Community solar farms become popular in the US

March 07th,2015

A new concept of renewable energy is taking hold across America: community solar gardens that appeal to people who believe that solar panels are too expensive or impractical.

These gardens or solar communities began in Colorado a few years ago and the model has spread to Minnesota, California, Massachusetts and other states. Capacity is expected to grow strongly this year.

There is much interest among residential customers, who just like the idea, and large companies that want to reduce their carbon footprint.

The facilities provide electricity to the local grid. Customers subscribe to this public service and obtain a credit balance on their invoices, contracts are generally agreed to 25 years and protect against rate increases.

Some developers say the customer bills will fall within a couple of years below the rates regularly charge their retail customers. Others say the savings begin immediately.

"This will be the year in which solar energy the mainstream community really back," said David Amster-Olszewski, CEO developer of solar farms SunShare LLC, headquartered in Denver, which has two operations in Colorado and develops more with Xcel Energy Inc., even in Minnesota.

Solar panels on roofs are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners as their cost is reduced, but that market is limited to only about a quarter of the residences in the United States, according to the National Laboratory of Energy Renewable, an arm of the Department of Energy of the United States.

The concept of solar communities opens the door to many more, including tenants living in rented houses, roofs for shade customers and those who can not afford solar panels.

Source: 'La Nación'


Costa Rica creates carbon local market

Proposal allows acquire bonds to offset CO2 emissions

Initiative is part of the carbon neutral country strategy

September 11,2013.

From now on, companies and individuals can offset their carbon emissions by purchasing bonds that financed forestry projects, thanks to the formalization of the new Carbon Domestic Market.

President Laura Chinchilla and Environment Minister René Castro, yesterday signed Executive Order (DAJ-62-2012-MINAE) that creates the Board of carbon, a figure that will operate the new market.

This new carbon local market adds to the National Strategy Carbon Neutrality, which claims that the country has a low-carbon emissions in 2021.

For that year, and as projected by the Ministry of Environment (Minae), Costa Rica will emit 19 million tonnes of carbon. 75% of these will be absorbed by the forestry and agroforestry.

In this sense, carbon credit transactions, as part of the new market-to pump money into conservation projects and reforestation, aimed at the capture and storage of greenhouse gases (GHG), which contribute to climate change .

To date, the only entity authorized to receive money generated from the Rican compensation units (UCC)-carbon bonds issued under this market-is the National Forestry Financing Fund (Fonafifo). However, this will change when adding more projects as suppliers.

How can you acquire UCC? Under the National Standard of Carbon Neutrality (INTE -12-01-06-2011), the company measures its carbon footprint to quantify and define actions to reduce it to the fullest.

Any emissions that the company can not cut because it would affect their operation and productivity may be offset by purchasing UCC. Each UCC has a cost of $ 3 and equal to one ton of carbon dioxide.

"Read more".


Laura Chinchilla signs decree that gives "green light" to Domestic Carbon Market

September 10,2013.

Today, after the Governing Council, the president Laura Chinchilla officially created the Carbon Domestic Market by signing the decree DAJ-62-2012-MINAE.

The logic that lies behind this new market is that businesses interested in reducing and offsetting their carbon emissions, and so add to the carbon neutrality goal you set the country for 2021, can acquire Costa Rican Compensation Units (CCU) .

The money raised through the UCC would be invested in reforestation and forest protection as well as others aimed at reducing emissions and energy efficiency, among others.

Apart from describing the operation of the market, the decree creates Carbon Board which will be responsible for managing this market as well as keep track of projects, transactions and comprensaciones. In the Technical Secretariat of the board will have to address Climate Change , Ministry of Environment (Minae).

Source: "La Nación".


The European Union defies China with tariffs on solar panels

Proposal was resistance from several countries, led by Germany

June 04,2013.

European Union (EU) imposed Tuesday "unanimously" tariffs on Chinese solar panels, despite resistance from several European countries, led by Germany, and threats of retaliation from Beijing.

"We have decided unanimously to impose a temporary tariff" on imports of solar panels, said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, at a press conference.

The EU executive accuses China of flooding the European market with cheap solar panels, "which hurts European companies".

"It is clear that the dumping of these damaged solar panels solar panel industry in the European Union and threatens 25,000 jobs," he said.

In the first phase, until August 2013, tariffs will be 11.8%. From there - if Beijing fails to take action - be of 47.6%.

"The European Commission reiterated its readiness to continue negotiations with the Chinese exporters and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to find a solution," the EU executive said in a statement.

"The ball is on the side of the Chinese," De Gucht estimated.

"It is clear that if China does not provide from here to August 6 solution, apply much higher rates," he added.

Several countries, led by Germany, the first European partner of China, is opposed to tax the Asian country and called for a negotiated solution.

China has already said that the tariff sanctions are not only a threat to jobs in China but affect the interests of European businesses, consumers and the industry.

In a context of degradation of trade relations between China and Western countries, Beijing confirmed last Friday that initiated an antidumping investigation on a chemical imported from the EU and the United States.

Research is on the import of tetrachlorethylene, a product used as a solvent in cleaning textiles, said the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

China reported a few days ago the European Commission this procedure by dumping directed against industrial groups in the chemical industry, and Solvay.

The Chinese initiative aims to chlorine derivatives, including tetrachlorethylene, French newspaper Les Echos.

"Read more".


Costa Rica will import cleaner fuels since January

Experts provide improved air and less deterioration of motor vehicles.

Sulfur in diesel will drop from 50 to 15 parts per million, as in Europe.

Fuels sold in the country from January will be more environmentally friendly and cause less deterioration in motor vehicles.

The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (Minaet) announced yesterday that in 2013 the country will market diesel and gasoline with a smaller amount of sulfur.

This colorless gas is one of the major air pollutants in cities and causing severe respiratory problems.

According to the announcement of René Castro, Minister of Environment, the country will lower the amount of sulfur in diesel to 50 parts per million to 15 parts per million (ppm).

This allows the country to achieve the same standard of diesel sold in Europe, where the requirements for protecting the environment are more drastic.

Furthermore, gasoline (and super plus) will of 200 ppm sulfur to about 80 parts per million, as confirmed Castro.

"This is excellent news for a country that has been calling for cleaner fuels (...). That will make fuel from Costa Rica not only the cleanest in Central America, but that makes up the rules of the most advanced countries of the European Union, "the minister reiterated.

For these changes to take effect in hydrocarbons, a regulation is necessary, to be drafted in the coming days.

It will include maximum levels of MMT (methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl), a gasoline additive, whose excess vehicles damaged.

"Read more".

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