Morning Brief: Trump administration slaps retroactive rent bills on solar, wind on federal lands

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Trump admin slaps solar, wind operators with retroactive rent bills: The Trump administration has ended a two-year rent holiday for solar and wind projects operating on federal lands, handing them whopping retroactive bills at a time the industry is struggling with the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak. The move represents a multi-million-dollar hit to an industry that has already seen installation projects canceled or delayed by the global health crisis, which has cut investment and dimmed the demand outlook for power. U.S. power plant owner Avangrid, majority owned by Spain’s Iberdrola, received a bill for more than $3 million for two years of rent on its 131-megawatt Tule wind project on federal land near San Diego, according to spokesman Paul Copleman. Source: Reuters

New Jersey’s largest solar plant: CS Energy, a national EPC, O&M and energy storage firm, has completed the largest solar project in New Jersey. The project owner, Ben Moreell Solar Farm and Department of the Navy executed a lease for approximately 170 acres of underutilized land in order to build a 28.5 MW ground-mount project at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Tinton Falls. CS Energy designed, procured and installed the power plant, while maintaining the base’s high security standards. With further investment, the power plant can be modified to power the base, which has a combined workforce of more than 1,500 civilian, military and contractor personnel. Source: CS Energy

Dutch startup Lightyear has found a partner to help produce its solar car roof, with Royal DSM coming in as a supplier and to help Lightyear look into solar-roof applications for other cars, as well as vans and buses. In terms of the roof’s architecture, Royal DSM will supply a back sheet that moves electrical connections behind the cells, freeing up more space for capturing sunlight, for a projected 3% gain. With its own vehicle, Lightyear One, the company is aiming for 450 miles of range on the European WLTP cycle, claiming that the solar roof can cover 70% to 90% of annual mileage. Source: Green Car Reports

Developed by Distributed Solar Development, a portfolio of nine different solar projects has been completed in Schenectady County, New York. The projects total 26 MW in capacity and are expected to save local businesses and residents more than $11.8M over 25 years. The projects were procured in an effort to generate all the county’s power from alternative sources by Dec. 31, 2021 and these nine made the final grade out of 14 proposed locations. Source: Distributed Solar Development

25th National Solar Tour: The 2020 National Solar Tour, the 25th in the history of the event, will take place virtually and in neighborhoods nationwide the weekend of October 3-4, 2020. The tour will be following the strictest CDC guidelines in place at the time. The goal for the organizers, the American Solar Energy Society and Solar United Neighbors, is to have 50,000 people participate as attendees or home tour hosts. Source: American Solar Energy Society