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26% of US households use electricity as their only energy source – but there’s a caveat

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In 2020, 26% of US households – that’s 32.25 million out of 123.53 million homes – used electricity as their only source of energy, according to the US Energy Information Administration. But what the EIA doesn’t note is what fuels that “electricity as the only source of energy.”

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Review: Jackery 300 portable power station is the ideal affordable off-grid battery

I’ve enjoyed testing Jackery’s portable power stations for use in all sorts of off-grid power applications. Having spent some time with the Jackery Explorer 300, I can already tell you that this pint-sized battery offers all the utility of Jackery’s larger units, but in a more affordable and compact device.

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Electrek morning green energy brief: America believes in cleaning up after itself, 2017 solar installs projections, and more

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[Editor’s note: We’re trying a new morning green energy briefing which should deliver every day at 9am ET. Please comment below]

Americans strongly believe in their responsibilities toward climate change and pollution – Two-thirds of registered voters (66%) say the U.S. should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do. Nearly eight out of ten registered voters (78%) support taxing global warming pollution, regulating it, or using both approaches, while only one in ten opposes these approaches. Two in three registered voters (66%) support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to reduce other taxes (such as income tax) by an equal amount. If Congress passes a fossil fuel tax, the most popular uses of the revenue are developing clean energy (solar, wind), improving America’s infrastructure, assisting workers in the coal industry who may lose their jobs as a result of the tax, and paying down the national debt.



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Solar power is #1: Solar is 31% of new generation, 48% of new capacity for 2016 in the US

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Solar power took the lead in new capacity additions for 2016 expected to be greater than 9.5GW of utility scale plus 4.5GW of distributed installations. The numbers could possibly be even higher with 2016 utility scale solar being so aggressive and 4th quarters being mecurial. When accounting for capacity factor (amount of time the hardware is actually pushing electrons onto the grid), solar power is 31% of new electricity, natural gas 41% and wind 20%. Solar almost doubled from 7.3GW in 2015, finishing third for overall US utility capacity additions.

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How the electricity utilities “use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu” to steal the sun

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US electrical utilities are feeling pressure from distributed solar power and are proving that they will go to all ends to protect their monopoly positions. In Florida, the utilities are spending tens of millions of dollars to manipulate the electorate into voting for an amendment that limits solar power’s growth. In the last five years alone, the largest 25 utilities have spent more than $400 million on lobbying federal and state elections. This effort to control the political machine is worth trillions annually.

And now that we know 92% of people breathe unsafe air and more than 6 million a year die of it – that these utilities are slowing the transition to cleaner forms of energy means they are knowingly killing people.



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Solar power cost down 25% in five months – “There’s no reason why the cost of solar will ever increase again”

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On Aug. 11 a bid of US$0.46/W was put forward to build 500MW of solar power in China (a roughly calculated levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) at $0.019/kWh). In the past week we saw a bid of $0.023/kWh to build 1.2GW of solar power in Abu Dhabi. This price of $0.023/kWh is nearly 25% lower than the $0.0299/kWh bid for a series of Abu Dhabi projects in late April. These extremely aggressive price falls are partially driven by unique situations – a Chinese solar panel production glut and historically low costs of money. But as Frank Wouters, the former director of Masdar Clean Energy puts it, “We’re still learning how to further reduce the cost of solar cells and other components, as well as operation and maintenance costs. There’s no reason why the cost of solar will ever increase again.”



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Electric vehicles indeed produce less emissions than gasoline cars even when accounting for electricity generation [Full Study]

LEAF Model SThe Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) updated its study on the average greenhouse gas emissions of electric vehicles versus gasoline-powered vehicles based on electricity sources and reiterated that on average, EVs indeed create less emissions than gasoline-powered cars.

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Solar City’s CEO Lyndon Rive perfectly explains Tesla’s Powerwall battery

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There has been a lot of uninformed banker-speak in the media about Tesla’s battery including by Bloomberg here. The problem is these folks don’t understand the new market that Tesla is opening up.

But I’m also turning to Bloomberg for the first smart analysis and that’s not surprisingly from Solar City’s Lyndon Rive (who happens to be Elon Musk’s Cousin – perhaps you noticed the accent?).

The complaints have been that the battery wall doesn’t make economic sense – that for the average household to go off the grid with these combined with solar (or wind), it would be incredibly expensive.

That’s correct…

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SolarCity will offer home owners in Hawaii the option to go completely off-grid using Tesla’s new battery packs

Following Tesla’s introduction of a new selection of battery packs for residential, commercial and industrial use, SolarCity announced the integration of these batteries to their solar system offering. This new offering will include the option to go completely off-grid for select customers starting by home owners in Hawaii.

Combining photovoltaic panels with Tesla’s battery packs will allow home owners to power their house on sunlight day and night.



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