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EGEB: New renewables cheaper than old coal/nuclear, Jersey applying carbon tax, heterojunction solar cells from Russia, more

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

Utility CEO: new renewables will be cheaper than existing coal plants by the early 2020s – Unsubsidized new wind: 2.0-2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour/Unsubsidized new solar: 3.0-4.0 cents per kilowatt-hour/Variable operating costs of existing coal or nuclear plants: 3.5-5.0 cents per kilowatt-hour. Let me point out a few key phrases in this proclamation: New renewables, existing coal/nuclear – That means building new hardware, from the ground up, is cheaper than using old hardware. And then the kicker, unsubsidized. Of course, this is before we start to consider the subsidies that fossil fuels get – free pollution.

New Jersey Embraces an Idea it Once Rejected: Make Utilities Pay to Emit Carbon – One of the larger states on the East Coast, now going to start taking responsibility for its pollution. This matters a lot.

New Tariffs to Curb US Solar Installations by 11% Through 2022 – Utility-scale solar will take the brunt of the impact, accounting for 65 percent of the anticipated 7.6-gigawatt decline. 2019 is expected to be the most painful year for the utility-scale sector, with a 1.6-gigawatt decline in installations compared to GTM Research’s original forecast. The new analysis shows that new and emerging state solar markets are disproportionately affected by the tariffs, with Southern states like Texas, Florida and South Carolina among the most significantly impacted by the tariffs. The logic I wanted to show here is that people are going to buy solar at a certain price, and this logic is based upon past data. Utility scale groups build based upon small differences in pricing, but they’re getting hit the most with this tax due to their broader efficiency. And states that have no environmental laws and little solar support – Texas/Florida – are also getting hacked just as they get going.

Hevel achieves heterojunction cells with 22.8% efficiency as plant ramps – Russia-based integrated PV manufacturer Hevel Group, which has switched production from amorphous silicon thin-film technology to silicon heterojunction (HJ) has said it has been successful in ramping to its 160MW nameplate capacity and achieving cell conversion efficiencies of 22.8%. I think heterojunction/multijunction products will bring solar panel efficiencies above 30% eventually. From what I’ve read, silicon on its own will max out in the upper 20%’s. Panasonic and SolarTech Universal are two manufacturers we’ve talked about recently.

Looking at the tweet below – just a reminder that the ice at the North Pole is decreasing every single year. And if you hear someone say something like the ‘ice is expanding, at record amounts’ understand they are using your lack of knowledge to manipulate you. The Antarctic is still increasing in total ice volume – but every single year, it grows a significant amount less. It’s like saying, last year I made $100,000, this year I made $80,000 – next year I’ll make $60,000. All good numbers – but real soon something is about to upset that happy bank account.

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