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Electrek morning green energy brief: Solar panels so cheap manufacturers losing money, Russians hacking the US grid, and more


Solar Panels now so cheap, manufacturers probably selling at a loss – I personally have seen the price of solar panels fall from $.55/W to $.35/W starting in about June of 2016 through today. That’s a 36% fall in price for the formerly most expensive component of a solar panel. The Chinese believe in Swanson’s Law and see this as a sound investment still – so don’t expect it to stop just yet.


Russian malware found on laptop of Vermont power company – The details are still fuzzy (and as I read about it this morning it seems a lot less interesting), so I’ll stay away from international intrigue just yet. However, let us be honest to ourselves and recognize that with digitization (making the grid smarter) we are going to open the machine to broader systemic risks. We need to be smarter than how we let our desktop computers be abused.

Perovskite layer could add 20% more efficiency to solar panels – What I’m really trying to say is that I expect big things from solar panel efficiency in the next year or three. This efficiency increase will lead to lower prices per watt because you get more solar power from the exact same hardware. Whether perovskite is the winner (it sure seems like it with the press it gets), I don’t know – but I see so much research on so many aspects of the solar electricity ecosystem that I am hopeful.

Vestas, wind turbine manufacturer, receives 9GW of orders in 2016 – I’m just amazed at the total volume that one company is going to deliver. There are a few companies in the solar sphere that are doing 3-4-5GW – this is a nuclear power plant worth of electricity – EVERY YEAR – from a single company. That’s exciting.

Can splitting water become an efficiency way to store solar energy – Elon Musk is crashing the cost of lithium batteries with Tesla while increasing the energy density. Battery storage might be the end game – however – the hydrogen dream isn’t dying yet. Storing liquid fuels is something we’re really used to.

And on this last day of 2016, let’s have a moment of levity and remember that when we’re stressed and thinking about the heat death of the universe – we’re not alone:

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