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EGEB: Tesla’s solar moves, Pennsylvania in alliance, Tennessee solar farm, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Responding to a decline, Tesla makes changes to its solar business.
  • Pennsylvania joins the US Climate Alliance and looks to cut its emissions.
  • Tennessee’s largest solar farm goes online.
  • Another Long Island town eyes offshore wind.
  • A look at possible “solar superpowers” of the future.

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

As mentioned here last week, Tesla reported sliding revenues in its “energy generation and storage” category, with the dip attributed to decreasing solar deployments. Well, as expected, the company has responded.

The company has cut prices in its home solar business, saying that customers will now pay between $1.75 and $1.99 per watt on its rooftop systems. If you missed it, check out our report from Tuesday for more details.

In semi-related news, Green Mountain Power in Vermont — an electric utility that is aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2030 — is using Tesla Powerwalls in a new trial system that aims to replace traditional meters in 250 homes. Again, we’ve got more details here.

Pennsylvania Joins

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) joined the US Climate Alliance this week, becoming the 24th state or territory to do so. The state also released a new climate action plan, a 100+ page report with strategies to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Nearly half the states have joined the alliance now, and personally, it’s good to see my home state on board.

Tennessee Solar

Tennessee solar company Silicon Ranch announced that the largest solar farm in the state is now online, at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South in Millington. The 53 MWac facility was made possible from a public-private partnership involving numerous entities in addition to the solar company, including the City of Millington, the US Navy, Memphis, Light, Gas and Water (MLGW), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

Tennessee solar

The new facility uses 72 acres of base land leased from the US Navy, which houses a new “alternative electrical feed that will increase energy security and resilience at NSA Mid-South.” Most of the solar array is on 348 acres of private land. In total, the array uses more than 525,000 solar panels.

Long Island Wind

Offshore wind seems ready to take off in New York in the coming years. The state is committed to seeing development — Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks 9 GW of offshore wind for New York by 2035 — and four developers submitted 18 separate bids in February in response to a request for proposals.

Those proposals are targeting the Long Island coast, which offers plenty of possibilities for offshore wind. Ørsted will develop the South Fork Wind Farm 35 miles off the eastern coast of Montauk, off the tip of Long Island. But there are questions as to where other wind turbines will actually be located, as wind farms could be “as near as 14 miles from Long Island to as far away as 85 miles.”

The Village of Greenport is the latest community to consider getting involved. The community near the northeastern point of Long Island is considering a plan to lease space off its docks for future wind farms, WSHU reports.

Solar Superpowers

The Conversation takes a look at what the “solar superpowers” of the future might be in a recent commentary. While they consider the extreme potential of what solar might be able to do for Northern Africa with solar in the Sahara Desert, they see the Arabian Peninsula as a better bet to dominate energy “in the post-fossil era.”

The article considers the energy exporting history of the Arabian countries, and some ambitious projects in the works there, to be an indicator of what may come. Interestingly, the author also frames the use of hydrogen as a key way of transmitting energy in the future, despite noting its inherent disadvantages, reaching the conclusion:

“..shipping energy by hydrogen would mean no significant change to the existing maritime trade infrastructure, which will hand an advantage to established energy exporters.”

While there are ambitious projects in the works there, such as Dubai’s massive Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park, the idea that hydrogen will shape the energy systems of the future in a way that favors the leading energy exporters of today seems a bit premature, at best.

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