NewEnergyNews: ORIGINAL REPORTING: HOW CALIFORNIA IS INCENTIVIZING SOLAR TO SOLVE THE DUCK CURVE

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Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, December 8:

  • TTTA Thursday- The Record Of The New EPA Head
  • TTTA Thursday-The Undeveloped New Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-Walking On New Energy
  • TTTA Thursday-Electric Tractor For Emissions-Free.Farming
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Turning Distributed Energy From Threat To Opportunity
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Solar Policy Action Heats Up
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Maine’s Almost Solar Policy Breakthrough
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How To Balance Competing Solar Interests
  • QUICK NEWS, December 6: Sliver Of Hope? Al Gore In Climate Change Meet With Donald Trump; The Opportunity In New Energy; Google Seizing New Energy Opportunity
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: A Way For New Energy To Meet Peak Demand
  • QUICK NEWS, December 5: Trial Of The Century Coming On Climate; The Wind-Solar Synergy; The Still Rising Sales Of Cars With Plugs
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Trump Truth And Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: The Daily Show Talks Pipeline Politics
  • Weekend Video: Beyond Polar Bears – The Real Science Of Climate Change
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Aussie Farmers Worrying About Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 1
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Climate Change Solution At Hand, Part 2
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy And Historic Buildings In Europe
  • --------------------------

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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • FRIDAY WORLD, Friday, December 9:

  • Who Needs Fake News With New Energy News About Aliens?
  • World Moving To Home Energy Management Systems
  • Aussies Can Do 100% New Energy – Study
  • Big-Name Carmakers Back European EV Charge Network

    Wednesday, December 24, 2014

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: HOW CALIFORNIA IS INCENTIVIZING SOLAR TO SOLVE THE DUCK CURVE

    How California is incentivizing solar to solve the Duck Curve; South-facing systems produce more solar, but west-facing panels may produce more valuable solar to the grid.

    Herman K. Trabish | October 13, 2014 (Utility Dive)

    UD-West-Facing2-10-5-2014 (1)

    The California Energy Commission wants to turn rooftop solar in a whole new direction. Discovering where and when west-facing rooftop solar has a value proposition as good or better than traditional south-facing rooftop systems could alter who wants to be in the business.

    A predictive analysis of 1,000 typical homes with 4 kilowatt west-facing rooftop solar systems over the course of a typical year in Fresno, California, found that facing panels towards the West could be appealing to both customers and electricity providers. Houses with west-facing panels saw a 20% total energy reduction (about 1,100 megawatt-hours) in comparison to the same homes with south-facing systems, according to CEC Commissioner David Hochschild. But the analysis also showed a 56% total energy increase (about 700 megawatt-hours) in the critical 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm peak demand period.

    This projection is confirmed by new real-world research.

    “We have now looked at a full year. West-facing panels are out-producing south-facing panels between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm," CEO Brewster McCracken said of a Pecan Street Research Institute study of 50 Austin, Texas, homes with rooftop solar. "In the winter, it was 25% more generation during those hours. In the summer, it was almost 70% more.”

    “South-facing panels are out-producing west-facing panels in all but two months when you look at the total daylight hours,” he added, confirming the thrust of the CEC analysis. “In the peak hours, west out-produces south all year long. In total production, south produces more.”

    Important news for utilities, grid operators, and home builders

    With utilities and grid operators increasingly concerned about meeting big peak demand ramps in metropolitan load centers, rooftop solar’s potential coincident electricity supply has become more valuable.

    “When you have production in the late afternoon hours, it helps keep peaker plants offline and those are the most polluting, most expensive, and least efficient natural gas generation,” Hochschild explained. “Even if those systems produce fewer kilowatt-hours per year, their output is at a very valuable time so they are worth providing an incentive for.”

    Hochschild took over the commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP)last fall when its administration was transferred from the state’s IOUs—Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric. With administrative consolidation, program costs came down, Hochschild said. “Those savings are going into solar incentives.”

    The other commissioners, aware of California’s demand shift toward a later afternoon peak and of the economic and environmental disadvantages of gas peakers, approved Hochschild’s proposal for a new solar incentive.

    For installing west-facing solar on new homes, developers can now get a 15% premium—up to $500—over the NSHP incentive that has supported 12,500-plus new home solar installs since it was added to the California Solar Initiative (CSI) in 2008.

    “We want more west-facing PV but this is not a mandate, it’s an option,” Hochschild explained. “It doesn’t take away anything. It just provides an incremental incentive for builders.”

    Real estate market surveys have shown solar adds property value, but it is not yet clear that developers will respond.

    “Anything, including efficiency or solar, that adds cost, raises the price,” Hochschild acknowledged. “You have to really sharpen your pencil to make it work for these guys. Every builder I have talked to has said they would not be doing solar at all were it not for the NSHP program.”

    Support from the California Building Industry Association (CBIA) and individual home developers may be because the incentive goes to the builder and not the homeowner impacted by the orientation change, Hochschild acknowledged. But building cycles are long term and the incentive has only been in place five weeks, he added. The CEC will publish the first data at the end of this year.

    Rate design

    Both Hochschild and McCracken noted that regulatory debates over rate design around the country could also drive the market toward west-facing solar.

    “If you have peak demand pricing, west might be more valuable than south,” McCracken said.

    Time-of-use (TOU) rates, even without net energy metering, could change the value proposition in places like California and Texas because solar output is “so in line with peak pricing, especially during those late afternoon summer hours,” he said.

    In the absence of a new rate design, with solar growth driven exclusively by total output, “south is the way to go,” McCracken said. “But west-facing panels will be grid-friendlier and provide more utility system benefit.”

    TOU rates could be a way for utilities to provide a bigger incentive than the CEC NSHP premium for the west-facing solar they need, he added.

    “It is a complex question but it is possible with time of use pricing and certain rate designs," McCracken said. "West facing would be more valuable just because the difference in the summer months is nearly 70% during peak hours. It is possible that would narrow, if not overcome, the gap for west-facing systems.”

    And, he added, “research shows the differences are not that big. If prices come down a little more, west-facing roofs, even without rate design changes, are suddenly going to become viable.”

    “$500 isnt a decision maker but there are other considerations,” said K Kaufmann, communications manager for the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), the solar industry-utility alliance.

    Two trends SEPA has noted echo Hochschild and McCracken:

    People who might not have considered putting solar on a west-facing roof might decide to do it

    Rate structures that link compensation for solar to the time of day it is generated could be an incremental incentive

    “It's impossible to say without more data if utilities would like this,” Kaufmann noted, “but as you get more solar on the grid, anything that provides more control for utilities could be attractive.”

    Arizona Public Service jumps in

    Value to the grid was a factor when Arizona Public Service asked regulators in August to approve a plan for the utility to fund, install, own, and maintain 3,000 rooftop solar systems.

    The utility proposes to reimburse each customer who hosts part of the cumulative 20 megawatts of solar with a monthly $30 bill credit for the entire 20 year program. The rate based program would be very similar to the third party ownership (TPO) lease contracts offered by private sector companies like SolarCity, Clean Power Finance, and SunPower, because the APS hosts will pay no upfront fees and have no ownership responsibilities.

    Rate-basing will allow APS to “maximize the potential system benefits,” according to APS Renewables Manager Marc Romito. “Every opportunity we can, we will be facing these systems west or southwest.”

    Anything but total production compromises a leasing company’s business model, Romito said. “But if rooftop solar is going to be deployed, we want tomaximize overall system performance.”

    “It is not about peak production versus total production but what makes sense for a particular customer,” SolarCity's Bass countered.

    In dealing with California’s growing peak demand challenge, “solar is a big part of the solution," Hochshild said, "but it can be a bigger part still if production matches the peak.”

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