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VOLUME

ISSUE

19

JULY/AUGUST 2016

1500 Volts
Corporate PPAs
Middle-East Market
Solar Jobs for Coal Workers
Solar + Storage Research

Energy Storage

Wind

Data Points

Geothermal

Australian
researchers make
inroads in storage
beyond lithium.

Mexico's renewable
energy market
remains a puzzle
worth unraveling.

Sustainable energy
in America hits
new highs.

Net-Zero in California
with geothermal
heating and cooling.

p. 29

p. 53

p. 40

p. 43

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contents

Solar panels
on the rooftop
of the Delta
Americas
Fremont
headquarters.
Credit: Delta.

43

features

Equinix
HPE
Switch

1.18

23
SOLAR

What Is Driving the


Middle East Solar
Market?
In a recent auction to build
the worlds largest solar
PV power plant, Masdar
entered a bid for US $0299
per kWh, the lowest price
ever paid for solar power.
Susan Kraemer

29

SOLAR AND WIND

37

0.56

Facebook
BD
Microsoft

IKEA
Yahoo
Walmart
Microsoft
Mars

Facebook
Cisco
Amazon
Amazon
Kaiser Permanente
Dow Chemical

Google

Google
Apple
Apple

Amazon

IKEA

Walmart
Kaiser Permanente
General Motors
Procter & Gamble
Google
Apple

SOLAR AND WIND

Renewable Energy
Training Opportunities
for Vets and Displaced
Fossil Energy Workers

Corporations Are
the New Drivers for
Renewable Energy
Growth

The work of installing and


maintaining wind and
solar could put hundreds
of thousands of people to
work. Jennifer Runyon

Looking to achieve
economic competitiveness
and sustainability goals,
corporations could purchase
up to 60 GW of renewable
energy capacity by 2025.
Jennifer Runyon

13
1607REW_1 1

ON THE COVER
Our solar issue explores
the myriad ways that
solar is exploding
globally.
Image Illustration:
Chris Hipp
RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

JULY/AUGUST 2016

6/21/16 7:48 AM

Environment

New nuclear plants are necessary to lessen the worlds dependence on fossil fuels,
to meet the needs of both developed and expanding economies, and to slow the
amount of CO2 emitted into our environment. NuScale Power has developed a
clean, reliable, carbon-free Small Modular Reactor technology. It has the smallest
environmental footprint of the technologies available today generating electricity.
It will play a significant role in meeting future demand in the U.S. and other nations
as part of a diverse energy portfolio. Environment: The Element of Nu.

NuScale Power
@NuScale_Power
@NuScale_UK
2016 NuScale Power, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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features
departments & columns

43

GEOTHERMAL

Going Net-Zero in California with


the Help of Geothermal
By accessing existing installer
knowledge, Delta was able to outfit its
Americas headquarters in California
with a geothermal exchange system that
supports the companys net-zero goal.

5 Editors Letter

40 Data Points

How Important is Policy?

6 Regional News
From the Global Renewable
Energy Industry

13 Solar

Sustainable Energy in America

53 Last Word
Mexicos Green Energy Puzzle

54 Advertisers index

The Solar Issue Begins

15 The Big Question


Is Your Company Prepared for
a 1500-Volt Solar Market?

Jennifer Delony

49

STORAGE

Battery and Biofuel Research


Energized by New State-of-theArt Facility Down Under
Ongoing research at the AINST, which
is headquartered at the new AU $150
million Sydney Nanoscience Hub, could
give us energy storage embedded in the
walls and roofs of buildings and much
more. Niall Byrne

On RenewableEnergyWorld.com
RenewableEnergyWorld.com and our social
media communities help you stay connected
to news, opinion and technology updates
from the renewable energy industry.
Visit us on the web to:
Follow us on Twitter @REWorld
Read todays featured article
Subscribe to our e-Newsletters
Purchase a market research report
Nominate a project for a Project of the Year Award

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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From t he Editor

PUBLISHER Stephanie Kolodziej


CHIEF EDITOR Jennifer Runyon
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jennifer Delony
PRODUCTION

ART DIRECTOR Kelli Mylchreest

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Mari Rodriguez


SENIOR ILLUSTRATOR Chris Hipp
AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT
MANAGER Emily Martin

AD SERVICES MANAGER Toni Pendergrass

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If renewables didnt have policy support, there wouldnt be much of


a market, so the saying goes. You only need to glance at Paula Mints
most recent report showing how the spread of the European Feed-in
Tariff (FIT) caused a spike in development activity to realize how policies manipulate markets.
I wonder however, if that is changing as more and more corporations get into the space. Major players like Amazon, Google and others are signing PPAs left and right. Our story on corporate PPAs gives
more insight into how these mechanisms work.
One reason that corporations are interested in PPAs is because of
economics. When Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) run the numbers
they realize that locking in electricity rates for the next 10, 15, 20 years
makes a lot of sense. Policy is a factor here because it is tax credits or
other incentives that help make PPA economics look so attractive.
But a second equally important reason is not driven by policy: public support. A recent Strom Report shows that in major industrialized
countries, renewables have approval ratings above 80 percent.
This uptick in corporate PPAs can be attributed to policy and public
support. The CFO wants the electricity rate-lock, the sustainability officer wants to reduce the carbon footprint of the organization, and the
marketing group wants renewables because they are viewed so favorably by the public. If technology costs keep dropping and public support of renewable energy keeps growing, that means that policy could
eventually step out of the picture with no detriment to the growth of
renewable energy.

Jennifer Runyon, Chief Editor


RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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REGIONAL

news

tovoltaic (PV) technology to the U.S. with a new team in Petaluma,

Mexico and
EU Launch
Geothermal
Research
Project

CA, and a manufacturing facility in Georgia to provide a system that

At the June Clean Energy Min-

is entirely made in the USA. Established in 2006 as a renewable Inde-

isterial Meeting, CarlosMoe-

pendent Power Producer, the companys system is an alternative to

das, European Commission-

ground- or roof-mounted solar PV.

er for Research, Science and

NORTH AMERICA

Floating Solar PV Company


Sets Up Shop in the US
Ciel et Terre announced that it is bringing its large-scale floating pho-

Ciel et Terres floating Hydrelio platform allows standard PV panels

Innovation, and Pedro Joaqun

to be installed on large man-made bodies of water such as industrial

Coldwell, Mexican Secretary of

reservoirs, dams or irrigation ponds. The company said this is espe-

Energy, announced that Euro-

cially valuable

pean and Mexican researchers

for energy and

will work together on tapping

water intensive

into new sources of geother-

industries such

mal energy. The project,

as water treat-

known as GEMex, was selected

ment plants

in a jointcalllaunched by the

and reclama-

European Union and Mexico.

tion facilities,

Credit: Ciel et Terre. wineries and

The EU and Mexico will


contribute equally to the 20

dairy farms that cannot afford to waste resources. The platform cre-

million project. The aim of

ates a new use for the surface area of commercial and industrial bod-

GEMex is to develop innova-

ies of water, which are typically unobscured from the sun, kept out

tive methods for accessing the

of sight and located near energy-intensive processes, according to the

earths vast resources of heat

company. Further, it says that by covering significant surface area on

now trapped in variable geo-

the body of water, the system conserves water by reducing evapora-

logical formations. The ulti-

tion, while the shading from its panels limits algae growth. In addi-

mate objective is to make this

tion, the solar panels operate more efficiently and produce more ener-

renewable energy source cost-

gy due to the natural cooling effect emitted through the water, said

effective and affordable both

the company.

for electricity and heat pro-

Ciel et Terre has designed and implemented over 40 megawatts

duction. The three-year proj-

(MW) of floating solar generation across 20 plants in Japan includ-

ect will adhere to the strictest

ing the worlds largest floating PV project under construction on the

environmental standards and

Yamakura Dam (with 50,904 floating solar panels).

address issues around social

The company has implemented projects in seven countries, including Japan, Korea, China, UK, France, Brazil, and the U.S.

acceptance of the technology,


according to the release. It is
set to begin in the fall of 2016.

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RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:46 AM

AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST

Kenyan Government Appoints Advisor


for Olkaria VI Geothermal Plant
The National Treasury in Kenya and KenGen have

interconnection of approximately 5 km (includ-

selected K&M Advisors to prepare a feasibility

ing the substation, switch gears and the associat-

study to establish the technical configuration and

ed facilities).

bankability of the 140-MW Olkaria VI geothermal

K&M will recommend the best PPP model and

power project. The firm will conduct a grid con-

advise KenGen on risk allocation and the contrac-

nection study and examine the grids ability to

tual structure, as well as prepare all necessary

accommodate additional power.

project agreements. Finally, K&M will prepare

The Olkaria VI power plant will be devel-

the request for qualifications and request for pro-

oped through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP)

posals, and advise KenGen through the procure-

arrangement. The private partner will help

ment process and proposal evaluation, as well as

design, finance, supply, construct, commis-

provide transaction advisory support through to

sion and maintain the plant, and build a grid

financial close.

Report: Emerging Markets More Attractive than


EU, US for Renewable Energy Investment
Almost without exception, Euro-

The report finds that Chile

their ambitions as they address

pean markets slipped while less

is one of the first markets to

the challenges of marrying up

mature markets across Latin

enable economically viable

increasingly mainstream renew-

America, Africa and Asia con-

renewables projects to compete

ables with a legacy of cen-

tinued their ascent in 2015,

directly with all other energy

tralized conventional power

revealed the latest edition of

sources. At the same time, Bra-

generation.

the EY Renewable Energy Coun-

zils renewables sector is show-

Ben Warren, EYs Glob-

try Attractiveness Index (RECAI)

ing resilience amid an economic

al Power & Utilities Corporate

report. Emerging markets now

downturn and its underdevel-

Finance Leader and RECAI Chief

represent half of the countries

oped solar market remains a

Editor, said in a press release:

in the 40-strong index, including

potentially lucrative lure. Mexi-

four African markets featuring

cos recent power auctions have

forming their energy industries

in the top 30. Ten years ago only

opened the door to multi-bil-

at an unprecedented pace. Last

China and India were attractive

lion dollar opportunities under a

year, renewable energy invest-

enough to compete with more

new liberalized energy market.

ments in the developing world

developed markets for renew-

Meanwhile, European coun-

able energy investment.

tries appear to be scaling back

Emerging markets are trans-

overtook those in the developed


world for the first time. Latin

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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REGIONAL

news

America, in particular, has become something of a litmus test for


how quickly markets can grow.
Argentina was the highest-scoring new entrant, the report shows.
The transformation of the countrys economy and rollout of an ambitious renewables program under its new pro-market government
brings it into the index in 19th position, and reinforces how quickly
new markets can redirect the focus of developers and investors.
Warren added: Markets earlier in their renewables journey are
benefiting from cheaper and more efficient technologies, lower cost

EUROPE

Modular Energy
Storage Heading
to Scotland
Wind Farm

of capital and more reliable resource forecasting. The increasing-

Two contract-manufactured, con-

ly global flow of capital proves that investors are becoming more

tainerized vanadium flow battery

comfortable with new markets. We can expect to see massive

energy storage systems produced

deployment of low carbon investment in developing markets.

by redT energy plc were recently shipped to the Power Networks

To hear from experts about renewable energy investment opportunities in

Demonstration Centre (PNDC) in

Africa, watch the replay of the June 27 RenewableEnergyWorld.com webcast:

Cumbernauld, Scotland.Working

High-Yield Investment Opportunities in the African Renewable Energy Sector.

alongside the Scottish Department


of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)
at PNDCs University of Strathclyde

Saudi Companies Front Runners


for 170-MW Noor PV 1 Renewable
Program In Morocco

site, the units will be subjected to

On 23rd May, The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), conduct-

islands 1-MW wind farm.

ed a public bid opening of its 170-MW Noor PV 1 solar power plant.


According to sources close to MASEN, three leading Saudi com-

data analysis and performance


benchmarking before being transported to the Scottish Isle of Gigha,
where they will be coupled with the
The project itself will eventually comprise 1.68-MW of storage in

panies including, ACWA Power, FRV (a subsidiary of Abdul Latif

the form of seven 15kW/240kWh

Jameel) and Alfanar, submitted the top three proposals for the

units connected in series. redTs

plant, which is to be constructed in Morocco.

units were selected for this remote

The multi-currency tariffs submitted by these companies were in

location, which has limited grid

the proximity of 6 US cents/kWh, a tariff which is a record low in North

connection, due totheir ability to

African markets, said the source who preferred to remain anonymous.

balance variable generation from

There is a huge demand for electricity across the region, particularly in the Northern Africa nations consisting of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Morocco, in particular, has already set
forth a promising set of projects.
With its financial reserves and power sector expertise, and with

renewable sources and their ability


to time-shift excess generation.
The Gigha energy storage system is funded by DECC and redT
is working alongside project part-

the support from the government, companies from Saudi Arabia

ners; Scottish and Southern Ener-

have recently bid on various renewable projects in the Middle East

gy (SSE), EA Technology Ltd., Com-

and North African markets, and in most cases, have been awarded

munity Energy Scotland (CES) and

these projects.

Gigha Green Power Ltd. (GGPL).

The project is set to achieve its financial close in the Q4 of 2016.


8

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RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:47 AM

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REGIONAL

news

Worlds Largest Biomass CHP Plant


To Help Power Central Stockholm
The worlds largest biomass combined heat and

Transportation of the biomass fuel from the port to

power power (CHP) plant was inaugurated in Vr-

the power plant is provided by a 1km-long under-

tan, Stockholm in May. The plant will be used pri-

ground conveyor.

marily for the production of heat and electricity

The city of Stockholm has a goal of being carbon

for the city. Fortum AB will operate the plant and

neutral by 2030 and hopes to be completely fossil-

Doosan koda Power (DSPW) supplied the 154-MW

fuel-free for heating and power by 2040. This plant

turbo generator.

is a milestone on its way to achieve these goals.

A substantial portion of the building that hous-

The Fortum plant showcases how the use of

es the project is carved into the rock and the regen-

wood waste for power production reduces CO2

erative turbine system and district heater, sup-

emissions. This plant will reduce CO2 emissions in

plied by DSPW, are located 15 meters below ground.

Stockholm by 126,000 tons/year.

ASIA PACIFIC

Indian Solar Installations in First 5 Months


of 2016 Exceed All of Previous Year
Mercom Capital Group forecasts solar installations in India
to total approximately 5 GW for
2016. Cumulative solar installations in India crossed the 7.5 GW
mark as of May 2016 with about

India Solar Installations


Annual
installations (MW)

Cumulative
installations (MW)

10,000

9015

20,000

8,000

2.2 GW installed so far this year,

6,000

more than all of solar installed

4,000

5068

with approximately 13 GW under


construction and 9 GW in the
Request for Proposal process.
Raj Prabhu, Mercom CEO

2,000
0

12

172

2009

2010

2011

986

1004

2012

2013

5,000

883
2014

15,000
10,000

2133

in 2015. Indias solar project pipeline has now surpassed 22 GW

25,000

2015

2016 2017
Forecast

Chart showing India solar installations. Credit: Mercom.

remarked that solar and infrastructure have not kept pace

At the end of FY2015-16, solar

source in the country, said Mer-

with auction announcements

represented 2.5 percent of the

com. Solar accounted for 17.4 per-

and wondered if growing from a

net installed capacity in India, up

cent of all renewable energy gen-

2-GW annual market to 9-GW is

from 1.4 percent one year prior. It

eration in FY2015-16 compared to

too much too fast.

is the fastest growing new energy

10.5 percent in FY2014-15.

10

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REGIONAL

news

Low bidding levels through reverse auctions are a major con-

cern at a time when the Indian banking sector is going through its
own challenges, potentially making borrowing more difficult in the
short-term, said Mercom. According to Reserve Bank of India data,
bank loans worth Rs.7 lakh crore (~$103 b) were under stress as of
the end of 2015. Currently, 19 developers have bid for 2.9 GW of solar
projects below Rs.5 (~$0.0735) and about 1.2 GW of these projects
have signed power purchase agreements. On a slightly positive note,

LATIN AMERICA

Brazils Distributed
Generation
Sector Growing
Exponentially

the lowest tariff of Rs.4.34 (~$0.0638) seems to have been an outlier


with subsequent auctions coming in at Rs.4.66 (~$0.0685) or more.
There is no set rule which says tariffs below Rs.5 (~$0.0735)

Distributed generation connections grew by 308 percent in Brazil

cannot be financed. Some banks are seriously looking at projects

in 2015, according to the Nation-

in the Rs.4.5-5 (~$0.0662-0.0735) tariff range, but financing depends

al Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL),

on sound project economics, borrower credibility, a strong balance

Brazils top energy regulator.

sheet and the developers ability to service debt, said Prabhu.

Brazil doubled its solar targets


for both utility-scale and distributed generation in January. The 2024

Polyurethane Wind Turbine


Blades Made in China
The first polyurethane rotor blade for wind turbines in Asia was

target under the official 10-year


energy plan is for 7 GW of utilityscale solar and 1.32 GW of distributed PV installations.
A new distributed generation

recently unveiled by Covestro at the Shanghai FRP Research Insti-

program in Brazil, ProGD, was

tute. The 37.5-meter rotor blade, designed for a 1.5-MW turbine,

launched by Brazils Ministry of

was fabricated with a special polyurethane infusion resin from

Mines and Energy (MME) and is

Covestro and glass fiber mats from Chongqing Polycomp Inter-

aimed at encouraging consumers

national. A vacuum pressure infusion system with continuous

to generate their own power from

degassing, developed by process technology specialist HBERS,

renewable energy, with a particu-

was used to produce the rotor blade.

lar emphasis on solar energy.

Kim Klausen, global head of the Wind Energy Program at

According to the MME, by 2030

Covestro, said in a release that the new material is proof of the

roughly 2.7 million Brazilian con-

performance and cost advantages of polyurethanes over epoxy

sumers could have distributed

resins in wind power generation.

generation installations either on

The resin was developed in close collaboration between the

private residences, in industrial

Covestro Wind Competence Center in Denmark and the Polymer

setups or in the agricultural sec-

Research Development Center (PRDC) of Covestro in Shanghai.

tor. This would be the equivalent of

Covestro researcher Dr. Chenxi Zhang presented the new devel-

23.5 GW of clean energy capacity.

opment at the China Summit Forum 2016 for International Wind

The country predicts that 18

Power Composite Materials in Zhejiang in April. He explained

percent of Brazilian homes will

to the more than 500 wind power experts the advantages of the

host PV systems by 2050. These

polyurethane system and the progress Covestro has made work-

installations would meet approxi-

ing together with glass fiber suppliers, process engineering part-

mately 13 percent of the countrys

ners and rotor blade manufacturers.

electricity demand.

12

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RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:47 AM

The Renewable
Energy World
Solar Issue
Solar is experiencing incredible growth globally. Our annual
solar issue looks at the particularly hot topics of the year.

15
23
29
37

Our Big Question examines the 1500V solar


market. While its been widely used in Europe,
1500V solar is just arriving in the U.S. and we ask
companies how they are preparing for a highervoltage solar market.

Middle Eastern solar energy bids are coming in


staggeringly low. Solar power at less than 3 US cents
per kWh? Well examine whats behind these recordbreaking low bids and see if they are sustainable.

Solar and wind training opportunities


are available for those trained in fossil energy
technologies. We showcase how displaced coal and oil
workers can learn some new tricks.

Corporate renewable energy procurement


hit a new high in 2015. Why are so many companies
signing power purchase agreements for renewable
energy output? How do these deals work? Our feature
answers these questions and more.

Dont forget to check RenewableEnergyWorld.com for up-to-date news and


information about the global solar industry. Want the news delivered to your
inbox? Subscribe to our twice-weekly solar e-newsletter and check out our
other weekly e-newsletters here.
Image Illustration: Chris Hipp
RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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The Big Question

Key executives weigh in on worldwide renewable energy issues

Is Your Company Prepared for


a 1500-volt Solar Market?
For utility-scale solar projects, the move to 1500 volts means that overall project installations costs
will be less because fewer balance of system (BOS) parts will be required and labor will be reduced.
How are product manufacturers, installers, project developers and other stakeholders preparing
for the switch? Have they rolled out new products and services? Do they plan to in the future?
Explore how prepared the solar industry is for higher-voltage PV plants
by reading the responses to this months big question: Is your company
prepared for a 1500-volt solar market? Why or why not?

Tom Tansey

SunSpec Alliance

FROM DATA COMMUNICATION and finance standard perspectives, the move to


1500V should be seamless.
Standards in the communication area (e.g. IEC 61850, IEEE 1815, IEEE
2030.5 and SunSpec over Modbus) are the same. The advanced inverter functions being introduced to IEEE 1547 (e.g. frequency/voltage regulation, reactive
power control, etc.) to manage rooftop systems are likewise the same for utility-scale. Differences exist in system management approaches (on-site personnel for utility scale vs. off-site personnel for rooftop), but the underlying infrastructure (i.e. protocols, tools) for both segments is similar.
Finance standards are somewhat different for utility-scale, but here the
rooftop segment is catching up, which means no disadvantage for 1500 volts.
The SunSpec Alliance is engaged with the U.S. DOE SunShot program on the
Orange Button initiative to ensure financing standards remain consistent for
all market sectors.
In safety standards, the overlap between 1500-volt systems and rooftop systems is minimal. At utility scale, and assuming inherent safety concerns are
mitigated, the benefits of 1500-volt systems are obvious (higher efficiency, longer
string runs, smaller conductors) and therefore adoption should be strong.

TMEIC is prepared for the 1500V solar market as demonstrated by our recent
release of the worlds first 1500VDC PV inverter certified to UL1741. This
development is an exciting step in the shift to higher DC voltages as it allows

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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15

6/21/16 7:45 AM

The Big Question

the market to enjoy the associated cost reductions of higher voltages while maintaining the safety of installing UL
certified equipment.TMEICs experience in other medium- and high-voltage industries gave us the background
necessary to understand the risk factors that are inherent in the 1500V PV market and to design solar inverters
Andy Fioramonti that are reliable, safe, and cost effective.By achieving the
TMEIC Renewable UL1741 certification in the 1500V version of our Samurai
Energy
series of inverters, TMEIC has removed one of the largest
hurdles in the advancement of the 1500VDC PV market.

Applied Energy Technologies (AET) has a strong foundation in the industry and we have been involved in many
1500-voltsystem designs recently. The 1500-volt system
reduces costs as compared to a traditional 1000-volt system by reducing component counts across the project.
String sizes can be increased by nearly 50 percent, thus
Aaron Faust
reducing wiring, equipment and labor costs. System archiApplied Energy
tecture in all of AETs products is flexible, so the 1500-volt
Technologies
system allows AET to propose multiple array configurations geared toward cost and size optimization of the array
field.Through this, we have been able to reduce material
and save cost by a penny per watt in some cases. It may not seem like a lot,
but for projects over 100 MW, this can equate to $1 million in savings.

The move to 1500-volt system voltages is an effort to reduce


costs at a system level by deploying PV systems with fifty
percent longer strings and one-third fewer electrical balance-of-system (EBOS) components. Ampt String Optimizers are already achieving greater value in 1000-volt systems
than 1500-volt systems without Ampt by doubling the string
Mark Kanjorski
lengths and removing half of the EBOS components.
Ampt
Early adopters of 1500-volt systems are dealing with
higher component costs and limited product availability as well as the complexities of new codes and standards associated with this higher voltage. Ampt is assisting with this transition by providing bridging technology that allows 1500-volt inverters to
deliver their full rated output power in 1000-volt systems using Ampt String
Optimizers and 1000-volt components. Getting full power from a 1500volt inverter in a 1000-volt system lowers the inverter cost per watt in
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RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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The Big Question

addition to the EBOS savings that Ampt provides.


Ampt is also working with developers, EPCs and 1500-volt component
manufacturers so that as higher voltage components are more economical
and widely available, they can be used with Ampt String Optimizers in 1500volt systems to achieve an additional fifty percent reduction in EBOS components compared to systems without Ampt.

Armand
Ananda

Socomec

While 1,000 VDC is still prevalent in the U.S. in PV application; European customers are already demanding products that can handle 1500 VDC as permitted under IEC
rules. Today SOCOMEC offers its UL98B listed Sirco PV
switches for up to 1500 VDC. This offers an immediate
opportunity for cost-reduction in utility-scale PV systems
by enabling longer strings and fewer combiner boxes, less
wiring, less trenching, and therefore less labor.
In addition, the company offers its NEW 1500 VDCrated INOSYS LBS multi-polar load break switches that

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17

6/21/16 7:45 AM

The Big Question

include a tripping function for PV distribution applications requiring high


reliability, compliance with multiple standards, and suitability for safety
applications such as firefighter emergency disconnects.

Tigos value proposition is clear. Our TS4 platform works


with all major inverter and module manufacturers globally. TS4 gives installers a greater degree of control over
what they want and need for any project. Tigos TS4 design
platform has been extended to support up to 1500V PV system design, which can further reduce installation time,
Zvi Alon
system components, wiring and other BOS costs.
Tigo
Technically, raising the system voltage to 1500V allows
for 50 percent longer strings, which eliminates 33 percent of the combiners and wiring in a system. The longer
string enables a higher inverter input voltage, which supports an increase
in the inverters rated output power by 40 to 70 percent. With its currently shipping Long String feature, Tigo further improves the customer benefits
beyond the 1500-volt capability.
Since Tigo architected its products well, it never was a technical barrier for Tigo system to work on 1500V requirement; it was code restrictions
and now we are in the midst of ANSI/UL 1741, EN/IEC 62109 certification
expected Q2- Q3.

C.J. Colavito

Director of
Engineering,
Standard Solar

The 1500 V DC systems have been standard in Europe for


years, so as a leading commercial developer with deep technical expertise, we at Standard Solar are happy to see it finally make its way to the U.S. We plan to seize this opportunity
for our ground-mount projects once materials and products
are readily available. At the moment, its not a solution we
can deploy because listed materials are not readily available.
No one can argue that this solution wouldnt substantially reduce material and labor costs. But the industry
will have to educate AHJs (authorities having jurisdiction)
on what it means so they accept the DC voltage increase
prior to widespread deployment.

1500 volt technology is one main direction in which Sungrow is heading. As a


PV inverter manufacturer with shipments approaching 8.9 GW in 2015, Sungrow currently has products of 1500 volts including the SG3000HV-MV.
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RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:45 AM

Designed to be grid-friendly with full grid support,


including LVRT, OVRT, FRT and power curtailment, the
SG3000HV-MVs active power is adjustable from 0 to 110
percent and its reactive power control with power factor
can be adjusted from 0.8 leading to 0.8 lagging. Moreover,
it has nighttime reactive power compensation capability
Daniel Liu
and intelligent control which is compatible with multiple
Sungrow
regional utility standards.
In the future, Sungrow will strengthen its advantage in
the technology of 1500 volts and offer better products, solutions and services to customers.

You might say ABB has been preparing for the 1500 V solar market for more
than 40 years. At SPI 2015, ABB introduced its newest utility scale inverter,
the PVS980, specifically designed for the 1500-volt solar market. The PVS980
1500 V central inverter leverages more than 40 years of ABBs industrial frequency converter business technology where the power electronics and control

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The Big Question

technologies have been designed for the most demanding environments. So it is no surprise that we believe the
PVS980 has some of the best power electronics and control
innovations on the market today. What makes the PVS980
unique is its self-contained cooling system. This innovative, truly low-maintenance cooling solution is designed
Jani Kangas
for demanding applications and harsh environments, cutABB
ting O&M costs and ensuring outstanding endurance and
reliability. These technologies have enabled us to design
a rugged, NEMA 4x product with high power density and
thermal management without compromise. ABB is well prepared to help its
customers lead the way and take full advantage of the 1500 V solar market.

John Vernacchia

Eaton

As voltages increase in solar applications, it becomes


more challenging to manage DC current. Eaton has extensive experience in managing DC circuits inother high
voltage DC environments such asrail systemsandsteel
mills.Currently, Eaton offers fuses, disconnect switches
and combiner boxes for 1500-volt solar applicationsglobally.Were also actively developing additional solutions for
circuit protection, collections systems,invertersand other
EBOS solutions.

1500 V PV systems will allow solar arrays to achieve higher levels of performance with lower capital costs and greater installation efficiencies. However, it does require redesign and recertification of array electrical components to
meet the higher voltage level. We have been introducing
products in our BOS electrical component ranges to meet
Daniel J. Sylawa this requirement.
Phoenix Contact
Beyond the certification, 1500 V PV systems will also
USA
intensify O&M challenges that are frequently encountered
due to poor array electrical installation practices. These
include poor field crimping of PV connectors, the use of
incompatible PV connectors from different manufacturers, and short string
fuse life due to self-heating. Our product designs have also evolved to address
these O&M challenges, including tool-less spring clamp connector designs
that uniquely mate only to themselves and inline fuses that allow installation
in the free air outside of combiner boxes.

20

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6/21/16 7:46 AM

SOLAR

What Is Driving the Middle


East Solar Market?
In a recent auction
to build the worlds
largest solar PV power
plant, Masdar entered
a bid for US $.0299 per
kWh, which would be
the lowest price ever
paid for solar power.
SUSAN KRAEMER, Contributor

With regard to solar project


development PPA prices, normally, it is local deployment over
time that gradually gets solar

prices down. But the Middle East has only just begun to
deploy solar. So what is behind Masdars bid for Phase III of
the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park
in Dubai at the worlds-lowest-ever 2.99 US cents?

Competitive Spirit
Oxford University Middle East Energy Expert Justin Dargin
said partly it is the result of competitive auctions. In Dubai,
as in other new solar markets in South Africa, Mexico and
Chile, solar is not paid a set tariff.
There has been a conceptual shift in the renewable energy sector. Governments prefer tenders over feed-in-tariffs,
Dargin explained. Auctions shift costs from governmental
budgets to developers. Using auction-based renewable bidding; the offtaker; state-owned Dubai Electricity and Water
Authority (DEWA) will be able to grow the project to its ultimate stated goal by 2030 of 5 GW.
Another factor in Masdars 2.99 per kWh
solar bid for the Phase III 200 MW was suggested by Former Masdar co-founder/director Steven Geiger, now a partner at the U.S.
investment firm Innova Partners.
Masdars startling bid followed last
years loss to Saudi-based ACWA Power
whose winning bid for Phase II was at a
then-record 5.85 cents, he said. Masdar is
closely tied to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,
the sister Emirate to Dubai.
Masdar probably assumed Abu Dhabis
close ties with Dubai would mean a sure
win at a nice profit. Losing to ACWA by a
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al
Maktoum inaugurates the second phase of the
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
Credit: Government of Dubai.
RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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JULY/AUGUST 2016

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6/21/16 2:12 PM

solar

The 27th meeting of Dubai Supreme


Council of Energy aligned Dubai
Integrated Energy Strategy 2030
with UAE Vision 2021. Credit:
Government of Dubai.

very large margin likely motivated this much lower bid.


They wanted to ensure the
win this time.

Royal Finance
As a subsidiary of Abu Dhabis sovereign wealth fund,
Mubadala, Masdar benefits from government ownership. FGB, the financing bank
is also owned by the ruling
family.
Were already in an abnormally low global interest rate
environment, but a government can borrow at extremely
low prices, Geiger explained.
Ruling-family solar support
will likely replicate oil support, Dargin said. In the Gulf
region, the oil sector is dominated by state-owned national
oil companies. Banks offered
low project finance rates to
state-owned companies.
Many governments in the
Gulf now view renewable
24

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JULY/AUGUST 2016

development as a strategic goal,


and provide low-cost funding to
their solar sector, he said.
Like any new technology, solar initially paid higher
finance costs than traditional
energy; resulting in higher prices. As more has been deployed,
banking sector confidence has increased, reducing these costs
worldwide. But in Dubai, solar finance rates are now about as
low as those for natural gas and even lower than for coalfired projects.
The financial sector is beginning to take notice of Dubais
record-setting solar price; below coal-fueled power generation,
Dargin said. If these low solar prices can be maintained, with
acceptable return on investment, then we could see even lower
solar prices in the future, with regional financial institutions
developing an appetite to fund them.

Dangerously Low?
Geiger cautioned against assuming Masdars price is a new norm
outside the Gulf states, however.
I think the limbo bar is set so low that a lot of backs are going
to be broken trying to get under it, said Geiger. That happened
in Jordan. Companies underbid just to survive, and then couldnt
execute. Some short-term damage can be done as people try to
match unrealistic results. Projects were set back and solar got a
black eye.
Geiger built Masdars PV factory in Germany, among the fallen
in the big solar shakeout of 2012. He is leery of too-rosy expectations based on these startling prices.
The risk is extrapolating that sub-3 cents is the new price of
solar and its not, he said. Its the price of solar that is largely government owned; at very low borrowing cost, in a country
with no income tax or corporate tax.
Today, First Solar is the only U.S. firm competing in the

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 2:12 PM

solar

region but there is nothing holding back other firms


from participating, according
to Moritz Borgmann, a partner in the cleantech advisory,
Apricum. SunPower made
a deliberate decision not to
participate. But they certainly have the opportunity
in this and future tenders. They chose not to, said
Borgmann.
The low bidders were
Saudi, Chinese or French
firms, with five bids lower
than ACWA Powers historic
5-cent bid last year. Frances
EDF with Qatars Nebras

Power bid 4.8 cents, Frances Engie (GDF Suez) and Japans Marubeni bid 4.4 cents, First Solar/ACWA Power bid 3.96 cents and
Jinko Solar bid 3.69 cents.

Fossil fuel Prices


All five lowest bids are lower than current fossil energy alternatives. Coal in Dubai costs 4.5 cents per kWh, and natural gas,
which must be imported from Qatar, is substantially higher. Jordan and most Gulf countries must import expensive coal or natural gas for electricity.
Surprisingly, many Middle East nations have no oil wealth.
Of the seven Emirates making up the UAE, only Abu Dhabi
is a major oil exporter. It holds a 97 billion-barrel oil reserve,
while Dubai has only four. The remaining five Emirates have
none. Like Jordan, Morocco and Egypt, these are the countries
that are going ahead with renewables, because they dont have
domestic fossil resources, said Borgmann.
Meanwhile, the oil exporting nations Saudi Arabia and Abu

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1607REW_25 25

6/21/16 2:12 PM

solar

Dhabi are in crisis.


The extremely low oil
price over the past two years
has caused enormous financial distress in Middle Eastern energy-rich countries,
Dargin said. So the goal is to

ministry has been developed to mitigate infighting amongst


the various ministries that impeded development of energybased projects before.
Ministers who resisted the reformation of the energy prices
were removed from their positions or placed in other roles. This
indicates the sincerity of the government to restructure its economy and energy sector. The new energy ministry will have significant streamlined decision-making ability to see solar energy
projects moving forward.
Saudis new initial 9.5 GW
goal is a better start: The new
goals are rational, with a recognition of the current limitations,
and the political will to rectify them. With the major shakeup and economic restructuring,
Saudi Arabia can now devote
Dubai Supreme Council of Energy Vice Chairman visits the Mohammed
more attention and political will
bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. Credit: Government of Dubai.
to meet its solar energy goals,
Dargin said.
produce renewable energy for
Geiger agreed that its likely that the Saudis could develop
domestic consumption, prelocal industry with solar manufacturing. In Germany, Masdar
serving exports for abroad; to
learned the challenges of manufacturing in a fast-changing highreduce the burden on the govtech industry and found investment and project development to
ernmental budgets.
be a better fit, he said.
But Saudi Arabia has a very different industrial profile
New Saudi Determination
and desperately needs jobs, with a 30 percent youth unemployYears ago, Dargin predictment rate.
ed that the Saudis would not
Saudi Arabias Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) is part of Abu Dhabis
be able to execute on their
winning consortium led by Masdar. ALJ acquired French solar
ambitious 2010 stated goal of
developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) last year. Mas43 GW of solar. But that has
dar and ALJ/FRV will build 200 MW and possibly all 800 MW
changed, partly due to the
to be announced of Phase III, owning and operating it for the
now-desperate situation for
25-year contract with DEWA, the offtaker.
oil exporters.
The Gulf states already have high irradiance, extremely low
This is not the Saudi Araland costs, extremely low-cost labor, favorable loan rates, and
bia of even a few years ago,
low tax regimes. With Saudi Arabia restructuring its solar enerhe explained. Due to resisgy policy landscape, Abu Dhabis manufacturing lessons learned
tance by certain ministries,
and refocus on investment, and Dubais trailblazing of competisolar had been held back.
tive auctions in the region, the Middle East is now uniquely posiBut a new energy mega
tioned to be the worlds new low price solar leader.
26

1607REW_26 26

JULY/AUGUST 2016

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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The Photovoltaic Manufacturer Shipments: Capacity,


Price and Revenues report provides an analysis of quantitative shipment, capacity, and module price data for
the supply side of the terrestrial photovoltaic industry. This report has been published annually since 1975.
It focusses on the most recent two years of supply side
activity also forecasting the next five years of crystalline and thin film shipments. The manufacturer shipment section updates long-term regional shipment
history, crystalline and thin film shipments and market shares, cumulative manufacturing histories, and
manufacturing capacities useful in management analysis of the industry. The subject of industry price behavior is covered in a separate chapter. The report also
includes a chapter with analysis on the leading manufacturers in terms of shipments for 2014 and 2015.
Manufacturers covered in this report produce technology as
cells, cells to modules, and thin film panels. Module assemblers that buy cells from technology manufacturers and assemble into modules are considered demand side participants and though shipments for this group are not analyzed
in this report, the
chapter on price
include a discussion
Unmatched
&will
Unbiased
about the pricing and buying behavior of this population.
Analysis for Solar Professionals.
It is well known that the PV industry has been experiencing a
Good work
is hard
to find.
period of consolidation.
Table
1.1
provides examples of the
c-Si cell and thin
n film pane
p
panel
el manufacturers whose shipment
in-formation was used to prepare this report, some of which
may no longer be producing technology in 2016. This list
is not exhaustive and is meant to provide a representative
overview of cell and thin film manufacturing participation.
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1607REW_28 28

6/21/16 7:48 AM

WIND, SOL AR

Renewable Energy Training


Opportunities for Vets and
Displaced Fossil Energy Workers
The gritty get-your-hands-dirty work of
installing and maintaining wind and solar energy
equipment could put hundreds of thousands
of people to work all over the world.
JENNIFER RUNYON, Chief Editor

The booming renewable energy industry is not only helping


the world transition away from fossil fuels, its also providing
job opportunities for people who are in most need of them.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in May awarded

$10 Million to 10 different


projects through its Solar
Training and Education for
Professionals (STEP) program, which was created to
help meet the solar industrys growing demand for

Transitioning veterans at Camp Pendleton in


California receive hands on experience working
with solar panels in the bases first Solar Ready
Vets cohort. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy.

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

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6/21/16 7:44 AM

well-qualified, highly skilled


installers and other industryrelated professionals.
Solar jobs in the U.S. are
growing eight to ten times
faster than jobs in the overall economy, mostly due to
the falling costs of the technology and the extension of
tax credits available to help
fund projects. This winter
the industry announced that
there were more than 1 million solar installations in the
country today and in just two
years that number will double to 2 million.

Solar for Vets


One sector of the workforce
DOE hopes to boost is military veterans. As part of the
STEP program, the Solar
Foundation (TSF), known for
its National Solar Jobs Census, was awarded just shy
of $2 million to become the
national administrator for the
Solar Ready Vets program.
TSF will work with training institutions at ten military bases to train more than
2,500 transitioning military
service members and veterans for jobs in the solar energy industry. The program
allows exiting military personnel to pursue civilian job
training, employment skills
training, apprenticeships and
internships up to 6 months
prior to their separation date.
30

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JULY/AUGUST 2016

HTL Services, a traditional oil and gas training organization is now offering
a MJI 32 Wind Turbine Bolted Connections Course. Credit: HTL Services.

Oil and Gas Workers To Wind Installation Technicians


To meet the groundswell of demand from potential wind turbine technicians, one UK-based oil and gas training company is
now offering wind training courses that are Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) approved. HTL Training Services, based in Northumberland, announced in May that
it had begun offering the MJI 31 and MJI 32 Wind Turbine Bolted Connections Course, its first dedicated training course for the
renewable energy industry.
At the last rough count there were 79 million bolted connections
in the wind industry, said Andy Elrod, Lead Technical Trainer.
He added: And youve got this huge pool of manpower from the oil
and gas industry that have got a very, very high skill set. who are
able to work in challenging, robust conditions. Youve got a readymade workforce for the wind industry right there.
Elrod, who came from the oil and gas sector, said that HTL
decided to offer a dedicated renewable energy course because of
demand. Were seeing a lot of interest in renewables now especially coming [from people who want] to do the more technical,
more specialist bolting solutions on a wind turbine, he said.
Elrod said the MJI 31 and 32 for wind course is aimed at new
entrants or people transferring skills.
HTL Training Services entrance in the wind industry is a
clear reflection of the momentum that renewables have in the
global market. This was a natural progression, said Fogerty.

Coal and Oil Workers to Solar Installers


According to Richard Lawrence, former Executive Director of
the North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:44 AM

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6/21/16 7:44 AM

Wind, Sol ar

(NABCEP), there are some


basic similarities between
working in oil or coal and
installing solar.
One of the things solar
installation requires is the
same sort of mindset that
someone working in the coal
or oil industry might have,
which is being out in the elements, being able to use tools
and putting in a hard days
work in the field, he said.
NABCEP provides testing and qualification services
to installers who have completed classroom and on-thejob training. The organization also received DOE money
(about US $1M) to develop
new industry-validated personnel certifications for individuals working in PV O&M
and mid-scale PV system
design and installation.
Lawrence said that field
experience is a huge benefit for someone transitioning
from the fossil industry to the
renewable industry. In talking to employers, that is one
of the hardest things to translate from the training environment into the real world,
he said. In the classroom you
can learn some of the basics
and theory but rarely do trainees understand what it means
to work on a roof all day.

The Power+ Initiative


Recognizing that coal
32

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JULY/AUGUST 2016

Transitioning veterans at Fort Carson in Colorado receive hands on


experience working with solar panels in the bases first Solar Ready Vets
cohort. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy.

workers are losing their jobs, the Obama Administration in 2015


launched the Power Plus (Power+) initiative and set aside $38M
to fund it. The three-year program has so far released about
$12M according to Byron Zuidema, a Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Employment and Training at the Department of Labor (DOL).
That leaves about $26M available for communities who are being
hit hard by coals downturn. The program allows communities
with affected coal workers to apply for money to help retrain coal
workers for other jobs.
It really is up to the communities to identify what the growing
jobs are, said Zuidema.
He said that the renewable energy companies with job openings ought to be talking to communities through their state and
local workforce boards and, at the very least, posting their job
openings there. Further, they could be working on a more strategic level with communities to help them understand that renewable energy jobs are good, local jobs in a sector that is growing.
Zuidema said that these job training opportunities exist even
beyond hard-hit coal communities.
The employment and training organization funds every state
in the union which then in turn sub-funds a variety of local

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Wind, Sol ar

organizations across the country to manage what we call


American Job Centers, he
said. These job centers exist to
help communities put people
to work.
Within theWorkforce
Investment Opportunity Act
there is the whole concept
of the development of sector strategies, explained
Zuidema.
Zuidema imagined a situation in which a local job
board might say Ok, we
see this emerging renewable
energy sector, we are aware
there are employers, were
aware there are jobs and so
we want to work with them.
At that point the board might
decide to work with community colleges and training organizations and put
together a network so they
can find people looking for
new job opportunities, do
some assessments with them,
determine if they need certain training or credentialing,
get them trained and eventually get them a job in the
renewable energy sector.
There are frankly, hundreds of millions of dollars
available across the U.S. for
retraining opportunities,
according to Zuidema.
Leadership at growing
renewable energy companies
should get in touch with the
American Job Centers (find
34

1607REW_34 34

JULY/AUGUST 2016

one at DOLETA.gov, click on Career Onestop and type in a zip


code) to make sure the boards are aware that renewable energy is a growing sector. The same is true for local boards, who
should be on the lookout for industries that already need workers
or will need them in the future.

Matching Markets to Job Opportunities


Its important to keep in mind that the transition to renewables
is slow and will take time. NABCEPs Lawrence is quick to point
out that it would be foolish to set up solar training programs for
displaced coal workers in regions where there isnt a strong solar
market.
Historically, coal-producing areas have had cheaper power
prices and therefore less of a solar market, he said, explaining you certainly dont want to go train a bunch of coal workers in an area where power prices are still very low, there are no
state incentives and there are no leasing companies doing [solar]
installation work there.
On the other hand, we know that today almost all new energy capacity that is being built is wind and solar with a smaller
fraction coming from gas. As coal plants retire or it becomes too
expensive to retrofit them with mandated environmental controls, new capacity will need to come online and that capacity
will likely be renewables. In May, traditionally coal-focused utility American Electric Power (AEP) put out a request for information (RFI) for up to 900 MW of wind and solar power capacity and specifically called out a desire to receive information on
potential projects in Appalachia.
If anybody is looking to develop solar training programs
for these displaced workers, they do need to make sure that
there is an industry there and there is a pretty good chance that
that industry is going to be growing in that region, cautioned
Lawrence.
Perhaps Appalachian communities in partnership with a
renewable energy company could work together to respond to
AEPs RFI and use DOL grant money to train hundreds of workers
in the field of renewable energy.
Zuidema summed it up nicely.
Its really a matter of [renewable energy companies] showing
up and saying here we are, we understand you are in the business of finding people and making sure they have some training,
were in the business of hiring, lets get together.

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:44 AM

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WIND, SOL AR

Corporations Are the New Drivers


for Renewable Energy Growth
Looking to achieve economic competitiveness
first and sustainability goals second, corporations
could be responsible for up to 60 GW of
renewable energy capacity by 2025.
JENNIFER RUNYON, Chief Editor

In mid-May, The Dow Chemical


Company said that it was raising
its 2025 corporate clean energy
target from 400 MW to 750 MW.
Launched in 2015, Dows original
2025 sustainability goals included
using 400 MW of clean power but
after meeting the target in just

one year, Dow reset the goal to 750 MW. The company said it
is the first company in the U.S. to power manufacturing sites
with renewable energy at this scale.
NRGs Erik Linden declined to disclose the price Dow will
pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh) or the financial terms of the
deal. He said that NRGs deal with Dow will be solely wind
but that NRG has similar solar power purchase agreements
(PPAs) with Whole Foods and Unilever.
Dows announcement is not unusual.
According to a May 2016 report from law
firm Orrick, from 2012 to 2015, contracted capacity under corporate PPAs doubled
year-over-year. Even more telling, in 2015,
corporate PPAs exceeded 50 percent of the
overall PPA market more than traditional utilities.
Gigi John, one of the authors of the Orrick
report, Corporate PPAs Market Trends and
Opportunities, said that PPAs of this type are
more than a trend. He called 2015 a watershed moment and said that he and his colleagues wrote the report because everybody
needs to understand how PPAs work.
NRG and Dows 10-year PPA will provide clean
energy from the 150 MW Goat Mountain I and
II wind farms, which will power Dows Freeport,
Texas facilities. Credit: NRG.
RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

1607REW_37 37

JULY/AUGUST 2016

37

6/21/16 7:48 AM

Wind, Sol ar

Capacity (GW)
3.21

Corporate Renewable Deals


2012 2016

Publicly announced contracted capacity of corporate


Power Purchase Agreements, Green Power Purchases,
Green Tariffs, and Outright Project Ownership in the
United States and Mexico, 2012 2016.

Salesforce
Philips
Corning
General Motors
Google
Google
Google
Bloomberg
Switch
Apple
Google
Amazon

Excludes on-site generation such as rooftop solar PV.


Last updated: May 10, 2016.
Source: Rocky Mountain Institute

Owens Corning

Owens Corning
Equinix
Equinix
Procter & Gamble
Equinix
HPE
Switch

1.18
IKEA
Yahoo
Walmart

Amazon
Facebook
Cisco
Amazon
Amazon
Kaiser Permanente

Microsoft

0.56

Mars

Walmart
Kaiser Permanente
General Motors
Procter & Gamble
Google
Apple

Google

Google

0.05
Google

2012

2013

Apple
Apple

0.43

Dow Chemical

Facebook
BD
Microsoft

IKEA

2014

2015

2016

Google
Iron Mountain
3M
Steelcase
Lockheed Martin
Salesforce

Publicly announced contracted capacity of corporate PPAs, Green Power Purchases, Green Tariffs, and outright
project ownership in the U.S. and Mexico 2012-2016. Updated May 10, 2016. Credit: Rocky Mountain Institute /
Business Renewables Center.

How Do They Work?


When an entity other than
a utility purchases power
directly from a power generator, thats a corporate PPA.
There are two types: a physical PPA in which the power is
actually delivered to the buyer
or a virtual PPA in which the
corporation purchases the
output of a renewable energy
plant that may not be located
adjacent to its facilities.
38

1607REW_38 38

JULY/AUGUST 2016

Orricks John said that buying power from a generator instead


of a utility isnt part of a corporate business model so the report
helps to highlight some of the pain points that both developers
and corporations may encounter when developing a deal.
First, from the corporations perspective, it may come as a surprise that certain credit requirements are necessary. This gets
into things that big fortune 100 companies arent used to procuring, said John. A corporation would generally require its own
suppliers to prove credit-worthiness but they arent used to having to prove their own, which a developer will need in order to
sign a deal with, for example, the tax-equity partner.
From the developer perspective the same is true, said John.
Developers need to determine how much they need from a

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:48 AM

Wind, Sol ar

corporation to get the deal


done. Since there is no utility on the back end to provide
all of this wonderful credit support, said John, developers need to ask themselves,
what can I live with for this
off-taker, what will tax equity live with? How do I structure something that is good
enough for them?
Another issue that needs
to be worked out contractually is what happens when
the renewable energy generator is curtailed and produces
no power. Curtailments occur
when there is too much power
being produced for the grid to
accept at these times the
electricity spot price goes negative and wind turbines are
generally shut down. John
explained that corporations
might ask why would I ever
have to pay dollars or true
up financial differences when
there is no product?
When these situations
occur, explained John, it
doesnt mean that the corporation has stopped using
power, just that the power
it is using is generally very
cheap. So contractually it
is really about figuring out
how to structure the deal,
said John: So I [the corporation] got really cheap power
because there was too much
on the grid so I need to give a
little back to the developer to

keep the economics ok, he explained.


Along those same lines, one of the newer pain points for developers is settling the basis between two different spot markets. In
certain situations, a generator is feeding into the grid at one interconnection point but the off-taker is using power from a different connection point. For developers, the problem is this: If I put
energy on the grid here at this connection point but I am settling
here, how do I manage this basis between the two because there
can be natural swings, said John, adding that this is a big issue.

Why Not RECs?


Legally from the perspective of a utility, because renewable energy certificates (RECs) represent the attributes of renewable energy, corporations could simply purchase RECs and be able to
claim that their operations are powered by clean energy. While
that was happening in the earlier days of renewables, the rise of
corporate PPAs again points to an evolving industry.
First, said John, with a PPA a corporation can point to a wind
farm and say thats my wind farm, all my energy comes from
there, but he thinks corporate PPAs are actually more about
the price of renewable energy. The sustainability officer in a corporation might be satisfied with RECs but the CFO steps in and
looks at the economics, he said.
John said that the CFO views the deal differently, thinking If
I do a 10-year, 15-year, 20-year deal, then what does my 20-year
horizon look like for power prices? With that in mind, the corporate renewable PPA becomes a way to hedge against the
future to make sure I can lock in the power prices, he said. You
cant do that with just RECs.
Up to now, corporate PPAs have mostly been done with wind
projects in markets where there is a lot of liquidity and price
transparency, said John, like the ERCOT market in Texas. But
there is no reason that I can think of that you couldnt do it with
solar, he said, adding that the C&I deals that are being done
today are very different from those that were done in 2013.
I learn something on literally every PPA, said John.
In 2015 corporate buyers contracted for almost 3.5 gigawatts
of new renewable energy PPA capacity, according reports, and
that number is expected to grow again in 2016. Keep your eye
on the corporate renewable energy procurement and if you are a
developer looking for an offtaker, you might try calling up CFOs
of large corporations and see if they want in on the deal.
RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

1607REW_39 39

JULY/AUGUST 2016

39

6/21/16 7:48 AM

dat
a
poi
nt s

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

IN AMERICA

2016

THE SUSTAINABLE ENERGY TRANSFORMATION


U.S. power
sector carbon
emissions
FELL TO THEIR
LOWEST
ANNUAL
LEVEL since
1995.

$56 BILLION
TOTAL U.S.
INVESTMENT
in clean energy
in 2015, 2nd in
the world, up
8% from 2014.

RENEWABLE ENERGY POWERS MORE OF U.S. GRID

RENEWABLE
ENERGY IS 20%
OF THE U.S.
2015 POWER
FLEET, with
222GW installed
capacity across
the country, a
57% increase
over 2008 levels.

40

1607REW_40 40

JULY/AUGUST 2016

HYDROPOWER is the
largest source of U.S.
renewable capacity at
79GW (excluding
pumped storage).

BIOGAS, BIOMASS, GEOTHERMAL


AND WASTE-TO-ENERGY represent
17GW of U.S.
capacity and can
provide power
24/7.

WIND AND
SOLAR HAVE
QUADRUPLED
IN CAPACITY
since 2008 (from
26GW to
103GW).

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:48 AM

It is a new era for American energy. In 2015, increased use of


sustainable energy set the stage for a U.S. triple play of carbon
reductions, cost savings and economic growth.

CORPORATIONS BUY-IN TO RENEWABLES


Major corporations such as
Google, Amazon, Facebook
and Apple contracted
for 3.5GW OF NEW
RENEWABLE
ENERGY CAPACITY
in 2015, mostly
wind and solar.

IKEA, Hyatt, Johnson and


Johnson, Morgan Stanley
and Pepperidge Farm
COMMISSIONED FUEL
CELL CAPACITY in 2015.

2015 POLICIES BOLSTER TRANSITION TO LOW-CARBON ENERGY


r Plan
ge
n
EPAs Clean Powe
a
h
C
limate
C
n
o
t
n
e
International Paris Agreem
ions
s
n
e
t
x
E
Tax
Multi-Year Clean Energy
The Sustainable Energy in America Factbook is produced by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy
and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Download for free here: www.bcse.org/sustainableenergyfactbook
RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

1607REW_41 41

JULY/AUGUST 2016

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6/21/16 7:48 AM

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G E OT H E R M A L

Going Net-Zero in California


with the Help of Geothermal
By accessing existing installer knowledge, Delta
was able to outfit its Americas headquarters
in California with a geothermal exchange system
that supports the companys net-zero goal.
BY JENNIFER DELONY, Associate Editor

When it was time to build its Americas headquarters in California to LEED Platinum and net-zero standards, power
management solutions provider Delta looked to a geothermal exchange system for the buildings heating and cooling
functions.
As the first of the companys global facilities to use the
ground-source technology, the new headquarters in Fremont, Calif., represents a step into the future for Delta. The

new building, which opened


last fall, also features solar
PV generation and energy
efficiency solutions that are
helping reduce and will
ultimately eliminate the
energy load required from
the local utility.
Projects like Deltas Fremont headquarters are

Solar panels on the rooftop


of the Delta Americas
Fremont headquarters.
Credit: Delta.

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

1607REW_43 43

JULY/AUGUST 2016

43

6/21/16 7:48 AM

effectively demonstrating the value of geothermal exchange technology,


which is gaining more widespread acceptance as a clean
resource with the support
of incentives, standards and
installer knowledge.

Success in Fremont
Deltas ability to successfully
install a geothermal exchange
system at its new Americas
headquarters is due directly to general contractor Vance
Brown Builders ability to
access installer knowledge
about how this technology
can be applied across locations with varied geological
foundations.
According to Bill Russell, director of preconstruction for Vance Brown, the
initial plan for the geothermal project was to drill vertical wells in the ground under
the building for a closedloop system a traditional
approach for ground-source
installations at commercial properties. The water
district that oversees the
Freemont area, however, initially turned down Deltas
request for a permit to drill
the approximately 200 vertical wells at depths of 200 to
300 feet that were required
for the system.
The City of Fremont, as it
turned out, was concerned
44

1607REW_44 44

JULY/AUGUST 2016

Delta Americas
headquarters in
Fremont, Calif.
Credit: Delta.

about the effect the vertical wells would have on aquifers in the
area, which had been contaminated by saltwater from the San
Francisco Bay after decades of commercial well drilling. Russell
said that Fremont has been working for years to push the saltwater back into the bay, and Deltas plan to drill vertical bore
holes through at least two aquifers would undo that work.
Luckily we found geothermal consultant John Geyer, Russell said. He helps people with their ground-loop heat exchange
projects, and he was working on a couple of projects on the West
Coast that used a horizontal drilling approach using technology
called directional drilling.
Directional drilling is commonly used to install utility infrastructure under existing streets without tearing up the asphalt.

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:48 AM

G e ot h e r m a l

Geyer conducted testing at


Deltas 15-acre site, and determined that by using directional drilling and placing the
bores for the project horizontally with one layer at 15 feet
underground and another
at 30 feet, the project would
achieve the same results as
the vertical approach. In addition to avoiding the aquifers, the directional drilling
approach also turned out to
be less expensive than vertical drilling, Russell said.
Because geothermal
exchange systems have not
been widely installed in

central California, there are few if any drillers in the area


experienced in the technology. Russell said Delta would have
had to bring in a driller from outside the area, which would
have been costlier than hiring a local company with experience in directional drilling for local utility companies.

System Performance
The geothermal exchange system at Deltas Fremont facility is performing as expected, according to Ruth Chao, general affairs manager for Delta. Chao was involved with the development of the geothermal project from its inception, and says
Delta chose geothermal because it was founder Bruce Chengs
longtime goal to use the technology in one of the companys
new facilities.
The system is so efficient that it brings our energy bill way
down, Chao said, adding that, while the goal for the building is
to reach a net-zero standard (i.e., all heating, cooling and power
needs are met by energy conservation and on-site generation),

The mechanical room at


Delta Americas Fremont
headquarters. Credit: Delta.
RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

1607REW_45 45

JULY/AUGUST 2016

45

6/21/16 7:48 AM

G e ot h e r m a l

Delta still is buying some


power from the local utility.
Were in the process of
tweaking the system and
reducing our load, because
the facility is new, Chao
said. We keep the building
efficient in energy use, and
generate power with a 618kW solar PV system on the
rooftop.
Delta also is evaluating
adding 30 percent more solar
capacity through parking lot
car ports, she said.
Mike Gazzano, marketing manager for Delta, said
the company used some of
its own products to support
efficient operations in the
building.
We installed our own
industrial automation variable frequency drives, or
VFD, that help drive the
motors and the pumps for the
geothermal system and circulate the water throughout the
building, he said. The VFDs
are highly efficient.
The VFDs also were used
in conjunction with Deltas
active front end controllable
rectifiers that provide bidirectional power exchange for the
buildings elevators.
They act much like a
hybrid car with regenerative braking, Gazzano said.
They harness and pull some
power out of the [elevator]
braking mechanisms.
46

1607REW_46 46

JULY/AUGUST 2016

Whats Next?
Ongoing growth in the coming years for the commercial and
residential geothermal exchange industry in the U.S. is all
about securing federal tax credits now, according to Douglas Dougherty, president and CEO of the Geothermal Exchange
Organization (GEO).
Geothermal exchange installations currently have a 10 percent investment tax credit for commercial applications and
30-percent income tax credit for residential installations
through the end of the year.
Geothermal, along with some other renewable technologies, such as small-scale wind, were left out of the tax credit extensions package passed by the U.S. Congress last December for solar and utility-scale wind resources. Congressional
leadership has since looked for ways to correct that oversight.
Dougherty said that GEO has been advocating for extension of
geothermal tax credits, nearly securing that extension as an
amendment to the Federal Aviation Authorization bill in April.
The amendment, however, ultimately was left out of the aviation bill.
Now, GEO is looking for support for a stand-alone bill to amend
the existing law that grants a five-year tax credit extension for
solar and wind, and to ensure equal benefits for renewables.
Dougherty said that Congress should not support benefits
for some renewables over others.
Either they grant the extension to all renewable technologies,
or they take away the extension from solar and wind, he said.
The pending expiration of those federal tax credits is having a negative effect on the industry, according to Dougherty. He said the GEO is already seeing a reduction in planned
installations.
The GEO also expects the U.S. geothermal exchange industry to benefit from the release earlier this year of a North
American standard for ground-source systems. Independent
standards organization CSA Group released the bi-national 2016 edition of its C448 standard governing the design and
installation of residential and commercial ground-source heat
pumps.
Dougherty said that the standard, which is the first edition
to be released for the U.S., will help local governments in their
efforts to understand and define the technology in reference to
their ordinances.

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

6/21/16 7:48 AM

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E N E RG Y S TO R AG E , S O L A R , B I O E N E RG Y

Battery and Biofuel Research


Energized by New State-ofthe Art Facility Down Under
Ongoing research at the AINST, which is
headquartered at the new AU $150 million
Sydney Nanoscience Hub, could give us
energy storage embedded in the walls and
roofs of buildings and much more.
NIALL BYRNE, Contributor

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer is the Director of the Australian


Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST) and
an experimental chemist. He is working to integrate new battery and solar cell technologies into the walls and roofs of new
houses, and to transform the at times somewhat black art of
catalysis the process that cracks crude oil into useful fuels,
oils and chemicals at every refinery, and that will be central to

efficient biofuel production. He


has already helped to create
over 200 new jobs with four
spin-out companies.
Developing better batteries and catalysts has been
challenging, he said. We
understood the reactions that
were taking place. But we
couldnt see exactly where

The green roof above


the transmission
electron microscope
(TEM) suite, which
is one of the most
electromagnetically
and mechanically
stable environments
in the world. Credit:
University of Sydney.

RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD MAGAZINE

1607REW_49 49

JULY/AUGUST 2016

49

6/21/16 7:52 AM

they were happening on


the surface of the materials
involved. You would develop
a new catalyst, use it for an
hour, find it was ruined, and
have to go back to the drawing board. We were guessing
at what was happening to the
active surfaces over time.
Now we can use a suite of
instruments, including various high resolution microscopes and spectroscopic mapping tools to look at
dynamic changes on the
nanoscale, to see whats happened (or even what is happening in real time), and then
develop more stable chemical structures for batteries
and catalysts, which in their
design incorporate strategies
to deal with and exploit their
changing nature.

He believes that the new AINST facilities at the state-of-the-art Sydney Nanoscience Hub, which opened in April 2016
will double or triple the effectiveness of
his team. We have a fantastic team of
researchers whove published a truckload
of high-impact papers over the years. But
how do you harness all that intellect to
create real batteries, catalysts and jobs?
This is how this Institute brings together the engineering, science, instrumentaProfessor Thomas
tion, facilities, people and connections to
Maschmeyer, Director of
industry needed to put our researchers
the Australian Institute
ahead of the pack.
for Nanoscale Science

Batteries beyond Lithium

and Technology (AINST)


Lithium batteries have transformed
and experimental
power storage from smartphones to
chemist. Credit:
electric cars and submarines. But like
University of Sydney.
every battery their chemical composition changes through every charge
cycle. Lithium ions sitting in layers of graphite move between
electrodes and change the oxidation state of, e.g. magnesium oxide. The chemical rearrangements cause the graphite
and oxide layers to physically expand and contract by up
to 15 percent at every cycle,
cracking and detaching from
the electrodes.
Maschmeyer has eliminated the stack of cards. Instead,
his design has a wobbly carbon
electrode, with a gel touching
it. The design is self-healing.
He has used this idea to
create zinc-bromine batteries that transport ions embedded in a gel. These batteries
are stable and flexible and use
Sydney Nanoscience Hub. Credit:
University of Sydney.

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E n E r g y S to r ag E , S o l a r , B i o E n E r g y

nano-engineered gel structures and surfaces on the


electrodes. The gel also acts
as fire retardant. His spinout company Gelion Technologies is currently working with
Lend Lease on solutions for
how this battery technology
could be built into the walls
and roofs of new buildings.
You wont need a battery
in the garage. Instead it will
be in the walls and roof
perhaps as roof tiles, or solar
shingles, with a solar panel
on one side and a battery on
the other, and all clipping
together. City office buildings

will become huge batteries capturing off-peak energy and stabilizing the power grid.
Zinc and bromine are abundant and inexpensive commodities. Our battery designs are a platform technology that will
enable commercially viable, grid-supporting storage solutions;
as well as inexpensive, flexible, fast and safe new batteries, sufficiently compact to be also usable in domestic solar systems and
electric vehicles.
Maschmeyers Sydney colleagues are also looking at new lithium-based technologies trying to improve the density and
mobility of the lithium ions, which would increase capacity and
make charging faster.
Nano-engineered materials are also key to the solar cell side
the Institute is working on solar cells based on perovskite minerals. Although they have reached 20 percent efficiency, the cells are
still unstable. Maschmeyer said they can solve that problem.
Not only are nano-engineering concepts changing battery
design, they are also transforming industrial catalysts.

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E n E r g y S to r ag E , S o l a r , B i o E n E r g y

Catalysts for Biofuels and


Other Unconventional Fuels
Every oil refinery depends
on catalysts. Made of materials such as zeolites and platinum they reduce the activation point of reactions,
making it easier to turn crude
oil into useful fuels, oils, and
chemicals.
But the development of
more efficient catalysts that
stay the course of time has
been hit or miss because
the action is taking place at
dynamically changing nanosized surfaces. The Hubs
electron microscopes can

help visualize exactly what is happening and aid Maschmeyer


and his colleagues in turning the black art of catalyst design
into a predictive art, based on high level science.
Maschmeyer has created a group of three companies based
on his ideas for catalysts. Ignite Energy Resources has patented catalytic hydrothermal reactor technology, that uses water
at near-supercritical temperatures together with nanostructured catalysts to upgrade lignite into synthetic crude oil and
micronized refined carbon (MRC). This technology would reduce
CO2 emissions associated with brown coal power by more than
50 percent, making it comparable to natural gas. Licella using
a related but distinctive approach has been set up to upgrade
waste biomass (non-edible) into biocrude to produce renewable
fuels and chemicals.
A 10,000 ton per year pilot plant for both companies is already
in operation in Somersby, NSW and discussions regarding fullscale (200,000 350,000 ton per year) systems are well advanced
with partners in North America and Scandinavia.
For more information, enter 24 at REW.hotims.com

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Last
the

WORD

Mexicos Green Energy Puzzle

Amanda Valdez is

a Mexico City partner


in Dentons Energy
practice.

Rogelio LpezVelarde is a Mexico

City partner in
Dentons Energy
practice.

Over the last few years, Mexico has


made a series of policy decisions that
show its commitment to addressing
climate change. Mexico has been an
active participant in nearly all international climate change conferences and
conventions, and was the first developing country to establish emissions
reduction commitments after COP21.
There, Mexico set an ambitious target
of a 22 percent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2026.
Mexicos renewable energy sector, which has grown rapidly over
the last decade, is attracting significant investments. Last year, 18 percent of the electric power generated
in Mexico was produced from renewable energy sources and the country
isnt stopping there. Mexicos ability
to achieve the ambitious goals it has
set for its contribution to combatting
climate change depends highly on
its ability to continue expanding its
renewable energy sector.
So what does the future of green
power look like in Mexico? The constitutional reforms of December
2013 and subsequent legal developments have redesigned the structure
and legal framework for the Mexican energy sector as a whole, including the electricity industry. The electric power sector now includes a
multiplicity of generation resources,
a wholesale electricity market with

open competition for power marketing companies, and an independent


system operator (ISO) in charge of
system dispatch and administration
of the power market. This represents
a paradigm shift for the entire industry and implementing these changes will be no minor task, considering
the importance of the energy sector
for the Mexican economy, its role as
the largest contributor to the federal budget, and the prominence of the
two state-owned companies, Pemex
and Comisin Federal de Electricidad (CFE), which operated as vertically integrated monopolies over oil, gas
and electricity for decades. Now, finding the right place for renewables in
the new Mexican electricity sector has
been a challenge, as there are many
pieces to fit into a changing puzzle.
Some of the incentives for renewables that the Mexican government
had already implemented under the
previous legal framework (including
accelerated tax depreciation rates and
financing programs) are still in play,
but not all of them have been retained
in the new regime. Instead, the new
statutes provide for different incentives, mostly intended to:
Promote open access to transmission and distribution infrastructure, and allow an adequate
interaction of firm and intermittent power resources in the grid

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Support the development of new generation capacity through clean energy auctions
resulting in long-term and mid-term agreements (clean energy includes renewable
energy, nuclear and efficient cogeneration)
Increase the involvement of off-takers in
supporting clean energy projects, through
the imposition of clean energy requirements
reflected in a number of clean energy certificates that suppliers and off-takers will be
required to obtain on an annual basis.
The Mexican government has accomplished
much in a relatively short time by issuing many
of the necessary rules to implement these incentives, but there is still much work to do and
other pieces to fit into the puzzle. Gas availability, low prices and the promotion of the oil
and gas industry (also recently opened to private investment) are prompting the development
of large gas pipelines across the country. This
could make it harder for renewable energies
to compete, particularly against gas-fired generation. Moreover, the steel industry and other
large power consumers have openly shown their
reluctance to pay higher energy costs associated
with clean energy (whether in the form of certificates or otherwise). They argue that the incentives to promote clean energy should not be at
the expense of the industrial sector, which is

already struggling to overcome financial difficulties caused from the slowdown in global economic growth. In fact, the pressure exerted by
industrials resulted in changes to the recently
enacted Energy Transition Law, which includes
saving provisions that somewhat ease the clean
energy requirements that the Mexican government had originally contemplated. In addition,
the role of CFEthe vertically integrated national utility companyas a competitor with unparalleled market power at the time, is still an unresolved question.
Clearly, the pieces in Mexicos green energy puzzle are still moving, and some of them
are even missing, so the final picture is yet to be
seen. But the pieces will eventually come together, and many players seem to be betting on that
(69 bidders submitted 227 sale offers in Mexicos
first clean energy auction this year, and developers are already preparing for a second auction scheduled for the end of this year). There is
no doubt about Mexicos huge renewable energy potential, which, supported by the countrys
macroeconomic and political stability, continues
to attract domestic and foreign investors. Many
of those investors believe this is precisely the
moment to position themselves and actively participate in pushing the pieces to define the new
face of Mexicos renewable energy industry.

Adver t iser s Index


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Asia Power Week33

Nexans9

REW International42

Distributech35

Nuscale Power2

Smarter Shows22

Ecolibrium Solar19

Power-Gen India & Central


Asia 201727

Solar Energy Trade Shows14, 31

Gamechange SolarCV2

Power Generation Week Awards36

Huawei Technologies25
Leipziger Messe International GmbH17
Malaysian Exhibition Services52

Quickscrew International4, 21

Soltec11
Surrette Battery Co51
Trojan Battery Company48

REW.com28

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