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

Solar doesn’t need a “breakthrough”. It’s a breakthrough on it’s own. – The basic topic is what is needed to get solar to the 30-40-50% of global electricity? A book was recently written (Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet), and a nice article on Bloomberg posted about it (Solar’s Bright Future Is Further Away Than It Seems)…and its causing an uproar (mostly good discussion on twitter actually – author’s twitter feed full of discussion on the topic)! This article – solar doesn’t need a breakthrough – is actually just a collection of tweets that I happened to be lucky to read as it was coming along. I lean toward this article’s perspective, though what I’ve seen said of the book so far has nuggets of solid advice for us to follow. Uproar!

Second major capex cycle underway as PV industry enters new phase of 100GW-plus annual deployment – The downturn lasted about two years, and by 2015, green shoots were emerging everywhere with the first signs of technology (not capacity volumes) being the new impetus for the rebound cycle of manufacturing capex. I love history, especially solar history. There are a few great charts to check out regarding volumes – peaking around $13B in 2011, 2017 sees us closer to $7.5B and maybe still headed upward. Interesting to see this article concurrently with this article – German PV equipment providers report decline in orders for 2017 – a fast start out of gate, slower as the year went on, but books still filled. Most like seeing that the 2015 capex push is about technology, not simply capacity.

LONGi plans new 5GW module assembly plant in China – 5GW. That’s such a big number. That’s 5% of global capacity in one building (next year it’ll be less as we keep growing of course). I like this company because they make solar panels as a way to make money off of their solar cells, which they make as a way to make money off of their silicon production. Make the fundamental, first and best, then slowly follow it as it moves toward the market. Wise.

Advanced multi-junction solar cells deliver high efficiency, reduced costs for space – The U.S. government and industry was launched and ultimately led to the development and refinement of a new cell architecture that takes advantage of an upside-down growth process to manufacture multi-junction cells. The process results in what are called Inverted Metamorphic Multi-Junction (IMM) solar cells, which are more efficient and a lighter weight than multi-junction cells currently in use. A single IMM cell can convert more than 32 percent of captured sunlight into energy. Space ships man. Reading the article it seems the researchers cared more about lowering the weight of the solar panels (which I know is ALWAYS a driver when flying to space) versus increasing the efficiency levels. That suggests to me that our current levels of efficiency meet the functional needs of the space program. When do I get my multijunction solar panels?


There’s a story coming in some of these record US bids here. Solar+storage at 3.6¢/kWh? Wind at 1.8¢/kWh? Wow!

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