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EGEB: Utilities making money from green; rough solar cells; Hail 1, San Antonio Solar 0; more

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Solar scientists rough up silicon panels to boost light capture – “To avoid using these extra (expensive and complex anti-reflective) coatings we fabricated a submicron structure using a simple wet treatment directly into the silicon surfaces to give the cell its own antireflective coating.” Tiny little bits of scientific benefit. First, they get rid of an expensive, complex process that is part of standard solar cell production. Then they add in a new process that is cheap and fast. They get the same result. In the end – we win.

EPC replaces 17,920 panels at two-year-old solar farm – “This was a very rare, unusual event,” said Adam Burke, president of Texas Green Energy. “It was a pretty isolated area, but it happened to be right over Alamo 2 solar farm. It was baseball-sized hail.” Baseball sized hail sounds pretty big, though I don’t know much about hail. I do know solar panels have warranties that cover up to two inch hail moving around 50 MPH – so my guess is that this is more of a property insurance claim, than a warranty claim. This damage is opposite the damage that occurred at an NREL facility in Denver that lost 1 out of 3,000 panels.

Growth-Starved Utilities Have Found a New Way of Making Money – Once the largest consumer of coal in the U.S., AEP is now shuttering money-losing plants burning the fuel and diversifying its resources along with the rest of the utility sector. Its simple – if you’re a large electricity utility and you want to make money, you can no longer invest in sources of electricity that are expensive. You build wind and solar. For a while, electricity utilities would buy the electricity from third parties that owned these renewable farms – now – they own the farms themselves. Evolution.

GOP House Science Chair: Melting Arctic Sea Ice A Win For The Earth – “The benefits of a changing climate are often ignored and under-researched. Our climate is too complex and the consequences of misguided policies too harsh to discount the positive effects of carbon enrichment,” Lamar Smith – Of course, this is simply another form of denialism – consequence denialism. But this is also a form of progress – as those who refuse to recognize that climate change is real have fewer and fewer people in power to cling their beliefs to. Of course, we do still have people arguing climate change isn’t real by bring snowballs into Congress.

What makes bonds “green”? Simply using the proceeds for environmentally friendly investments is not enough – The incomplete answer is that green bonds are green because the proceeds are used to fund green projects such as clean energy (financing construction of a wind park, for example) or transport (financing a new tram line that will take cars off the road).  Over 140 of the world’s largest banks and asset managers have signed up to the Green Bond Principles, broad guidelines that provide a common definition of greenness, stipulate reporting on the use of funds raised and recommend external review. – If you’re going to be putting hundreds of billions to work building green infrastructure, you better know what “green” means. It is improving though.

Looking at the swath across the Midwest you see Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma all above 20% of their electricity from wind power…and then you’ve got to ask – what’s wrong with Nebraska at 10%? Missouri at 1.4%? Politics baby – big money politics. Nebraska is the only state in the union whose coal use has increased over the last decade.

There’s a pattern –

Header image is a wind farm from the media section of Dong Energy

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