This Week in Climate & Clean Energy Wins: Week of 7/31/23
THREE NUMBERS TO KNOW:
The amount First Solar is investing for their fifth U.S. solar manufacturing plant.
The amount of federal funding allocated to expand access to rooftop solar power for Puerto Rico residents.
The amount allocated to the EPA’s new Solar for All Competition, which will award grants to expand access to affordable clean energy.
First Solar has announced that it is investing $1.1 billion towards their fifth solar manufacturing plant. The project is expected to create 700 jobs. Ford has resumed assembly on their electric truck, looking to triple production rates on the model. In an effort to switch mainstream U.S. truck buyers to EVs, the assembly operation is cranking up to a 150,000 vehicle per year production rate as early as October and creating 1,200 jobs in the process.
A new report from Energy Innovation found that current state and federal policies could help install upwards of 100 GW of offshore wind farms along the West Coast by 2050. Furthermore, if policies are expanded the wind industry has the capability to generate a quarter of the nation’s electricity and create 400,000 domestic jobs by 2050. We Recycle Solar is just one of several companies in the emerging category of solar panel recycling – a process which extracts high value materials like copper, silver, aluminum, glass, and crystalline silicon from solar panels that have reached the end of their natural life. Data from Renewables Now shows that solar power provided a record-high 7.3% of U.S. electrical generation in May. Nearly a third of the renewable energy workforce is made up of 18-to-29-year-olds with domestic energy employers increasing outreach to students by 86% over the past year.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced $470 million in funding to expand access to rooftop solar power for Puerto Ricans, and a $7 million investment in the resilience of Puerto Rico’s electric grid – which has been frequently tested by extreme weather events. DOE also launched a series of rebate programs that will provide $20 million for the installation of energy efficient transformers and other industrial equipment, cutting costs for domestic manufacturers, utilities, tribes, hospitals, and schools. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $7 billion competition that will award up to 60 grants for applicants seeking to increase access to affordable and resilient clean energy.
Lastly, Massachusetts invested $11.5 million in low- and zero-emission vehicle and equipment projects to reduce transportation emissions across the state. In the South, Georgia Power announced the opening of the first new nuclear power reactor built in the U.S. in over three decades. According to the company, this plant will be the largest generator of clean energy in the country. At the University of Arizona, the environmental justice center announced it will invest $10 million in helping low-income communities access federal funding for clean energy projects, marking the single biggest federal investment in improving access to these types of projects.
- First Solar is investing $1.1 billion towards their fifth solar manufacturing plant. [Reuters, 7/27/2023]
- Their second expansion of the year, the plant is expected to create 700 jobs.
- The largest renewable energy developer in the nation, NextEra announced that they have 250 GW of clean energy capacity in their project pipeline. [PV Magazine, 7/31/2023]
- Bidgely and GridX announced a partnership to optimize electricity costs for their utility and energy consumers, boosting the use of de-carbonization technology. [Business Wire, 8/1/2023]
- “Motivating consumers to make smarter energy decisions is paramount to achieving utility decarbonization goals,” said Chris Black, CEO of GridX.
- Ford has restarted assembly on their electric truck model and are looking to triple production rate – in a test to see whether mainstream U.S. truck buyers are ready to switch to EVs. [Reuters, 8/1/2023]
- The assembly operation in Dearborn, Michigan is projected to hit a 150,000 vehicle per year production rate by October – creating 1,200 jobs.
- State and federal policies could help install over 100 GW worth of offshore wind farms along the West Coast by 2050. (Energy Innovation, 8/1/2023)
- Expanding the U.S. wind industry beyond current policies has even greater benefits, with the ability to provide up to a quarter of the nation’s electricity and create 400,000 jobs by 2050.
- Companies are seeing the benefits of new solar panel recycling projects, which are yielding high value materials like copper, silver, aluminum, glass, and crystalline silicon. (AP, 8/1/2023)
- Director of Compliance at We Recycle Solar shared that processing 10,000 pounds of solar panels an hour can result in hundreds of pounds of copper an hour, which can then be reused in systems to generate solar, hydro, thermal, and wind energy.
- Solar provided record-high 7.3% of U.S. electrical generation in May, as a result of a 27.6% increase in small-scale solar. (Renewables Now, 7/31/2023)
- Renewable energy sources accounted for over a quarter of the nation’s electrical generation.
- The renewable energy sector is ramping up their demand for early-career hires, who are joining the industry in record numbers. (Utility Dive, 8/1/2023)
- In 2022, 18-to-29-year-olds made up nearly a third of the solar workforce, with domestic energy employers increasing outreach to students by 86% over the past year.
- DOE announced $470 million in funding to increase access to rooftop solar power for Puerto Rico residents, and a $7 million investment in the resilience of the Puerto Rican electric grid. (DOE, 7/31/2023)
- These announcements come after a $1 billion effort to deploy solar and battery storage to vulnerable communities in Puerto Rico, helping to increase resilience and lower energy bills for 400,000 households.
- DOE announced $20 million for rebate programs that aim to support the installation of energy efficient transformers and critical industrial equipment. (DOE, 8/1/2023)
- The programs will conserve energy and reduce costs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions across several economic sectors.
- EPA launched a $7 billion solar for all competition, which seeks to increase access to affordable, resilient, and clean solar energy for low-income households. (EPA, 7/28/2023)
- The competition will award up to 60 grants to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and eligible nonprofits to create and expand low-income solar programs that provide financing and technical assistance.
- Massachusetts invested $11.5 million in low- and zero-emission vehicle and equipment projects that will help to reduce transportation emissions across the state. [iBerkshires.com, 7/29/2023]
- On Monday, Georgia Power announced that the first new nuclear power reactor built in the United States in over three decades is now up and running. [The Messenger, 7/31/2023]
- This reactor will power approximately 500,000 homes and businesses, and Georgia Power expects it will be the largest generator of clean energy in the United States.
- The University of Arizona’s West EJ Center announced this week it will invest a $10 million, five-year federal grant in helping low-income communities access federal funding for solar panels, home insulation, roof coating, and other clean energy projects. [Government Technology, 8/1/2023]
- This will be the single biggest federal investment in programs to improve access to clean energy projects.