NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, June 5: NEW JERSEY UTILITY IN HUGE RE-INVESTMENT IN SUN; BIG MONEY IN MEASURING THE WIND; MAKING SOLAR PANELS BETTER

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    Wednesday, June 05, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, June 5: NEW JERSEY UTILITY IN HUGE RE-INVESTMENT IN SUN; BIG MONEY IN MEASURING THE WIND; MAKING SOLAR PANELS BETTER

    NEW JERSEY UTILITY IN HUGE RE-INVESTMENT IN SUN It's Official: PSE&G Spending Half A Billion On Solar

    Joseph Bebon, May 30, 2013 (Renew Grid)

    “…[T]he New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) officially signed off on Public Service Electric and Gas Co.'s (PSE&G) proposal to invest up to $446 million in new solar installations throughout the state…

    “PSE&G plans to lend customers about $200 million over three years to support 97.5 MW of new solar installations under the Solar Loan III program. In addition, the utility will spend $247 million over five years to build 42 MW of solar on brownfields and landfills, as well as 3 MW in pilot projects, under its Solar 4 All program.”

    “According to the BPU, the current Solar 4 All program is in line with Gov. Chris Christie's Energy Master Plan and has already helped build a large amount of New Jersey's 33 MW of solar on underutilized land…

    “To help pay for the Solar 4 All extension, the average PSE&G customer will experience a $0.28 rise in his or her annual bill in the next year, with a maximum increase to $4.44 between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016. The BPU says rate impacts will lower in the years after…Both local and national solar stakeholders have praised the approval…”

    BIG MONEY IN MEASURING THE WIND Wind Forecasting and Data Analytics; Sodar and Lidar Remote Sensing Devices, Site Assessment and Permanent Met Towers, and Meteorological Software for Wind Forecasting: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2013 (Navigant Research)

    “…[W]ind is now a mature source of commercial power generation…Wind forecasting practices and technologies are a key element of [the] rapid deployment of wind plants, and also help provide a solution to the increasing need for variable wind generation to integrate effectively on the larger power grid.

    “Revolutionary changes are underway within the wind forecasting market, with the growing adoption of remote sensing technologies – including sound detection and ranging (sodar) and light detection and ranging (lidar) – that augment traditional meteorological (met) towers and anemometry. As turbine hub heights rise to 100 meters, standard met towers alone will not suffice for the rigorous early stage site assessment campaigns that are the catalyst for eventual construction of a wind plant…”

    “Navigant Research forecasts [the global combined market for met towers and remote sensing devices is expected to average $225 million per year [from 2012 through 2020]. Revenue will grow from $198 million in 2012 to approximately $301 million in 2020.

    “Annual growth rates are projected to be highest in the developing markets of Asia Pacific and Latin America and top dollar amounts will be highest in Europe, where the most hardware will likely be installed]…”

    MAKING SOLAR PANELS BETTER Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels

    Todd Woody, may 28, 2013 (NY Times)

    “…Worldwide, testing labs, developers, financiers and insurers are reporting…[solar panel failures a short time into their expected 25-year life span] and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a quality crisis…[But there] are no industry wide figures…And when defects are discovered, confidentiality agreements often keep the manufacturer’s identity secret, making accountability in the industry all the more difficult…[B]illions of dollars that have financed solar installations, from desert power plants to suburban rooftops [are at stake], on the premise that solar panels will more than pay for themselves over a quarter century…

    “The quality concerns have emerged just after a surge in solar…[C]apacity exploded from 83 megawatts in 2003 to 7,266 megawatts in 2012…Most of the concerns over quality center on China, home to the majority of the world’s solar panel manufacturing capacity…After incurring billions of dollars in debt to accelerate production that has sent solar panel prices plunging since 2009, Chinese solar companies are under extreme pressure to cut costs…Other brand-name manufacturers, they said, have shut down production lines and subcontracted the assembly of modules to smaller makers…”

    “…[SolarBuyer] discovered defect rates of 5.5 percent to 22 percent during audits of 50 Chinese factories over the last 18 months…Some Chinese manufacturers acknowledge that quality has become a problem [and Non-Chinese manufacturers have had quality problems as well]…[A] review of 30,000 installations in Europe by the German solar monitoring firm Meteocontrol found 80 percent were underperforming. Testing of six manufacturers’ solar panels at two Spanish power plants by Enertis Solar in 2010 found defect rates as high as 34.5 percent…

    “…First Solar, one of the United States’ biggest manufacturers, has set aside $271.2 million to cover the costs of replacing defective modules it made in 2008 and 2009…[China’s] Yingli, the world’s largest solar panel maker since 2012…now offers a comprehensive insurance policy to customers and has established its own testing laboratory in the San Francisco area…”

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