.

Senators introduce the Advancing Grid Storage Act

Solar Industry Magazine - Sep 27 U.S. Senators Al Franken, D-Minn., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., members of the Senate Energy Committee, have introduced what they deem a job-creating measure that will help strengthen the country’s energy infrastructure. According to a press release from the senators, the Advancing Grid Storage Act would authorize $50 million per year of dedicated funding for energy storage systems within the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy; establish a five-year, $500 million technical assistance program to help for-profit and nonprofit entities identify opportunities, assess feasibility, overcome interconnection and permitting challenges, conduct financial assessments, and perform the required engineering; and establish a five-year, $500 million competitive grant program to help states, tribes, utilities, and universities overcome high upfront capital costs of energy storage systems.

U.S. residential grid-tied energy storage will overtake off-grid storage in 2017

Greentech Media - Sep 26 According to a new report from GTM Research, this year will be the first ever in which grid-tied residential battery storage system deployments outnumber new off-grid and grid-independent systems across the United States. GTM Research estimates that in 2016, over 4,400 residential battery systems were deployed across the U.S., representing 127 megawatt-hours of storage. Of those systems, 86 percent were off-grid or grid-independent backup. By the end of 2017, grid-connected deployments will make up 57 percent of annual deployments. By 2022, that figure will balloon to 99 percent, as annual off-grid and grid-independent backup deployments will remain relatively flat.

SolarWorld Americas plans to ramp up production following ITC vote

Greentech Media - Sep 25 Solar trade case petitioner SolarWorld Americas is the first company to announce that it will expand solar equipment manufacturing in the U.S. following a key trade case vote last Friday. The Hillsboro, Ore.-based manufacturer issued a news release Monday stating that it would immediately begin ramping up production and hiring up to 200 workers by May 2018 "with the prospect of meaningful import relief close at hand."

SolarCity agrees to settle government fraud claims

San Jose Mercury News - Sep 22 SolarCity has agreed to pay $29.5 million to settle long-running claims it overcharged the federal government for rebates on solar systems installed between 2009 and 2013. The settlement ends a five-year battle between federal regulators and the solar system installer, now a subsidiary of Tesla, over payments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program was part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package to boost the economy following the 2008 financial crisis. 

Poseidon's environmental plan doesn't halt criticism of proposed desalination plant

Los Angeles Times - Sep 21 Poseidon Water announced last week that its proposed ocean desalination plant in Huntington Beach would employ an environmental protection and energy efficiency plan. But that didn’t halt criticism of the controversial facility. Poseidon said the plan includes several tactics aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of the $1-billion plant proposed at Newland Street and Pacific Coast Highway, including installing as many solar panels and purchasing as much “green” power as allowed by law. The announcement came weeks before the California State Lands Commission considers approving an environmental impact report for the project on October 19.

JLM Energy gets $25 million to finance new projects

Sacramento Business Journal - Sep 27 Rocklin-based energy storage company JLM Energy is launching several projects for commercial and industrial customers, thanks to an infusion of $25 million in capital. Co-founder and CEO Farid Dibachi said the investment from Minneapolis-based North Sky Capital will be used to finance around 30 to 35 energy storage systems over a period of 9 to 12 months. Dibachi said he expects two-thirds of the funds to be deployed in California, with the rest in other parts of the nation. 

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