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Tesla nails solar roofs October 29, 2016

Posted by Maury Markowitz in solar.

Yes, those are solar shingles.

On 28 October, Tesla held a press event announcing their long-rumored solar roofing product.

I have to say, I’m floored. This is leaps and bounds ahead of anything I’ve seen before. They’re not just acceptable looking, they’re downright beautiful.


And we’re down under $1… July 22, 2016

Posted by Maury Markowitz in Uncategorized.
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It was bound to happen sooner or later, but there’s not a single person on the planet that would have seriously predicted I’d be posting this in 2016:

Utility scale solar in the US is currently installing for under $1/Wp. In Europe it’s expected to be 80 to 85 cents/Wp in the next 12 to 18 months.

Monosilicon panels, the expensive ones, are going for 53 cents/W today, and the expectation is that they’ll be 50 cents/W by the end of the year.

Power purchase agreements are going in at under 5 cents/kWh, and are signing at 4 cents for projects coming online in 2017.

So that’s basically that.

Another PV ERoEI debacle May 17, 2016

Posted by Maury Markowitz in balonium, solar.
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Your face should have this expression when you read Ferroni and Hopkirk’s paper.

recent report by Ferroni and Hopkirk explores the energy balance of solar power, and concludes that using PV is energy negative. That is, building PV requires more energy than the panel will produce over its lifetime.

Claims like these pop up from time to time, and normally end up being based on definitional tricks on the part of the authors. This example is no different in that respect, but in this case they also add a liberal dose of bad data.

The paper is so filled with errors and omissions that’s it’s almost breathtaking. Once again, dear reader, it’s time for the deep dive.


Electric cars and particulate pollution May 15, 2016

Posted by Maury Markowitz in Uncategorized.
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You think it’s bad now? It is.

The latest bit of news-mongering in the electric car world hit the press a few days ago, a new report noting that emissions from EVs are no better, and perhaps worse, than from normal cars. And because of that, they will cause just as much pollution and related health problems.

Well, at least that’s the way 3rd party news outlets reported it. If this is starting to sound familiar, that’s because it is. The original paper’s conclusions are quite a bit at odds with the conclusions being suggested by the news blogs.


Solar at 2.99 cents/kWh May 5, 2016

Posted by Maury Markowitz in Uncategorized.
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Down, down, and away!

I guess this is starting to sound a little repetitive, but yet another record has been set for solar PV – at a whopping 2.99 cents/kWh, well down into the range of unfiltered coal plants or high-quality hydro. Now again, this is in Dubai, which tends to be sunny, but, again, that’s like complaining we built hydro where there’s a river.

Now you might want to dismiss this number because it’s Dubai. But only last month another contract was signed at 3.45/kWh in Mexico, and it was only a few months ago that everyone was stunned by the Saudi and Nevada numbers at 5.85. That means the price has fallen almost 50% in the last year.

Now whether this is simply because of a temporary oversupply situation in China I can’t say, but it doesn’t make a difference. Solar is now cheaper than coal, and from here out, always will be. Welcome to that future everyone was talking about in the 70’s.

2015 PV prices hit new lows in the US March 30, 2016

Posted by Maury Markowitz in solar, Uncategorized.
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Down, down, and away!

Most of the data on PV pricing, like the Lazard numbers I prefer, tend to focus on larger installations, especially “utility scale”. In the US this isn’t all that useful on its own, because about half of all the panels going in are on residential rooftops. So that’s why this report is so useful.

Basically the price declines in larger installs remains as breathtakingly rapid as it has been for years, including a whopping 17% in 2015 alone. But those residential numbers are looking pretty plateaued to me. So let’s see what this means.