Not All Energy Savings Are Equal


The duck curve is throwing a monkey wrench into utility operations


The world of electricity is changing quickly. With all the photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. modules out there generating solar power and the advent of the smart meter, there’s a revolution going on within the electric utility industry.

I wrote a little bit about this revolution recently when I discussed the duck curve. Near the end of that article, I mentioned that Matt Golden said something about the “new world where EE [energy efficiency] is dead.” So I spoke with Matt last week, and here’s some of what he said.

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AET Rayport-G ECO Ground Mount System Installed at Solar Plant in Vermont

AETBRATTLEBORO, Vermont – Applied Energy Technologies, a preferred supplier of commercial and utility-scale racking systems and one of the top 10 solar racking companies in the United States, is pleased to announce that its Rayport-G ECO racking system was installed to support a 2 MW solar project in Vermont.

AET was selected by REC Solar, a national provider of comprehensive commercial solar and energy solutions, for the project which provides enough solar energy to power the equivalent of 450 local homes annually. The system consists of more than 15,000 posts and more than 8,000 modules.

Solar Leads RFPs for Utilities in 2014

Western states dominate 2014 clean energy requests for proposals

hNEW YORK – A new shows that utility companies in North America zeroed in on two sectors last year: advanced energy storage and solar. Analysts with Bloomberg New Energy Finance tracked 52 clean energy requests for proposals in 2014 and found that solar dominated the field with more than 27 requests for proposals with Western states seeking the most capacity.

The White Paper draws on an analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s database of North American clean energy RFPs. Among the most interesting trends:

Solar dominated he market, both in capacity (1.8GW) and quantity (27 RFPs). There was also a significant amount of interest (at least 12 RFPs) in energy smart technologies, particularly energy storage.
Western states represented the biggest region for RFPs with 1GW being requested. The Southeast was the second-largest region in terms of capacity requested, almost all of it solar.
Wisconsin-based Alliant made the biggest splash in capacity sought with a single RFP.
Collectively, the US armed forces issued seven RFPs.

“The data reveals particularly strong interest in energy storage,” said Will Nelson, head of analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance in North America. “Interestingly, most storage RFPs are looking for a relatively small amount of capacity, evidence that these may be initial experimental forays into a rapidly changing sector.”

RFPs are a leading indicator for trends in the utility industry because they are solicitations issued by companies to potential vendors. The issuers of RFPs specify the products or services they are seeking; in response, bidders submit proposals, competing against each other on the basis of pricing, capabilities and other factors. In the world of clean energy, RFPs could involve procurement for renewable electricity generating capacity or for technologies to make the grid more flexible or resilient.

“For project sponsors and equipment vendors, RFPs are the lifeblood of their business development efforts,” said Mark Taylor, product manager for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “They also give an early but concrete glimpse into which sectors are catching the eye of the market, and about the strategic direction of utilities and other energy-consuming organizations.”

The White Paper also looks at three RFPs that are currently accepting submissions and provides a first take on what it make take to succeed in each case. The three RFPs pertain to renewable energy in Ontario, storage in California and solar in Texas.

For more information on Bloomberg New Energy Finance, please visit

Exosun Commissions Solar Trackers in Lone Valley

The company’s first project in the U.S. included local manufacturing of Exotrack HZ trackers

Exosun solar trackers Lone ValleySAN FRANCISCO – Exosun, a leading provider of solar tracking technologies and associated plant engineering services, has commissioned its solar trackers to the Lone Valley Solar Park in the western Mojave Desert in California. This 30 MWAC project, consisting of two adjacent solar plants, represents Exosun’s first contract completion in North America, and also marks Exosun’s first successful collaboration with the world’s third largest renewable energy producer EDP Renewables.

The Lone Valley solar park is equipped with 262 of Exosun’s Exotrack HZ horizontal single-axis trackers, which orient over 120,000 photovoltaic modules toward the sun to increase electricity production up to 25 percent compared to a fixed-tilt installation.

“Installed on rocky desert land, this project demonstrates the robustness and adaptability of our trackers. Exotrack HZ’s higher energy yield, fast and simple installation, as well as low maintenance requirements are helping our new client to accelerate ROI,” said Frédéric Conchy, president, Exosun.

Less than one year after entering the U. S. market, Exosun achieved the successful establishment of a North American manufacturing footprint. “We have developed partnerships with North American manufacturers and succeeded in completing design transfer for the high quality local production of our trackers,” Conchy said.

The plant will generate over 80,000 MWh annually, enough to power 7,000 homes. It will save 66,000 tons of CO2 in the first year.

Energy Harvesting Tree for the Home


In January 2015, the Finnish VTT Technical Centre introduced decorative organic photovoltaic cells (OPV), which can be inexpensively mass-produced, and which can easily be incorporated into the design of any home. These cells are capable of capturing energy from interior lighting and generate enough power to run small devices and sensors.

Since the OPVs they introduced were shaped like leaves, it is only logical that VTT has now come up with a tree like structure to hold them. And this energy-harvesting tree can generate electricity from more than just the sun.


VTT has gone a step further in that the OPV leaves they designed are actually a multi-source energy harvesting system, meaning that they are capable of converting not just light into usable electricity, but also temperature differences and vibrations caused by wind. This was achieved by fitting each leaf with a multi-power convertor, which makes it possible for energy from all these various sources to be converted into electricity.


The energy-harvesting tree consists of a 3D-printed body made of wood-based biomaterials. It’s not the prettiest fake tree you can buy, but it is very useful. According to VTT, these trees can be placed either indoors or outside, and are infinitely replicable, due to the individual convertors and being mass-produced by a 3D printer. This manufacture process also makes them infinitely scalable.

The present version of the energy-harvesting tree can only produce sufficient energy to power a mobile phone. However, the company already envisions “forests” of such trees providing energy on a much wider and larger scale.

It’s definitely nice to see solar tech being brought closer to the end consumer by making it easier to incorporate it into homes, as well as cheaper and prettier. I could easily envision one of these energy-harvesting trees in my living room, more so if the design was further perfected.


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