Webinar: Economic, ecological, and performance research of co-located pollinator plants at photovoltaic sites

Feb 23, 2023 11am-noon, CST
Register here.

The University of Illinois Chicago is working with Argonne National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of Ilinois Urbana Champaign, and Stantec on the Department of Energy funded project: Pollinator Habitat Aligned with Solar Energy. The project team is researching the impacts of colocating pollinator vegetation at solar facilities as it relates to the performance of the solar panels, the operations impacts for managing the vegetation, and the ecosystem services the pollinator vegetation can offer. In this presentation the team will provide updates on research activities, tools being developed, and share findings from the preliminary analysis that has been conducted.

Principal presenter: Ben Campbell

Additional speakers: Lee Walston (Argonne National Lab), Tristan Barley (University of Illinois Urbana Champaign)

A startup with ties to Alliant is building a wind blade recycling plant

Read the full story in the Des Moines Register.

A startup with ties to Alliant Energy said it’s building a plant near Cedar Rapids that will recycle decommissioned wind turbine blades, preventing the spent equipment from going into landfills and addressing critics’ challenges that wind energy is environmentally friendly.

Travero, an Alliant subsidiary, is spinning off a new business called REGEN Fiber. The startup announced Thursday it’s building a plant in Fairfax that will convert used wind turbine blades into reusable materials that increase the strength and durability of concrete, mortar and other products.

REGEN Fiber said it has a patent pending for an “eco-friendly process” that it piloted last year at a facility in Des Moines.

Building A Clean Energy Economy: A Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investments In Clean Energy And Climate Action

Download the guide.

This guidebook provides an overview of the clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related tax incentives and investment programs in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, including who is eligible to apply for funding and for what activities. The Biden-Harris Administration is working quickly to design, develop, and implement these programs; as such, the information in this guidebook is current as of publication. In the coming weeks and months, we will publish new developments on www.CleanEnergy.gov to keep stakeholders and potential beneficiaries of these programs up to date on the latest deadlines and details. This guidebook does not cover the Inflation Reduction Act’s health care provisions or certain corporate tax reforms.

The guidebook groups the Inflation Reduction Act’s tax incentives and investment programs into thematic chapters and explains how the law will deliver on the President’s commitments to the American people. Each chapter outlines the significance of these programs and includes a one-page summary of each program’s eligible uses, potential beneficiaries, and other important information. Given the cross-cutting nature of energy and climate issues, many of these Inflation Reduction Act programs and tax provisions could fall under more than one chapter. For ease of presentation, each program or provision is featured only once in the guidebook. 

Floating solar panels could unlock clean power without wasting land

Read the full story at Canary Media.

Many countries bet on solar panels when engaging in the switch to cleaner energy. But the technology requires much larger areas than conventional fossil fuel plants to generate the same amount of electricity. An emerging solution to save space is to float the panels on bodies of water, an approach dubbed ​“floatovoltaics.” Scientists believe this new approach could help solar energy to scale globally and fight climate change, but its environmental impacts are largely unexplored.

The world’s first commercial floatovoltaic system was installed on an irrigation pond at a California winery in 2008. Since then, bigger plants with capacities in the hundreds of megawatts have been built on lakes and hydropower reservoirs in China, and more are planned in Southeast Asia and Brazil.

Busting the solar myth: A call to embrace the circular renewable economy

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

While there are significant global environmental and social incentives to using solar energy, its resource intensity calls into question whether solar is truly “green.”

Geothermal energy could be off-ramp for Texas oil

Read the full story at The Hill.

Four years of drilling for energy deep underground would be enough to build Texas a carbon-free state electric grid, a new study by an alliance of state universities has found.

DOE launches $10 million prize to accelerate community solar in underrepresented communities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) today launched a slate of initiatives to support the deployment of equitable community solar projects and recognized projects exemplifying best practices in community solar. Community solar allows any household to access the benefits of renewable energy, with an emphasis on those that cannot access rooftop solar. The Community Power Accelerator™ and its $10 million prize will leverage $5 billion in private-sector financing commitments to help community-based organizations and other mission-aligned project developers access financing and build community solar projects, particularly in disadvantaged and underrepresented communities. The Department is also launching a new campaign to highlight the connections between solar energy and its long-term benefits, beginning with community solar. Community solar will play a vital role in supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that every community benefits from the clean energy transition and in achieving the President’s goals of a 100% electric grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Accelerating equitable community solar deployment with the Community Power Accelerator

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act established tax credits for solar energy projects, including a 20% bonus credit for solar power projects that sell their electricity to low-income households. This tax credit could support up to 18 GW of additional community solar projects over the next 10 years, enough to power over 2.5 million homes. The critical challenge is ensuring that all types of organizations and communities have access to the funds to develop community solar and that the projects deployed deliver “meaningful benefits” to communities and subscribers, like electricity bill savings, community ownership and wealth-building, resilience, equitable workforce development, and low- and moderate-income household access.

Today, DOE’s National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) launched the Community Power Accelerator™ to bring together investors, philanthropic organizations, developers, community-based organizations, and technical experts to work together to get more equitable community solar projects financed and deployed. The Accelerator will support developers with technical assistance and a Learning Lab to build a pipeline of verified, credit-ready projects that will connect with investors seeking to fund community solar in disadvantaged communities. Financial institutions and philanthropic organizations participating in the Accelerator have committed $5 billion in private sector financing for projects that are credit-ready.

The Accelerator includes the following programs:

  • The Community Power Accelerator Prize is a new $10 million competition that will provide pre-development funds to organizations to build the expertise, experience, and capacity required to develop community solar projects at scale.
  • An online platform, developed by DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, that will enable community-based organizations, intermediaries, and other mission-aligned project developers to connect with investors and philanthropic organizations seeking to fund a more diverse and community-based pipeline of community solar projects.
  • A Learning Lab and technical assistance program will prepare community-based organizations, small or new solar developers, and others to develop, finance, and build “credit-ready” community solar projects—projects that are ready for financing.

Recognizing best practices in community solar

During the NCSP Annual Summit, DOE announced the winners of the Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, an awards program that recognizes best practices in community solar projects and programs that increase equitable access and ensure benefits—such as greater household savings, good-paying jobs, and enhanced energy resilience—go to subscribers and their communities.

Five teams were selected for Grand Prize awards. Across the board, these five winners will help households achieve a projected combined total savings of $4.3 million on their energy bills. The projects provide clean energy access for 7,300 low- to moderate-income households and demonstrate best practices in increasing resilience, expanding community ownership, building a more equitable workforce, and leading community engagement.

  • Shungnak-Kobuk Community Solar Battery IPP (Shungnak, AK): This solar and battery project led by the Shungnak and Kobuk tribes in the Northwest Arctic Borough region in Alaska aims to stabilize the cost of electricity and allow the communities to take charge of their energy future.
  • Faribault Community Solar (Faribault, MN): The Faribault Community Solar project is a cooperatively-owned community solar array serving mostly low-to-moderate income residents in southern Minnesota.
  • Community Power: Jobs and Savings for LMI Households (Brooklyn, NY): Community Power delivers energy savings to 500 households, provided workforce training, and offered paid jobs to public housing residents.
  • District of Columbia’s Solar for All (Washington, DC): Solar for All is a program designed to reduce electricity bills for households in Washington, DC, through single-family and community solar projects.
  • JOE-4-SUN Ashland (Ashland, MA): JOE-4-SUN Ashland is a 6 MW community solar project that saves low-to-moderate income households over $400 per year on electricity costs and brings the benefits of clean, renewable energy to a superfund site.

Connecting the dots on solar energy: Generating power for generations

DOE also launched a new campaign to highlight the many benefits of solar energy to individuals and communities and provide a resource hub so that the public can learn about how solar will positively impact the nation’s future. The Inflation Reduction Act lowers the cost of solar energy for consumers and businesses while creating good paying jobs as deployment and manufacturing capacity grows across the country. Over the next few years, millions of households are expected to join the nearly 4 million American households that have gone solar—either through installing solar on their rooftops or by joining a community solar program. The Connect the Dots on Solar Energy campaign will focus on making connections between solar energy investments and their enduring, long-term benefits.

About the National Community Solar Partnership

NCSP is working to increase community solar installed in the United States to 20 GW, enough to power the equivalent of five million households by 2025 and create $1 billion in energy bill savings to consumers across America. NCSP has over 1,300 partners who leverage peer networks and technical assistance resources to overcome barriers to expanding community solar access.

Learn more about DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and the National Community Solar Partnership.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

2022 Funding Opportunity Announcement for Energy Improvements at Public K-12 School Facilities – Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) – Renew America’s Schools

Applications due: Apr 21, 2023
View the full funding opportunity.

The Office of State and Community Energy Programs is issuing this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled Energy Improvements at Public K-12 School Facilities – Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) – Renew America’s Schools.

The activities to be funded under this FOA support BIL section 40541 and the broader government-wide approach to support projects that enable replicable and scalable impacts, create innovative, sustaining partnerships, leverage funding and economies of scale, focus on disadvantaged communities, improve student, teacher, and occupant health, enrich learning and growth, assist schools that serve as community assets (e.g., neighborhood cooling centers or disaster recovery shelters), and are crafted thoughtfully within the context of public school facilities (e.g., procurement restraints, construction windows, etc.).

Topic Area 1 – High-Impact Energy Efficiency and Health Improvements

Proposals contemplated under this topic area will include energy improvements that result in direct reduction to school energy costs, increase energy efficiency, and lead to improvements in teacher and student health, including indoor air quality. Energy cost savings may be realized by reduced loads and/or by demand flexibility and demand response approaches.

Topic Area 2 – Innovative Energy Technology Packages

Proposals contemplated under this topic include innovative energy technology packages. Applicants may include any improvement, repair, or renovation to a school that incorporates two or more of the following energy improvements:

  • Energy efficiency measures
  • Installation of renewable energy technologies
  • Alternative fueled vehicle infrastructure on school grounds
  • Purchase or lease of alternative fueled vehicles to be used by a school

DOE expects to make a total of approximately $80,000,000 of federal funding available for new awards under this FOA, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. DOE anticipates making approximately 20-100 awards under this FOA. DOE may issue one, multiple, or no awards. Individual awards may vary between $500,000 and $15,000,000.

Photocatalytic water splitting with 9.2% solar-to-hydrogen efficiency

Read the full story at pv magazine.

A US research team has developed a new technique to produce hydrogen from sunlight and water. It works in an indoor environment and uses pure water, concentrated solar light, and an indium gallium nitride photocatalyst.

PG&E, Energy Vault plan largest US utility-scale battery, green hydrogen long-duration storage project

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Energy Vault, a Swiss-based energy storage developer, announced Thursday a partnership to operate a utility-scale battery plus green hydrogen long-duration energy storage system in Northern California.

The hybrid system, with at least 293 MWh of dispatchable carbon-free energy, would be capable of powering about 2,000 electric customers on a PG&E microgrid in Calistoga, California. It’s expected to provide a minimum of 48 hours of backup power in outages and would be the first of its kind and largest utility-scale green hydrogen project in the U.S., Energy Vault said.

The energy storage system, which must be approved by California regulators, would be owned, operated and maintained by Energy Vault, headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, while providing power in a long-term tolling agreement with PG&E. The system’s capacity may be expanded to 700 MWh, allowing it to operate longer without refueling, Energy Vault said.