Solar energy is being shouted from American rooftops—literally. United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the government is offering a conditional commitment to partially guarantee a $1.4 billion loan to support Project Amp which will install solar panels on the roofs of industrial buildings across the country. The electricity generated from those panels will contribute directly to the electrical grid and won’t be used to power the buildings where they are installed.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is not content to rest on its smart meter laurels. After establishing itself as one of the United States’ early adopters of smart meters and related technology, SDG&E is bolstering its renewables portfolio by signing contracts with a subsidiary of San Diego-based enXco and with Arlington Valley Solar Energy II, a subsidiary of LS Power Development. The new deals, which require approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), represent a combined total capacity of up to 237 megawatts (MW) of solar energy.
Universities across the United States are employing in-house smart frids to reduce energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint. A smart grid will make it possible to island parts of the electric system from the main grid when main grid prices are high or when it is blacked out. Islanding can be especially important in university and research settings where power disruptions can be potentially catastrophic to experiments and power-dependent research projects.
Enel Green Power España has acquired another 16.67 percent stake in Sociedad Eólica de Andalucía (SEA) from Desarrollos Eólicos Promoción SA (DEPSA). The acquisition, which increases Enel Green Power España’s interest in SEA to 63.34 percent to make it the majority shareholder, is part of Enel’s strategy to streamline its business portfolio by reorganizing its assets and shareholdings in various projects. The other SEA shareholders are SOPREA with 23.33 percent, and IDEA and Elecnor, each holding 6.67 percent.
BlueChip Energy has initiated stage one of the Rinehart Solar Farm, a 10 MW utility-scale solar PV facility in Central Florida. Located in Lake Mary, Fla., the solar project will have an annual generation of approximately 15,000,000 kilowatt-hours. This is equivalent to the annual energy use of approximately 1,100 area homes. The project will cover a section of the 380,000 square foot rooftop space and surrounding acreage of BlueChip Energy’s Lake Mary facility.