sábado, 10 de diciembre de 2016
viernes, 9 de diciembre de 2016
miércoles, 7 de diciembre de 2016
Renewable energy service provider Ameresco is playing a large part in bringing community solar to two towns in Massachusetts.
The company announced Monday that it has completed a four-project pipeline of community solar installations in Wayland, while also unveiling plans to develop a 2.4MW facility in Sturbridge.
Wayland's solar arrays are made up of 4,214 PV panels totaling 1.2MW, and are expected to generate over 1.5 million kWh of renewable electricity per year.
Collectively, three solar canopies developed at Wayland's high school, middle school and town building - as well as a rooftop project at the Department of Public Works building - are projected to generate enough electricity to offset 25% of the town's municipal electric needs and net an annual financial savings of over US$100,000.
Dan Knapik, director of the green communities division at the Department of Energy Resources, said: "With the passage of the Green Communities Act of 2008, the Commonwealth established an opportunity for municipalities to blaze a new path in the clean energy field. Wayland was one of our earliest designations as a Green Community and I am pleased to see the town utilize the powerful opportunity provided by an energy management services program."
Ameresco's solar project in Sturbridge is slated to be completed and operational by early 2017. The 2.4MW installation will help provide renewable energy to Sturbridge and cut down on energy costs.
The 20-year power purchase agreement tied into the site is expected to generate millions of dollars in savings. Under the PPA, 50% of the annual electricity generated from the project will be used by the town as net metering credits, while the other half will be used by the Community Solar Program to deliver green energy to residents in the area.
Michael T. Bakas, senior vice president, Ameresco, said: "It's a pleasure for Ameresco to partner with the town of Sturbridge and the greater community to build and manage this new renewable energy project. We commend town leadership for being fiscally prudent in selecting a project that will generate long-term savings and admire the community's commitment to sustainability."
Tags: ameresco, massachusetts
Americans love, love solar energy, but not everyone can wrangle a set of rooftop solar panels. Some roofs are too small or too shady, or they face the wrong direction. Some people are renters. Others own their home, but they can't afford the up-front installation costs.
These barriers, say experts, don't have to keep Americans from cashing in on solar. If rooftop panels aren't right for you, you might try something called community shared solar. Band together with friends, neighbors or your church to set up a solar array. Everyone buys in. Everyone reaps the benefits.
Community shared is taking off, but not necessarily in the places with the most sunshine. Rather, solar is growing in states with the strongest policy. The steps currently being taken to advance community solar in New York make that state a prime example.
How does community solar work?
In 2015, Governor Cuomo approved the Shared Renewables Initiative to expand access to clean energy. The initiative enables renters, homeowners and businesses to set up shared solar projects.
Community solar projects can take several forms: One variety is community group purchasing, where a group of homeowners or businesses jointly hire a solar firm to install panels on their roofs. Buying in bulk cuts everyone's costs. Another option is offsite shared solar. These arrays usually take the form of a solar "farm" or "garden." Any ratepayer can subscribe to panels in the array and get credited on their electric bill as if the panels were on their own roof. Onsite shared solar is another form of community solar. Residents of an apartment building or tenants in a large office building can put panels on the roof to supply electricity for everyone. And finally, there are community-driven financial models, which involve private investors and donors funding solar installations in low-income communities. Residents in turn reap the cost savings.
New York utilities now credit ratepayers for the electricity produced in their name by offsite solar projects. Consumers play a flat rate to subscribe to a solar panel or two in a shared solar array, and they are credited on their monthly bill for the energy generated by that solar panel. Subscribers pay month-by-month, meaning they can move away at any time.
"People really want to go solar, but only one in five homes are suited for it," said David Sandbank, director of NY Sun, part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). But with community shared solar, this is the first time that everyone can buy in.
"Low to moderate income residents now qualify. Renters are in play now. It really widens the demographic access," Sandbank said. He said NYSERDA is receiving applications for community shared solar worth hundreds of megawatts.
Shared solar arrays cost less per kilowatt than individual arrays, in part because the per-panel cost of installation is lower. Shared solar is also eligible for tax incentives from NYSERDA, as well and state and federal tax credits that apply to any solar installation.
"It's a big deal and we're really excited about it," Sandbank said. "There's a lot of development because of it, and we're bringing a lot of business to New York."
A case study
The first shared solar project in New York state was completed in Tompkins County this year. When community shared solar became a possibility, Renovus Solar, an Ithaca-based solar installer, was eager to jump on the opportunity and conducted an informational session for the community.
"Over our 12 years of business as residential and commercial solar energy installers, we'd disqualified many roofs of hopeful solar owners due to shading issues, size constraints etc.," Renovus' Emma Hewitt said. "So we knew that there were many people in this area who wanted a community solar option and would happily become early adopters."
Judy Hyman, a local clean energy advocate, drove all over Enfield searching for suitable panel sites: flat, south-facing, and electrically compatible.
Renovus looked at Hyman's notes, aerial maps, and property maps before sending out letters to each person who owned land suited to this purpose, telling them that they might be able to receive income from their land, defray tax costs, and help the environment. Several property owners responded and a site was selected.
CREDIT: Renovus Solar
About three dozen people signed up for the solar project, which feeds into the utility grid. The array offsets 100 percent of the power subscribers use at home.
"Community solar is about individuals claiming their power production , investing in a clean energy system that they own. It's the difference between owning your electricity production versus renting electricity from the utility company," Hewitt said. "And there are big savings associated."
"With energy prices increasing, the cost of doing nothing is becoming increasingly expensive. Going solar secures a low energy rate for decades," Hewitt said.
Before shared solar arrived on the scene, there were a lot of Tompkins residents who wanted to solar power, but couldn't make it work.
"People like me would've loved to go solar, but my house is in the woods," said David Bock, one such resident. When the community project was unveiled, Bock signed up. His monthly electric bill is now about $15.
Net metering laws allow solar power credits to be annualized, so surplus electricity generated in the summer is effectively carried over to winter. So, while the solar panels fell a little short of his needs in October, they'd built up enough credits during the summer to defray his energy costs.
"The future of the planet depends on getting us off of fossil fuels," Bock said. "Renewables and solar are our best option."
The California Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said Apple Inc agreed to pay $450,000 to settle state claims that it had mishandled hazardous electronic waste at facilities in Silicon Valley.
Apple also agreed to increase inspections to settle allegations about facilities in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, the Agency's Department of Toxic Substances Control said.
"This matter involves an oversight in filing paperwork to close one of our recycling facilities as part of our expansion to a larger site," Apple spokeswoman Alisha Johnson told Reuters in an emailed statement.
"We've worked closely with [the Department of Toxic Substance Control] to ensure that going forward we have the proper permits for our current site. As we do with all our facilities, we followed our stringent set of health and safety standards, which go well beyond legal requirements."
State regulators alleged Apple opened and operated an electronic waste shredding facility in Cupertino, its home base, between 2011 and 2012 without informing them.
The department also alleged Apple mishandled metal dust from shredder operations at the Cupertino facility, which processed about 1.1 million pounds (500,000 kg) of waste before it was closed in January 2013.
Regulators also said that Apple subsequently opened another shredding facility in nearby Sunnyvale and processed 800,000 pounds of waste before notifying the regulators of the plant's existence. At the Sunnyvale plant, regulators alleged, Apple took hazardous dust swept from the floor and sent it to a disposal site that was not authorized to handle toxic waste.
The regulators also claim Apple did not properly report and track exports of hazardous waste and failed to mark used oil containers properly as hazardous waste.