EGEB: Americas biggest polluter, US 1st quarter solar power + energy storage reports, more

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

America’s biggest greenhouse-gas polluter, and the place that relies on it – Southern Company spent more than all but a dozen other U.S. companies on federal lobbying during the 2016 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — nearly $14 million. – Another number from the article: Southern has spent nearly $12 billion on pollution controls at its plants since 1990.

US 1st Quarter Solar Power Report – A few facts from this report I thought were interesting. 1. 2GW of volume in the quarter. 1st quarter is always the slowest of the year – so we’ll see what the whole year does. 2. Total solar volume installed in the US will be down 10% to about 12.6GW, from just above 14GW. Most of the fall will be in the utility-scale area. 3. Fixed tilt, utility-scale solar power below $1/W. That’s cool. 4. Residential solar and commercial will grow annually – though residential will be slower than times past, however, it is also transitioning to more cash than lease.

Massachusetts announces regulations for solar incentive program – Massachusetts is launching a new solar program to replace its retiring SREC II program. The new program looks to deliver 1.6GW of solar power over the next 3-4 years. One piece of the program I like is that will allow buildings to sell electricity to the utilities at a fixed rate without having to worry about the electricity usage within the structure. This will allow building owners who don’t occupy the location to make money off of their roof. Often time lease holders don’t want to upgrade a structure. Public comment period opening.

Nuclear, wind and solar power in UK generate more electricity than gas and coal combined for first time ever – Eventually these record volume articles will start to get old…not yet though.

India’s tumbling solar prices ‘a race to extinction – At some point, stabilization of pricing will need to occur. Certain aspects of the industry ought keep falling in price – $/W can keep falling if efficiencies inside of solar panels keep increasing. With India and US solar manufacturers ‘suing’ for protection from the Chinese machine…maybe those price slow down will occur sooner than later.

US 1st Quarter Energy Storage Report – Energy storage showed huge growth as utility-scale projects started to hit the ground in California. These huge growth percentages – 591% over prior quarters – are true statistical games as the numbers we’re growing from are relatively insignificant compared to actual energy usage. Nonetheless, we’re now seeing pricing and demand come online very fast – these goofy growth numbers might continue to happen. We did see a record Arizona solar+storage contract, legislation for energy storage in Maryland, California and Nevada – and of course Tesla’s Gigafactory is starting to scale.

This year will see us get to almost 390GW – 28% global growth. Last year was 32%.

Header image – Alabama Power’s James H. Miller Jr. Electric Generating Plant, located about 16 miles northwest of Birmingham, was the top greenhouse gas-producing U.S. facility in 2015, federal data show. Eric Chaney/

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