U.S. solar installations break record in 3Q 2016

The solar industry in the United States installed nearly 2 Megawatts of solar per hour in the third quarter of 2016. — that’s enough energy production to power about 328 homes. 4,143 megawatts (MW) of solar PV were installed in the U.S. in the third quarter of the year, a rate of one MW every 32 minutes, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Q4 2016 U.S. Solar Market Insight report. That record won’t stand for long, though, because the organization estimates Q4 production will be even higher. The report points to an “unprecedented rate of project completion” in the utility-scale segment as a key growth driver. Utilities, particularly in the Southeast, continue to seek additional solar assets for their portfolio as a hedge against natural gas prices, researchers said. Procurement via the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act is expected to overtake Renewable Portfolio Standards  as the largest driver of solar in 2017 as developers leverage avoided cost rates in North and South Carolina, Oregon and Utah. State rankings Mississippi ranked 39th in solar installations in Q3 2016, was ranked 38th in 2015 and is currently 40th in cumulative solar installations among all US states. South Carolina ranked 20th in solar installations in Q3 2016, was ranked 37th in all of 2015 and 28th in cumulative solar installations overall. Tennessee ranked 25th in solar installations in the third quarter of this year, was ranked 31st in 2015 and is currently ranked 22nd in cumulative solar installations. “Coming off our largest quarter ever and with an extremely impressive pipeline ahead, it’s safe to say the state of the solar industry...

Tennessee companies commit to renewable energy, sustainability goals

Our friends at the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council took a closer look at a recently released report on “Advanced Energy Commitments” by large corporations. According to the report, 71 of Fortune 100 companies and 215 of Fortune 500 companies have set renewable energy or sustainability targets. And, thanks to TAEBC, we now know several of them are headquartered, or have branch locations, in Tennessee. FedEx Corp., which is headquartered in Memphis, is the top Tennessee company on the list. The international shipping company plans to improve vehicle efficiency, use more alternative fuels in its airplanes and increase the use of renewable energy to power its locations. Read more at the TAEBC blog post: “Tennessee Fortune 100 and 500 companies setting renewable energy, sustainability...

South Carolina’s Clemson University gets world’s first 100% solar-powered mobile clinic

Clemson University’s Joseph F. Sullivan Center is utilizing the world’s first 100 percent solar-powered, generator-free mobile clinic for outreach efforts to under-served populations across South Carolina. “We’ve all dreamed of using solar power for years,” said Dr. Anita Chambers, president of Odulair, in a press release. Odulair manufactures the mobile clinic. The Odulair Solar System consists of rooftop high efficiency photovoltaic panels and integrated 48-volt lithium ion battery pack for energy storage with constant telemetry of all batteries and connections. The mobile clinic technical design is far more efficient than existing mobile clinics which are usually run with a generator. The Odulair Clinic utilizes a direct current HVAC system, similar to bullet trains, increasing energy efficiency by 30 percent. “Mobile clinics are required to operate in remote locations and solar power is a huge improvement. Eliminating the generator eliminates the noise, vibration, and unhealthy noxious fumes; while significantly reducing mobile clinic maintenance and operations costs.” The mobile clinic was made possible by support from the State of South Carolina led by Senator Thomas Alexander. “It’s critical that the state make it possible for organizations like the Sullivan Center to bring health care to folks who need it most,” Alexander said. Other solar-powered mobile clinics have been manufactured, but most only powered lights, television and small equipment, according to Odulair. Odulair LLC is a woman owned Wyoming company founded by a medical professional in 2008 to assist governments, NGOs, and private medical providers with advanced technology mobile clinics for the delivery of healthcare in over 40 medical...

World’s largest solar plant now in India, dethroning California

America, India has thrown down the solar gauntlet. The 648 MW Kamuthi Solar Power Project takes the title of world’s largest solar plant from the Topaz Solar Farm in California, which was completed two years ago and has a capacity of 550 MW. The Kamuthi Solar Power Project was built in only 8 months, and cost $679 million to complete. It contains 2.5 million individual solar panels, covers an area of almost 4 square miles, and is expected to power 150,000 homes, writes Avery Thompson in an article at Popular Mechanics. The World’s Largest Solar Plant Is Now Online in...