solar

Solar Project Scale: The (New) Biggest Solar Installation in the US?

We like to aim high and go big. So how big is the largest solar project in the United States? Find out how much power one plant in California creates! 

Late in 2019, the federal government gave its stamp of approval to the Gemini solar project. Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the proposed site would span over 7,000 acres and generate nearly 700 mW. It would also tap into the emerging efficiency of energy storage capacity by holding onto a minimum of 380 mW on-site. At $1 billion, Gemini would become the biggest solar facility in the United States. 

In the competitive world of energy, the current record holder for power generation would almost certainly like to add an asterisk. The storage capacity of Gemini would push it into the lead. At the Solar Star solar project in California, its 579 mW of generation does not include storage capacity. When Solar Star came online in 2015, it was the world’s largest solar energy generation site. It was surpassed four years later by a plant in India, which uses 13,000 acres to produce over 2,000 mW. 

Current plans for Gemini would have it operational by 2023 and work with two other solar power facilities that are already in service. The project is a vital part of Nevada’s commitment to zero carbon emissions by 2050. Along the way, the state has committed to getting at least 50% of its electricity by renewable sources by 2030. 

It’s going to take big ideas, big investments, and a lot of hard work to successfully tackle the immense challenges in climate change and energy consumption. But not every project needs to set a record in order to contribute; from a more efficient light bulb to the biggest solar project in the United States, every step forward gets us closer to sustainability.

solar power

An Opportunity To Invest In A Brighter Future

solar power

The government is talking about an unprecedented stimulus package. It’s fitting; we live in unprecedented times. The impact of coronavirus over the past three months has been startling; the effects of three months could be exponentially more challenging. Out of this situation, we have to seize every opportunity possible. 

Out of the wreckage of our economy, the proposed stimulus packages that have been floated from both the House of Representatives and Senate are more than just a lifeline for those affected by closures and shutdowns across the country. They’re a chance to redirect the entire economy and specific industries. Among those priorities should certainly be a commitment to alternative energy and an investment in rewarding those who pivot to cleaner, more sustainable energy options. 

On Capitol Hill, there is a predictable split between parties between those who advocate for the inclusion and even the requirement that some of the $1 trillion or more earmarked for the stimulus plan be invested specifically in green technologies. Two giants of the alternative energy industries, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), have both been vocal in emphasizing the immense opportunity the nation has to make the most to a brighter, cleaner energy future. 

Without that support, the growth of the past decade could be at risk. A recent study forecasted that as much as 50% of residential solar jobs could be lost, while as much as $43 billion in investment in the field could also be on the line. That money could be diverted or held back, stopping work on solar project fields across the country. 

Additionally, as many as 35,000 jobs in wind could be at risk, according to the AWEA. Industry advocates argue that a number of options to support alternative energy exists, including creating new tax credits or extending current tax credits that are beginning to phase out over the next five years. 

Instead, the Trump administration has asked Congress to approve as much as $3 billion to fill the national oil reserves and prop up US producers who have been steamrolled by the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Of course, the obvious argument here is that it’s a short term fix; it’s a solution only until those reserves are met, or until the next time foreign countries decide to lower prices. 

By refusing to invest in alternative energy sources, our country faces the prospect of spending billions to get out of one global health crisis only to face the realities of the climate crisis even further behind the eight ball.

Learn more; contact us today to see how these investments could affect your business.

Renewable Energy in 2020

 

As we hit 2020, we’re taking a look at some of the things we’re most excited to see. Renewable, sustainable energy is the future, and that’s a future that makes a difference every single day; every hour brings us closer to more efficiency, better technology, and the next big breakthrough. 

Innovation is coming from both private and public sectors, driven by forward-thinking people and organizations. Every interested party looks to what’s next, what matters in their industry, and how to maximize investment to get the world committed to smart, sustainable energy production. 

In some areas, we did take a step back. The most recent federal spending budget slashed a number of tax credits designed to support electric vehicles. The $7,500 EV credit for Tesla owners will expire, a credit that was halved twice in 2019. The credit survives only as a $3,500 bonus for those who purchase a car from EV brands that have sold less than 200,000 in the calendar year. 

Still, that big budget has some bright spots in the form of extended credits addressed towards biodiesels, wind, and solar. Those credits are designed to slowly reduce through the end of 2020, where they’ll have to be re-upped before the bill expires. Some of the coal credits included in the bill include mining on Native lands, and they’re substantial. Experts say that the coal credits more than erase the potential carbon emissions cuts supported by the aforementioned credits in green energy. 

While that might all sound bleak, there’s good news. Solar is looking especially bright, no pun intended. At the end of 2019, the United States has enough solar energy production to support 13.5 million homes, and even with minimal support from the federal government, that number is expected to double by 2025. 

A big part of that success comes from the huge improvements in energy storage. The cost of lithium-ion batteries fell by 35% since 2018, and by over 70% since 2012. These batteries are crucial in facilities that battle the costs of sizeable energy peaks. As load capacity increases, the more cost-effective these energy storage systems become, and the less businesses rely on their local energy grid rates, coal, or natural gas costs. 

Additionally, those reducing tax credits might actual cause a surge in investment. With tax credits, currently set at approximately 30%, starting to decrease before their expiration, any businesses or investors will move now to make the most of that rebate. That means we’re going to be working to lock-in these credits and get projects booked early in 2020 to make the most of the credits right now. A $10,000 investment today sees a credit of roughly $2,600 in 2020; now is the time to make the move. 

Finally, energy demand is expected to increase. Across industries, energy needs will continue to rise, and renewables are now efficient and affordable enough to plug the gap. As these technologies become more pervasive, they’ll move from being a niche or pet projects to the default mode of energy production. Investment in wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewables will become more lucrative, drawing even more backing and implementation. 

There is a lot to be excited about as we head into 2020, and we’re excited to be a part of the sweeping change in the energy sector. What can renewables do for you? Call Keen and let us show you!