Monday, September 30, 2013 | By EarthShare | No Comments
Solar Puts Out the Welcome Mat
Visitors tour a Solar Decathlon home (Photo: F Delventhal/Flickr)
If you’ve noticed an uptick in the number of solar panels
being installed on homes and businesses in your region in the last several
years, you’re not alone. The price of solar panels has dropped a whopping 75%
in the last five years. By the end of 2013, a solar project will have been
installed, on average, every four minutes in the U.S.
It’s one thing to see the statistics. It’s quite another to
see solar hard at work in your own community.
EarthShare member organization The American Solar Energy
Society (ASES) is introducing people around the country to the solar projects
generating clean energy in their midst. On
Saturday, October 5 they will hold their 18th annual National Solar Tour. Homeowners and businesses in neighborhoods
across the country will open their doors and to show what they’ve done to slash
utility bills and help cut pollution from power plants.
Want to learn how your neighbors are making use of clean
energy? Thinking about going solar yourself? Chances are there’s a solar tour
happening near you that can give you the information and inspiration you
need to make it happen.
The ASES National Solar Tour is the largest grassroots solar
event in the nation, involving about 150,000 participants and 5,000
solar-energy sites nationwide. In 2012, the National Solar Tour drew more than
90,000 people in 38 states to 578 registered Solar Tours. Sites included
residential, commercial and municipal properties, appealing to a wide audience.
In addition to highlighting available solar options, an
increasing focus of the tour is on energy-saving techniques and sustainability
through green building design, energy efficient appliances, and use of green
materials during remodeling. Tours also provide helpful, real-world examples of
costs and how to save money with federal, state, and local incentives.
“The National Solar Tour offers families an opportunity to
have meaningful conversations with friends and neighbors who’re reaping the
benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency each and every day,” says
actor Ed Begley Jr. “It’s a great way to get an up-close and personal
perspective on how easy it can be to live the green life — and how rewarding.”
Get motivated! This is a chance to see affordable and
practical technologies in your neighborhood that are solving our nation’s
energy problems and reducing our carbon emissions. If you’re considering solar
energy, or just want to see what all the buzz is about, visit a business or
resident on the National Solar Tour to learn more.
Monday, September 30, 2013 | By Great Energy Challenge | No Comments
What a difference three years can make. In 2010, First Wind tried to do an initial public offering, but never made it out of the gate. Last Friday, in a sign of wind power’s now-entrenched place on the U.S. energy landscape, Pattern Energy Group had a successful IPO, raising $352 million.
Of course, there was more that was different about this IPO than the date it took place; as Reuters pointed out, “Pattern has solid cash flow and has been largely profitable, factors that may have helped the company get a better pricing and drive the stock up on debut.”
Still, the success of the Pattern IPO does say something about the state of the larger industry.
Utilities like wind because it’s a reliable way to meet renewable portfolio standards, and it is becoming more and more economically attractive, with the levelized cost of energy falling by half in the past four years. That led the financial firm Lazard to write recently that “while many had anticipated significant declines in the cost of utility-scale solar PV, few anticipated these sorts of cost declines for wind technology.”
To be sure, federal support has been very helpful in keeping the price of wind within shouting distance of very cheap natural gas. Yet earlier this year, the Berkeley Lab reported that “even within today’s low gas price environment … wind power can still provide a cost-effective long-term hedge against many of the higher-priced future natural gas scenarios being contemplated.”
Pattern isn’t just dependent on the U.S. market – it owns interests in four wind farms in the United States and one in Canada, has a partial interest in another in the U.S., and has two under construction – in Ontario and Chile. Those wind farms add up to 1,041 megawatts of rated capacity. The projects generally have long-term power purchase agreements, giving Pattern a very good expectation of continued, predictable cash flow.
The company (PEGI) priced its offering at $22 and closed its first day of trading Friday at $23.27, up about 6 percent. Shares Monday closed at $23.40.
This post originally appeared at EarthTechling and was republished with permission.
In June, President Obama introduced his Climate Action Plan, doubling the goal set during his first term to 20,000 megawatts’ worth of renewable energy projects on public lands, generating clean, sustainable power for about six million homes.