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Electrek green energy brief: 10th dirtiest US coal plant retiring, wind power record at 52%, 20 governors for wind+solar, more


Amtech Systems sees Solar PV industry in a ‘buy cycle’ – I was once told by a smart friend, ‘When there is a gold rush, sell pick axes.’ Ametch sells pick axe making machines. And if Amtech, a company that builds hardware to increase the volume of solar panels that can be made, is getting orders from solar panel manufacturers being forced to sell at 33¢/W – then I expect pricing to go lower on solar panels (big risk there). If manufacturers can still afford to buy new hardware to make more efficient (PERC cells) product – it will feed down the chain. Expect significant price falls in solar power to continue.

A coalition of governors, Red & Blue, are pushing Trump on Solar+Wind – 20 states representing 43% of the US population. I think being a political science/economics major in college is really paying off in the solar industry. One of the variables when I chose the industry was that I thought the political machine was tilting in favor of solar power in 2006 – 10+ years later the political machine has definitely tilted, but my oh my the tilts that have occurred.

Minnesota (on the above governors list) legislators vote to end state Solar Incentive Programme – The House of Representatives of Minnesota voted, mostly along party lines, to discontinue the solar power incentive program because of its economic costs – but also because these Representatives say they want more control over the fund. Sounds like a standard talking point when you want to inject politics into a process. Neither the House nor the Senate have 2/3 of a majority for Republicans to overrule a Democratic governor, however, both of these seats of government are tilted Republican – meaning this bill might hit the governor’s desk.

Check out the charts of the second half of 2016 for these companies – Taiwan’s dependence on China is clear. Interesting to see Europe and the USA complain that China subsidizes exports too much, while others see a wholly different perspective.

$30-50M for up to a 20% ownership stake in a 50MW solar plant – The more deals like this happen, the more deals like this will happen. I hope you give me Yogi Berra type consideration on that comment. Since we’re early in the growth phase of solar power, finance groups are still learning to trust and invest. Part of my day job is training bankers on a 25 year spreadsheet that shows cash moving in multiple directions – building the trust that my spreadsheet represents the future reality is the biggest challenge. Projects like the above happening represent trust being built.

GCL Poly setting up production facility of 2GW of polycrystalline black wafers – Author takes a moment to explain why GCP Poly is building poly during such high demand of mono type product these days: people will always want a better priced product, with a slightly lower efficiency. I always pitch my customers on high vs low efficiency with one main logic – Is the space that we are installing solar power cheap or expensive? Have a giant roof, but a small electricity bill? Go poly. Multistory unit? Go mono.

Southwest Power Pool breaks 50% of demand powered by Wind – Overall, 50% of the SPP’s electricity comes from coal. But one blustery night (Sunday night to be exact), at 4.30 AM, 52.1% of the electricity in the region was generated by wind power. For the United States regional transmission operators (RTOs) – this is a record percentage. I do remember reading about how we’d never be able to get past a few percentage points of intermittent electricity because of instability – looks like the engineers were smarter than the projections.

USA’s 10th most polluting coal plant closing because gas is cheaper – Coal plants closing is good in most every way except for the jobs of the people involved. This coal plant is one of the nations largest and dirtiest – 10th dirtiest in terms of total tons of CO2 emissions. Hundreds of coals plants – out of the approximately 1,466 generation plants in the US – are undergoing conversion to natural gas or simply retiring. Technically, this article wasn’t green energy/solar/etc – but more so the broader energy industry and the pressure on other fuel types. Interesting to watch – important to realize that most of the gains had in lowering emissions in the USA power sector have been because of natural gas versus coal being burnt.

All of these record solar bids occurred in the last 12 months and the only populated continent missing from the mix is Australia –


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