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

Russia Tells the UN It Wants to Produce More Renewable Energy while Macron tells Trump he will protect what was made in Paris – the people and the Paris Agreement – In terms of Russia, we have a minister telling the UN that one of the largest oil and gas-producing countries in the world likes green energy. In France, we have a country run on nuclear energy with heavy investment in taking care of the environment and building plenty of solar. Macron gives me something to believe based upon history – and Putin speaking can be used to influence.

LG has a 20.8% efficiency solar panel available for sale – LG NeON® R, Module efficiency: 20.8%, model LG360Q1C-A5 – This is cool because it’s the second time I’ve seen a normal solar panel above 20% and available from a serious player. Someone on reddit said their contractor was offering this panel up at SunPower pricing (meaning expensive) versus the regular priced LG product in the 18-19% efficiency range. This might be a great panel to start looking for if your roof is space constrained as it’ll come down in price fast as production ramps.

Electric utilities told to say simplistic, half-truths to manipulate consumers – Its standard marketing. In the study, people initially gave more investment money to residential solar versus utility. However, when you only tell customers about the ‘costs’ (not the actual price charged) to produce solar power in utilities versus on your own roof, people will choose utilities to produce more solar. This ignores profits taken by utilities, and many other technology benefits – like solar stabilizing the grid, lowering upgrade costs, etc. This is standard political jujitsu.

SolSmart now has 58 communities in 25 states – SolSmart is a program put together by SunShot to support and promote cities who attack the soft costs of solar power via cutting the paperwork and time needed to go from contract to installation with solar power. A few new cities were added recently. Checking out this map – hover over the city to see. Soft costs were shown to American vs their German compatriots in this great article a few years ago.

Mono and multi production 50:50 in 2018, but mono is the future – Monocrystalline solar panels are purer silicon than multi crystalline panels (also called polycrystalline). Mono comes with a higher efficiency, but also a historically higher price due to a more expensive process to manufacture. Today, demand is driving efficiency increases – meaning more desire for mono solar panels. For instance, China requires higher efficiency solar panels to meet their tariff requirements. Lower panel prices overall means projects can handle a slightly increased solar panel price and still provide a respectable return on investment. Expect mono to take over the market.

Daqo drives polysilicon production costs down to US$8.41/kg in Q1 – Since I know you woke up this morning thinking about silicon – China-based polysilicon producer Daqo New Energy has reported its best ever financial quarter in terms of cost structure, production volume and polysilicon quality as it fully ramped annual capacity to 18,000MT – in the first quarter of 2017, its polysilicon average total production cost fell to US$8.41/kg, down from US$9.98/kg in the previous quarter and the lowest so far and the lowest in the industry for Siemens-based polysilicon production – I like this for two reasons, the biggest is that a manufacturer of an important component of the solar industry has shown they can be very profitable while, the second reason, they’re driving costs further down in very chunky – 15% quarter to quarter – amounts. The article notes that the cash costs for polysilicon fell 9% – no other notes on why costs falling.

RCR secures US$129 million contract for 110MW project in Australia – Article posted solely so I could show you $1.17/W to install 110MW in Australia. Your house system will still cost $3/W for a bit – your community solar project might be down to $2/W. Maybe a bit more in Australia though.

SMA delivers 10% more inverters, for 4% less revenue – but profits increased (math on profits done here) – And, inverter pricing fell 13% in 2016. Usually, it is solar panel manufacturers that get the attention. Huawei, SunGrow and SMA shipped the most volume – while SMA, Huawei and SolarEdge made the most revenue.

Solar sales slump in April despite China install figures – China’s reported 7.21GW of solar PV in Q1’17 (70MW more than Q1’16), yet sales by many Taiwan based suppliers of solar cell and modules have remained between 30 to 40% lower than the prior year period – China is purchasing panels elsewhere or numbers are being managed a bit – managing 30-40% is a bit strong though…so maybe mainland production is up?

The long curve of energy use per capita in the USA –

And an extra tweet –

Header image if of a project recently built by Tesla in American Samoa, and I know we cleared forest to build solar, but its use  aligns so closely. Plants use the space to collect energy from sunlight to feed themselves – and humans use it for much the same. Plus, per this reader’s comment, it means the island no longer imports diesel.

Considering residential solar?  will connect you with local contractors. Tweet me to pick apart quote.

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