Green energy has hit a new milestone: The world added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016 despite an investment level that was 23 percent lower than the previous year, according to a new United Nations report.
CBS — Globally, those low expenditures — the lowest seen since 2013 — were largely due to declining prices in renewable energy, a sign of vitality in the sector. For instance, the average dollar cost per megawatt for solar photovoltaics and wind energy dropped by more than 10 percent, according to the report.
In total, the world spent $241.6 billion on renewable energy last year. (That excludes spending on “large hydro,” which largely refers to projects that use a dam and a reservoir to retain water from a river.)
The report reflects an important moment, said David Konisky, associate professor at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
“It reflects a slow but sustained trajectory towards cleaner sources of energy. It reflects the fact that the cost of renewable technologies are coming down pretty drastically,” Konisky said.
Last year’s spending created 139 gigawatts of renewable energy infrastructure, 8 percent more than the amount of renewable capacity built in 2015.
“The report is a reminder that, if you set aside policy for a moment, there are factors in the marketplace which are continuing to push countries towards cleaner sources of energy,” Konisky said.
Of course, market forces alone cannot create the conditions required for renewable energy transformation. Policy also matters.
Since the election of President Trump, the U.S. has made a dramatic pivot from its global environmental agenda.
Earlier this week, the U.S. dealt a blow to international climate cooperation: Top officials from the “Group of Seven” industrial nations reached a standstill in their attempts to draft a joint declaration due to a Trump administration review of climate policies. The final declaration was left incomplete.
A longtime critic of the landmark Paris Agreement, Mr. Trump has vowed to withdraw from the global pact governing lower carbon emissions.
Domestically, Environmental Protection Agency chair Scott Pruitt has ushered in a new chapter in the history of the EPA since his February confirmation, from reversing a key rule underpinning the Clean Water Act to clearing the way for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
Before assuming leadership of the EPA, the former attorney general of Oklahoma made a name for himself among EPA opponents for suing the agency more than a dozen times. Recent emails unearthed by the Associated Press reveal Scott Pruitt’s strong ties to business leaders in the fossil fuel industry, an industry whose carbon emissions Pruitt is now charged with regulating.
Reflecting global averages, the UN report painted a rosy picture of renewable energy infrastructure worldwide. However, the report also documented a significant slowdown in China, Japan and some emerging markets.
In looking at the evolution of clean energy, Konisky emphasized the importance of examining multiple forces at play at the same time -- including political and market forces that may be counteracting each other.
“For the U.S., when you have policy moving in the opposite direction as the markets, it may slow down some of the de-carbonization and movement towards clean energy,” he said.
Leaders from the City of Portland and Multnomah County have committed to 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050.
CNBC — In an announcement earlier this week, authorities said that their goal was to meet the community's electricity needs with renewables by the year 2035 and to move all remaining energy sources to renewable ones by 2050.
"Getting our community to 100 percent renewable energy is a big goal,'' Ted Wheeler, City of Portland Mayor, said in a statement.
"And while it is absolutely ambitious, it is a goal that we share with Nike, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Google, GM, Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart. We have a responsibility to lead this effort in Oregon.''
Multnomah County is the most populous county in Oregon. Its Chair, Deborah Kafoury, welcomed the news. "This is a pledge to our children's future,'' she said. "100 percent renewables means a future with cleaner air, a stable climate and more jobs and economic opportunity.''
Portland is among a number of U.S. cities looking to embrace renewables. Over the weekend Chicago's Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced that city buildings there were to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.
"By committing the energy used to power our public buildings to wind and solar energy, we are sending a clear signal that we remain committed to building a 21st century economy here in Chicago," Emanuel said.
Back in Portland, Wheeler noted that tackling climate change would need to be a collaborative effort. "We don't succeed addressing climate change by government action alone,'' he said.
"We need our whole community: government, businesses, organizations and households to work together to make a just transition to a 100 percent renewable future.''
For the first time in the era of the modern automobile, the most valuable U.S. car maker is not based in Detroit.
REUTERS — Silicon Valley's Tesla Inc overtook General Motors on Monday to become the U.S. car maker with the largest market capitalization as the century-old automobile industry increases its reliance on software and cutting-edge energy technology.
That milestone is likely to be on the minds of Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and GM Chief Executive Mary Barra as they and other CEOs visit the White House on Tuesday to discuss tax reform and infrastructure with President Donald Trump.
Helped by an analyst's recommendation, Tesla rose 3.26 percent to a record high of $312.39 on Monday. Its market value of $50.887 billion exceeded GM's by about $1 million.
Helped by an analyst's recommendation, Tesla rose 3.26 percent to a record high of $312.39 on Monday. Its market value of $50.887 billion exceeded GM's by about $1 million.
Over the past month, the luxury electric car maker has surged 35 percent as investors bet that Musk will revolutionize the automobile and energy industries.
That compares to a declining share performance by GM in recent years that recently led billionaire investor David Einhorn to propose splitting the stock into two classes to help boost its price.
Tesla's market capitalization is now equivalent to $102,000 for every car it plans to make in 2018, or $667,000 per car sold last year. By comparison, GM's market capitalization is equivalent to $5,000 per car it sold in 2016.
The Palo Alto, California company is rushing to launch its mass-market Model 3 sedan in the second half of 2017 and quickly ramp up its factory to reach a production target of 500,000 cars per year in 2018. Last year it sold 76,230, missing its target of at least 80,000 vehicles. By comparison, GM sold 10 million cars and Ford sold 6.7 million.
With its stock down nearly 20 percent since 2013, GM has scaled back operations outside the United States while pushing to improve its profitability. It announced in March it would sell its European operations.
Reflecting Wall Street's worries, GM's stock trades at 6 times its expected earnings, the lowest multiple among companies in the S&P 500.
Proponents believe Tesla, which is not profitable, argue its stock price is justified based on long-term expectations for Tesla's growth.
They also point to opportunities from Tesla's acquisition last year of money-losing solar panel installer SolarCity and Tesla's Nevada battery cell plant aimed at driving down manufacturing costs.
After driving a Tesla for seven months, Piper Jaffray analyst Alexander Potter on Monday upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "neutral", describing Tesla's products as "captivating."
"Tesla isn't just another company. More so than any stock we've covered, Tesla engenders optimism, freedom, defiance, and a host of other emotions that, in our view, other companies cannot replicate," Potter wrote in a report.
Skeptics believe Tesla's growth targets are unrealistic and that the company risks being overtaken by GM, Ford and other deep-pocketed manufacturers ramping up their own electric-vehicle offerings.
Its market capitalization remains smaller than Japan's Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), at $173 billion.
Tesla's rich valuation has made it a target of short sellers, who so far in 2017 have suffered over $2 billion in paper losses as the stock rallied.
Jeffrey Gundlach, who oversees over $105 billion in assets at Los Angeles-based DoubleLine Capital, told Reuters last week: "As a car company alone, Tesla is crazy high valuation. As a battery company - one that expands and innovates substantially - maybe the valuation can work."
The “solar singularity” is the point where solar becomes so cheap in a majority of countries around the world that it is established as the default new power source. This piece is my second annual followup to my original article on the solar singularity from early 2015. -
GREENTECH MEDIA — My 2016 update is here. (I also made the solar singularity concept the centerpiece of my 2015 book, Solar: Why Our Energy Future Is So Bright.)
As before, I’ll cover not only solar, but also battery storage, electric vehicles and self-driving cars, which together constitute the parallel and intertwined revolutions that are set to transform our energy system worldwide.
With these four technologies developing steadily, we can reasonably expect to see, by 2035 to 2040, a world powered predominantly with renewable electricity -- not only homes and businesses, but also transportation and industrial processes.
The short summary of 2017 so far is that we are progressing at an even more rapid pace toward the solar singularity and the related energy revolutions just described than initially expected. Many key goals are being met earlier than anticipated.
Some key challenges remain, however, particularly with a new Republican administration that's generally perceived to be very pro-fossil fuel and anti-renewables. But it’s likely that even a highly fossil-fuel oriented White House won’t do much at all to slow down the solar singularity.
How close is the solar singularity?
Global solar demand rose a massive 45 percent to 74 gigawatts in 2016, according to a GTM Research estimate. The U.S. was the second-largest market, with a record-breaking 14.6 gigawatts, almost double the 2015 figures.
China was, however, far and away the biggest market, with 34.5 gigawatts, more than twice the size of the U.S. market. As a telling comparison: The entire world installed just 30 gigawatts of solar in 2012, a short four years ago.
The world’s installed solar capacity is projected now to be about 700 gigawatts by 2020, with a little more than 300 gigawatts installed at the end of 2016. That 700 gigawatts of solar is enough power to supply about one-third of current U.S. electricity demand. That’s substantial.
FIGURE: Annual Global Solar Demand Projections
In terms of costs, I wrote in last year’s update: “We’re headed to $1/watt as an all-in cost in the next five to 10 years.” Wow, what a difference just a year can make. According to GTM data, utility-scale solar projects recently met the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative's $1/watt all-in cost goal (minus developer profit of perhaps 10 percent additional cost) three years early!
The DOE has not officially met its goal, but it is astounding to be here in early 2017 and looking at all-in costs for new solar plants at near $1/watt. Things can and do indeed change for the better.
At $1/watt, the levelized cost falls to just 5.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, well below cost parity with new natural gas plants, coal plants or nuclear plants. With two-axis trackers (which are becoming increasingly viable) and the best solar resources, increasing the solar capacity factor to as much as 32 percent, the $1/watt all-in cost of power falls to just 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.
I wrote in 2016:
Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported this summer that wind power was the cheapest source of power in the U.K. and Germany in 2015, even without subsidies. The article’s tagline is: “It has never made less sense to build fossil fuel power plants.”
The same article highlights the positive feedback loop that solar and wind power have on reducing the cost-effectiveness of fossil fuel power plants due to the dispatch order of renewables versus fossil fuel plants.
The 2017 update is that a major new report from Lazard now shows that new solar and wind power projects can supply the lowest-cost electricity in many parts of the world.
The solar singularity is indeed near here in the U.S., and increasingly, around the world. I described previously that 1 percent of the market is halfway to solar ubiquity because 1 percent is halfway between nothing and 100 percent in terms of doublings (seven doublings from .01 percent to 1 percent and seven more from 1 percent to reach 100 percent).
The U.S. reached the 1 percent solar milestone in 2016. We’re halfway to ubiquity. Buckle your seatbelts.
I wrote in 2016 with respect to wind power -- a highly complementary technology to solar power because it often produces the most power at night:
My expectation…is that wind power will grow extremely strongly through 2030 due to ongoing improvements in the technology that are making it more geographically viable around the world.
Indeed, wind power continues its path of strong growth, and perhaps the most encouraging news in the wind power sector is that offshore wind power prices have dropped by almost half in the last few years, bringing them into a more competitive range with onshore wind power and other competing power sources.
The major benefits of offshore wind are reduced visual impacts compared to onshore turbines and, perhaps most significantly, reduced wildlife impacts and habitat loss, particularly for turbines located far offshore. Cost has always been the issue with offshore wind, so it is very encouraging to see significantly declining cost trends for offshore wind in recent years.
How close is economically viable battery storage?
Battery storage is key to deep penetration of solar power because, of course, solar power is variable and limited to daytime hours. We will eventually need massive amounts of storage (battery-based and other technologies also) to balance variable renewables like solar and wind.
2016 was a good -- but not great -- year for the U.S. energy storage market. We saw over 300 megawatt-hours of storage installed in the U.S., just a little more than what was installed in 2015. According to GTM Research, however, the future looks bright for storage also, with more than 2,000 megawatt-hours to be installed annually by 2021, and utility-scale storage making up the largest sector
FIGURE: Annual Storage Installations and Projects in the U.S.
We are still low on the energy-storage growth curve, and it is far less clear, when compared to the solar future, that we are on track for singularity-style growth for storage in the coming decade or two.
Globally, the storage market is likely to double in 2016, once the final numbers come in. IHS Energy projected in August that the global market would rise from 1.4 gigawatt-hours installed to 2.9 gigawatt-hours (compared to just 0.3 gigawatt-hours for the U.S. market in 2016).
This is far stronger global growth than we’ve seen in the U.S. alone in 2016. The same report projects that the global energy storage market will grow as fast as solar PV has grown in recent years.
In 2015, a detailed report from Lazard found that battery storage could be economically viable in some limited situations (frequency regulation, for example) even without subsidies. The report’s team leader stated that “the energy storage industry appears to be at an inflection point, much like that experienced by the renewable energy industry” a few years ago.
Lazard is kind enough to release its energy storage costs annually, as it does with its levelized cost of electricity reports, so we can track how these costs are changing over time.
Looking at one common storage technology, lithium-ion batteries on the transmission system, we see that costs fell from a range of $347 to $739 per kilowatt-hour in 2015 to $267 to $561 per kilowatt-hour in 2016, a decline of about 23 percent (on the lower end of the range) in just one year. That’s real progress.
Worth a mention is Elon Musk’s interesting Twitter pledge and discussion to supply 100 megawatts of Tesla batteries at $250 per kilowatt-hour for South Australia, with deployment guaranteed in just three months' time -- or the batteries will be free! Musk claims that this will be the same transparent pricing for all customers in 2017, marking further cost declines already below the Lazard price range just mentioned.
On the vehicle side, batteries are even cheaper. We have reports from General Motors, for example, that show a cost decline from $750 per kilowatt-hour for electric vehicle batteries five years ago, when GM first started producing the Chevy Volt, to just $145 per kilowatt-hour in 2016. I suspect the stationary storage market will rapidly catch up to the mobile market in terms of cost declines.
It does indeed look like the exponential learning curve improvements are kicking in for storage, and more rapidly than many expected. Storage deployments are still relatively small, but it seems clear that many markets are poised for explosive growth, and this growth will fuel the virtuous cycle of ongoing cost declines.
How soon will electric vehicles be economically viable?
A featured 2016 Bloomberg article highlighted the potential for electric vehicles to usher in the next oil crisis: “A shift is underway that will lead to widespread adoption of EVs in the next decade,” it states. The article adds: “Battery prices fell 35 percent [in 2015] and are on a trajectory to make unsubsidized electric vehicles as affordable as their gasoline counterparts in the next six years, according to a new analysis of the electric-vehicle market by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That will be the start of a real mass-market liftoff for electric cars.”
Big changes are afoot in the transportation sector, as they are in the electricity sector.
An important driver for EV adoption is the ongoing reduction in vehicle battery costs, which have been falling faster than expected also, as mentioned above. One expert wrote in a recent article: “Back in 2010, the Department of Energy set a cost goal of $125 per kilowatt-hour for an EV battery pack by 2022, because that would make electric-propulsion systems equal to the cost of an internal-combustion engine. In addition to individual cells, the battery pack also includes the supporting structure, cooling mechanisms, and battery management systems.”
We know that GM is claiming costs of just $145 per kilowatt-hour already, down from $750 per kilowatt-hour not long ago. It seems that at this decline curve, we’ll see $100 per kilowatt-hour soon and then $80 per kilowatt-hour not long after. The $80 price brings EVs well below the threshold price needed for mass-market adoption, all else being equal.
The Chevy Bolt, with a stellar 238 miles of range and a cost of only $35,000 before tax credits and rebates, went on sale in late 2016, but it is selling poorly. Over 1,100 units were sold in January, which is considered a strong start. But sales dropped in February, and some dealers are already offering steep discounts. By all accounts it’s a great car -- indeed, it was named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. But it still suffers from a perceived lack of appeal. That honor falls to Tesla’s Model 3, which is slated for production earlier than originally proposed -- initial production is now set for about mid-year, with 5,000 Teslas set to roll off of the assembly line each week by the end of 2017, and twice that in 2018.
Will affordable long-range EVs allow the EV market to truly take off? GTM's parent company Wood Mackenzie forecasts that won't happen in Europe until after 2025. So time will tell, but the fact that the long-awaited generation of affordable and long-range EVs is either here now or about to be here is very exciting. And the roughly 400,000 Model 3 reservation holders will look forward to receiving their vehicles in the next two years.
If Tesla’s production of the Model 3 goes smoothly, and if the car is actually as solid as it appears to be, it seems likely that we’ll see EV sales ramp up strongly in the next few years. And it won’t just be Tesla and Chevy selling these cars. It will involve many other manufacturers, old and new, who smell serious opportunity in this massive new sales niche.
So this category is still a “we’ll have to wait and see a bit longer” in terms of progress toward a singularity-like takeoff. The Trump administration’s recent announcement that they will revisit the 2022-2025 CAFE standards that Obama’s EPA set will not help EV sales. But nor is it likely to do much to slow them down.
How close are self-driving cars?
Tesla is again the biggest newsmaker in the area of self-driving cars, announcing last October that full self-driving (FSD) hardware will be included in all new Teslas and that FSD software will be coming “very soon.” A robust discussion about how and when FSD will actually arrive can be found here at Tesla’s forum.
Many other companies are ramping up their autonomous driving efforts, including Uber, GM, Lyft and a ton of others. It’s also too soon to say how quickly self-driving cars will arrive and how quickly they will become widespread. There are indications FSD vehicles could be on the road as soon as 2021. My best estimate, however, is that we’ll see self-driving cars rapidly become ubiquitous in the 2025-2035 timeframe.
The Trump administration monkey wrench
It’s still too early to say how the Trump administration will affect the new energy economy. It is very apparent that this administration is pro-coal and pro-oil and gas, but it is not as apparent how it will treat existing or new incentives for renewables.
The new administration has already announced or is set to announce massive changes to Obama’s climate legacy. But as bad as those changes will be symbolically and in terms of setting back international leadership on climate-change mitigation, I’m not convinced at this point that these changes from the White House will do much, if anything, to slow down the various energy revolutions described in this piece.
My feeling is that Trump’s political strategy is generally to make a calculation about the level of passion on any particular issue and to weigh in strongly on the side where he sees the most passion. Since his constituency is focused mostly in the Rust Belt and the South, it is no surprise that he sees the most passion in reviving the fossil fuel industry, which, as with the coal industry, has been increasingly hurting in recent years. Trump has pledged to revive the industry, but it may not be revivable.
At the same time, it's clear that Trump very supportive of keeping or creating jobs here in the U.S. Companies like Tesla and SpaceX, which have created thousands of new energy economy jobs in the U.S., may sway Trump’s generally old-school perspective. He may “see the light” in terms of how many American jobs can be created or maintained in the new energy economy and act accordingly. Or, at least, maybe he will not do anything to harm those jobs, such as prematurely killing off the federal Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit for wind and solar, respectively.
The future is indeed -- still -- bright, particularly for solar, wind and storage. We’re still not over the hump yet for EVs and self-driving cars, but we should gain far more clarity on these related energy revolutions in the next year or two
The tiny town of Benham, Kentucky, was originally built to serve the coal mining industry. Now it's embracing solar energy.
MASHABLE — Benham, population 500, will soon get an array of solar panels atop the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum. The decision to go solar is packed with symbolism, but mostly it just made financial sense, the museum's owners said.
In the U.S. and globally, solar and wind power prices are plummeting as technologies improve and projects reach economies of scale. In 2016, investors built a record amount of renewable energy for less money than in previous years.
Energy analysts say those trends will only accelerate in coming years—even as President Donald Trump begins unraveling U.S. policies to address climate change and boost clean energy.
Trump has also vowed to revitalize the long-suffering American coal industry, though even mining executives say that's not likely to happen, given the stiff competition from natural gas and renewable energy.
"Despite the changes in tone from the new administration, we think solar and wind will expand in the U.S.," said Angus McCrone, chief editor of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
"All signs are that's going to continue," he said by phone from London.
Built in 1994, the Kentucky museum is filled with relics from state's coal mining past, including early mining tools, photographs, and a two-ton block of coal. Country music legend Loretta Lynn, who sang "Coal Miner's Daughter," has housed part of her personal collection on the museum's third floor.
The solar rooftop doesn't mean this Appalachian town is bucking the black rock that's long been central to its history and economic fate. At its peak, Benham had about 3,000 residents, until coal industry jobs began to dwindle.
"Coal is still king around here," Robinson, the museum spokesman, told Eastern Kentucky news channel WYMT.
However, the solar switch does show how renewable energy is gaining acceptance in Appalachia and far beyond as it becomes more affordable for homeowners and businesses.
"The people here are sort of in awe of this solar thing," Wanda Humphrey, Benham's 85-year-old mayor, told the Associated Press.
According to the EIA, California solar power has been driving wholesale electricity rates towards and sometimes below $0/MWh, and on March 11th total solar power production broke 50% of demand.
ELECTREK — The increase in utility-scale solar power , which grew 50% in the state in 2016, is quickly changing the landscape. Recently we saw California solar + wind hit a record high at 49.2%, with all renewable energy above 56%.
In March, during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., system average hourly prices were frequently at or below $0 per megawatthour (MWh). In contrast, average hourly prices in March 2013–15 during this time of day ranged from $14/MWh to $45/MWh.
This type of event has happened in other places – Germany gets the headlines often. It is expected that there will be so much solar power this spring and summer (plus large amounts of hydroelectric power) that curtailment will need to occur on solar assets.
On March 11th, the California power grid broke 50% solar power for the first time – when considering ALL sources of solar power in the state:
Additional generation from customer-sited solar generators installed in California (such as those on residential and commercial rooftops) further adds to the total solar share of mid-day electricity generation. As of December 2016, utilities in CAISO reported 5.4 gigawatts (GW) of net-metered distributed solar capacity. EIA estimates that this capacity would have generated approximately 4 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) during the peak solar hours on March 11.
This level of electricity reduced the metered demand on the grid by about the same amount, suggesting that the total solar share of gross demand probably exceeded 50% during the mid-day hours.
Per the EIA, there are multiple reasons why March is the season most probable for negative wholesale rates, including one unique to this year – heavy amounts of hydroelectric power due to flooding this winter.
The other major reason is that spring and fall are low demand seasons due to the temperate climate not needing as much heating or cooling. Solar will produce more electricity in the summer – but the high demand of summer means the solar is a lower overall percentage.
California is expected to add a similar amount of solar power in 2017 – and is showing no signs of slowing down after this year. Curtailment will become a bigger issue and an opportunity for energy storage.
Battery investors will build to have access to $0/MWh solar power during the daytime – so they can later sell it from 3-6 PM as the duck curve grows driving the cost of energy to more than triple the full day average
Renewables were the biggest new source of electricity last year as the cost of building new wind and solar farms fell.
BLOOMBERG — Clean energy provided 55 percent of all new capacity added worldwide, the most ever, and total investment was about double the amount for generators driven by fossil fuels, according to a report published Thursday by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Investment in clean power dropped 23 percent from 2015 to $241.6 billion, meaning that the new capacity installed came at a lower price. The average capital expenditure for a megawatt of wind and solar fell more than 10 percent, according to the study, and they are some of the cheapest sources of electricity in some countries.
“Renewables are much more competitive than they were five years ago,” Angus McCrone, chief editor at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in an interview. “In an increasing number of places, wind and solar may be the cheapest option.”
The data are similar to findings from the International Energy Agency, which said the capacity of renewables added in 2015 exceeded additions from all other sources for the first time and that the total installed base for renewables has now passed that for coal.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance said government mandates and incentives are helping drive renewables to become a bigger part of the global energy mix. The proportion of worldwide electricity produced by clean energy hit 11.3 percent in 2016, up from 6.1 percent at the start of the decade.
Last year, solar made up nearly half of all new renewable investments at $113.7 billion. While that was down 34 percent from 2015, it paid for 75 gigawatts of new capacity, the most ever. Solar panel prices have plunged more than 80 percent since the start of 2010, and wind power has declined more than 35 percent.
While much of the total decline in financing is pegged to lower equipment costs, some of is due to a slowdown in China, Japan and other emerging markets, McCrone said. Investment in China fell 32 percent to $78.3 billion and spending in Japan slumped 56 percent to $14.4 billion. The figure in the U.S. fell 10 percent to $46.4 billion.
“It’s a whole new world,” Michael Liebreich, the founder of New Energy Finance, said in a statement. “Even though investment is down, annual installations are still up. Instead of having to subsidize renewables, now authorities may have to subsidize natural gas plants to help them provide grid reliability.
Tampa is considered one of the country's "solar builders," a city with up-and-coming solar capabilities.
TAMPA BAY TIMES — But for the present, Tampa is in the middle of the pack, ranking 32 out of 66 cities in terms of overall solar capabilities according to this year's "Shining Cities" report.
Frontier Group and the Environmental Florida Research and Policy Center, which released the report on Tuesday, measured a city's solar capabilities by how many watts of solar energy capacity it has per capita — Tampa currently has just under 25. While Tampa isn't setting the pace, it ranks just below the "solar leaders" category, which has 25 to 50 watts per person.
The report noted that Tampa is one of several cities that is installing solar systems on city buildings.
"Cities that invest in solar power on public buildings not only save money on electricity, but they also demonstrate the value of solar energy to their residents," the report said.
Brewing powerhouse Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has committed to secure all of its purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
CNBC — In an announcement on Tuesday, the business said that its commitment would help to "shift 6 terawatt-hours of electricity annually to renewable sources in the markets where AB InBev operates."
It added that its decision to go big on renewable energy would cut its operational carbon footprint by 30 percent, equivalent to taking almost 500,000 cars off the road.
AB InBev said that it expected to get 75 to 85 percent of electricity from direct power purchasing agreements, with the rest coming from technologies, including solar panels, used on site.
"Climate change has profound implications for our company and for the communities where we live and work," AB InBev Chief Executive Carlos Brito said in a statement.
"Cutting back on fossil fuels is good for the environment and good for business, and we are committed to helping drive positive change," he added. "We have the opportunity to play a leading role in the battle against climate change by purchasing energy in a more sustainable way."
The brewer also announced that it had joined the RE100, an initiative made up of some of the planet's biggest businesses, all committed to renewable energy.
"AB Inbev is significantly boosting demand for renewables around the world, showing just the kind of leadership we need to slow climate change and speed a low carbon economy, inspiring other companies right along the value chain," Sam Kimmins, head of RE100 at The Climate Group, said.
San Diego led the U.S. in installed solar energy capacity last year and ranked second in solar per capita, according to a report released Tuesday by the Environment California Research & Policy Center.
FOX NEWS — San Diego surpassed Los Angeles to take over the top spot for total capacity and trailed only Honolulu in the per capita rankings.
“The city is setting a blazing example by investing in solar power to create clean air, local green jobs and a brighter future for all,” said Michelle Kinman, of the Environment California Research & Policy Center.
“The sky’s the limit when it comes to putting San Diego’s clean and abundant sunshine to work as long as city leaders continue to embrace forward- thinking solar policies,” she said.
In terms of total installed capacity, Los Angeles fell to the second position in the rankings, followed by Honolulu, San Jose and Phoenix. Colder- climate cities Indianapolis and New York ranked sixth and seventh. In the per capita tally, San Diego was followed by San Jose, Indianapolis and Albuquerque. According to Environment California, San Diego’s solar capacity increased 60 percent last year to 303 megawatts.
“San Diego is setting the standard for other cities across the country when it comes to protecting our environment and creating a cleaner future,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “This new ranking is a testament to the many San Diego residents and businesses harnessing our natural resources as we march toward our goal of using 100 percent renewable energy throughout the city.”
The top 20 cities in the rankings received as much power from solar in 2016 as the entire country did in 2010, according to the report.
I'm your go to solar energy expert here to guide you step-by-step through all of your solar options.
James The Solar Energy Expert