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EGEB: First Solar makes first S6 solar module, $1B/year of gas floats away, plenty of lithium, more

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

First Solar produces first S6 module, seals 800 MW of deals – The 1.2 x 2 meter modules are expected to become commercially available at 420-445 watts with efficiencies of over 17%. First Solar expects to have around 3 GW of annual capacity in 2018, 5 GW in 2019 and 5.7 GW in 2020. I’m excited to see that First Solar is at 17% with a thin film product. Also nice to see First Solar with plans to double capacity.

A map of $1.1 billion in natural gas pipeline leaks – Between January 2010 and November 2017, the nation’s natural gas transportation network leaked a total of 17.55 billion cubic feet of mostly methane gas. That’s enough to heat 233,000 homes for an entire year, and it’s got the same global warming potential as the carbon dioxide emitted from a large coal-fired power plant over the course of a year. Pipeline incidents took nearly 100 lives, injured close to 500 people and forced the evacuation of thousands during that time, while costing about $1.1 billion. On the one hand, the amount is one coal plant’s worth. We’re at about 250 coal plants to go in the USA. It does amaze me though that we’d be able to let such a high percentage of product literally float into the air, and still make such huge amounts of profit.

The most accurate climate change models predict the most alarming consequences, study finds – Under a high warming scenario in which large emissions continue throughout the century, the models as a whole give a mean warming of 4.3 degrees Celsius (or 7.74 degrees Fahrenheit), plus or minus 0.7 degrees Celsius, for the period between 2081 and 2100, the study noted. But the best models, according to this test, gave an answer of 4.8 degrees Celsius (8.64 degrees Fahrenheit), plus or minus 0.4 degrees Celsius. Half a degree Celsius on a global scale is a huge amount of energy to be slushing around in a system. Let’s hope we start pushing the curve down.

Japan research team develops new semi-transparent solar cell – The innovation here is that they figured out how to increase the amount of light that hits the photon absorbing molecules by injecting a tiny amount of silver. When doing this, they were able to create a thin enough layer (see image above) that the window was quite usable. 10% efficiency in windows would probably be a great efficiency value.

Mono-Si Prices Have Kept Dropping and the Competition with Multi-Si Has Become Severe – It’s great to see the costs of mono and poly get closer, because that means buyers with smaller roofs can get more efficiency at a lower price. I bet all of you readers are given a monosilicon solar panel in your quotes these days.

I read this discussion this morning, and the string that led up to this was that the price of energy storage, in a survey of large buyers, had hit $209/kWh. Down 24% in a year. Then it veered toward how the world would deliver such volume if prices in the middle 2020s hit $100/kWh. Here’s one recent example of how human innovation seems to work as the world latches onto a new idea.

Featured image is from the Department of Energy SunShot programCommunity church in Upstate NY. Photo by Greg Johnstone.

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