The Clean Power Hour – a weekly clean energy headline review and commentary podcast run by Tim Montague, and yours truly – the CommercialSolarGuy – John Fitzgerald Weaver.

To the news:

The much revered International Energy Agency (IEA) put out some pretty spicy words in its most recent World Energy Outlook. These words included, ‘solar is becoming the king of electricity’, solar generating the, ‘cheapest electricity in history’, and the one that made me feel all warm and fuzzy – solar is, ‘is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022’.

In New Mexico, a coal power plant is being scheduled for shut down and its replacements are a combo of four solar+storage power plants totaling 650 MWac/~850 MWdc of solar and 300 MW/1,200 MWh of energy storage. A solar power plant in New Mexico recently set a U.S. record at 1.5¢/kWh with storage at 2.2¢/kWh.

We talked about some of the work done by NextEra and 8minute Solar Energy, and how their pipeline is equal to about half of the U.S.’ installed wind+solar+lithium ion storage base.

Next2Sun showed off a new project using their vertical racking hardware. The vertical modules will probably generate 1/2 the total electricity of a standard project, but hypothetically use a minimal amount of land space. Very clever. I specifically like this image of the side of the gear. Also noted is that Meyer Burger– a soon to be big module manufacturer– hung out for the images, and shared the hardware on their twitter account. Their modules are not in production until middle of next year.

A quick note that Array Technologies, single axis tracker manufacturer, set its IPO terms with plans to raise $675 million by offering 33.8 million shares at a price range of $19 to $21. Since this podcast, they’ve increased the volume of shares being sold, and on their first day were up 65%.

A trio of floating PV news:

  1. Some are seeing the cost per kWh of floating pv hit parity with ground mount.
  2. A Norwegian ocean floating pv group – but not big wave way open ocean – is going public. Image of gear below.
  3. The Department of Energy released an analysis suggesting roughly 40% of the world’s electricity needs could be generated by covering every hydroelectric created reservoir in the world.

Norwegian floating PV group

A giant solar power rooftop that some are suggesting is the largest in the world at 18 megawatts across and ~36-40 acres worth of space. The racking used was east-west product – lower production per panels, but far more panels on the roof. And after calculations, far more electricity production. Advent of cheaper solar panels, racking, etc making financial sense.


Solar Land use image‘We could power the US entirely with PV in the area used for coal mines OR missile testing ranges + golf courses OR 50% of corn ethanol production.’ We could get 40% of electricity from water, of 50% from rooftops, a huge volume from parking lots, 20-40% from windows, etc etc – more than enough space to harvest our electricity. It just need some time to come along.

Tesla Model Y structural battery coming to the European Gigafactory. That sounds pretty sweet. I’m a big fan of this structural battery concept – in cars **and** in airplanes. Just seems we can make a giant wing of a battery, and add some seats in the middle. Maybe even the tube can be out layered a battery. We let it air cool via tiny vents along the surface while in flight.

And the video where we chat about it all:

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.