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Transcript of Solar
A megawatt is the energy to an equivalent of one million watts, which can power a single 10 watt LED bulb for over 11 years.
The [Perceived] Benefits
How profitable will the Fresno solar farm be in 2016?
What is the relationship between Janet Napolitano and Frontier Renewables?
Is Frontier Renewables using the UC System for UC Researchers? Is UC Research helping advance their technology and thus developing a better product?
What are the true benefits and costs for being partnered with Frontier Renewables?
End-of-life management and recycling of solar panels is also an issue-- the average lifespan of PV solar panels is approximately 25-30 years
Solar Energy: The Future of...
UC Solar Farm
Most obvious benefit: it's completely renewable.
Reduces cost in the long term period
Reduces Carbon footprint
Saves money on electric bills
Tax incentives and rebates to reduce price of panels
Increases home value
Reduces reliance on foreign and nonrenewable resources
Reduces the amount of water needed in order to produce energy
As of 2014, UC became a registered Electric Service Provider allowing the university’s Wholesale Power Program to supply electric power to 5 UC schools and medical centers under California’s direct access rules.
Cha, Ariana E. "Solar Energy Firms Leave Waste Behind in China." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 09 Mar. 2008. Web. 04 Dec. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/08/AR2008030802595.html>.
"Frontier Renewables, University of California Sign 80MWs of PPAs for Projects in Central Valley." Frontier Renewables. N.p., 8 Sept. 2014. Web. <http://www.frontier-renewables.com/index.php/news/read/press/9>.
"Health and Safety Concerns of Photovoltaic Solar Panels." Health and Safety Concerns of Photovoltaic Solar Panels Introduction (n.d.): n. pag. Http://www.oregon.gov/. Good Company. Web. <http://www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/oipp/docs/life-cyclehealthandsafetyconcerns.pdf>.
"How Microgrids Work." Energy.gov. U.S Department of Energy, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014. <http://energy.gov/articles/how-microgrids-work>.
"Mass Protest at China Solar Plant." BBC News. N.p., 18 Sept. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
"Net Energy Metering In California." Net Energy Metering In California. California Energy Commission & California Public Utilities Commission, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014. <http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/solar_basics/net_metering.php>.
SEIA. "What's in a Megawatt?" SEIA. Solar Energy Industries Association, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.
University of California. "UC to Combat Climate Change." University of California. University of California Press
Room, 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 01 Dec. 2014. <http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-combat-
Wong, Kristine. "University of California Green-Lights Groundbreaking Solar Plan." TakePart. Participant Media, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 04 Dec. 2014. <http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/12/california-universities-want-more-power-sun>.
Yue, Danjun, Fengqi You, and Seth B. Darling. "Domestic and Overseas Manufacturing Scenarios of Silicon-based Photovoltaics: Life Cycle Energy and Environmental Comparative Analysis." Solar Energy 107 (2014): 380. Science Direct. Web. 4 Dec. 2014. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0038092X14001935>
In California, an average of 216 homes can be powered by a single megawatt.
A Short Lesson on Solar
Most people's familiarity with solar is limited to photovoltaic (PV) solar power, which directly produces power for storing or transmission with silicon semiconductors in cells, harnessing photons from sunlight to electricity.
Concentrated Solar Power (or Thermal) uses use reflective materials to concentrate power on a tower to create thermal energy and in turn generate electricity.
On Frontier's cut (or other incentives) in UC partnership: "consider education partnerships with UC researchers and students..."
Net Energy Metering (NEM): When the system's production exceeds the customer demand, the excess energy generation automatically goes through the electric meter into the utility grid, running the meter backwards to credit the customer account you send back to the electric grid.
The UC system president, Janet Napolitano, and Frontier Renewables
Janet Napolitano was the Department of Homeland Security Secretary for the first Obama Administration
Her focus was on national security of the effects of extreme weather conditions
Frontier Renewables, a German-American company, is partnering with the UC system in developing the solar farm in Fresno
Napolitano made a 1 bil. dollar deal with Frontier Renewables to develop the Fresno Solar Farm
UC system then became an Engery Service Provider
An ESP is an individual or company that contracts directly with its customers to provide electric supplies. ESPs may serve only selected markets, such as large commercial and industrial customers, or all customers including residential
In 2011, riot occurred at Jinko plant for dumping toxic waste in local river. As a result:
-Pollution in rivers is affecting farms, wild life, local villages
-Anti-dumping tariffs/higher import tariffs have been imposed
Contrary to popular belief, the solar farm at UCR only provides about 3% of the power used by the campus.
The UCR Solar Farm is projected to produce up to 6.6 million megawatt hours of electricity each year (remember, 1 MW can 216 homes!)
Microgrids are small, local power grids with an
ability to "island", or work independently from main grid if needed.
The Fresno solar farm is projected to meet 60% of the energy demands of 5 out of the 10 UC campuses.
This is the equivalent of powering 30,000 homes and will cut annual carbon emissions by over 88,000 metric tons.
This is a key part to the Universities' goal to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by the year 2025.
Given Napolitano's background and recent trends in the management of the UC system, these solar initiatives beg the question of whether or not the University of California is being increasingly monetized and run like a business rather than an institute of higher education.
The solar power industry will eventually create a bigger gap between the rich who can afford advanced solar energy systems and the poor who will have a higher utility rate and construct new opposition between the North and sun-drenched South
It turns out that harvesting solar energy is more costly than its worth, both economically and environmentally.