Biomass recycling site to benefit from CHP

A wood recycling site in the UK is expected to generate over £1 million ($1.25 million) in additional revenue after installing new combined heat and power (CHP) technology.  
The Pedigree Power recycling site in Northamptonshire converts around 25,000 tonnes per year of waste wood to biomass and includes a 30,000-tonne wastewater processing plant. 
The addition of a steam-raising boiler and a 580 kWe genset from Heliex Power will allow the facility to become energy self-sufficient, providing its own power and heat. Heliex Power said the 580 kWe system will be twinned with one of its 103 kWe units at the facility.
The new system will allow Pedigree Power to benefit from enhanced Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI) and Contract for Difference (CfD) payments.
Chris Armitage (pictured), CEO of Heliex Power, said: ‘Biomass plant operators across the UK have identified our technology as a simple way of maximizing returns and boosting sustainability even further, by generating a low-cost supply of electricity in addition to the heat supplied by their boiler. This is the largest system we have sold to date, testament to the fact that more businesses and sectors are realizing the potential of innovative technologies for CHP.’

California city law requires solar on new-build houses

A city in the US state of California has passed a law requiring all new-build homes to include rooftop solar arrays that will cover the household’s energy needs.
The city of Lancaster in Los Angeles county has required that solar arrays be installed on all new-build houses since 2014. It has now passed an additional ‘net zero energy’ policy mandating that these rooftop arrays contain 2 W per square foot.
Since this will not be possible for all roofs, the policy offers additional options: paying a fee of $1.40 per square foot in lieu of a solar system, or a combination of a smaller solar system and a fee.
Mayor Rex Parris said in a statement that ‘the Zero Net Energy Home Ordinance expands upon Lancaster’s residential solar ordinance so that new homes built in Lancaster now will not only be environmentally friendly, but have a zero net impact on our environment, while reducing energy costs for the homeowners.’
A feasibility study must be completed before the ordinance can take effect, after which the California Energy Commission (CEC) must approve it. The study is expected to be completed by April and CEC approval can take up to six months. 

USAID opens $4m funding round for Africa off-grid solar

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is set to fund off-grid solar projects in sub-Saharan Africa to the tune of $4 million, the agency has announced.
Matching funds will be made available under the Scaling Off-Grid Energy initiative. The scheme will award grants between $500,000 and $1.5 million to startup companies across the residential solar value chain.
Applicants ‘should be developing and scaling innovative solutions that will have broad reach across the sub-Saharan household solar market with the potential for high market impact,’ USAID said.
To qualify, aspiring project developers must have already raised at least twice the amount of funding requested from USAID from private investors. Locally owned and operated firms, and firms owned by women, will be given preference.   
The initiative aims to address the barriers to capital access faced by off-grid project developers.   

Vattenfall focuses on heat potential

Vattenfall is seeking to grow its presence in the German heating market, with district heat networks in Berlin and Hamburg to the fore in its planning.

Chief Financial Officer Stefan Dohler told Reuters the Swedish state-owned utility will expand both its heat and wind power operations in the country as it recalibrates the German business following its departure from coal power last year.

Dohler said it will invest $220 million in Berlin’s power grid in 2017, seeking German retail energy clients who like the green about-turn and can be enlisted online.

"We have a strong position in Germany … We want to grow here," he said, adding that this year and next Vattenfall plans to invest $1.2 billion in Germany.

In 2016, "we added 100,000 power customers for the third year in a row and also won 100,000 gas accounts."

He said 25,000 heat customers were added bringing the customer total in power and gas to 3.4 million and in heat to 1.7 million.

District heating networks, prominent in Berlin and Hamburg, would be expanded to transport heat from combined heat and power plants into homes, according to the CFO, who also said these could ultimately be run on renewable power turned into hydrogen or synthetic gas.

Surplus heat from Hamburg’s metals industry could be stored in the networks in new business models.

Vattenfall has invested over EUR300m in a cogeneration plant in Berlin providing mainly heat, which in a first step will replace coal feeds with natural gas.

Caterpillar solar PV to backbone Illinois microgrid

Caterpillar has announced that Cat dealer Altorfer has commissioned a 1000 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system in Rantoul, Illinois, US.

Built to fulfill a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA), the installation was constructed on an eight-and-a-half-acre site near Heritage Lake Park and the University of Illinois Transportation Lab in a southeast section of the former Chanute Air Force Base.

Altorfer Power Systems leads the installation, maintenance and operation of the facility in Rantoul, which is expected to produce an estimated 1.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, while diversifying the IMEA’s power generation.

The solar PV system is powered by advanced thin-film solar modules, an improvement on conventional silicon solar panels. Fully scalable and pre-engineered for quick and easy installation, the system offers reliable and predictable energy in all climates and applications with modules that are independently tested to pass accelerated life and stress tests beyond industry standards.

The offering is a key component of the Cat Microgrid technology suite, an innovative lineup of power systems that adds environmentally friendly solar panels, state-of-the-art energy storage, and advanced monitoring and control systems to Caterpillar’s traditional line of reliable power generation equipment, including generator sets, switchgear, uninterruptible power supplies and automatic transfer switches.

The Cat Microgrid technology suite is designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions, and reduce the total cost of ownership while increasing energy efficiency in even the most challenging environments.

“With the cost of renewable energy rapidly declining, the use of microgrid technology is quickly becoming more popular. Advances in solar panel technology and energy storage have enabled Cat Microgrid technology to become one of the most effective ways to produce clean, reliable and affordable power,” said Rick Rathe, general manager of new ventures for Caterpillar’s Electric Power business. “Cat Microgrid technologies deliver an innovative, financially viable way to incorporate sustainable sources of energy into any existing portfolio of traditional power generation offerings.”

Lichtblick aims to take advantage of German CHP law

Lichtblick is keen to aggregate and sell electricity generated from small-scale combined heat and power plants, a relatively untapped market of around 9 GW installed capacity.

The Hamburg-based clean energy vendor wants to capitalise on changes to Germany’s CHP law last year that oblige operators of units larger than 100kW capacity to find a partner to sell their power, or to use the electricity themselves.

Montel News reports that the company is specifically targeting units in the range of 100kW to 10 MW, which it estimates to amount to roughly 9 GW of capacity.

“We have developed a lot of know-how in optimising CHP units – the challenge now is to roll out the sales, because we need certain volumes to do this economically,” Lichtblick executive Gero Lücking told Montel.

Lichtblick already markets the electricity of around 30 MW of mini CHP capacity spread across 1,000 units.

Their units are typically small-scale gas-fired district heating generators capable of producing electricity though often neglected by wholesale power markets due to their tiny size.

Lichtblick hopes to amass more of these units’ generation, where it can potentially pool it with solar and wind to sell into the spot, intraday or balancing markets, depending upon where it can get the best return.

Germany had 33.4 GW of CHP units in total by 2015, according to the Institute for Applied Ecology.


Amplus wins 1 MW rooftop solar contract

India’s Amplus Energy Solutions has won a $700,000 contract to install on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for e-commerce firm Snapdeal. 
The firm said it will install a total of 1 MW in rooftop solar systems on warehouses operated by Vulcan Express, Snapdeal’s logistics business.
The solar systems will help Snapdeal achieve its goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 34,500 megatonnes. 
Amplus said it aims to install 100 MW of rooftop solar systems before the end of the current fiscal year, with over 60 MW already installed.  

Veolia in biogas CHP plant contract win

Veolia has won a contract to design and manage a biogas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Gloucestershire, UK.
The 520 kWe plant is expected to generate 4.56 GWh per year. Its biogas fuel is to be derived from mixed food waste at Rose Hill Recycling, a composting and recycling facility which processes 35,000 tonnes of food and farm waste per year.
According to Veolia, the installation will save around 1750 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year as well as reclaiming waste that would otherwise go to landfill.
Gavin Graveson, Veolia’s COO Public and Commercial, said: ‘Reducing food waste is very important, but our unavoidable and inedible food waste still has a value as a resource.
‘Current estimates show that if all the UK’s inedible domestic food waste was processed by anaerobic digestion, it could generate enough electricity for 350,000 households. By effectively optimizing all the opportunities for biogas CHP we will ensure we can capture this valuable resource and contribute even more to the circular economy.’ 

UPS grows on-site solar with $18m investment

Shipping megafirm UPS is set to invest around $18m in on-site solar projects in the US, the company has announced. 
The projects are expected to come online by the end of this year and to provide a nearly five-fold increase in the amount of solar power UPS generates. 
UPS said its installation of 26,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels on at least eight facilities will produce a total of 10 MW and save around 8200 metric tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
The company’s goal is for each facility to supply around half of its power demand with on-site solar arrays.
Bill Moir, facilities procurement director for UPS, said: ‘Solar technology is a proven way to effectively and efficiently provide long-term power to our facilities.
‘We have a significant number of facilities that are well positioned to deploy solar at scale and increase our sustainable energy options for our buildings,’ he added. 

Chile solar rooftop scheme gets monitoring boost

German solar services firm meteocontrol has won a contract to monitor on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Chile.
The company will supply sensors and data loggers for Chile’s rollout of a planned rooftop solar scheme for its public buildings.
In the first phase of the national Public Solar Rooftop programme, 103 PV systems with a total capacity of 3.3 MWp are planned for installation in northern and central Chile.
Ultimately, 300 PV systems are planned to be installed and centrally monitored via an online platform by 2018.
The monitoring project will be undertaken in co-operation with Chilean engineering firm Ingetrace, meteocontrol said. While meteocontrol will supply the monitoring hardware, Ingetrace will advise the energy ministry on the installation process.
The monitoring system displays yield losses and reports any malfunctions automatically, meteocontrol said.
Chile aims to generate 60% of its power from renewable sources by 2035.