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EGEB: Rainbow solar panels; 100GW of solar in 2018; Sierra Club sues Department of Energy; more

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

Solar Panels Could Soon Come in Every Color of the Rainbow – Instead of using dyes or coatings like commercially available — and horribly inefficient — colored panels, these new panels are overlaid with dense networks of silicon cylinders, each less than a millionth of a meter wide. These cylinders use electromagnetic resonance to change the wavelength of light they scatter, which is a fancy way of saying they change color to whatever you want. Tesla’s Solar Roof was specifically made because of the aesthetic qualities. People in the USA save large amounts of their $ in their homes – and they fear home value falling if ‘ugly’ solar panels are on them. Article says the solar panels would lose 2% of efficiency with this technique. Probably not a financial game killer for most home owners (adding a few months to ROI) like the look of ‘bulky’ panels.

Sierra Club sues U.S. Energy Department over power grid study – The Sierra Club, in the suit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said the department had ignored a Freedom of Information Act request it filed in May. That request sought the release of communications between staff and outside groups it had consulted, in the belief that the Energy Department had mostly relied on fossil fuel backers. We live in a democracy with laws on transparancy. We do not allow industry to control all of the laws. We cannot. Thank you Sierra Club.

Solar projects beat projected project electricity production forecasts  – Fitch Ratings‘ analysis of rated wind energy projects across EMEA, the U.S. and Latin America, as well as solar photovoltaic (PV) energy projects across EMEA and the U.S., shows electricity production from solar projects has tended to exceed initial independent estimates. As a project developer, who has a company owner with integrity, we’ve consistently say we’d rather ‘underpromise and over deliver’ when it comes to electricity production. We know that customers are depending on our systems to perform financially for them – and we are very conservative in our estimations of production, not so much that we hurt the financial projections, but enough that we’ll look good afterwards. When it comes to utility scale projects – maybe the same is going on from the developers – or maybe its that every piece of the supply chain has a sort of underestimation in their hardware performance built in that then comes to fruition in the end game.

Scotland’s ‘largest’ solar farm approved as subsidy-free plans become the norm – The land will continue to be used for grazing over the 30 year lifetime of the scheme, with a condition of planning permission requiring regular updates on the energy generated at the site. The main reason for posting this is a reminder that we are now hitting subsidy free solar power in ‘low sunlight’ places like Scotland. While we ought still have a carbon tax to balance out pollution, health effects, and climate change – we need get rid of the argument that solar is too expensive.

Solar vs. solar: Suniva defends push for import relief in marathon hearing – Summary of the Suniva 10hr+ International Trade Court arguments. Key point: The ITC will make a decision on whether or not to proceed to the next step by Sept. 22. Author, Krysti Shallenberger, was onsite at the hearing – and if going through her tweet storm (linked to yesterday) is a bit much for you, spend a few reading this write up. As an aside, if anyone wants to join me for a beer on the 22nd…I’ll need a ride home.

100GW of PV modules to ship during 2018, but is quality matching quantity? (and 90GW+ in 2017) – I’ll be honest, I’m posting this because it says 100GW in 2018 in the title. Wow! That’s equal to 15 to 20 nuclear reactors worth of electricity – every single year. Part two of this report came out today – I’ve not read it yet. The key point of this report is to first point out why this group thinks solar manufacturing/installations numbers are consistently underestimated – and their opinion is that it is mainly because there are so many manufacturers, and because so many of those manufacturers are in China and feeding Chinese customers. Another important line from the article – costs of goods for solar panels is slipping below 30¢/W. That’s important if these companies will continue to make money.

It was once argued that the only way the economy could grow was if it polluted – and was if it produced CO2 – but we’ve now got evidence that is no longer the case. The global economic system has continued to move along while gaining greater energy efficiency. Energy is not fundamentally tied to the release of CO2.

Just a cool graphic of the where/when/how/who of solar panel installations in India – who is soon to become the second largest global market for solar power:

Header image taken by Jamey Stillings in Japan and recently shown on Bloomberg. 2.4MW floating photovoltaic project on pond, Misogazawa Ike Power Plant, Hyugo Prefecture, Japan.

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