Australian residential energy storage systems increased from 500 to 6,750 – Key data point: payback in 7 years. Major factor – electricity in Australia is expensive. Retorts – solar + energy storage is going down in price, while prices of energy seemingly forever increase. Long term prognosis – Australia, a country with one of the highest levels of residential solar installation volume in the world, will grow their energy storage market significantly as prices of energy storage fall further. We’ve already crossed the economic point – 7-10 year ROI – where residential customer exhibit strong buying signals. This is already spreading to other high cost areas (Hawaii, Southern California, Germany, Massachusetts, etc).

Germany limiting renewable development – Main reason: too much intermittent energy, not enough tools to manage its flows and storage. Germany know that it needs to build new transmission lines to move the large amounts of off shore wind to the south – but there are plenty of political arguments against. Energy storage is coming hard – so that will help, but goals of nearly 100% renewable/clean by 2050, lots of work is needed.

SolarWorld enters partnership with lithium mining company – It makes sense. SolarWorld has an amazing expertise at building a premium quality product that will last for decades direct from mined commodities. Batteries are another version of solar panels – SolarWord already has a global brand name and distribution channels. Good to see.

Egypt gives 9 sq km each to 10 companies for solar power – If we assume 0.25MW/acre, then these projects could total just over 500MW of solar power. Seems everyone is looking to install a few hundred MW of solar power these days…

North Carolina town considering ban of solar farms – Aesthetics and property values is the argument. You can mostly do as you please in this world, and banning solar power is something you can do. In this case, a small town is pushing back against a third solar farm.

Indian solar manufacturing capacity lower than reported – Recent reports of growing capacity in India ought be refined. Older manufacturing lines making hardware people don’t want to buy is an obvious thing to discount. The article then gets into the challenges the Indian market has with solar module manufacturing – supply chain development is limited in India, which mean global low prices create greater profitability challenges, hurting access to finance and limiting R&D. Sounds a lot like the rest of the world fighting China.

REC Silicon benefits from polysilicon demand uptick – Total sales of US$80.4 million for 3,801MT of polysilicon in the 4th quarter, average selling price of $21.15/kg. Big swing in profit it seems – spokesperson speaks of aligning costs and revenue, corporate speak for getting production costs lower than sales in a market with choppy pricing.

The most successful ‘carbon tax’ plan I’ve seen – Cap & Trade in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast USA – technically, the northeast USA does not have a carbon tax. They have a cap and trade program where industry is forced to purchase the right to pollute the environment. The revenue from this project is given to individual state to determine how to invest – in clean energy, efficiency or other areas. Under this program, solar power is paid 3-5¢/kWh.

A great visual aide to help you understand where carbon prices are around the world, relative to the ~$200/ton some analysts think is the true cost for CO2 on society. Source MIT/VOX.com.

jenkins-karplus-carbon-tax2-0-0

Top Image is from my trip into China in mid-2008. Solar power was making its mark then.

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