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

Pennsylvania State Grants: $5,000 for Every New Solar Job – The program will now allow for grants of up to $5,000 or loans of up to $40,000 for each solar-manufacturing job created over three years for companies that make solar panels and equipment. Will there become a competition between various states to build these future robotic solar panel factories? I’d bet Pennsylvania has been watching the Tesla Energy Gigafactory being built just north of them in Buffalo and might have a touch of envy. Should every state – and every country – have its own solar panel factories?

First solar homes go on sale in £125 million Leeds eco village – Each of the solar installations will connect to a private wire network shared by the development. Houses will be able to tap into the network when electricity is required and each parking space within the district will also feature an electric vehicle charging point which can also make use of the solar power. Each of the 44 riverside houses which will receive solar installations are expected to generate around 1,333kWh of power annually. The installations on the individual houses are small – 1kW’ish, but they’re complemented by a central installation that might be in the 80kW size. The terminology that there will be a ‘private wire network’ makes me think microgrid. I wonder who ‘owns’ the larger solar installation. Every parking spot has an electric car charging spot. No mention of energy storage.

Masdar and Indonesian power giant to build world’s largest floating solar plantThe newly-announced plant will cover an area of 225 hectares on top of the Cirata Reservoir in the West Java province of Indonesia. The 6,000-hectare Cirata Reservoir powers a 1GW hydroelectric power station. 200MW of floating solar power is going to be the world’s largest for a bit. The current largest is 100MW. These plants are no longer small in size and we can no longer ignore their place. Love that we have solar plus hydro on the same site. A giant water battery plus daytime electricity production – seems like the perfect match.

Growth in economic activity, electricity use decoupling in many countries, EIA says – The fact that we’ve been able to decouple in electricity usage (different from CO2 decoupling) really speaks to how much electricity we probably wasted in the past. Yes, western countries have moved toward a service industry versus manufacturing – so that I’m sure has something to do with the numbers – however, the populations are still growing. In the US we’ve seen flat electricity sales for a few years. This uncoupling will only last for as long as we have inefficiency to iron out of the system – but then, since we will be inherently more efficient at some point in the future, it will re-couple however at a lower rate of electricity use per output.

BHP identifies 500MW solar, storage and wind opportunity at old US mines – Melbourne-headquartered mining giant BHP, in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), has projected 500MW of potential capacity combining solar, wind and energy storage at its old North American mining sites. One company in the USA sees its old coal plants being about to support decent volumes of renewable energy. A quick Google says 100,000 acres of land affected by coal mining – that’d be 25GW of solar in perfect situations. Somewhere near 1% of US electricity. That’d not be a trivial amount – and quite appropriate.

German court: Ancient forest can be cleared for coal mine – Speaking of coal mines, the Germans are still fighting the fight.

Africa and India need electricity. India is pushing hard to electrify *everyone* by the end of 2018 with solar+storage. Africa is a much more complex equation of course, but solar is helping.

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