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.


  • TODAY’S STUDY: What Utilities Are Planning For Solar
  • QUICK NEWS, September 27: Facts Check Trump – Fed Investments In Solar A Huge Success; Top Midwest Utility In $2 Billion Wind Buy; Solar Cost Increasingly Beating The Market

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Future Of Offshore Wind Foreseen
  • QUICK NEWS, September 26: The Sonification Of Climate Change; Wind Is Red, White, And Green; The New Hybrid Solar-Storage Concept Module

  • Weekend Video: Good News On Climate – The Public Is Starting To Get It
  • Weekend Video: The Libertarian Failure On Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: New Energy Is Doable – And Is Being Done

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-World Gets A Step Closer To Enforceable Climate Laws
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-New Energy Ready To Power The World Future
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Sahara Sun Could Power The World
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Turbines Building Off UK Coast


  • TTTA Thursday-Why Having Babies Could Be The Climate Change Answer
  • TTTA Thursday-Big Texas Wind Backed By Amazon
  • TTTA Thursday-Big Sun Sparkles In Nevada
  • TTTA Thursday-EV Racing Coming To The Streets Of Brooklyn

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: In The Wake Of The Massive Aliso Canyon Leak
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Rise Of Distributed Energy Resources Goes On
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Community Solar Matures And Evolves
  • --------------------------


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


    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


    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




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


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

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, September 28:

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Taming the Wild West: The CA ISO’s Bid For A Regional Electricity Market
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Closer Look At The Plunging Cost Of Battery Energy Storage
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: New arrival Spruce ups game for 'trusted energy advisor' role

    Wednesday, June 24, 2015


    [NEWENERGYNEWS is on the road today.Regular features will return next week.] Inside the deal: Why Duke Energy is buying one of the largest U.S. commercial solar developers ; Duke’s $225 million fund will ready commercial solar for a post-ITC market

    Herman K. Trabish, February 10, 2015 (Utility Dive)

    One of the largest U.S. power companies has created a new $225 million fund for commercial scale solar and bought a controlling interest in one of the biggest commercial solar developers.

    “We are going to acquire controlling interest in REC Solar and we are going to rely on their business plans,” explained Duke Energy VP/Commercial Portfolio President Marc Manly. “They know what they are doing. And they have targeted markets where the retail rates make it economic for customers, where customers want it, and where the regulatory rules are appropriate.”

    This follows other recent acquisitions of solar and energy service providers by utilities. REC Solar CEO Al Bucknam believes it to be part of an emerging trend driven by the coming change in solar’s 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC). He pointed to NextEra’s purchase of Smart Energy Capital and NRG Energy’s buys of Verengo Solar NE, Pure Energies, and Roof Diagnostics as examples.

    “The ITC is dropping from 30% to 10% at the end of 2016,” Bucknam said. “While that will tighten economics, the lower rate is likely to make more capital available, at lower cost, because there are more investors that could absorb 10% than could absorb 30%.” Solar companies will need “scale and reach” to succeed. The partnership with Duke will give REC Solar the scale it needs to cover the entire U.S. market, to procure effectively, and to develop more standardized, lower cost construction processes. “A low cost position is going to be a critical advantage,” Bucknam explained. “We have a stronger balance sheet and support from Duke. This is a strategic partnership and not just a financial transaction.”

    REC Solar's business

    REC Solar has over 440 commercial scale projects built or in development representing over 140 MW of installed capacity. It also offers both financing for customers who don’t want to want to pay cash up-front and maintenance services for customers who don’t want ownership responsibilities.

    “We don’t have our own captive funds. Prior to this, if a customer required financing we would find an investor with a tax appetite that would own the project and we would sell the energy or lease the project to the end-user,”Bucknam said.

    With Duke’s dedicated $225 million fund comes established “project approval criteria” that provide REC Solar with a clear understanding of what projects will fit into the utility’s portfolio and what the necessary documents, pricing, and return requirements are.

    “The traditionally difficult front end process of getting a project financed is now going to be much smoother and cleaner,” Bucknam said. “We can tell the customer, ‘we will deliver your project on this date with these terms and it won’t change.’”

    And, he added, “it will be so closely integrated with REC Solar that from the customer’s perspective, they are dealing with REC Solar and we are making it all happen.”

    More projects, smaller projects

    Neither Bucknam nor Manly would specify the project approval criteria but Bucknam said REC Solar will use them to target markets. “We are looking at doing smaller projects. Our average project has been in the 800 KW range and that is likely to drop. We will likely be doing more projects under 500 kW than in the past.”

    Smaller projects are not a requirement but the financing is set up to make them work.

    “There has been a lot of whale hunting in commercial solar,” Bucknam said. “We are not giving up the larger stuff. But the smaller end of the market has been underserved so there is a lot more potential there.”

    At that targeted size, it is mostly roofs, Bucknam said, but REC Solar is open toparking structures and fields, too.

    “With this acquisition,” Manly said, “it will give us a full suite of services and products to offer, from utility scale to community solar, where we build with the economics of utility scale in one farm but through PPAs parse it out, and I think that is exciting, all the way down to, with REC Solar, if a customer wants it on their big box rooftop, on their garage top, in their back 40, we can offer that.”

    Duke’s new solar reach

    Indicative of this new reach are Duke’s just-proposed 110 MW of new solar by 2021 to the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC). The utility now has less than 2 MW of grid connected solar in South Carolina. But it helped craft the state’s 2014 Distributed Energy Resource Program Act, which is expected to soon open the door to a solar boom in South Carolina.

    Duke wants to offer: 1) rebates that could be up to $5,000 for retail rate, net metered rooftop and small-scale solar; 2) community shared solar for nonprofit organizations, churches, community centers, renters, and schools; and 3) over 50 MW of utility-scale solar installations.

    In negotiating the REC Solar acquisition, it became clear Duke and REC Solar's interests were clearly aligned, Manly and Bucknam agreed. From a strategic review of the solar market, Duke concluded it did not want to be in the residential sector like utilities such as Arizona Public Service and NV Energy. REC Solar had come to the same conclusion and last year sold what remained of its residential business to Sunrun.

    “It was a natural fit,” Manly said. “We wanted to augment what we were doing by getting into commercial and they got rid of stuff we didn’t want.”

    Historically, REC Solar has sold turn-key systems in the commercial solar market and will continue to do development, sales, installation, and maintenance in that space, Manly said. The $225 million Duke funding is aimed at REC Solar customers who want financing. “If the customer meets credit and other criteria, we will finance the installation and give the customer a PPA,” Manly said. “Our existing utility-scale solar group will manage it.”

    The kicker: Community solar

    Both Manly and Bucknam were also enthusiastic about using the partnership and funding to move into community solar.

    “It is something that has excited me for a long time,” Manly said. “What makes sense economically is for us to find a place to build a big solar farm and, as long as the transmission is not too expensive, sell that on a community basis. And that market is developing.”

    “Duke won’t have to push us in that direction,” Bucknam joked. “The parameters might be a little different from the standard commercial deal because instead of selling power to the host of the system, you are now looking for subscribers for the power. The marketing and sales is new but it doesn’t mean we can’t address it.”



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