Tesla, Porsche, Australia, Haiti, Community Solar

Tesla ramps up Model 3 production and predicts profits this fall

WIRED May 2, 2018 by 

Teslas Elon MuskAfter a tumultuous year in stormy seas, Tesla is making progress toward a safe harbor. In a report to investors today, the automaker revealed that it built more than 2,000 Model 3 sedans for three consecutive weeks in April, an encouraging number for a company that has lagged badly on its production targets for this all-important vehicle. Stocks initially rose in after market trading, then dropped when CEO Elon Musk called analysts’ questions about capital requirements and sales figures “boring bonehead questions” and “so dry, they’re killing me”—and declined to answer.

7minutesolar: It seems Tesla is less a manufacturing company and more a technology/ideas company. Even if it does start selling enough Model 3s to make a profit, Elon Musk will probably be off spending that money and more on other grand schemes in energy storage or distributed electricity. It took Amazon 10 years to turn a small profit, but the stock kept slowly going up. And then took off. Just as the internet kept growing, electric vehicles are going to keep growing. Maybe some day Tesla will run out of investors that believe they can make more money by selling the stock than holding on to it, but there are probably lots more ready to jump in for the next few years.
»» Read the complete article at WIRED

By 2030, the sportiest Porsche – maybe even the 911 – will have an electric drive.

Porsche Website April 9, 2108 – Interview with Chairman of Porsche Executive Board Oliver Blume

Porsche Chairman Oliver Blume“Q: Does this mean that you have already decided to leave behind conventional drive concepts completely?
A: On the contrary! It would be absurd to think that we could do without the combustion engine completely in the foreseeable future. But, equally, we cannot miss the opportunity to invest heavily in electromobility. Before we leave petrol or diesel behind, the next decade will see an increase in the parallel use of combustion engines and alternative drives. A clear trend is developing, and we will deliver. I am not going to do anything hasty, however.

7minutesolar: Porsche didn’t survive and succeed this long by not being able to gauge the way the winds are blowing. As Blume puts it: “Inspiring products are what drives us forward; figures are merely the result”. Porsche is putting £6B into electric vehicle technology, VW as a whole is putting in £20B and plans on introducing 80 new e-models: 30 hybrids and 50 all electric. If you want to see the workings of why the EV revolution is just starting this interview is a good place to look.
»» Read the complete interview at Porche.com

Australia’s biggest solar farm about to begin commissioning

ReNew Economy May 1, 2018 by Giles Parkinson

Australia’s biggest solar farm to date – the 124MW Sun Metals facility that will provide one third of the power needs for its zinc refinery near Townsville in north Queensland, is about to start commissioning. Chief executive said the plant would begin commissioning in a staged approach in the next two weeks, and should be operating at full capacity by the end of May.  

He says the main reason for the solar farm is to help power the zinc refinery, and to lower electricity costs, which in turn would help build the case for a $300 million expansion of the refinery, and more jobs.

7minutesolar: One of the knocks on solar is that it can’t generate the power to do the big work – like powering a zinc refinery or steel plant. Australia, which admittedly has a lot of sun, seems to be intent on proving that wrong. Also getting ready to start up is a solar and storage combo unit that will power the Whyalla steelworks, which was rescued and is being resuscitated  by metals magnate Rajeev Gupta. The more solar, and solar/storage proves itself for big industrial use, the more it will be generally adopted. It’s not solar…but also a Swedish firm is building a plant that will use hydrogen produced with electricity from fossil-free Swedish resources. The resulting emissions are water. Let’s put the carbon into the steel, not into the making of the steel!
»» Read the complete article at ReNew Economy Australia

Solar startup brings renewable energy to Haitian businesses

Renewable Energy Caribbean May 1, 2018

One of the most exposed countries in the world to natural disasters, Haiti, an independent island state in the Caribbean with a population of close to 11 million, has been hit by hurricanes, floods and earthquakes with increasing ferocity and frequency.

Haiti has limited access to electricity – where only 38% of Haitians in 2016 had a connection to the electrical grid, a small improvement from 28% of Haitians in 1990. 

Leading the charge to rectify this is millennial female social entrepreneur, Sandra Kwak, and founder of social venture 10Power. Working in frontier markets, 10Power partners with local installers, providing and financing project developments for commercial-scale solar and energy storage solutions. In turn, this builds market ecosystems.

7minutesolar: Haiti is not a country that has even been able to attract large scale investments in any kind of industry. There are lots of lamentable reasons why, but it is probably not going to change any time soon. Distributed solar is exactly the kind of solution that can help improve things for the island, because it doesn’t rely on big bulk investments. The island itself is also well suited to the system, with lots of sun, but challenging geography and very little infrastructure of the most basic kind – even navigable roads – that enable a traditional centralized grid.  This is a great story, and 10Power already has a sales pipeline of over $100M.
»» Read more at Renewable Energy Caribbean or at 10Power

And here’s a TED Talk by 10Power founder Sandra Kwak

Community solar capacity more than doubles in 2017

pv magazine May 1, 2018 by 

387 MW of community solar projects were installed in the United States last year. This brings the cumulative total to 734 MW, with the majority in Minnesota and Massachusetts. This occurred as the larger U.S. solar market contracted, largely due to the hangover from the anticipated drop-down of the Investment Tax Credit in 2016.”

7minutesolar: 387 MW is a lot of power. Not so long ago, in 2012, a 400mw solar facility begining construction in San Antonio TX was billed as the largest solar facility in the U.S. The largest thermal solar facility in the world is 392 megawatts. To have this amount of power – probably enough to run about 70,000 homes – built as community solar is amazing. Community solar is a way to purchase su-driven electricity for businesses and households that otherwise would not find it economically feasible. Distributed solar, community power…these are models that will be instrumental in changing the way we produce and use electricity in the next decades.
»» Read the complete article at pv magazine

»» Read previous posts of The Daily Array

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