Friday Field Notes 040519

Did you hear the news? Idaho Power has pledged to provide customers 100 percent clean energy by the year 2045. Adam Richins, Idaho Power’s Vice President of Customer Operations and Business Development explains, “You know, our customer base–typically their focus is price and reliability, and that’s number one and number two, but we’re hearing a lot more often that clean energy is a big thing that they’re focused on as well. We know we can provide all three.” (Boise State Public Radio)

Now, for this week in solar news . . .

Idaho Power’s not the only one making news in Idaho . . . the Boise city council voted to adopt “Boise’s Energy Future,” a plan to move the city to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. “The city of Boise has initiated and led the growing conversation about 100 percent clean energy across Idaho,” says Zach Waterman, director of the Sierra Club’s Idaho Chapter. “By listening to the concerns of residents, businesses, and local organizations, the city has shown that the local leadership is really about making decisions with and for the entire community.” (Solar Industry Magazine) Had this been announced a couple days earlier, we may have been tempted to think it a cruel joke. But it’s true! Miracles never cease.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) announced that 171 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity was installed in 2018–that’s nearly an 8% increase from the prior year. “Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the technology of choice for new power generation capacity,” says Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. (Renew Economy) Oh, and for the record, solar energy saw the biggest increase.

Of course, with more people, utilities, cities, states, countries moving toward 100 percent renewable energy, storage options remain a hot topic. According to a recent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “Batteries co-located with solar or wind projects are starting to compete, in many markets and without subsidy, with coal- and gas-fired generation.” And Florida Power & Light plans to build the world’s largest solar-powered storage battery–“the equivalent of approximately 100 million iPhone batteries.” (CBS News)

While we’re on the topic of managing renewable energy output: the New York State Independent System Operator (which oversees the state’s electricity supply) relies on a statewide network of weather sensors called the mesonet. Operating out of the University of Albany, the network consists of 126 weather stations–covering every county in the state–and provides data every five minutes. Obviously, this data is used in a variety of ways; but for those in the solar industry, it gives detailed information on sunlight (irradiance). (Times Union)

LEGO does not shy away from trying something new. As a matter of fact, their mission is to “inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.” So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the Danish toy and entertainment giant is the first major corporation to purchase a solar developer (Enerparc U.S., if you’re curious). Most companies either installed solar panels on their property or sign Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and call it good . . . LEGO has done both (Forbes). Time will tell what they build next . . .

Spring has sprung; summer will be here before we know it–and the likes of road trips and beach parties, picnics and wiener roasts. Speaking of which, the World’s Largest Brat Fest is going solar (+ wind). (Channel 300) So, if you happen to be in Madison, Wisconsin May 24 through May 26, grab a Green Cab and head to the celebration: eat a brat, listen to a few tunes, check out the electric vehicles, recycle, compost–and know the environment is partying right alongside you!

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Now, for our disclaimer: Friday Field Notes is a weekly post about the goings on in (and possibly around) the field of solar. We simply link to news articles from the week to help you stay in the loop. While we try to stick with reputable sources, we cannot attest to the accuracy of each and every piece. Furthermore, the links and subsequent commentary are purely the opinions of the writers. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the company, nor should they be considered professional opinion, backing, and/or advice.