Technical reviews of solar+storage news

Tesla’s Canadian skunkworks reports lithium ion 40% energy density increase – Tesla Airlines, much cheaper cars, long range Semi, and great change coming

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | August 21, 2020

I think it’s time we let ourselves free of the shackles of energy storage pragmatism, and embrace some futurism. What once was true: “There aren’t enough resources, the prices are too high, the density is too low, it can’t scale, too short a lifetime, etc.” is no longer. Let us consider a new response to…

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America’s first gigawatt battery permitted in California; the state needs about three of them to fight blackouts

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | August 17, 2020

Vistra Energy has received approval from the local building authority to install a 1.5 GW/6 GWh energy storage system at Moss Landing in California. The approval, technically, was to expand the prior approved energy storage facility that was 300 MW/1,200 MWh. No contract for the facilities energy has been announced. This battery, if it was…

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A lithium ion battery burnt & four firefighters knocked unconscious: A timeline, and recommendations

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | August 10, 2020

Energy storage safety is not a game: UL has released its report on the energy storage fire at the McMicken Energy Storage facility located in utility Arizona Public Service territory just outside of Phoenix. Julian Spector, whose been reporting on this event from early on, covered the report from the utility’s perspective (which includes a…

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Top thirteen list of solar power hardening tips, costs and logic included

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | August 3, 2020

For some, solar power is about clean electricity, while others find the financial aspects of it most compelling. Still others, a very important batch of people, want the independence that distributed electricity generation offers. With independence comes responsibility though, and one responsibility is that your solar system needs to be able to handle the rough…

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All energy projections are wrong, because humans are ornery creatures

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | July 28, 2020

It’s not that we don’t see far into the future, it’s that the variables are too great for us to pick a single specific future. And it’s not that we shouldn’t to listen to those who make projections. I’m just reminding you that it’s important for us to realize that everyone is wrong, and that…

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Energy storage rule making process gets judicial approval, inevitability a bit closer

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | July 21, 2020

It’s no longer a question of if  lithium ion batteries will change the power grid. The question is: Can the manufacturers of the world keep up with the demand, and how big will the changes will be? On July 10, 2020, a U.S. court dismissed a lawsuit put forth by electric utilities – and others…

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An investor’s review of a solar stock: Ameresco and MMA Capital

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | July 20, 2020

Some of the highest returns on investments in the solar power industry are in developing projects from scratch and actually owning a solar plant. Manufacturing can be challenging with high equipment hardware costs, coupled with constant downward pricing pressure. Construction margins are lower, but the absolute amounts of cash earned are great. Which leads to…

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Free government research: spreadsheet model of solar power operations and maintenance costs

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | July 14, 2020

When there is a gold rush, consider selling shovels if the panning isn’t your thing. Solar projects  are lasting longer. Things still go wrong though, and solar inverter replacements alone are worth ten figures globally. This reality has pushed us to adapt and manage – and soon enough we’ll be stringing tens of billions of…

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Massachusetts seeking 100% clean energy, Attorney General pushing natural gas investigation

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | July 10, 2020

Massachusetts is broadly pushing forward in efforts to clean its energy sources. In 2008, the state set a goal to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. Last year, this value was pushed to net zero emissions by 2050. In 2017, the Clean Energy Standard dictated 80% clean electricity by 2050. Now, a new crescendo is…

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How we fail at solar power generation projections

By John Fitzgerald Weaver | July 6, 2020

Projected lives of solar power plants are 50% longer than a decade ago. This is because we test our solar panels aggressively, and laser focus on facility failures once we build them. This has led some to highly rate the safety of solar power investments. However, we’re not perfect. In 2019, an analysis of 1.2…

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