Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
The great nutrient collapse – In 2004, a landmark study of fruits and vegetables found that everything from protein to calcium, iron and vitamin C had declined significantly across most garden crops since 1950. In 2014, Myers and a team of other scientists published a large, data-rich study in the journal Nature that looked at key crops grown at several sites in Japan, Australia and the United States that also found rising CO2 led to a drop in protein, iron and zinc. Not only is CO2 increasing weather effects like hurricanes – it’s also lowering the nutritional density of your food. The mission to get clean energy and transportation is only that much more important.
This is just the start of the solar age – seven graphs show why – The second graph (above) is the amount of solar capacity being installed each year. Here it is seen that the construction growth rate is well under way, but will rise four fold to more than 400GW by the early 2020s and steadily increase to 700GW by 2050. 400GW a year by the early 2020s? You know what – after seeing the 100GW article (see below) I am less surprised. I think I need shut off my rational slow growth and realize that we are in the midst of an amazing change on this planet. You ought to as well.
LONGi Solar hits 22.43% PERC cell conversion efficiency – LONGi’s financial reports show that it pumped 7.08% of its operating revenue into R&D in the first half of 2017, and the company’s stated aim is to maintain a leading edge in the research of cell and module technology. Five months after hitting 22.17% efficiency – this new record. In 2017 LONGi has also achieved module efficiency of 19.91%. Two pieces of data and one concept to discuss. First off, its great to see this company upping their solar cell efficiency. They have a big presence at the solar power show. Secondly, if their 2017 module efficiency was around 19.91% – and was using that 22.17% efficiency cell, then maybe their new module efficiency with this 22.43% efficiency cell will break 20%. That’d be a nice barrier to cross. And lastly – 7% of their revenue is going toward R&D. That’s awesome. What else is interesting – these panels might not break the budget – see the following article.
With high-performance cells, China takes aim at high-end solar market – Energy Trend, a consultancy, says the average price of a Chinese high-efficiency, multi-crystalline cell is now $0.225 per watt, compared to just $0.319 for high-efficiency, mono-crystalline cells. the record laboratory efficiency for mono-crystalline was 26.7 percent per cell, versus 21.9 percent for multi-crystalline. Companies like LONGi above – and every single major manufacturer showing off bifacial solar panels at Solar Power International – are taking advantage of the mono revolution. And, thanks to the global scaling of the product, consumers aren’t going to have to pay through the nose for the product. So – you home solar panel buyer – you ought to be pushing your contractor on panel type. You might not need mono panels – your roof could be large enough that a lower efficiency, cheaper, solar panel works. However – if you are space constrained – a 19% solar panel will give you 18% more electricity from the same space as a 16% solar panel.
Strong Chinese Market to Push Annual Global Photovoltaic Demand Above 100 Gigawatts for 2017 – Wow! I mean, China is really punching hard. It was only in 2014 that global demand just broke 50GW. Now, China might come close to 50% the world’s volume.
Can used batteries be the key to unlock EV charging profits? – The RMI analysis revealed demand charges can be responsible for over 90% of a charging station’s electricity costs — the equivalent of EVgo, the nation’s largest fast-charging system, paying about $20 for a gallon of gas it sells it to the end customer. Demand charges are based upon your peak usage, not your total usage. If you draw a huge amount of electricity for 15 minutes, and then shut down for 12 hours – that peak charge is going to kick your financial models to the dirt. However, if you take old batteries and let a car charge from them – then slowly refill those batteries you’ll have a significantly lower peak demand. This is probably what Tesla meant a long time ago when they said they’d go ‘off grid’ at their charging stations. As an aside, after I tweeted this article yesterday – the below tweet came back. This technique is an old one – just new to the car charging industry. Expect it to become a reality.
A detail I missed in yesterday’s announcement from the SunShot group – they’re looking to cut the price of utility scale solar, without incentives, to 3¢/kWh
Header image from the ‘Hit me with your SunShot‘ photography contest. The last rays of sunlight are reflecting off heliostats at the Crescent Dunes concentrating solar power plant in Tonopah, Nevada. Several of them are still in their vertical operating position, reflecting the last of the day’s sunlight onto a receiver to generate electricity, while others are pointing upwards in their stow position. This aerial photo was taken with a drone. Photo by Ivan Boden.
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