11. Solar and Photovoltaic

H. Solar Thermal Milestones

1974 The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) formed SEIA was formed in 1974. The association represents the interests of stakeholders in the solar industries and acts as a lobbying group in Washington, DC
1977 The Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) formed SERI--now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)--was formed in 1977. NREL is a national laboratory that provides research and development support for solar and photovoltaic technologies.
1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) enacted PURPA mandated the purchase of electricity from qualifying facilities (QFs) meeting certain technical standards regarding energy source and efficiency. QFs were also exempted from both State and Federal regulation under the Federal Power Act and the Public Utility Holding Company Act.
1978 Energy tax credit A 15-percent energy tax credit was added to an existing 10-percent investment tax credit, providing incentive for capital investment in solar thermal generation facilities for independent power producers.
1980-85 Oil price increases expected During the early 1980s, the price of oil rose and was expected to increase at rates substantially above inflation. Because forecasts of energy prices were based on fossil fuel prices, the market for renewable energy projects was strong.
1981 California State energy tax credit The State of California enacted a 25-percent tax credit for the capital costs of renewable energy systems.
1982 Solar One in operation Solar One, a 10-megawatt central receiver demonstration project, was first operated in 1982 and established the feasibility of ■power tower■ systems. In 1988, the final year of operation, the system achieved an availability of 96 percent.
1983 California Standard Offer Contracts California's Standard Offer Contract system for QFs provided renewable electric energy systems a relatively firm and stable market for their output. This allowed the financing of such capital-intensive technologies as solar thermal-electric.
1983 13.8-megawatt SEGS I plant installed The first in a series of Solar Electric Generating Stations (SEGS) was installed in 1983, with output sold to Southern California Edison Company. SEGS I used solar trough technology to produce steam in a conventional steam turbine generator. Natural gas was used as a supplementary fuel for up to 25 percent of the heat input.
1984 25-kilowatt dish Stirling systems demonstratedAdvanco and McDonnel Douglas systems demonstrated the potential for high-efficiency dish Stirling systems.
1989 Size limit for qualifying facilities increased to 80 megawatts In 1989, Federal regulations that govern the size of solar power plants were modified to increase maximum plant size to 80 megawatts from 30 megawatts. The larger size allowed SEGS VIII and IX to improve the economics of the power block, controls and auxiliary equipment, and to loweroperating and maintenance costs.
1991 Luz International filing for bankruptcy Luz went bankrupt while building its tenth SEGS plant. SEGS I through IX remain in operation today.
1992 7.5-kilowatt dish prototype operational In 1992, a prototype system using an advanced stretched-membrane concentrator, through a joint venture of Sandia National Laboratories and Cummins Power Generation, became operational.
1992 Investment tax credits restored by the Energy Policy Act The Act restored the 10-percent investment tax credit for independent power producers using solar technologies.
1994 Free-piston Stirling engine prototype tied to grid The first solar dish generator using a free-piston Stirling engine was tied to a utility grid.
1994 Proposed solar enterprise zone in Nevada The Corporation for Solar Technology and Renewable Resources, a public corporation, was established to facilitate solar developments at the Nevada Test Site. Proposals have been requested for the construction of 100 megawatts of solar electric capacity.
1994 Silvered film enters market 3M Company introduced a new silvered plastic film for solar applications.
1995 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) prohibits qualifying facility contracts above avoided Costs In a ruling against the California Public Utilities Commission, FERC refused to allow a bidding procedure that would have the effect of allowing rates above avoided cost for power purchases from renewable QFs.

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