pvMB 1/21/19: Belgian students march to demand climate action, Ameresco buys Maximum Solar and more!

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Students march on Brussels to demand action on climate change – Skipping with a purpose, over 10,000 students in Brussels have stepped out of class to instead protest outside of the European Parliament. The protestors are demanding more comprehensive and stronger protections of the earth’s climate. Inspired by the #schoolstrike of Swedish student Greta Thunberg, this was the largest crowd organized for the protest so far, and the movement shows no sign of slowing down. Student leaders hope to turn the rallies into weekly events until change is made. Source – Associated Press

 

Ameresco buys Maximum Solar – Ameresco has finalized its purchase of Massachusetts solar operations and maintenance firm Maximum Solar. Pursuant to the  acquisition, Ameresco will further develop its in-house services to operate and maintain solar facilities. The company has not disclosed financial terms of the transaction. Source – Ameresco, Inc.

 

Strata Solar achieves zero injuries in 2018 – The company’s 2018 record of performance includes all construction projects, operations and maintenance tasks, warehouse and office activities. In total these engagements represent over 2 million hours worked. Strata Solar employs over 350 full-time staff and more than 1,500 contract workers who serve the needs of clients in the commercial, industrial and government sectors. The company estimates that it worked on more than 2,140 MW of projects in 2018. Source – Strata Solar.

 

New Hampshire passes battery pilot program – The state’s Public Utilities Commission has spoken and New Hampshire will now launch the state’s first customer-sited battery storage program. In accordance with the program, Liberty Utility will be authorized to install up to 500 Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries behind the meter at customers’ homes and businesses. Also included in the program is an opportunity for development of a “bring your own device” sub-program that would involve participation by third-party aggregators under contract with Liberty. This component is expected to go live in 2020. Source – New Hampshire PUC

 

Colorado Gov. Polis targets EVs, and clean air as top priorities – Newly-elected Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) has signed an executive order putting cleaner air and emissions-free vehicles at the top of his administration’s priorities. The order aims to mitigate transportation emissions through a Zero Emission Vehicle program to increase the availability and sales of electric vehicles in the state. The order is a response to an unanimous vote made by the the state’s Air Quality Control Commission to adopt Low Emission Vehicle Program standards for light duty vehicles in November. Source – Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)

 

Oregon regulators propose rules that would limit solar development on farmland New regulations proposed by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development would prevent developers from siting solar PV facilities on certain “high value” farmland. Specifically, the new regulations would ban the siting of solar PV facilities on prime, unique, Class I or II soils, clarify that farmland acreage thresholds apply where the facility will “use, occupy, or cover” designated farmland, meaning that the entire footprint of the project must be considered for its environmental impact and make the requirement to complete an assessment of impacts to wildlife habitat from solar facility development permanent and all-encompassing. Source – Stoel Rives LLP

 

EQ Research’s Q4 2018 General Rate Case Update – EQ Research has released its General Rate Case (GRC) update for Q4 2018. EQ covers that 10 rate cases filed by utilities in 8 states, the largest of those being Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress requesting massive residential fixed-charge increases, at 238% and 220%, both in South Carolina. The report also highlights PG&E’s proposal of a non-bypassable charge in California for hydroelectric generation, NIPSCO’s proposal to shift costs from its industrial to non-industrial customers in Indiana pursuant to its plan to prevent load defection from cogeneration and National Grid seeking approval in Massachusetts for a litany of clean-energy proposals. Source – EQ Research

 

And now, a cool chart from Gamechange Solar breaking down total “worker hours per module” based on individual racking components as part of Source – Gamechange Solar

Secondly, a video of a “record setting” 31 second install speed for First Solar Series 6 modules (310 modules per worker day):

GameChange Solar SpeedClamp™ Revolutionizes Install Speed for Solar Trackers with Silicon Framed Modules from GameChange Solar on Vimeo.

 

And finally, to end our little digital morning meeting: along with solar power costs dropping in general, on average, the amount of labor needed from developers per megawatt installed has fallen significantly:

 

Correction: An earlier version of this brief stated that Strata Solar installed or worked on over 500 MW of projects in 2018, but the company has stated that the number was actually more than 2,140. We have changed the text to reflect this.