pvMB: The Clean Energy Access Act of 2019 in SC, sheep+solar in Arizona, power sector emissions are up and more!

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Tucson Electric Power uses sheep to manage solar vegetationRoughly 50 to 100 sheep at any given time work the 1,200-acre Red Horse solar array site way out in the boonies in Sulphur Springs Valley near Willcox. Richard “Rusty” Cocke of Sierra Bonita Ranch says, “because sheep are herd bound and stick together, they’re a lot easier to handle than cattle. And goats would get up and dance on the solar panels and chew on the wires of the million-dollar inverter mechanisms.” This follows what we at pv magazine USA have been reporting – that solar plants make great environments for grazing sheep and cows. Source

 

74.9 MWac Duke Energy Hamilton Solar Power Plant opens in Florida (see drone video below) – Duke Energy broke ground on the Hamilton plant in July of last year and brought it online on December 22. The Hamilton Solar Power Plant will be a part of Duke Energy Florida’s new Shared Solar Program, and is part of a rush of large-scale solar development in the state. Source.

 

U.S. power sector emissions up 1.9% in 2018 A new report by Rhodium Group estimates that U.S. emissions from generating electricity increased 1.9% in 2018, as part of a 3.4% growth of emissions overall. This marks the second largest annual gain in more than two decades — surpassed only by 2010 when the economy bounced back from the Great Recession. According to Rhodium, while a record number of coal-fired power plants were retired last year, natural gas not only beat out renewables to replace most of this lost generation, but also fed most of the growth in electricity demand. In fact, the 2018 increase was three times the decline in coal generation and four times the combined growth of wind and solar. However, it is important to note that this is only one year, and shows a very different pattern than 2017 when solar and wind output increased sharply and gas use fell, or the overall trend since 2005Source.

 

South Carolina Senate Bill 322 introduced: The Clean Energy Access Act of 2019 –  As the first piece of legislation introduced that is backed by a pro-solar coalition in the state, this bill is nothing if not ambitious. It would require the Public Service Commission to initiate a new proceeding to review and approve rates and terms provided to large-scale solar facilities, streamline the process and ensuring contract terms are reasonable for such projects; allow large energy consumers, such as industrial manufacturers, to contract directly with a renewable energy supplier to more easily realize savings from solar; remove arbitrary caps on home solar projects; establish a “Consumer Bill of Rights” to protect energy consumers from discriminatory charges, ensure that energy rates are fair and transparent and establish a neighborhood community solar program designed to expand solar access to low-income customers. Source (pdf).