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

SolarWorld insolvent – On the one hand – its sad to see one of the oldest, most respected and groundbreaking companies in the industry in this state. Being younger in the industry, ten years, I grew up in a time when there were always many solar panel manufacturers – and I also got to see SolarWorld force the politicians to tax solar panels from China in both the USA and Europe. In the end – it’s true that the Chinese model of underwriting the solar industry as it loses money in the early stages of development has hurt long-term manufacturers. It’s true that SolarWorld’s shareholders and employees have bore the brunt of this Chinese investment. However, I’m hard pressed to say I wish it’d have come about differently. Easy to say when I’m not a shareholder or employee…

Elon Musk: “This is a connector that has to last for more than 30 years. It has to be weatherproof, heavy rain, snow, slush, salt, water leaking – it’s like connector hell” – technology in the connectors – I’m still wondering exactly what is going on underneath those tiles. Are the tiles going to lay on top of the sheathing – the plywood that makes the first layer – of the roof? Will we lay down roofing felt (the paper like under layer)? I’m guessing the paper might be valuable – not sure – and we still use a standard nail gun to hold the tiles in place after they’re assembled and connected. Connector is probably built hard into the tile so the connect can last decades on top of a roof. This excites me folks.

Solar panels 3,167, Hail 1 – 2.75″ hail, waaay above warranty numbers in terms of size. Car windows, roofs, and plenty of other structures took damage. But the solar panels stood up. This isn’t a special story – its one that happens all the time and it never makes headlines. Because doing something you’re supposed to do isn’t special. Its your job. And solar panels do their job.

How to Build a Safer, More Energy-Dense Lithium-ion Battery – Chipmaking techniques contribute to a three-dimensional battery design that outperforms today’s best cells – The 3D cell architecture orients and interlaces a cathode, 100 percent silicon anode, and ceramic separator in a thin (1 millimeter) flat plane, which significantly improves energy density and safety – Microchip manufacturers have some of the smartest, most experienced people in the world making the smallest, most precise things humanity has ever used. The battery learning curve will take from Intel it seems. We saw Tesla saying they met project development goals a year into a five-year contract. We saw utility-scale solar pricing fall to prices not expected for years in advance. Expect it here.

SunPower to continue loss making ways in 2017 – Keeping on the train of old, well-known names in the solar power industry not holding up well. SunPower makes the highest quality solar panels on the planet…or they used to. LG making 18-20% efficiency panels at costs 20-40% lesser than SunPower is hardcore pressure. PERC, bifacial and monocrystalline expanding also puts pressure on SunPower’s ultra-premium product.

Amtech’s new solar equipment orders top US$46 million – And this is the company selling the machines all around the world that is hammering SunPower. The company is doing well selling – ‘bi-facial N-type technology which includes our distinguishable high throughput PECVD and diffusion systems.’ I’ve seen their stock price pop over the last few months – so it’s not just me on this column seeing their name over and over.

Solar+Storage is going to become an important part of the broader model – and I’m interested in seeing how proportions of solar to storage end up occurring. The charge below shows almost $50B in ten years – that’s gonna take a lot of projects like this 24MWh storage + 17MW solar farm in India.

Header image of NRG employee checking single axis solar install for CISCO

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