455GW of new solar per year to 2030 to meet net zero by mid-century is... quite ambitious, but not as ambitious as 505GW of new wind per year.

Our NEO team has been modeling again and what we need to do is very, very big.
I have seen new build growing from 1.47GW in 2005, my first year working in solar, to 144GW in 2020.

But 455GW/year starting right now still makes me feel a bit queasy. And solar's the easy bit of what we have to do.
It's okay, we just have to change everything.

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More from @solar_chase

29 Nov 20
This deserves a serious answer.

Germany started in a terrible place for renewable energy action. It's not very windy, it's not sunny, it's quite densely populated and heavily industrialised.
I remember my parents in the UK worrying about milk and mushrooms because of events in far-off Ukraine. I don't blame Germans for saying no to nuclear in the late 1980s-90s. It wasn't the right decision, but you can't exactly dismiss their fears as unreasonable.
Germany could have gone the climate denier path to protect its interests.

But it didn't. It tried - at substantial financial cost - to do something new and amazing: to run a modern economy on renewables. It's hard to overstress how ambitious that was in 2004.
Read 9 tweets
27 Nov 20
Important clarification on the Swiss 2050 Net Zero study/plan: it's no *net* electricity imports. So, Switzerland will export electricity in summer and import in winter. (Fine, but all north Europe will be planning the same...).

It hangs a lot of hope on "steeply tilted PV and facades", letting us generate 32% of our electricity from solar in winter halfyear.

Hmmm. Parts of Switzerland have much clearer skies in winter than my foggy valley, but that's still a lot of winter sun being assumed.
However you tilt the panels, you do need sunlight to generate electricity.

It does seem to have assumed massive expansion of rooftop solar just because nobody minds rooftop solar and there's space. Which is valid. I struggle to believe there is such tiny wind potential though.
Read 6 tweets
30 Oct 20
The @IEA says solar is king. Worth noting we @BloombergNEF say "wind retakes the lead from solar" because (very basically) with more granular modelling, wind electricity is just more useful at high penetrations. Blows in the early morning, in winter, etc.

I mean, we of Team Solar @BloombergNEF say "well next year we'll have a lower capex forecast and a slightly higher capacity factor figure assuming bifacial modules, so GAME ON" but that may not actually change the result here.
The global result also depends a lot on how sunny countries do economically. The model generally prefers to build solar, rather than wind, in relatively non-seasonal climates and those with lots of aircon.
Read 10 tweets
18 Oct 20
1. Time to make minor updates to my annual “opinions on #solar” thread.
If you like these, you’ll like my 2019 book, Solar Power Finance Without the Jargon. Five stars on Amazon, apparently “entertaining” and writer knows her stuff”. Also available here: tinyurl.com/y6lc3ohl
2. Solar Power Finance Without the Jargon is the book I should have read before seeking a job in renewables, from the perspective of having worked in this for 14 years.

Link to 2019 thread. 2018 and 2017 are linked so you can see what I got wrong. tinyurl.com/y56zx5qc
3. To the opinions! Solar manufacturing is still a terrible business to be in, though 2020 is better than many years. Competition is vicious and the newest factories have the best technology. Older manufacturers carry heavy debt for factories rapidly becoming obsolete.
Read 40 tweets
10 Sep 20
About 80% of U.S. gas open cycle gas turbines for peak power ran below 15% capacity factor in 2019, according to my colleague @YayoiSekine 's note, and about 60% never ran for more than 6 consecutive hours last year.

(Paywalled but bnef.com/insights/23449 )
Anyway that seems to be the main reason there's 8.9GW of PV with storage in the U.S. pipeline by 2023, and 69GW in the interconnection queue (basically hoping for a grid connection).

First you replace the peakers, and then you come for the CCGTs.
This observation brought to you because I am speaking at @Solarmedialtd 's Solar and Storage Co-Location Virtual Summit on Sep 24-25, and figured I'd better learn something about solar + storage.

There is more of it than I thought there was.

Read 4 tweets
15 May 20
Although I don't agree with much of this analysis, it is right that solar will be incredibly cheap, and thought-provoking.

(I think the fundamentals of applying learning curve analysis to a LCOE are slightly dodgy, and 30% is too high a rate even for capex).
Specifically, I'm a little concerned that a lot of the falls in cost of capital, O&M cost and non-module cost over the last decade have been one-offs. Cost of capital has dropped worldwide for everything, for example.
Our definition of a normal utility-scale PV project has gone from 1MW to at least 50MW, and there aren't that many places where you can just whack down a GW plant, so typical system sizes will cap out. Cleaning panels and mowing vegetation is more and more of the LCOE.
Read 6 tweets

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