Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
Elon Musk’s SA battery record will be short-lived as rivals go even bigger – South Korea’s Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems is building a 150-megawatt lithium-ion unit, 50 per cent larger than Musk’s, that the company says will go live in about three months in Ulsan near the southeast coast. And then this plant will be passed by a larger one. And then it will happen again. I remember sometime in 2016 when I used to only retweet solar projects that were 100MW or larger – and I was amazed at the project sizes. Now, 1GW gets my attention. Soon – that’ll be with batteries too. When will we see the first 1GW announcement? 2018 maybe, 2019 definitely.
Tucson Tech: Locally made device for cleaning solar panels saves money, water – An operator in the United Arab Emirates that cleaned its panels monthly for three years with SunSweep cleaners saw an efficiency boost of about 30 percent. A 2013 study by the University of California-San Diego that showed panels that went uncleaned for 145 days lost 7.4 percent of their efficiency, while a University of Arizona study of panels in the Tucson area the same year showed an efficiency improvement of only about 1 percent after cleaning. Prices starting at about $3,500 for a smaller size. Note how the results from the studies above were quite variable. I’ve worked a few projects where it was the business owner themselves that created the dusty conditions – autobody shop that had a partially dirt parking lot. In places where it rains and snows, you get multiple cleanings annually. It makes sense to at least compare your system production in day one to your current production, just to get a feel for your losses. Header image is of this unit.
GCL-Poly sells stake to back new polysilicon plant – Jiangsu Zhongneng, a wholly owned subsidiary of GCL-Poly Energy, has agreed to transfer a 20% equity interest in Xinjiang GCL New Energy Materials Technology to Shenzhen-listed Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor for CNY300mn, according to a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The group revealed plans to build the facility, which will have an annual production capacity of 40,000 to 60,000 tonnes upon completion, earlier this year. Couple of items – 1. Really interesting to see structuring of partnering on these factories. In the article it goes into a few other details on cash/equity transfers in the broader deal. 2. 40-60k tonnes of polysilicon production being added to global capacity. That’s 8-12GW of solar panels added to a global capacity somewhere in the 120-150GW range.
Japan’s first solar auction pushes prices down by nearly a quarter – The lowest accepted price for solar projects was 17,200 yen ($153.20) per megawatt hour (mwh), according to documents from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which handled the auction. That was down from 24,000 yen per mwh in the year through March 2017 for projects approved under METI’s feed-in-tariff programme set up in 2012 to encourage a switch to renewables after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. As the pricing falls reach all of the globe, we’re going to see a next phase of solar that is a lot like the 1TWh tweet at the bottom of this article. Instead of the global solar movement being dependent upon champion countries – Germany, USA, China, India – its soon going to be powered by many many countries who all break 1GW (we’re at twelve 1GW countries already). The pricing is low enough, the expertise, development pipeline, expertise, etc now need reach global scale.
Germany generating greater than 50% of its electrons from a zero carbon source. That’s pretty awesome. The United States has broken over 40% by a healthy number. Big countries, who make things and use lots of energy, doing good work.
12 US states break 1TWh of solar electricity – that’s a pretty cool number to cross. Not to mention – look at the annual growth of 2016-2017. There was annual growth in the 100% range – now you see from where.