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

Renewable energy is becoming so cheap the US will meet Paris commitments even if Trump withdraws – “By our forecasts, in most cases favorable renewables economics rather than government policy will be the primary driver of changes to utilities’ carbon emissions levels,” they wrote. “For example, notwithstanding president Trump’s stated intention to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, we expect the US to exceed the Paris commitment of a 26-28% reduction in its 2005-level carbon emissions by 2020.” However, unfavorable political actions like a rigged energy study by the Department of Energy headed by a Power Utilities hack could limit growth. This headline doesn’t mean we stop the political fight – it means the economic argument coming from the naysayers will be bunk.

JinkoSolar collaborates with TUV Rheinland on bifacial module testing standards – I like the potential of bifacial solar cells. With the price of solar cells and solar panels going so low, it’s now economically viable to include a second layer of lower performing solar cells – bifacial. While this is a bit brute force of a way to increase efficiency – it works. However, how do you measure the reflectivity of the area around a solar panel? When I first got into solar and we were installing Solyndra – we’d install white rubber roofs underneath the round solar tubes. Maybe that becomes a trend again?

Shell Plans to Spend $1 Billion a Year on Clean Energy by 2020 – Diversification and risk management within the oil majors. Historically, Shell has been a leader in renewables as an oil company – they used to make their own solar panels (but stopped as they couldn’t make money on them). And their CEO – Ben van Beurden – is known for grandiose statements such as, “in years to come solar will be the dominant backbone of our energy system, certainly of the electricity system.” Shell is putting their money where their mouth is – because they think green energy might take food from their mouth. Smart, pragmatic.

Clean energy spending in 2016 hits 43% share of total supply investment, finds IEA – The headline statistic from the report shows that there was a 12% fall in global energy investment in 2016, but equally significant is the fact that clean energy spending claimed a 43% share of all expenditure – a record high. And this if of course, during a time when costs of clean energy deployments are dropping at great rates. Rock on.

Utilities among advocates for electric school buses under Volkswagen settlement – “As utilities, we want to be involved from the start,” concurred IP&L electric vehicle program manager Cole Willis, “We generally support electrification of transportation and it’s something our customers are asking for.” I’ve hoped for a while that electric utilities would begin to use their might to manipulate the politicians toward electric vehicles. It’s in their best interest – and ours – and our freaking young children’s lungs – “There is no question that electric school buses are good for kids’ health — they are cleaner than the cleanest diesel bus,” said Janet McCabe, former acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Korea Rural Community Corp. to develop 280MW floating PV portfolio – Three projects in total. This compliment projects built-in China, Spain, Brazil, India, Japan, Australia and maybe coming to Southern California. An interesting comment from this article – ‘It is estimated that in covering only 10% of the 50 largest dams in the world, C&T can produce 400 GW of solar electricity.’ This would be the perfect place – I think – for bifacial solar panels. Water is generally reflective, especially early and late in the day when the sun is lower and production is down. Bifacial would love some of that reflectivity.

Speaking of floating solar power – Solkiss to build world’s largest rotating solar plant in South Korea – The developer says that this technology helps to deliver 22% extra solar energy yield compared to a fixed installation on land, and a 16% increase in yield compared to typical floating solar arrays. I’d like to know how the costs work out. Seems like you could have a single engine turning an entire solar plant to follow the sun – versus many smaller motors turning single axis trackers. That’s a positive in terms of Operations & Maintenance. Anything that increases electricity yield 16-22% – I’m all about. Why don’t we throw some PERC Bifacial Mono cells out there? 🙂

Two tidal power turbines up and running at MeyGen – Two forms of clean energy that seems like they can run 24/7 – geothermal and tidal. Though I’m not so sure the dynamics of tidal power – does it only work well during heavy tide movements in or out, and the periods when the movement slows and beings to reverse – do they slow? That would make sense. Or are these units deployed in currents that are constantly moving? Lots of energy in the oceans – far more than we’ll ever use.

PNM to exit all coal-fired generation in 2031, build more solar and gas – New Mexico’s largest electric utility. Much of the coal will be replaced with gas, but a lot of it will be replaced with renewables also. Good to see.

The below image represents this article. Perovskite based solar cells stable for a year because we’re bonding the molecules in new ways to keep them structurally sound while they get pummeled with photons. A proper scientist would have to explain exactly whats going on to me – but I get the end result: cheaper solar panels with greater upper level efficiencies that are last longer with every published research paper.

Header image from a floating solar power plant in India. I like that you can see the structures being used. I wonder if the cost of assembly is cheaper with large interlocking plastic parts versus the maybe pieces of metal I use to put things together.

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