The Solar Industry Is Ripe For A Refinancing Boom In 2021 – A recent bank survey about 2020 solar project finance trends provides an optimistic outlook for 2021. The survey, Lendscape by kWh Analytics, tracks the solar industry’s most active lenders and tax equity investors in the U.S. market and is the go-to resource for project sponsors looking for financing partners. In the latest 2020 survey, 85% of the leading project finance lenders in solar said that little-to-none of their business came from refinancing in 2020, laying the foundation for a refinancing boom in 2021. This projected boom is driven by three factors: Solar asset maturity, spread and historical underperformance.

Generation 180 Brighter Futures Report – Total installed solar capacity on U.S. schools has increased 139% since 2014, according to the 2020 Brighter Future report, released by Generation180, a non-profit that advocates for campuses to gain more access to solar power. While the capacity of solar installed at schools is up, so to is the total number of schools with solar installations, rising 81% since 2014. As of 2020, 7,332 schools nationwide have solar systems accounting for 1,337 MW of capacity. Solar schools now make up 5.5% of all public and private K-12 schools, almost doubling from 3% in 2014. The decision to go solar at public schools is typically made at the district level, and 16% of K-12 school districts, 2,231 in total, have embraced PV. According to the report, the average school solar installation size is 182 kW.

Battery Week from Volts – David Roberts of Volts put together a fabulous round up of resources on lithium ion batteries.

ACORE: Transmission ITC could spur 42GW of wind and solar capacity – The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has said that a proposed transmission investment tax credit (ITC) in the US could spur US$15.3 billion of fresh investment in clean energy and enable an extra 42GW of wind and solar capacity to come online. A report published this week by the trade association states that an ITC could lower consumers’ power costs and that it is “necessary” to encourage the construction of high-voltage transmission infrastructure across the country. Gregory Wetstone, ACORE’s chief executive, said that grid expansions and updates will be “essential to reducing carbon emissions, but we aren’t yet building nearly enough of the large-scale transmission projects we know we’ll need as we enter a critical period for decarbonising our economy and accelerating the transition to renewable energy.” The report added that a transmission ITC could create an additional 650,000 jobs and add an extra 30GW of solar and wind capacity to the US power mix, as well as providing US$2.3 billion in energy cost savings “for the lower 80% of income brackets”.

Replacing Coal with Renewables is Cheaper 80% of the Time – About 80% of U.S. coal plants are now more expensive to keep running than to swap out for new wind and solar capacity, according to a report from Energy Innovation, a non-partisan climate and energy think tank. While renewables cost more than fossil energy for much of the last century, prices for new wind and solar have dropped so quickly in recent years that they were already cheaper than new coal. This report shows that the price differential holds true for a growing amount of existing coal, as well. “This is becoming true for more and more plants moving forward—and at an accelerating pace,” said Eric Gimon, a senior fellow with Energy Innovation and a co-author of the report.

How to Fight Burnout – This is a non-energy related post from late 2020 that the team found helpful. 2020 has been both physically and mentally draining. We’ve had to adapt to remote work, juggle careers and homeschooling, miss out on important celebrations and milestones, and distance ourselves from friends and family. If all of this, plus constantly evolving lockdown restrictions and worries about the COVID-19 virus itself, has left you feeling exhausted, you’re not alone. A survey by the Harvard Business Review found that 60% of respondents felt burnt out often or very often during the pandemic, while 85% felt that their well-being had declined over the last year. Meanwhile, a study by the American Psychological Association found that 84% of adults experienced emotions associated with prolonged stress over the course of the pandemic. With all the change that has occurred in the last year, feeling worn out makes sense. Our bodies have been overexposed to stress, leaving us feeling depleted of energy and like we’ve hit a wall. While stress in normal doses is a natural part of life and can even be motivating at times, chronic stress can lead to burnout, which can wreak havoc on our health, happiness, relationships, job performance and daily functioning.