The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Obama Pledges $2B in Energy Efficiency Funding, Lauds Wal-Mart Solar Roofs

President Barack Obama took the Blue-Light stage here at Wal-Mart in Mountain View, California, to announce several plans for improving energy efficiency and announce commitments by several big retailers to support solar PV. He led with his plan to invest another “$2 billion in energy upgrades for federal buildings over the next three years.” He also touted his three-year-old Better Buildings Initiative, noting that “190 businesses and organizations have signed on, committed to improving energy efficiency in America’s commercial buildings by 20 percent by the year 2020.” And he vowed “to support training programs at community colleges across the country that will help 50,000 workers earn the skills that solar companies are looking for right now.” He reckoned that, “Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar, and every panel is pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be overseas.” Well, perhaps not pounded, exactly.

Obama was in California for a series of meetings this week, including a Democratic National Convention dinner in nearby San Jose last night. The choice of a Wal-Mart for the 14-minute energy speech was no accident. “I know this looks like a typical Wal-Mart, but it is different — and that’s why I’m here,” he said. “Wal-Mart has already got the most installed on-site solar capacity of any company in America. And now you’ve announced plans to double that capacity. And it’s all part of your goal to buy or produce 7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy by 2020 — something that could save Wal-Mart $1 billion a year in energy costs,” Obama said.       

Wal-Mart's Committment

“California presents a great opportunity for Wal-Mart to make significant progress toward our sustainability goals by installing solar power on more than 130 store rooftops throughout the state,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, Wal-Mart vice president of energy. “Wal-Mart has reduced energy expenses by more than a million dollars through our solar program, allowing us to pass these savings on to our customers in the form of everyday low prices,” he noted.

In 2010 Wal-Mart commissioned Solar City to install more solar systems in California. “Wal-Mart has undertaken one of the most ambitious solar initiatives of any company in the United States, and tripled the scale of its initial project with us,” said Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO, at the time of the announcement. In many of its California and Arizona stores, Wal-Mart is testing out thin-film panels using copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride panels. Among financial partners in some of the Wal-Mart solar installations are the Environmental Defense Fund, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the National Bank of Arizona and various government incentives.

Mountain View - A Solar Research Center

Obama also might have picked Mountain View, a part of the Silicon Valley, because it is also a hot bed for solar research and development. For example, Mountain View is the U.S. engineering center for France’s Areva Group, a concentrating solar thermal technology developer that now has a 5-MW demonstration plant running for Tucson Electric Power (TEP). The plant is producing power as cheaply as nine cents per kilowatt-hour, according to Jayesh Goyal, the vice president of Global Sales for Areva, based in Santa Ana. Areva’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR), or Fresnel technology uses sunlight and mirrors to produce steam, which can be used either for electricity generation, or as an input source for steam generators, or both when needed. TEP is planning to use some of the Areva steam at its H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station in Tucson to feed an electrical generator that is normally coal-fired. Such hybrid use adds value to the solar installation.

Now Areva is testing a molten salt energy storage plant at the Sandia National Laboratory’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico (see image left, source: Areva). While the Fresnel system can heat salt to temperatures high enough to convert energy for 18 hours, most utilities are only looking for six to eight hour’s worth of storage, noted Goyal. The relative cost of storing energy from PV generated electricity is a factor of 5 times higher than the cost of storing Fresnel steam energy as molten salt, so it is much more efficient,” he said. “Following this test we expect to see the technology used in Saudi Arabia, in South Africa, and in other locations soon,” he said.

Lead image: Areva Tests its Molten Salt Energy Storage Plant at Sandia National Labs. Source: Areva

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Stolen Solar Panels and Sabotage A Challenge for Powering India With Renewable Energy

Anindya Upadhyay, Bloomberg Disappointment spread across Tarun Singh’s face when he saw that parts of his solar power microgrid in eastern India’...

States Already Seek To Delay Clean Power Plan

Andrew Harris, Bloomberg Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia asked a federal court to stall Obama administration rules intended to c...

Suntech Parent Company Buys Majority Share of US-based Suniva

Ehren Goossens Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd., the Hong Kong-based solar company controlled by billionaire Zheng Jianming,...

Sunrise in Pakistan as the Country Delves into Solar PV

Robert Harker Pakistan has joined the list of countries that are exploring solar power as a means to bridge critical energy generat...

PRESS RELEASES

Intersolar AWARD „Solar Projects in India“ – Applications being accepted until September 18

The Intersolar AWARD in the category Solar Projects in India honors projects in the fie...

OFS Announces Commercial Availability of InvisiLight® MDU Optical Solution for Multiple Dwelling Units

OFS, a leading-edge designer, manufacturer and supplier of innovative fiber optic netwo...

New local energy partnership brings innovative solar tracker to Washington State

A new partnership will bring the innovative AllEarth Solar Tracker solar electric syste...

30 days to GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has announced that it is only 30 days to go to t...

FEATURED BLOGS

Cronimet / THEnergy study: In solar for mines size does not always matter - Reducing CAPEX with energy efficiency and load shifting

Munich, September 2015. Mining companies are constantly gaining interest in solar solutions because frequently solar ...

Final Program Now Available for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Final Program from

Vacancy? No Problem!

Have you ever tried to sell an efficiency product or service to a prospect that owns or manages a building with high ...

Shedding Some Light on a Taxing Situation for Community-Shared Solar

For renters and for property owners with inadequate roof space, the many benefits of solar electricity may seem out o...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Charles W. Thurston is a journalist who specializes in renewable energy, from finance to technological processes. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years, living and working in locations ranging from Brazil to Papua New Guinea.

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Intersolar South America 2015

Exhibition and Conference: September 1-3, 2015 Intersolar South America ...

ees Europe 2016

Exhibition: June 22-24, 2016; Conference: June 21-22, 2016 ees Europe 20...

Intersolar Europe 2016

Exhibition: June 22-24, 2016; Conference: June 21-22, 2016 Intersolar Eu...

COMPANY BLOGS

The Proof Is Not Always In The Pudding

One of the best ways to turn a skeptical prospect into a buyer is to giv...

Pushing Beyond The Cushion

Efficiency projects are all too often viewed as “optional” o...

Less Is More

When you’re giving a presentation, one of the easiest things to do...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS