Morning Brief: Renewable prices reach record low in California, rural Georgia meets big solar and jobs

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California renewable energy prices fell to record lows in 2019, driven by the proliferation and falling costs of wind and solar power, the CPUC said Monday in its annual report to the State Legislature. Renewable portfolio standard contract prices dropped to 2.82 cents/kWh in 2019, compared with 3.81 cents/kWh in 2018, for all RPS-eligible energy, the CPUC said in its 2020 Padilla Report. The state’s three large investor-owned utilities continued to pay at a far higher rate because of renewable contracts signed last decade before prices fell dramatically. Source: RTO Insider

Small town Georgia meets big solar and jobs: “Commercial operations have begun” on Invenergy’s 160 MW Southern Oak solar project in Mitchell County, Georgia. Construction to this solar plant began in 2018, and as the project continues to grow and expand, money is being poured into Mitchell County’s economy. Paige Gilchrist, executive director of the Mitchell County Development Authority, said this has a great short-term impact on the community. The success of this project has led to other solar power projects in the county. Source: WALB

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to invest more than $5 million in tribal energy infrastructure: In addition to the DOE funding, $5 million will be cost-shared by tribal communities. These energy projects are the result of a competitive funding opportunity announcement.“The selected projects are consistent with the principles of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, with a fuel- and technology- neutral energy strategy that recognizes the breadth of energy resources on tribal lands, and each tribe’s right to use them as they see fit,” said Office of Indian Energy Director Kevin Frost. Source: DOE

Windmill Capital Management, a clean energy finance company, launched an offering for a private clean energy investment fund, Windmill Clean Energy Credit Trust (CECT), that will offer up to $250 million of Class 1 Beneficial Interests to accredited investors. CECT will fund purchase-money loans secured by commercial solar, cogen and biomass energy projects around the U.S. “Commercial clean energy represents an overlooked opportunity for institutional and accredited investors.” said Brian Jones, managing director of WCM. Source: WCM

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1 comment

  1. ” Renewable portfolio standard contract prices dropped to 2.82 cents/kWh in 2019, compared with 3.81 cents/kWh in 2018, for all RPS-eligible energy, the CPUC said in its 2020 Padilla Report. The state’s three large investor-owned utilities continued to pay at a far higher rate because of renewable contracts signed last decade before prices fell dramatically. Source: RTO Insider”

    One of the “things” PG&E pundited in their bankruptcy filing was to “renegotiate” its past PPAs with solar PV and wind generation to “allow” market competitive prices. I believe the bankruptcy court turned down that “remedy”. If any company can “cry foul” and disregard valid signed contracts, then what does a contract mean in the business arena anymore? Even at 3.81 cents/kWh it will take on average 10 years to amortize the generation facility, at that time, the contracted utility could ask for a new PPA rate structure, buy out the asset, and operate under CIP when old technology solar PV panels with new more efficient panels. Replace old fixed solar PV ground mounting, with new technology single axis tracking mounts to gain more solar PV harvest every day. Begin replacing old solar PV panels with the latest/greatest technology say bifacial and install these new panels on single axis tracking mounts. One string at a time over a several year period. Take all of the old technology panels and either (donate) to community solar PV projects or 501(c) (3) organizations. Create a secondary use for older technology and help distribute non-fueled generation to more buildings in the community.

    I’m surprised, Georgia has been one of the most unfriendly States of the Union for years, towards solar PV and alternative energy generation. The Southern Company is still moving forward with their not quite finished $26 billion dollar Vogtle nuclear plant project. With every solar PV system installed as a co-op or other agency, be it local or just on one’s home’s roof, this is going to hurt the payback period of the Vogtle plant for decades to come. Vogtle alone is probably going to cost ratepayers $30 a month extra, for 25 years on their electric bills to pay off this debt. You’d do better by putting solar PV on your home’s roof right now and not have to worry about The Southern Company’s choices, lost revenues and stranded assets.

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