Solar Stories February 25

TSLA: 257.00

1.01
Stock Chart

NASA takes a cool picture – Link is to NASA’s website, with an easy before and after comparison system. 850MW of solar PV, some mountains, and a river from space. Pretty cool.

Co-location of solar & pollinator friendly plantsNREL did a great presentation, and now it is becoming a thing in real projects. This technique is new to me – but it reminds me greatly of other co-location techniques like solar+fish, +parking lots, +vegetables, +pathways, +roadways and more. Each of these co-location partners are worth money and increase the return on investment of solar projects. I’d like to see low-light vegetable farms built on top of parking lots outside of supermarkets or apartment complexes.

GA politicians wants to remove power from Public Utility Commission – When electricity companies were given publicly approved monopolies, the Public Utility Commission was created to balanced out the natural greed of self interest. The electric utilities, still, have many times violated the public’s trust. Now, a politician in Georgia thinks the Commission ought not have influence on how much renewable energy a power company should purchase. Of course, they use the excuse of freedom and market capitalism – but I bet they’re not considering a carbon tax to balance out ignored externalities. Watch the news as renewables now grow at 200GW clips in the coming years – you thought the politicians were getting strung about before?

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Solar Stories February 24

TSLA: 257.00

1.01
Stock Chart

Exxon, again yesterday via its blog, pushing for carbon tax and *government intervention* – Exxon wants a carbon tax because internal combustion vehicles will slowly disappear while natural gas, which Exxon is heavily invested in, replaces coal. A carbon tax on coal is about double natural gas – and Exxon is losing serious money on expensive oil investments. Plus an interesting phrase from a company that constantly attacks government: At ExxonMobil, we’re encouraged that the pledges made at last year’s Paris Accord create an effective framework for all countries to address rising emissions; in fact, our company forecasts carbon reductions consistent with the results of the Paris accord commitments. Governments can help advance the search for energy technologies by funding basic research and by enacting forward-looking policies. If you’re Exxon, you can doubly win – support a carbon tax that hurts your competition, while also making it look like you’tr supportinf international climate change agreements (many say a $40/ton carbon tax will mean we meet both Paris and Clean Power Plan goals). My prior thoughts on this topic.

World’s largest wealth fund urged to consider infrastructure investments – If $900B worth of investment money were pushed to invest 5% in renewable infrastructure, then we’d get the equivalent of 50GW of solar power from Norway alone. Money like this would flow from many soverign wealth funds globally, and it will join private capital from groups like BlackRock. These renewable investments are being considered for two reasons – they’ve shown long term stability, and they align with the fund’s general do no harm matra. Good, clean money being made.

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Solar Stories February 23

TSLA: 255.99

-17.52
Stock Chart

How the electric utilities can survive by become a public darling – It is time for the electric utility to fight for its life, and it must fight the automobile industry that is trying to hold onto internal combustion engines. Electricity usage is falling in the USA and moving away from centralized management – so how does a utility grow? They begin to fuel electric vehicles – and in order to win that game, they’re going to have to fight for electric vehicles by lobbying politicians. If the utilities do fight for electric vehicles, and this is where you need see the graphs shown in this article, then they have a chance at truly helping climate change. Right now, in the USA, if we cleaned up 100% of our electricity infrastructure – we’d still be serious polluters because transportation is a bigger polluter than electricity – but if we took out transportation and electricity…

Attorney General getting sued by Exxon over climate change – First off, #ExxonKnew knew climate change was human caused in the middle 1970s. Their own scientists told them. The key is, they then told the world’s public that there was doubt – that climate change wasn’t real. Tobacco Companies had for decades engaged in “a pattern of racketeering activity” geared to “deceive the American public about the health effects and addictiveness of smoking cigarettes.” Now, change out references to tobacco and health, for oil and climate. Now – Exxon is attacking in order to limit the effectiveness of Massachusetts Attorney General Healey. Just letting you know – I’ve put $$$ toward her re-election campaign.

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9to5toys 

Solar Stories February 22

TSLA: 273.51

-3.88
Stock Chart

Tesla has made its first quarterly announcement since it purchased SolarCity in late 2016. Understandably, it seems SolarCity’s own Gigafactory has been renamed Gigafactory 2. The SolarCity integration being an ongoing process warranted notice in the header lines of the document  – with this first page quote reiterating the logic in purchasing SolarCity:

With the acquisition of SolarCity, we have created the world’s only integrated sustainable energy company, from generation to storage to transportation.

Multiple references were made to bettering the cash positions of the company by focusing solar power sales on cash deals that generate immediate revenue versus lease sales. It was stressed that Tesla’s plan to do this was strongly underway – cash sales increased from Q3’16 to Q4’16 from 13% to 28%, while from increasing 7X from the 4% in Q4’15. Of the 203MW installed in the quarter – 56MW were cash sales totaling $77 million. Those $77M were added in only six weeks – $500-667M in cash sales for 2017 (low end adjusted as there is always a bump in 3rd/4th quarter)?

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California going for 100% renewable electricity by 2045 – A California politician has submitted a bill requiring the state to go 100% renewable electricity by 2045. California is the largest US state by population and GDP, and if it were on its own it is often said it’d be among the top ten economies in the world. With a Massachusetts politician also pushing for 100% electricity by 2035 and renewable energy by 2045, we might have two states totaling 47 million people (plus Hawaii sometime in the 2030s) investing in research, technology, and installation of whole new power systems for decades to come.

Mexico solar bid at 2.69¢/kWh – I remember back in 2011-2013 when I worked for Beghelli, and was training the Mexico sales teams on solar power. The country has great sunlight resources, especially in the northwestern desert that is located just south of New Mexico, Arizona and California – some of the best photons in the world. Residential electricity is expensive – with a progressive pricing form that has four to five tiers that get increasingly more expensive with more total usage. Located all over the country were black cisterns on the roofs of homes to heat water. Less than three cents a watt – with no incentives, just south of the US border. That means those prices are coming here soon.

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Solar Stories February 21

TSLA: 277.39

5.16
Stock Chart

Australian residential energy storage systems increased from 500 to 6,750 – Key data point: payback in 7 years. Major factor – electricity in Australia is expensive. Retorts – solar + energy storage is going down in price, while prices of energy seemingly forever increase. Long term prognosis – Australia, a country with one of the highest levels of residential solar installation volume in the world, will grow their energy storage market significantly as prices of energy storage fall further. We’ve already crossed the economic point – 7-10 year ROI – where residential customer exhibit strong buying signals. This is already spreading to other high cost areas (Hawaii, Southern California, Germany, Massachusetts, etc).

Germany limiting renewable development – Main reason: too much intermittent energy, not enough tools to manage its flows and storage. Germany know that it needs to build new transmission lines to move the large amounts of off shore wind to the south – but there are plenty of political arguments against. Energy storage is coming hard – so that will help, but goals of nearly 100% renewable/clean by 2050, lots of work is needed.

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9to5mac 

Saudi Arabia has officially launched a request for proposals (RFP) for 300MW of solar power – the RFP sits at the front end of a 9.5 GW solar rollout by 2023. The proposed project’s site has gone through full pre-development work with those site assessments will be made available to qualified parties. Bid due date is March 20th.

Earlier this month, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that “the terms on renewable contracts will be motivating so that the cost of generating power from these renewable sources will be the lowest in the world.” The previous lowest bid was by a Japanese-led group in Au Dhabi for 2.3¢/kWh as part of a ‘side bid’ of 1,170MW.

As we saw in India’s recent bids, government support and intelligently designed programs will lead toward record low prices when expectations scale to the multi-gigawatt level.

With the continued increases in solar panel efficiency, and falling solar module and utility-scale power plants, we expect that someone will bid 1.99¢/kWh or lower.

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Solar Stories February 20

TSLA: 272.23

3.28
Stock Chart

70% of Mongolian herders have solar power – If the planet goes to crap because we’re fools and allow it to, its people like this – living as close to the land as possible – who will keep the species alive. And now they have access to electricity. When I traveled in China/Pakistan back in the summer of 2008, I saw a yurt with solar power. They have a radio and a refrigerator for medication. As well, fresh yak yogurt/milk is a taste that must be acquired.

Why liberals should support recently suggested carbon tax – The two main argument by liberals against the recently suggested carbon tax by Republicans in the USA are that 1. $40/ton is 1/5th what academics say the true cost is and 2. Its revenue neutral – without investing in infrastructure we’re just going to spend our carbon dividend on more oil and natural gas because we have no alternative opportunity. The article models that suggest $40/ton will meet current legislative goals set forth by the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement – if that is the case, then I would have to grudgingly accept…however – I won’t stop pushing for infrastructure incentives. If we don’t build infrastructure to replace natural gas/coal/internal combustion – we won’t win the planet back.

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Solar Stories February 18

TSLA: 272.23

3.28
Stock Chart

In this week’s top stories: Tesla Autopilot’s Autosteer update on HW2, Elon Musk’s underground transportation network in SpaceX’s parking lot, Hyundai IONIQ‘s pricing, TSLA milestones, the latest solar & EV news, and much more.

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9to5google 

Arizona County put out Request for Proposal (RFP) for 1.5GW of solar power – Personally, this is the largest RFP I’ve seen in the US. There are headlines for projects in the Middle East at 5GW, one in India at 7.5GW and China sorta has an RFP of 20GW a year – but these nation-state led bids feel different than a county in the state of Arizona. 8,800 acres of desert (less than .005% of the more than 1.8 million acres of federal lands controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in La Paz County). This project will cost $1/W’ish – $1.5B in cost. And there is already a transmission line project in development to move the power. I’d love to get a commission on $1.5B…

23.6% achieved with perovskite – plus stability increases: The real reason I grabbed this article, other than a fascination with base level research, was this quote – ‘“The best silicon solar cell alone has achieved 26.3% efficiency,” says Zachary Holman, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “Now we’re gunning for 30% with these tandem cells, and I think we could be there within two years.”’ I’ve never heard of someone seriously considering hitting 30% with a silicon solar cell efficiency. Yesterday, we saw SunPower at 25% on a production line and how that was 50% greater than average panels – imagine the labs being at double average panels in two years with a cheaper product like perovskite…wow.

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