pvMB: new Tesla & NextEra board members, 98% electricity from solar & more!

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Editor’s note: In seeking to fulfill our mission to bring you, our readers, comprehensive news and analysis covering the U.S. solar market, we at pv magazine USA decided that our news stories weren’t fully capturing the depth and breadth of daily developments. And so in our first workday of 2019, we are proud to unveil our new pv magazine USA Morning Brief (#pvMB), which we will be producing every weekday as a complement to our regular articles. Enjoy!

 

Tesla Welcomes Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson as new independent directors to its board: As part of the Tesla/Elon Musk SEC settlement associated with the infamous “funding secured” tweet, new independent board members were chosen – and one of them is among the world’s richest individuals. Incidentally, a company of which Mr. Ellison is a significant shareholder purchased a microgrid energy system for a greenhouse farming project in Lanai, Hawaii for approximately $1.9 million, per a Tesla Energy purchase and installation agreement dated March 2017.

Floating PV technical potential is 10% of U.S. generationAs we covered earlier this week, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has pegged floating PV as a “rapidly emerging technology” in a report that assesses the U.S. technical potential at 2100 gigawatts, which could generate 9.6% of current electricity generation. When combined with other pieces of analysis – 40% of electricity could come from solar windows and 48% of electricity could also come from rooftops using 20% efficiency solar modules – we see that given enough energy storage, just short of 100% of existing U.S. electricity demand could be met with solar power – not including ground mounted or parking lot canopy solar.

NextEra Energy Partners elects Robert J. Byrne to its board of directors to replace James N. SuciuMr. Byrne was the founder and served as the president of Power Pro-Tech Services, Inc., which specialized in the installation, maintenance and repair of emergency power and solar photovoltaic power systems, until it was sold in 2017 to PowerSecure. NextEra’s yieldco holds both renewable and gas assets, so it is always nice to see a someone with significant solar experience gain a board seat.

Thin-film solar shingle maker Sunflare orders manufacturing equipmentMidsummer announced this week that it has received an order for its CIGS production equipment from manufacturer Sunflare, which is headquartered in California. The equipment will be delivered to a new factory in China, which Sunflare expects to bring online in 2019, and which will primarily serve the U.S. market. Tesla and RGS Energy are both trying to get into the solar shingle market, and now SunFlare says the U.S. market demand is greater than their capacity, so it is time to expand.

Dominion and SCANA tie the knot: Early this morning major power companies Dominion and South Carolina Electric and Gas Company (SCANA) announced that they have completed their proposed merger. As we reported in December, the union of Dominion and SCANA has brought some concessions for the solar industry, including guarantees of all-source solicitations and broader market access for renewable energy.

Finally, in the below tweet, we’re getting some inaugural 2019 solar module spot market pricing. Notice the grouping by region and how solar module costs varied so greatly between Australia, India, the EU and the United States, from 23.5¢ per watt up to 33¢/W for multicrystalline silicon modules, and 28¢/W through 40¢/W for mono PERC modules.