U.S. Alternative Energy Correspondent
Nichola's Feed
Sep 27, 2013

California solar policy costing all utility customers: report

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California’s non-solar homeowners are paying a growing share of maintaining the power grid under a controversial state policy, while ratepayers with solar rooftops are paying less, a report commissioned by the state’s utility regulator said on Thursday.

The report, which was issued by the California Public Utilities Commission but performed by an outside research firm, forecast that in 2020, the policy of “net metering” would cost $1.1 billion a year. It will shift about $359 million in costs a year from customers with solar panels to other ratepayers. Residential customers who have no solar panels would bear about $287 million of those costs.

Sep 24, 2013

Loans challenge big money’s leasing model for U.S. rooftop solar

By Nichola Groom

(Reuters) – Falling prices and growing acceptance of home solar power is sparking a challenge to major financiers who have anchored the U.S. industry using leases, as smaller banks and other lenders rush to offer homeowners loans to buy systems.

Loans offer homeowners a path to solar system ownership and the opportunity to capture for themselves federal tax credits worth 30 percent of the value.

Sep 12, 2013

California moves to reform electricity rates

LOS ANGELES, Sept 12 (Reuters) – California lawmakers on
Thursday voted to reform the state’s electricity rate structure,
a move aimed at lowering bills for high energy consumers in the
state’s sweltering inland regions.

The bill, known as AB 327, was backed by the state’s three
investor-owned utilities: Southern California Edison, a unit of
Edison International, Pacific Gas & Electric, a unit of
PG&E Corp, and San Diego Gas & Electric, a division of
Sempra Energy. They argued that higher usage customers,
many of which are lower to moderate income households, have
borne the majority of the state’s electricity rate increases
since certain restrictions were introduced amid the California
energy crisis 12 years ago.

Aug 13, 2013

SolarCity to pay $120 mln for direct-marketing company

LOS ANGELES, Aug 13 (Reuters) – SolarCity Corp said
on Tuesday it will buy direct-marketing solar company Paramount
Solar for about $120 million in a deal intended to help cut the
cost of acquiring new customers.

Paramount Solar is majority-owned by Guthy Renker LLC, the
direct marketing company best-known for its Proactiv skin care
line. Guthy Renker’s chief executive, Ben Van de Bunt, is
expected to join SolarCity’s board of directors later this year.

Aug 12, 2013

Insight: California aims to ‘bottle sunlight’ in energy storage push

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California, whose green ambitions helped the solar and wind industries take root, is taking an essential next step by proposing a sharp rise in energy storage to better integrate renewable power with the rest of the grid.

Power from sun and wind fluctuates dramatically, so capturing it for later use makes the supply more predictable.

Aug 12, 2013

California aims to “bottle sunlight” in energy storage push

SAN FRANCISCO/LOS ANGELES, Aug 12 (Reuters) – California,
whose green ambitions helped the solar and wind industries take
root, is taking an essential next step by proposing a sharp rise
in energy storage to better integrate renewable power with the
rest of the grid.

Power from sun and wind fluctuates dramatically, so
capturing it for later use makes the supply more predictable.

Aug 6, 2013

First Solar cuts 2013 outlook, buys GE solar technology

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – First Solar Inc (FSLR.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings and revenue well short of expectations and slashed its outlook for the year due to construction delays for a large project and a decision to sell two projects only after they are finished.

The company’s shares slid 9 percent in extended trade.

First Solar also said it is acquiring the intellectual property of General Electric Co’s (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) cadmium telluride solar technology and entering into a partnership with the company that will raise operating costs this year. It will issue 1.75 million shares to GE as part of the deal, making GE one of First Solar’s 10 biggest shareholders.

Jul 30, 2013

Renewable Energy Group earnings up 60 percent, high RIN prices help

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Biodiesel maker Renewable Energy Group Inc (REGI.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Tuesday reported a 60 percent rise in quarterly profit due in part to sharply higher prices on U.S. renewable fuel credits.

Renewable fuel credits are used by refiners to prove they have blended their share of renewable fuel – mainly ethanol – under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), a program meant to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Jul 15, 2013

Analysis: Fracking water’s dirty little secret – recycling

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The oil and gas industry is finding that less is more in the push to recycle water used in hydraulic fracturing. Slightly dirty water, it seems, does just as good a job as crystal clear when it comes to making an oil or gas well work.

Exploration and production companies are under pressure to reduce the amount of freshwater used in dry areas like Texas and to cut the high costs of hauling millions of barrels of water to oil and gas wells and later to underground disposal wells.

Jul 15, 2013

Fracking water’s dirty little secret – recycling

LOS ANGELES, July 15 (Reuters) – The oil and gas industry is
finding that less is more in the push to recycle water used in
hydraulic fracturing. Slightly dirty water, it seems, does just
as good a job as crystal clear when it comes to making an oil or
gas well work.

Exploration and production companies are under pressure to
reduce the amount of freshwater used in dry areas like Texas and
to cut the high costs of hauling millions of barrels of water to
oil and gas wells and later to underground disposal wells.