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Electrek green energy brief: SunPower at 25%, ‘carbon dividend’ anyone?, solar is investment grade, more


SunPower hits 25% average efficiency – Getting to a certain efficiency in the lab is great, as setting that record tells us what is possible. More important in the real world – when your production line averages that high level efficiency. Not every solar cell that comes off the line is the same – during the binning process a solar manufacturer will test individual pieces to see how they turned out. The most efficient solar cells get put into the high-end, most expensive panels – the cells that test lower go to a different line of products. Something to consider – SunPower’s highest solar panels are in the 24% range, while the average panel being installed at the super cheap numbers you hear me talk about are at 16%. SunPower can fit 50% more electricity production in the same area. Also in article are quarterly/annual results.

Would you be interested in voting for a carbon dividend? – If the PR people can spin the term up – and help everyone ‘forget’ that it is a carbon tax, we’re all going to start singing the praises of a revenue neutral carbon dividen. The term itself won’t be the reason a carbon tax will win – broader society is in support of doing something, and broader society knows doing something costs money. However – for that extra 5-20% of the voters needed to boost it over the line, it’ll get the job done.

The first Act in the Dance of Solar 2017 will be called ‘1H China‘ – Last year we’re told 34GW of solar got installed in China, this year I’ve read between 20-28GW is expected – which makes sense as the five year goal is in the 110GW range. News has floated by of large orders of commodities headed into China (with someone suggesting too much has been purchased). Will we see panel prices fall anymore? Will China out install its goals again (hopefully)? Is China actually installing that much? How much is connected to the grid? Much curtailment?

Solar cell efficiency is kinda like the horsepower of the solar power world – SunPower, shown off in the energy brief header, hitting 25% for a production line is really the gold standard, but the 26.3% in this article in the labs is what everyone knows to aim for now. And 30% is what is defined as the theoretical limit (I always thought it was 33.7%). You see here every day that small advances help move this number forward – this article gets into specifically what some of those attack areas are for the research labs.

Since we talk about SolarEdge – here are some annual/quarterly results. Up 15% – even with a flat lining residential USA market in the second half. Global shipments growing. More important than anything else on this page – gross margins of 32%. They’re making money and they’ll keep investing in R&D. Rock on.

BlackRock UK owns 146MW of solar after adding 12 & 5MW projects – Liquidity increases in the market are great, andwhen they come from deep capital sources like BlackRock its appropriate to be optimistic because they’ve been vetted and we are probably seeing just the beginning of large buy cycles. Last year’s ~70-75GW of solar power is probably worth $100B on the secondary market. BlackRock has $5.1 trillion under management – and $2.8B invested in renewables. As returns have been solid for years now, and as we see investment grade volume pick up globally, groups like BlackRock – who like to invest in billions at a time – will pour in cash.

We had the equations in 1895, below we see the evidence showing the equation true in 1938. #ExxonKnew

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