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Contrary to his boast, President Trump was NOT the first to suggest a solar wall

Times 23rd June 2017, President Trump laid claim to an idea that could help his promised wall
along the Mexico border to turn a profit: solar panels. “I will give you an
idea that nobody has heard about yet. The southern border: lots of sun,
lots of heat. We are thinking about building a wall as a solar wall. So it
creates energy. And pays for itself,” he told a campaign-style rally in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The scheme would lower the cost to Mexico too, he said,
adding: “Pretty good imagination, right? My idea!” Mr Trump has discussed
the scheme in private meetings with legislators but floated it publicly for
the first time on Wednesday.

Contrary to his claim, however, others had
already raised the idea. Designs for the wall submitted to the US
government in April by Thomas Gleason, a Las Vegas businessman, had solar
panels powering lig hting, sensors and border patrol stations. The
Department of Homeland Security has been inviting companies to submit
plans, although Congress still has not allocated the funds needed to build
the wall.  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/president-trump-claims-solar-panels-will-pay-for-his-mexican-wall-bt62xbkfl

June 24, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Community energy initiative in UK

Utility Week 19th June 2017, Mongoose Energy has launched a new crowdfunding platform to secure
financing for community energy projects. The company hopes the platform
will widen the pool of potential investors, bring down the cost of capital
and enable greater innovation in funding. “More people want a bigger say
in where their power comes from, where their investments go, and in
improving their own communities,” said former energy secretary and
chairman of Mongoose Energy, Sir Ed Davey. “Launching our own
crowdfunding platform means we can dispatch better energy, better financial
returns and better social dividends to UK community investors.” Mongoose
Crowd will offer people the first ever opportunity to invest up to £20,000
per year in community energy schemes via the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA)
for peer-to-peer lending which the government launched in April last year.
http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/Community-energy-crowdfunding-platform-takes-off/1305532

June 21, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Transition from centralised power to distributed energy by 2018

Big switch: Distributed energy to overtake centralised power by 2018 http://reneweconomy.com.au/big-switch-distributed-energy-to-overtake-centralised-power-by-2018-2018/ By Giles Parkinson on 13 June 2017  [good graphs]

Energy storage has reached a tipping point, so much so that around 320GW of new large scale power plants that might have been planned in the 10 years to 2023 will now no longer be needed.

According to a new report from Deutsche Bank, the growth of distributed energy – locally provided renewables such as rooftop solar and battery storage – will soon outstrip new centralised generation capacity additions across the world.

In fact, it could happen as early as 2018, marking a fundamental shift in the nature of the world’s energy systems, recognising that the old centralised model will be quickly replaced by a system based around localised energy production and storage.

Deutsche Bank estimates that the market for stationary energy storage – used in electricity grids – will rise six fold in the next five years, from 1GW and $4 billion, or 40GW or $25 billion by 2022. Note the big fall in spending per GW as the price of storage plunges.

“This increased penetration of distributed generation should drive the need for intelligent distribution networks comprised of nanogrids, microgrids and virtual power plants (VPPs),” the Deutsche analysts write.

 To put the 320GW into context, it is more than six times the installed capacity in Australia’s electricity grid, and about 14 times the size of its coal fleet. It represents the once-anticipated new build of coal fired power stations in India, that many say will no longer happen.

The shift in emphasis from centralised to distributed energy has long been predicted, although it is given scant attention in the latest Finkel Review. Some analysis, such as that by the CSIRO, predict that half of all generation will come from consumers by 2050.

Deutsche Bank says the global shift is likely to be accelerated by moves to reduce the scope of solar feed in tariffs, encouraging yet more consumers to add battery storage.

“Regulatory environment will likely be a critical driver of storage adoption rates and contrary to consensus views, detrimental solar policies could potentially act as a significant growth catalyst for storage sector.” (Meaning low feed in tariffs will encourage more people into storage).

It notes that in several European countries, the difference in the price of feed-in-tariffs and price paid for electricity from the price of power consumed from the grid is significantly wide. It didn’t mention Australia, but that is also significant difference.

This shift is being accompanied by big cost reductions in battery storage, particularly in the cost of lithium ion cells.

It  lithium-ion cell costs have already plunged from $US900/kWh in 2010 to $US225/kWh in 2015 – a similar trajectory to solar, and are tipped to fall to $US150/kWh by 2020. Tesla/Panasonic li-ion costs are already below $US200/kWh for cells and around $US225/kWh for the entire battery pack.

In says that in California, for example, combining a solar-panel system with a commercial-scale battery installation (500kWh) can deliver a 20 per cent return on investment with state subsidies, and still 12 per cent without subsidies, from peak shifting alone.

 

June 14, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | Leave a comment

Extraordinary success of solar rooftop power in Scotland

Solar Portal 6th June 2017 Rooftop solar panels in towns and cities across Scotland were able to generate more than the average home’s demand for electricity throughout May in an “extraordinary month for renewables”, according to WWF Scotland. Analysis of solar data by WeatherEnergy found that homes in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and more were able to generate over 100% of the
average household electricity demand, with rooftop solar in Lerwick on the Shetland Islands producing the most kWh last month.  http://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/rooftop_solar_generation_reaches_new_highs_in_scotland

June 7, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Solar lamps tackling poverty and ill-health in Africa

Solar lamps light up more African nights http://climatenewsnetwork.net/22346-2/  June 5, 2017, by Paul Brown Solar lamps are tackling poverty, ill-health and natural hazards in Africa, thanks to Chinese industry and a UK-based charity.

LONDON, 5 June, 2017 – With 600 million people in Africa still without electricity and relying on expensive kerosene for lighting, the invention of a new high-quality solar light gives hope for a better quality of life for the poorest people of the continent.

And with solar light design and quality constantly improving and prices falling, a brighter future is more affordable – and can even turn a profit for householders.

The new £4 ($5) lamp now on offer in parts of East Africa was created by Inventid, a company based in Manchester, UK, and has undergone trials with 9,000 families in Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. The SM100, as it is called, is now being made in China by the solar giant Yingli and distributed in Africa by the charity SolarAid

The lamp is small enough to be used as a hand torch or a bicycle lamp, and has a stand which lets it be used as a table lamp or overhead light. It is tough enough to survive being dropped, or drenched in rain.

SolarAid, which has been pioneering the sale of solar lamps to poor communities in Africa since 2006, says the new model gives twice the light of a kerosene lamp and and, over its five-year guaranteed lifetime, saves a ton of carbon dioxide for each kerosene light it replaces. 

Cash generator

Although it is a charity, rather than give the lamps away SolarAid prefers to sell them at cost, creating trade in the economy. Each lamp sold at £4 generates £145 in cash for food and essentials in East Africa, it says.
Jeremy Leggett, founding director of SolarAid, says there are not many social-benefit paybacks as good as this in the world today: “We know that much of the money saved is spent on food and seeds. This is a great way to help people help themselves while famine stalks the continent.” 
Most people without electricity in Africa live on less than $1 a day, and buying kerosene takes up around 15% of their annual income. The SM100 runs at full power for up to eight hours when fully charged, and will also charge mobile phones.
As well as helping people escape from poverty, the lamps also help to improve their health; kerosene fumes damage eyes and lungs. The light also allows children to study after dark.

But Leggett says it is the light itself that makes the real difference. “Seeing the faces of Africans who witness a solar light being turned on for the first time in a hut at night, as I have, is a highly emotional experience.

“We often forget how lucky we are in the rich nations – how much we take for granted. One thing I hadn’t realised before I went to Africa is what a danger snakes are at night. With a solar light, you have a chance to see them.

“There are so many other benefits. It is thrilling to think that our lights address almost all the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

So far SolarAid has sold 1.9 million solar lights to Africa and hopes that this cheaper, later version will be even more successful. One of the problems is that some countries, for example Uganda and Malawi, tax solar lights, making them less affordable for the poor.

“In my view this is short-sighted, because the price has to be passed on to the consumer, meaning fewer lights will be sold, meaning reductions in the cash freed up by savings on the  kerosene which is no longer needed”, says Leggett.

Price of a drink

“Those savings, spent in the local economy, would help the governments build a healthy economy much more than the taxes they raise.”

When the Climate News Network last wrote about solar lights for Africa in February 2015, SolarAid was asking companies to donate 5% of their profits to the scheme. It now needs more help to reach more of the 600 million Africans without electricity.

“To get solar lights out to the frontier areas where we work, SolarAid is currently overdependent on increasingly impossible-to-predict and precarious donations from large organisations,” Leggett says.

He is asking all his friends, and many other people besides, to donate £4 a month – “the price of a drink – to pay for one light a month for Africa. – Climate News Network

June 7, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, decentralised | Leave a comment

British charity SolarAid works with Chinese solar giant to provide cheap, clean power in Africa

FT 22nd May 2017, A British start-up has helped a Chinese solar power giant provide cheap, clean power across Africa with a $5 light.The SM100, which claims to be the cheapest solar light in the world, was designed by Manchester-based Inventid, formed by two graduates in 2012.

Some 600m people in African countries without electricity rely on kerosene storm lamps, which are expensive to run and produce smoke that is linked to respiratory diseases, cataracts and house fires. The hand-sized SM100 can run for eight hours when fully charged and is twice as bright as kerosene.

SolarAid, a charity, developed it in collaboration with Yingli, the solar panel manufacturer. SolarAid’s trading subsidiary SunnyMoney has sold 1.9m other solar lights in Africa over the past decade but they retail for up to twice the price of the new light. After trialling 9,000 of the lights in three countries, the new light is now on sale. The SM100 is an exemplar product for the new £83m Design Museum’s Design Ventura education programme. In March, the SM100 light won silver in the 2017 Design for So ciety and Design for Sustainability categories at the European Product Design Awards.
https://www.ft.com/content/36226fbe-3c7c-11e7-821a-6027b8a20f23

May 24, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, decentralised | Leave a comment

Wales moves towards energy self-sufficiency with renewables

Utility Week 17th May 2017, Plaid Cymru has pledged to cut the energy bills of customers in Wales by establishing a Welsh energy company. In its manifesto for the general election, published today (17 May), the nationalist party said the proposed energy company would channel the profits from Wales’ abundant renewable energy into cutting the cost of Welsh consumers bills.

Plaid proposes that the energy company would also support a shift in Wales to decentralised and distributed energy networks. The manifesto also pledges that Plaid would increase energy generation from renewable sources, including the delivery of tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay.

The Welsh nationalists would transfer responsibility over Welsh energy generation to the National Assembly in Cardiff with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency in electricity generation from renewables. http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/Plaid-Cymru-pledges-to-create-Welsh-energy-company/1303042

May 19, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

France Gets EU Approval For 3 Schemes To Develop 17 Gigawatts Of Renewable Energy.

Clean Tech 12th May 2017 The European Commission has approved France’s request to develop three separate schemes that are intended to support the development of more
than 17 gigawatts worth of new renewable energy capacity. The European Commission, the legislative body of the European Union, on May 5 approved three separate schemes for the development of small-scale onshore wind, solar, and sewage gas installations in France, which would allow France to develop more than 17 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity.

The onshore wind scheme will have a provisional budget of €1 billion per year, and will grant support for 15 GW of new capacity over the next 10 years. The projects are intended to be small projects, taking the form of what is called a premium on top of the market price, or in French, complement de remunération, providing support to operators of small-scale onshore installations of less than 6 wind turbines that themselves are no more than 3 megawatts (MW) in capacity….
https://cleantechnica.com/2017/05/12/france-can-move-forward-three-schemes-develop-17-gw-renewable-energy/

May 17, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, France | Leave a comment

100% Renewables for Britain’s Tesco

FT 14th May 2017 Tesco seeks to secure all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Tesco is to turn its back on fossil fuels and ramp up its use of solar panels as the UK supermarket makes an ambitious pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in line with the toughest goals of the Paris climate accord.

Tesco says it will cut its emissions in line with the more ambitious 1.5C target, partly by securing 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar panels by 2030 and by pushing its
suppliers to become greener. Tesco’s goals will require big investments in renewable power because about 65 per cent of its emissions come from electricity needed for its distribution centres and 6,500 stores around the world.

Refrigeration gases account for 15 per cent of the company’s emissions, according to Kené Umeasiegbu, Tesco’s head of climate change. Another 12 per cent comes from its delivery vehicles; 7.5 per cent from heating and 0.5 per cent from business travel…. https://www.ft.com/content/536fb55a-374e-11e7-bce4-9023f8c0fd2e

May 17, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

Solar power taking over in First Nation Above the Arctic Circle

Meet the First Nation Above the Arctic Circle That Just Went Solar https://www.desmog.ca/2017/03/28/meet-first-nation-above-arctic-circle-just-went-solar  By Matt Jacques • Tuesday, March 28, 2017 Across Canada’s north, diesel has long been the primary mode of providing year-round electricity to remote communities — but with the advent of small-scale renewables, that’s about to change.

Northern communities were already making strides toward a renewable energy future, but with $400 million committed in this year’s federal budget to establish an 11-year Arctic Energy Fund, energy security in the north has moved firmly into the spotlight.

This level of support shows positive commitment from the Canadian government on ending fossil fuel dependency in Indigenous communities and transitioning these communities to clean energy systems,” said Dave Lovekin, a senior advisor at the Pembina Institute.

Burning diesel not only pollutes the atmosphere, but getting it into remote communities is often inefficient in and of itself: it’s delivered by truck, barge or, sometimes when the weather doesn’t cooperate, by plane.

There are more than 170 remote indigenous communities in Canada still relying almost completely upon diesel for their electricity needs.

But, for some, at least, that’s beginning to change. Take the community of Old Crow (Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation), above the Arctic circle in the Yukon.

Despite its northern latitude, and near total darkness between December and February, a 2014 Government of Yukon pilot study demonstrated that solar represents a major untapped renewable resource for the community. Now Old Crow has a number of small-scale solar panel installations, including an 11.8 kilowatt array at the Arctic Research Centre — but its sights are set higher. Plans for a 330 kilowatt solar plant are well underway. A 2016 feasibility study estimated that this large-scale installation could offset 17 per cent of the community’s total diesel use, or up to 98,000 litres of fuel each year.

Anything that affects our community, we want to have control over. That’s our goal with this project is to have ownership over the facility,” said William Josie, director of Natural Resources for the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. “We burn a lot of fuel up here per capita and we’re trying to reduce that.”

Josie said his community is excited to build further solar capacity.

This has been in the works for a long time, and it’s just the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s the first solar project of this size in the Yukon with community ownership.”

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation has a self-governing final agreement in place with the Government of Canada, the Government of the Yukon and the Council of Yukon First Nations. So too does the Kluane (Burwash Landing/Destruction Bay) First Nation in the southwestern Yukon, which is taking another approach to delivering a similar level of renewable energy capacity.

A major $2.4 million wind power generation project is set to be installed in 2018. Three refurbished 95 kilowatt turbines will deliver just under 300 kilowatts of total power and are estimated to offset 21 per cent of the community’s total diesel use.

One of the big things for the community is to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. Diesel is neither of those two,” explains Colin Asseltine, general manager of the Kluane Community Development Corporation. “We’re looking at what we can possibly do to reduce our carbon footprint and move off-grid.”

The wind project will expand on the earlier successes in the community. Since 1998, Burwash Landing has used biomass for district heating, and began selling solar power back into the grid not long after installing a 48 kilowatt array in 2003. Along the way, they have been collecting the data required to inform the next steps and increase the impact of the community’s investment in renewable energy.

April 19, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, decentralised | Leave a comment

In Pakistan, 2000 schools go solar

http://www.ecowatch.com/pakistan-schools-go-solar-2360991261.html , 17 Apr 17, About 20,000 schools in the province of Punjab in Pakistan will convert to solar power, according to government officials.

Punjab chief minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif reviewed the progress of the “Khadim-e-Punjab Ujala Programme” to install solar rooftop systems on the area’s schools at a recent meeting.

The project will kick off in Southern Punjab schools and expand in phases across the province, according to a local report.

The Asian Development Bank and France’s AFD Bank are backing the program, Cleantechnica reported. This is the first program of its kind in the country.

In Pakistan, nearly half of all residents are not connected to the national grid. Residents who are connected to the grid regularly experience rolling blackouts and power outages. And the problem is only expected to get worse in the coming years.

Renewable resources can help mitigate this growing energy crisis. Pakistan happens to be rich in solar, as the Express Tribune described:

“With eight to nine hours of sunshine per day, the climatic conditions in Pakistan are ideal for solar power generation. According to studies, Pakistan has 2.9 million megawatts of solar energy potential besides photovoltaic opportunities.

“According to figures provided by FAKT, Pakistan spends about $12 billion annually on the import of crude oil. Of this, 70 percent oil is used in generating power, which currently costs us Rs18 per unit. Shifting to solar energy can help reduce electricity costs down to Rs 6-8 per unit.”

Solar energy has made great strides in Pakistan in recent years. In February 2016, its parliament became the first national assembly in the world to be powered entirely by solar energy. The legislative body, known as the Majlis-e-Shoora, is in the capital city of Islamabad.

One of the world’s largest solar farms is currently under construction in Punjab. Developers of the 1,000-megawatt Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur have already added hundreds of megawatts of energy to the national grid.

April 19, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, Pakistan | Leave a comment

World’s first “intelligent energy plant.” – the Smartflower

Someone invented a solar panel system that tracks the sun all day, folds up at night http://mashable.com/2017/02/17/sunflower-inspired-solar-panel-follow-sun/#at3NoAFNikqn  FEB 18, 2017

SmartFlower: An Intelligent Solar Panel System Tracks Sun Throughout Day

Smartflower‘ claims to be the world’s first “intelligent energy plant.” It’s a solar system that unfolds its giant solar panel petals in the morning and follows the sun throughout the day. It closes up at night or during heavy weather conditions.

Its mobility makes it more efficient than traditional roof solar panel systems, while its design makes it aesthetically appealing and discrete.

April 17, 2017 Posted by | decentralised | Leave a comment

Solar can power just about anything – large or small

Solar-powered everything, REneweconomy, By  on 9 March 2017 NexusMedia Solar power used to mean large, heavy panels mounted on a roof or spread across a field.

But the sun falls on everyone — and everything — and as materials have gotten lighter, cheaper and more flexible, photovoltaic cells are showing up in the most unlikely of places.

In bustling New York City, you can buy a sandwich at a solar-powered food cart, eat it while sitting at a solar-powered bus stop, all while charging your phone using your solar-powered jacket.

Solar power is becoming more distributed, generating power closer to where it’s needed. That can mean buildings with their own solar arrays, or, on a smaller scale, clothing that features solar panels.

Brooklyn-based solar company Pvilion is leading the charge to put solar everywhere. Their projects range from building covers to small consumer items. “We’re looking at solar as a building material that can be used in a lot of different contexts,” says CEO Colin Touhey.

Touhey and his partners have collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger to make solar-powered jackets, and now they’re working on a line of bags with built-in solar panels. While coats can’t generate nearly as much power as larger arrays, every person with a smartphone is a potential customer.

“It’s really cool to plug in your phone and charge it with the sun,” says Touhey.

Researchers are developing woven solar fabrics that have photoactive dyes coating individual threads, so each fiber is a miniature solar panel. But for now, flexible solar panels must be laminated on top of fabrics.

Pvilion has also designed building facades using heavy-duty solar fabrics. You can see their handiwork in a planned expansion at the Artists for Humanity Epicenter in Boston. The building’s photovoltaic facade will generate power and provide shade, helping to keep the interior cool. This and other energy-smart technologies will make the Epicenter the largest commercial building on the East Coast to produce more power than it consumes, according to Pvilion………http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-powered-everything-40816/

March 11, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

This year, Tesla’s solar roofs on sale

House with solar roof tilesTesla will begin selling its solar roof this year — here’s everything you need to know [excellent pictures]  Business Insider  DANIELLE MUOIO FEB 27, 2017, Tesla will begin selling and installing its solar roof later this year, the company wrote in its fourth-quarter investor letter.

March 6, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Solar power for 7,000 Railway Stations In India

7,000 Railways Stations In India To Go Solar    https://cleantechnica.com/2017/02/21/7000-railways-stations-india-go-solar/ February 21st, 2017 by  Almost every railway station in India will soon be fed with solar power if the plans announced in India’s latest union budget are implemented.

solar _photovoltaic_cells-wide

The Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the 7,000 railway stations across the country will be fed with solar power as per the Indian Railways mission to implement 1,000 megawatts of solar power capacity. The minister made the announcement during the union budget speech on 1 February 2017.

The minister stated that work to set up rooftop solar power systems at 300 stations has already started, and soon this number will increase to 2,000 stations. According to data released by the Minister of Railways, India had 7,137 railway stations at the end of March 2015.

These rooftop solar power systems are expected to be implemented through developer mode, wherein the project developer will sign long-term power purchase agreement with Indian Railways.

In addition to rooftop solar power systems, the Indian Railways is expected to set up large-scale projects as well. Last year, it announced plans to launch a tender for 150 megawatts (MW) of rooftop systems. Late last year, it announced a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to set up 5 gigawatts of solar power capacity.

The Indian Railways has managed to identify the solar power resource in two states so far — Gujarat and Rajasthan — where 25 MW of rooftop and 50 MW of ground-mounted capacity is to be commissioned in the first phase of the program. In the second phase, 60 MW of rooftop and 660 MW of ground-mounted capacity will be installed in nine other states. During the third phase, 400 MW of rooftop and 3,800 MW of ground-mounted capacity will be installed in the rest of the country.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, India | Leave a comment