EGEB: Perovskite-based solar cells on sale by 2020? Tesla/solar microgrid, and WV wind

In today’s EGEB:

  • A UK company plans on bringing perovskite-based solar cells to market by the end of 2020.
  • A California casino uses Tesla batteries in its microgrid — and such microgrids could be “the future.”
  • West Virginia welcomes a proposed wind farm.

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

While there have been a number of publicized research breakthroughs involving perovskite solar cells recently, a new article reveals just how close some perovskites are to hitting the market.

Oxford PV, long a leader in perovskite solar development, may bring a silicon-perovskite solar cell to market by the end of next year, according to MIT Technology Review. The article takes a long look at perovskites and their potential while dropping in this little tidbit along the way:

Oxford PV plans to deliver solar cells based on perovskite and silicon to the market by the end of next year, using a German factory it acquired in 2016 from Bosch Solar. The two materials will come in a package that otherwise looks, ships, and installs the same way as a standard solar panel, in a kind of half step that the company believes will make it easier to introduce the technology to the market.

While perovskite-based cells have advantages — they can be cheaper, more efficient, and easier to produce — there are still long-term durability questions. But Oxford PV CEO Frank Averdung said the company has “solved” the reliability issue: “We have nailed it, and this is the reason we can move into manufacturing mode now.”

Tesla Microgrid

Wired took a look at the Blue Lake Rancheria casino in California, and its microgrid that it says could be “the future of energy.”

Blue Lake Rancheria developed its own solar-powered microgrid on Tesla batteries, allowing it to disconnect from the main grid.

The setup powers six buildings, including a 55,000-square-foot casino and 102 hotel rooms—over 140,000 square feet of total building space.

The Rancheria keeps adding solar panels and Tesla batteries, but it’s still in constant communication with the main grid:

On a typical day the Rancheria still draws a small amount of power from PG&E’s grid to stabilize the system. But if they lose that connection for whatever reason, those six core buildings could theoretically last for months on solar power, with backup generators kicking in at night or during periods of cloudiness.

This is especially useful in California. After recent wildfires that can cause some remote locations to become disconnected from the grid for long periods of time, many in the state have been looking to microgrids as a possible solution.

West Virginia Wind

West Virginia is coal country, but the state isn’t shutting out renewables. A recent event saw the state considering its solar potential, but there’s also ample opportunity for expanding wind energy.

State officials welcomed plans for the Black Rock Wind Farm, a proposed wind energy project with a generation capacity of up to 170 megawatts, WV News reports.

According to the US Department of Energy, there are currently 686 megawatts of wind capacity in West Virginia. A new 170 MW farm would be a big boost to wind in the state, and another way to meet energy needs as coal continues to sink.

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