Record solar cell efficiency, battery payback in a year, solar+telescopes, more! – Podcast #24

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.

First of course, here’s the podcast – Episode 24.

Next, the show started with Cesar Barboa of Nulife Power Services talking about repowering and decommissioning solar power systems, and what to do with the hardware. We shared images of his work. One neat note, old system owners get 4-5¢/kWh.

And now, to a few news items!


Business and homeowners installing solar are saving their neighbors billions in New England

Overall, when we combine savings from the wholesale electricity market, lowered needs for backup generation capacity, air pollutants that directly harm human health and estimates of the damage CO2 emissions might create – we find somewhere between $3.2 and $1.76 billion in the year 2014 through and including 2019. These savings don’t accrue to the solar power owners, but these benefits go to the nearly 15 million people that live within the New England Independent System Operator Source

Next time someone says, you know, that battery has to be made somewhere! Yeah, we get it. “Here’s the life cycle emissions assessment of EVs vs internal combustion vehicles….Their analysis puts the ‘carbon payback period’ from manufacturing the battery in an EV at just over a year.”


Solar PV System Installed on Telescope Facility Atop Maunakea – really, this article was shared because it’s a cool picture. There are variables of the project that are cool in their own right though:

  • 133-kW array and 332 solar panels
  • Strategically placed on unique 20,940 sq ft ballasted roof to avoid snow and ice fall from the domes
  • Roof has no structural framework to anchor system, so M3 Engineering and Technology designed custom racking system – Source

Perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells on the threshold of 30% efficiency

An HZB team has published a report in the journal Science on the development of its current world record of 29.15% efficiency for a tandem solar cell made of perovskite and silicon. The maximum possible efficiency is already within reach: the researchers analysed the two cells individually and calculated a maximum possible efficiency of 32.4% for this design. “We can certainly achieve over 30%“, says Albrecht. – Source

QuantumScape (solid state batteries) finally unstealths — with breakthrough performance in solid state batteries

Performance testing show QuantumScape’s ceramic separators working at high rates of power that allow a 15-minute charge to 80% capacity. CEO Jagdeep Singh claims its lithium-metal battery has an energy density exceeding 400 watt-hours per kilogram. 800 cycles with greater than 80% capacity retention and is claimed to be “designed to last for hundreds of thousands of miles of driving. “We don’t have production cells yet”…according to plan, QuantumScape won’t generate revenue until 2024 and cash flow until 2027. – Source


And last, but not least – the show:


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.