SolarCity

SolarCity Helps Non-profits with New Sunraising Initiative

(3BL Media/Justmeans) SolarCity is the nation’s largest solar provider. Among the reasons for that are some of their innovative, community-oriented programs, like their GivePower Foundation which provides a free solar system and battery to a school without electricity for every MW of solar that they install. Through interactions with some of the communities they work in, they came to realize an opportunity for shared value in a cooperative venture with various non-profits. This gave rise to the SunRaising initiative, which allows non-profits to raise money for their own operations while, at the same time, acting as ambassadors, for SolarCity.

The ways this works is that when non-profits sign up to participate, SolarCity provides materials and information and connects them with their local SolarCity energy consultant, who will help facilitate the process. For each system that gets installed under the program, the non-profit receives $200 in cash.

So far, more than 100 nonprofit organizations—including food banks, hospitals, booster clubs, community centers, schools and recreational groups—have joined and made referrals under the SunRaising program, raising thousands of dollars in the process. The solar energy systems resulting from these referrals are projected to offset approximately 60,000 metric tons of carbon compared to energy produced from fossil fuels. In addition, the program has helped more than 400 homeowners take the first steps towards going solar.

Arizona’s Solar Wars Pits Utilities Against Rooftop Installers

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - You would think that Arizona, with its vast expanses of desert and abundant sunshine would be one of the best places in the US for solar power. Geographically speaking, you would be correct, but unfortunately. that is not the whole story.

Hillary Clinton Announces 2016 Climate Plan

SolarCity Launches Major Program For Small and Mid-sized Businesses

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Hillary Clinton has just rolled out her climate change plan, which would rapidly expand our use of renewables, tripling the number of installed solar panels to half a billion by the end of her first term. That’s certain an ambitious goal. In her statement she indicated her intention to rely heavily on tax credits to accomplish this. Whether or not that will be sufficient remains to be seen, but another announcement made yesterday by SolarCity, should certainly help.

The California-based company announced a new plan that would target small and medium sized businesses (SMB) as a huge untapped for solar energy systems. Focusing initially on owner-occupied businesses in California, the rollout contains a new pricing model that will allow these businesses to pay anywhere from 5-25% less for electricity than they currently pay, depending on usage and current cost, with no upfront charges. Twenty-year fixed rate financing will lock in savings, even if utility prices go up.

There are currently 28 million small and medium businesses in the US, which account for 99% of all businesses. It’s difficult to get a breakdown on what portion of energy use that amounts to, though this report from EERE suggests that this segment accounts for roughly 40% of all commercial building square footage (including government offices, but not malls). The report also highlights the substantial opportunities in energy efficiency while noting that California has been far more successful in reducing energy use than the rest of the country. This falls in line with the conventional wisdom that suggests that improving efficiency first, before installing renewables, is the more efficient path.

Solar Grid Storage Saves the Sunshine for a Rainy Day

Fossil fuels like gasoline, or even coal, have a unique characteristic that we never thought about until we thought about trying to replace them. That is the fact that, not only are they energy sources, but they are energy sources that store the energy they contain, to be released whenever needed. That is not that case for wind power or solar. They do not come packaged with their own built-in storage capacity.

Or at least they didn’t before the folks at Solar Grid Storage, sensing a business opportunity, came up with a way to package solar energy and energy storage into an integrated system.

Combining technological innovation with business innovation, they retain ownership of their storage systems, providing storage-as-a-service to their customers. By maintaining the storage asset and dispatching power to the grid as needed, they can derive revenue from the grid support market, to help finance the storage assets. At the same time, their systems include the power inverter needed to convert the DC power coming off the PV arrays into grid synchronized AC power. This saves their customers the expense of installing the inverters, which all other grid-supported solar PV systems require.

The systems also provide resilience and stability to the grid, and they answer directly the FERC’s orders to grid operators “to develop and adopt programs aimed at creating and delivering fast reacting services that help balance power.” The net result is a more reliable grid, even during times of high stress. This is crucial to mission-critical operations and highly desirable everywhere else.

California regulators recently set new targets for energy storage capacity, recognizing the criticality of this capability to the continued growth of renewables, as well as the stability of the grid. A full 1.325 GW of storage, much of it from independent developers, is expected to come online by 2020.

Walmart Goes Solar In Pursuit of Sustainability

Walmart expands its sustainable energy network.

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