Morning Brief: unenthusiastic solar bill in West Virginia, battery storage is suffering from ‘growing pains’

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Battery storage is suffering from “growing pains” as the industry matures, according to panelists at an S&P Global event, but the technology’s attractiveness seems likely to ultimately outweigh any pitfalls.

“Cost remains a key concern for the technology, said Himanshu Saxena, CEO of Starwood Energy Group Global. ‘I think the [operations and maintenance] costs and the maintenance CapEx on these systems is going to be far more than people forecasted when they got into this business,’ he said, adding that the storage industry is experiencing ‘growing pains.'” Source: S&P Global

This year’s least enthusiastic solar bill, so far: The West Virginia Senate on Friday passed a bill on a unanimous vote encouraging power companies to use solar energy — in a bid to lure businesses to the state. The proposal would create a regulatory program for utilities to use a small amount of renewable energy.

The bill includes text saying renewables cannot “displace any current levels of coal-fired generation capacity.” Source: Associated Press

From Backwoods to Bankrupt,  The Rise and Fall of Real Goods Solar: Real Goods Solar, a pioneer in the U.S. solar industry filed for bankruptcy in January.

“But this isn’t just any bankruptcy. A decade earlier, Real Goods Solar grew organically and through acquisition and pulled in tens of millions of dollars in revenue. Four decades ago, the company helped kick off the residential solar phenomenon by supplying panels to off-grid dwellers in the remote forests of Mendocino County, California.” Source: GTM

Five things to watch in the Australian solar sector: 2020 is shaping to be a rollercoaster year for the Australian renewable energy sector. “Australia’s energy markets have not experienced a dull year in over a decade, 2020 will not be an exception – it promises to bring both good and bad news for solar investors” Leonard Quong, an energy analyst at BloombergNEF told pv magazine Australia.

50 megawatts in Zimbabwe:  A 50 MW solar power plant is set to be built in Zimbabwe. The project agreement was signed by IPP Tatanga Energy and ammonium nitrate manufacturer Sable Chemicals.

“Part of the output from the Kwekwe solar power plant will be used to reinforce Zimbabwe’s national electricity grid, which currently has a large production deficit. The project comes at a time when Zimbabwe is facing acute electricity supply gaps with low generation capacity at the country’s main power stations in Hwange and Kariba. The situation has been worsened by drought conditions in the last rainfall season, which has seen water levels at Kariba Power Station drop significantly in the last few months and the inefficiency of the old machinery.” Source: Construction Review