When solar panels became the jobs killer – A few solar people in my streams have pushed back on this article, its title and the lead in are a bit tough, but broadly it tells some good stories on the new growing-evolving-reacting-failing-attacking-living-breathing solar power industry. The Chinese are attacking the industry – with a vengence. This article is playing a bit to the times of Trumpism – the populist fears – and if we are to argue from a purist capitalist, free trade point of view – those fears are real. However, in my mind, we don’t exist in that clean world and to argue from that purist position is extremist. If nothing, check out the cool images and graphs.

14 Arab countries sign MoU to establish joint Arab electricity market – Multiple times they mentioned renewable energy as part of the driving ideas, and that excites me because I hear Saudi Arabia talking about building infrastructure to export solar electricity. If this happens, we’ll see the Middle East develop into a broad grid with much growth. Interconnection of large areas drives renewable development.

Ex-Trump Transition Chief: Energy Efficiency ‘Had a Good Run’ – “We’re going to get infrastructure built,” McKenna promised. “The president didn’t run on tax reform. He ran on infrastructure. We’re going to build infrastructure.” What would it include? “Anything that involves concrete,” he responded. Another place in the article – “You look at the DOE numbers, it tells you everything you need to know. $2.4 billion goes to EE and $670 million goes to the clean coal office and $430 million goes to the nuclear [power] industry [research],” – You know the gist of those within this administration – and we all can have our views, that’s cool. However, another fact to add – clean coal and nuclear has been getting billions of dollars in R&D for decades and decades. Seriously – the world has been trying to clean coal emissions for almost 200 years. And the nukes have had serious billions going into them since the 1950s.

(Link to PDF) – ROUND 1 QUALIFICATION RESULTS – The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO), of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, has announced qualified companies for round one of the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP), following the Request for Qualification (RFQ) issued on the 20th of February 2017 – This is exciting. There are 27 companies hoping to participate in a 300MW solar/400MW wind tender. I’m predicting the solar project gets a bid of 1.99¢/kWh because the Saudi’s will give great support (free land, cheap money, upgrades to infrastructure, long term contracts, etc).

Photovoltaic Inverter with Highly Integrated Concept Promises Lower Costs – Inverters cost anywhere from $.06-.50/W out of full system costs of $0.80-3.00/W. That’s anywhere from 10-18% of a system’s cost. The names behind this research give me some hope – SMA and Fraunhofer are global leaders. This reminds of the work SolarEdge is doing with their Wave platoform (and HiQ as well).

Green Bonds Issuance Up 42% In Q1 2017 – The key is the capital, it must flow. With the bond market coming to love the long term, stable cash flow of renewable energy – we’re going to see trillions of pension plans open to investment in this marketplace. I suspect solar YieldoCos will get another time to shine bright as a popular investment vehicle.

Interesting graphs on German energy – I know there is always negative talk about the Germans shutting down nuclear and running so much coal (especially as France’s neighbor)…but we are seeing solar eating into coal. There is light.

 

Header Image (from lead story): Gao Song, owner of the solar company Wuhan Guangsheng Photovoltaic Company, using a drone to inspect a rooftop where his workers were installing solar panels. Credit: Giulia Marchi for The New York Times

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