DuPont & Zhenfa to Partner On Solar Power

DuPont China Holding Co., Ltd. (DuPont) and Zhenfa New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (Zhenfa New Energy), have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to collaborate on improving the performance, reliability and return on investment of solar power installations. Under the agreement, both companies will cooperate in optimizing the selection of durable solar materials and technologies used in solar panels.

DuPont Zhenfa solar partnership“Solar energy is a clean and sustainable form of energy that we expect will become a greater part of the future energy mix,” said Zhenfa Zha, general manager, Zhenfa New Energy. “We are excited to collaborate with DuPont to employ quality solar materials and technology support to help maintain long-term power generation, operations management and cost optimization at our solar installations. This will ultimately benefit our customers with cheaper, cleaner electricity.”

All of the solar panels installed by Zhenfa will be manufactured with DuPont Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) film-based backsheets, the only material, according to DuPont, proven to reliably protect solar panels for over 30 years, even under extreme environmental conditions. Both companies will work together to optimize solar energy power production and performance as well as conduct field research on panel reliability and failure modes in order to better understand materials’ critical impact on solar energy systems.

Chuck Xu, global business director, DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions said of the partnership, “We are delighted to expand our relationship with Zhenfa New Energy into a more strategic relationship that leverages advanced materials critical to the reliable, long-term performance of solar panels for their solar installations. DuPont continues to advance material science to improve the performance, reliability and return on investment in solar to help make it more competitive with other forms of electricity.”

Get a Piece of the Renewable Energy Funding Pie

Find Grant Funding Now coverProsperity Consulting, LLC has identified two grant programs from the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) that could make significant investments in alternative forms of energy.

EERE has announced the Biological and Chemical Upgrading for Advanced Biofuels and Products Grant. The grant is focused on supporting production of the fuels from cellulosic sugars, lignocellulose derivatives, lignin, cellulosic alcohols, bio-solids and biogases. Awards range from $1 million to $3.5 million. Concept papers are due on May 1, 2014, and full proposals are due June 13, 2014.

The second grant program from EERE focuses on solar energy. The Solar Market Pathways Grant seeks to drive down solar energy costs and encourage a significant increase in solar deployment. The funding includes costs for planning and stakeholder meetings. Awards range from $1 million to $4 million. Concept papers are due on May 28, 2014, and full proposals are due July 3, 2014.

For companies, universities, communities and others interested in applying for these grants who are seeking assistance, Prosperity Consulting is available to assist. The company aids it clients in market research and feasibility study development as well as the development of strategic plans.

Renewable Energy Power Awards Announced

During a ceremony in San Francisco, California, winners of the inaugural Renewable Energy Power Awards were announced by Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits at the Novogradac Financing Renewable Energy Conference.

Burgess BioPower plant“We are pleased to congratulate the winners and honorable mentions of the inaugural Renewable Energy Power Awards for their exceptional work in bringing the benefits of renewable energy to communities across the country,” said Michael J. Novogradac, CPA and managing partner of Novogradac & Company LLP. “As the first recipients of the Renewable Energy Power Awards, our honorees have set high standards with the caliber of their work and I look forward to seeing other worthy projects recognized by these awards in the years to come.”

The Renewable Energy Power Awards were presented to development teams involved with effective and innovative renewable energy tax credit projects that created jobs, provided positive community impact and reduced energy footprints. Developments eligible for consideration used the federal renewable energy investment tax credit (ITC), the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and/or Section 1603 cash grant funds. Awardees were recognized in three categories:

  • Financial Innovation: Winner: Burgess BioPower LLC, projected developed by Cate Street Capital Inc.
  • Overcoming Obstacles: Winner: Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative Inc. and Town of Dennis Solar Project, developed by American Capital Energy Inc.
  • Small Community Project: Winner: Little Deschutes Lodge II, developed by Pacific Crest Affordable Housing LLC

The Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits provides news, analysis and commentary on the affordable housing, new markets, renewable energy and historic rehabilitation tax credit industries.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFAmigo Energy, subsidiary of Just Energy Group Inc. has announced a new promotion in recognition of Earth Day. The company has entered into a partnership with the bike sharing program, Houston B-cycle, a transportation alternative for people living in and visiting Houston. Launched April 21, customers who enroll for electricity in Amigo’s 100% renewable energy program will receive an annual membership to B-cycle.
  • Intersolar Europe will be taking place in Munich, June 4–6, 2014. The event will be kicked off with the launch of the Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018 presented by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). Attendees will learn about current and future developments in the solar industry.
  • Alterra Power Corp. and Fiera Axium Infrastructure Inc. have completed a partnership agreement for the Jimmie Creek hydroelectric project. Under the agreement Alterra will own 51% of the project and Fiera Axium Infrastructure Canada II LP will own 49%. The Jimmie Creek project will provide 62 MW of clean power capacity to southwest British Columbia and will sell 100% of its power to BC Hydro for 40 years beginning in August 2016.
  • Ecoppia, a developer of autonomous water-free solar panel cleaning solutions, announced today that JA Solar has certified Ecoppia’s solution for use on its solar panels. Ecoppia recently announced similar certification by Suntech Power. Additional certification processes are underway, with the aim of ensuring Ecoppia’s market-wide compliance with the stringent standards of all major panel manufacturers.

New York & New Jersey Port Authorities Go Solar

This week, ConEdison Solutions and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey unveiled one of four new solar installations that will produce clean energy at Newark Liberty International Airport. The 3,200 solar panel installation covers 62,000 square feet and will produce 817,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. This solar array marks the first solar power installation at any airport buildings operated by the Port Authority throughout the region.

Newark International Airport solar array“The Port Authority is committed to implementing environmental programs we view as vital to our airports and other facilities,” said Port Authority Director of Environment & Energy Programs Christopher Zeppie. “Solar panels atop the roofs of buildings at Newark Liberty are an innovative way to make use of little used space to help reduce the agency’s carbon footprint while also saving money and increasing resiliency.”

By utilizing solar power as an energy source, Newark Liberty International Airport anticipates an electricity savings of approximately $60,000 per year.

“Earth Week is the ideal occasion to recognize Newark Liberty International Airport for its outstanding commitment to sustainability,” said Michael W. Gibson, Vice President of ConEdison Solutions. “The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is setting an excellent example for airports nationwide and around the world.”

Officials visited a 152-solar panel installation on the roof of Building 121, an AirTrain Newark electrical substation. The other three solar sites include a 312-panel project on an AirTrain Newark maintenance building, a 585-panel installation on a Port Authority maintenance building, and a 2,145-panel site on a multi-tenant cargo building.

To educate travelers and other guests about the benefits of the multi-site solar initiative, the airport will soon introduce colorful, interactive informational kiosks at Terminal B that will provide information about solar power and this initiative at Newark Liberty. Kiosks also will update visitors on the amount of power that has been generated during a particular day and during the current month and year.

Concern Over Environment Drops in US

According to the most recent article in Gallup’s Climate Crisis series, over the past year concern over the environment among Americans has dropped. Today, one in four respondents of a recent poll say they are “solidly skeptical” of global warming. The poll found Americans are clustered into three global warming groups. “Concerned Believers” comprise 39 percent and attribute global warming to human actions and are worried. “Mixed Middle” comprise 36 percent and the remainder fall into the category of “Cool Skeptics” – a group that is not worried about global warming much or at all.

Gallup Global Warming Opinion GroupsThrough ongoing polling from a special “cluster” analysis of four questions designed to measure belief and concerns about human-induced global warming, Gallup has found that the rate of “Concerned Believers” has varied but today is in line with 2001 results. During the same decade, the members of “Cool Skeptics” have increased while those aligning with the “Mixed Middle” have modestly declined.

According to results, “Concerned Believers” and “Cool Skeptics” are of different mindsets when it comes to how much they worry about global warming. “Concerned Believers” say they worry “a great deal” or “fair amount” about the issue, while “Cool Skeptics” worry only “a little” or “not at all.” “Concerned Believers” also think media reports about the issue are either correct or underestimated, while “Cool Skeptics” think they are exaggerated. One hundred percent of “Concerned Believers” say the rise in the Earth’s temperature over the last century is due to the effects of pollution, while 100 percent of “Cool Skeptics” say it is due to natural changes in the environment. Finally, two-thirds of “Concerned Believers” believe global warming will pose a serious threat to their own way of life in the future, while 100 percent of “Cool Skeptics” disagree.

Those in the “Mixed Middle” hold a combination of views. Some believe humans are the cause of the Earth’s warming, but aren’t worried about it. Some say global warming is a natural phenomenon, but that it will pose a serious risk in their lifetime. In one way or another, those in the “Mixed Middle” fail to line up with the orthodoxy on either side of the climate science issue.

In the past decade, skepticism has increased, while “Concerned Believers” have recovered to pre-Climategate levels and the Mixed Middle has dwindled. So all in all, what the analysis found is that American’s views have grown more polarized about the issue.

Hawaiians Crave More Solar

According to a recent opinion poll Hawaiians want more solar. The poll found that 90 percent of respondents believe that Hawaiian Electric (HECO) is slowing rooftop solar to protect its profits. The poll found that most residents are very familiar with and supportive of rooftop solar with a third of the respondents having family members with solar and more than half have neighbors with solar.

The poll was conducted by Honolulu-based polling firm SMS and commissioned by The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), an organization that represents the majority of rooftop solar installations in the United States, including more than seven thousand projects in Hawaii.

“While it shorooftop solar in Oahu Photo Hugh Gentryuld be a point of pride that Hawaii has the highest solar per capita in the country, it shouldn’t give us any reason to slow down,” said Jon Yoshimura, a Hawaii spokesperson for TASC. “The people of Hawaii clearly want and expect more rooftop solar, and are looking to both HECO and to policymakers to advance policies that help increase access for homes and businesses.”

Responses revealed that Hawaii residents are adopting solar not only to save money, but also to drive energy independence for the state. Respondents also identified oil dependence and lack of competition in the utility sector as top reasons driving utility rates.

“Hawaii’s energy landscape is rapidly changing and we need to adopt new policies and business models that support the public’s desire to produce their own clean, homegrown energy,” Yoshimura added.

Less than half of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of HECO, while 95 percent have a favorable view of solar power companies. When respondents were informed that the number of solar permits just hit a two year low on Oahu, half said their opinion of HECO declined even further. In short says TASC, HECO’s public image is in danger if the utility continues to fall short of public expectations for rooftop solar.

“I decided to go solar for environmental and financial reasons​. I was delayed for months–many peoples’ ​interconnection approvals are delayed for years by​ the utility as a stalling tactic,” said Nancy Robberson, retired schoolteacher from Kula,​ Hawaii. “Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries should not get in the way of more solar here​. Harnessing the sun’s power should be an ​inalienable right for all.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFRenewable Energy Markets 2014 will be held December 2–4, 2014 in Sacramento, California. The call for abstracts is open. They are looking for 10 to 12 minute presentations featuring new data or ideas, consideration of important issues and thoughts about where renewable energy markets are headed. Categories include: organizations using renewable energy; project development; marketing renewable energy; policy and legal issues; markets and trading; and bundled electricity products.
  • The Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA) elected Mike Prior as the organization’s new Executive Director. Prior had served as Director of Business Development of IWEA since 2009 and had served as Interim Executive Director since December of 2013.
  • Google Inc. and SunPower Corp. have announced a new program that will provide financing to support approximately $250 million of residential solar lease projects. Both companies are investing in the program, with Google committing up to $100 million and SunPower committing approximately $150 million. Thousands of homeowners are expected to finance solar power systems through SunPower solar leases as a result of this program, joining approximately 20,000 Americans already leasing from SunPower.
  • La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has announced a CDN$42 million investment in the Parc des Moulins wind energy project operated by Invenergy Wind LLC. After this transaction, Invenergy will continue to be the majority controlling shareholder. Parc des Moulins is a 135.7 MW wind farm that has been in commercial operation since December 2013. It covers three Québec municipalities: Thetford Mines, Kinnear’s Mills and Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf.

First Diesel Hybrid PV System Online in Guelph

Canadian Solar Inc. has completed one of the first diesel hybrid PV system in the remote microgrids in northern Ontario, Canada. The 152kW rooftop solar array on the Deer Lake First Nation Elementary School is the first project under the strategic partnership with NCC Development, LP (NCC), a First Nation renewable energy management company, in a commitment to use renewable energy (RE) microgrid solutions to assist the energy needs of off-grid First Nations and remote communities.

canadian solar logoNCC has identified more than 80 First Nations and remote communities for potential RE microgrid solution deployment, in an effort to promote photovoltaic services and projects to areas heavily reliant on diesel and challenged by limited access to electricity.

“NCC is optimistic in moving forward with our partner Canadian Solar, as we continue to build strategic collaborative efforts with leaders in the solar and renewable energy industry to foster sustainable development of Canada’s indigenous communities. As North America’s largest producer of solar power solutions, Canadian Solar’s industry leading experience and expertise will greatly contribute to our efforts,” said Geordi Kakepetum, Chief Executive Officer of NCC Development LP.

Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar Inc. noted of the project, “Our partnership with NCC started 3 years ago. It underscores our strong commitment to Canada, helping to bring solar power to areas previously unable to get connected to the grid. Solar is a green, flexible, low-cost, and sustainable energy solution for these underserved First Nations and other rural areas. We are proud of our involvement in this important effort and the direct impact we will have on so many deserving families.”

During a ribbon cutting ceremony, Chief Royale Meekis, the leader of Deer Lake First Nation said, “To reduce peak load and connect five more homes, we developed a three-part plan, including conservation, load shifting, and installing a PV solar system. This is important not only for the families who are waiting to move into these new houses, but for all of Deer Lake.”

Deer Lake First Nation aims to eventually replace 50 percent of their diesel consumption with the RE microgrid retrofit solution. The focus of the partners in developing RE microgrid solutions is also to help to build much needed additional clean energy capacity, and to support future economic development in the communities.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe 22nd edition of FENASUCRO, the trade fair for sugar, ethanol, and energy technology, will take place in São Paulo, Brazil from August 26-29, 2014. FENASUCRO is the meeting place for producers, professionals, and top manufacturers of equipment, and products & services for the sugarcane agro-industry. The event offers visitors the chance to explore the entire production chain: soil preparation, planting, growing treatments, harvest, industrialization, mechanization, use of by-products, sugarcane product and by-product transportation and logistics.
  • DONG Energy Wind Power’s Country manager, Benj Sykes, has been announced as the new co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) by Business and Energy Minister, the Rt. Hon Michael Fallon MP, who also co-chairs the group. Sykes replaces Keith Anderson, the Chief Corporate Officer of ScottishPower, who has held this role since 2010, and will remain a member of OWIC.
  • Otto Pirker from Verbund will chair Hydropower Development: Europe 2014 Summit, taking place in Porto (Portugal) on September 17-18, 2014. The event will comprise two days of formal presentations, interactive panel discussions and excellent networking opportunities, providing an ideal setting to convene with your peers to discuss both current operational and future planned hydro power plants, energy markets reform, potential barriers and support policies as well as project economics and finance.
  • UNICA, together with other unions and associations of producers from South and Central Sugarcane Technology Center (CTC) region, announced its estimate for the harvest 2014/2015 of cane sugar. The projection indicates a grind of 580.00 million tons, down 16.94 million tonnes compared to the total processed in the last harvest, which totaled 596.94 million tons.