California’s 2nd Attempt for a ‘Community Clean Power’ Bill
Community accessibility to solar energy has taken shape in a newly drafted bill in California. This is Sen. Lois Wolk’s second attempt to pass such renewable energy sharing legislation. SB 43 will allow renters, who does not have good enough credit or have roofs that aren’t suitable for solar panels, for example, to sign a deal with owners of renewable energy generation projects for a portion of the electricity that is generated. The amount they pay for will show up as credits on their utility bills. The renewable electricity produced won’t actually be supplied to the buyers. Instead, it will flow to the grid and in effect increase the amount of green energy in the power supply. Although SB 43 covers various kinds of renewable energy, solar energy will likely be a popular choice.
Solar Energy to ‘Bounce Back’ on New Beijing Subsidies
According to reports, China has set aside an additional $1.1 billion in subsidies to the solar sector, more than doubling the amount of previously announced rescue package given out this year. That news comes a day after another Xinhua report quoted a government official saying Beijing is considering a plan to raise its target for construction of new solar power plants to 40 gigawatts by 2015, which is nearly double the previous target that was announced in September. Solar shares surged on the report about new subsidies with speculations that the doubling of the construction target could translate to new major orders not only for the Chinese firms but also for foreign players.
SolarCity’s IPO Shakes-Off the ‘Solar Curse’
The IPO debut of SolarCity is delightful news for a sector yearning to shake-off the “solar curse.” SolarCity’s IPO was postponed Tuesday evening after institutional investors hesitated at the initial price of $13 to $15 a share. The company then slashed the price to just $8 a share. The discount helped generate the IPO’s strong first-day showing. The company offered 11.5 million shares for a total take of $92 million and a valuation of $584.6 million. The “solar curse” largely began with the demise of Fremont-based Solyndra in 2011, which cast a long shadow over the industry and made support for clean energy a profoundly political issue. SolarCity’s strong IPO debut may help turn the tide for other cleantech startups and investors.
Wind Power to Lead Latin America’s Renewable Growth by 2020
According to industry experts, wind power growth is soaring in Latin America and is expected to lead the region in green energy within the next eight years. Wind is growing exponentially as many plants begin operating or are scheduled for construction. These ambitious wind projects are located not only in Brazil and Mexico, but also in Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Peru and the Dominican Republic. The current capacity stands at 3,500 MW-4,000 MW and could easily reach 10,000 MW by 2020. Regional governments are raising incentives for developers while the technology and infrastructure to build wind parks and grid connections has considerably improved and has become more reliable.