Nov
04

Understanding Solar Options for Commercial & Industrial Facilities - Part 1

Understanding Solar Options for Commercial & Industrial Facilities - Part 1
Tapping into the power of the sun offers commercial and industrial facilities more control over their utility bills and the ability to operate in a more sustainable fashion.  Plummeting prices and improved technology make a host of options available for companies that want to go solar. But they’re left with a lot of information to parse and deliberations to make.  We have created this three-part commercial and industrial solar series to shed light on the types of solar installations po...
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Sep
09

Getting to Know the Grid

Getting to Know the Grid
The North American electric grid is an immense feat of engineering and often referred to as the largest and most complex machine in the world. When we discuss ‘the grid’ we are typically referring to the entire system in the abstract, including all the power plants, wires, and related equipment that deliver electricity to our homes and businesses every day.  But electrical networks can come in all shapes and sizes to meet the particular needs of diverse customers and communities. And there ...
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Aug
10

The High Cost of Heatwaves

The High Cost of Heatwaves
As temperatures continue to climb across the country this summer, the heat is certain to again wreak havoc on the electric grid. Every part of our aging infrastructure experiences immense strain when the mercury rises, and we all pay the price. Businesses use more power and that bumps up their summer bills. But the real cost of summer heatwaves stems from grid inefficiencies and operational challenges. Prolonged heat raises power prices, increases carbon-intensity, and ups the risk of brownouts ...
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Jul
07

Intermittency is Changing the Grid and Creating Opportunites

Intermittency is Changing the Grid and Creating Opportunites
Shifting clouds cast shadows over your office, reducing solar exposure to your building’s roof. A summer breeze halts midday, letting hot stagnant air build up as the wind stops blowing. An unexpected storm settles into the region, delaying staff from reaching job sites. For renewable energy, these weather shifts and interruptions cause what is commonly referred to as intermittency, the sudden change in energy production. But intermittency isn’t only about fluctuations in solar and wind energy. ...
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Jun
11

Supply, Demand & COVID-19: What ERCOT Foresees for the Summer

Supply, Demand & COVID-19: What ERCOT Foresees for the Summer
A recent report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) indicates a wider cushion between supply and demand than previously expected for this summer because of the effects of the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, the grid operator also finds an ongoing shift underway in the state’s power mix towards intermittent wind and solar and the possibility of record setting peak demand. All of these elements could affect power prices this summer. Supply buffer up ERCOT forecasts its cushion between...
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May
11

Texas Wind Fleet Grows, but Price Effects Depend on Location

Texas Wind Fleet Grows, but Price Effects Depend on Location
The Texas wind farm fleet is continuing to grow, but its effect on power prices depends on where the wind farms are located. Generally, Texas wind farms have dampened wholesale power prices, but they’ve also increased price volatility and can have an outsized impact on summer-time prices. Texas wind fleet grows, and keeps growing The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for most of the state, has about 23,865 MW of wind power, up from 100 MW two decades ago. The...
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Apr
02

How the Federal Solar Tax Credit Works

How the Federal Solar Tax Credit Works
With solar prices falling and a key federal tax credit ramping down, commercial and industrial businesses are increasingly considering adding solar panels to their facilities. One of the top incentives for building solar facilities — the federal investment tax credit, or ITC — can make solar panels an appealing option, but it’s important to understand how the program works, especially its eligibility deadlines. Before getting into the details on the ITC, we should say the program could change so...
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Mar
11

Scarcity Pricing: Near-term Pain, Long-term Gain

Scarcity Pricing: Near-term Pain, Long-term Gain
With summer on the horizon, it’s a good time to talk about scarcity pricing — a hot topic last year when real-time wholesale power prices in Texas hit a $9,000 per megawatt-hour (MWh) cap multiple times over a three-day stretch. Generally, wholesale power prices are driven by supply and demand. Prices go up when limited power supplies are used to meet growing demand. Picture a hot, humid day. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid and power markets in nearly a...
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Feb
13

States Leading on Energy Storage — but the Feds can Still Help

States Leading on Energy Storage — but the Feds can Still Help
Before it adjourned last year, Congress declined to act on multiple pieces of energy storage legislation including the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act of 2019. But across the country, states are taking the lead in advancing this innovative technology –– opening new opportunities for commercial and industrial facilities seeking to incorporate storage into their energy mix. The state action makes sense, given the urgent need for resilient energy. Our aging grid infrastructure and t...
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Jan
09

Four Levels of Energy Resiliency: Which is Right for You?

Four Levels of Energy Resiliency: Which is Right for You?
Ice on power lines, fierce winds, and severe cold are the ingredients for winter power outages. For businesses, loss of electricity is more than an annoyance — it damages the bottom line.  The cost? It’s not small. An Esource study found that on average, outages of four hours cost $10,000 to $20,000. Costs can be even steeper for industries that risk product spoilage and must shut down and clean up equipment even if the outage is brief. Unfortunately, power outages occur all too often. A 20...
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