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Electrek green energy brief: 1.5GW RFP in AZ, Perovskite at 30% in two years (!?), Apple backing energy storage, more


Arizona County put out Request for Proposal (RFP) for 1.5GW of solar power – Personally, this is the largest RFP I’ve seen in the US. There are headlines for projects in the Middle East at 5GW, one in India at 7.5GW and China sorta has an RFP of 20GW a year – but these nation-state led bids feel different than a county in the state of Arizona. 8,800 acres of desert (less than .005% of the more than 1.8 million acres of federal lands controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in La Paz County). This project will cost $1/W’ish – $1.5B in cost. And there is already a transmission line project in development to move the power. I’d love to get a commission on $1.5B…

23.6% achieved with perovskite – plus stability increases: The real reason I grabbed this article, other than a fascination with base level research, was this quote – ‘“The best silicon solar cell alone has achieved 26.3% efficiency,” says Zachary Holman, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “Now we’re gunning for 30% with these tandem cells, and I think we could be there within two years.”’ I’ve never heard of someone seriously considering hitting 30% with a silicon solar cell efficiency. Yesterday, we saw SunPower at 25% on a production line and how that was 50% greater than average panels – imagine the labs being at double average panels in two years with a cheaper product like perovskite…wow.

Sungevity laying off workers as residential solar sales struggle – Solar lease companies are having a challenging time. Residential solar power grew ‘only’ 19% – but its growing very widely, across the country. Not in easy pockets that slow moving corporate machines can take advantage of. data shows that residential customers who use their site consider solar vs lease evenly – 50/50 – when they started their search, but by the time they buy, 96% (wow) ended up owning vs leasing. There is a lot written on the long tail of residential solar installers making a comeback – and they are – but their inherent differences (smaller marketing budget and no Wall Street jet fuel) mean growth will be slower.

Apple (plus others) backing energy storage at the regulatory level – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sets the rules for who can connect what to the power grid, and how those various technologies will be compensated. FERC, after reviewing how battery systems are able to support the broader grid and ‘verifying’ that they can do it much like standard turbine spinning, ruled that battery systems are appropriate to receive income from the grid. Moving through these approvals at the highest levels will mean that utility and large commercial/industrial scale batteries will become significantly more financially viable.

Singapore moving toward a carbon tax – Singapore is a tiny country and its overall emissions are not the driver of global climate change. However, to see China now have two important neighbors – South Korea and Singapore – doing a carbon tax will means it will push its plans harder. The real prize is the Chinese – but the headlines matter as Singapore is seen as a sober, business oriented and forward thinking country – and when the business people think a carbon tax is a good idea, it’ll come to everyone.

The breakdown by region for solar power growth – really, if it weren’t for the growth of solar power in Asia, China in particular – the global picture would not be the same:

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