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Electrek green energy brief: Residential solar myth debunked (again), Navy calls out Carolina politicians, and more!


Residential solar doesn’t affect electricity rates – Actually, the report says that at current average penetration levels – the cost to the grid is plus or minus $0.0003/kWh (that’s 3/100ths of a penny). Additionally, at penetration levels lower than 10% there is a cost of plus or minus $0.005/kWh (that’s 1/2 of a cent). This report only considers the direct cost to managing a power grid – it does not account for societal benefits like pollution, health or climate change – so it really is undercutting the true value of solar power…if you believe in pollution that is.

Politicians tell Trump that winds farms affect radar, NAVY disagrees – Reality is that politicians are sometimes controlled by those who fund their campaigns. If someone is making up stories in order to pull on the heart-strings of voters (FEAR! NATIONAL DEFENSE!) – then you’ve got to question their motives. When the locals don’t even want to consult with their national groups – that’s when you start to realize that anti-clean energy political efforts by groups like ALEC, the Koch Brothers and Exxon are far-reaching. Deep pockets mean you have the ability to build a group that can strategically attack the political structure all the way down. And now that we have a President that said global warming is a Chinese hoax to steal money – expert more false nationalism to enter the political discussion and make it all the way to the top.

Batteries can almost, “instantaneously provide multiple services and switch from providing one service to another” – and because of this, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that batteries can collect revenue. There are many needs of an electrical grid that batteries provide (see page 6 of this report from the Rocky Mountain Institute) – and for owners of batteries to get paid for all of these services means better financial returns (and more batteries). With what we saw in Hawaii – with solar power + batteries taking over natural gas plants – and FirstSolar in California showing it can provide grid stability, we should expect to see growth in these markets.

WorldBank launches global solar resources app – There are a few really good solar tools out there (PVWatts is free, Helioscope costs but gets into hard local details). Each of these tools tends to have a certain thing or three that it does really well – many times I use three or four tools on a project to give myself a proper image of whats going on. This tool has two great things going on – 1. Its global. 2. You can determine how much electricity your solar system will make in a year within one click (and one math). Whatever helps disperse the knowledge.

India solar capacity to double in 2017 – If the soon to be largest population on earth can be a leader on clean energy, we’ve got a chance. Doubling your solar capacity every year is a mad pace, doing it when you’ve got 10GW in the ground already is better. Doing it when you’ve got almost 1.3 billion people to feed – that’s divine.

Solar cells on the nanolevel – The picture is enough for the link (see below). Fundamentally, light is simply a certain range of visible heat (photons). Commercial solar cells focus on visible light and turn about 20% of that into electricity. If we figure out how to collect heat from a broader range, and we can use that heat to knock electrons off of silicon atoms (fundamentally what a solar cell does) – then we can generate more electricity from the same space. In this case – the scientists think they can break 40%. We do get to 40% in some cases, but the cells are more complex and very expensive. (edit: see comment below for a possible better description of cell, and maybe me being wrong on what we can do with this technology)


Tweet of the day – slow and steady growth:

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