pvMB 1/18/19: Tesla cuts 7% of workforce, a win for interconnection in Arizona, 57 MW plant in South Carolina goes online and more!


Tesla reduces workforce by 7% – This morning Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent out a letter to employees stating that the company will “reduce full-time employee headcount by approximately 7%”, which will mean the loss of around 3,000 jobs. We don’t know yet which divisions this will come from or where geographically the layoffs will occur, but important context is Tesla’s workforce grew 30% last year. Source: Tesla


Largest solar rooftop installation in the state installed at Madison CollegeThanks to a $500,000 grant from Madison Gas and Electric, Madison College has installed over 5,700 solar panels, covering 125,000 square feet. The project now takes the cake of being Wisconsin’s largest rooftop solar array. The project will save taxpayers about $200,000 each year and serve as a teaching tool for multiple programs within the college. Source – WKOW.com


Bloomberg announces Climate Finance Leadership Initiative and founding membersHoping to facilitate the private financing objectives included in the landmark Paris Agreement, Michael R. Bloomberg announced the founding members of the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI): AXA CEO Thomas Buberl, HSBC CEO John Flint, Government Pension Investment Fund (Japan) Executive Managing Director and CIO Hiro Mizuno, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, Enel CEO Francesco Starace, and Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake. It was also announced that Mary Schapiro, Special Advisor to the Founder and Chairman and Vice Chair for Public Policy at Bloomberg LP will serve as CFLI’s vice chair. The CFLI was formed by Bloomberg at the request of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres. Source – Bloomberg


Pine Gate Renewables completes 57 MW solar project in South CarolinaPine Gate Renewables, with the help of install partner NARENCO, has completed its largest project to date: the 57 MW Peony Solar project in Orangeburg County, South Carolina. The project is comprised of 175,000 tracker panels across 334 acres, capable of generating more than 97,400 megawatt-hours per year and powering 9,348 homes. This project brings Pine Gate Renewables’ total portfolio to 188 MW of renewable energy. Source – Pine Gate Renewables


Solar gardens shot down in Danville, IllinoisMay we take a moment to honor the memory of three special use permits for solar gardens, which were ultimately struck down on Tuesday night by the Danville City Council. The vote followed a recommendation by the Danville Area Planning and Zoning Commission, made on the basis of residents making their concerns of seeing the solar panels from their homes, lower property values and few benefiting from it known. However, the city’s Board of Alderman says this is know a death knell for solar gardens in the city, in fact they are something that could benefit the city such as in making it more sustainable and helping residents with utility bill discounts. Source – Danville Commercial – News


Wacker has ramped its polysilicon production in Tennessee – As first reported on pv magazine’s German site, in its Q4 results Wacker Chemie announced that its polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tennessee has not fully ramped following recovery from a hydrogen explosion in late 2017. Wacker has been one of the only Western polysilicon makers that has had much access to the Chinese market, which dominates ingot and wafer production and thus global polysilicon demand. Source: pv magazine


Maryland officials approve EV charging infrastructure pilot programMore than 5,000 total Level 2 and DC fast charging stations are coming to Maryland, now that state officials have approved a modified version of a five-year electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure pilot program. The program will start by testing a limited EV charging deployment at a reduced cost on property leased, owned or occupied by a unit of state, county or municipal government for public use. Fortunately, not all of the costs for the proposed charging infrastructure do not fall on ratepayers. Source – DEI


Arizona scores a win for solar interconnection – On Wednesday afternoon the Arizona Corporation Commission approved new rules for the interconnection of solar and battery storage, which included amendments that advocates say turned around what could have been a damaging set of rules.


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