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Enter the #MyMintBalance Sweepstakes for a Chance to Win $5,000

first_img Post navigation Official rules here.The sweepstakes ended as of Sunday, July 21st but the opportunity to join the conversation and share #MyMintBalance lives on!You may have noticed a significant surge in conversation on your social media about the current state of personal financial advice, particularly around budgeting. We saw it, too — and we feel you. Too often people are told that if they want to save money — to even be able to pay for their monthly bills — they just need to cut out the “nonessentials,” like buying lunch, personal grooming, and, of course, that daily coffee run.There’s a lot we can learn from these discussions. One thing that has stuck out to us is that an individual’s needs are their own to decide. No one should be shamed into believing that a vacation, a night out, or even a coffee is obstructing them from reaching their financial goals.However, there are moments when those happiness needs just aren’t within our budget. In fact, it can sometimes feel that maintaining our financial health works directly against our mental health. But what if balancing a budget doesn’t have to mean limiting the amount of joy present in our lives? Instead, what if it gives us an opportunity to break away from the “go, go, go” pace of life without breaking the bank?It’s in the spirit of helping each other find happiness when self-care seems out of reach that we’re launching something new: the #MyMintBalance campaign.Achieving balance takes a variety of forms in our lives — work-life balance, a balanced diet, balancing relationships with personal time, and so on. A healthy balance looks a little different depending on who you’re talking to, and there’s a good chance our own idea of a balanced life might be entirely different a year from now. In the constant effort to maintain balance, obstacles are inevitable, and often those obstacles are financially related. The goal of the #MyMintBalance campaign is to show that even when we are forced to spend less we don’t have to live less.HOW TO ENTER THE SWEEPSTAKESIn order to participate in the sweepstakes, share a photo or video of yourself that shows how you escape the stresses of daily life and rejuvenate…without having to dip too far into your wallet. That could be cooking a delicious (and healthy) meal that costs you a fraction of the price that it would to go to a restaurant for the same thing, hosting a board game night with your friends, or whatever else you can think of. Let’s inspire each other!You can share your photo or video on either Instagram or Twitter. In order for your submission to be considered, you will need to tag Mint (@Mintapp on Instagram, @Mint on Twitter) and include the hashtags #MyMintBalance and #Sweepstakes. You can enter one submission on Twitter and one on Instagram every day, for a maximum of two entries per day.The contest begins today, July 8th, and will run through the next two weeks before coming to an end on Sunday, July 21st. Soon after the sweepstake’s conclusion, one lucky participant will be chosen at random and awarded the $5,000 prize!You can read the full set of official rules here.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related#MyMintBalance: Being Frugal While Still Having FunJuly 30, 2019In “Updates”Essential Money Skills Your Kid Needs to KnowOctober 16, 2019In “Family Finances”How to Care for a Loved One Without Breaking the Bank: The Complete GuideJune 12, 2019In “Family Finances” last_img read more

Distributed Solar PV in China: Growth and Challenges

first_imgIn China, distributed solar PV is growing remarkably faster than large-scale solar power stations. (Distributed refers to smaller solar power generation facilities that are located close to consumers and connected to distribution systems, with access voltage below 35 kilovolts.) China’s new installed capacity of distributed solar PV in 2017 was 19.4 gigawatts—3.6 times higher than it was just a year before. Distributed solar PV generated 13.7 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2017, enough to power all the households in Beijing for 7.5 months. The accumulated installed capacity of distributed solar PV now accounts for 27.1 percent of China’s total solar PV installation. Distributed solar PV has been installed mainly in east and south China, where the country’s economy is most prosperous and demand for power is greatest. About 52 percent of capacity is in four provinces: Zhejiang, Shandong, Jiangsu and Anhui.Data source: NEA Solar photo-voltaic (PV) installations have boomed globally since 2010, with an annual growth rate of 40 percent. China is leading that growth: it ranks first since 2015 in both installed capacity and power generation.By 2017, China had 130 gigawatts of solar PV to the grid—nearly six times the capacity of the Three Gorges hydroelectric plant, the largest in the world. Furthermore, the nation achieved its 2020 goal for solar two years ahead of schedule.center_img There are four main reasons that distributed solar PV is growing faster than ever:1. National TargetsAccording to the 13th Five Year Plan of Solar Power Development, issued in 2016, at least 60 gigawatts of distributed solar PV will be installed by 2020, at a rate of 10 gigawatts of capacity each year. Over the same period, 100 demonstration zones of distributed solar PV will be constructed, with 80 percent of new building rooftops and 50 percent of existing building rooftops equipped with distributed solar PV systems. In addition, China launched a Solar PV for Poverty Alleviation Program in 2014, which supports a large share (70-80 percent) of the initial investment and allows families to use power freely or sell it to the grid.2. Incentive PoliciesTo achieve its national targets, China has issued a series of incentive policies since 2013 that covers both national and sub-national levels. The most influential of these provides a growth in subsidies for distributed PV solar systems.In addition to the national solar subsidy, now 0.32 Yuan ($0.049) per kilowatt-hour (kWh), local governments—10 provinces/municipalities, 36 prefecture-level cities and 10 county-level cities/regions—have their own subsidy policies for distributed solar PV projects. Many of these areas produce solar panels locally and have their own targets in place for renewable energy expansion. Subsidy rates and duration vary from region to region; local subsidy rates range from 0.05 to 0.55 Yuan/kWh (USD 0.0077-0.0846/kWh), lasting from 2-20 years.Tax incentives for both solar stations and distributed solar generation are also driving expanded distributed solar PV domestically. These incentives, coupled with the long-term durability of solar PV systems, make them an attractive investment for project developers.3. Declining Cost and Improved EfficiencyDeclining costs also make distributed solar PV projects more attractive for private companies. The average price of global PV modules decreased by 79 percent from 2010 to 2017; at the same time, technological improvements led to significant increases in efficiency. Influenced by these factors, the average cost of solar power generated in China in 2017 was about 0.5 Yuan/kWh (USD 0.077/kWh), a 75 percent drop from 2010. The continuous decline in cost has attracted more companies to invest in distributed solar projects.4. Profitable business modelsChina’s electricity rates for industry and commerce are much higher than those for households. Thus, if businesses install distributed solar PV to generate power for themselves, they can achieve considerable savings. Other diversified applications are emerging, too. “Solar PV+”, or solar PV integrated with agriculture, solar PV fisheries and solar PV livestock operations show the potential ahead.Trends to WatchDespite the remarkable success of China’s solar policies, recent updates have brought huge uncertainty about whether distributed solar PV projects will continue to boom.As the cost of solar PV keeps falling, China is accelerating reductions in subsidies for solar PV projects. Since January, the national subsidy rate for distributed solar PV projects has been cut twice; it is now set at 0.32 Yuan/kWh (USD 0.049/kWh), 0.1Yuan/kWh (USD 0.015/kWh) less than the previous subsidy. Meanwhile, although only about 10 gigawatts of distributed solar PV projects will be subsidized by the government through 2018, 12.2 gigawatts has already been installed in the first half of the year.In light of the new situation, distributed solar PV project developers may have three options: 1) Rely on existing local subsidies. However, these may expire in coming years, and it is not clear whether they will be extended. 2) Wait for next year’s quota of national subsidies, which have not been announced yet. 3) Develop projects without subsidies.New pilot programs may offer opportunities amid the challenges. National Energy Administration (NEA) initiated a pilot program on peer-to-peer trading of distributed generation, which could be a win-win for both power producers and consumers. Three modes were proposed for the pilot: direct sales, in which generators sell distributed power directly to consumers and pay a dispatch fee to grid companies; entrust sales, whereby grid companies sell distributed power to consumers on behalf of generators; and sales to grid, in which generators sell power to grid companies at the same rates as feed-in tariffs for local, large-scale solar power stations.Because peer-to-peer trading will encroach on the conventional business of grid companies and reduce their revenue and profit, grid companies are reluctant to support the pilots. However, as they transition to become integrated energy service providers, grid companies could invest in distributed solar PV projects through their own subsidiary energy service companies. This path could hold the most potential to keep distributed solar PV projects growing.last_img read more