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July 13, 2013

By Greg Bluestein and Kristi E. Swartz
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

State utility regulators voted 3-2 to force Georgia Power to amp up the solar energy it generates, a move that could impact the power bills of millions of residents. Whether it means higher or lower rates, though, remains hotly contested.

The Public Service Commission’s decision to require the powerful utility to add 525 megawatts of solar energy to its network was celebrated by environmentalists, tea party activists and solar companies who rallied to turn the vote into one of themost heated issues before regulators in decades.

It faced stiff opposition from other conservative groups and utility executives, who said Georgia Power already generates more than enough energy for its customers. Commissioner Stan Wise, the most outspoken opponent, called the decision “unconscionable.” He also warned it could drive up rates, but Georgia Power executives suggested that was uncertain.

The expansion, backed by Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, doesn’t call for an eye-popping increase in solar energy, at least not when compared with the coal-fired, natural gas and nuclear plants that generate most of Georgia’s electricity. The expansion amounts to roughly one-fifth of the capacity of the two reactors now being built at Plant Vogtle.

But it sends a powerful signal that the commission is embracing renewable energy even if it means upsetting Georgia Power, which usually gets what it wants. And it emboldens the coalition of solar supporters preparing to challenge Georgia Power over other high-stakes issues in the coming months, such as a proposed 6 percent rate hike.

Supporters added some safeguards to the solar expansion during Thursday’s meeting. They voted to require that any solar projects must be reviewed by an independent monitor and approved by regulators. And they said the projects must not raise customer bills in order to be accepted.

Regulators and utilities are increasingly seeking out alternatives as new federal rules aimed at reducing pollution and combating global warming have pushed plants that burn coal and oil out of favor. Yet Georgia and the rest of the Southeast lag behind the rest of the nation in using renewable energy, partly because lawmakers in other regions have required the use of solar, wind and biomass.

What’s still uncertain is the bottom line to consumers. The utility has said expanding to more solar could save or cost ratepayers as much as $9 million either way, largely depending on the volatility of the price of other fuels, such as natural gas, and how much it pays solar providers.

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5/3/13

–Event Celebrates Completion of the Largest Operating Photovoltaic Facility in California, providing consumers with cleaner energy choices–

CARLSBAD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May. 3, 2013– NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, announced that it will commemorate the opening of the Alpine Solar Generating Facility in Lancaster, Calif., at a ribbon-cutting event later this morning.

Currently the largest fully operational solar facility in California, NRG's Alpine Solar Generating Facility, a 66-megawatt station in Lancaster, Calif., celebrated its grand opening today with a ribbon-cutting event. (Photo: Business Wire)

Currently the largest fully operational solar facility in California, NRG’s Alpine Solar Generating Facility, a 66-megawatt station in Lancaster, Calif., celebrated its grand opening today with a ribbon-cutting event. (Photo: Business Wire)

The 66 megawatt (AC) Alpine solar photovoltaic facility, which started commercial operations earlier this year, is currently the largest fully operational solar plant in California. The cost-competitive, renewable power generated by the facility is being sold to PG&E under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

"The opening of Alpine marks a dramatic shift in the way energy is generated in California," said Randy Hickok, senior vice president of NRG Solar. "As the largest operating photovoltaic facility in the state, Alpine is not only providing PG&E with a renewable source of energy, but contributing to cleaner air and a smaller carbon footprint for the state, ultimately helping meet California’s renewable portfolio standards."

Located in northern Los Angeles County, Alpine will generate enough energy to meet the annual needs of approximately 53,000 homes at peak daytime capacity. Because the facility produces electricity without fossil fuels, it helps avoid the annual emission of 36,000 tons of carbon into the atmosphere, or the equivalent of taking 6,600 cars off the road.
Alpine is one of eight large-scale photovoltaic solar facilities owned by NRG that currently produces clean solar power for thousands of homes and businesses in three states. The other seven completed or partially completed plants are Agua Caliente (under construction) and Avra Valley in Arizona; Roadrunner in New Mexico; and Avenal, Blythe, Borrego and California Valley Solar Ranch (under construction) in California.

About NRG and NRG Solar

NRG is at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy. We deliver cleaner and smarter energy choices for our customers, backed by the nation’s largest independent power generation portfolio of fossil fuel, nuclear, solar and wind facilities. A Fortune 300 company, NRG is challenging the U.S. energy industry by becoming the largest developer of solar power, building the first privately-funded electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and providing customers with the most advanced smart energy solutions to better manage their energy use. In addition to 47,000 megawatts of generation capacity, enough to supply nearly 40 million homes, our retail electricity providers – Reliant, Green Mountain Energy and Energy Plus – serve more than two million customers. More information is available at <a href="http://www.nrgenergy herbal weight loss supplements.com/”>www.nrgenergy.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.

NRG Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NRG, has more than 2,000 MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects in operation, under construction or in development across the southwestern United States. More information is available at www.nrgsolar.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgsolar.com

NRG Safe Harbor Disclosure

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions and include NRG’s expectations regarding the Company’s Alpine solar project and forward-looking statements typically can be identified by the use of words such as "will," "expect," "believe," and similar terms. Although NRG believes that its expectations are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual results may vary materially. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated above include, among others, general economic conditions, hazards customary in the power industry, competition in wholesale power markets, the volatility of energy and fuel prices, failure of customers to perform under contracts, changes in the wholesale power markets, changes in government regulation of markets and of environmental emissions, and our ability to achieve the expected benefits and timing of our solar projects. NRG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The foregoing review of factors that could cause NRG’s actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward-looking statements included in this news release should be considered in connection with information regarding risks and uncertainties that may affect NRG’s future results included in NRG’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20130503005192/en/
Source: NRG Energy, Inc.
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March 18, 2013

Environmental News Network

They said it couldn’t be done. They tried to tell us that renewable energy could only survive if it were propped up with government subsidies. Never mind that our whole system of economic development, beginning with the patent office, is predicated on the idea that fledgling, underfunded industries need special protection for a limited time until they are strong enough to go it alone. Never mind that the fossil fuel industry, which can hardly be considered fledgling or underfunded, is still receiving billions in taxpayer subsidies.

But like the little engine that could, or the middle aged rock star that, after twenty years of struggling in sleazy dives has suddenly become an overnight sensation, solar power, having now surpassed the 100 GW threshold, has finally arrived and is good to go, in many places, without subsidies.

True, almost a third of that is in Germany, where the government has aggressively backed its development through the successful deployment of feed-in tariffs (FiT). Germany now has five times as much solar power as the U.S., despite the fact that the levels of sunshine it receives are more comparable to Alaska than Arizona, or even Florida (which is closer to Spain) try this.

China is growing faster than any other country and is expected to surpass Germany and take the number one spot this year.

Read more at ENN Affiliate, TriplePundit.

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Feb 1, 2013

By Ehren Goossens & Christopher Martin
Bloomberg News

First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar panels, may sell electricity at a lower rate than new coal plants earn, according to a regulatory filing from a project it purchased in New Mexico.

El Paso Electric Co. (EE) agreed to buy power from First Solar’s the 50-megawatt Macho Springs project for 5.79 cents a kilowatt- hour, according to a Jan. 22 procedural order from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. That’s less than half the 12.8 cents a kilowatt-hour for power from typical new coal plants, according to models compiled by Bloomberg.
First Solar, which said in a statement yesterday that it bought the Macho Springs project from Element Power Solar, didn’t disclose any of the state and federal incentives that will boost the company’s revenue from the project.

The Macho Springs rate would be "the lowest solar power purchase agreement price we have ever seen," Aaron Chew, an analyst at Maxim Group LLC in New York, said in an e-mail. It’s less than half the rate that First Solar will get for its Antelope Valley, Topaz, and Agua Caliente projects, he said.

Federal and state incentives will probably supplement First Solar’s revenue from the project. That support includes a 30 percent federal business energy investment tax credit, according to Anthony Kim, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance said today in an interview.

Incentives vary widely by location and aren’t included in the London-based research company’s levelized pricing models.

"When you add in the incentives, the PPA value becomes more comparable to rates we’ve seen signed in California," said Kim.

El Paso Electric must submit additional information by today on how renewable-energy credits related to the project may affect the utility’s costs.

Alan Bernheimer, a spokesman for Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar, wouldn’t confirm the rate in the regulatory filing. "That information is usually confidential," he said.


To contact the reporters on this story: Ehren Goossens in New York at egoossens1@bloomberg.net; Christopher Martin in New York at cmartin11(at)bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg(at)bloomberg.net

Fair Use Notice
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