Alberta’s First Powerwall Goes Live

At 11:30 AM on Tuesday, August 1st 2017, the first AC Powerwall 2 installed in Alberta went live. Installed by KCP Energy and MPOWER Energy Solutions, this is the first of a new wave of storage that promises to allow homeowners to store the energy they create off their rooftop systems, or to begin to become self-sufficient and off-grid.

This is an AC Powerwall 2, which is a significant step up from the first generation Powerwalls. AC Powerwall 2 has a capacity of 13.5 kWh, and is fully integrated (it has its own inverter) with the grid-tied roof-top solar panels (in this case a 7.5 kW system consisting of 25 rooftop panels).

The AC Powerwall 2 full specifications are:

  • Can be mounted on a wall or the floor, indoor or outdoor
  • 13.5 kWh Capacity
  • Provides 5 kW continuous power, or 7 kW at peak
  • Rated to work optimally between –20°C and 50°C
  • Covered by a 10-year warranty
  • Size is 115 cm x 75.5 cm x 15.5 cm (45.3 in x 29.7 in x 6.1 in)
  • Weighs 122 kg (269 lbs)

This battery system is enough to power a full evening of moderate usage, and can be easily recharged during the day. This is a solid solution for power backup (i.e. accessing power in cases that the grid-provided power is down).

KCP’s lead electrician Nick Crotty poses with the fully operational system.

Contact KCP if you are interested in exploring our options for installing a Powerwall in your home: http://www.kcpenergy.com/contact/.


Alberta Solar Incentive Is Live!

It’s here! The new provincial solar incentive that will cover up to 30% of your solar system costs is now available.

The big day has arrived with the Alberta Government releasing its huge new solar incentive program. The incentive will pay home and business owners 75 cents per watt up to a maximum of 30% (25% business) of your total solar system cost. This allows solar to meet or even beat electricity prices provided by the utility.

This short video animation explains a little more about what all the excitement is about:

Contact us now to get started!


Alberta new solar incentive announced

Today, Alberta Minister of Environment Shannon Phillips, announced the long anticipated Residential solar incentive. The announcement was light on details but over $36 million dollars in funding was announced, with a goal of installing solar on 10,000 roofs by 2020!

While we are working to further understand the next level of program details, we believe this will be a fantastic program to help Alberta homeowners go solar while taking a giant step towards establishing a sustainable solar industry in Alberta.

Government announcement:

View the Government of Alberta’s full press release

Key points from what we know as of today’s announcement:

  • Residential customers could see installation cost savings of up to 30%.
  • The total program funding is $36 million.
  • The program goal is to install 10,000 solar roof tops by 2020.
  • The program term is 5 years.

Questions we are seeking answers to:

  • How quickly can Albertans access the funding?
  • Will funding limits be established per project?
  • Will there be a cap on maximum system size?
  • How are current Microgeneration rules impacted by this announcement?

Check out our latest animation: How Solar Affects you Power Bill

To learn more about Alberta solar go to our website at: www.kcpenergy.com

 

 

 


Renewable Energy Continues to Beat Fossil Fuels

Whoa!

A “report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) cites the declining cost of wind and solar power, largely due to advances in technology, as prime reasons for the rapid adoption of renewables.”

  • The cost of building large utility-scale solar has fallen by 50% in just five years.
  • Coal used to provide half of the USA’s electricity in 2008, but by 2016 (just seven years) it is down to 30%.
  • Electricity costs (averaged across the US) have fallen by 2% in the last year alone.

Read it here: http://time.com/4662116/renewable-energy-fossil-fuels-growth/?xid=homepage







Whitehorn Progress

This is a satellite view of the new installation at the Whitehorn Multi-Services Centre in Calgary.

With a total of 1340 panels, generating 415 kW, this is the largest commercial rooftop solar project in southern Alberta.
It has passed its inspections last week and is scheduled to go live and begin producing pollution-free, emissions-free power in January.


Newsletter (November 2016)

Alberta Current

Monthly solar industry news and analysis for November 2016

November 2016 will likely not be forgotten soon. With the election in the US signalling a vast change of direction, a lot is up in the air on how the world’s biggest economy will respond to the Paris Accords and whether the turn inward will help or hinder the advance of renewable energy. Here is the latest news in the solar and renewables industry and our take on it.

What We’re Watching For

It’s hard to separate signal from noise at this early date, so our focus has been close to home and watching the Alberta government moves as it readies the introduction of the Carbon Tax in January and the corresponding rebates. It is a million-dollar question whether the uptick in energy costs (roughly $100 a year per family according to some energy providers) and the associated higher rebates for clean energy generation will spur more home-owners to invest in rooftop solar panels.

One current focus is to ensure that the facts are clear and communicated, as mis-information claiming a 10-cent per litre increase for gas is just not true. We will seek to clarify what the impacts and benefits are for regular families.

Regional News

A major oil-industry group opens its doors to renewable energy companies: ‘The writing is on the wall,‘ says PSAC’s president about embracing the green energy industry. Indeed it is, and a good time to treat renewable companies in the same basket of all energy companies – we’re all in this together and it will take knowledge and inventiveness from all sides for this decade-long transition.
Calgary Herald writes about Calgary’s 2017 budget: Five things to watch during council’s budget deliberations. There is some possible indirect impact on solar projects such as business tax relief and small business real estate considerations.
The Alberta government is finalizing the settlement of the PPA issues. Frankly, they’d handles this fairly evenly considering the possible court cases, millions art stake, and the allegations that were being thrown back and forth. Probably the smart move to make a settlement among all parties and move on. However, there are holdouts: Enmax facing $77 million in potential losses over power dispute.
Edmonton Journal: Notley promises to cap electricity prices to protect consumers from volatility in power market. Although a good thing for market stability, this may be bad for residential solar, which means they aren’t supporting solar self-sufficiency, but holding it back by tying it to legacy production methods. Hard to say, and perhaps the good outweighs the bad. We’ll be keeping an eye on this.

National News

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, our federal government is doing the mind-scramble: one one hand announcing a coal phase out and carbon tax, on the other, approving two pipeline projects. Our best guess is that Trudeau feels he must answer to the Conservatoive base in some measure, even if those projects stand a good chance of not being built. CBC.ca: All federal government operations to run on green power by 2025: environment minister.
With the victory at Standing Rock, original voices are gaining strength, and now First Nations pursue renewable economy.
CBC News: Environment minister says global movement to combat climate change ‘an irresistible force‘, as well the Federal Government submitted: “Canada’s Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy” to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a document detailing what a long-term low-greenhouse gas emission society will entail and in which Canada outlines an emissions abatement pathway consistent with net emissions falling by 80 per cent in 2050 from 2005 levels. This is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 2°C to 1.5°C temperature goal.
Calgary is targetted to try out solar roadways: electric avenues that can transmit the sun’s energy onto power grids may be coming to a city near you.

Global News

Paris climate agreement takes force. Does president-elect Trump support it? Hard to tell.
CBC News: What we know about Trump and his energy policy.

Infographic of the Month

With the coal phase-out inevitable in Alberta, and the shift to renewables, the job-creation engine will be in wind and solar:

alberta-jobs-to-2030





Newsletter (October 2016)

Alberta Current

Monthly solar industry news and analysis for October 2016

This month there was little news about the new direction intended from our provincial government, however a lot of news appeared that seems to indicate trends in the energy sector. Here is the latest news in the solar and renewables industry and our take on it.

What We’re Watching For

Back in early summer, the provincial government pulled funding from the CCEMC, which was the program that ENMAX used to provide residential incentives for installation. We suspected that the government was pulling back the diverse programs it had offered in order to roll out a comprehensive one. On October 21, the Government of Alberta announced renewed funding, along with a rebrand. The CCEMC now will operate as Emissions Reduction Alberta (“ERA”), a name change reflecting the changed priorities and focus. The first goal targets methane pollution. We will be watching for other programs to be announced under the ERA.

Regional News

Alberta is starting a delicate process, “a tricky high-wire act”, of phasing out coal-fired powerplants while promoting renewable sources (Calgary Herald). While the article does mention all the projects being announced this autumn, it also indicates the provincial government’s tight purse strings on municipalities which will need to make do on existing budgets. This may impact the amount of assistance that municipalities can offer solar installations.

For a bit more clarity on that, Premier Notley promised details of the coal phase-out plan coming this fall (CBC). At the same time, Alberta has announced the adoption of an updated national building code that emphasizes energy efficiency (CBC). Meanwhile, Alberta mulls setting their green electricity target into law (National Post).

Thirty-six alberta schools announce solar panel installations (CBC and the Calgary Herald, which references the Southland Leisure center – a KCP installation – as a large-scale successful project).

National News

NEW – FED announces soon to be introduced energy efficiency rebates.

Canada will tax carbon emissions to meet its Paris climate agreement targets.

According to the National Energy Board, Canadian renewable power grew six-fold in the last 10-years. They also report that Canada’s share of power generated by renewables grew from 2% to 11%.

Global News

In the United States, all three presidential debates conclude without a single question on climate change.

Meanwhile, India, the second most populous country and a large polluter, ratifies the Paris agreement (The Toronto Star).

A new global agreement to limit hydrofluorocarbons – gases used in air conditioning, fire suppressants, insulating foams, inhalers and data centre cooling systems – was agreed to start in 2024 (The Guardian).

Nine tips for cities to more easily transition to a greener infrastructure (The Huffington Post).

A promising new and simple chemical reaction that converts carbon to ethanol. Since ethanol is a fuel, it can be used directly. This could help keep carbon out of the atmosphere – or at least burn it as a lower polluting fuel – but it will likely only work on large industrial processes and not on tailpipes. (Popular Mechanics).

Target passes Walmart as the lead corporate installer of solar power in the United States, while Ikea now lights 90% of its stores with solar-generated power (Electrek).

A heads-up on the quiet revolution of power generation: renewables made up 50% of the net-new electricity capacity that was added globally last year (The Guardian).

Even in Texas, solar and wind power generation is a growing percentage of the state’s total capacity, as oil and gas infrastructure is aging and not being replaced or built new (Salon).

Forbes is back with their analysis: 7 Things To Note In The IEA’s Latest Renewables Forecast (Forbes).

Elon Musk is back at it, this time with roof shingles that are actually solar panels. This could be the future of the industry…IF it can be made and installed affordably
(QZ).




Why Residential Solar is a deal for Landlords

Recently, CBC News published an article that linked high house prices to a possible decline in residential solar adoption.

Growth of residential solar power slowed by ‘zero incentive’ for renters.

The article points out that solar panels have come down in cost by 90% since 2000, but that the “wave” of decentrailaized solar installations may be held back because house prices have not come down at the same rate. Instead, housing costs have soared leading to a downward trend in home ownership. It is assumed that renters would not invest in rooftop panels as they do not own the roof.

These trends paint a bleak picture for the continued rise of rooftop solar.
“There is basically zero incentive for a renter to spend the money to install a renewable energy system,” says Jessica McIlroy with the BC Sustainable Energy Association.
But renters, ironically, are often those most in need of the lower monthly electric bills solar can deliver.

This seems a correct assessment, but it leaves out the fact that someone owns the house that they are renting. The article continues to discuss community solar projects, or third-party-owned panels, that may be a solution for renters, but the real solution that is the most effective is … landlords.

Landlords are also being brought into the conversation.
“We’ve seen landlords convert high-turnover buildings into much higher-demand units with a longer term, stable tenancy by reducing utility costs,” says Khalil Shahyd, with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

For a landlord to place rooftop solar on their property, they would reap the benefits of lower utility bills (if those are included in the rent – leaving more rent for them, or if those bills are paid for by the tenant, the property becomes more attractive to the tenant).

Additionally, the landlord can apply for any residential, municipal, or even commercial incentives offered and, because they may have larger buildings (i.e. condos) or even multiple building they most likely have more possibilities of favorable roof aspects and larger roofing areas to take advantage of scale in their installations.

Finally, the landlord could use the installation as a benefit on their taxes as it can be considered a property improvement.

If landlords understood the opportunity, then the “renter dis-incentive” should not have any effect on the adoption of residential solar power.


News – City Website Exposes Your Potential

IMPORTANT NEWS

City of Calgary website pinpoints
properties with best sun exposure

 

The City of Calgary has just released a Calgary Solar Map on its website that allows anyone to examine the solar potential of their house.

solar-map-city

 

If you’ve ever wondered if your house or office might be suitable for generating solar power, the city has some information you’ll be interested in. The city has put what it calls a “solar potential map” on its website showing the potential yield for solar power for every building in Calgary.

Explore the solar exposure map here.

See how rooftop solar panels can impact your utility bill.

Sign up with KCP to see if solar is a good fit for you.

The Calgary Solar Map uses LiDAR imaging (Light Imaging, Detection, And Ranging) data to measure the aspect and slope of each roof in the city, including building and tree shading (up until 2012).

So if you were wondering what independent data, measuring your own roof, indicates your solar potential to be, take a look at this website.








Newsletter (September 2016)

Alberta Current

Monthly solar industry news and analysis for September 2016

This month there was little news about the new direction intended from our provincial government, however a lot of news appeared that seems to indicate trends in the energy sector. Here is the latest news in the solar and renewables industry and our take on it.

What We’re Watching For

We tend to look short term, but here’s ABC News wondering what your home would look like in 2025.

Electric cars have now been available commercially in Canada for five years, and the first owner is still committed.
Consider that the children of today will probably learn to drive on electric cars and perhaps never even drive a gas car. To that end, Chevrolet is preparing to roll out GM’s “most significant vehicle in decades”: the mass-produced Chevy Bolt. This is significant, because although Tesla started the EV revolution, it will take the Chevrolets of the world to really make it happen.

Regional News

The Universities of Edmonton (Alberta) and Calgary received ‘low carbon’ research funding, both to the tune of 75 million dollars. Both of these sums aim to support research into responsible and lower-carbon development of the province’s oil and gas reserves, while ostensibly preparing the transition to a lower-carbon economy.
That’s 150 million dollars that will not be going to renewables research or construction.
Although the transition is important, and oil will not be going away anytime soon, this is a lot of money to study the prolongation of oil (the carefully worded abstract avoided any reference to renewables entirely).

MyHeat.com have launched their heat-loss map for southern Alberta which covers over 500,000 homes. Check it out to see how your house stacks up and if you could make savings on your energy bill with some simple upgrades.

The Calgary Herald reports the NDP saying Alberta will have 30 per cent renewable power by 2030. The opposition party questions this promise, and should, as there is still little substance to their announcement.
The CBC tends to agree: some of the plan will be difficult to implement, and how the switch to renewable electricity generation will be a challenge. Meanwhile, the National Post writes how Alberta eyes a renewable energy boom with a 5,000-megawatt target by 2030.

National News

This was an interesting month at the federal level, with the normally green-oriented Liberals who seemed tapped into the public’s feelings toward GHG emissions granting approval to the LNG mega-project on the west coast, even though they attached 190 legally-binding conditions to it. Almost immediately, Petronas, the Malaysian oil giant that is the largest stakeholder in the $36 billion project announced it would review the project’s viability in light of those conditions and the current market forecasts.
Although this approval flies in the face of the Liberal’s environmental claims, perhaps they were trying to move it off their desk and avoid allegations of holding it up, knowing full well that the project as approved would never go ahead. Already, it appears that Petronas is looking to sell their stake in the matter.
When you look at the resistance and lawsuits that would need to be overcome, it makes us wonder if any large liquids mega-project will ever be successful, and that perhaps the future of energy is going to be locally sourced and distributed. One doesn’t normally think of Canada as being so populated that you can’t run a pipeline without hitting someone, but that just isn’t the case.

And in a cautionary tale for Albertans, the National Post covers the story of Too much of a good thing: How Ontario’s Liberals bungled the green energy file. Dare we think the ideas here could foreshadow a trend in North America, and specifically the oil & gas sector in Alberta?

Global News

More from Forbes on Europe’s Energy Transition: Megatrends & Tipping Points (Part 6), (Part 7).

Batteries are starting to become available, but in our assessment, the savings of storing energy when we (in Alberta) do not have time-of-day billing (i.e. a kWh at noon costs you the same as one during the dinner-time energy rush-hour) will never cover its own costs. The only way a battery currently makes sense is if it is used as a back-up during power outages which many of the ones coming onto market are not designed for.

We’re also seeing the larger utility companies starting to push back in an existential battle, even as Telsa wins a massive contract to provide grid-scale battery storage in California.

From dirt-cheap panels to charging your car with the sun: 3 solar trends at North America’s largest solar trade show.

Success (with caveats!) stories from Chile and Costa Rica.

Infographic of the Month

We use a whole lot of energy every summer and a lot of it goes to waste:

 energy_2015_united-states





Looking at Enphase Batteries

Enphase, a California-based producer of micro-inverters used in solar panels, has unveiled their battery product offering which will be available in late 2016. This is exciting news for KCP Energy’s existing customer base, as until late in 2015 almost all of our residential customers were using an Enphase solar solution.

https://enphase.com/en-us/products-and-services/storage

Enphase Modules in a Clean Garage
— Enphase modules displayed in a ridiculously clean garage. —

While most attention has been on Telsa’s about-to-open Giga battery factory and their residential PowerWall product, the Enphase storage system is a clear indication that Telsa is not the only game in town. The market should see some solid competition and continuing innovation as the big players try to stake out their initial market share of the storage market.

Enphase’s solution is designed to help store solar panel generated power and assists the homeowner in shifting their usage to the evening when the energy demand is greatest but the panels are no longer producing for the day. The ability to store and use solar energy at a later time in the day or temporarily provide power avoiding a peak demand surge are where Enphase’s solution shines.

Unfortunately, here in Alberta without time-of-day billing or peak demand charges (for residential customers), the battery provides minimal financial benefits. There are two reasons for this: (1) the amount you would save by storing your day-generated power for use at night would never pay for the current costs of the battery; and (2) saving the day-generated power for later use is only beneficial while the sell-back rate is lower than the purchase rate. If the sell-back rate rises, the benefits of battery storage shrink even more.

We also see nothing in the current Enphase literature stating the system will provide any backup during a power outage, so we must assume for now the system is not a back-up power option. Without the battery able to provide back-up power, the benefits are limited to only time-shifting your usage, which will not cover the cost of the battery. KCP Energy will be at SPI in September and we will be sure to confirm this with the Enphase folks at the show. For now it appears our recommendation of some sort of generator for power outage protection remains unchanged.

Enphase’s concept is appealing for several reasons:

  • It is modular, meaning you can buy as many battery cells as you need, and also that you can expand your system relatively easier if your needs grow,
  • It appears relatively easy to install and connect with your solar system, and,
  • It appears to be much smaller than the PowerWall so it should be a better option in space-restricted installations.

However, there are also a few elements that should make potential purchasers cautious:

  • There is no price yet declared so it is impossible to make a clear comparison of cost per kWh with the PowerWall or other competitors.
  • The modules are small in capacity (1.2 kWh) so quite a few batteries would be needed to really offset any energy usage. For example, the average Alberta home uses 30 kWh each day, and the basic PowerWall is 7.5 kWh. So a rack of seven of the Enphase modules would be required to match a single PowerWall, making the advantages of smaller size and modularity an open question.
  • The storage solution does not provide back up power capabilities. Powerwall on the other hand will provide a limited amount of back up functionality.

Once the product has been released and reviews from actual installations are seen, we will have better information to go forward. But for now, it is encouraging that first-generation battery solutions are not just on the near horizon and that we will soon have multiple choices for consumers.

August 2016


PowerWalls – Time-Shifter or Back-Up?

Powerwalls, if they pass regulatory approvals, and despite the $6000 price tag, offer the ability to store power. An exciting prospect for sure. The amount of interest and calls we receive daily regarding the Powerwall clearly indicate that Albertans are ready for a battery storage option. It also shows the value of Tesla’s marketing prowess and slick packaging in an age looking for the next big thing.

powerwall
The ability to store day-generated power for use in the evening is one of the most common claims that people cite that is a condition before investing in solar. As well, battery manufacturers cite this ability to “Time Shift” usage patterns using cheap daytime power in the evening when rates are higher.

graph-chart-1440x560-production

(Graphic from Enphase – https://enphase.com/en-us/products-and-services/storage/introduction)

However, here in Alberta, there is no time-of-day billing – that is, the power you purchase from the grid is the same price in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. Therefore, for Albertans, the Powerwall’s main purpose will be simply as a backup power source during an outage. Until true time of day billing comes to pass the value proposition of time shifting loads and the associated savings will be minimal to none. Currently the Powerwall battery cost saving opportunity is limited to the avoidance of transmission and distribution costs associated with the purchase of a utility kWh. Basically a solar kWh produced earlier in the day could be stored and used to avoid purchasing a utility kWh during non-solar producing times thereby avoiding the T&D costs for the utility kWh. Since residential users are currently compensated for excess solar generation via their microgeneration agreement the value of storage savings does not compete with simply selling the excess production. Simply put, the small savings of not selling your excess power back to the grid will never pay for the $6000 price tag even over 20 years.

Suffice to say it is very possible things will change over time to support storage (batteries could become far cheaper, time-of-day billing is implemented, the cost of selling excess falls behind the cost to buy) but for now here in Alberta you effectively would be buying a Powerwall for back-up power during an outage and not for savings.
One caution: the 6.4 kW system is likely only able to provide a third of an average home’s 30 kW daily need, so even in a back-up situation, its use would need to be coupled with a better power awareness.


New Animation – How Solar Affects Your Power Bill

Trying to understand the byzantine method of figuring out what power you used from your panels versus what you bought from the utility from your power bill can be next to impossible. The scenarios are fairly simple, but they all get mixed up. We’ve created a simple animation that walks you through how your solar panels can positively affect your power bill, introducing each scenario at a time so you can see how it all adds up. This is simplistic view – there are no actual numbers, just the principle!

Check it out here:

billing-animation-slide


Newsletter – August 2016

Alberta Current

Monthly solar industry news and analysis for July / August 2016

July was cited as the hottest month ever recorded since record keeping began in 1880, and certainly the political climate was no cooler. Here is the latest news in the solar industry and our take on it.

What We’re Watching For

Alberta provincial policy makers continue to work with industry stakeholders to determine the best way to incent renewables in the province. At this stage it is still unclear which incentive types will be adopted but it is our opinion that the province is doing a good job of determining the best path forward.
Of course we all hope things will move at a faster pace but if given the choice between a poorly thought out back-of-the-napkin program (or programs) vs programs that will grow the industry in a controlled steady state for the foreseeable future while benefiting solar owners, we know which option we would choose. From a timing perspective we expect to know more at year’s end (or perhaps the fall) regarding how the Microgeneration agreement may be modified but it seems likely news pertaining to other programs will have to wait till the new year. It is certainly an exciting time in the industry but it also requires patience.

Regional News

Well, the hottest news this summer in Alberta was definitely not the weather! Instead it delved deep into the arcane legal world of Power Producing Agreements that sprung from the deregulation of the electricity industry 15 years ago under then-Premier Ralph Klein. Opinions and bias abound in this politically-charged issue, as the power companies seek to cancel the agreements now that the energy price is lower than ever before and the Notley government plans to impose stiff fees on those coal-fired plants.
For some takes on this, please consider these viewpoints:

Aug 3rd, Edmonton Journal – Privatizing Profits, Socializing Losses

Aug 8th, Globe and Mail – How the ‘Enron Clause’ was Enacted

Aug 9th, Macleans – Making Sense of the Legal Fight

Aug 24th, Edmonton Journal – A Lawyer’s Take on the Power Dispute

In other news:

July 20th, NRStor Alberta Energy Storage Consortium is Formed

Aug 9th, Calgary Herald – TransAlta says Environment Policies Here to Stay

Aug 9th, Solar PV Farms in Alberta – German Company Investing in Alberta Solar

For all those who are hearing the relentless “no one will invest here if we don’t …”, here is the start of a wave of a different kind of inventing: solar and wind companies lining up to take advantage of the great Alberta sun and wind advantages. “The German company, Kronos Solar, has applied to the Alberta Utilities Commision for a 10 megawatt PV farm near Oyen, to be operational by 2018 November. Kronos is also planning PV farms in Lloydminster, Three Hills and Veteran.”

National News

July 12th, CBC – City of Halifax extends their Solar City Install Program

July 12th, CBC – Community-owned wind-solar project pitched in Swift Current

Global News

July 15th, ABC News – Solar power industry drives up silver, lithium prices

July 15th, Fast Company – The U.S. Solar Industry Sees A Windfall In A Clinton Presidency

July 20th, Whitehouse – Administration Announces Clean Energy Savings for All Americans

July 21st, Consumer Reports – 6 Successful Solar Power Projects and What They Cost

Aug 1st, McKinsey & Company – The New Economics of Energy Storage

Aug 3rd, Clean Technica – Solar Beats Out Coal in UK for 2nd Whole Month Ever

Aug 11th, Takepart – Oregon Finds Switching From Coal to Renewable Energy Is a Bargain

Aug 11th, Brookings – Renewables get the job done despite skepticism

Wall Street is also bullish on clean energy. In April 2014, Citigroup declared that the “age of renewables is beginning,” and Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and others have all announced multi-year, multi-billion dollar investments in clean energy technology.”

Aug 19th, Guardian – Telsa Leads Effort to Build Roofs with Solar Panels

Aug 26th, Slate Magazine – Renewables are Less Vulnerable

Renewable energy sources don’t just reduce carbon dioxide emissions—they appear far less vulnerable to extreme weather. This is because they aren’t dependent on external supplies of fuel or water and because they rely on simpler mechanical systems that are more compatible with natural processes. That’s particularly true of wind and solar. For instance, during a Texas heat wave in 2011, wind generators helped keep the lights on when several gas and coal plants were forced to shut down. Similarly, during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, ISO New England, which operates electricity transmission in the affected six-state area, received not a single report of damage to the network’s many wind turbines and solar facilities. The five-turbine Jersey Atlantic Wind Project, off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, took a direct hit from the storm, but was back producing power hours after it had passed.

Aug 27th, Newsweek – How Elon Musk is Using Tesla to Kill Big Oil

Infographic of the Month

How Canada’s solar potential compares to solar leader Germany:

Canada compared to Germany



Telsa’s Master Plan to Kill Big Oil

Newsweek has an interesting article out on Telsa and Solar City’s long range plan to change the energy industry.

HOW ELON MUSK IS USING TESLA TO KILL BIG OIL

There is quite a bit of speculation in it (such as: electric utilities will become a shrinking provider of last resort, like the U.S. Postal Service or telephone company landlines.), but the stats that are notes are interesting in themselves. Did you know:

  • This has been the planet’s hottest summer in recorded history.
  • The cost of solar has dropped 95 percent since the 1980s.
  • Solar panels covering just 0.6 percent of U.S. land mass could supply all the electricity needed for the entire country.
  • Tesla has said that their new Giga Battery Factiory should drive down the cost of battery power by at least 70 percent.
  • Start-ups, such as Gridco Systems and Varentec, are working on ways of turning one-way power grids into two-way exchanges so home-based production can sell back to teh grid, much the way cable TV companies overbuilt one-way broadcast lines with two-way broadband systems as the internet exploded in the 1990s.

Debunking Solar Myths

Here’s a great article by David Dodge, who is the Host and Producer of GreenEnergyFutures.ca, that offers short and informative clarifications to a lot of solar misconceptions.

For instance, did you know that Canada gets more sun than solar-powerhouse Germany?

Canada compared to Germany

Or that snow cover only diminishes solar panel effectiveness by 5%? (That’s experimentally measured, counter-intuitive but true).

Or that when it is claimed that solar panels are only 15% efficient that that is the same efficiency level as a diesel generator (only, sunlight is endless whereas diesel is not)?

Check it out on LinkedIn here:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/shining-light-solar-energy-myths-david-dodge?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish


Team Building 2016

Team Building 2016 – Admiring our work on the Southland Leisure Center Roof!
20160623_1KCP at Southland
The KCP Install Crew went back one year after installing this project, to follow-up and check the installation quality and celebrate our largest project to date!






Newsletter – June 2016

Alberta Current


Monthly solar industry analysis and news.

Headlines this Month (June 2016)

June 5th Tesla Powerwall coming to Canada
June 20th Sungevity offers free EV charging now with Solar Installs
June 22nd Tesla’s Owner Elon Musk offers to buy Solar City to integrate vertically
June 27th Three Amigos: US, Canada and Mexico pledge 50% of power from clean energy by 2025
June 28th Canada’s largest commercial rooftop solar system unveiled
June 30th A Time of Breaking Records

“We’re living in a time of records. More renewable energy came on stream in 2015 than ever — 147 gigawatts, equal to Africa’s entire generating capacity — and investment in the sector broke records worldwide. Costs for producing solar and wind power have hit record lows. Portugal obtained all its electricity from renewable sources for four straight days in May — the longest achieved by any country — and Germany was able to meet 90 per cent of its electricity needs with renewable power for a brief period. Clean energy employment and job growth now outpace the fossil fuel industry by a wide margin.”

“But are the good records enough to help us deal with the bad? Global average temperatures are hitting record highs every recent month and year, and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are rising to levels unheard of in human history.”

— David Suzuki writing at The Nelson Daily

New Pipelines

David Hughes, a key adviser to the Alberta government, has produced a study showing that if Alberta grows within its capacity we will not meet our climate goals. Surprisingly, even growing by 45% we will not need new pipelines, noting the existing infrastructure is not at full capacity. Those climate goals were announced by the government last year and had assumed the current growth up to 45% from today. Alberta currently has 18 coal plants, of which 12 will be shut down by 2030 anyway.

New Incentives

The government is promising a new incentive for Jan 1, 2017 for residential solar, Provincial Environment Minister Shannon Phillips reports. No details were announced.

Home Batteries are Coming!

Tesla’s Powerwall is going to be available in Canada. These 6.4 kWh systems will be much more expensive than advertised in the States. No clarity on regulations (fire, building codes, etc…) yet.

Sungevity, in California, is now including a free EV charging station when residents install solar panels. This bundling of green technologies is an obvious fit and we’ll see more like this in the future.

ENMAX announces Canada’s largest solar project in Alberta’s city of Leduc. The 1.14 MW system at the Recreation Centre will have 3,622 panels, reducing costs by $90,000 annually.

Calgary had 17 sunny and clear days out of 30 for June.

How this Affects Alberta Solar Owners

Powerwalls, if they pass regulatory approvals, and despite the $6000 price tag, offer the ability to store power. An exciting prospect for sure. The amount of interest and calls we receive daily regarding the Powerwall clearly indicate that Albertans are ready for a battery storage option. It also shows the value of Tesla’s marketing prowess and slick packaging in an age looking for the next big thing.

The ability to store day-generated power for use in the evening is one of the most common claims that people cite that is a condition before investing in solar. As well, battery manufacturers cite this ability to “Time Shift” usage patterns using cheap daytime power in the evening when rates are higher.

However, here in Alberta, there is no time-of-day billing – that is, the power you purchase from the grid is the same price in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. Therefore, for Albertans, the Powerwall’s main purpose will be simply as a backup power source during an outage. Until true time of day billing comes to pass the value proposition of time shifting loads and the associated savings will be minimal to none. Currently the Powerwall battery cost saving opportunity is limited to the avoidance of transmission and distribution costs associated with the purchase of a utility kWh. Basically a solar kWh produced earlier in the day could be stored and used to avoid purchasing a utility kWh during non-solar producing times thereby avoiding the T&D costs for the utility kWh. Since residential users are currently compensated for excess solar generation via their microgeneration agreement the value of storage savings does not compete with simply selling the excess production. Simply put, the small savings of not selling your excess power back to the grid will never pay for the $6000 price tag even over 20 years.

Suffice to say it is very possible things will change over time to support storage (batteries could become far cheaper, time-of-day billing is implemented, the cost of selling excess falls behind the cost to buy) but for now here in Alberta you effectively would be buying a Powerwall for back-up power during an outage and not for savings.

One caution: the 7.5 kW system is likely only able to provide a third of an average home’s 30 kW daily need, so even in a back-up situation, its use would need to be coupled with a better power awareness.

How this Affects Market Entrants – market entrants like other solar providers or new solar customers?

While solar panels have traditionally come first, and some have waited for the panels+battery combination, it is possible that the batteries by themselves are used and in doing so allow people to become more aware of their energy use and that may eventually lead to a localize solar source for the initial power. The introductions of the battery are only a good thing.

What We’re Watching For

The new incentive Jan 1st , 2017 announced by Shannon Phillips is expected to be production based or on the “backend” (as opposed to a financial aid to assist on installation costs). We anticipate that this incentive will come in the form of a higher per kWh compensation for excess generation and be part of the updated Microgen regulation.

Infographic of the Month

Alberta could become a desert. Spoiler alert: solar is set to boom!

alberta-mean-temperture-change

source: http://blog.abmi.ca/2013/08/26/climate-change-affects-albertas-biodiversity-too/#.V3VGV9Tytiw


Three Things You Should Know About Solar PV: It’s Simple. It Works. It’s Cheap!

infographic-3things-solarpv

It’s Simple: Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems generate electricity from the sun. They are easy to install, require no maintenance and last for 30+ years. With no moving parts, there is nothing that can wear out. They don’t make any noise. They just sit there quietly, year-after-year converting sunlight into electricity for your home. And you do not need to install batteries. One very important thing to note is that you are still hooked up to your utility. Any excess electricity that your Solar PV system generates is fed back to that utility – they’ll even give you a credit on your bill!

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KCP Energy, in the beginning and where we are now

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Gee Dad, why didn’t you do anything?

So why did I start KCP Energy? Who in their right mind would leave a great job to start a business in an area they knew very little about? Well, it was a fairly easy answer, or at least it was at the time. I believed global warming (climate change is now my much preferred term) was occurring and in my job at that time I really wasn’t doing anything about it. Around the same time I came to the conclusion we might be messing up the planet I began to envision a future time when my grown children would ask me why, if I believed climate change was occurring, did I choose to do nothing? And oh ya Dad – now your grandchildren are paying the price for your inaction. The image of that future conversation taking place around the kitchen table was a powerful motivator and so KCP began. (more…)