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EGEB: FirstSolar supports Suniva; South Australia solar thermal; Kuwaiti solar over oil; more

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

First Solar to Profit If Trump Slaps Tariffs on Panel Imports – “If there is a determination of injury, a modest type of remedy will not be harmful at all to the industry and I think it’ll survive and more jobs will be created,” FirstSolar CEO Mark Widmar said on a conference call. “Hopefully what it will do is enable more manufacturing in the U.S.” Two things about FirstSolar – first off, they manufacture their solar panels mostly in Ohio. Secondly, their product – thin film – is different from, and competes directly with, the product being talked about in this case. As such – FirstSolar will benefit greatly on projects built in the USA if the tariff is put in place. They’ll have significantly less downward pricing pressure as there really isn’t any utility scale solar panel production in the USA.

USITC Hearing — Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells and Modules – Here is the official calendar event of the trade case that begins today at 9.30 AM. My prediction – case is ruled in favor of Suniva. Not sure how many days it runs.

Kuwait Issues Tender for $1.2 Billion Solar Project in Al-Dibdibah – Kuwait Petroleum’s deputy CEO of Planning and Finance Shukri AbdulAziz Al-Mahrous said the 1GW project would produce half of the country’s planned renewable energy output as it moves ahead with plans to cover 15 percent of its power needs with clean energy by 2030 – so that’s cool, 1GW, 15% clean energy by 2030, $1.2B – but more important than those things is this quote: “By freeing up the resources, the crude and fuel oil, you can process them and have a highly valued product,” Kuwait Petroleum’s deputy CEO of Planning and Finance Shukri AbdulAziz Al-Mahrous was quoted as saying. “Everything you don’t use has value for the country.” In a country that nearly floats on oil – thus it is extremely cheap, it is clear to them making electricity from sunlight is a lot smarter than burning the oil (which is equivalent to burning cash).

Port Augusta solar thermal plant to power South Australian government – Large pieces of glass, combined with sun tracking computers, focus sunlight on a central point with flowing molten salt. The salt – heated to 1,000F – is used to turn water into steam that turns turbines, generating electricity. Cool this about a plant like this is that it can store the molten salt for a while and release electricity at any point. This plant will cost $650M and provide electricity at 7.8¢/kWh. Its being built to supply the entirety of the needs of the local government.

How Efficient Will Solar PV Be In The Future? 10-Year Predictions For The Industry – Approximately 20% for the low-end technologies (such as p-type multi-crystalline Al-BSF), up from about 17% today. Approximately 26% for the high-end technologies (such as n-type monocrystalline IBC), up from about 21% today. Adding 3% to the low end modules is a 17% jump, adding 5% to a 23% jump. Both large – respectful jumps. One thing to note – this article does not reference bifacial technology. LONGi recently put out a commercial panel with an effective efficiency of ~25% – WAY before 2027. So, I think the 26% high end panel will have a bifacial sheet that could pop the effective efficiency above 30%. That would be 50% greater than today’s product.

SolarWorld resumes activities with 700 MW and 515 employees – I’m pointing this out for one reason:  German manufacturer will focus on the production of PERC solar cells and bifacial glass-glass modules. That’s a good indication of a future product type that will dominate.

Interesting chart – we talk about the incentives solar gets all the time in the news. But if we really want to have an honest conversation we need talk about those incentives over the decades of government support that these programs have existed. An aside – this doesn’t include externalities of pollution, healthcare and climate change.

Just a cool picture –

Header image is of SolarWorld factory (found it in the SolarWorld article from above)- thought it was cool to see a full glass panel without hardware included and the robot that specializes in picking it up from the original pallet and putting it into the production line.

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