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Electrek green energy brief: Solar glass as art, how to create 26.3% solar cell, and more

The header image is found on It is a piece of solar glass art made by Sarah Hall. I’ve never seen anyone make such gorgeous solar art that generates electricity. Combined with the products we’re seeing from groups like Onyx Solar – it seems new construction with customized solar in the place of glass – could be economically sound (everything I do in solar involves return on investment). And that economically sound glass could be quite beautiful.

How to create a 26.3% solar cell – The image of an almost pure black solar cell is fitting. Developer of cell says manufacturing timetables haven’t been discussed. 2020? Later probably. In real life, 30 standard 280W solar panels taking up 550 sq ft of roof space would cover the average 2.6 family household – if the efficiency increases from 16% to 26% (65%!) you’d need about 18 solar panels taking up 330 sq ft of roof space. There are a lot more surfaces that are 330 sq ft then there are 500 sq ft plus. One of the major arguments I get is that they want more electricity out of the same space – this is the path.

Gulf Power ‘agrees to rescind $48 fixed fee’ – A $48 fixed fee is more than I pay for electricity. For a few months out of the year I won’t pay more than $20, and one or two it’ll be less than $10 – and that includes a $5/fee (wintertime gas is another story). These fee changes are to secure long term revenue – I find it hard to believe that solar power is eating that much revenue from a Florida power company, but maybe they’re trying to get ahead of the tide and stick it to the consumer a bit sooner than later.

Electric utility spends $10M to get the regulators it wants – SolarCity spent $2M. Power companies are allowed to pay for the campaigns of those who will manage them. And we know how that works – the power companies are picking Arizona Republicans alone, and that those Arizona Republicans stopped a FBI investigation into the utility’s campaign spending. The Utilities are not your friends – they think you are dumb.

$400,000 NetZero home – $400k ($300k/USD – refined per a user comment) is a bit above the average price for a house up front, but it will save the home owner’s $3000/year (inflation protected). That lowers the price to $300,000 (less than $200k/USD) over a 30 year period. I bet a house designed to be ultra efficient with energy usage can actually make money off of a strategically sized roof space selling excess solar electricity – that would lower the effective price further. Not a bad deal.

Meyer Burger bags another PERC cell upgrade order valued at US$15 million – while companies like JA Solar are shifting more solar cell capacity to p-type mono PERC – Moving to a higher efficiency, mono silicon product will lead toward an increase in price per watt for the solar cell itself. It will lead to a lower cost per watt for every other aspect of the project though. You will do the same work  – same aluminum in solar panels, same racking, same labor to carry the panel – to get more electricity. What’s cool is that you can upgrade a solar production line, containing many machines, by switching out one piece of hardware and fine tuning the others. This modularity will help the broader industry evolve economically.

Just a list of large installers in the USA – In case anyone every needs to build out a few hundred/thousand acres of solar power, these folks would be helpful. Call me first though – I’d love to earn the commission.

Six Maps on how the USA thinks about Climate Change – Being from South Florida I noticed Miami Dade county is one of the few where a majority of the population thinks climate change will affect them directly. It’s interesting to watch the beliefs change as you move north in the state, further from the more centrist-left population toward the deep south population of North Florida.

In the below chart I noticed mental health and well-being would be issues everywhere except Alaska and Hawaii – maybe Alaskans are already nuts? And Hawaiians have gotten over the hump and accepted their fate?

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