BREAKING: U.S. ITC moves ahead with Suniva investigation

The U.S. International Trade Commission decided late tonight to move forward under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 to investigate whether the bankrupt module maker deserves protection from its Chinese competitors.

One day after one of bankrupt module manufacturer Suniva‘s largest creditors was exposed for trying to blackmail the Chinese Chamber of Commerce into paying $55 million to make its trade complaint go away, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is moving forward with an investigation of Suniva’s complaint.

Investigation No. TA-201-75, the official number the ITC has assigned Suniva’s filing, will “determine whether crystalline silicon photovoltaic (“CSPV”) cells (whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products) are being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury, or the threat thereof, to the domestic industry producing an article like or directly competitive with the imported articles.”

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Vistra to build Texas’ largest solar plant

The power company has bought the 180 MW Upton County Solar 2 project in West Texas, and signed a contract to have the project built.

The announcements regarding large solar projects in West Texas have been rapid this week. Just two days after Southern Company announced that it had put online the 130 MW-DC Lamesa project, Texas power company Vistra Energy announced that it has purchased the 180 MW Upton County Solar 2 project.

Vistra has further signed a contract with an un-named engineering, procurement and construction contractor to build the plant, which it expects to go online in the summer of 2018. Vistra’s independent power producer (IPP) subsidiary Luminant will own the project, and the electricity generated by the project will be provided to both residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) customers of Vistra’s utility subisidiary TXU Energy.

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California transmission fee overhaul could set a new deal for distributed solar

Home and business owners who install solar on their roofs often don’t think a lot about large power lines that connect distant power plants to their homes. However, like all electricity customers, owners of grid-tied PV systems help to pay for these lines.

Yesterday a bill passed the California Senate which solar advocates say will help to more equitably distribute charges for long-distance transmission, by exempting the electricity produced by rooftop solar from these charges. Clean Coalition, which backed SB 692, says that the current system which places these charges on both electricity produced on-site and by distant power plants is unfair and distorts the market.

“It’s akin to levying the Golden Gate Bridge toll every time Bay Area residents pull into their driveways, as opposed to charging the toll only when crossing the bridge,” states Clean Coalition in a post on its website.

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U.S. Senators Propose Switch To 100% Clean Energy By 2050

U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., along with U.S. Sens. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., have proposed landmark climate change legislation that would transition the U.S. to 100% clean energy.

The “100 by ’50 Act” lays out a roadmap for a transition to 100% clean energy no later than 2050. According to the lawmakers, it is the first bill introduced in Congress that would fully envision a transition off of fossil fuels in the U.S.

“America is home to innovative entrepreneurs and scientists who have tackled many challenges in our nation’s history – from harnessing electricity to putting a man on the moon to curing disease,” says Merkley. “The power to end the use of fossil fuels and completely transition to clean and renewable energy is within our hands, but just as with the moon landing, we need a roadmap, a goal and a passionate, shared national commitment to get us there. If an asteroid were hurtling its way through space towards our planet, we would do everything in our power to stop that asteroid. Our commitment to fighting climate change should be no less. Starting at a local, grassroots level and working toward the bold and comprehensive national vision laid out in this legislation, now is the time to commit to 100 percent by 2050.”

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Why utilities are more confident than ever about renewable energy growth

At the turn of the millennium, only wide-eyed dreamers in the power sector would have claimed renewable energy would play a major role on the U.S. grid. Wind and solar were simply too expensive and too difficult to integrate.

Fast-forward to 2017, and that dream is becoming a reality, according to a survey of more than 600 utility professionals.

More than 80% of North American utility employees expect renewable energy to increase moderately or significantly in their service areas over the next decade, according to Utility Dive’s fourth annual State of the Electric Utility (SEU) survey.

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Global solar PV manufacturing capacity expansion plans rebound in Q1

PV Tech’s preliminary analysis of global solar PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements in the first quarter of 2017, shows a strong rebound compared to the significantly subdued environment experienced in the second half of 2016.

Although capacity expansion announcements in January remained subdued and followed the low level of activity set in the second-half of 2016, February proved to be the third highest month since 2014, and the highest February in more than three years.

March did not maintain that momentum but still posted strong figures, becoming the second highest March figures in more than three years.

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