Last week was an another interesting week for solar. Another study showed that in the very near future solar and wind will become cheaper than other forms of new electric generation like natural gas and coal. At the same time major solar projects are shifting hands. Meanwhile the Roomba is taking to the garden with solar power and is ready to clean up on weeds.
A new report from Morgan Stanley found that by 2020 wind and solar power will be the cheapest form of new energy throughout the world. The report found that low costs of renewable energy will drive renewable energy growth and carbon reduction. That’s opposed to new renewables being driver by government policies.
One place that will see a huge amount of renewable energy development is India, a new study found it could integrete 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022. A new National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report conducted with India and other labs found that the country could integrate 100 GWs of solar and 60 gigawatts of wind in the next five years and continue to balance its grid.
In the US a lot of big solar projects are shifting hands. For instance, 8minutenergy Renewables announced that Capital Dynamics purchased the last, 328 megawatt phase of the gargantuan 800 megawatt Mount Signal Solar Farm. Perhaps even bigger, NRG Energy announced a new transformation plan that would see it sell up to 3 gigawatts of its renewable energy plants. The utility had aggressively built up a large portfolio of such projects, but under direction from the board, it will sell a lot of them as well as other electric generating facilities to raise capital and reduce its debt.
While it’s not a giant solar project, one of the more interesting developments in solar last week was a new Kickstarter project from the inventor of the Roomba, Joe Jones. The new robot is a solar-powered garden weeder called the Tertill. The green, puck-like robot will be able to sense weeds and cut them down before they even put out leaves.
More are speaking out against dirty energy as well. Last week Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) committed the state to reducing its emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement through the US Climate Alliance. Under its commitment, it will reduce its emissions to 26 percent or more below 2005 levels by 2025.
Nebraskan ranchers and farmers are objecting to the completion of the Keystone Pipeline project by installing solar power on their lands. The effort, led by Bold Nebraska, will install solar projects on the land the pipeline will eventually go through. As such, it will force a showdown between clean energy and dirty energy.
One of the biggest threats to the hundreds of thousands of solar installation jobs across the US is a pending trade case with the now bankrupt Suniva. Last week, SunPower CEO Tom Werner warned of how the trade case could impact the US solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association previously warned, for instance, that if the government finds on behalf of Suniva it could cost the US up to 90,000 jobs.Tweet