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Electrek green energy brief: Solar to 2 cents/kWh in Saudi Arabia, Sunshot $30M in grants, more


Saudi Arabia expects record low prices in solar RFP – The specific quote I latched onto, ‘terms on renewable contracts will be motivating’ made me think of things like free land, free interconnection, access to cheap/free (0%) money for finance, good labor terms, etc. All of these things will lead to increases in costs for a developer – and you’ve got to add margin to every single cost because it took time and money to work through the challenges. Current low prices are 2.3¢/kWh for 1.18GW – how much lower are we expecting? 1.99¢/kWh?

With a goal of “Enabling Extreme Real-Time Grid Integration of Solar Energy” Sunshot announces $30M in grants for 13 programs – The goal is to get the electricity grid to handle solar power greater than 100% of the grid’s demand at any moment. The 13 tools in this round of awards focus on software to watch and analyze, plus hardware that focuses on strategic positions within the grid to route large volume of energy at key moments. Reading through each one you can visualize how solar power peaking at 12 noon could be better managed by each of these systems. It must be exciting to be the scientists within the SunShot team, looking down on this broad machine, and seeing how this software and hardware will fine tune the movement of electricity across the world.

Home solar + battery systems with software tools tying them into the broader electrical grid – Connecting with the above article highlighting future research in the US, is a system much like what the DOE wants already operating and connecting home solar + battery systems into the grid and with the utilities managing it…except its running in Europe. “OSIsoft’s PI System is used by more than 1,000 utilities and grid operators. It captures real-time data from assets like sensors, solar panels and transformers and serves it up to engineers, executives and others so they can cut costs, predict equipment failures or make strategic decisions.”

A short article, a video and some graphics on carbon taxes – I don’t believe in the revenue neutral portion since we’ve already gone far past a responsible point of no return, we can no longer simply slow – we must actively remove carbon, we must actively remove hardware that creates carbon dioxide. However, if it was on the table today at a reasonable value – $80/ton is the minimum – then I’d accept it, and tomorrow I’d fight for infrastructure investment.

New Mass. solar incentives to cut program costs $200M, while continuing growth – The State of Massachusetts announced that they’re extending SREC II, the solar incentive program, until the next solar program starts. This next program is expected to begin in early 2018. SREC II officially ran out in the first quarter of 2016 – but since Massachusetts wants ‘continuity of business’ for over 20,000 solar employees, they extended the program. Watching the way this state’s legislature researches and works through political actions related to solar gives me confidence in government doing good work.

It’s not just jobs – it’s rural jobs in the places that voted for POTUS – You have a choice as POTUS – you’re either part of a significant shift in energy economy of earth or you will slow it down with foolish laws that ignore the economy. Personally, I’m in solar power because it was a needed job for the world that would grow and the timing was right (I made that decision in 2006-2007). If nuclear power was 85% of the world like in France, I’d not be in solar. If coal and gas were clean, I’d not be in solar. Solar, wind, hydro, energy storage – they were all developed because the world demanded them.

If a solar panel manufacturer has been doing it for a couple of decades, you ought at least give them a look – I’ve never dealt with a Panasonic solar panel, occasionally I’ll see a residential project using them. But much like other long term players in the industry – SunPower, Solarworld, Kyocera etc – the institutional knowledge on what it takes to make a product last in direct sunlight for decades on end must be immense.

Tweet of the Day – a picture of the voting board for the Maryland House of Representatives after they voted to overrule the Governor’s veto of a renewable energy bill. The House needed 3/5 and got it.


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