Nomadic Power: Mobile Batteries for Electric Cars

by Deedee Chao

Nomadic Power, a German start-up founded in 2014, is looking at electric vehicle charging in a new way, by developing mobile lithium ion batteries that can charge a vehicle in 20 minutes or less. If this business and model become viable, electric vehicles would no longer be bound to short trips and frequent stops at charging stations, and electric car charging infrastructure can be “mobilized” and more easily set up in different locations. Continue reading

California Implements Large-Scale Low-Income Community Solar Initiative

by Deedee Chao

In October 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed in the country’s largest solar bill designed for low-income renters, creating the Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs Program under AB693. This new program is the successor to the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program established in 2008 as part of the California Solar Initiative, and aims at expanding the program to have a larger impact on low-income households.

The California Public Utilities Commission cites great demand and success in green developers collaborating in low-income housing projects to install rooftop solar as a reason for updating the program, and aims to increase renewables by setting a goal of at least 300 megawatts of rooftop solar POV on each multifamily affordable housing project. Continue reading

New Aircraft Emissions Standards Decided at 10th ICAO Meeting

by Deedee Chao

The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) wrapped up its landmark 10th meeting on February 12th, 2016, and reported progress in different environmental and sustainable areas for aviation, including commitment towards sustainable alternative fuels and the creation of an international aviation market-based measure for emissions. Most notably, the CAEP/10 created a new ICAO aircraft CO2 emissions standard, the first of its kind for any aviation sector. Continue reading

The Future in Community Solar

by Deedee Chao

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is the first of California’s major utilities to enhance community solar programs; customers who are unable to install their own solar panels will still be able to draw their electricity directly from solar sources. Named Solar Choice, customers can choose to pay a premium of approximately 3 cents per kilowatt-hour to have half or all of their electricity come from solar. This new program opens up a new market and was created in response to high demand: over half of PG&E’s customers responded to a survey, saying they wanted to go solar, but could not implement it themselves. Solar Choice is a streamlined process for customers to go from traditional power to renewables, without having to do any installations or solar contracts themselves. This allows for easy buy-in, participation, and support for renewables, all at the cost of a few cents per kilowatt-hour. This premium is extracted primarily to ensure that non-solar customers don’t pay extra for their electricity; this suggests that the more participation there is, the lower the premium will be, making solar more affordable as demand increases. Never before in California has the process of switching to solar been so painless. Continue reading

What California’s NEM 2.0 Decision Means

by Deedee Chao

On January 28, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to pass NEM 2.0, a net energy metering decision for solar that updated how rates would be monitored for solar customers (those who own solar energy systems to generate energy for their own use). Net energy metering (NEM) is a method through which solar system owners are credited for their surplus energy that they feed to the grid, which subtracts from the costs incurred when they use energy from other sources (for example, on cloudy days or at nighttime), so they are only billed for their “net” energy consumption. Continue reading