Electrek green energy brief: 400MW of community solar, solved climate change math in 1895, 50% electricity from wind in Spain, more


400MW of Community Solar in 2017 – The most interesting thing in this report is that most of the volume installed in 2016 was by utilities selling to their customers. The utilities are professionals at delivering energy, they have a backend for billing – and very powerfully – they have the ability to connect directly to their locked-in customer base that generally will accept recommendations (customer acquisition costs are LOOWW). Utility-scale solar installations were 50% of the total 14-15GW of solar that was installed in 2016 – the 218MW of community solar was a small piece of that. Of those that can grow community solar – the utilities are best positioned.

Svante Arrhenius did the math for global warming in the late 1800s as a hobby – Reader James Rowland pointed out yesterday that Arrhenuis was pushing the argument, with math, that anthropogenic global warming would occur as we kept burning fossil fuels. “His calculations showed that the “temperature of the Arctic regions would rise about 8 degrees or 9 degrees Celsius, if the carbonic acid increased 2.5 to 3 times its present value” – We’re currently up 0.44 times and 1.4 degrees Celsius, numbers that are in line with a prediction in a paper published in 1895 – 122 years ago.

Are you overinsured in your wind project?Max Messervy pointed me to this article on twitter and reminded me of insurance (good marketing there Max). If your solar system’s replacement costs will fall 20% a year, your cost to insure should as well. As a salesperson, the financial models I show customers include an inverter replacement in years 10-15. Right now, I price that unit around 20¢/W – in 10-15 years it’ll cost less even with inflation – meaning I’m way overestimating the cost of the future inverter. Don’t buy the extended warranty for the inverter and make sure your insurance costs are lowered.

New capacity manufacturing announcements slow in January 2017, while… – supply chain activity (prior orders becoming ‘effective capacity’) is high. The article notes that it’s tough to track 118GW of capacity announcements across multiple years and that only 50% of announcements from 2014-2015 have been confirmed effective capacity. Confirmation of the PERC solar cell announcements. I wonder if the PV-Tech folk will see Nive PV’s (Irish company from yesterday’s brief) hardware roll into the industry.

FERC 2016 Utility Electricity Report is Out – Utility Scale installations – 8.6GW natural gas (26% of total), 7.8GW wind (24%), 7.7GW of utility solar plus 6-7 GW of distributed volume (45%) and 1.2GW of nuclear (3.7%). Capacity factors (fossil fuels or non-fossil fuels) multiplied by the total volume installed equals new kilowatt-hours produced – natural gas 42% of total, wind 22%, solar 25% and 10% for nuclear.


Tweet of the day #1 – Yesterday, Spain got half of its electricity from Wind

Tweet of the day #2 actually came from me!! While arguing online (shouts out to r/solar & r/energy!) someone pointed out a great analysis of cost and time overruns by type of energy project. Solar cost and time overruns in the 1% range, with 1/3 of projects coming in UNDER BUDGET.

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