EGEB: Record Solar bid – 1.78¢/kWh; IEA says solar domination; Storage powering Puerto Rico; more

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A bright future for renewables to 2022, solar PV entering a new era – Record performance in 2016 forms the bedrock of the IEA’s electricity forecast, which sees continued strong growth through 2022, with renewable electricity capacity forecast to expand by over 920 GW, an increase of 43%. This year’s renewable forecast is 12% higher than last year, thanks mostly to solar PV upward revisions in China and India. The IEA predicting significant growth in renewables is making big headlines because historically this group has been continually ‘wrong’ about their solar energy (and renewable) growth prediction in the past. The image in this tweet is one of the more popular mocking mechanisms. To the IEA’s defense, they say their job is to predict growth without speculation of political change – but with current legislative structures in place. I get it…but I am also going to rib them – in their chart they predict 438GW of solar in 2017-2022 – six years. In 2017 – there will probably be 100GW of solar. Meaning in 2020 we will probably blow past their 438GW to close to 500GW – and by 2022, close to 700GW.

Record low solar pricing bids – 1.78¢/kWh – 30-50% lower than prior record bids. This tweet below – the official account of Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program – shows the bids from eight companies on Saudi Arabia’s first 300MW solar power project. As of this morning, a single Hals was worth $.27/USD. 7 of 8 bids beat the prior record low solar pricing. Back in February I predicted this bid would get below 1.99¢/kWh because the Saudi Government was offering ‘motivating terms.’

A great write up by PVTech delves into a lot of details. I get why the IEA decided to upward revision their numbers so aggressively. They should upward revision them again.

Puerto Rico to Get Power Relief From German Microgrid Supplier – Sonnen GmbH, a German provider of energy-storage systems, is planning to install microgrids to provide electricity for at least 15 emergency relief centers in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. The US Military just said it would take up to 10 months to get the power grid completely back up. Other estimates say 6 months in the city centers. These emergency areas will be up within the month, probably a lot faster.

One farm in Puerto Rico is still running thanks to a $300,000 investment in solar power – Two things to be said: “Everybody told me I was crazy because it was so expensive. Now I have power and they don’t,” said Santiago, whose flowers are sold in Puerto Rico, at outlets like Costco, and throughout the Caribbean. Realy, that first line is all that is needed – but I thought this technical fact need be added as well: In the storm 25% of the panels were damaged by flying debris. Still, he said, that was enough to keep the power on, and the nursery did not “have to worry about trees falling on the power lines.” Because of the nature of how solar power systems are designed, even with 25% of the individual solar panels damaged, the system was still producing electricity. Keep that in mind.

Greens push 20GW energy storage target to shift debate from baseload – The Greens say that 20GW could translate to 400GWh of storage, enough they say – according to recent studies by the ANU – to provide sufficient back-up for a 100 per cent renewable energy grid.  I’ve never heard of such a large energy storage number. If anyone sees something larger, please let me know.

Folks – today’s headlines were all momentous. I didn’t save them up, I didn’t search far and deep. These things leapt at me – they enthralled me. We’re leaping off of the precipice.

Just a reminder that 18% of Europe is regularly powered by the wind. Seriously – the wind blowing drives 500 million people’s live.

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 1.42 MW DC solar farm was built on top of a landfill in Dover, Massachusetts. The landfill property had not been used for decades and now provides clean renewable energy to customers nearby. Photo by Lucas Faria. I thought some of you might like to see the footings that the solar must use when installing on top of a landfill as making holes in landfills is not highly thought of.

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