Speeding the Energy Transition
Jan. 20, 2023

Clean Power Hour LIVE - Jan 19, 2022

Clean Power Hour LIVE - Jan 19, 2022

On the weekly clean power news and views, we bring you the latest cleantech and clean energy news,  thought leaders, and innovators. Our motto is ‘Speeding the Energy Transition!’

This week John Weaver and I discuss,
1. What the IRA Means for Wind, Solar and Storage Manufacturing - WoodMac Horizons Report is AWESOME
2. CCA must procure 1,300 GWh of supply to meet last 37 GWh of demand
3. New Mexico 4 GW HVDC lights up the future grid 
4. Form Energy and their Iron Air Battery might mean 10x cheaper technology than Lithium Ion - Mark Jacobs of Stanford University says it’s a game changer.
5. Total Energies goes vertical 
6. Solar Farm Expo Chicago - Agrivoltaics Conference 
7. 100 GW solar wafer factory being developed - the whole world broke through 100 GW in 2017
8. Solar modules from 1981 - Beverly High School, Massachusetts - was taken down recently

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The Clean Power Hour hosts and cleantech professionals Tim Montague and John Weaver (the Commercial Solar Guy) bring you the latest solar, wind, and energy storage news.

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The Clean Power Hour is produced by the Clean Power Consulting Group and created by Tim Montague. Please subscribe on your favorite audio platform and on Youtube: bit.ly/cph-sub | www.CleanPowerHour.com | contact us by email:  CleanPowerHour@gmail.com | Speeding the energy transition!

Transcript
Tim Montague:

Welcome to the Clean Power Hour live. I'm Tim Montague, your co host today is January 19 2023. And you can check out all of our content at Clean Power hour.com. Please give us a rating and review on Apple and Spotify. Subscribe to our channel on YouTube. And we are about to announce a major corporate sponsorship for the show. But we have room for more. So if you want to get in front of energy engineers, energy financiers, energy project managers, all kinds of clean energy geeks, then please reach out to me I have a great media kit I can send you just find me on LinkedIn or go to clean power hour.com and hit that connect or whatever the button says Welcome to the show, John Weaver commercial solar guy.

John Weaver:

And also if you if you get on Tim Show, then I will ask you a whole bunch of questions about your hardware, because I need to learn about your hardware, because we might have to use it one of our projects. And that's always a benefit for me, because I want him to bring cool people on the show. So I know how to build some better solar because that's you know, a lot of this comes down to all of us professionals, Tim included, who's a solar developer, we all want to be able to do solar better. And and that would be sweet to see some advertisers here on a clean power hour because solar 24/7 You know, and batteries and hydrogen and electric cars, and sometimes some rockets going into space because that's pretty cool. Tim, how are you? I'm in my new room here at my co working space.

Tim Montague:

Got a fancy background and everything John Weaver I'm just I'm just like flabbergasted over here

John Weaver:

work. And I got this cool microphone that's as big as my head here. Yeah, I'm gonna show it to you. It's giant. You can't really see it here. But look, it's got all kinds of neat was banging stuff. I don't know how to use it well, but I'll figure it out.

Tim Montague:

It's good to be in a studio environment. And

Unknown:

I Oh,

Tim Montague:

speaking of guests, we have Q sales coming on the show John on February 2. And what is his name? Scott Moskowitz. Yes, is going to come on the show to talk about what they're up to in Georgia. And around the world q cells being a South Korean solar panel manufacturer, now vertically integrated solar developer asset owner. I have many wonderful colleagues who have migrated to q cells in the last couple of years. They're on a tear. And we we did an extensive story on them last week, check out last week's live if you want to learn more about what q cells is up to they're building a major manufacturing plant soup to nuts, right? Not just solar panel assembly but ingots, wafers, cells, modules, the whole nine yards, which is really cool. And real quick, I want to talk I want to give an overview of what we're going to talk about, you know, I don't know why I stopped doing this. But they were going to be breaking down a report from ACP, American clean power on corporate buyers and what's going on in corporate procurement of clean energy. We're going to talk about the IRA. What it means for wind, solar and storage manufacturing. There's an HVDC project on the books in New Mexico, the land of enchantment and the place where I grew up from ages four to 14. Yeah, no two to 14. And form energies in the news with our air iron air battery. There's another manufacturer we need to have on the show, John. I have no dialogue with form energy, but they are potentially going to be producing power 10 times cheaper than lithium ion. So we're going to talk about that. What, what stories are we going to talk about on your end?

John Weaver:

I wanted to talk about a couple of capacity chats that I've been reading about the job solar and Have a group who's making wafers. And then I also want to talk about in factories Manji, as well, a solar panel facility, or a solar park solar project from 1981. I'd like to mention plus some tiny things, you know, there's a new panel out that is bigger than a piece of plywood and Timothy. Yep. It happened.

Tim Montague:

Finally. Yeah, that's I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad it depends on who you talk to you about that those super large panels, but we'll talk about that. I am a geek for the four by eight panel, I think they should just make them exactly four by eight. That is what America Built Environment runs on pallets of four by eight stuff, right drywall plywood, plywood? Why not solar modules, right.

John Weaver:

Make them so I can just slide right to the back of the pickup. I mean, yeah, that's, that's what it should be. I mean, we've standardized life on the size of a pickup

Tim Montague:

standardization is so important, it's so odd that the manufacturers haven't come together and agreed on, oh, we're gonna make resi panels this size, and we're gonna make commercial panels this size, it's fine to have a difference between resi and commercial, there are apples and oranges, very different structures, it's appropriate to have a much bigger panel for commercial facilities and for utility scale solar. But my goodness, every panel home has a slightly different size. And that's tough for the racking makers. It's tough for the installers. It's just, it's tough on logistics, it's it's tough all around,

John Weaver:

adds an extra step here and there, you know, you have to verify I'm dealing with a project in New York right now, where we're verifying the thickness of the aluminum frame, 30 versus 35, the position of the screw holes, the weight of the unit, you know, the pressure tests that it can take when it's going to be in the wind wobbling back and forth on top of an array tracker. And every module is different. And this module, we had to get a unique test because even though they're their new module maker, but they've been making cells and wafers for a while. And the racking company who's one of the largest in the world, maybe the second largest, I believe array technologies, they need to verify the module. And so it took us months of testing this unique module with unique characteristics you need metal size and unique this you need that and it's like oh my goodness. And so we're waiting for a last piece of metal that we can cut a torque to, which is the long piece that everything attaches to. And until we finalize that we can't get our torque to deliver then it's just a it's it's a challenge with these many many module sizes. And one thing that I'm really worried about I have Oh nm, and warranty responsibilities on projects to envy. And in eight years when I get a hailstorm or or like when seagulls drops co hogs on my projects. Where am I going to find replacement modules?

Tim Montague:

What on earth is a ko hog?

John Weaver:

Oh so cool hog is it's a snail? Yes, sorta. It's like it's a sea animal. It's like a muscle or claim or something but it's a little bigger and they're around New Bedford

Tim Montague:

Hills are breaking them on the rocks right but they might try to break them on your solar panel.

John Weaver:

I have a structure a couple years ago we replaced 15 SunPower modules really because they just wrapped them and just you know

Tim Montague:

insurance cover the seagull attack

John Weaver:

I assume so but is that a natural is that a god events? Is that something that's beyond standard insurance

Tim Montague:

I'm not worse my your the see yes my or I don't know man. I don't know.

John Weaver:

So So yeah, the muscle size thing I'm it's going to be a question I'm wondering about it. Yeah,

Tim Montague:

yeah. Yeah, it's a double edge. Let's talk about the IRA. I I found this lovely report

Unknown:

from when Matt wood Mac now I can't find it

Tim Montague:

would back as this sorry.

John Weaver:

I'm looking at it right now.

Tim Montague:

Yeah, there's a link in the doc why can I Is it is it only an HTML report? Yeah, must be just the website. I'll put this on screen now. All right. So what Mackenzie our friends at Wood Mackenzie? They're so weird right? Like they're they're in there in the green energy space hardcore. But they they they decentralized their their greentech media arm right and

John Weaver:

well, it's a little more complex. I mean, would Mac has always been an oil and gas firm. You know they have like 10,000 employee like they're a huge company. They've been an oil and gas analyst forever. Yeah. It was recently that they bought the GTM team and then started to whack it out. So they're now they

Tim Montague:

have this. They have this subtitle up here a Verisk. Business, what is Verisk?

John Weaver:

Maybe would Mack is owned by somebody we should.

Tim Montague:

Sounds sounds European. But anyway, I love this report, because it just lays out in very beautiful graphic terms. What the impact of the inflation Reduction Act is, I'm going to scroll down to this bar chart right here onshore wind equipment costs as percentage of US manufacturing blades, towers nacelles. And it shows you know, before and after IRA, the first bar is the before us, after IRA or ampc, which I share with Stan stands for production credit. I don't know what the aim is. And then cheapest import. Right? So you see how American manufacturers can't compete. Generally speaking, we're not too far off on the steel tower. And that's because we do have a robust steel industry in the US. I have a tower plant not too far from my house, maybe 45 minutes, but and then nacelles right, but then you see how the IRA knocks down those costs to below foreign competitors. And this is going to drive adoption of all the big wind developers buying US products. And then they they do this for not just wind, I mean, this is this is another another this is offshore wind now. Same, same same effect, not quite as dramatic, maybe not there was a utility solar, here we go PV equipment costs as percentage of US manufacturing,

Unknown:

and still cost. I mean, speak, did you just night and day? Yeah. What were you gonna say?

John Weaver:

Two things, one, that the cost is still cheaper when we import. So that's probably going to be actually good for the US market, it will keep us on our toes. But there's another dynamic in here that isn't accounted for. So ampc is American made parts I believe, and components. And

Tim Montague:

this components

John Weaver:

does not include the 10% adder to probe projects as part of the ITC. So that USA MPC at 29%. Down that's still short from the 33. While the hardware itself might be still more expensive than an import, the project will be cheaper with the more expensive hardware. So you know, let's say it's a 4% difference 4% Difference on a 30 to 35 cent per watt module, that's a penny or two, maybe three, let's just say it's three pennies for the heck of it. But if we had a 10% tax credit to a $1 million project, that's cost $1 A watt. Now we're talking a 10 cent savings for domestic content. And that's that 10 cents will kill the three cent premium for the module for buying American made. So the IRA has double levels of attacking. We covered a a report by I remember their name one of the big global groups, Credit Suisse. And they suggested that we might see module costs from US manufacturers, and well under a DI and my analysis of that saw that first solar costs. And I know that sounds weird, but the cost of a first solar module effectively, including the tax credit might be close to zero, because like five, like three years ago for solar said to Bloomberg, that the cost to make their panels was about 20 cents a watt. The cost to make or the tax credit that they're going to get is 18 cents a watt Tim, so if three years ago if their price is the same, okay, so it's two cents a watt as their cost to make a panel. Now you can't add margins and profits on top of two cents and sustain their business. They probably still need to make five cents, but we're still under a dime for the for retail potential price. Now, demand may drive that number up and keep it strong above 10 cents. But man we could see some really interesting pricing because of this IRA, manufacturing incentives for modules modules specifically I've been looking at

Tim Montague:

Yeah, this report goes on covers front of the meter store. edge, same impact before and after it, the IRA, you know, 26% impact on enclosures. I mean, yeah, I just, I just love this report, and it's beautiful. But we should move on. So there's a link in the show notes. You can find our show notes on the YouTube channel or on the audio platform once we upload the live to the audio, which usually happens the next day. So we broadcast every Thursday at noon Eastern. And another report I found was this ACP report.

John Weaver:

And solar is booming. Big businesses buying solar man.

Tim Montague:

Yeah, the question that I that I have been trying to figure out John, is why does CNI solar languish comparatively to residential solar resi solar is around five gigawatts a year in the United States, commercial solar is I think around two or two and a half gigawatts. What is that? Why is there such a delta in CNI and resi?

John Weaver:

My opinion as a commercial sales guy and a resi sales guy, we've got both businesses within commercial solar guy. When you're not going to house, you're talking to the owner. When you knock on a commercial site, you got a one in 10 chance that the owner occupies the building, maybe even a one in 20 chance, somewhere between 10 and 20. Our friend catalyst, James gross, Wyler suggested that 10% of commercial structures were owner operated, occupied, and 90% were third party REITs, these large third party REITs and you know, CSG talks to them occasionally. They want to maximize their revenue. But you know, when they talk about they want to maximize noi, that's that's their key term, you want to up their their noi, and they want to maximize it, but there's a complexity who owns the building, who's paying for the electricity. And those two things are split. And does Amazon want to spend 5 million bucks on rooftop solar, when Amazon and this is a specific case, this is you know, the larger corporate so this is the difference between corporate solar and commercial, solar, corporate solar, people have the resources have the green team, they literally have a tee within their office, like I follow. Her name used to be, I can't remember but the green top person at Microsoft or Google just left, and they got a new person. And and I follow them because you know, Google's a leader in this. And they have a whole team of Google employees who are all probably geniuses. And that's all they do is optimize their green. So these people go out and buy farms, they buy large scale facilities.

Tim Montague:

And its large PPAs. Right. And that's

John Weaver:

PPAs. Yes, sir. Yes. And this report talks about those people, this is a corporate report. So these people are eating at the commercial sales market. And so if we really want to jive WHAT THE CLOSER closure rate is, for commercial corporate, we need to have some sort of equation where we look at their electricity usage. And then cross it because electricity usage can be aligned with building occupancy. It's not perfect, but that 90%, that's corporate commercial buildings, and they're buying from REITs. We got to look at that a little differently. So in my mind, number one is that when you knock on a commercial building, it's really hard to know who the owner is. And then number two, these people, they don't want to be in the solar business. They want to be in their business. And by putting a million to 5 million thing on their roof, you're adding a big complexity. And sometimes 100 G's a year is not a lot of money. In fact, a lot of times you have companies making 1020 30 million out of a structure. Yeah, they want to optimize for that last 100,000 bucks. But they got a lot of other things to do, which is run their business and another sales guy asked him for seven figures. It's it takes some patience. So that's my opinion, it's has to do with this dynamic of owner occupancy. And then when you go big, the guys go really big. But I do know that there are corporate structure owners who absolutely want to put solar on the building. And you know, they're out there. And we're talking to so so it's so

Tim Montague:

the you know, the cool summary here is that there's been 100 fold increase in corporate clean power procurement over the past decade. During that same period, solar and wind costs have decreased 71 and 47%, respectively. So solar prices have come down 71% It used to be 80. And then before that 90 So that number keeps shrinking because we're awesome toting, right, the technology has matured. But, but dig this, you know, previously 2021 was, was a record year for corporate procurement with more than 15 gigawatts of new contracted capacity. And in 22, that number is 20 gigawatts. So there is lots of clean energy being consumed by by the CNI market, right? It's just being done through these large scale PPAs. And, and so what's actually being counted in the stats on the DG CNI market are just a fraction, right? Of what corporate America is actually consuming. And but that is the market, that is the market for you and I as CNI, solar developers, we're going after that. The owner occupied facility, and generally more tightly held, it's not that you can't work with a very large multinational with, you know, 70 facilities globally. I've, I've, I've driven a few projects like that, and they do happen. You know, the other thing you mentioned this owner occupied angle, this is very important, right? If you're wanting to get into CNI, solar, you have to work on owner occupied facilities, unless you're catalyst. And they're and they're, they've cracked the nut for working on third party owned. We did an episode with them. But the other thing is the decision makers, right, there's a group of decision makers or layers of groups of decision makers in CNI. And so the decision isn't as cut and dried as it is in residential. And

John Weaver:

you know, on that last page, though, that you just showed, and it's shorter showed on this one, but in the top right, it said that corporate CNI customers had contracted 45 gigawatts of solar in the United States. We're only at like 130 to 140 gigs, maybe 140 to 145. So corporate has purchased 1/3 of all solar in the United States. So we say corporate is only five, you know, two and a half gigs a year. Now that's small rooftop distributed CNI, corporate is 10 times bigger than small CNI. So that's, you know, there's two different parties, you know, corporate and commercial CNI are two different purchasing.

Unknown:

And

Tim Montague:

this report goes on to show you know where these procurements are happening. Texas being the big dog, there's just a lot of large scale solar being built in Texas and solar and wind of course, and but, but Illinois here 7%. And what is that in the top? Is that Iowa? Ohio.

John Weaver:

That's maybe it's all Ohio. Yeah, it also says Ohio right there.

Tim Montague:

There we go. Ohio. Yeah. And then and then it lists out who are the buyers? Amazon being the big dog? Mata, aka Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, ATT, McDonald's, Walmart, shell, totes haul General Motors target, Apple QPS. I mean, that's the first brand really, that's not a household name. Certainly for us energy professionals. kts Realty trust. I'm not sure what what their line of business is. Ford Motor Company is in the game. That's good to see. A car manufacturer, ball Corporation, that's office products, green power, EMC not sure what that is. Nucor Steel. Nice and digital reality Realty. Don't know what that is. So

John Weaver:

what's interesting is how many of these corporates purchase their PPAs from Texas. But how many of those PPAs of Texas are actually feeding corporations in Texas? I wonder about that because there are unconnected PP PPAs where you are like okay, like I think Brown University in Rhode Island has bought a PPA from a Texan. Solar or In farm masteries, or

Tim Montague:

virtual, virtual PPAs, the renewable asset is is quite disparate geographically from the facilities. It's both and you know, Facebook is building a data center in the DeKalb area of Northern Illinois. And they're building a solar farm it's going to be owned by a third party to solar farm is it's like a 200 250 megawatt solar farm. And it's going to power the data center. So that's a good example of a you know, close in proximity, PPA. Still third party ownership. And then, but

John Weaver:

I'm okay with that one. I'm not okay with a city in the Northeast, or a university in the northeast, buying it from Texas, when the grids aren't even connected. I mean, at least you can argue that you're going to wheel the electricity from, say, Illinois across PJM and then hop over that little NY ISO into any ISO. But from Texas, there's it's not happening. And so I'm wondering, because eventually there's going to be so much green energy in Texas, there's going to be people saying, well, I want to buy some solar, and then the grid people are gonna be like, no, no, you can't. All of our solar is already sold to people outside of Texas. Oh, well, let's add more. No, no, no, the whole grid is offset with solar and wind, we can't add more, because it's maxed out, you're already getting your electricity. Oh, but but and there's going to be a dynamic at some point. And I actually covered an article that referenced this, at some point, you won't be able to sell your renewable energy certificates to a third party, and you won't be able to sell your excess kWh, it's you're gonna need to build some batteries. And, you know, Texas might be one of the first places where we see that argument start to occur, because they're gonna scale so fast with solar and wind and batteries. And, you know, we're gonna be like, Hey, I signed a PPA for 20 years. Yeah, but down the street from us coal plant. So it's, there's going to be a dance, and we're going to get better. And I know that we're at a short term, we're at an early stage, and getting any new capacity on the grid is necessary and powerful, done, beautiful. Accept it, and happy with it. But 20 years, Tim, when we're on the show, talking about it, I'm gonna get to say I told him so. So looking forward to that. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tim Montague:

Well, I hope we're still here in 20 years. You got a story in PV magazine John, CCA meaning Community Choice aggregation must procure 1300 gigawatts of supply to meet the last 37 gigawatt hours of demand. Yes. What's the story? This was all over the news yesterday, and maybe the day before? I don't know.

John Weaver:

So Peninsula clean energy, they are a California CCA, they are aiming to have 100% clean energy by 2025. So right around the corner,

Tim Montague:

what is the CCA for those of our listeners who don't know what Community Choice aggregation is mean, there's various flavors of this around the country. But California has a unique version of this.

John Weaver:

So pretty much a CCA has a geographical region where they can serve everybody within that region with electricity. And it's approved by the state. And a lot of times you're automatically opted in to being an a CCA. And then the CCA is a business that goes out and buys electricity for you. So it's a

Tim Montague:

group of it's a group of cities though, right that come together. Like here, we're talking about an area in silver in near San Francisco, right. This is the peninsula south of San Francisco, you've got Redwood City, etc, down to San Jose, and and they come together as a buying in a way of buying cooperative,

John Weaver:

correct? Absolutely. Yeah. So that's an Peninsula, this article is about their future purchases that are going to be required to move them from matching. And here's the key. Right now they're 100% renewable, but only on an annual offset level. And this ties sort of kind of back to our Texas, my little complaint about Texas or Rhode Island, offsetting your use on an annual basis. So that's cool. You paid a little more, you got this, you gave somebody some funding so they can build a solar power plant and that allows us to offset the current portfolio 100% renewable quote unquote. However, if they actually look at that hourly offset and say, Okay, well, we bought this, you know, X number of gigawatt hours it's like 3000 gigawatt hours they need per year to serve their 880,000 ish people. If we bought this offset number When we do the math and we run this bottle, and they call up the mast and matching around the clock hourly energy match model, we find that only 71% of our hours are covered. And so if you scroll down a little more, there's a double chart. And this chart, so that said right here, so the top chart is 100%, renewable energy, annual. But if you see all the yellow in the red, that's carbon emissions. And those are emissions, because in the wintertime, and in California, we don't have the resources to be clean. But they're still 100% renewable, but they're not. You look at the bottom one, that's the 99% renewable, so technically not as good as the 100. But 99% covered hourly. And that means they looked at every single hour of the day and said, Okay, we have to figure out how to win. And the key is, you know, when I was this was pointed out to me on Twitter just this morning, batteries are a really big part of this very important. And there's a chart, I believe with showdown slow down or scroll down, I showed you that right there, you can see where the energy is served from the green being batteries, the blue being wind, the yellow being solar, but the key is in this one is that geothermal was the major player that supported the overnight wind, and the 24/7. stuff. And, and so that matters, you know, so getting those last 24 hours, and here you can see the costs. So what this chart here is, is really, really neat, the amount of electricity that they had to procure to meet those numbers, our annual 100, hourly 90, hourly 95, hourly 99. And then the last one, and the reason it pops so big, since you have to buy extra solar in the daytime, to fill up your batteries. And a whole bunch of that solar is going to be excess, and your batteries aren't going to be fully filled up. But you got to buy it anyway. Because you have to pay for the power plant, you can't just buy X number of kWh is going to pay for the power plant because everyone else wants to buy those overnight clean kWh is as well. And so that last 1% is actually going to cost about 18% more on their electricity bill. And so that's what this challenge is, is that we get to 99% reasonably cost effectively, and with good modern tech, and we're probably gonna be burning some gas, you know, that maybe not call for the burdensome gas. And it's, you know, it's a challenge. But then to bump into a pure 100% 24/7 365 becomes a challenge unless we have geothermal or nuclear. Now, if you notice here, there's zero nuclear in this portfolio. It's 100% renewables, and, you know, geothermal is coming. I follow a gentleman named Tim landmark, He's, um, I can't remember his geothermal company. But um, he seems to have raised money and be the cutting edge geothermal guy. So this just speaks of the challenge, you know, 37 gigawatt hours, that was their last 1%, they had to do 50 times that amount, 40 times that amount to knock it out apart. And it's gonna be some hard work. But that extra 1300 gigawatt hours, Timothy, eventually you and I were going to sell that somehow. Because there's value there, you know, we may not exactly know what we're going to have it and it may be off capacity factor, but at different times of the day, different times of the year. You know, some bitcoin miners just gonna plug in and say, you know, what, I don't care, I'm gonna, it'll work for me. So that eventually that electricity won't be lost. We'll just we're just going to have to learn how to deal with it, how to learn how to use it.

Tim Montague:

So this story is newsworthy, though, because it's like a real world. This is a real geography, a real population, real numbers, just demonstrating that, hey, look, we could actually do this. This is how we get there. This is the cost involved. And a quick tangent, check out our sobre Zooks podcast. It's called the angry clean energy guy. He also has a book out I haven't seen it yet. But he's a solar developer in Southeast Asia, and wonderful podcast, but he points out, I think is in his December, he doesn't one month, a monthly show. He points out that there are 600 Plus peer reviewed scientific articles now validating that we can go 100% wind, solar, battery storage, we have the technology. We just have to deploy it. And it's not it's it's there's just no question in the scientific community though. Of course, there's naysayers, mostly fueled by the fossil fuel industry who want to cast shade on this Right and and fuel the fire and keep the subsidies flowing right there are massive subsidies flowing into the fossil fuel industry still. And our ppm of co2 Keep going up, even in 2020 to write rpms are going up. So we're slowing the rate at which they're growing. Okay. But we haven't started to decrease our annual P PMs in the atmosphere. So we have our work cut out for us. Let's move on to HVDC, which was one of my all time favorite technologies, John. And why is that?

John Weaver:

Because solar is cheap in the south, and wind is cheap in the Midwest, and we need to move it all over the country because we all love each other.

Tim Montague:

And HVDC moves it around moves the juice around more efficiently than HVAC. Which is, I mean, it's the line losses in in AC are humongous, right on the order of 40% of the energy is lost in the form of heat, just keeping up the atmosphere. And so anyway, there's a project now being developed in northern New Mexico, it's, it's going to take wind and solar from Northeast New Mexico over to the Four Corners area in Northwest New Mexico. And they they estimate that this is $11 billion of untapped renewable energy investment potential in the state. So it's unlocking a renewable energy market, basically, right? Taking it from where the resource is, to where the demand is, and the infrastructure. You know, the Four Corners area is feeding. Heck, California, and Arizona, and Colorado, and Utah. So cool that and there's there's a, there's a map showing the project. It's a big you. What is it called? It is called

John Weaver:

New Mexico, North path, North path.

Tim Montague:

And this is in PV magazine story by Ann Fisher. So thank you, Anne, for bringing the story HVDC. The other cool thing about HVDC is that it does well underground, you don't have to put the wires above ground. There's something about that physics of AC that doesn't do so well underground. And I don't know what that is. But I had a grid expert on the show who, who explained this a little bit. But anyway. Ace HVDC is the future. John, as we've talked about, right, all we need is a is a Dyson sphere of HVDC. That just circles the Earth. And then we don't have to worry about we don't we don't need storage. We just have the cable is the storage device.

Unknown:

Technically, the sun never goes down. Technically, it doesn't.

Tim Montague:

Not for another, what 4 billion years?

Unknown:

Then it's gonna go down permanently. Some challenges? Yes, yes. Yes.

Tim Montague:

I think humanity will be lucky. In our, in our modern form, if we're around in 1000 years. That's the filter, right? We're going through the filter. Now we're running up against it. Can we avoid shooting ourselves in the foot? Which is why we don't have space aliens flying around us with laser guns, because they never got off of their home planet.

John Weaver:

Or they're bored. They're just waiting and getting ready for the fight?

Tim Montague:

Well, they won't have a flight here if they can get here. Well, it's game over. What do you want to talk about next?

John Weaver:

Oh, let's talk about that Foreman energy battery and maybe try and reach out to I mean, this is the facility they're building in West Virginia. Right. This is an announcement of it.

Tim Montague:

That's a damn good question. I'm not sure.

John Weaver:

He said they made a West Virginia announcement with for manufacturing facility. And, and I The weird thing about forms batteries is I believe they're either a one to 100 hour ratio or a one to 50 hour ratio. And I'm interested in the charge rate and what market that is because you know, let's say you have just 150 hour battery. You need 49 hours to charge it, or you need 60 hours to charge it. And then it's going to run for 50 you need 65 hours, whatever it is because you can have a loss of sundry maybe just 5% Extra Right, that means the facility can't run for 50 hours. Now, I'm sure you can parse it up, like say, you make a charge in the daytime, because there's excess solar to take the solar, you let it fill up. And then at night, once the solar goes down, bam, maybe there's another layer. And this is what I'm really interested in.

Unknown:

Let's say you had

John Weaver:

10 of these dispersed around the region. And you did your code, you built your algorithm, so that this one is running. This one is charging. This one is running, this one is charging, but not every other. It's much more nuanced, where you look at the hourly charge, and discharge rates have a fleet of units that each have a one megawatt output. Somewhere within there, I'm wondering if there's an equation for distributed long duration amongst a power grid region. And I'm just very interested in it, I would love to learn the financial modeling, the charge discharge modeling that's being considered for this. So if you get any of that, it'd be really sweet to learn.

Tim Montague:

So this story is in auto evolution came out on January 16. And I've learned about it because Mark Jacobson at Stanford, who's famous for you know, promoting this, now well established. fact that we were talking about that we can totally clean the grid with 100%, wind, solar and batteries. And the cool thing about this, though, is that it's potentially 10 times cheaper than lithium ion. I mean, we're going full guns with stationary storage and electrification of transportation with lithium ion today. I have a show coming up with fryer, which is a Norwegian, lithium ion battery cell maker, they're building a factory in Georgia, just like he sells. And and they're targeting storage and transportation markets in the US. They also have a factory in Norway, that will feed the Northern European market. But if you can get batteries to be 10 times cheaper. That's a game changer. Right. And I mean, I don't know, this factory is coming online in 2024. It is in West Virginia. You were right about that. Or maybe you said Virginia, West Virginia coal country, John and Joe Manchin. That's right. This is Joe mansions backyard. But as you see in the in the mock up here, big battery plant. I mean, this is a battery farm. And then a solar farm and a wind farm and a substation. And that's the that's the combo, right. But you got to have a lot of storage, because it discharges faster than it charges. And so you have to have extra storage. And you have to have extra wind and solar, right? Because those are intermittent. And and it's good to have some fossil backup for the grid. I'm not saying we don't want to have fossil backup, but let's have it as a backup, not as the main source. So they're targeting $20 per kWh compared to 200 per kWh in the case of lithium ion and that is that $200 is kind of a standard, right for Kate for lithium now.

Unknown:

And probably a little cheap. You know, it's probably more like 250

John Weaver:

Yeah, I mean, if they're talking to 20 bucks per kWh deployed full turn key, you know, I probably 250 300 Maybe even 400 for deploying the larger stuff. I've never deployed a big one, but 200 might be a low number right now, when we do the full package, the full control system, the full management, but yeah, you know, 10x is a good difference. It's a good number.

Tim Montague:

Yeah. And these batteries are only good for stationary storage right there. This article points that out that on a on a energy density perspective, from an energy density perspective, they won't they won't make the cut for EVs, and that's fine. I mean, right now EVs are sopping up the vast majority of the battery market, we need other technologies for stationary, and iron is super abundant. It's just not nearly as light as, as some of the other metals. So I'm curious Yeah, how this works and look forward to bringing form energy on the show. If you know someone you know, in the C suite at forum, reach out to us and make the Connect for us. Anything else you want to say about this?

John Weaver:

I know Scott burger. And well I don't know. I follow him on Twitter. And he's from Boston. And he's one of their he's apparently according to his Twitter profile. He's a senior manager in analytics. So I want to see if I can get him a message somewhere.

Tim Montague:

Now it looks like West Virginia is playing ball here. They, they incentivize this project to the tune of $290 million. It's a 55 acre site $760 million project, creating 750 jobs. When it's fully operational, that's nothing to scoff at. So clean energy jobs in West Virginia, it's good story.

John Weaver:

We'd like we'd like to ration storage might become something really big.

Tim Montague:

Yeah, it's curious that this, this iron battery technology apparently is quite old as well. It's just

Unknown:

been modernized.

John Weaver:

I read somewhere that flow batteries were first invented in the 80s or 90s. Pacific Northwest, the people that ended up being ESS so seeing that iron air batteries, which is the flow battery, actually have late 1800s DNA makes me want to research a little more and just kind of

Unknown:

know what's going on there.

Tim Montague:

So the French energy giant toe tall, has dipped their toe in the ankle takes waters and there's a story here in PV magazine by Grinnell they boo, I'm not sure if I'm saying that name, right. I don't know if it's a he or she that's quite a name, but they studied the impact of solar panels on crops in order to develop a repository of agronomic benefits. Right. You and I have talked a lot about dual use solar. You see our favorite vertical racking right here. I can't remember the name of that company. It's a German company, I believe right. Next to son. Have you got an extra son project going yet? John?

John Weaver:

No try tried. Might we might we might actually be building a small test facility have about 30 Kw right now. But now big one yet. That's an official.

Tim Montague:

Yeah. And they unveiled the results of the first harvest from three agricole take demonstration projects.

Unknown:

In France.

Tim Montague:

They again, they were using vertical bi PV, sorry, bifacial, photovoltaics. So these are small scale projects, you know, a couple 100 kW.

Unknown:

I liked what they say in the second half, they saw an increase in the yield for wheat, an increase in the yield for 2%.

John Weaver:

And they say part of the reason one explanation is protection against high winds. High winds, also SAP water directly from the site. And having a better hold on to your water leads to a better growing season. And there's other research out there that shows that solar panels create micro climates and absolutely increase the water retention rates of soil. So not surprised, totally want to do some vertical things. This is a great agro voltaic technique. And when people start to see that this can happen, they're going to be like cool, more open to let my land be used because I can still use my land, I can still farm on my lands. And that's, that's pretty valuable.

Tim Montague:

And it made me think that of this conference, there's a conference coming up in March in Chicago called the solar farms Summit, North America's agricultural takes Expo. It's very affordable. It's a couple $100 to two day conference, and I'll find the dates here but it's at the Hilton I think at O'Hare so it's right at O'Hare so you can just fly in go to the conference fly out very easy to get to. And then Midwest Expo was also coming to Chicago this year. That's a conference that's been running in the Twin Cities of in Minneapolis for the last eight years. I think this is the ninth or 10th Midwest solo Expo that's going to be May 123. Also in Chicago, but it's cool to see in Agra will takes Conference coming to the US. These These have been happening a lot I think other places, especially Europe, but the US is getting in the getting in the game. And March 13 and 14th I believe. Oh, march 13 to 15th. So it starts the evening of the 13th and goes through the 15th so check that out.

John Weaver:

Might might find my way to Chicago there Timothy.

Tim Montague:

Yeah. We can have a beer at O'Hare Hilton. I'll put this in the show notes. What what do you want to talk about? We've got One or two more stories we can cover.

John Weaver:

Can I do the one that you're right at right now? Just as Roth chi Roth capital? Yeah. So, so Roth cap, there's no link. I know it was one of the emails they sent. Okay, just share the documents, everybody can seize the CD, amazing coordination of our work efforts and attack, you know, the sausage making of the Clean Power Hour. But no, I get an email every day or two from off capitol, or sometimes multiple emails in a day where they're covering various companies they invest in, and they have these investor conversations. They have good webinars.

Unknown:

And two days in a row, we

John Weaver:

got capital volumes or capacity volumes talked about, just solar, says that in 2023, they see 400 gigawatts of demand. Tim, you know, first off, last year, we did 183. So we're more than doubling, not last year, sorry, 2021. So, year before we did 400. We did 183 gigs. Last year, we think we did in the upper two hundreds. And now John is suggesting that they see demand for 400 gigs. You know, I wrote an article around Christmas time, saying All I Want For Christmas Is 400 gigawatts of solar. And, you know, installed this year, and I thought I was massively exaggerating and thought, oh, there's no chance not happening. Well, I'm not the only crazy one. There's other crazy people out there, Tim. And some of them work, adjust solar and think that 400 gigawatts of solar might get installed, which would mean we doubled our global deployed cap capacity in less than two years. We are without a doubt in a short exponential race. And how many years is last Oh, man. But anytime it happens, it's awesome for us because we come out the back end of it. And we're still at it. Now. So that's the first one jostle are 400 gigs of actual deployable demand. So that's a beautiful number. The second number is a good one to 835 gigawatts of wafer capacity with a 70% utilization. That puts us somewhere in the middle 500 gigawatts of space. When I spoke with Jenny Chase from Bloomberg, New Energy Finance recently. She said in 23, he sees a potential she sees a technical capacity of 500 gigawatts of modules globally. Five, oh, Tim, I was just exasperated about 400 gigawatts. I don't know what to say about five. I mean, it's just so I just saw these two items over the last few days. And I'm just like, oh, my gosh, the numbers are just so big. And, you know, I guess we just got a hold on, hold on for our careers. And, you know, ride the cap, right, right, this fucking creature, this, this wild horse, because it is running right now. And it's, and it's jerking left and right. And it's it's doing some big stuff. And it's just a good

Tim Montague:

analogy, a running horse. There are ups and downs in the solar industry. Sometimes it's unpredictable, will it? Will it go up? Or will it go down? But there's no doubt that there's going to be an upward trajectory. It's just a question of how fast and but the good news is that it's fast enough to create millions and millions of jobs and, and economic opportunities. It is the economic opportunity of our lifetimes, certainly, something like $100 trillion is going to go into clean infrastructure in the next 30 years. And that's a lot of a lot of jobs, a lot of opportunity. So you found a 40 year old solar panel in Massachusetts. Yeah. I thought it might be in Colorado, but in Massachusetts, and and it definitely, it definitely looks different than modern solar panels. I'll put this on screen. But so this is a good project of the week, I guess we'll call this and how did you find the story?

John Weaver:

Read it. Right. So So what this is Beverly High School installed a solar facility back in 1981. can remember I was looking at the stats, there's even some cool videos and stuff where they were talking about it. And first of all, look at those cells. Oh my gosh, and look at the interconnection and it looks like so many. That's a single string of cells in there. So if you look at that, they're all just one line that goes up, down, up down. And apparently some of these panels are available. So I'm, I'm going to be calling this guy like he just messaged me on Twitter and says they have like three 1000 of these units floating around, I'm totally gonna go buy like three or four units, it helped them raise some money, because this is pretty cool. But the plant came down recently because the school turned it into a new solar project. And, and it's a nice new modern carport now, but the project lasted for 41 years and when n rail went out in the late 2000 10s, I believe was the 210s. But Emeril found that they were above 80%. of input. And this might have been one of the last oldest solar projects globally connected to the power grid. And it's just like, it's pretty cool. So I don't know, it's it's, it's neat. I'm really interested we you're poking around my website there, Tim.

Unknown:

I am here

Tim Montague:

I am we're gonna wrap up the show John and

Unknown:

I like it. So I

Tim Montague:

always always like to take care of my co host you know, you are the commercial solar guy you can find John at commercial solar guy.com and on Twitter and on some dinosaur apparently also write

John Weaver:

dinosaurs Mastodon, so that's more of a an elephant. Ancient

Tim Montague:

Mastodon is not a dinosaur. That's true. Yes, it is. It is a now extinct form of elephant. Yes, thank you for the correction. I should know Some biologists by training John

John Weaver:

komak. So this is my website. This is our consulting page services page, which is really, really needs to be upgraded. We're in the process of upgrading our website, I get amazing traffic because I've been around for a while and commercial solar consulting as our key word. And so we do get great calls,

Tim Montague:

but looks like somebody solarized a storage facility which, which I think is lovely.

John Weaver:

So if you look at this beautiful image on the background here, it's the same shop. That's a technically that's two installations. That's Brewster, Massachusetts, there's a public roads splitting. And so we had to have two unique connections there. But it worked out for us with the way the incentives work. And this guy's doing great. I mean, it's I mean, his electricity usage, there was minimal. So this is 100%. Resale back to the utility. And just good project has been up there. It's got select Tria for inverters. And Seamus, Seamus Woods is the owner of it. So this is secure storage in Brewster, Massachusetts. And this was commercial solar guys first prop big project as its own company. So forever, Mr. Woods will have a place in my heart.

Tim Montague:

Cool, yeah, I've never run the numbers on or done a design on a storage facility. I always wondered, could you could you power the facility with 100%, clean energy

John Weaver:

has 100 this these facilities is very minimal electricity usage, at most 4050, kW would have offset for use. So there's, I don't know if these are air conditioned units. So if you have an air conditioning unit, that's multi floors be a little more challenging, but this one, we he couldn't use a 10th of the electricity. So we had to sell 100% to the utility

Tim Montague:

so it's it's it's not a behind the meter project.

John Weaver:

No, sir. This is standalone. In Massachusetts, the weird thing about you

Tim Montague:

in Massachusetts, like so many front of the major things. I we don't

John Weaver:

have that here. We don't have anywhere else in the country other than Rhode Island's to the best of my knowledge. Those are the only two places where I know that you can do a pure standalone front of the meter PPA and sell it 100% of the utility unless you go, you know, utility scale, but Massachusetts has a unique market. Great market, in my opinion.

Unknown:

Yeah.

Tim Montague:

Well, you can find all our content at Clean Power hour.com. You see that on the screen right now. And you know, we're dropping a one on one interview every Tuesday. with guys like McCosh chatter at all some energy doing a alternative to lithium ion, lithium technology. They're using manganese. They're still in the lab slash pilot phase. And so we do bring early stage companies on the show. We're posting our lives here also. Alaska, Alexis buscar. US agri solar consulting. This is I think my most favorite interview of the last I would say two years Crucis great young thought leader carving out a niche in agri solar and agriculture tech. She'll be at that conference in in Chicago in March. So check out agri solar consulting. And then I've had a slew of alternative storage technologies on the show Nostromo energy doing cold batteries, which is an OG they're just augmenting industrial or CNI, HVAC systems with cold storage. And then software platforms like James MK Walter here at paces AI so many cool stories every week, every Tuesday and then Thursday, we do the live of course. bringing you the latest and greatest in solar wind, battery storage, and all things clean tech, and occasionally

Unknown:

space. And robots.

John Weaver:

And robots that land vertically from space stations, you know, special would you call would you call one of those landing robot landing units a robot? I mean? Yes, it's

Tim Montague:

definitely a robotic device. It's got to think for itself. Yes, it does really got to stay up, right.

John Weaver:

There's no human being going.

Tim Montague:

It's gonna bring that baby home. I love Elon for that, right? Making, making space travel affordable, is a very good thing. And the reusability is the key there. And that anyone is making rockets that are not reusable is just complete folly. It's not going to it's not gonna pencil so give it up and go for the reusable and and for creating the electric vehicle market in the US with Tesla. He didn't invent Tesla, okay. He just muscled his way in with his his Pay Pal money and and but he's the one you know, he is the genius that really took it to market and made it popular. And by far, gosh, so much news about Tesla dropping the prices. We should have talked about that, but maybe next week. Well, thank you, John. And thank you. To all our listeners. We do this for you. So I'm Tim Montague. Let's grow solar and storage. Take care