Morning Brief: Kentucky’s biggest PV project has a contract, Covid’s effect on the New York solar industry

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Geronimo Energy and Big Rivers Electric Corporation have announced the execution of a power purchase agreement for the Unbridled Solar Project in Henderson and Webster Counties, Kentucky. Unbridled Solar is a 160 MW solar energy project located in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market and the largest such project set to be developed in Kentucky. However it isn’t just the largest project in Kentucky, Unbridled’s 160 MW represent more than three times the entire amount of solar installed in the state thus far, which sits around 50 MW. The project is expected to begin commercial operations at the end of 2023. Source: Geronimo Energy

A survey conducted by New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) has set out to quantify the impacts of Covid-19 on the state’s solar industry. Between March and May, 63% of the workforce was laid off or furloughed, equating to approximately 6,800 lost solar jobs. For retained employees, 75% had their pay or hours reduced by at least 20%, with 23% of retained employees seeing reductions of 80% or more. Half of the solar firms surveyed expect 2020 revenue losses of 50% or greater stemming from the impacts of Covid-19. Most New York State distributed solar firms are small-to-medium businesses. 54% indicated their firms do not have sufficient liquidity to operate beyond 6 months. 84% have applied for fiscal relief and half of those who applied for Paycheck Protection Program funding received it. 74% estimate it will take a year or longer to recover, with project completion timelines extended by an additional 6 to 12 months. Source: NYSEIA

More than 80 environment and climate organizations have made statements on racism, in response to the unrest and unease created by the murder of George Floyd. Originally posted here on twitter by user Maya Batres, the list includes such organizations as the U.S. Climate Action Network, Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund and EarthWorks. The full list is available here.

Terra Pave Albedo has been named a finalist in the Department of Energy’s America Made Solar Prize competition. Terra Pave Albedo’s technology provides a surface with a consistently high reflective albedo equal to that of 0.81, 365 days per year. That enables easier financial modeling, accurate engineering design, and accurate prediction output/revenue for bifacial panels. It is because of this potential high-positive-impact that Terra Pave Albedo can have on the future of bifacial solar power generation that the finalist spot was awarded. According to a release touting the award, natural ground has an albedo of 5-25%.  With Terra Pave Albedo, which equals albedo of snow, the bifacial power increase could be up to 30%, depending upon the type of panel used. Source: Terra Pave International

“Coal consumption will be crushed in 2020″: Coal earnings set to plunge 50% in North America, Moody’s says. Earnings for North American coal miners may plunge by more than half this year as the coronavirus pandemic makes a weak market even worse, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Analysts led by Benjamin Nelson wrote in a report Sunday:. “We expect a sharp and sustained slowdown in economic activity will result in lower economic growth, reduced demand for electricity and reduced demand for steel. We expect prices for natural gas, perhaps coal’s biggest competitor in North American power generation, to remain low through the early 2020s,” according to the report.