• Renewable Activity in Other States

    There are a lot of renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts going on in other states and Puerto Rico.   Some interesting links:  New York targets 1.5 TWh of new renewables with latest solicitation  New York updates distributed solar tariff, clearing path for 1 GW of new generation  Committing to climate: Transformation is underway in the US power sector  California adopts 2030 Preferred System Portfolio Read More
  • New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance

    While there is a growing market for organic solar cells ­­– they contain materials that are cheaper, more abundant, and more environmentally friendly than those used in typical solar panels – they also tend to be less efficient in converting sunlight to electricity than conventional solar cells. Now, scientists who are members of the Center for Computational Study of Excited-State Phenomena in Energy Materials (C2SEPEM) a new Read More
  • Know Your Rights

    Arizona law protects individual homeowners’ private property rights to solar access by dissolving any local covenant, restriction or condition attached to a property deed that restricts the use of solar energy. This law sustained a legal challenge in 2000. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of homeowners in a lawsuit filed by their homeowners association seeking to force the homeowners to remove Read More
  • Home Battery Systems

    Rooftop solar panels are common in Arizona thanks to abundant sunshine, but to get even more use from the technology, homeowners are beginning to pair them with large home batteries. Batteries allow homeowners to store their surplus electricity, rather than send it to the grid in exchange for credit from their electric company. Read More
  • Solar Hot Water

    There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't. The typical solar water heater is comprised of solar collectors and a well-insulated storage tank. The solar collector is a network of pipes that gathers the sun's energy, transforms its radiation into heat, and then transfers that heat to either water or a heat-transfer fluid. Read More
  • Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

    (Information provided by DSIRE - Last reviewed 02/19/2009) Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit State: Federal Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar Electric Technologies Applicable Sectors: Residential Amount: 30% Maximum Incentive: Solar-electric systems placed in service before 2009: $2,000Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximumSolar water heaters placed in service before 2009: $2,000Solar water heaters placed Read More
  • Solar Building Design in Arizona

    The idea of using the sun to meet the energy needs in our buildings has been with us since the time of the Greeks, with some of the design manifestations even evident in the prehistoric structures of Arizona and the Southwest. There is a great historic tradition for Arizona buildings that utilize our most abundant resource, and the current increases in The idea of using Read More
  • How Not to- Battery Connections

    Photo shows the situation after a battery discharge test at 300 amps was terminated on a 1530 AH IBE battery string when one post melted. During the discharge test all cell voltages are logged. The sum of the cell voltages was 2.73 volts lower than the 48-volt string voltage. This is an average of 118 mv per inter-cell connection, 5-10 mv is the normal range Read More
  • 1 Renewable Activity in Other States
  • 2 New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance
  • 3 Know Your Rights
  • 4 Home Battery Systems
  • 5 Solar Hot Water
  • 6 Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
  • 7 Solar Building Design in Arizona
  • 8 How Not to- Battery Connections

Blogs

  1. Solar Center Blog
Brian Czech
17 February 2019

What’s Really Green and What’s Really New

Ask Americans what the Green New Deal is all about, and you’ll get two basic answers. Most often you’ll hear, “It’s about moving to renewable energy in order to fight climate change.” You’ll also hear, from a camp further right, “It’s all about socialism!”

Lucy Mason
06 January 2018

Wishing you a wonderful and Happy New Year!

The year 2017 has gone by quickly, and AriSEIA has accomplished a full and active agenda to further solar and renewable energy in Arizona. 


Featured

Some things to pay attention to in Arizona

Reminder- Arizona tax credit information is available here: Arizona Tax Incentives


Seeking Arizona agriculture producers who are using small solar systems in their operations in Arizona

Dr. Bonnie Eberhardt Bobb, Executive Director of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, is looking for agriculture producers who are using small solar systems in their operations in Arizona who might be willing to help her with preparing ACC testimony, discussion with representatives, writing letters of support, signing petitions, etc. to further their goal of increased renewables in agriculture. She would love to hear from ag producers and listen to their stories of how solar has benefited their operations. Thank you so much. Please contact drbonnie2002@yahoo.com if you can assist.

Arizona Corporation Commission 

See our information on PROPOSED RULEMAKING REGARDING INTERCONNECTION OF DISTRIBUTED GENERATION FACILITIESPROPOSED RULEMAKING REGARDING INTERCONNECTION OF DISTRIBUTED GENERATION FACILITIES

SRP approves rate decrease as directors argue about solar power and batteries.

During March 2019, SRP wrapped up their public pricing process at a final rate setting board hearing.
The board approved new rates for SRP customers, which will translate to a $1 to $4 decrease in monthly bills.
The board also voted to lower rates for solar customers, approve three new options for solar customers, and adopt a new battery/storage incentive.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2019/03/25/salt-river-project-decreases-rates-customers-but-solar-debate-rages/3245669002/.

APS announces 2018 ended with 16,479 applications and 14,818 installations: 

APS 2018 PV

Note: APS applications peak in August due to deadlines to freeze APS purchase rates for 10 years.

FRAUD ALERT

Attorney General Warns About Deceptive “Solar Initiative” Flyers

PHOENIX – Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a warning today about deceptive flyers appearing on residences in the Phoenix area that promote a solar energy effort.

The flyers claim to be a “Public Notice” from the “Maricopa County Solar Initiative,” and claim that “Arizona and the Federal Government ITC (26 USC § 25D) are paying to have solar energy systems installed on qualified homes in this neighborhood.” The flyers tell consumers to call to schedule their “site audits.” Consumers who call are subjected to a solar sales pitch by a private company. In addition, the Maricopa County Solar Initiative’s website improperly uses a modified version of the county seal, but the “Solar Initiative” is linked to a private business and is not associated with the county. The “Solar Initiative” is also not registered to do business in Arizona.

Similar flyers previously appeared in Clark County, Nevada, this summer, and law enforcement officials there have warned that the “Clark County Solar Initiative” notices are deceptive.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has aggressively prosecuted businesses masquerading as government agencies, including obtaining consent judgments against “Mandatory Poster Agency” and “Compliance Filings Service,” resulting in full restitution for Arizonans totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A picture of the “Public Notice” is below:
A picture of the improperly modified county seal used by the “Solar Initiative” is below:

 If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, you can file a complaint online at the Arizona Attorney General’s website. You can also contact the Consumer Information and Complaints Unit in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, and outside of the metro areas at (800) 352-8431.

Source:https://www.azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-mark-brnovich-warns-about-deceptive-solar-initiative-flyers

Also covered at: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2018/11/26/deceptive-flyers-circulate-arizona-promoting-solar-energy-effort/2115597002/


Upcoming:


Events

General News

Caution- News leads open in new windows. Warning- These news links are automatically generated by others such as Google News and are not reviewed by the Arizona Solar Center, Inc. We are not responsible for link content.

Interesting Videos

Massive Asian Renewable Energy Project will generate 11,000+ MW in Western Australia

Long Term Large Scale Renewable Energy Project

This is an interesting project involving the Governments of Indonesia, Singapore and Western Australia, as well as large energy users and Nyangumarta people in the Pilbara.The Asian Renewable Energy Hub will generate 11,000+ MW of renewable energy in Western Australia. 5,000+ MW will be dedicated to large energy users in the Pilbara region, which could include new and expanded mines, downstream mineral processing and the large scale production of hydrogen for domestic and export markets. 6,000 MW will be exported to South East Asia through undersea High Voltage DC transmission cables.

7,000 square kilometres (2,700 square miles) of prime land in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia was selected to accommodate at least 7,500+ MW of wind turbines and 3,500+ MW of solar photovoltaic panels. Outstanding wind and solar resource and large project scale will result in competitive, firm renewable energy generation.

Learn more at https://asianrehub.com/

Solar Thermal Electric Systems

Solar thermal power (electricity) generation systems collect and concentrate sunlight to produce the high temperature heat needed to operate conventional steam-cycle plants to generate electricity.  A good primer on this is available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (https://www.eia.gov/) at https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=solar_thermal_power_plants

A more detailed description is available on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_energy

The technology seems simple, but the details are complex.  Large systems are needed to produce electrical energy at competitive costs. High temperatures increase the efficiency, but result in high pressures for the fluid that is used, and fluids that can be toxic. 

Since these systems use various means to concentrate the sunlight on a receiving surface, require a means to keep the sun focused on the receiving area and they need direct sunshine.

Many of these large systems have had difficulty the anticipated energy and/or have had operational problems. One large and expensive system in Arizona has been in the news: Underachieving Solana Solar Plant Keeps Polluting Arizona's Air

Underachieving Solana Solar Plant Keeps Polluting Arizona's Air

Ray Stern | November 28, 2018 | 8:07am
 
At about 9:40 a.m. on August 28, a toxic vapor cloud rose from the shiny rows of parabolic mirrors at the Solana concentrated solar plant just west of Gila Bend, Arizona.

Workers notified the control room, where managers immediately shut down the $2 billion plant, which was built by the Spanish firm Abengoa with help from U.S. taxpayers. The facility works by using its 900,000 mirrors to focus sunlight on pipes in front of the mirrors that contain "heat transfer fluid," (HTF), a toxic sludge that becomes super-heated by the sun's energy before being pumped to two 140-megawatt steam turbines.

That morning, according to county records, one of the larger, 2-inch feeder pipes developed a crack above a weld point and burst, spraying and spilling 1,000 gallons of molten HTF into the environment. Most went "into concrete containment and a fraction of this overtopped to soil," Carrolette Winstead of Abengoa told county officials in a September 7 email. Winstead estimated about 7 tons of material had been released.

Most of the release was in fluid form, but an estimated 2.6 tons evaporated into the air. About a quarter of the emissions were of biphenyl, a chemical sometimes used as a food preservative that's dangerous to breathe. No one was injured, but Maricopa County's air quality division issued the plant an initial notice of violation over the incident, which records show was self-reported by plant administrators.

The August incident was only the latest such problem to strike the plant, which had its first full year of operations in 2014. Its ongoing air-pollution incidents clearly complicate the idea of "clean energy." But the biggest challenge, stock filings reveal, is the weak performance that threatens Solana's financial viability.

As Phoenix New Times has reported since late 2014, the plant habitually generates less than 75 percent of the electricity that it's supposedly capable of cranking out.

The plant does have its benefits, even as an underachiever.

When most people think of solar power, they're thinking of photovoltaic solar panels. Solana's special skill is to keep making electricity for about six hours after solar panels quit for the day. The heat-transfer fluid running through the pipes at Solana stays hot in this overtime period, keeping those steam turbines turning. At its so-far theoretical max production level, Solana could pump out the same amount of electricity used each year by 71,000 households, according to Abengoa.

This photo from Solana plant operators submitted to the county shows a hairline crack above a weld in a pipe that burst, causing 1,000 gallons of heat transfer fluid to spill on August 28.
Maricopa County
Without additional battery storage, of course, Solana couldn't meet the actual electricity demand of even a single average Arizona household (about 14 megawatt hours), because it provides power for only part of a 24-hour day. But according to Arizona Public Service, it helps offset some of its power load in the evening.

Owned by a conglomerate of investors called Atlantica Yield, Solana agreed to sell its power to APS for 30 years. The utility estimated in 2013 that, on average, each customer pays about $1 extra per month because of Solana.

For that buck, APS customers can feel a warm fuzzy that a fraction of their kilowatt hours are generated with clean, Solana solar power. Except it's not always so clean. Solana has an unseemly air pollution problem.

In 2016, the county slapped the plant with a $1.5 million fine —  the largest it's ever imposed. Leaking HTF was the culprit then, too.

A division manager for the county's air-quality department told New Times in 2016 that HTF released at the plant emitted twice as many volatile organic compounds than a natural-gas plant of the same size. (VOCs lead to ozone pollution).

Officials believe that nearby residents, had they been outside during Solana's emissions, could have smelled the chemical.  The manager predicted that HTF pollution problems would continue.

In 2017, the plant self-reported three HTF leaks. Officials didn't fine Solana because plant operators were following the rules when equipment failed.

That was also the case with the August 28 spill, and the county didn't levy a fine. The plant was offline for two days until the weld on the pipe could be repaired.

Solana workers are accustomed to containing HTF spills, records show.

The 12-month "rolling total" for VOCs emitted by the plant — including the 2.6 tons released in August — was 17.2 tons as of September 11, plant officials reported to the county. The total amount of released "hazardous air pollutants," most of which is biphenyl, was 4.8 tons.

Emiliano Garcia, vice president of Atlantica Yield's North America operations, gave a brief response to questions about the plant's struggle with air pollution when contacted this week.

"As any industrial facility, we are exposed to equipment failures that could cause emissions," Garcia said. "Arizona Solar One is committed to minimize those failures and we are self-reporting, remediating any emissions, and working inside our permit parameters. The records are public and we follow strictly the legislation."

Garcia also addressed Solana's performance, which has not met expectations.

For 2016, the plant generated 643,443 megawatt hours. For 2017, it produced 724,505 — not much higher than the plant produced in 2015.

Garcia pointed out that 2016 and 2017 are not "representative" years for the plant. As New Times previously reported, a monsoon-driven microburst knocked out Solana for weeks in summer 2016. Two transformer fires in July 2017 cut the plant's production by more than half.

All these problems have been "completely solved," Garcia maintained.

They'd better be, public records show, if the plant is to remain viable. Atlantica Yield's March 2018 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission acknowledges that "Solana has not yet achieved its technical capacity on a continuous basis," and that its financial health is on the line.

Because of the plant's under-production, Abengoa has been forced to make extra payments on Solana's considerable debt. In late 2017 and early 2018, the Spanish company paid an extra $120 million to compensate for the plant's lower-than-expected electricity output, records show. Starting in December, Abengoa must pay an additional $13 million per year for the next 10 years. But Atlantica Yield disclosed to investors that it can't guarantee Abengoa will fulfill that obligation.

If it doesn't, "Solana may have a negative financial impact or may not reach its target production, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows."

Furthermore, the plant's "underperformance" could cause it to stumble on obligations to Liberty Interactive Corporation, which made a $300 million investment in the plant — a situation that would "adversely affect the cash flows expected from that project."

On the plus side for the plant: The filing shows that plant will pay no federal taxes for the next 10 years.

Garcia agreed that the SEC filing describes that Solana "performed below expectations" in 2016 and 2017. But he emphasized the 2018 numbers, which show that Solana may be on its way to a record production year. The plant has produced 655,344 megawatt hours so far this year, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Electric Quarterly Report site. The output for July to September this year has already broken its record for the same time in previous years, Garcia noted.

Even if it sets a new record in 2018, Solana will fall well short of its 900,000-plus goal for generated megawatt hours.

And it will still have its troublesome, ironic, air-pollution problem.

Dropped Pallet of PV Modules

On October 26, 2017 a pallet of 33 solar modules got "delivered". After spending an hour checking it was determined that amazingly this 1400 pounds of solar modules didn't break a single module after being dropped off the back of the truck.

About

  • Welcome to the Arizona Solar Center

     This is your source for solar and renewable energy information in Arizona. Explore various technologies, including photovoltaics, solar water heating, solar architecture, solar cooking and wind power. Keep up to date on the latest industry news. Follow relevant lectures, expositions and tours. Whether you are a homeowner looking to become more energy efficient, a student learning the science behind the technologies or an industry professional, you will find valuable information here.
  • About The Arizona Solar Center

    About The Arizona Solar Center Arizona Solar Center Mission- The mission of the Arizona Solar Center is to enhance the utilization of renewable energy, educate Arizona's residents on solar technology developments, support commerce and industry in the development of solar and other sustainable technologies and coordinate these efforts throughout the state of Arizona. About the Arizona Solar Center- The Arizona Solar Center (AzSC) provides a broad-based understanding of solar energy, especially as it pertains to Arizona. Registered Read More
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