Accelerating changes in technology are making the combination of solar photovoltaics and battery storage potentially more cost-effective than either one alone.
In October 2012, as Superstorm Sandy rocked the East Coast, 75 residents gathered in the Midtown Community School in Bayonne, New Jersey.
The elementary school was operating as an emergency shelter, giving people who were stuck in the severely flooded town a place to stay dry. But the school was much more than a shelter — it was an experiment in hybrid solar photovoltaics that may herald a coming structural change in the power sector.
Four years earlier, the local school district approached the New Jersey-based installer Advanced Solar Products, which had already developed a 272-kilowatt system for the Midtown school. The school district wanted to figure out how to allow the solar PV to operate during power outages when other systems were required to shut off. The company worked with SMA to modify a commercial inverter and tie it into the emergency diesel generator, allowing the generator to idle at low levels when the sun was shining.
The result was a steep drop in fuel consumption at a time when it was nearly impossible to make diesel deliveries to flood-stricken areas.
“The solar did what it was supposed to do. It worked exactly as planned,” said Lyle Rawlings, president of Advanced Solar Products, in an interview.
The combination of solar and storage is a “real, near, and present” threat to the way utilities do business.
On their own, the economics of the two technologies are improving steadily. According to the Department of Energy, lithium-ion battery costs have dropped by 50 percent since 2008. And prices could drop as low as $125 per kilowatt-hour in the coming decades. Tesla founder Elon Musk thinks they could drop to as low as $200 per kilowatt-hour in the next few years.
There’s been an equivalent drop in residential and commercial solar. According to GTM Research, the average price of an installed solar system (weighted across all sectors) has fallen by 61 percent since the first quarter of 2010.
Read the rest of the article from Greentechmedia.com
To view Eric Hopkins’ proposed plan to double Maine’s Solar Energy output and provide emergency power to storm shelters, click on the following link: 100 Panels on 100 Schools.
This document is a graphically-rich copy of his 16-page presentation in PDF format.
Energy Meeting is tomorrow night – 7pm at the library.
I’ve been working hard on my “100 panels on a 100 schools” project.
In recent months I’ve been making a lot of progress – including recent meetings with Congressman Michaud and Democratic Senatorial candidate, Shenna Bellows to present the idea in more detail. I’ve also met with York’s Emergency Manager, Chief Bracy and been in consultation with Efficiency Maine’s executive director, Michael Stoddard.
The idea is to replicate a similar program run out of the Florida Solar Energy Center that used $13 million in grant money to combine ground mounted solar systems with 25kW/h batteries on 100 schools across the state. Click here for more details: http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/sunsmart/index.html
The logic of the program is to have the solar serve a dual purpose – green power and cost-savings during typical conditions, and emergency power during times of disaster. I’ll be going through a progress report of where things currently sit.
In other news, Wayne Boardman will give us an update on where things stand with the town energy committee – and what may or may not be on the ballot this May.
Finally, we recently received a check for $150 from Maine Green Power – because 5 of you signed up to pay a $6.50 cent monthly surcharge on your CMP bill to support green energy development in the state, and listed “York Energy Efficiency Committee” as your referring partner. If you’d like to learn more about the program, or consider participating – click here: https://www.megreenpower.com
Hope to see you there!
Sometimes during the frigid days of winter it becomes harder to appreciate that weather does not equal climate. From Gizmodo:
Climate change is a very real thing, but how is it affecting the area that you live in? Fortunately—or, perhaps, unfortunately—you can find out using this interactive map.
Recently updated by New Scientist to roll in the most recent of NASA’s climate data, the map allows you to pin-point your location and see how temperatures have changed over the past 100 years. As well as providing a map of the changes in a spatial sense, you’ll also see how the five-year average has changed with time at your location, and how that compares to the global average.
A snapshot of the interactive map below shows that our region has seen significant warming compared to the 1951-1980 average and even more so since the early 20th century.
To see the full interactive map, go to http://warmingworld.newscientistapps.com/.
Maine Interfaith Power and Light is a volunteer led non-profit organization which partners with faith groups of all religions to counter climate change and work for a sustainable future. MEIPL recently sent out the following call-to-action to their members:
Dear MEIPL Supporter,
In addition to this bill, which establishes a vision and goals for increasing solar power, the Energy Committee is also considering several other solar bills that were “carried over” from last session. These bills provide other specific policy measures that will help make solar power more affordable and accessible to Maine people and businesses. We are urging the Committee to add at least two key provisions from these other bills into LD 1652 when they vote it out of Committee. These are:
- Two years of restored funding to the now-shuttered solar rebate program at Efficiency Maine.
- Change net-metering laws so that homeowners and businesses finally get compensated for any extra solar energy they produce. Currently, system owners are not reimbursed for their contributions to Maine’s power supply.
Corporate utilities are here in Augusta to protect their shareholder’s profits, at the expense of Maine people. They are lobbying to limit solar power for Maine homes and businesses.
They oppose policies to make solar more accessible to more Mainers and want to reduce how much Maine people get paid for the solar electricity they produce. Make sure your legislator hears from YOU.
Maine people deserve access to an affordable way to generate their own power—and we’re falling behind the region on creating solar power and solar jobs.
Solar energy is a renewable source of clean, pollution-free energy that Maine needs to invest in for clean air and a healthy environment. We need to make solar a priorityin Maine—and we need to promote solar jobs, and make rooftop solar affordable and fair for ordinary Mainers!
Find more information about MEIPL at http://www.meipl.org/
Our next meeting is this Tuesday at the York Public Library at 7pm.
We are still hard at work on bringing more solar to schools in Maine – and combining them with battery back-ups to provide emergency power during a disaster event.
I have a lot of updates to share – and want to get ideas and feedback on how we might solve some technical problems I’m encountering. I’m not going to get into too much detail at this moment, but please come join us for the conversation if you can.
In other news, I met Maine Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Mike Michaud on Saturday night at a York fundraiser. He expressed a strong desire to pursue policies to combat climate change and invest and promote renewable energy in the state. He stated his belief that there is tremendous renewable energy potential in Maine and pledged to support it as much as he can.
Come join us for the conversation. Hope to see you there!
A summary of the principles, advantages, and drivers for environmentally friendly building construction. (Source: aec-business.com)
Pat Coon, a co-founder of reVision Heat, will be giving a presentation at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm on Nov. 14 as part of their Climate Steward series. The presentation will touch on how climate change is impacted by our home heating choices and how sustainable heating is part of the solution. From the . . . → Read More: Sustainable Heating to Save the Planet & Invigorate Our Community
Beginning this month and continuing through April, a diverse array of local farmers and vendors will be participating the the Winter Farmers’ Market organized by Seacoast Eat Local.
The outdoor growing season may be coming to a close, but Winter Farmers’ Markets are just getting started. Seacoast Eat Local has been busy pulling together some . . . → Read More: The Seventh Winter Farmers’ Market Starting on Nov. 23
From Bring Your Own Bag York (http://www.byobyork.com/):
Ways to help you remember to bring your reusable bags: Keep bags in the car where you can see them. Remember that your unloading job is not done until the bags are back in the car. Keep a spare bag folded up in your purse, briefcase, backpack or . . . → Read More: Tips for remembering your reusable shopping bags
The town of Eliot is already benefiting from an arrangement that both saves taxpayer dollars and is good for the environment.
Last summer, 150 solar panels were installed on the roof of the town garage on Route 236. Today, they are working so well that they power the garage and the transfer station, with enough . . . → Read More: Eliot Saves Big with Solar Panels on Town Garage
From Bring Your Own Bag York (http://www.byobyork.com/):