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Homeowners switch to solar to save money. Some cit...

Jeffrey Hebrank wants to install solar panels on his Highland home to take advantage of federal, state and regional incentives that have created something of a solar boom in Illinois. But a city fee of $25 a month would reduce the savings on his power bill and extend the time it would take to recoup his investment. ”Highland owns its own municipal power plant, so they don’t want us to install solar panels and generate our...

Appalachia Could Get a Giant Solar Farm, If Ohio R...

AEP’s plan would bring jobs to an impoverished region, but its structure would break the established regulatory mold in a state that has pushed back on renewables. Appalachian Ohio, a region hurt by the decline of coal, may become home to one of the largest solar projects east of the Rockies. American Electric Power submitted a plan Thursday evening to work with two developers to build 400 megawatts of solar in...

Decentralized micro-grids could be the next big th...

A new report concludes that microgrid technologies could make a local “techno-economy” 90 percent self-sufficient, paving the way for a truly renewable society. When it comes to renewable energy, it’s not just about getting the energy — distribution and storage are also major issues. Renewable energy tends to be abundant during some parts of the day (for instance, when it’s sunny or windy), and lacking during other parts....

Solar Energy Largely Unscathed by Hurricane Floren...

In North Carolina, the #2 solar state, Florence was the first extreme weather test for much of its renewable energy. Nuclear and coal ash had flood problems. North Carolina gets nearly 5 percent of its electricity from solar panels. The state’s solar farms survived Hurricane Florence with little damage. Credit: Duke Energy Faced with Hurricane Florence’s powerful winds and record rainfall, North Carolina’s...

Energy efficiency is fundamentally undervalued, RM...

Dive Brief: A new paper by the cofounder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) seeks to challenge conventional wisdom when it comes to energy efficiency, positing that the size and cost of the potential resource base is much larger and cheaper than previously believed. The misunderstanding is fundamental, according to physicist Amory Lovins. By examining individual energy-consuming technologies, rather...

The Energy 202: Hurricane Florence blows hole in T...

Hurricane Florence has blown a hole in the Trump administration’s argument that bolstering nuclear and coal-fired power is essential to providing reliable electricity to homes and businesses, especially during times of crisis, according to energy experts long critical of the plan. For months, the Department of Energy has considered throwing a lifeline to that sector of the power market to make the electric grid more...

Utilities have a problem: the public wants 100% re...

Renewable energy is hot. It has incredible momentum, not only in terms of deployment and costs but in terms of public opinion and cultural cachet. To put it simply: Everyone loves renewable energy. It’s cleaner, it’s high-tech, it’s new jobs, it’s the future. And so more and more big energy customers are demanding the full meal deal: 100 percent renewable energy. The Sierra Club notes that so far in the US, more than 80...

Supersized solar farms are sprouting around the wo...

In a quest to cut the cost of clean electricity, power utilities around the world are supersizing their solar farms. Nowhere is that more apparent than in southern Egypt, where what will be the world’s largest solar farm — a vast collection of more than 5 million photovoltaic panels — is now taking shape. When it’s completed next year, the $4 billion Benban solar park near Aswan will cover an area 10 times bigger than New...

Cuyahoga’s solar farm nearly complete, first...

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The state’s first solar array built on a landfill is nearly complete and should begin generating power in test mode by the end of this month. Columbus-based IGS Solar developed the 4 megawatt (4 million watts) array on 17 acres it leased from the City of Brooklyn’s former 75-acre landfill. The array should go on-line in August. Cleveland Public Power is buying all of the output of the IGS...

Green Mountain Power utility credits big batteries...

MILTON, Vt. (WCAX) While other power companies were telling customers to reduce how much energy they used during the recent heat wave, Green Mountain Power was focused on a different tactic. For years, GMP has worked on creating a system of stored energy to rely on during peak energy days, and GMP Vice President Josh Castonguay says it worked like planned. Castonguay says to save money in Vermont, power was pulled from 500...

Tesla deploys first 100 Powerwalls with solar for ...

Earlier this year, Tesla announced that it reached a deal with the South Australian government to install solar arrays and Powerwalls on up to 50,000 homes to create the biggest virtual power plant in the world. The deal was jeopardized after a new government was elected in the state a few weeks later, but they have since come around and confirmed that they will be moving forward with Tesla’s initiative as long as it gets...

Ohio bill would relax wind setbacks — and clean en...

The bill drew criticism in latest hearings to change Ohio’s clean energy standards after they resumed last year. Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would relax the state’s strict wind turbine setbacks rules but again weaken renewable and energy efficiency standards. The Ohio Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled Wednesday to discuss House Bill 114, which threatens to roll back the state’s...

Q&A: Retired Air Force general on the need to...

A retired Air Force general talks with Midwest Energy News about his solar-powered Wisconsin home and the case for developing alternative liquid fuels. Energy was always on General Donald J. Hoffman’s mind, as a kid growing up in a big family in central Wisconsin, and in the Air Force where he was a pilot and managed Air Force weapon systems from bases around the world. As Hoffman explains it, energy has always been at the...

Ohio’s energy future: No time to waste

For years Ohio’s lack of a comprehensive, long-term energy policy has harmed our economy and our health by continuing our reliance on burning coal for electricity. Now we finally have a chance to move forward. During a 2-year legislative “freeze” on our energy efficiency and renewable energy progress, utility companies gamed the system, demanding that customers subsidize their old, outdated coal and nuclear plants, instead...

The Time Has Come for Battery Net Metering

 A proposal in California would reward solar customers who use batteries to export to the grid at night. Both industry and utilities like the idea. Net metering for stored solar power could open up new market interest in battery-paired systems. Net metering compensates solar customers for the power they contribute to the grid — but if they route the electrons through a battery, they’re out of luck. Utilities understandably...