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Jenny Chase
1. Time to make minor updates to my unpopular opinions thread, since this seems to be a good way to organize thoughts. If you like these, you’ll like my book, Solar Power Without the Jargon.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
2. Solar Power 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. It’s short and not too serious; one reviewer said it “made me laugh quite a few times”.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
3. It includes interviews with industry legends Professor Martin Green and Dr Zhengrong Shi, who went from being China’s Sun King to learning to cook, as well as Morgan Bazilian, Lucy Hornby, Charles Yonts and others. And what Michael Liebreich was like to work for.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
4. To the ! manufacturing is a still a terrible business to be in, with vicious price competition and last mover advantage. Most well-known manufacturers are saddled with heavy debt they took on to build their rapidly-becoming-outdated factories.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
5. Crystalline silicon technology is good enough and is still achieving major cost reductions, for example diamond wire saws went from new to about 100% of the wafer slicing market from 2016 to 2018. Bifacial modules look likely to do the same, at least for ground mounted solar.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
6. Solar is now usually the cheapest source of daytime energy in sunny countries. We don’t need a technology breakthrough in solar to achieve massive adoption, which is happening now in an unevenly distributed, rather messy way.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
7. Countries that have built little solar to date are not losing to high-solar countries; they waited for a bargain on price and can now hold an auction to find out how little a solar developer is willing to build it for. These first auctions are getting bigger.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
8. In 2017, my analysis team covered 42 countries which were significant solar markets doing more than 50MW/year. Now we cover 122 and keep finding ones we’ve missed. It’s a bit of a pain, honestly, but quite exciting.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
9. The more a solar company's pitch is about the enviro-social value of solar in general, the less likely it is to be a good company.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
10. I refuse to get excited about perovskites until a perovskite company can disclose a partnership with a named major module manufacturer. (This was my opinion in 2018. It is my opinion still).
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
11. Curtailment (cutoff when the grid can’t take all production) of solar is going to be widespread. It's a feature, not necessarily a bug. Grid connections are incredibly valuable (cf Portugal’s 2019 solar auction) and you want to oversize the plant to make the most of it.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
12. A lot of current household PV systems are designed suboptimally and may not make economic sense or even perform well. Also, most countries will move to paying a pittance for solar exports, so self-consumption rate is becoming the most important financial parameter.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
13. To financially assess a proposed rooftop solar system, you will need at least a year’s data on hourly electricity consumption to estimate selfconsumption. Also, get it built when you have scaffolding up for something else, scaffolding is expensive.
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Jenny Chase Oct 13
Replying to @solar_chase
14. Rooftop solar mandates on new construction (like California's) are a good idea. There will never be a better time in the roof's life to add solar than when workers are already on the roof, now the kit is so cheap.
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