NREL Publishes Landmark Residential Solar PV + Energy Storage Cost Breakdown

Joshua S Hill for CleanTechnica: The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory has published a landmark report extensively detailing component and system-level cost breakdowns for residential PV solar systems equipped with energy storage. The decreasing cost of solar systems has been well documented over the last several years, with increased innovation and decreasing manufacturing costs combining to make solar PV a competitive and economic choice for residents and utilities across the United States, and in fact the world. As such, the costs attributed to the development of residential and utility-scale solar projects has been well defined for some time - even though that figure keeps decreasing.

Wind Energy Now Directly Competing With Coal On Cost

Gregory Brew for OilPrice.com: Last week, Xcel Energy announced a multi-state wind capacity project, anticipated to be the largest in the United States. Spanning seven states, the project covers eleven new wind farms and would generate 3280 MWs at a cost of $3.5-4.4 billion. In its announcement, Xcel emphasized the cost-savings attached to wind power, arguing that it would save Xcel customers in the Midwest $7.9 billion over thirty years. This, rather than the environmental benefits of renewable energy, drove the company's mission statement: wind was cheap, not just clean.

A Low-Tech Approach To Energy Storage: Molten Metals

Bruce Gellerman for WBUR: The ability to store energy promises to revolutionize the way we generate, transmit and use electricity - making renewable sources such as wind and solar cheaper and more dependable. Massachusetts is one of just three states requiring electric utilities to build battery facilities in the future. A company in Marlborough believes it literally has the next hot technology in energy storage: molten metals.

GTM: 10 US states have energy storage pipelines greater than 100MW

Danielle Ola for Energy Storage News: According to the latest GTM Research figures, energy storage is coming into its own and is no longer confined to a handful of US states. 21 states now have 20MW of storage projects proposed, in construction or deployed. Further, 10 states have pipelines of more than 100MW.

Fla. movin' on up with solar power

NWFDailyNews: For years, Florida has been an underachiever in solar power. Despite being ranked third in the nation for rooftop-solar potential by the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida annually has finished in the high-teens for actual installations. But the Sunshine State's solar prospects are beginning to brighten - and the results are making an economic impact.

Tata Power Solar Expands and Modernises its Manufacturing Facility

The two-stage expansion doubled the company's module capacity to 400 from 200 MW, and increased its cell manufacturing capacity by 65 per cent from 180 to 300 MW.

Big Oil Replaces Rigs With Wind Turbines

Jess Shankleman for Bloomberg: Big oil is starting to challenge the biggest utilities in the race to erect wind turbines at sea.

Record-breaking solar panel converts more than a quarter of sunlight into electricity

Ian Johnson for Independent: A record-breaking solar panel that can convert more than a quarter of the sunlight it receives into electricity has been developed by researchers in Japan.

Energy storage is America's industry to lose

David Ferris, E&E News reporter: The problem, Blunden said, is that the United States is wandering into a global competition without much urgency or a plan. "Are we going to make the decision to take a significant share of the next wave of manufacturing growth globally?"

Trump Should Make Space-Based Solar Power A National Priority

Space-based solar power (SBSP) --- in which satellites in Earth orbit capture the Sun's radiation, convert it to electricity and then transmit it back to Earth in the form of either microwaves or lasers --- would arguably do more to positively impact the lives of everyday Americans and fellow citizens of the world than almost anything the new President could champion.

Perceptual Robotics, Autonomous wind turbine inspection

SUAS News: Perceptual Robotics is applying leading edge autonomy concepts to industrial applications. Currently based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, our passion is to bridge the divide between academia and industry. Perceptual Robotics is applying leading edge autonomy concepts to industrial applications. Currently based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, our passion is to bridge the divide between academia and industry. Through our Innovate UK project, we will be developing a fully autonomous system for the intelligent, efficient and reliable inspection of wind turbines. Cont'd...

Google: 4 out of 5 US homes have solar power potential

Steve Dent for engadget: A five kilowatt rooftop solar installation now costs just $12,500 on average after tax credits, and pretty soon, installing one might soon be a matter of re-tiling your roof. Whether it's right for you, however, depends in large part on how much sun your house gets. That's where Google's Project Sunroof comes in -- launched just two years ago, it has now surveyed over 60 million US buildings in 50 states. That means there's a good chance you can see the electricity production potential in your city, neighborhood and even specific house. Google calculates the amount of sunlight on your roof based on "3D modeling of your roof and nearby trees," weather patterns, the position of the sun in the sky during the year and shade from buildings, trees and other obstructions. That info is then converted to energy production "using industry standard models for solar installation performance," Google says. Cont'd...

Scientists harness solar power to produce hydrogen from biomass

University of Cambridge via Biomass Magazine: Dr Moritz Kuehnel, from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, joint lead author on a new research paper published in Nature Energy, says: "Lignocellulose is nature's equivalent to armoured concrete. It consists of strong, highly crystalline cellulose fibres, that are interwoven with lignin and hemicellulose which act as a glue. This rigid structure has evolved to give plants and trees mechanical stability and protect them from degradation, and makes chemical utilisation of lignocellulose so challenging." The new technology relies on a simple photocatalytic conversion process. Catalytic nanoparticles are added to alkaline water in which the biomass is suspended. This is then placed in front of a light in the lab which mimics solar light. The solution is ideal for absorbing this light and converting the biomass into gaseous hydrogen which can then be collected from the headspace. The hydrogen is free of fuel-cell inhibitors, such as carbon monoxide, which allows it to be used for power. Full Article:

Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves

Diane Cardwell for The New York Times: Brooklyn is known the world over for things small-batch and local, like designer clogs, craft bourbon and artisanal sauerkraut. Now, it is trying to add electricity to the list. In a promising experiment in an affluent swath of the borough, dozens of solar-panel arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops are wired into a growing network. Called the Brooklyn Microgrid, the project is signing up residents and businesses to a virtual trading platform that will allow solar-energy producers to sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door. The project is still in its early stages - it has just 50 participants thus far - but its implications could be far reaching. Cont'd...

Elon Musk: I can fix South Australia power network in 100 days or it's free

Elle Hunt for The Guardian:  Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of electric car giant Tesla, has thrown down a challenge to the South Australian and federal governments, saying he can solve the state’s energy woes within 100 days – or he’ll deliver the 100MW battery storage system for free. On Thursday, Lyndon Rive, Tesla’s vice-president for energy products, told the AFR the company could install the 100-300 megawatt hours of battery storage that would be required to prevent the power shortages that have been causing price spikes and blackouts in the state. Thanks to stepped-up production out of Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Nevada, he said it could be achieved within 100 days.   Cont'd...

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