Virginia Utility Offers Lucrative Deal for EV Drivers
EV drivers in Virginia get yet another incentive to continue driving their energy efficient cars. Dominion Virginia Power’s pilot program will only charge EV owners half the cost if they plug in overnight. At off-peak rates, it costs $0.86 for enough battery power for a 40-mile drive. For those in the program, it will only cost $0.35. The plan is clearly beneficial to drivers, but it also benefits the utility. Overnight charging reduces the utility’s load fluctuations during peak hours, saving them money.
Fuel Cell Program Completed in Orange County
A 1.6-MW fuel cell project has been completed in Orange County, California. Cox Communications and UTC Power worked together to join two fuel cells in the area so that the combined output is enough to power 1,200 homes. This is Cox Communication’s second alternative energy project in the area– the first was a 100-kW PV solar array. It is a part of the company’s program to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2017.
New Solar Power in Tucson
A new solar plant has been completed in Tucson, Arizona by SOLON Corp and the Tucson Electric Power Company. Consumers will be able to purchase solar energy in 150-kWh “blocks” to reduce the reliance on conventional power in a more cost-effective manner. The 1.6-MW system has a single-axis tracking system to maximize output. The 14-acres system is expected to produce 60 million kilowatt-hours of energy over the next two decades.
New Leasing Program Allows Affordable Solar Installations
Homeowners can pay just $500 and have solar panels installed to harness the sun’s energy and lower their energy bills. Solar Universe announced its new BriteLease, a solar leasing program supported by Suntech. A $500 deposit will pay for the initial costs of the system and then there are monthly lease payments. These payments combine the electricity bill for the month with the lease installment, still lower than most utility bills, according to Solar Universe. The lease lasts 15 years and it is transferrable if the homeowner chooses to move.
DOE’s SunShot Program Reduces Solar Energy Cost
US Department of Energy announced their new SunShot program to reduce the costs of solar energy systems by 75 percent to make them competitive with other forms of energy. With all the reductions, energy will cost about $1 per watt, or six cents per kilowatt-hour. As a part of the program, Secretary Steven Chu is also awarding $27 million to support solar energy development projects. The government aims to achieve the goal by focusing on improvements in the efficiency of solar manufacturing, better technology and electronics and innovative designs for energy systems.
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