Last week saw SolarWorld Americas begin hiring in response to the controversial International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling on imported solar panels. The ruling could increase tariffs on imported silicon solar panels and parts. But new technologies could threaten silicon PV, like perovskite crystals, which promise lower-cost, more efficient PV panels.
It should also be noted that as fall begins across the US, some fun solar events are coming up. Across the nation states and local areas will host tours of homes with solar power as part of the National Solar Tour. The Solar Decathlon, an biennial event that challenges colleges across the world to build solar-powered homes to compete in 10 events, opens its doors to the public later this week.
The ITC made its controversial ruling to recommend imposing tariffs on imported solar silicon PV panels and materials. The ruling, which could threaten 90,000 solar industry jobs across the US by increasing the price of solar panels in the US, has spurred SolarWorld to actually make hires. The company, which manufactures PV panels in Oregon, announced last week that it would hire up to 200 more by May 2018 as a result of the ruling.
Even if the ruling results in increased prices of silicon solar panels, newer PV technologies are coming closer to commercialization. Perovskite solar cells are one of the most promising new technologies and new research shows that by making the transfer of electrons extremely fast, it could boost the efficiency of perovskite PV cells to 30 percent, higher than most—if not all—silicon PV efficiency levels.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation recently gave a hefty sum, $20 million, to support environmental causes, including solar power in the US and internationally. It gave $120,000 to Re-volv to support its efforts to crowd-fund solar power on schools, community centers, homeless shelters, churches and other non-profits. It also gave to SunFunder and its $50 million Beyond the Grid Solar Fund (BTG Fund), to install solar energy in off-grid and grid-deficit areas in Africa and South Asia.
While it’s not likely to pass, Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced an energy storage bill to help increase grid stability, support more renewable energy development and create jobs. Since both Senators are in the minority party it’s unlikely to get much traction in the Senate. However, the legislation shows which way future legislation could go as the country moves toward making the electric grid more resilient and adding in more renewables.Tweet