Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis  of important news

Google’s Project Sunroof expanding into Germany – Have any of you used it? Did it lead toward getting a contractor quote? Just for playing? I’ve only played with it – but it seems powerful for consumers.

Safety first: A microgrid project in Brooklyn tackles lithium-ion fire fears – Batteries moving indoors is something new for a lot of inspectors. At minimum, Lead batteries had to be in vented areas as they gave off significant gasses. That’s not necessarily the case anymore. New York City code will influence the National Electric Code (NEC), and the NEC will evolve on a national level which will lower/refine the installation costs of home battery systems.

IFC to invest US$60 million in Jinko Malaysia as company upgrades to PERC solar cell technology – The total cost of upgrades are $100,000,000 – I included all those zeros to remind ourselves how much money is involved here. Factory was built in 2015 – this is an upgrade two years later. Article says about 600MW of hardware will be upgraded – if PERC modules gain the factory an extra $0.10-20/W in margin that’s $60-120M/year revenue. How much of that is profit?

Obama had a chance to really fight climate change. He blew it. – I don’t fully agree with headline because of the congressional opposition he faced, though on a few key pieces I do. A lot of legislation was pushed through near the end of the presidency and it is going to be easy to eliminate under Trump. That sucks. However, significant investment was made in the Department of Energy through SunShot, NREL and many other groups. This knowledge, this research will go on indefinitely. The loan program – from which both Tesla and Solyndra came from – has actually made tax payers money on the loans alone. That’s before we consider the taxpayer benefits from the companies that succeeded in those loans programs – jobs, taxes, technology, cleaner atmosphere, etc.

‘Clean coal’ plant delay costs $38M – The only clean coal is the coal we leave in the ground. Even if we don’t get this ‘clean coal’ plant off the ground, maybe we’ll learn something from the construction of this plant that we can apply elsewhere and slightly lower the amount of CO2 we dump. Let’s keep this ‘clean coal’ argument real though – its a failure as of yet.

Perovskites are potentially great solar cells because of substructure – We constantly get to hear about the next best thing in terms of solar power, but before now I’ve never really heard why perovskites might be so great. The KIT scientists observed that, during thin-layer development, lead iodide perovskites form about 100 nm wide stripes of ferroelectric domains with alternating electric fields. This alternating electric polarization in the material might play an important role in the transport of photogenerated charges out of the solar cell and, hence, explain the special photovoltaic properties of perovskites. Sweet.

Wow – check out these price drops in Residential Solar –

Solar panel pricing that fell in the second half of 2016 would take a while to filter down to the residential installers. The panels in stock at wholesalers need be sold first – that can take a while. Additionally, wholesalers never buy at the same volume as the giant projects that get the best pricing. Now, before Trump tax changes or net metering goes away, could be a strategically smart time to go solar to get the best ROI. A second image in the article talks about who to get finance from – call these people before you call the contractor, this way you have those things lined up and can negotiate pricing better.

Coolest website describing solar cell structures I’ve seen in a while – Have you ever wondered how a solar panel is constructed and what makes it work? Click through the images – cool stuff. Found this site because I was reading about “photovoltaic metallization paste.’ Dupont came out with a new product increasing efficiency a bit. These pastes are where the silver is used.

Speaking of silver, this company wants to get rid of it using lasers – Natcore surpasses 20% efficiency with laser-based solar cell structure – Natcore Foil Cell, an all-back-contact cell that combines a revolutionary laser process with a novel metallization strategy, thus enabling high-efficiency cell architectures at low-cost. Importantly, it also eliminates the need for silver, one of the highest-cost components of a conventional solar cell – First off, this is a PR document – so mostly fluff talking to business people. They do reference being able to fit this technology into existing production lines. More innovation more pathways.

Our politics are showing, we really ought put that away. Clear distinctions on coal – nuclear a little different.

Header Image – Photo of SNEC Week: 700MW PV Plant in Ningxia, China built using Huawei FusionSolar Smart PV Solution. Credit: David Sanchez. This is the top view from the same project with the grape vines growing here. The panels go off into the distance forever…

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