Electrek green energy brief: 850MW of solar from space, Bubba loves solar, customized solar panels, more


NASA takes a cool picture – Link is to NASA’s website, with an easy before and after comparison system. 850MW of solar PV, some mountains, and a river from space. Pretty cool.

Co-location of solar & pollinator friendly plantsNREL did a great presentation, and now it is becoming a thing in real projects. This technique is new to me – but it reminds me greatly of other co-location techniques like solar+fish, +parking lots, +vegetables, +pathways, +roadways and more. Each of these co-location partners are worth money and increase the return on investment of solar projects. I’d like to see low-light vegetable farms built on top of parking lots outside of supermarkets or apartment complexes.

GA politicians wants to remove power from Public Utility Commission – When electricity companies were given publicly approved monopolies, the Public Utility Commission was created to balanced out the natural greed of self interest. The electric utilities, still, have many times violated the public’s trust. Now, a politician in Georgia thinks the Commission ought not have influence on how much renewable energy a power company should purchase. Of course, they use the excuse of freedom and market capitalism – but I bet they’re not considering a carbon tax to balance out ignored externalities. Watch the news as renewables now grow at 200GW clips in the coming years – you thought the politicians were getting strung about before?

Custom skins on solar panels – Wanna bling your solar panels? I want to know how long the cover lasts, how much it affects production and what it costs. Otherwise – this could be cool. People constantly complain about the look of solar panels – if I’m a marketing company I think I’d start paying people to let me advertise on their roofs.

Homeowners selling their big roofs with solar power to other electricity users – You want true decentralized energy? Here it is. Homeowners selling to random electricity users. We have a bit of this in Massachusetts with our form of virtual net metering, but it is still young (just like this project). The key is that the grid is smart enough to manage these types of transactions.

Solar development and construction companies getting bought by majors – Hedge Funds are selling solar development companies to major electricity construction firms. Are there websites out there that track buying and selling within certain industries? It’d be real interesting to see how much money is flowing on the merger and acquisition side of solar. Greentech has a nice summary with other purchases.

More investment groups buying solar projects (not companies this time) – The investment firm now owns 470MW of solar power in 18 plants. Let’s say, conservatively, that there is a power production ratio of 1.0 (this is the UK) and the price per kWh is 6¢/kWh (yeah, US numbers but I know no better). That means – 470MW will produce 470GWhs/year times 6¢ equals – $28M/year in cash flow for a few decades (three issues with my estimations – 1. production ratio, 2. $/kWh and 3. no purchase price info). Bigger money, bigger cash flow, biggest investment banks which means – bigger money, bigger cash flow, bigger growth rates in solar power. Virtuous cycle on the upside.

What are the consequences of batteries being all over the world? – Samsung factory fire as a result of mishandling batteries. Are lithium batteries going to become a real issue in the future as their rates of existence increase significantly in the world? If companies like Tesla and Apple keep making them it’ll be less of an issue, as their quality standards seem pretty high. However, will we hold onto that as commodization forces price down to the cutting edge of profitability?

Residential Dual Axis tracker – I’ve sold a dual axis tracker for a residential project once – It is beautiful. Lower land use and 20-40% more electricity, higher hardware costs and more upkeep. You make the judgment call what flavor of solar power you like.

Real soon renewables + energy storage will be bigger than natural gas in California, Greentech Media put together a nice info graphic that estimates solar+wind+storage beating natural gas by 2021. When Cali can be more than 50% by intermittents, we’ll know the game is over for fossils –



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