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EGEB: Solar ‘microtracking’; Iowa solar subdivision; New York and Illinois court win; $9B blown; more

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

Why Court Victories for New York, Illinois Nuclear Subsidies Are a Big Win for Renewables – In times when we have a Department of Energy head hiring an individual that declares renewables are more dangerous than terrorist attacks, two rulings in New York and Illinois supporting subsidies for nuclear power are a win for solar and wind support on a state level. The basic is – the courts have ruled that states have a right to prescribe their own incentives without certain federal interference. The article goes a lot deeper into the legaleeze – give it a read.

It’s Never Been Harder to Be a Climate Scientist – Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has said that after a media appearance, she receives up to 200 emails and letters a day filled with threats and accusations. “One email I got said something like, ‘I hope your child sees your head in a basket after you’ve been guillotined for all the fraud you climate scientists have been committing,’” Hayhoe told InsideClimate in 2015. Personal attacks exist off the internet, too. Climate scientist Ben Santer famously found a dead rat left on his doorstep, a story he told most recently to talk show host Seth Meyers. This article is posted in conjunction with a sad event in Brazil being investigated as a possible murder after an air crash kills environmentalists.

Solar push in Linn County could soon include first solar subdivision – Key point is that subdivision is actually building a community solar project. Now that a certain number of people have signed up they get a group discount. Builder of the housing project is clearing extra land specifically to build the solar project. Looking at the costs/savings in the article – it seems a bit expensive for a community solar project. Personally, if a new housing development is being build – I’d suggest integrating solar into the cost of the construction as it would be quite compelling. Many paths though – good job Linn County.

Study finds that storage prices are falling faster than PV and wind technologies – Energy storage projects may bring the cost per kWh of a lithium-ion battery down from $10,000/kWh in the early 1990’s to $100/kWh in 2019, according to a new study written by a research team from University of California and TU Munich in Germany, and published in Nature Energy. The achievement of the $100/kWh target, however, may be endangered by a recent lack of investment for basic and applied research, the researchers stated. According to the research, in fact, US federal R&D spending declined over the past four decades from about 1.2% to 0.8% of the US GDP. – So, on the one hand, we’ve already done a great amount of work and managed to bring energy storage from amazing heights to the edge of revolution. But of course – we cannot stop working.

High-concentration planar microtracking photovoltaic system exceeding 30% efficiency – The main push back for high concentration solar pv is that it uses a very expensive solar cell technology and large tracking hardware to get to the 30% efficiency – but I don’t think, in the long game, that stays an issue. Today a new term – “microtracking.” The hardware needed for the tracking is much lesser – which means cheaper – than standard dual axis trackers. And its weight means you could put it on a rooftop. Will these be able to be packed densely enough to compete with flat PV? Will prices of hardware/solar pv cells be able to fall enough to compete with standard silicon? Not sure…these more complex technologies might never catch on – but they do have a pathway to move the efficiency needle very far very fast as there are high concentration PV chips out there greater than 40%.

Santee Cooper, SCE&G pull plug on roughly $25 billion nuclear plants in South Carolina – The two reactors, which have cost the utilities roughly $9 billion, remain less than 40 percent built. The utility has 662,000 electricity customers that have paid over $1.4B in rate increases for these never to work reactors. They will pay far more in the future as well. $9B in money spent would mean $13.5k worth of solar power per customer – about 6.4kW worth of solar per household at $3/W – 4.2GW worth.

U.S. solar panel manufacturing is not dead – This is probably coming from the PR departments of groups lobbying the US Government not to impose global taxes at extremely high rates, but it is a nice write-up of domestic solar manufacturing. Some of the groups I didn’t know.

On we know this answer – but here’s a simpler communication of it to show family and friends:

Header image from microtracking solar article. Author provided me a PDF copy to extract image from.

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