Solar power arrays are often exposed to the worst weather that the planet can dish out, including hurricane force winds that can gust up to 200 miles per hour on the U.S. Eastern seaboard and on islands like Hawaii and Guam. Whether the solar panels are mounted on the roof, in a stationary ground array or in moving trackers, calculating wind load is a major factor in the system design. Wind is one of the most frequent causes of damage to solar arrays, said several industry officials. In Spain, in the middle of the last decade, several large dual-axis solar trackers failed as a result of wind, according to Dan Shugar, the CEO of NEXTracker, based in Fremont, CA. "But horizontal trackers as a category have been very reliable since then, so the solar industry converged on the horizontal track as the best practical way to get energy gain, avoiding all the steel it would take to protect a dual-axis," he said.
Spain's Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Transport announced this spring that it would hold an auction for the installation of 500 MW and 200 MW of new wind and biomass power capacities, respectively. The date for the auction was not announced but it is expected that the call for submissions will be published in the State Official Bulletin in the near future. Bids for solar power capacity need not apply.
In the 1950s, the federal government sought to boost home ownership by increasing private lending. To this end, the government facilitated mortgage lending by creating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They provided liquidity to private lenders by buying and holding mortgages, replenishing the funds needed to make additional loans.
There is an old piece of wisdom that states: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But some wind farm operators, especially in Germany and North America, are finding that advice difficult to heed. That's because technology improvements in turbines coupled with software analytics are revealing that signing up for a performance upgrade could allow them to squeeze even more wind energy - and money - out of existing wind farms.
As Japan continues to bounce back from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, it has focused on renewable energy to lessen its reliance on nuclear and carbon-heavy fossil fuels. In just two years, Japan installed more than 11 gigawatts (GW) of renewables, thanks in part to a generous feed-in tariff (FIT) program established in 2012. While most of that development has been centered on solar, Japan has recently turned toward its abundant reserves of geothermal energy, with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) expecting 380 to 850 MW of new installed geothermal capacity by 2030.
Still in their infancy, battery-based intelligent storage systems haven't built up the performance track record most banks and investors like to see when committing capital to a new technology, project or company.