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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Reducing Solar Costs

From the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

This new device, funded by our #SunShot Initiative to reduce solar costs, is helping #Americans potentially save thousands of dollars when they #GoSolar. It’s called the ConnectDER, and it removes the need for technicians to enter your house while installing and connecting your #solar panels. Learn more about the technology’s ability to quickly and easily get you grid-connected, and plans to make the device even better in the future:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blythe Mesa Solar Project

From the U.S. Department of the Interior:

Today, Interior approved the Blythe Mesa solar project in California that, when built, will generate enough clean energy to power more than 145,000 homes. Learn more!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Renewable Energy Group Acquires Imperial Renewables

The $15 million acquisition of a biomass and crop waste energy company may show the growing viability of this market as an alternative to fossil fuel.
And in turn, this may suggest opportunities for smaller agriculture businesses, like family farms hoping to find alternative markets for their byproducts.

Renewable Energy Group Acquires Imperial Renewables

Friday, August 21, 2015

Duke Energy seeks proposals for solar in South Carolina - Duke Energy

Duke Energy today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for about 53 megawatts (AC) of utility-scale solar capacity to be in-service in its South Carolina service areas by the end of 2016.
The announcement is another step forward in Duke Energy’s Distributed Energy Resource Program, which was approved by the Public Service Commission on July 15. It marks an important milestone in realizing the vision of Act 236, or the Distributed Energy Resource Act of 2014.

Duke Energy seeks proposals for solar in South Carolina - Duke Energy

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Will green improvements boost your home’s value? - The Boston Globe

Shopping for a single-family home, Elahna Paul and her husband, Hal LaCroix, compiled a pretty typical wish list: high ceilings, hardwood floors, good closet space, and a big backyard. Four years into their search, they toured a 110-year-old Victorian in Somerville’s Spring Hill section and liked what they saw. Not only did the home check many of the items on their list, it also had all new dual-pane windows. “That was a plus,” says Paul. “It meant the energy costs would be lower.” The couple bought the house in August 2011.

Will green improvements boost your home’s value? - The Boston Globe

Google Maps can now tell you if it’s worth installing solar panels on your roof | The Verge

Google wants to help you harness the power of the sun. A new service called Project Sunroof aims to provide a "treasure map" of solar energy with the help of Google Maps. Sunroof gives homeowners detailed information about how much solar power their roof can generate and how much money they could save on electricity costs by adding solar panels.

Google Maps can now tell you if it’s worth installing solar panels on your roof | The Verge

Monday, August 17, 2015

Google's Project Sunroof calculates solar cost - Aug. 17, 2015

Want solar panels but don't know where to start? Google has created a nifty little tool for determining if your home is a good bet for solar power. It combines Google Maps information about your home, local weather history, and estimates from nearby solar providers.

Project Sunroof was thought up by Google engineer Carl Elkin, who worked on it in his 20% time (Google allows employees to pursue side projects in addition to their regular job). The pilot project is starting small, and only works in three cities for now: Boston, San Francisco, and Fresno ("where one of the engineer's mom is from").

Google's Project Sunroof calculates solar cost - Aug. 17, 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

From the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

Energy efficiency and renewable energy are helping an #Arizona school district slash its #energy costs. The Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge recognized the Dysart School District this week for increasing the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at 25 schools. Through our Better Buildings Challenge, Dysart has committed to 20% energy savings over 10 years and has already achieved 10% energy savings since 2011. Learn more about the energy-saving measures this school district made that are positive examples for others schools to follow across the #US
Photos courtesy Dysart Unified School District.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bioenergy, Bioproducts Education Program Builds Student Confidence, Equips Educators

From the #USDA:

Morina Ricablanca
Morina Ricablanca teaches bioenergy and other subjects to special needs students at East Hoke Middle School in North Carolina. (Image courtesy of Morina Ricablanca)
Being an educator is in Morina Ricablanca’s blood. Growing up in a family of teachers in the Philippines, she knew she would someday pursue a career in education. Ricablanca participated in an outreach program assisting troubled youth while attending Manuel L. Quezon University Law School in Manila. She realized then it was time to join the family business of teaching.
Her decision has led her to a successful career working with special needs students at East Hoke Middle School in rural North Carolina. Ricablanca was named the “2014 Teacher of the Year” for her school district, partly due to her work helping three of her students win the school’s science fair.
In 2014, she attended the Bioenergy and Bioproducts Education Program (BBEP) workshop in Horseheads, New York. BBEP is an education program administered by Cornell University with $5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through the 2010 AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy Challenge Area.
“The workshop provided me the skills and knowledge I needed to teach about renewable sources of energy, which is part of our school’s science curriculum,” said Ricablanca. “I hadn’t thought of doing bioenergy projects with my students because I never considered the different biomass we have all around us that can be used to make bioenergy products.”
The three projects conducted by her students include a study of how temperature and pH affect the amount of glucose Timothy grass will produce; an experiment on testing kitchen waste products, such as kale, gourd, and oats to determine which is the best raw material for an anaerobic digester to produce biogas; and a study determining if temperature affects how a photovoltaic cell converts light energy from the sun to electricity in order to power a light bulb.
“My students did not think they could win a competition because of their challenges,” she said. “BBEP provided the opportunity for them to succeed and see that they can achieve great things in life.”
All three projects went on to win the East Hoke Middle School science fair.
“This was the first time in our school’s history that we had this many students with special needs win the science fair competition and represent the school in the regional and state competitions,” she said. “The impact is not just on my students, but also on the school, parents, and especially me. It reminded me why I continue to do what I do.”
The BBEP will hold its next workshop in Washington, DC, Aug, 10-13, hosted by the University of Maryland – Eastern Shore.
“I encourage teachers to attend agricultural workshops to gain a better understanding of the role agriculture has in our daily lives,” Ricablanca said. “We are educating the next generation and if we do not provide the opportunity to learn something new about agriculture, then we have failed our students.” 
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

U.S. Bancorp and Zions Bank Sign Renewable-Energy Tax-Equity Syndication

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 31, 2015-- U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) and Zions Bank(NYSE: ZION) announce a renewable-energy tax-equity syndication agreement that will provide financing for the Red Horse 2 wind and solar project near Tucson, Arizona, owned by an affiliate of D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments L.L.C.

U.S. Bancorp launched its new renewable-energy investment syndication earlier this year, allowing first-time and experienced investors to participate in the renewable-energy tax-equity market. With this agreement, Zions Bank is co-investing with U.S. Bancorp and benefitting from U.S. Bancorp’s underwriting, structuring, and ongoing asset management.

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Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) Program

Published on Aug 3, 2015
The SULI Program at NREL provides paid research experience to encourage undergraduate students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. This overview video was created by the 2014 summer interns.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sustainability in Bioenergy: A Nation Connected

GE’s 3.2-103 and 2.75-120 Wind Turbines Selected to Power British Columbia’s Largest Wind Farm

From GE:

GE’s 3.2-103 and 2.75-120 Wind Turbines Selected to Power British Columbia’s Largest Wind Farm

  • GE to supply 61 wind turbines for Pattern Development’s 180 megawatt (MW) Meikle wind project
  • Project will be largest wind site in British Columbia
SCHENECTADY, NY—JULY 30, 2015—GE (NYSE: GE) today confirmed that it will supply Pattern Development with 61 wind turbines for its 180 megawatt (MW) Meikle wind project, located approximately 33 kilometers north of Tumbler Ridge in the Peace Region of British Columbia. The 61 turbines will combine 35 of GE’s 3.2-103 units with 26 of its 2.75-120 turbines, using a mixture of technologies to improve annual energy production across the site.
“At Pattern, we pride ourselves on being able to tackle challenging and complex projects that others believe to be too difficult or even impossible,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development. “We have worked with GE in the past, and the GE team and technology stepped up to the challenge at Meikle and helped provide us with an innovative and efficient solution to a complex site.”
Once operational, the 180 MW Meikle Wind project will be the largest wind project in British Columbia and will generate enough energy to power the equivalent annual energy needs of 54,000 British Columbian homes and increase the installed wind power capacity in the province by 38 percent.
“We love working on projects in complex locations because it affirms the viability of wind power,” said Anne McEntee, president and CEO of GE’s renewable energy business. “Our goal at GE is to continue making wind power more widely available, and the Meikle wind project is an example of how sustained investment in technology can help unlock the value of wind in locations across the globe.”

The contract with Pattern Energy includes a full service agreement provided by GE. Commercial operation of the Meikle wind project is expected to begin in late 2016.

About Pattern Development
Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development) is a leader in developing renewable energy and transmission assets. With a long history in wind energy, Pattern Development’s highly-experienced team has developed, financed and placed into operation more than 4,000 MW of wind power projects. A strong commitment to promoting environmental stewardship drives the company’s dedication in working closely with communities to create renewable energy projects. Pattern Development has offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, New York, Toronto, Santiago, Chile, and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit

About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at

About GE Power & Water
GE Power & Water provides customers with a broad array of power generation, energy delivery and water process technologies to solve their challenges locally. Power & Water works in all areas of the energy industry including renewable resources such as wind and solar; biogas and alternative fuels; and coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy. The business also develops advanced technologies to help solve the world’s most complex challenges related to water availability and quality. Power & Water’s six business units include Distributed Power, Nuclear Energy, Power Generation Products, Power Generation Services, Renewable Energy and Water & Process Technologies. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Power & Water is GE’s largest industrial business.

GE Power Conversion Breathes Life into the Japanese Solar Market with Highly Reliable and Cost-Effective Solutions

From GE:

GE Power Conversion Breathes Life into the Japanese Solar Market with Highly Reliable and Cost-Effective Solutions

  • GE Power Conversion is supporting the Hosoe mega solar project in Japan with its Brilliance inverter skid solutions, offering a complete equipment and 20-year lifecycle services package tailor-made for the Japanese solar market
  • GE’s technology offers reliability and smooth integration into the solar farm and grid, while being cost-effective and fully compliant with local standards
  • The solar farm is planned to commence commercial operations in 2018 and will be one of the biggest in Japan
Miyazaki, Japan – 30 July – Your average solar farm won’t get very far if the task at hand is to change the way in which energy is generated for 50 million Japanese households - here, you have to think big. That’s why the Hosoe solar project in Japan, planned to be in service by 2018 and equipped with GE Power Conversion technology, will be anything but average.
Located on Kyushu Island, the 96.2-megawatt (DC) photovoltaic solar plant is set to be one of the largest in Japan, and is expected to generate clean energy for up to 30,000 households, delivering annual CO2 emission savings of 68,200 tons. To enable this operation with enhanced efficiency, the developer of the project, Pacifico Energy K.K., selected GE Power Conversion to supply its Brilliance inverters for the mega solar project.
50 of GE Power Conversion’s 1.26MW Brilliance solar inverters meet the customer’s requirements for both reliability and cost competitiveness. Along with the inverters, GE is also supplying transformers, Ring Main Units and Recombiners, all of which are to be preassembled and optimized for flawless integration.
GE Power Conversion’s involvement with the project does not stop with the delivery of the equipment. In also providing a 20 year LTSA (Long Term Services Agreement) which includes an availability guarantee on the inverter equipment, GE is helping to ensure the performance of the plant is maintained throughout the life of the project.
The Hosoe project has also received support from GE Energy Financial Services, which invested equity in the project in March. GE Energy Financial Services has previously invested in two other Pacifico Energy projects in Japan - Kumeana and Mimasaka Musashi - to help the country meet its target to generate 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
“The fact that we can harness solar energy on a mass scale goes to show how far innovation has come in recent years, and this venture with Pacifico is one of many that we will be seeing in Japan and across the world,” said John Chatwin, Power & Industry Segment Leader, GE Power Conversion. “GE is dedicated to enabling renewable energy production because we know that these projects are shaping the future energy landscape.”

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) imagines things others don’t, builds things others can’t and delivers outcomes that make the world work better. GE brings together the physical and digital worlds in ways no other company can. In its labs and factories and on the ground with customers, GE is inventing the next industrial era to move, power, build and cure the world.
GE Energy Management provides customers with electrical solutions that enable local utilities and energy-intensive industries to more efficiently manage electricity from the point of generation to consumption. GE’s Power Conversion business, a business unit of GE Energy Management, applies the science and systems of power conversion to help drive the electrification of the world’s energy infrastructure by designing and delivering advanced motor, drive and control technologies that evolve today’s industrial processes for a cleaner, more productive future. Serving specialized sectors such as energy, marine, oil and gas, renewables and industry, through customized solutions and advanced technologies, GE Power Conversion partners with customers to maximize efficiency. To learn more, please visit:
Follow GE’s Power Conversion business on Twitter and on Linkedin.