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

Apple’s New Campus: An Exclusive Look Inside the Mothership – Apple’s new building – header photo – is absolutely stunning. The structure will be 100% renewable powered – 4MW of biogas fuel cells plus 16MW of solar power on top. And images – like the above by Dan Winters – will help power the imagination of architectural engineers integrating renewables into structures.

Rooftop solar saved NSW consumers nearly $1 billion in heatwave – New South Wales, Australia – When temperatures broke 45°C during a three-day period in February of this year, solar power produced 17GWh. This production – while only 2% of total electricity – was produced during peak demand times, and it managed to lower pricing 60% – $from 1920/MWh to $780/MWh – saving consumers $888 million. Approximately $600 million of it was saved in one day. In many places, this money would have been earned by gas peaker plants. Often times, event likes these – where prices can sometimes increases by hundreds of a percent – were where the whole years profits would come from. Game changing.

US Residential Solar Capacity Down 17% Year-Over-Year for Q1 – But its a lot more dynamic than the headlines allow. Much of the downturn is due to residential lease companies who are refining business models as their markets evolve. Lease companies peaked above 70% market share in residential – and they built as fast as they could, margins be damned. Last year, cash purchases – for the first time since 2007-2008’ish – passed by the lease companies for market share. As this has occurred, lease companies have found the need to change – that’s happening now. Expect this lull to continue until lease companies firm their positions and cash purchases fill in the space left by leasing – maybe it’ll take six months, maybe end of year.

Solar developer 8minutenergy enters energy storage market with 1GW of projects lined up – 1GW is such a sexy number. Not too long ago it was a number I’d never read for a solar project, now a day, if it is only a solar power projects I don’t talk about anything less than 1GW. Company has done 300MW of energy storage already and has 700MW of solar in California. Company is putting together a team to focus on delivering this portfolio of projects.

NREL’s signs agreement with Forge Nano to enhance lithium-ion battery safety, durability, and lifetime – Advanced Atomic Layer Deposition Enables Lithium-Ion Battery Technology – hybrid solid-liquid electrolyte system, in which the electrodes are coated with a solid electrolyte layer that minimizes the potential for the formation of an internal short-circuit between electrodes to prevent thermal runaway – I’ve read about two events in the past six months where batteries were popping. Once in a Tesla accident and another times when a train with recyclables caught fire. As battery volume in the world increases, so will accidents. Good to see the technology moving in places outside of the sexier stuff like energy density and $/kWh.

Virginia governor calls for state carbon regulations – The signed executive order says state regulators must come up with a plan to regulate emissions from power plants. Key variable is that the McAuliffe will not implement this plan – whomever is elected in the fall will. The governor very specifically said the plan was put into motion because of Federal negligence. Being in this program would allow Virginia entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – RGGI – a northeastern USA program that has shown significant success.

Hydrogen – my gut says it won’t go away as a fuel/storage medium. And if we’re able to catch hot electrons – which might be similar to what is happening in perovskite solar cells – suddenly the amounts of energy that can be extracted becomes much greater.

Interesting map – those who burn coal, those who are poorer, who need a bit more economic development – they vote how they vote.

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