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EGEB: Ohio utility shifting green, SMA/SolarEdge component shortage, Coal bailout/death upsetting many, more

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

AEP of Ohio to invest $1.8 billion in renewables over the next three years – The most interesting part of this analysis was a breakdown of volume to be contracted/built through 2030 – 75% new generation wind/solar and 25% generation gas. We’re just at the front edge of energy storage starting to scale, so I don’t expect to see utility-scale plants considering batteries for actual energy storage and later redistribution in their quarterly calls. With that, seeing a ratio of 75-25 of intermittent to dispatchable generation for a decade of growth – that’s a shift. As noted in the article, the company does own a large amount of coal still – 47% of its portfolio – but if you don’t plan on building any for the next decade plus of time, that’s not trivial.

SMA warns of lower annual sales in light of component shortage – SMA has issued relatively positive financial results for the third quarter (Q3) of the year, but has warned that annual sales are likely to come in at the lower end of the guidance range due to an unspecified supply shortage of critical components. Component supply shortage? What? I am intrigued. What piece of hardware? Since SMA is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar inverters, anything that affects SMA will also affect other players. Is it possible SMA has a component that only they use? If anyone sees anything on this, the Brief readers would appreciate the knowledge.

UPDATE 2-SMA Solar sales struggle to cope with chip shortage – And there it is.

SolarEdge’s growing geographical footprint delivers record quarterly results – SolarEdge reported revenue of US$166.6 million, compared to record revenue of US$136.1 million in the previous quarter. This is a 22% increase from the prior quarter and up 30% year over year. Sales this quarter from outside the United States were 51% of our revenues. SolarEdge shipped a total of 676MW (AC) of inverters in the reporting quarter. SolarEdge also guided gross margins to be within the range of 33% to 35%, indicating component shortages. So, SolarEdge has grown – that’s awesome. They’ve grown in the residential market because of international growth while the US 2017 residential market is slower than 22% growth. 676MW of AC product is actually about 877MW of PV installation volume. And they guided margins in 33-35% range – awesome. But guess what we saw at the bottom there – a ‘component shortage.’ That’s now SMA and SolarEdge.

Building Energy SpA begins construction on largest solar project on U.S. landfill – 18MW on top of a garbage dump, an 80 acre garbage dump at that. I like that we extract methane from these sites also. That’s a $45 million solar project on top of literal trash. Cool.

Proposed coal and nuclear bailout roundly condemned in FERC comments – We haven’t spoken about this too much here in the brief, but over the last couple of months there has been a bit of a fluff in the world of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). There has been a proposal to change the rules (called an NOPR in the field) to pay nuclear and coal an extra fee for their on site storage/security/baseload capabilities. The oil, gas, wind, solar and energy storage (including a comment from Tesla) industries have come out against this bailout. Analysts have said these payments to coal/nuclear are a subsidy that would increase electricity prices $10B+ per year.

Bill to extend coal tax credit reaches governor’s desk – The politicians are trying their damnedest though to take care of the cash cow that has fed them for decades. Virginia has pushed a veto proof bill to extend a $7M tax credit to coal companies in the state.

Speaking of coal – Coal’s Trump Bump Is Over – A few key data points: coal’s part of the US electricity mix was down again in the second half of the year after increasing slightly in the first half of the year, coal jobs are up slightly since January as global coal prices have increased a bit allowing for the US export market to grow, however, as of last week – see image below – 2017’s coal production has officially fallen back under 2016 production. 2016 was, of course, at all time lows. Price of gas is staying low, price of wind and solar are still dropping…

Featured image is rough land and adaptive solar racking laying across it. Photography by Tim Webb.

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