‘By 2017, We’ll Be Under $1.00 per Watt Fully Installed’

Jim Hughes, CEO of vertically integrated solar developer First Solar, spoke at the recent Edison Electric Institute meeting in New Orleans.

He cited “three big trends” in solar power.

Utility-scale: The CEO of one of the world’s largest utility solar builders said, “There’s lots of talk around distributed generation, and yet the bulk of the photovoltaics added on a global basis is still utility-scale…[and] will continue to be utility-scale.”

“Cost, cost, and cost”: “We recently did a strategic review of our business and asked, ‘What does it take to trigger demand? How do we gain competitive advantage over our competitors?’ The answer is cost.” Hughes said that markets are being driven by “demand elasticity versus price in a rather spectacular fashion.” He gave two examples. “In Texas, 18 months ago, CPS put out an RFP and they had…responses that had a 4 in the front for a price — 4-cent solar.” He described that price as a “wake-up call” and added that the “response has been massive procurement” across the Southeastern U.S.

Expiration of the ITC: Hughes called the expiration of the ITC “irrelevant,” saying, “Within 18 months, we will overcome the cost delta resulting from the drop [of the ITC] from 30 percent to 10 percent. It actually opens up new markets, in our opinion, because you’ll see an increased interest in utility generation once the distortion of the ITC is behind us.”

via First Solar CEO: ‘By 2017, We’ll Be Under $1.00 per Watt Fully Installed’ : Greentech Media.

MIT-Singapore Driverless Taxi Service

Singapore, at least as far as the future of cities is concerned. Officials there are expected to authorize an on-demand driverless taxi trial on public roads—a concept that could change the very nature of urban mobility, with shared autonomous vehicles operating as a sort of point-to-point transit system.

On paper, at least, the benefits of a shared autonomous cab system would be enormous for Singapore. Frazzoli and some collaborators recently estimated that a fleet of 300,000 robotaxis would be required to serve the city’s travel needs, assuming no one waited longer than 15 minutes during rush-hour. That’s less than half of the 780,000 passenger vehicles on the road in 2011, not to mention all the parking spots that could be converted into other uses.

“Instead of devoting that to storing metal and rubber, you can give it back to people and make parks or whatever else,” says Frazzoli. “If you can get rid of all the cars, you can actually get your city back.”

via MIT and Singapore Officials Are Collaborating on a Trial Driverless Taxi Service – CityLab.

Renewables Are Disruptive to Coal and Gas

Renewables Are Disruptive to Coal and Gas
Every doubling of cumulative solar production drives module prices down by 20%. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute expects solar in southern and central Europe (similar in sunlight to the bulk of the US) to drop below 4 cents per kwh in the next decade, and to reach 2 cents per kwh by mid century.
 
Why Energy Storage is About to Get Big – and Cheap
Storage of electricity in large quantities is reaching an inflection point, poised to give a big boost to renewables, to disrupt business models across the electrical industry.