Aand Rangarajan's Comments

April 14, 2015

A Partial Solution To California’s Water Problems

Use of electricity by the water sector (water/wastewater utilities) in CA is well documented - Department of Water Resources has published many reports on this. Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) has also published many reports on this. ACWA members (about 450 of them) consume about 10% of all electricity consumed in CA. Some data points:
1. An average home in LA consumes more electricity embedded in the water it consumes than electricity it consumes for all other uses combined.
2. As much as 70% of the operating expenses of a water utility goes for paying its electric bill.
3. Peak electricity demand from water utilities happens during hot summer afternoons, when electric utilities already face the highest demand for electricity from other users, exasperating their demand problems.
4. No new power plants (fossil fuel powered) can come on line in CA any time soon, if ever.
5. In the event of a rolling black out (brown out) or other emergencies, the water utilities are constrained from using diesel powered back up generators by the Air Quality Board (AQB) because of air quality issues.
6. There are thousands of diesel pumps still used for irrigation in the central valley in CA. They are the single largest contributor to particulate emissions in the central valley, which has some of the worst air quality districts in the country (e.g. Fresno).
7. Because of the flat terrain in the central valley (where demand of water from Ag is the highest), there is no economical way to store water in elevated tanks or locations.

I was personally involved with several water districts about ten years ago installing and demonstrating (large scale systems) direct drive solar pumping systems that can provide cheaper electricity, improve operating electrical (and hydraulic) efficiencies, improve reliability and run these systems during day light hours even in the event of a black out (hot summer afternoons). All this was done using tax efficient private financing. This was done when I was at a company called WorldWater and Solar Technologies.

This can be done again - for water supply, water treatment and wastewater handling. The technology is here, and also private sector money.

Use of electricity in the water sector is often confused with use of water in electricity production - although use of water in electricity production is important, this issue is completely distinct and separate from electricity used to deliver water. Hydro is not a solution for electricity problems is CA where many small hydro plants are being decommissioned for other over riding environmental issues. Also, hydro production is limited during droughts!

Water conservation and ground water management are integral and essential parts of addressing the water issues in CA. But, new approaches are needed (and they are available) to start making a dent in the water crisis in CA. Solar can play a major role in solving many aspects of the crisis in CA. Without solar these problems cannot be solved - this is a very strong statement, but it is true.

April 14, 2015

A Partial Solution To California’s Water Problems

Yes - that is correct. My comments are specifically to use DG solar, behind the meter. No new government incentives or rule changes are needed. As I see it, it is a matter of education of and adaptation by water/wastewater utilities and companies (MOU's and IOU's). They don't even need to put up any money!

The local, state and federal governments can play a role in creating awareness of these possibilities. The water utilities are by nature slow to change and adopt, particularly in CA where any thing to with water is viewed with much skepticism and ends up being part of a political turf.

But the water utilities have the authority to incorporate these new ways - it has been done before in isolated cases in CA. But I would like to think it is only a matter of education in order for a larger scale adaptation to be realized.

April 11, 2015

Making Residual Value Real: Where is Solar's Emilio Estevez?

One could argue that the value of a barrel of oil remaining in the ground 35 years from now (year 2050) is zero or close to zero because no fossil fuel could be burned because of global consensus on climate change. If this were to happen, the reset of balance sheets (book to market as it was called in the home mortgage fiasco in 2008) will have to reflect loss of asset value in trillions of dollars.
I developed and offered to market my first solar lease in the early 80's when we offered stand alone solar out door bill board lighting systems. Panel cost then was around $5 to $6 per watt! There was a secondary market then for used panels in the developing countries for $2/w! Much in fact went to Mexico.
The discounted NPV of the residual value does not impact current financing much - technically one assumes FMV at Zero to be conservative. A negative value does not seem to make sense - the scrap value will be more than removal cost. There are many wealthy guys in NY who are pulling out copper wires from NY buildings and selling in scrap metals market when these buildings get outfitted with fiber optics. Talk about technology obsolescence!

April 03, 2015

Listen Up Update: What Solar Panels Should I Buy?

Good information made simple! I would like to establish direct contact with Barry. I would appreciate it if you could connect us, Anand Rangarajan

March 21, 2015

Distributed Energy Storage Market Growing Beyond Expectations

It has been very frustrating to keep reading stories about storage market size, cost etc described in MW or GW without also mentioning capacity in MWh or GWh. I could understand these numbers if in fact there is an industry standard - for example one could mean by saying one MW of storage what us really meant is that one MW of discharge capacity is available for say four hours.
But, alas, there seems to be no such standard.
This makes things even more confusing when discussing costs - people discus $/MW which is really related to inverter rating (and nothing much to do with battery) cost.
Publications like this one should step in and clarify and editors should insist on authors providing clarity. This publication has been even more recalcitrant in letting original authors of posts not responding to comments, such as a recent article on storage costs from Rocky Mountain Institute which was both confusing and erroneous .
The editors should insist on certain standards of authorship.
In the mean time storage cost performance should be discussed in MWh not MW, as MW numbers are only relevant to power electronics and not relevant to the storage technology, costs etc other than it's relationship to charge/discharge rates.

February 13, 2015

The Distributed Energy Storage Industry In One Chart

It is indeed a difficult task to summarize value of distributed storage in a single chart - it is often misleading or confusing to say the least, as the one presented in this article. It all depends on the assumptions on costs and revenues. I believe this article relies on Li ion costs at $29,000 for 24 kWh costs. But this is not the gold standard, or should not be. We are currently developing projects at less than $10,000 for 24 kWh (all in) of which storage costs at about $5,000 - today. These batteries provide all the performance required of the applications required in the chart.
We are also looking for collaborative partners - pls contact me. I would be interested in exploring collaborative opportunities with you

February 01, 2015

Demand Response: A Valuable Tool that Can Help California Realize its Clean Energy Potential

This is a terrific report. It appears from your "duck curve" that a distributed storage (behind the meter) system that can shift demand by about 3 hrs (6pm to 9pm) would be beneficial all around - the consumer will see a reduction in their bill by avoiding the high TOU rates and demand charges, which cannot be saved with either wind or solar alone. Have you looked at how to quantify the economic (financial benefit) of this? Third party owned storage services seem feasible if there are some standard rues of the game. Any thoughts?

February 14, 2014

New Report Navigates Solar Securitization

My company is now "rescuing" some local government owned solar projects initially financed thru "securitized" (rated) bond instruments, now in trouble. We have also developed some proprietary insurance products to cover gaps in the solar O&M guaranties related to performance, which would be helpful in mitigating much of the O&M risk you have identified in your report. We are also developing standardized docs. I would like to be involved in your stake holder group to share and understand - pls let me know how. Thank you.

February 15, 2013

Net Metering Debate Rages On Despite Calls For Calm

This discussion is long over due. There have been a lot of studies done by USDOE (about 19 years ago) and by EPRI that have put rationalized values of the the last kWh over the last mile - considering these studies as a part of this discussion would help.
There is also the price (cost) of reliability - the EDC's have an obligation to provide guaranteed service reliability in order that they can have their franchise. This number is something like 99.9%. Technically, if they fon't maintain this level of service, they could lose their franchise. As evidenced by the power outages on the ease coast (and the time to recover full service), the EDC's have to invest considerable dollars, which even if they do, will get paid by the rate payers. There isa cost effective alternative if distributed storage is incoporated, which can also provide for demand side management, and the associated benefits. No new battery technologies are needed to deliver an effective and affordable solaution.
I would like to suggest that this consideration be included in the net metering discussion.

November 21, 2008

Thoughts on an Energy Policy for the New Administration

Your fundamental notion that rather than talking about energy as a mere commodity, but asking the question energy for what, sheds a lot of clarity in our search for energy solutions. RE is more efficient all around relative to base line energy technologies when you approach energy planning and policy with this question in mind.

For example distributed solar electricity generation tied to specific services, for example delivering clean water, reliably is more cost effective and improves security.

In addition to (or instead of) spending money on strengthening the grid (particularly distribution) infrastructure, which is in bad shape, it will cost less money, less time and provide more security if distributed generation is included in the mix. This also needs involvement of the power distribution companies, ISO's and other non governmental entities.

This article is a wonderful starting point for an intelligent debate and planning for renewable energy policy in this country.

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