CGEB: Elon Musk’s pain threshhold, $1T for 1TW of solar, PERC to grow 50 in 2018, more

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A solar power’ed technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

New TVA rate plan includes lower energy prices, grid access charge – Here’s what going to continue to happen. As the generation aspect of electricity becomes cheaper, and since you and I can do it at home, electricity utilities will lower the cost of electricity and increase what they charge you for access. Their goal is to keep revenue consistent, irrelevant of total amount of electricity they actually sell you. The goal here is to do it slowly looking – lower the price by 1¢/kWh – which is really a quite large 10% drop is generation charges. On the one hand, you’re renting the powergrid as a battery backup…but at some point you buying a battery at home and connecting it to your car is going to be real competitive.

Up your pain threshold people:


International Solar Alliance founding eyes 1,000GW of PV with US$1 trillion funding by 2030 – The key for this program is not to actually raise $1 trillion, but to raise enough – and put in enough rules – that the initial money they do raise motivates larger investors to also join. By creating partnerships with large sums of money – African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Green climate fund (GCF), and the New Development Bank (NDB) – and then putting in processes that create trust with these partnerships, you remove some of the roadblocks slowing down large developments. Short version – everyone is throwing in money, and there is already a contract that we all have approved – let’s hire some builders now.

Global PERC solar cell capacity to grow 50% in 2018 – Global capacity for making PERC solar cells stood at 35GWp annually at year-end 2017, and will increase 50% in 2018, according to industry sources (totalling greater than 50GW of capacity). Switzerland-based Meyer Burger Technology has dominated the global PERC equipment market, but competition is growing from companies such as: Germany-based Centrotherm International, Netherlands-based SoLayTec and Levitech, UK-based ASM Alternative Energy, South Korea-based NCD, China-based Ideal Energy Equipment (Shanghai) and Wuxi Lead Intelligent Equipment, the sources said. PERC taking over means we will all have higher efficiency solar panels. We’re all going to benefit.

Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic solar systems in regions of moderate insolation: A comprehensive response – I wish some of you would take time to read this. This document shows the absolute garbage that some ‘academics’ pitch to attack renewable energy. This researcher destroyed a paper suggesting that solar panels would never cover the cost of energy invested in them. We provide a further contribution to this discussion by offering a comprehensive response to an article by Ferroni and Hopkirk (2016) recently published in Energy Policy. We focus on three key aspects of that paper: Inappropriate comparisons of results from their ‘extended’ system boundary analysis to those of other differently bounded analyses of conventional energy systems; Utilization of incorrect data (either because it is out-date or simply wrong) for determination of PV system parameters (including annual electricity yield); Several incidents of double-counting energy contributions (e.g., adding contributions that are already included in the embodied energy of materials). The key point you should take from this is that even an educated person can be waaaaay out of touch with the reality of technology. And – maybe – these people are lying, purposely, for reasons we don’t know yet.

The biggest leverage the solar industry has in its favorite is labor. The number of people in the field and the volume of money involved are not trivial. That it makes clean electricity is important, that its cheap matters – but the power of individual political pressure is what dominates.

What an interesting looking tracking rack setup. So tall – with the single bar behind going to the ground. It seems like you’d benefit a little bit from a second axis here as it’s not a pure east to west angle…wonder what cost is – extra generation – wind uplift calculations.

If you’re interested in residential several quotes from a local residential solar contract, will connect you with that local talent so you can start a proper bidding war for your roof.

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John Weaver
Solar Power Plant Project Developer at Commercial Solar Guy
John Fitzgerald Weaver is a solar consultant - aka The Commercial Solar Guy. As a project developer and installer, he's sold and managed 50+ solar projects worth more than $10 million, ranging from 5kW to 1500kW. He’s been involved in many aspects of the solar supply chain - as a company founder, developer, project manager, manufacturer, permit runner, salesman, contractor and financier, climbs mountains, played football, enjoys an IPA or scotch, needs to get away, and really loves this strange connection between politics, energy, finance, environment, etc in the energy world, and likes run on sentences.

Current and occasional stock positions that I have written about are ASYS, TSLA, CAFD and TAN - plus Bitcoin and Etherium.

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