Published on November 13th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan0
What Changed In The Solar Energy & Storage Markets In October?
November 13th, 2017 by Zachary Shahan
What happened in the solar & storage industries in October? A lot! Below is a concise summary of the most notable solar and energy storage stories of the month.
Acquisitions, Mergers, Investments, & Awards
The largest renewable energy acquisition in history — that big enough for you? Global Infrastructure Partners bought Asia-Pacific’s largest independent renewable energy power producer, Equis Energy, to set the record. The acquisition was for a record $5 billion.
French energy giant Engie (formerly called GDF Suez), which has been acquiring cleantech companies like it’s got nothing better to do, recently made an acquisition of an African off-grid solar company, Fenix.
First Solar’s stock price jumped 20% at the end of October on the back of some strongly positive quarterly finances. It’s been over a year since First Solar’s share price was so high … but it’s still far below 2007–2011 levels.
Indian giant Acme Solar Holdings is aiming to raise Rs 2,200 crore ($335 million) in its initial public offering (IPO). You buyin’?
Groupe Renault knows where the world is headed, and it initiated a new Renault Energy Services business entity in order to try to capitalize.
On the other side of the pond, a new consortium of battery tech firms named Imperium3 New York announced it is investing $130 million over the next 5 years to commercialize “an innovative technology for making more efficient and less expensive lithium ion batteries.”
Meanwhile, UK startup Brill Power won a €100,000 prize at EnergyFest in Amsterdam for finding a way to significantly extend the life of lithium-ion batteries.
Solar Market Fun Facts
& Big Projects
Solar leaders paused what they were doing to get down to Puerto Rico and help the struggling, threatened populations there. Tesla, sonnen, and Sunrun were a few of the biggest names down in the hurricane-slammed trenches, but small-scale solar players known by members of the CleanTechnica community also went down — and are still there.
6 of the 10 largest solar power states are red states. Republicans support solar! … Republicans in Congress should too!
Rooftop solar actually rose to 48% of South Australia’s electricity demand in October.
New solar + storage is even starting to beat old coal power plants in Australia. That’s what some have claimed is the more important “grid parity” crossover.
Meanwhile, in the US, renewable energy grew 10% in 2017. Over 10 years, US solar energy grew 4500% and wind energy grew 350%.
Speaking of rooftop solar, Sunrun currently has over 2000 orders in for its solar + storage Brightbox offering in California and Hawaii.
But the place where home energy storage is really taking off is Australia. More than 7,000 battery storage systems were installed across Oz in the first half of 2017.
Tesla’s energy storage business is booming too, with its biggest Powerwall installation and its biggest Powerpack installation coming up in Australia.
Europe isn’t fully left out, and BMW cut the ribbon on its Battery Storage Farm Leipzig while commemorating the production of the company’s 100,000th BMW i3.
Solar panel production expansions in 2017 have been larger than expected, almost reaching record levels, as the industry keeps booming, booming, booming.
Meanwhile, records continue to get broken. In Saudi Arabia, a seemingly impossible 1.79¢/kWh bid came in … with no subsidies. Yes, we’re getting close to “too cheap to meter.” No, not from nuclear.
Indian solar module manufacturers actually undercut Chinese module prices in a recent 300 megawatt (MW) tender in India.
A new low solar price record was set in India, getting down to Rs 3.14/kWh (4.8¢/kWh) for a 250 MW project . Though, it’s not as clear as all that — the low-price record was for a project using only Indian-made solar modules. Still, 4.8¢/kWh is exceedingly low and I don’t recall seeing many bids (anywhere in the world) lower. Azure Power, which already has a whopping 1.6 GW of solar installed, won the bid.
Another one out of India, the country will soon get its first utility-scale solar + storage project. “The project will have an installed capacity of 20 megawatts, equipped with a storage capacity of 28 MWh.” Mahindra Susten won the bid.
Speaking of integrated projects, Vestas, Tesla, Windlab, and Australian CEFC are now working on the first hybrid wind, solar, and energy storage project, a 60 MW project with 4 MWh of Tesla Powerpack battery storage.
What’s more fun than hybrid renewable energy projects? Floating renewable energy projects! India plans to soon have 20 MW of floating solar installed, taking a clear leadership position in this niche market segment.
Landing some massive wins in France, SunPower has been awarded over 500 MW of new solar project capacity. (Perhaps Total’s majority ownership of SunPower helped with that.)
South America’s largest solar power plant, a 246 MW solar farm in Chile, went online in October.
On the back of all of India’s strong renewable energy expansion, it’s probably not surprising to hear that it has set a new renewable energy market share (of total electricity production) record. The country got up to 13.2% one month this year.
As a mark of an energy industry in transition, the world’s largest coal miner put out a tender for a 200 MW solar project in October. Hint, hint.
SolarPower Europe contends that new global solar power installations will exceed 100 GW in 2017, and see a 30% increase over 2016. Let’s get ready to rumble.
University policy counts too, right? The University of Utah isn’t all in yet, but it aims to soon get 50% of its electricity from solar and geothermal energy according to a new commitment and contract.
Target’s response to 50% renewable electricity? Meh, come on, bro! Target just committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity for its domestic operations.
As if the dude wasn’t doing enough evil at the “Environmental Protection Agency,” pollution-loving department head Scott Pruitt recently proposed eliminating tax credits for renewable energy.
An inaugural Island Renewable Energy Initiative (IRIE) meeting was convened last month in Malé, Maldives. Will this signal the beginning of rapid renewable energy growth among island nations.