The United States is still catching up to the other parts of the world when it comes to floating solar. However, floating photovoltaic (FPV), or “floatovoltaic” installations have been making inroads on the West Coast—particularly in California wineries.Due to its strong financial incentives coupled with unusually high utility rates, environmentally-minded citizens, ample surface water, and proximity to technology centers, Massachusetts is an undeniably attractive floating solar market. There’s one more factor that makes it an ideal market for floating solar: cranberry bogs.Massachusetts Cranberry Grower on a Bog, from MassVacationHere’s how floating solar is helping Massachusetts’s cranberry growers.BACKGROUND: THE BOGSFloating solar involves solar photovoltaic (PV) applications in which PV panels are designed to float on bodies of water. The benefits are striking. They include:PV system efficiency gains due to lower ambient temperaturesHigh panel density for a given areaReduced rates of evaporationLower land acquisition and site preparation costsMore and more, cranberry growers are considering these benefits—especially considering current economic … [Read more...] about How Floating Solar is Helping Massachusetts Cranberry Growers
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In recent years, solar power in Oregon has been on the rise due to both new technological improvements and a variety of regulatory actions and financial incentives enacted by the state government.One of those incentives is Senate Bill 1547, which increases renewable energy and works toward eliminating coal from Oregon's energy sources. As the potential throughout the United States continues to grow, it’s time to take a look at how this sweeping and contentious bill could fundamentally change the state’s energy industry.SENATE BILL 1547In 2016, the Oregon Legislative Assembly approved a landmark bill that commits the state to eliminate its use of coal power by 2035, and double the amount of clean, renewable energy serving Oregonians to 50 percent by 2040. Otherwise known as the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition plan, Senate Bill 1547-B was crafted by bringing diverse parties to the table, including Oregon’s two largest electric utilities, energy industry and business groups, advocacy and community organizations.According to governor Kate Brown,"Knowing how important it is to Oregonians to act on climate change, a wide range of stakeholders came to the … [Read more...] about Oregon Senate Bill 1547: Why It Matters
As the largest utility company in California, the PG&E (NYSE: PCG) bankruptcy is shaping up to be one of the most complicated cases of all time.After announcing their intent to file at the beginning of the year, PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 14, 2019, thus creating one of California’s more pressing policy challenges in recent years.Unlike any other utility bankruptcy in the past, PG&E’s was driven by avoidance of legal liability to cover the costs of wildfires caused or exacerbated by its equipment. What’s more, in an era of climate change, those risks are all but increasing.The BackgroundAccording to the Wall Street Journal, investigators have attributed more than 1,500 fires to PG&E power lines and hardware between June 2014 and December 2017. Not to mention, PG&E equipment is a major suspect in the Camp Fire, a fire in October that killed 85 people and destroyed almost 14,000 homes, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history.As a result of the overwhelmingly estimated $30 billion in potential liability damages from California’s deadliest wildfires of 2017 and 2018, the bankruptcy was just … [Read more...] about Floating Solar and Preparing for Utility Bankruptcy
This is the first of a series of news bulletins aimed at keeping you up to date on developments in the global floating solar industry.This edition: exciting new floating solar installations around the world, a ray of sunshine in the cloudy Pacific Northwest, and reservoir woes in Southern Oregon.Yes—this is a wide range of topics. One of the most fascinating and challenging aspects of understanding the floating solar market is the technology's unique positioning at the nexus of energy, water, and land management.It means that all sorts of factors can drive floating solar adoption, whether that's a mine or quarry being decommissioned, new restrictions on installing ground-mounted solar on farmland, rollout of new community solar rules in a territory, or even the pursuit of more knowledge about...floating solar.One major goal of this blog is to tie these concepts together, and hopefully inspire your creativity when evaluating whether floating solar could benefit your organization. This technology has mind-boggling potential here in the United States, so you might be a better fit than you realize. If you're not sure, you're always welcome to schedule a site assessment … [Read more...] about Floating Solar News, Spring 2019