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EGEB: Solar(not)World wants blood; Microgrids in the Caribbean; Berkeley pushing solar cybersecurity; more

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

Suniva and SolarWorld lower requested remedies in US trade case – Suniva has lowered its floorprice from US$0.78 for modules with foreign cells to US$0.74. SolarWorld has suggested a quota instead of a floor price. Both insist any remedy must include a tariff with a rate of US$0.25/W for cells and US$0.32/W for modules. A filing posted overnight on Thursday suggested year quotas of 0.22GW for cells and 5.7GW for modules in 2018. Such scummy companies. A well-known negotiating technique is to start with an extreme value (doubling the price of solar panels), and then when you’re pushed – come off of that extreme value just a bit. Then it looks like you’ve offered something up, you’re there to negotiate and this will influence the simpler minded folks in the room. That’s Suniva last night. And SolarWorld – what a fake name – now wants to limit the total amount of solar panels imported into the country – no longer do they accept doubling the price of product. They simply want to keep others out. The US built 14.6GW of solar last year – 5.7GW would mean a reduction of at least 50% of available solar panels (1-2GW of domestic manufacturing at most).

Storm-Ravaged Caribbean Is Eyeing Solar, But It Won’t Come Cheap – Microgrids are going to become more of a thing as we move forward, I’m now convinced of this. The article references several microgrids that are still online throughout the Carribean – in places hit by Cat4-5 hurricanes. It also talks about 10,000 solar systems that were installed in Puerto Rico, but that probably aren’t producing because of how they were installed. These systems would be working with energy storage attached. That reason is one that makes Tesla’s hundreds of battery packs to Puerto Rico all the more powerful. Distributed energy generation and storage will keep society running in our future complex climate times.

Can Distributed Energy Resources Get Paid to Serve as ‘Virtual Transmission Lines’? – We saw yesterday that a water treatment plant saved $1.5M by going solar+storage instead of extending the power grid. We have significant volumes of research showing that solar lowers the need for upgrades to transmission networks. This argument of whether or not solar deserves to get full net metering values, I think is over as solar clearly EARNS full net metering values because it does more than simply generate electricity. Good to see the argument getting wider.

China makers setting up solar poly-Si wafer plants – China-based Shunfeng International Clean Energy, CETC Shanxi New Energy Technology and Tongwei Group are constructing solar poly-Si wafer plants with annual production capacities of 3GWp, 3GWp and 4GWp respectively in the country. 10GW of new wafer (see this image from to see where wafers fit into the process solar panel manufacturing process) manufacturing. The global capacity of solar is somewhere in the 120-140GW range. These three projects add 7-8% globally. Feels good to see growth continuing.

Berkeley Lab Aims to Strengthen the Cybersecurity of the Grid – In this project, Berkeley Lab will develop algorithms to essentially use the system in the same way the hackers might do but sending opposite signals to nullify the attack, similar to what a noise-canceling headphone does. “If an attacker tries to manipulate the settings in a number of PV inverters, we’ll observe these manipulations, then identify the settings in PV inverters that have not been hacked, and finally, dispatch the appropriate settings to the inverters deemed safe in order to counter that attack,” said Arnold, a researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Grid Integration Group. Hawaii is working hard to let every single solar panel be an intelligent part of the electricity grid via hardware on each panel by groups like EnPhase and SolarEdge (panel level power electronics). This reminds us of the internet – where individual computers are part of a broader, larger thinking machine. We have problems with this internet though – DDOS – distributed denial of service attacks that use each of these individual computers, slowly hacked and taken over, to send out small bits of information. When we add up the many small bits – we get large amounts. These attacks aren’t trivial. Now, imagine if instead of sending bits of data – we could make the machines send electricity (sorta…kinda…like data – but different). If our power grid had become dependent upon many tiny solar panels – a forseeable future – then we could be in for a real dangerous ride. I like that the research and development on these topics is happening so early – versus decades after deployment in the billions of units.

Perovskite solar cells reach record long-term stability, efficiency over 20 percent – EPFL scientists have now greatly improved the operational stability of PSCs, retaining more than 95% of their initial efficiencies of over 20 % under full sunlight illumination at 60oC for more than 1000 hours. Just gotta talk about the research. Might not hit the real world for 10 years, but it will.

Let’s give some patting on the back to these Attorney Generals that sued the Feds. We need have knowledge of the pollution our roadways are creating – if we attempt to ignore these things in the name of ‘profit margins’ we’re going to lose a lot more than quarterly results.

California got 15% of their electricity from solar power from January through end of May – Nevada and Hawaii broke 10% – these aren’t trivial numbers. Many ‘smart people’ like to talk about solar power having a challenge of breaking 10% for a whole myriad of reasons. These arguments will be gone soon. A follow up tweet from Stefan: I was told by today that Hawaii has 30% solar PV share in its grid

Promise – my last tweet of the day: EVERYONE SUPPORTS RENEWABLE ENERGY OPTIONS!!!

Header image from the ‘Hit me with your SunShot‘ photography contest. Since I’ve shown each of the winning photographs – I’ve now moved into showing off some of the images that didn’t ‘win’ – but are beautiful nonetheless. These images are located on the flickr account page of SunShot. This solar farm was built on a 130 acre property that had previously been used as the biggest piggery in Massachusetts. This panoramic shot demonstrates half the capacity of the total project, showing some of its biggest solar arrays. Photo by Lucas Faria. You should check out the original image – its even better, wider.

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