CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
News and Events
DOE Awards $15 Million for Next Generation Energy-Efficient Lighting
DOE announced on June 7 nearly $15 million will go toward support of eight new research and development projects that will speed up development of high-efficiency solid-state lighting technologies such as light-emitting (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The selected projects, in Arizona, California, New York, and North Carolina, will leverage an additional $4 million in private sector funding. LEDs and OLEDs, which use an emissive electroluminescent layer of organic compounds, have the potential to be ten times more energy-efficient than conventional incandescent lighting and can last up to 25 times as long.
The selected research is focused on advancing core technology, developing new products, and expanding domestic manufacturing capacity. For example, Arizona State University Tempe will attempt to demonstrate an efficient, stable white OLED using a single emitter, which will simplify the device structure and in turn reduce costs for the consumer. And, Philips Lumileds Lighting Company, LLC in California will use high-voltage, low-current LED designs, to simplify driver requirements, improve driver efficiency, and reduce system cost. This is the seventh round of DOE funding for solid-state lighting core technology research and product development, and the second time that DOE has funded solid-state lighting manufacturing projects.
More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
DOE Offers $27 Million to Reduce Costs of Solar Energy Projects
DOE announced on June 1 the availability of more than $27 million in new funding that will reduce the non-hardware costs of solar energy projects as part of its SunShot Initiative. The funding will support a $12.5 million Rooftop Solar challenge to encourage cities and counties to compete to streamline and digitize permitting processes. Application deadline is August 31 for this program. New funding will also include $15 million for advancing innovations in information technology systems, local zoning and building codes and regulations, and more. Described as removing market barriers, these process improvements and innovations will help increase U.S. competitiveness in the global solar industry. Application deadline is June 23 for this opportunity.
Both funding opportunities focus on reducing “non-hardware balance-of-system” costs, which generally refer to the costs of installing solar systems that are not associated with the solar panels, mounting hardware, electronics, and other hardware. These “soft costs,” including the capital required to pay for siting, permitting, and installing a solar energy system, as well as the cost of connecting it to the grid, can represent up to 40% of the total cost of the system. Navigating the differing and expensive administrative processes of various towns, cities, and counties across the nation, and securing financing for projects, are major obstacles for homeowners and developers looking to invest in solar energy. Funded projects will help standardize some processes, cut upfront fees and paperwork, and reduce the overall costs associated with permitting and installation, making it easier and less expensive for homeowners, businesses, and their local communities to deploy solar energy.More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
Unleashing Rooftop Solar Energy through More Efficient Government
Across the country, the race is on to drive down the cost of solar energy. And, a new challenge through DOE’s SunShot Initiative could help slash the costs even faster. DOE is challenging cities and counties to compete nationwide to cut the red tape that can push up the price tags on solar energy projects.
One of the highest hurdles for would-be investors in residential and small commercial solar energy installations is navigating the differing and expensive administrative processes required to get their solar panels from the drawing board to the rooftop. On June 1, DOE announced a new challenge in which teams of local and regional governments compete for funds to help drive down administrative barriers to residential and small commercial photovoltaic (PV) solar installations by streamlining, standardizing, and digitizing their administrative processes. The Rooftop Solar Challenge will also spur participating cities and states across the nation to enable innovative financing programs to help homeowners and entrepreneurs install solar energy systems on their homes and businesses. Up to 40% of the total cost of a solar energy system is the result of balance-of-system costs, which include the capital required to pay for siting, permitting, and installing a solar energy project and connecting it to the grid.
By challenging local governments to cut their upfront fees and paperwork and to standardize their permitting processes, the challenge will not only reduce the cost to homeowners and businesses of installing solar energy systems, but it will also save money and time for local governments already struggling with tight budgets.
More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
DOE Offers Conditional Loan Guarantee to Solar Project in Nevada
DOE announced its offer on June 2 of a conditional commitment for a $45.6 million loan guarantee to support a 20-megawatt AC photovoltaic (PV) solar generating facility. The project, sponsored by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, Inc., is being supported by DOE with funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It will be developed approximately 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas, and the project’s sponsor estimates it will create 250 jobs at peak construction.
The Fotowatio PV solar generating facility will include more than 90,000 polycrystalline silicon modules attached to single-axis horizontal tracker technology that will capture more energy than fixed-tilt PV systems. The project, which will be the second-largest photovoltaic generation facility in Nevada, is expected to avoid over 31,000 tons of carbon pollution annually. The facility is also expected to produce approximately 55,000 megawatt hours annually, enough to power over 4,700 homes. Power from the project will be sold to Nevada Power Company.
More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
FHA, Fannie Mae Launch Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) announced on May 31 its Green Refinance Plus, a program between HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Fannie Mae to boost energy efficiency in older affordable housing. The program will allow owners of existing affordable rental housing properties to refinance into new mortgages that include funding for energy- and water-saving upgrades, along with other needed property renovations.
Under the program, FHA and Fannie Mae will share the risk on loans to refinance existing rent-restricted projects while permitting owners to borrow additional funds to make energy-saving improvements to their properties. Owners of existing multifamily affordable properties typically refinance their mortgages every 10 to 15 years. In older apartment buildings, however, owners are often hard-pressed to find additional financing to maintain or improve the physical condition of their properties, including making energy-efficient upgrades. Soon, Fannie Mae and its participating lenders will begin accepting applications to refinance owners’ debt and improve the energy efficiency of their properties.
The initiative is intended to refinance the expiring mortgages of Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties, and other affordable projects, and to lower annual operating costs by reducing energy consumption. Fannie Mae and HUD anticipate approximately $100 million in initial refinance volume with an average loan amount of $3.5 to $5 million.More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
Team Canada Returns to DOE’s Solar Decathlon with First Nation Values in Mind
Team Canada in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 is a group that is making its second go at the competition after placing an impressive 6th out of 20 in the 2009 Solar Decathlon. Team members from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, the Schulich School of Engineering, and the Haskayne School of Business, say their competitive edge emerges from an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to design.
Team Canada’s house, known as TRTL (Technological Residence that respects Traditional Living), addresses critical housing issues in Alberta’s aboriginal communities. The TRTL design includes specific consideration for the context of Alberta’s First Nations communities. The 1,000-square-foot home is intended for a young family, with two bedrooms and a large social space for cooking and eating. The home’s solar PV panels will result in an annual net-zero energy balance to ease rising energy costs in remote communities. The team used building materials that are extremely durable and highly resistant to mold and fire. In addition to these efficiency considerations, the home’s exterior and interior include references to the traditions and values of Treaty 7 Nations throughout Alberta.More info at http://solarserdar.blogspot.com.
CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)