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Renewable Energy Update
March 8, 2018
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California sets two new solar records

Greentech Media - Mar 6 Mild temperatures and sunny skies have helped California set two new solar records. On Sunday, March 4, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) saw an all-time peak percentage of demand served by solar, hitting a record 49.95 percent at 12:58 p.m. That's up from the previous peak of 47.2 percent set on May 14, 2017. A day later, on March 5, CAISO set another solar record, this time hitting a new peak for solar production of 10,411 megawatts at 10:18 a.m. The previous record was 9,913 megawatts set on June 17, 2017. It's no surprise that solar is making up a larger and larger portion of California's electricity mix. The state's three investor-owned utilities are well ahead of schedule on their renewable energy procurement plans and on track to meet the state's 33 percent mandate for 2020. At the same time, community-choice aggregators are investing in additional solar installations.


SDG&E seeks 166 MW of energy storage as public emergency response asset

Energy Storage News - Mar 2 San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), one of California’s three main investor-owned utilities, said this week that it will add resilience and backup capabilities to public sector buildings through the procurement of “up to 166 megawatts” of energy storage. According to a proposal submitted by the utility to regulator California Public Utilities Commission, public sector buildings that serve as emergency facilities during emergency situations, providing safety and security in earthquakes, forest fires, and other potential disasters, would be supported by seven energy storage projects. It appears all seven projects have been proposed and to some extent developed already, with their installation planned in phases leading up to completion by 2024.

Arizona utility votes to pursue deal to end lawsuit with SolarCity

Merced Sun-Star - Mar 6 An Arizona-based utilities company could settle its three-year-old lawsuit with an Arizona solar energy equipment supplier by buying massive batteries from the company, now owned by Tesla Inc., and giving incentives to customers who want to put batteries on their homes. Salt River Project's board of directors voted Monday to negotiate a deal to end its lawsuit with SolarCity, which dates back to 2015 when the utility approved new rates for customers with solar panels, the Arizona Republic reported. SolarCity sued Salt River Project in Arizona District Court, accusing the utility of "anticompetitive and tortious conduct designed to eliminate solar competition." The utility tried unsuccessfully to dismiss the case on grounds of immunity, arguing that as a public utility it can't be charged with antitrust laws meant to deter monopolies. The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case this month.

Solana Beach is ready to set up community choice aggregation

Del Mar Times - Mar 6 June 1 looks to be the date Solana Beach will flip the switch on its city-run energy entity and become the first city in San Diego to break away from SDG&E. Solana Beach’s city council, in a trio of resolutions approved last week, set several key details in its long-planned energy venture, including the entity’s name—Solana Energy Alliance (SEA)—and giving the go-ahead for the city’s energy consultant to start procuring energy. Through the community choice aggregation program, Solana Beach will buy electricity on the wholesale market and sell it to the city’s 7,800 energy customers at whatever rate and with as much renewable energy as it wants—without needing approval from state utilities regulators or being beholden to shareholders.

Southern California water district may go solar to save money

The Desert Trail - Mar 7 Solar energy, including a solar power field near its fluoride treatment plant on Two Mile Road and Utah Trail, could be in the future for the Twentynine Palms Water District. Water board members meeting in regular session on February 28, agreed by consensus to move forward with a feasibility study of ways to save money on utilities. The study will be conducted by Climatec, a consulting firm whose representative, Frank Mann, promised board members projects would pay for themselves through savings or by grants and rebates earned by the district.

Sunrun takes U.S. residential top spot from Tesla

PV-Tech - Mar 7 Sunrun has taken over the mantle as the largest deployer of residential solar in the country. The company announced its Q4 2017 earnings and released its annual report with 85 megawatts installed in the last three months of the fiscal year. Tesla reported Q4 installs of 87 megawatts across residential, commercial, and industrial customers.

8minutenergy, Swinerton complete 100-MW Redwood solar cluster

Solar Power World - Mar 7 8minutenergy Renewables celebrated a ribbon-cutting event for its 26-megawatt Redwood 4 Solar Farm located in Kern County, California. Project construction began in mid-September 2017, and the site was commissioned in December of the same year. Redwood 4 is the first operational project to serve as a dedicated resource for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Solar Choice program, which offers Northern and Central California residents and businesses the option to go solar without installing panels by purchasing their electricity from solar projects such as Redwood 4. 8minutenergy’s three other projects in the 100-megawatt Redwood solar cluster have been operational since the end of 2015. 

160,000 solar panels soaking up sun in central Oregon

Central Oregonian - Mar 6 Solar power generation in Crook County, Oregon, took a big step forward this past fall and is poised to continue growing in the years ahead. In February 2017, SunPower Corp. announced construction of the Gala Solar Power Plant. By late October, the 56-megawatt facility was completed and operational. The Gala Solar Power Plant is the first to break ground in Crook County, but it is not the only solar project that has received land use approval. Planning Director Ann Beier said the county has approved five other projects that could at some point come to fruition, although none of them have reached the point of construction.

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