Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
Solar Power Will Kill Coal Faster Than You Think – 34% of global electricity from wind/solar by 2040, and an additional drop in price of 66%. Interesting – article notes solar dropped in price 66% between 2009 and today. In China, new solar will be cheaper than new coal in the early 2020s. In Europe, coal capacity will fall by 87%. Projections are cool – one cool thing to consider: almost everyone that is an ‘expert’ has underestimated the growth of renewables.
Congress to Pruitt: We’re Not Cutting EPA Budget to Trump’s Levels – The real question becomes then, to what levels will the budget be cut? We saw that Trump’s budget requests were ignored by Congress with his first budget, and now we see Congress push back more. However – they said they’d only fight for whats in their district – what will the Republican controlled House and Senate fight for in districts headed by Democrat lawmakers?
Since 1990, US power plant emissions of SO2 and NOx have decreased dramatically, while CO2 emissions are slightly above 1990 levels—they have declined steadily since their 2007 peak – In that same timeframe, total U.S electricity generation increased by 7% while GDP grew 33%. – We have strong evidence, in the USA, that over the past 27 years we can grow economically (and in energy production) while lowering our levels of pollution.
An energy-efficient cleaning robot – “So we’ve rejected the use of traditional cleaning agents and have ended up using unbelievably small micro-droplets of water that are “sprayed“ onto the glass, almost as a vapour. Then the robot uses a micro cleaning pad that effectively removes the contaminant particles. – Our solar panel cleaning technology will get better. We will see capacity factors increase and it’ll happen at respectable prices.
Simulations Pinpoint Atomic-level Defects in Solar Cell Nanostructures – The research team was able to characterize PbSe/CdSe quantum dots and found that atoms that are displaced at the interface and their corresponding electronic states—what they call “trap states”—can jeopardize solar cell performance, Giberti explained. They were then able to use the model to predict a new material that does not have these trap states and should perform better in solar cells. A lot of the article is above my head…but I get it. In the solar power industry there is a process called ‘binning’ – after solar cells and solar panels are made, they are flash tested. A big flash of light is blasted to produced electricity. The electricity output from the light is measured – and this tells us what efficiency the panel really is. For a standard 330W panel – there is a family that ranges from 315-345W. The middle – 330W – has the highest volume. If these scientists can better measure input silicon quality – we’ll be able to increase efficiency consistency. Lower prices.
With Bare Knuckles and Big Dollars, Exxon Fights Climate Probe to a Legal Stalemate – This case will mean billions. No morals, just money.
China makers lower prices for solar-grade monocrystalline wafers – The end of the Chinese busy season is coming, or more volume is coming online, and: Leading China-based makers have lowered prices for solar-grade monocrystalline silicon wafers by US$0.026 to US$0.76 for models with thickness of 180-micron and by US$0.02 to US$0.78 for 190-micron models. One wafer turns into one solar cell – a single solar cell could be 5.5W – meaning, before the silicon is processed into solar cells, it is priced around 13¢/W.
Study: Wind Farms Come Alive During Coldest Winter Days – “During winter in the UK, warmer periods are often windier, while colder periods are more calm, due to the prevailing weather patterns. Consequently we find that in winter as temperatures fall, and electricity demand increases, average wind energy supply reduces, however, contrary to what is often believed, when it comes to the very coldest days, with highest electricity demand, wind energy supply starts to recover.” – There’s a lull in production, just as demand is starting to rise.
Energy Department Closes Office Working on Climate Change Abroad – The 11 staff members of the Office of International Climate and Technology were told this month that their positions were being eliminated, according to current and former agency employees. The office was formed in 2010 to help the United States provide technical advice to other nations seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. – Not much to say there. Glad China, India, France, etc are stepping up.
The USA can install a whole lot of solar power before grid instability becomes an issue.
Image is of a frameless solar panel shown off at a Navy event