EGEB: California sets wind+solar record, 38% of US electricity from rooftops, polysilicon efficiency up, more

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Estimating rooftop solar technical potential across the US using a combination of GIS-based methods, lidar data, and statistical modeling – 38% of US electricity could come from rooftops and solar power only. There is no longer a sound argument that intermittent energy sources – wind+solar – can’t power the country. An aside, as a commercial sales guy, I’d love to get a hold of these databases of nationwide rooftop viability scans and turn them into a lead database. Gold mine.

Polysilicon consumption to decline below 4g/W in Q3 2018 – The major downward push on polysilicon g/W consumption is coming from two factors: diamond wire saws, and cell efficiency improvements (more mono, and PERC in particular). Because we’re getting better at making solar cells, the exact same amount of silicon can create more electricity. There are so many points of improvement that are driving cost down and efficiency up.

Australia’s first big grid-connected solar-storage plant pioneers ‘islanding’ – Conergy’s AU$42.5 million (US$33.6 million) project includes a 10.8MW(AC) solar farm with more than 40,000 solar panels alongside a 1.4MW / 5.3MWh lithium-ion battery. “It will also be a test case for deliberate ‘islanding’, where a section of the grid continues to provide power while disconnected from the main grid.  This capability will increase the reliability of local supply and pave the way for other fringe of the grid locations.” Most of the time, if the power grid goes down –  solar power systems will also shut down. It’s a law in the US call ‘anti-islanding’ – its purpose is to stop the creation of electricity islands pumping from a private house, that might hurt a utility worker expecting the broader power grid to be down. In this case above, the region is near the end of a physically long electrical circuit from the power plant – and they lose energy a lot. So their goal is to actually create an island during a grid crash using a big battery and some solar. This same model was recently suggested for an Arizona city versus building more power lines. More opportunities for solar+storage.

In California, it’s record-breaking season (see next two tweets). This happens because heating demand starts to fall, and cooling demand hasn’t yet picked up – this means the still strong wind energy, combined with the growing solar, plus the springtime hydroelectricity that picks up. You’ll see these records increase a bit as the season moves along – not huge amounts though. A quick note – these numbers do not include behind the meter solar power. These numbers are actually as strong as they look.

On the tweet below – Showing off a cool backyard solar kit. I’m so used to seeing things put on someone’s house or large commercial structures, I forget about creative applications like this that make people happy.

Featured image is from the Department of Energy SunShot programPolebridge Mercantile & Cabins is located 45 miles from the grid on the western edge of Glacier National Park in Montana and has used a diesel-powered generator to provide power since the 1950’s. A microgrid with 25kW of solar was added along with SimpliPhi’s 3.4 kWh batteries to store power. Photo by Christine Bennett.

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