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Electrek green energy brief: RMI saves 40% on community solar, Japan going wind, India building transmission, more


Rocky Mountain Institute expands Community Solar across the country – The article is a good read because it gives guidelines on how to get better pricing for community solar projects. The main drivers – get a competitive RFP versus a single quote (and write the RFP well!), bundle your project with up to 20MW of other projects, increase contract length, and work with utilities when placing the system. RMI was able to work pricing down from 8.5¢/kWh to as low as 5¢/kWh – a 40% savings. I agree with this model – its easier said than done to collect and organize 20MW, but it happens.

Japan developing wind market – What’s an island with zero natural resources to generate energy to do? Surround itself with wind farms is one way to go. The goal is to get around 10GW by 2020 – an amount that would represent 4.5% of electricity capacity. Currently, Japan has about 45GW of solar power installed and manufacturers are looking to expand the volume of energy storage installed to better manage the intermittents.

India’s powergrid getting $500M to upgrade transmission – The Asian Development Bank is putting the money up. I am sure the government of India is backing the loan, and I’m betting that the solar developers who are hoping to build 40GW of solar are going to be paying off the loan at a rate of around 0.1¢ to 1.0¢/kWh to transport their electricity from the fields to the cities. What’s more important than anything though – this is being built and the machines and expertise to create this type of hardware will grow globally.

$46B in damage across the US in weather events in 2016, solar affected as well –  Insurance companies and finance groups must love this stuff (the maps, not the destruction). Four maps are included in the article – they show actual solar performance relative to expected performance (performance = how much sunlight reached the ground). For the year, US sunlight looks like it was up – 4th quarter it was down heavy. Within the article is a reference to report by GCube insurance: Cell Interrupted – Extreme Weather Losses Increase Global Solar Claims Severity. Just under half of insurance claims for PV are weather related. And the money comment, ‘“Until there is greater awareness among the investment community that risk and asset managers need more resources to adequately prepare for the sudden and unforeseen, the industry will continue to be caught off guard,” said Jatin Sharma, Head of Business Development, GCube – uncertainty, complexity, unpredictability – those words cost money.

Jinko signs 1.17GW solar panel deal – With Jinko pitching up to 9GW for their 2017 numbers, deals like this are going to once or twice a year. My guess is that the panels are priced on a sliding scale based upon future market pricing, with some volume being booked immediately at today’s pricing. Any accountants know how a deal like this would be booked? As product is delivered to a customer?

Alberta aiming for 10,000 solar installations by 2020 – It would represent less than 1% of the total number of households in the province, but its a continuation of past successful growth. During the summer time – you’ll get sunlight for just over 16 hours in Calgary, during the cold winter months – you’ll hit a lot of just under 8 hours.

Percentage of adults, by county in the USA, who support research into renewable energy – I spent a few minutes mousing over the lowest looking counties and the lower rating I found was around 67% in central Texas. In the lower supporting county of the country – more than 2/3rds of the population things we ought research renewables. I think the US House of Representatives, the Senate and the Orange in charge need pay attention.

Its happening – remember when we saw the politicians trying to change the term ‘carbon tax’ to ‘carbon divided’? Watch it spread! Of course, the group that is aiming to create this ‘dividend’ language has a poll showing support of the term. And below we see a small uptick (very small when we consider the relative size of the search results) in Google Trends for carbon dividend…of course – me reporting on the term is kinda part of the problem.


And to continue to language wars – a quick read on ‘clean’ versus ‘low carbon’ energy, ‘advanced’ vs ‘smart’ meter, ‘private’ vs ‘universal’ solar, plus an article edited to refine the message just enough to piss you off.

Darker blue colors are negative pricing. If Wind can produce electricity at such low rates, it is the job of the capitalist to figure out how to take advantage of it:


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