Morning Brief: the North Carolina solar industry has weathered Covid well, Vistra announces battery expansion

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N.C. solar industry weathering the pandemic better than most states: The solar industry is weathering the pandemic better in North Carolina than in most states, data released today by SEIA show. The Tar Heel State will see 19% fewer solar workers than expected in June, according to the nonprofit trade group — hardly rosy projections but better than national predicted losses of 38%. A handful of states like New Jersey and New York will see cuts of more than 60%. The sector’s resilience here, home to the nation’s second-most solar power, is owed in part to the dominance of large-scale projects. Source: Energy News Network

Vistra Energy has announced that it will be expanding the size of the battery energy storage systems at its Moss Landing Power Plant site in Moss Landing, California, pending approval from regulators. The company has entered into a 10-year resource adequacy agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for a new 100-megawatt/400-megawatt hour battery to complement the 300-MW/1,200-MWh battery already under construction. The would bring Vistra’s total to 436.25 MW/1,745 MWh of battery energy storage under contract in California. Pending approval, the expansion would begin construction in July, finish in August 2021, while the main Moss Landing storage project is slated for completion in December. Source: Vistra Energy

Consumers Energy is providing 100,000 Google Nest thermostats to Michigan households during pandemic: Consumers Energy today announced a partnership with Google and Uplight to provide Google Nest thermostats to up to 100,000 households, helping Michigan residents power through the Covid-19 pandemic by saving energy and money. This offer is part of Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan, which will eliminate coal and achieve net-zero carbon emissions. Google and Uplight are helping Consumers Energy provide the Google Nest Thermostat to customers through July 31.

Electrek has learned that Tesla has quietly made Model 3, and likely Model Y, ready for bidirectional charging, which should enable some game-changing features in the near future. Electrek has learned that Tesla has already prepared its onboard vehicle charger for bidirectional charging. Marco Gaxiola, an electrical engineer who participated in a Model 3 teardown for a Tesla competitor, reverse engineered the electric car’s charger and found it to be ready for bidirectional charging. Source: Electrek

The SolSmart program is adding new partners, joining up with experts at the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) and the University of Virginia (UVA) to help local Virginia governments go solar. Carrie Hearne at the DMME and Elizabeth Marshall at UVA will serve as SolSmart Advisors. Advisors help review local programs and practices to remove obstacles to solar development and make it easier for homes and businesses to go solar. They will also be available to assist with current challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, such as by providing resources on handling solar permits and inspections on a remote basis. Any municipality or county that is interested in taking part in the program should go to https://dmme.virginia.gov/de/solsmart.shtml  or email vasolsmart@virginia.edu. Source: SolSmart