Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mr. Trump, if your going to lie about Renewable energy, at least make it realistic

On August 2, 2016 this happened, as reported by many outlets and reference here from The,

"“It’s so expensive,” Trump said of alternative energy at a rally in Pennsylvania.
“And honestly, it’s not working so good. I know a lot about solar. I love solar. But the payback is what, 18 years? Oh great, let me do it. Eighteen years,” he said, turning to wind power. “The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.”"

Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican candidate for President.  The fact at a Republican candidate decides to tell lies about renewable energy is not a surprise.  The real surprise is how LAZY these lies are.  They are cartoon level lazy.  "Kill all the birds"?  As I sit here typing on this keyboard I see 3 birds out my window.  I can hear another 3-4 because the window is open.  I guess wind power hasn't got to them yet.

Billionare Mark Cuban, who once said a Trump presidency was a good idea, recently changed his tone drastically, saying that the opportunity Trump has was squandered because he was "lazy" and "didn't do the work".  I am a rabid support of renewable energy and action on climate change, but there are certainly criticisms.  He was just too lazy to find actual criticisms, so he gave caricatures of criticisms.

Well, a rebuke is not really needed, but in true Trump fashion I'll give it with as little work as possible.. here it is for the solar.. here it is for the wind.. you're welcome...enjoy.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Size of Energy Storage Market Explained

With ASES Solar 2016 / Intersolar Conference coming up fast (have you registered?  Are you going? You probably should!), much focus will be on the Intersolar exhibit floor.  Last year there were three floors, one for PV generation products (modules), one for Balance-of-System products (trackers, racking) and one for emerging energy storage products (batteries, PowerWall, ect).  With each floor taking up about the same amount of space and with hundreds of players, it makes sense to look at these three prongs of the renewable power industry from a market size point of view.   The results may surprise you!  For consistency we will focus on Q1 2016 results in the US.

PV Modules:  Lets first focus on the bellwether: PV modules.  SEIA reports 1,665 MWdc of modules sold in the US in Q1.  Lets say average sale price of a module is $0.65 / W, this amounts to $1,082,250,000 in sales (a lil over $1 BILLION) in the first quarter of this year.

PV Balance of System:  IHS reported last year the 2014 annual global market size for balance of system product was ~$3.1 Billion, with the US accounting for ~36% of the total market.  Doing some rough math, this projects a quarterly US market size of $279,000,000, which is likely an underestimate because these numbers are already 1.5 years old.  Either way it is a line in the sand for the point of discussion at the moment.

Energy Storage: Now what you've all been waiting for.  Energy storage has been the hot new thing in renewables for awhile now, but just how big is the market today?  Just how much can your "batteries in a box" company make?  Greentech Media reported this month that a total of 18.3 MW, more aptly described as 21.1 MWh, of storage was deployed Q1, 2016 in the US.  With Tesla claiming prices of $300 / kWh, lets be generous and say these systems had a total value of about $800 / kWh.  With that, the total value of the market is $14,600,000.  The batteries alone (at $300 / kWh) is less than $6,000,000.  At a compound annual growth rate of 50% (which some claim is too low), it would take 12 years for storage to reach the same size as PV modules today, and 8 years to reach the same size as the US PV BOS market.  Meanwhile those markets are growing aggressively as well.

For a visual comparison of these three markets, click on the picture below.

So what are the reasons to be cautious about storage?  First, despite being a tiny market there are already hundreds of players, from big names like Tesla and Lockeed Martin, to dozens of smaller me-too players.  Second, there is already a fairly good, yet embattled in some areas, competitor to storage:  net metering.  If you have solar on the roof and an agreement with the utility to give you credit for energy you put back on the grid, then guess what, you already have a great (and free) storage system.  Third, there are really no reasons why this developing industry will be a "high margin" endeavor, much like PV modules.  

Reasons to be bullish on storage abound, but it is a good bet that storage will have more shakeout than opportunity for most players in the next 5 - 10 years.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

SunEdison is Bankrupt

Less than a year ago in July, 2015 SunEdison was a wall street darling.  Trading at $31 / share and worth $8 Billion, what a difference 9 months makes.  Today the embattled, deeply debt laden and deeply misguided solar developer / manufacturer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as covered by many major news outlets.

The stock sits as a market cap of $0.115 billion, an erosion of about $28 million / day since last July.  Just to put this in context, Solyndra lost (the tax payers albeit) $535 million, so the collapse of SunEdison is basically 16x Solyndras in size.

It seems that "work capital" was secured in order to keep operations moving during this period, but in all likelihood the "new" SunEdison will be a much smaller, less abitious enterprise after emerging from restructing, which could take a very long time.

All in all, this is another black eye for the solar business that it doesn't really need.  With the ITC extension in December, it seems to always be two steps forward, one step back for the solar business.  On the other hand, companies which relied less on Financial Engineering to pump their value are still doing quite well in solar for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

OCR / ASES Participating in CSU Fullerton Earth Week Tomorrow!

Happy to announce (a little last minute, but better than never!) that OC Renewables and ASES will have a booth at tomorrow's Cal State University Fullerton campus as part of their Green Expo.  I will be there with the latest issue of Solar Today hoping to sign up many young and exciting students to the local OCR network of clean energy enthusiasts as well as the ASES national organization.

If you are in the area please stop by and say hi!  Event runs from 10 AM to 1 PM on the Cal Sate Fullerton Campus.  Check out a report on the school newspaper for more information at this link, or the school's earth week website at this link here.

See you there ~ Adam

Friday, February 12, 2016

Renewable Energy Networking Event hosted by OCR / PickMySolar / ASES

I get a lot of emails asking why OCR doesn't do regular meetings anymore.  We prefer to hold off on asking to donate your time to an event until it is really something special... and this EVENT is that something special!

Please join OC Renewables, the American Solar Energy Society and for a limited attendance open house at the recently finished La Kretz Clean Tech Innovation Campus in Los Angeles on Feb 18 at 6pm. 

You will be hosted to a tour of the center, a short presentation about ASES / OCR and PickMySolar and then open it to networking and refreshments.  Come and talk to some of the most well connected clean tech entrepreneurs in LA!   We also expect some guests from the press and the public sector.  

Please RSVP by registering at EventBrite at this link.  It is absolutely free, but attendance is limited to 60x guests.  

A PDF flyer of the event is at this link.  Simo and I (and Max from PickMySolar) can't wait to see you there!

~ Adam

Thursday, February 4, 2016

SOLAR 2016 Conference Call For Abstracts!

If you are in the solar biz, then you know the two main industry conference every year are Intersolar held in San Francisco, and Solar Power International which is held in a different city every year.

What you might not know is that OC Renewables parent organization, ASES, is having their 2016 SOLAR conference IN PARTNERSHIP with Intersolar this year from July 11-13, 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Franciso, the same time and place as Intersolar.  This means you get access to two fantastic conference experiences in one place, at one time.

While Intersolar is more focused on the business end, ASES SOLAR 2016 is focused on the technical, the practical and the interesting facets of solar / renewable energy.  Abstract submission for speakers at the conference is now open and closes Feb 22, so if you are working on something interesting, please do drop an abstract for a chance to present a poster or a talk at the show this July.

Topics of specific interest at the conference for ASES include:

Technology Advances:

Renewable Heat
Renewable Electricity
Clean Transportation
Energy Efficiency

Managing a Grid with High Penetration Renewables:

Renewables Working Together
Electrical and Thermal Storage
Renewable Energy Resource Forecasting
Resource Assessment
Load Management

Energy Economics, Public Involvement and Participation:

Resource Conservation
Public Education Innovations
Policy and Financing
Solar Decathlon and Related Competitions
Community Solar
Solar on Native Lands
Community-based Actions

Zero and Low Energy Buildings:

Resilient/Regenerative/Low-energy/Low-carbon architecture
Building Simulation Tools and Monitoring
Daylighting Methods and Case Studies
Embodied Energy and Life Cycle Assessment

I'll definitely see you there!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Art + Renewable Energy = LAGI, are you ready to compete?!

 Simo takes a minute to explain in depth what the Land Art Generator Initiative Competition (LAGI), going on right now (applications due in May) and focused in Santa Monica for this year is all about.  Could you be the next big winner in this the-mother-of-all-clean-tech-architecture-design-competitions?:

The LAGI 2016, Land Art Generator Initiative, is a landmark initiative that has brought together artists, architects, scientists, landscape architects, and engineers in a first of its kind collaboration. The goal of the Land Art Generator Initiative is to design and (perhaps) construct a series of public art installation that uniquely combine aesthetics with clean energy generation. The works serve to inspire and educate while providing renewable power to thousands of homes around the world.

The idea for LAGI first came from Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry in 2009 during a trip to Dubai. After leaving Pittsburg, the LAGI founders were impressed by the plenitude of energy resources in the United Arab Emirates even if this city relies essentially on fossil fuels and is among the least sustainable cities in the world.

By fusing art and energy, the LAGI main’s goal was to come up with new forms of public arts that would solve today’s most pressing problems, global warming and pollution, in an artistically relevant way. Art has an important role here as it can contribute to the aesthetic of the renewable energy installations which are often not considered terribly appealing. Aesthetics is a big deal for some potential renewable generation owners.  A recent Dallas Morning News article characterizes a resistance movement  to “ugly” solar panels as visual pollution.  (Source).

For 2016, Ms. Monoian and Mr. Ferry encourage creative people to submit their ideas and projects for large-scale and site-specific public art installations that generate carbon-neutral electricity and drinking water for the City of Santa Monica, California. LAGI jurors have been consistently impressed by the innovation and the creativity that the participants show to the public and this year is shaping to be no different.

In previous years the competition has focused on cities such as Dubai/Abu Dhabi, New York & Copenhagen.  Entries to the competition has been growing since 2010, registration is free and the best two teams are rewarded with cash prizes. The requirements and guidelines for every team include the fact that the installation should be a three dimensional form that has the ability to stimulate and challenge the mind of the viewer and attract him on every level. In addition to this, the installation must not exceed 80 meters in height and has to be safe to people who view it on the Santa Monica Pier. More guidelines and specifications can be found on the LAGI website here.

LAGI is excited this year to have an expert and interdisciplinary panel of jurors including Senator Ben Allen, Mr Kevin McKeown (Mayor of the City of Santa Monica), Mr Craig Watson (Director of California Arts Council) in addition to many qualified people. They will judge each team on their adherence to the design brief, the integration and sensitivity of their work and how efficient their installation is.

~ Simo, Associate @ OCR