Solar Stories Today

TSLA: 244.73

0.97
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$200B in global green bonds – Hundreds of billions of dollars will move into green technologies via the form of long term, safe and stable investments. If you install a solar power system that has minimal O&M and it then runs for 30+ years – someone is going to make money. I field calls all the time from investment groups looking to add a bunch of solar to their portfolios. We’re not going to stop using electricity.

California vote on ‘Time of Use’ rates coming up – If we’re going to live by a true supply and demand market, then electricity use during the daytime and early evening is going to be the most expensive. And the solar industry in California is pushing that we recognize Time of Use more so, since solar power is producing during the most expensive time of the day. This push out west is being called Netmetering 2.0 because the legislators hope to better capture the nuances and economic benefits of solar power – electricity generation is just one benefit brought to the table (lesser stress on grid, adding voltage to areas far from the power plant, etc).

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Solar Stories January 19

TSLA: 243.76

5.40
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Global solar panel production capacity estimated at 117GW/year – The topic of this article is about the growth of PERC solar cells, but the image inside of it is one I’ve been searching for. Last year we installed about 75GW of solar power, 50% growth from 2015 – this year we expect total volume of a similar amount, that means there will be pressure on manufacturers to make use of their capacity – and that pressure will push downward on solar panel pricing. One solution to lower pricing is to sell higher margin product – and PERC cells, higher efficiency than today’s common product, get that higher margin per solar panel because there are more watts in a solar panel.

850MW(?) Chinese plant is world’s largest solar plant right now – And the plant is under constant construction. Western China has open land, dry air, great sunlight and a seemingly determined China. The size of the plant I am not 100% on as they don’t seem to give a nameplate size – but instead they give the total energy produced. Other headlines will push that India currently has the largest plant – either way, I’m happy that this competition is occurring.

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Solar Stories January 18

TSLA: 238.36

2.78
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Battery storage + solar finding niche in beer/wine industry – Hawaii just installed a solar + battery peaker plant. Peaker plants run during short durations – 1-5% annually, hours at a time – when high demand is needed. Power companies charge a high rate for these high demand moments. A battery system in a beer brewery would turn specifically when the brewery does high very high energy usage things – heating water, for instance, is very energy intensive. In essence, the brewery is building its own peaker plant to attack high Demand Charges. As Massachusetts (a state whose electricity utility just asked for a 7% to 10% rate increase) ramps up its energy storage mandate – I expect to make this technology pitch to my customers.

800MW solar power plant in Dubai with 2.99¢/kWh breaks ground at end of month – Its cool for me to write big shiny headlines saying things like RECORD BREAKING!?!?! – what’s much more emotionally satisfying is seeing the headline turn into reality. 800MW of solar panels will keep multiple large factories up the supply chain moving hard for a year. And then we’ll have emission free electricity – minus cleaning and operations – for decades. Good job Dubai.

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9to5toys 

Solar Stories January 17

TSLA: 235.58

-2.17
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The world’s longest High Voltage DC line in India and America’s first – Energy storage and HVDC will be two key technologies that allow the power grid to significantly increase its use of intermittent energy sources. California has already gotten to almost 30% renewables without any storage. A German grid operator thinks HVDC lines can get their grid to 70% renewables before storage is needed. Being able to move the electricity from the places it can most easily be produced to the population center will be worth hundreds of thousands of lives a year around the world.

Giant wind farms in western China not running – The above links talked about building HVDC power lines. This link talks about what happens when you don’t have enough. China has been building because they have no choice – the Communist Party is facing thousands of protests a year around the country regarding pollution. Cars, power plants and manufacturing facilities are pumping huge volumes of gunk in the air – so China must build clean sources of energy, however, much like Germany – we figured out how to build huge amounts of renewables before we build the infrastructure to transport it or the hardware to store it. Now, in China, it sits idle – waiting for the expansion to occur.

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Solar Stories January 16

TSLA: 237.75

0.00
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Coal country Wyoming senators want to charge 1¢/kWh to use solar/wind power – A few senators have signed on from a state that would be hurt by less coal, and just maybe we’ll see a charge to use the sun and wind. The law is says utilities cannot pass the penny charge onto end users – seems a smart design to limit end user activism through one cent up charges but obviously a nightmare for the environment and the green energy sector, and the environment.

AES’ New Kauai Solar-Storage ‘Peaker’ Shows How Fast Battery Costs Are Falling – We brought up this power plant last week, but I like this article because it goes into detail about the project. A little over a year ago the CEO of NextERA, Jim Robo, said that by 2020 there may not be another natural gas peaker plant built because of batteries. Natural Gas peaker plants run 1-3% of the time – and only when the power company needs a little extra electricity for a short time, filling in a gap so to say. This plant – in expensive Hawaii – is a forerunner of that evolution from natural gas to battery occurring. Expect to see 20MWh battery peaker (replacing 200MW gas plants) plants popping up all over the country . This is how batteries get their foothold and scale from a manufacturing standpoint – attacking the low capacity factor (1-5%) natural gas peaker plant market.

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Solar Stories January 14

TSLA: 237.75

8.16
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Solar industry employs 373,000 American, 2.8 million globally – Solar power will continue to gain political strength across the nation as we see serious installation volumes spread to all 50 states. Already solar power lobbyists are able to wield great influence – see the 2015 tax credit extension. The energy industry, in 2016, represented 14% of all new jobs in the USA – a large amount of those coming from renewable and efficiency.

Autonomous solar powered research ship being designed – We’ve got an airplane that circled the world on solar, islands that live off of solar and now an autonomous ocean research vessels to be powered by solar. Scientists are real good at designing instruments that work off of light amounts of energy – a lot of times those restrictions have to do with large amounts of fuel needing to be on the same vessels. If the fuel was coming from the sky – and the infrastructure of the machine held the energy generation – the game changes.

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9to5mac 

Solar Stories January 13

TSLA: 237.75

8.16
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New Study Shows How Solar Can Enhance Grid Reliability – Solar power is much more than extra energy during the day: “Advanced power controls can leverage PV’s value from being simply an intermittent energy resource to providing services that range from spinning reserves, load following, voltage support, ramping, frequency response, variability smoothing and frequency regulation to power quality.” Solar power, along with the proper tools, can be the entirety of your electricity grid.

Clean energy investment down 18%, Solar & Wind deployments up 19% – Seeing the total amount of money invested slow down is challenging – but knowing that the total amount of green energy built went up feels great. Solar power itself saw a price drop of around 10% in a single year. For instance, in the USA total spending fell 10% – but solar power doubled from about 7GW to about 14GW.

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Solar Stories January 12

TSLA: 229.59

-0.14
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PERC cells at 20% efficiency leading towards 330W 72 cell modules from Suntech that are 5% more efficient – If you get 5% more energy out of a solar panel and everything else costs exactly the same – then your solar power system just got ~5% cheaper. These ‘small’ technological moves have significant pricing effects when you consider the broader supply chain and construction requirements.

Solar power and batteries being installed in New York City to defend against natural disasters – Strategically distributing solar panels and batteries in an ultra dense city can defend against large scale grid collapses. And New York City, after realizing that climate change can affect it so significantly when Hurricane Sandy hit, has decided to deploy. Certain projects that I’ve worked on in the city get an extra payment from the power company for installing areas that need the distributed energy. Cool to see a city planning on levels like this.

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Solar Stories January 11

TSLA: 229.73

-0.14
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LowCarbonUSA.org – “We, the undersigned members in the business and investor community of the United States, re-affirm our deep commitment to addressing climate change through the implementation of the historic Paris Climate Agreement.”

There is a lot of money in the energy industry. There are a lot of costs associated with combating the pollution and health effects of burning fossil fuels (climate change not even considered). These costs are mitigated in courts and industries forced to pay for these costs via political back and forth that lead toward laws. The Paris Agreement will drives significant investment, globally, in cleaner energy sources. Corporate America has interests in both sides of the argument.

Next Friday, game on…

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9to5google 

Solar Stories January 9

TSLA: 231.28

2.27
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