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Floating Solar Panel Project Due in 2016 from California Power Company


Sonoma County, Calif.’s new public electricity supplier is turning to the sun and water — the airspace over treated sewage ponds, specifically — to generate power for local homes and businesses.
Under a deal signed Thursday with a San Francisco-based renewable energy developer, officials with Sonoma Clean Power, now the default electricity provider in Sonoma County, unveiled a plan to install a 12.5-megawatt solar farm on floating docks atop holding ponds operated by the county Water Agency.
When completed in 2016, the project, which will provide enough electricity to power 3,000 homes, will be the largest solar installation in the county.
It also will help fulfill one of Sonoma Clean Power’s central goals — to develop local sources of renewable energy for its expanding customer base, now taking in more than 160,000 residential and commercial accounts across five cities in the county.


Apple takes a bite out of emissions with $848 million solar deal


In October, Apple‘s Vice President of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson told a GreenBiz audience that the Silicon Valley tech giant is “swinging for the fences” on sustainability and renewable power.

On Tuesday, Apple made good on Jackson’s promise — and then some — by announcing the largest commercial purchase of solar power ever with an $848 million deal with First Solar to buy the electricity generated from a huge solar farm the equipment firm is building in California.

“We know at Apple that climate change is real, and our view is that the time for talk has passed and the time for action is now,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told an investor audience at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco.

Adding that Apple already powers all of its data centers with renewable energy and is building a state-of-the-art green headquarters (albeit one removed from public transit) in Silicon Valley, he went on to describe the details of the plan.

“Just today we’re announcing our biggest, boldest and most ambitious project ever, partnering with First Solar to build a solar farm, in Monterey County, not too far from here,” he said. “It’s 1300 acres. It’s enough power for almost 60,000 California homes, and it’s enough to provide renewable energy for all of our new campus,” as well as all its other California offices, a large data center and the 52 Apple retail stores in the state.

Apple already owns the largest private solar facility in the country in North Carolina and is building another solar farm in Arizona. The company also has invested in wind, fuel cells and hydropower.

The tech company expects to draw 130 megawatts a year from the First Solar farm in Monterey, while another 150 megawatts will be sent to the grid of Pacific Gas & Electric, Northern California’s utility. In all the farm covers 2,900 acres, First Solar said, and should be completed in 2016. Work is slated to begin in a few months.

Read the rest of the article at

Launch Nears For Historic Solar Plane Flight Around The World


Solar Impulse, based in Switzerland, plans to begin a historic flight around the world — powered only by energy from the sun — between late February and early March in Abu Dhabi. In 2014, ABB and Solar Impulse formed an innovation and technology alliance to advance a shared vision of reducing resource consumption and increasing the use of renewable energy.

“Solar Impulse will inspire a new generation to embrace innovation and technology to solve the planet’s biggest challenges,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “ABB will be with the Solar Impulse team every mile of its journey.”

Solar-ImpulseThree ABB engineers have joined the Solar Impulse team, where they are contributing expertise and passion. Their work includes improving control systems for ground operations, enhancing the charging electronics for the plane’s battery systems, and resolving obstacles that emerge along the route.

On the plane’s 40,000-kilometer route, pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg will share duties as the aircraft stops in cities including Muscat, Oman; Varanasi and Ahmedabad in India; Chongqing and Nanjing in China; and Phoenix, Arizona in the U.S. It will also stop in Europe or North Africa.

Among challenges to be addressed before the mission concludes in Abu Dhabi in mid-2015 will be a non-stop flight of five days and nights from China to Hawaii. The plane, powered by 17,248 solar cells, will soar higher than Mount Everest each day, while fully charging its batteries to stay aloft during the night.

‘Power and Productivity for a Better World’

ABB’s enthusiasm for Solar Impulse stems not merely from shared faith in innovation and technology, but also from the company’s credo: ‘Power and productivity for a better world.’ Solar Impulse’s ethos mirrors ABB’s aspirations of helping boost operational efficiency, reduce resource use, enable sustainable transportation, and increase penetration of clean, renewable energy.

As the world’s second-largest supplier of solar inverters and one of the largest suppliers to the wind-power industry, ABB is a leader in integrating renewables efficiently and reliably into power grids. ABB is helping build the most comprehensive electric vehicle fast-charging network in Europe and is supplying key equipment for the world’s largest network of fast chargers for electric cars in China.

Piccard said the addition of ABB, with its technologies that enable energy generation from renewable projects as well as boosting efficiency, to Solar Impulse’s team have reinforced the endeavor’s ability to demonstrate the power of innovation and clean technology.

“This is what the world needs,” said Piccard, the Swiss aviation pioneer who was part of the first team to circle the earth in a balloon in 1999. “Otherwise, we’re going to waste all our natural resources.”

Since 2010, Piccard, the project’s chairman, and Borschberg, its chief executive officer, have combined to set eight international aviation records including for duration, altitude, and distance flown as they crossed Europe, North Africa, and the United States in a prototype plane powered only by the sun.

ABB salutes and shares this vision as the journey’s next step kindles new interest in aeronautics, clean technology and renewable energy.

“Together, we need to run the world without consuming the earth,” ABB’s Spiesshofer said. “In very simple terms, that’s what we stand for.”

UK almost doubled solar PV capacity in 2014

Official Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) figures out on January 29th, 2015 show that solar electricity generation in the United Kingdom almost doubled over the course of last year, with almost 5 GW of capacity at the end of 2014 up from 2.8 GW at the end of 2013.

This is enough power to supply the equivalent of 1.5 million homes, the UK Solar Trade Association (STA) emphasizes.

The statistics, part of numbers released on a monthly basis by DECC, reflect steady growth in the UK solar industry and rapidly falling costs, much of which in the large-scale solar sector.

Britain now boasts over 650,000 solar PV installations of all shapes and sizes

“This milestone achievement is testament to the hard work of Britain’s several thousand solar businesses, almost of all of them small and medium sized companies, who are all at the forefront of a real solar transformation as the technology steadily becomes one of the cheapest sources of clean, home-grown power,” commented STA CEO Paul Barwell.

The UK now has over 650,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, across homes, offices, schools, churches, warehouses, farms, police stations, train stations and even a bridge.

“We are now well underway to a million solar installations, of all shapes and sizes, across the country. This is a world class achievement and something the Coalition Government can be proud of. Analysis has shown that solar is the most popular form of energy generation, and could provide 50,000 jobs by 2030 if given the right support,” Barwell continued.

Solar could by 2020 be cost competitive with gas and no longer need any kind of Government support at all on homes and commercial roofs, Barwell explains.

“But we will only reach that point if the next Government provides a stable policy framework and a level playing field with other technologies. Last year was a rollercoaster for the solar industry, with the closure of the Renewables Obligation to large solar farms sending shockwaves of uncertainty across the renewables industry. The outlook from this April is a concern and it seems to make little sense to stymie such a success story. I hope the new Government will build on this success and set higher solar targets for 2020 and provide the stable business environment the industry needs to deliver,” the STA CEO concludes.

The Solar Trade Association has developed a ‘Solar Independence Plan’, and is urging the Government and all political parties to support the proposals which will effectively double solar ambitions for little extra cost.

Analysis has shown that the next Government will have a big opportunity to get the first low-carbon technology off subsidy within the course of the next Parliament – quite an achievement if it succeeds in getting to that point.

The statistics can be found here:

Development Underway on Floating Solar Power Plant in Japan


Kyocera Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation announced today that Kyocera TCL Solar LLC, a joint venture established by the two companies, will develop and operate a 13.4-megawatt (MW) floating solar power plant on the Yamakura Dam reservoir, managed by the Public Enterprises Agency of Chiba Prefecture in Japan for industrial water services. The plant will become the largest floating solar installation in the world.

Aiming to reduce its burden on the environment, the Public Enterprises Agency of Chiba Prefecture had been publicly seeking companies to construct and operate a floating solar power plant at the Yamakura Dam. Kyocera TCL Solar was selected to undertake this project in part due to its experience and expertise in developing utility-scale solar power plants in Japan. The company aims to begin operations in March 2016 after negotiating with related parties including Tokyo Electric Power Company.

“When we first started R&D for solar energy in the mid 1970’s, the technology was only viable for small applications such as street lamps, traffic signs and telecommunication stations in mountainous areas,” stated Nobuo Kitamura, senior executive officer and general manager of the Corporate Solar Energy Group at Kyocera. “Since then, we have been working to make solar energy use more ubiquitous in society, and have expanded our business to residential, commercial and utility-scale solar applications. We are excited to work with our partners on this project, taking another step forward by utilizing untapped bodies of water as solar power generation sites.”

The project will be comprised of approximately 50,000 Kyocera modules installed over a water surface area of 180,000m. The plant will generate an estimated 15,635 megawatt hours (MWh) per year — enough electricity to power approximately 4,700 typical households — while offsetting about 7,800 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Under the plan, Kyocera TCL Solar will build and operate the installation, and Century Tokyo Leasing will provide project financing. The Kyocera Group will be responsible for the supply of solar modules and related equipment in addition to construction, operation and maintenance. The modules will be installed on floating platforms manufactured by Ciel et Terre (headquarters: France), which is also supplying the platforms for a floating solar power plant project in Hyogo Prefecture currently being constructed by Kyocera TCL Solar.

By cooperating with local companies on construction and operation, and establishing an environmental education facility adjacent to the plant to provide environmental classes for local elementary school students, Kyocera and Century Tokyo Leasing hope that the project will play a role in the development of the local community. The companies are committed to promoting solar energy as a means to attain a low-carbon society.

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