A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Real-World Challenges with a Rapid Transition to 100% Renewable Power Systems – We investigate the effect of such scenarios on security of power supply and find that 100% intermittent renewable power systems could be unable to meet basic peak demand and ancillary services requirements, proving inoperable under current system regulations. Openness and transparency is key, but modelers and model users must also interpret and communicate results carefully to not misguide public opinion and decision makers. While I might or might not agree with some of the tenets put forth in the analysis (I don’t), the paragraph here is really what matters and something we need give heed to. We’re talking about a global energy system that feeds billions, so giving pause as we move forward is important. Politicians can react in a kneejerk, not so nuanced manner – however, that same policy can be ironed out by time as the market and population reacts. Just a good paper to start reading as they give their perspective on the extra dimensions of analysis that are challenging to see through.

Large-scale solar meets record 49.95% of demand in California – and the 5GW of rooftop solar that behind the meter and not catalogued by utility-scale models showed 67% of demand being met by solar. California electricity is a lot more complex than just a one moment snap shot on a low demand Sunday, but what a great snapshot it is. Greentechmedia goes in a lot deeper on this subject – and sadly – pointing out that the utility-scale value is going to stagnate as no solar volume has been procured, and none is expected for next year either.

Brazil’s BNDES reduces interest rate for loans for large-scale solar from 1.7% to 0.9% – For a long-term project, with decades of consistent predictable payback – it’s the type of finance you’re going to see more and more of. And solar can show off and do it, and earn it.

US Energy Storage Market Tops the 1 GWh Milestone in 2017 – 100 megawatt-hours of grid-connected energy storage were deployed in the fourth quarter of 2017, marking 1,080 cumulative megawatt-hours deployed between 2013 and 2017. And GTM thinks we’re going to more than double that number in 2018. Energy storage in the utility space is going to come on real hard, real powerful. I expect to see a few gigawatt projects announced soon – they’ve already snuck into bids.

Polysilicon Price Decreases Rapidly in the First Week after Chinese New Year; Mono-Si and Multi-Si Wafers Restart the Fight: Price Trend – Looking at these numbers without having a gut for longer term data, is tough (I’ve only got a smidge of experience with knowledge at this level). What you can take from it though is that the price of mono and poly silicon is coming together, and with the higher efficiency of mono – we could very well see polysilicon start to be more expensive. Not to mention companies like LONGi and others are building factories in places with very cheap energy – the cost driver for mono. Analysts predict mono to be 50% of market in 2018.

Feature image comes from the Department of EnergyPhoto by Chris Allan.

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About John Fitzgerald Weaver

John Fitzgerald Weaver is a solar developer; known digitally as the 'Commercial Solar Guy.' As a project developer and installer, he’s sold and managed 50+ solar projects, valued over $25 million, ranging in size from 5kW to 1500kW. He’s been involved in many aspects of the solar supply chain –- as a company founder, developer, project manager, manufacturer, permit runner, salesman, contractor and financier. In his free time he tries to get away and clear his mind by climbing mountains, or more regularly by enjoying an IPA or scotch, and really loves the strange connection between politics, energy, finance, and environment in the energy world.