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New battery design could bring life to all-electric, commercial airplanes

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Have you seen an all-electric commercial airplane before? Neither have we or anyone. But Luke Workman, a highly regarded battery designer, thinks that he has an idea that will make that become a reality in the not so distant future. He hopes to accomplish this through optimizing existing battery technology and designing the battery layouts in planes so that they become more efficient and effective for long distance travel.



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Solar Impulse developing a solar-powered satellite to provide affordable connectivity to the masses

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Solar Impulse, the same company that flew 26,000 miles (40,000 km) without one drop of fuel, has just recently been on record stating their plans to develop and launch a solar-powered satellite that would provide affordable accessibility for Wi-Fi and GSM connections to the masses by leveraging the solar and battery tech in their plane.



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SolarCity pushing industry to 40% increase in useful lifetime of solar power installations

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In a new report released by SolarCity, we are seeing that solar power systems have a usable lifetime of at least 35 years – 40% longer than the market expects. The key finding of the report is that power degradation (annual efficiency loss) of solar panels supplied to SolarCity is as much as 35% lower than for a comparable industry-wide selection of non-SolarCity panels, which are typically expected to last for 25 years. SolarCity feels it is the implementation of a stringent and industry-leading “Total Quality Program” that has driven this.

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Tesla applies for 6 new trademarks to sell solar energy under the ‘Tesla’ brand

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Last week, Elon Musk announced his plan for Tesla to acquire SolarCity and fold the solar installer’s operations into Tesla’s own business. The offer is still contingent on board approval and shareholder votes at both companies,  but Electrek has now learned that the automaker is going ahead with trademark applications to sell solar products under its ‘Tesla’ brand.

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AMS and Tesla Energy win important 12 MWh Powerpack contract with Cal State University

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Tesla’s energy division has had success in winning contracts for significant energy storage projects at educational institutions in California. Last year, we reported on Tesla installing battery packs at 3 high schools in the San Diego County school districts totalling 32 MWh of capacity. The company also signed a similar deal with the Temecula Valley district and last month, we reported on Tesla installing a 4 MWh project at the College of Marin in Marin County.

Now we learn that Tesla Energy won an important 12 MWh Powerpack contract with Cal State University (CSU).

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The Tesla-SolarCity deal explained through some amazing quotes by Elon Musk

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Since Tesla announced its offer to buy SolarCity, which is still contingent on a vote by the shareholders, Wall Street has turned on the company with analysts issuing notes claiming that there’s little to no value in the deal. Barclays analyst Brian Johnson issued a note saying that he sees “little in the way of synergies and much in the way of cash burn.”

It’s not like Wall Street analysts have the best foresight, Johnson himself is ranked #2,713 out of 3,984 analysts on TipRank with an average return of -0.7%, but they represent the point of view of the financial sector.

As for the point of view from the actual customer offering/product side, a merger between Tesla and SolarCity will certainly open the door for some interesting product integrations and new distribution opportunities.

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Elon Musk will not vote on Tesla’s (TSLA) acquisition of SolarCity (SCTY), shareholders will decide on Musk Industries [Poll]

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Today, Tesla (TSLA) announced that it submitted an offer to acquire SolarCity (SCTY), the leading solar installer in the US. Elon Musk is the largest individual shareholder of both companies. Due to his obvious interest in the deal, which is already being called a bailout by some shareholders, Musk decided to recuse himself from the vote at both companies and leave it to Tesla and SolarCity shareholders to decide on the possible consolidation of ‘Musk Industries’.

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Apple Energy deeper dive: Is this Apple running its own microgrids or more?

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Yesterday, 9to5Mac.com reported that Apple Inc has founded a new, fully owned, subsidiary known as Apple Energy and that this entity had applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC regulates power companies) to be able to sell electricity and other power grid services to anyone that is not a public utility. Does this mean that you can now buy clean electricity made on the roof of the Apple Spaceship? Unless you are a large corporate electricity user within 10-30 miles, probably not. However if we step back and take a broader view, something interesting is happening – the likes of Apple, Google, Ikea and others including even Walmart are showing us a small piece of the future of much smarter electricity grid owned by many instead of the few.



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SolarCity customers produced 10 GWh of solar electricity Tuesday

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Tuesday, SolarCity produced greater than 10GWh of solar electricity via its customer base. This doubles the 5GWh peak in 2015 and more than triples the 3GWh in 2014. SolarCity has over 280,000 customers and greater than 2.16GW installed as of the end of the first quarter – that volume is expected to grow 218MW in the second quarter and to be greater than 3GW before the end of 2016. The summer day peaks around June 20 – meaning we’ll probably see more records broken.

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Energy Management making plays for the SmartHouse, and it might win it all

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Much has been made about the coming SmartHome – it started with the Jetsons and their robots, however the reality has been a bit slow coming. Last week, EnergySage+WiseAir+Schneider launched an offer of $300 cash back if you install solar power and a smart thermostat. Back in February, SolarCity+Nest+Tesla introduced the “Smart Energy Home” that combines solar panels, battery storage, smart electric water heaters and the Nest Learning Thermostat. Vermont utilities are renting PowerWalls. It has become clear the home energy generation & management is on the path into powering the SmartHome.



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Solar Power at Apple’s Union Square at 500% market price – what are they building?

Apple’s newest piece of retail art was revealed to shoppers in Union Square of San Francisco this month. As is Apple’s modus operandi these days they’re making sure to use clean energy to power the building. From the Apple press release, “The store is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, including power produced by photovoltaic panels integrated into the building’s roof.” BuildZoom – sees a 50kW Solar Electric system for an astounding $800,000! What exactly did Apple build?



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More Americans now work in Solar Power than the extraction of Oil &Gas, or Coal

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GREEN ENERGY

Solar Power now has more employees than either the Oil & Gas or Coal Extraction industries in the United States. The solar industry employed approximately 208,000 individuals at the end of 2015 versus 185,000+ in oil and gas, or 190,000 in coal extraction. Solar power employment is expected to grow an additional 15% in 2016 to almost 240,000 individuals. Globally, solar power now directly employs 2.8 million people as the largest renewable energy employer.



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SolarWorld is reportedly a bankruptcy risk due to Hemlock lawsuit

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According to documents reviewed by Handelblatt, “it is likely that U.S. silicon supplier Hemlock will win a case it brought against Solarworld for allegedly not fulfilling a contract and claiming up to $770 million in damages.” SolarWorld recently reiterated their position that the probability of losing this case was ‘low.’ In earlier quarterly statements SolarWorld has also said that a victory by Hemlock is seen as, “possibly even threatening the continued existence of the company.” The verdict is expected on June 9, 2016.

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Donald Trump wants to build a wall – a seawall to protect his golf course from Climate Change

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As far as presidential candidates are concerned, it’s hard to find one with scarier implications for the planet than Donald Trump. As Politico points out, the presumptive Republican Presidential Candidate has called global warming “a total hoax,” “BS” and “pseudoscience.”

But that’s just the candidate trying to win the Republican endorsement for president. As a businessman with properties on the coasts, Trump takes a decidedly different tack…

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The math, and evidence all around you, that shows shared autonomous vehicles powered by solar power and batteries are inevitable

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In the above image in 1900, we see that there is a single car out of many horse drawn carriages in New York City. Within thirteen years it transformed into one of many cars and one horse. Technology disruptions made this happen – and the evidence from the past several decades seems to show that battery pricing, electric car design, autonomous technologies and solar power are all about to hit their thirteen year strides.



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Portugal ran entirely on renewable energy for 4 consecutive days last week

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According to Zero.ong, and brought to our attention by SolarCrunch, Portugal ran on renewable energy alone for 4 straight days last week. This 100% was preceded by more than 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources of energy during the first quarter of 2013, and 63% for all of 2014. Portugal stopped burning coal in 1994.



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Tesla’s second generation Powerwall is coming “in a few weeks”, features more compatibility

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Tesla's newest product "Powerwall" is unveiled on stage in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, April 30, 2015.  Tesla CEO Elon Musk is trying to steer his electric car company's battery technology into homes and businesses as part of an elaborate plan to reshape the power grid with millions of small power plants made of solar panels on roofs and batteries in garages.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced earlier this year that the company was already working on second generation Powerwall, Tesla’s home battery pack. He made the following comment during an exclusive event for Tesla owners in Paris:

“We are coming up with the version 2 of the Powerwall probably around July or August of this year, which will see further step changes in capabilities.”

Now it looks like the company is on or ahead of schedule with the updated device. A Tesla representative has confirmed some of the improvements featured in the new version and that installation will start “in the next few weeks.”

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Solar prices set to fall 33% – Santa Monica says for every home and office, a solar power plant

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It seems that whole cities are now going solar:

The Santa Monica City Council voted in April to approve an ordinance requiring rooftop solar systems for all new construction in the City of Santa Monica—both residential and commercial.

Santa Monica joins other California cities San Francisco, Lancaster and Sebastopol in implementing solar requirements at time of construction. The requirements will add between $3.27-3.54/sq ft in construction costs – 33-37% below current solar market prices. The energy savings will more than offset mortgage pricing increases – lowering ownership costs from day one.



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“Cat Microgrid Technology” – Solar Power Microgrids are coming to your neighborhood

55229-2906493Caterpillar – the company known for building some of the biggest, baddest construction hardware on the planet has launched a new product line: CAT Microgrid Technology powered with Solar Power. Caterpillar’s product line is focused on mining, telecoms and remote communities, but a push by the likes of SolarCityThe State of New York and Community Solar, and you’ll soon see why Microgrids will reshape how your neighborhood gets it electricity.



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Elon Musk is going to make the sun shine at night with a new SolarCity/Tesla Energy project

Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative and SolarCity have announced the development of 13 megawatts (AC) of solar power systems and at least 1.5 megawatts (6.0 megawatt hours) of energy storage systems located in southern Connecticut. (sample rendering) Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/

SolarCity will produce the electricity, Tesla Energy will store it – and the SolarCity Utilities Services will deliver it to you at night. Recently, Tesla said they would install more energy storage with Solarcity in 2016 than the USA installed in 2015. This morning SolarCity put out two press releases – one announcing the focus on Utility and Grid Services and a second regarding a 13MWAC solar power systems and at least 1.5 megawatts/6 megawatt-hour of storage with the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (pictured above). Is all of this a warm up to build a (solar)city on Mars?



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Does a Carbon Tax make sense? Minnesota Judge suggests cost of carbon could be 10x more than previously thought

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A judge in Minnesota suggested that the proper price of the greenhouse gas Carbon Dioxide should be between $11 and $57/ton, ten times larger than current Minnesota estimates. A judge in Washington State recently ruled that the threat of climate change is so urgent that the state must be placed on a court-ordered deadline to hold polluters accountable now. Politicians, Scientists and Economists are all seeming to focus on an Economics style solution to climate change. Are we on the cusp of energetic changes from a legal standpoint?



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