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

New homes will now require solar panels in South Miami, a first in Florida – [UPDATE – Prior EGEB referenced an almost one month old vote]. Under the rules, new residential construction would require 175 square feet of solar panel to be installed per 1,000 square feet of sunlit roof area, or 2.75 kw per 1,000 square feet of living space, whichever is less. If the house is built under existing trees, the shade may exempt it. For a region that is predicted to be flooded by the year 2050, this is a good step. Local politics were able to overcome robo-calls paid for the local electric utility that were communicating lies about solar. South Miami joins cities in California and other places globally requiring solar power at time of construction. This should lower the cost as well. Good job folks.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi, China, U.S., Lead 2Q Surge in Renewables Investments – Solar was the star sector in 2Q, notching up investment of $35.6 billion, up 19% year-on-year and 20% quarter-on-quarter. Wind had a weaker three months, seeing investment slip 29% year-on-year to $26.2 billion, although it was 43% higher than in the first quarter of this year. Volume is going to grow in 2017 over the major growth year of 2016 – and its starting to show.

Can a Flow Battery Steal the Throne From TEP’s 4-Cent Solar-Plus-Storage PPA? – Over the last two years we’ve had a multitude of articles talking about pricing competition from solar panel manufacturers. Are we now going to have it coming from energy storage folks?

A Masdar Institute-MIT Research Project is Developing a Unique Tandem “Step” Solar Cell with Theoretical Solar Efficiencies over 40% at a Relatively Low Manufacturing Cost – The innovative “step-cell” is made by layering gallium arsenide phosphide-based solar cells, a semiconductor material that absorbs and efficiently converts higher energy photons, on a low cost silicon solar cell, creating a tandem solar cell that could ultimately achieve a practical power efficiency of approximately 35%. Lots of solar cell research. Next generation products – coming out in ten years – will have some smart technology and great efficiencies IF and only IF they can get out of the lab and figure out how to be built cheaply.

Non-toxic alternative for next-generation solar cells – In collaboration with colleagues at MIT, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Colorado School of Mines in the US, the Cambridge researchers have shown that bismuth, which sits next to lead in the periodic table, could be a non-toxic alternative to lead for use in next-generation solar cells. Bismuth, known as the “green element,” is widely used in cosmetics, personal care products and medicines. Just another daily perovskite research advance. Lots of push back against lead in solar panels, now people are working on that to clean up the next generation.

From Twitter – in Germany and Sweden, since electricity costs peaked in 2008 through 2015, the greatest driver of price falls – renewable electricity. Don’t let people tell you it increases costs – you buy a house versus renting for a reason. You buy your electricity up front instead of renting because we now have the tools to do so.

Hottest day ever recorded in Spain –

Header image by Jamey Stillings in Japan, via a recent Bloomberg article

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