Solar Stories April 18

In a press release today SunPower (SPWR) announced it had agreed to buy the American wing of the insolvent German solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld for an undisclosed sum. The move would add around 500MW to SunPower’s production capacity putting it near First Solar as the biggest US maker of Solar Panels. expand full story

Solar Stories February 23

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

SunPower to reduce workforce by 3% in new restructuring round – The company announced it would, ‘reduce its workforce by 3%, due to the Section 201 trade case decision by US President Trump to impose new import tariffs of solar cells and modules imported into the country. The company didn’t say where these specific jobs would be lost though. If jobs are lost in another country – the politicians won’t care. And the politicians might even celebrate that the jobs are being lost at an off-shore ‘low cost’ destination.

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Solar Stories February 22

The Benban Solar Park aims to reach somewhere between 1.6-2.0GW of solar power by the middle of 2019.

The projects will receive no incentives, however, it will be given a 25 year contract to sell its electricity at 7.8¢/kWh to the the state-owned Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) and pegged to the value of the US dollar.

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

China January polysilicon output hits record, says CNMIA – Read this article, multiple interesting data points to build some mental models on. The one that caught my interest the most – China’s polysilicon output of 24,200 tons in January could support production of 5GWp of solar mono-Si wafers and 6.5GWp of poly-Si ones. A monthly output of 11.5GWp of solar wafers means an estimated output 138.0GWp in 2018, exceeding forecast total PV installation capacity of 100GWp to be added around the world in the year. Global installation volume for 2017 was predicted to be 65-80GW. It ended up being 98-100GW (~40% growth). How is it that predictions were off on this one so much? And, with that, what are the odds that the current projections of 100-110GW (5-10% growth) are correct?

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Earlier this month, Tesla announced that it reached a deal with the South Australian government to install solar arrays and Powerwalls on 50,000 homes to create the biggest virtual power plant in the world.

Now a new report shows just how economically viable this project could be for those 50,000 families who many of which live in Housing Trust properties, which is for lower-income households. expand full story

Solar Stories February 21

According to the IEA, the spot price for ‘mono crystalline’ solar panels fell from 72¢/W to 45¢/W over 2017. That 27¢/W drop represents a 37.5% fall.

Mono crystalline solar panels offer at least 10% more efficiency than poly crystalline in the same hardware package/size/weight, and today – in key markets – are only 6% more expensive.

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

Estimating rooftop solar technical potential across the US using a combination of GIS-based methods, lidar data, and statistical modeling – 38% of US electricity could come from rooftops and solar power only. There is no longer a sound argument that intermittent energy sources – wind+solar – can’t power the country. An aside, as a commercial sales guy, I’d love to get a hold of these databases of nationwide rooftop viability scans and turn them into a lead database. Gold mine.

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Solar Stories February 20

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

China Flooded U.S. With Solar Panels Before Trump’s TariffsFourth-quarter deliveries from China were almost 11 times higher than in the first nine months of 2017, according to a report Friday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Manufacturers also hauled panels and cells across the border from Mexico, Canada and other countries to beat the import duties that were announced last month. Key point for folks buying solar – does your contractor have a connection to some of these panels? Were they all bought by bigtime developers for their projects alone? It looks like SunPower made some imports as well – so they’ve probably got decently priced product still. If you’re buying right now – use this knowledge as pricing leverage if a contractor’s price is a bit strong.

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Solar Stories February 19

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

Musk Notches a Small Win Against Buffett in Nevada – At its peak in August of 2015, the Las Vegas solar market had monthly volumes of over 700 ($14 Million assuming an average of $20,000 per system). The peak in August of 2015 was more than 3x the installation volume for all of 2016. Following the passing of AB 405, the market has rebounded to nearly 200 a month – a healthy recovery, which should continue in 2018, but still a fraction of the frothy market in 2015. The author said ‘small’ victory because they’re a solid optimist, forward-looking. ‘Pyrrhic’ victory could also be the case. If you look at their chart, residential solar has been smashed relative to what it was. Of course – the original growth of residential solar was huge and fast in Nevada, so maybe something had to be done. In the end I’d argue that Buffett won, and Buffett will end up selling a lot more electricity than he would have. Though, with Buffett building a lot more solar now – and residential growth coming back – ‘we’ win the long game.

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Solar Stories February 17

The solar panel industry is fighting physics’ stubborn hold on the secrets of photons exciting electrons – and the results of this atomic level focus are showing up for regular people.

A trio of solar efficiency records have been brought forward recently: Hanergy’s thin film unit developed a 25% solar panel, Trina Solar broke 25% with an IBC solar cell, and a lab in Europe has set an amazing record of a 26% solar cell using a standard, simple ‘p-type’ technology.

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