pvMB 1/17/19: SEIA splashes with new promotions, Vermont’s largest solar parking lot and more


SEIA ups its lobbying game with promotions of two women – The national solar trade organization has expanded its leadership team by moving its previous VP of Federal Affairs, Katherine Gensler, to a new position as VP of regulatory affairs, while hiring Erin Duncan as VP of congressional affairs. Duncan has been lobbying for the National Education Association for 11 year. The move comes amid increasing calls for gender equality in the solar industry; which has a similar 2 to 1 male/female ratio of workers as other energy industries in the United States. Source: SEIA


Burlington waterfront home to Vermont’s largest (bifacial) solar parking lot A public-private partnership between Encore Renewable Energy and the City of Burlington has yielded Vermont’s largest solar canopy to date, at the Science Museum on the Burlington waterfront. The carport utilizes bifacial solar modules that capture not only the sun’s rays, but reflected light, allowing for a 156kW capacity. Encore was responsible for coordinating and managing all aspects of the project and will own, operate and maintain the project as one of its financing partners. Source – Encore Renewable Energy


NREL & CESA release report on designing community solar for low & moderate income customers – In their new report ‘Design and Implementation of Community Solar Programs for Low- and Moderate-Income Customers’, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Clean Energy States Alliance review existing and emerging community solar programs for these populations and discuss questions related to program design. The report goes on to outline how states can leverage incentives and finance structures to lower the cost of low- and moderate-income community solar, and examines marketing and outreach considerations. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and is the culmination of a three-year effort. Source – NREL


Stem INC. confident in solar+storage+AI – In this interview with BloombergNEF, Stem CEO John Carrington and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Polly Shaw talk about the trends and outlooks for solar+storage in 2019 and the untapped potential of adding AI to that equation. Stem’s signature product is Athena, a battery+AI combination that helps customers buy power when prices are low and limit energy use during peak-demand periods. Source – BloombergNEF


Squid boat’ becomes first lithium-ion boat to be Coast Guard-certified – Designed by an MIT graduate ‘Squid boat’ is making waves in Florida as the first near-coastal lithium ion battery-powered boat to be certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. The boat features a multihull design and is powered by a coating of flexible solar panels from Sunflare. These ultra-light panels have the capability to generate 2000 Watts, while being flexible enough to accommodate movement of the boat and withstand extreme elements without cracking. Source – Honest Eco


Genesis Solar’s notes downgraded to ‘C’ following PG&E rating cut – Triggered by the rating downgrade of Pacific Gas & Electric Company following its announcement that it will file for bankruptcy, Fitch Ratings has downgraded $140 million ($80.4 million outstanding) in bonds for the Genesis solar farms to ‘C’ from ‘BBB-‘. They have done the same for the Topaz solar farm, another project with PG&E as its offtaker. Topaz’ $1.100 billion ($924.8 million outstanding) bonds also fell to ‘C’ from ‘BBB-‘. ,And while PG&E’s position as an off-taker is what is driving the fall in these ratings, Fitch has said that were PG&E to be downgraded to ‘D’, that would not necessarily trigger an equivalent downgrade of Genesis solar, so long as PG&E continues to honor its revenue contract commitments. Source – Fitch Ratings


New York sides with Cornell in solar tax case – The New York Supreme Court has overturned a tax assessment on solar generating equipment installed on Cornell University land to provide power to the campus. Justice John J. Ark, who delivered the opinion of the court, found that the third-party owned solar facility was not assessable as an “improvement” to the land, but was the personal business property of the solar electric service provider. This mean the system was not assessable as real property, and while personal property is subject to franchise, sales and income taxes under New York State law, it is exempt from value-added property taxes. Most importantly, this case can set a precedent for how solar and wind facilities are to be treated under state tax law. Source – Pierce Atwood LLP


We’ve got a full on dynasty in the utility-scale energy storage integration game, as Fluence three-peats its top spot on Navigant Research’s rankings.


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