The looming shortage shows the rapid expansion of solar energy. The industry may install as much as 52 gigawatts this year and 61 gigawatts in 2015. That’s up from 40 gigawatts in 2013, and more than seven times what developers demanded five years ago, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The industry has about 70 gigawatts of production capacity, New Energy Finance estimates, including a significant amount of older equipment that’s not profitable. The supply-demand balance is tighter than those numbers suggest. De Haan estimates capacity at about 59 gigawatts, excluding manufacturing lines that are out of date or obsolete.


From the Institute of Engineering and Technology (cost: $88), you can obtain Code of Practice for Application of LED Lighting Systems (publication date June 2014). The description includes what’s below (bolding by EleBlog) –

LED lighting is a fast-developing technology that is becoming more popular as people begin to realize the advantages it provides, such as energy efficiency, controllability and longevity. However, poor quality installation of LED lighting systems could negate these advantages and result in inadequate lighting, failure to meet lifetime performance expectations, potential public health and safety issues or even interference with other technology due to poor systems integration.

This Code of Practice has been developed to provide confidence to users as a minimum standard for LED lighting systems installation, as well as to serve as a useful reference on the application of LED lighting systems.

Hat tip to David Shiller; here’s the latest edition of his newsletter.

From Two things to note (at least!) –

1. This from the lead paragraph:

. . . residential consumers still account for the majority of sales by end-use sector (residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation), and the residential sector still pays the most cents per Kilowatthour for electricity. Price, however, has changed. In fact, the average price of electricity to ultimate residential customers (nationally) recorded for May 2014 is the highest recorded for any month in the past two years, and increased 3.4% year-over-year.

May 2012: 11.90 cents per Kilowatthour
May 2013: 12.42 cents per Kilowatthour
May 2014: 12.84 cents per Kilowatthour

. . . of course, there is NO inflation, as the government data show (no matter what!). The two-year increase in electricity costs — national residential average — is 7.899%. Call it 7.9%. Does that look “under control” to you????

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2. Lots of data, including this:

Five Most Expensive States:

1.  Hawaii:38.04 cents/kWh
2.  New York:20.62 cents/kWh
3.  Connecticut:20.18 cents/kWh
4.  Alaska:19.84 cents/kWh
5.  Vermont:18.18 cents/kWh

Five Least Expensive States:

1. Washington:8.93 cents/kWh
2. Idaho:9.64 cents/kWh
3. West Virginia:9.71 cents/kWh
4. North Dakota:10.02 cents/kWh
5. Arkansas:10.07 cents/kWh

That’a indicated in this FT Alphaville (it’s a blog) piece, replete with 9 graphics — two of which follow:


And then there’s this (bolding in original):

The fact that these delayed moves have held back household growth in recent years has fed hopes that the housing market recovery would accelerate once employment growth revived and younger adults were able to get jobs. This rebound has yet to occur, even though many living at home are now employed. Historically, however, the share of adults living with their parents drops sharply after age 24 and continues to fall to 6 percent by the mid- to late 30s.

Regardless of the economic setbacks they may have experienced, today’s 20–29 year olds are still likely to follow the same pattern. Assuming current headship rates hold, the number of households in their 30s should therefore increase by 2.7 million over the next decade and provide a strong lift to the rental and starter home markets.

SDM magazine provided a “top 10″ list of hot items in residential security in 2014. It’s all interesting and worth a read. BUT: Here’s the text of #1: Lighting!

You now can pick up your smartphone and turn on or off the light with a simple wireless pairing between your phone and the bulb. In 2012, Insteon, Irvine, Calif., a developer of home automation technology, pulled back the curtain on the INSTEON LED Bulb 8 Watt, a networked remote control dimmable LED light bulb.

Others have followed. In July, General Electric’s (GE) new LED bulb, Link, went on sale at Home Depot and will hit stores in the fall. It will be used with the buzz-garnering Wink, a platform uniting close to 60 devices from 15 manufacturers of home products ranging from light bulbs and locks to window shades, irrigation systems and water heaters.

LIFX Wi-Fi light bulbs, which retail for $99, are listed to be compatible with Nest in the future. Even the newly announced Lutron Smart Bridge Pro supports the telligent™ LED bulb by GE®, which is embedded with Lutron’s Clear Connect Wireless technology and controlled by a Pico wireless remote. The bulb will be available late 2014.

From Fortune magazine.

Here’s the reason to choke to death, literally:

Richard Kauffman, an ex–Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley banker whom New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed last year as the state’s first energy czar . . .

I know a lot of cusswords. All of them tumbled out, unbidden, flowing like a thing of beauty — when I read this!

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The Green Bank has $1 billion in assets and is a new player on the bank. The $$$ comes from the state of NY’s taxpayers:

The hope is that, through strategic lending, the state can give the private sector the incentive to help transform New York State’s power system. If it works, the project could provide a template for other states to follow. According to the OECD, N.Y. Green Bank is only the second state-run institution of its kind in the U.S. Connecticut launched a green bank in 2011 but on a smaller scale, with $117 million in net assets.

Here’s a graphic that went with the thing:




Here’s the illustration that goes with #1 . . . passive homes:


. . . and some words from #4, on prefabrication:

The main draw of this trend are the monetary savings in which it offers.  The repetitive manufacturing process means savings in raw materials and saving in manpower.  Entire walls and furnished floor space are pre-made in a factory, which are then delivered direct to the plot, ready to be assembled in some giant Meccano like structure.

Project management is easier, build time is less, work force required is reduced; all money saving factors and all reasons why this is a growing trend which’ll continue to develop in 2014.

The guy’s thinking posted to RenewableEnergWorld and included this:

Overall, the concept of regulated utilities owning solar assets has been met with controversy because they have been granted a state-protected monopoly.  This in turn makes them far cheaper borrowers than any industry in the competitive space can be – a potentially significant unintended advantage.

At Sol Systems, we see more opportunity for deregulated utility subsidiaries to successfully acquire DG assets. Deregulated utilities are significantly more nimble, they are not required to have a certain rate of return, and they already have a sales force that’s used to selling. By necessity, they must be innovative and compete, whereas regulated utilities by nature have not been required to win customers or alter their business models.

Utilities’ attempts to own more solar in their territories remind us of other famous examples of disruptive innovation. Remember, Verizon fought cell phones for a long time before they had to play catch up and buy their way into the mobile space. The solar and utilities discourse also mirrors the evolution happening to the taxicab industry with the emergence of Lyft, Uber, and others.

Regardless of your opinions on whether regulated or deregulated utilities should own solar, you can’t argue the action of utilities like APS show that utilities see the market as sustainable beyond the bump-down of the investment tax credit (ITC) in 2017.  If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?

The Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” headlined its recent item Europe’s Greater Depression is worse than the 1930s.


See also this roundup (with links) on The Forever Recession — summarizes what people who may (or may not) know something seem to be saying.

Bolivia. Seriously.