Residential solar has seen brighter days.
As detailed in the most recent U.S. Solar Market Insight report, national residential PV installations fell both year-over-year (17 percent) and quarter-over-quarter (11 percent) for the first time since GTM Research began tracking the market on a quarterly basis in 2010. That’s a big deal.
When one takes a closer look at the data, it’s clear that much of this downturn can be pegged to the fortunes of California, which is still the largest state market for residential PV. But the state’s standing is diminishing.
In Q1, California accounted for its smallest share of the national market at 35 percent -- down from 42 percent in Q1 2016 -- while falling over 30 percent year-over-year.
The study from the nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) revealed that more than $45 billion in public and private investments have been injected into the state’s economy by California’s stringent climate policies, including cap-and-trade legislation, which reduces pollution while increasing clean energy and energy efficiency.
The Democratic governor gave his usual rally cry in this coastal Chinese city, imploring the packed ballroom to help reinforce a global commitment to climate change. But a more specific theme also emerged, an undercurrent in his five-night trip that he’s echoed in several meetings with officials: Brown is looking to China for the future of California’s electric vehicles. The state aims to put 4 million to 5 million electric cars on roads by 2030, he said at the event, “and we aren’t going to get there until Chinese business people, Chinese government leaders make it a priority to develop batteries and electric cars. And we will too.”
At that volume, California’s three-decade-old consumer-recycling program should be considered a smashing success. But the CalRecycle system is in trouble and most agree it needs to be, well, recycled. . . • Hundreds of recycling centers across the state have shuttered since last year, stung by plummeting scrap rates on the global market over the past four years. • Declining oil and natural gas prices — used to remanufacture plastic bottles from recycled mulch — have made regeneration more expensive.
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute was commissioned by the Transport Department and the Swedish Energy Agency investigated the lithium-ion battery climate impact seen from a life cycle perspective. It's the batteries intended for electric cars that were included in the study. The two authors Lisbeth Dahllöf and Mia Roman has done a meta-study, that is to say, gone through and compiled existing studies. The report shows that battery production leads to high emissions. For every kilowatt hour of storage capacity in the battery creates emissions of 150 to 200 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents, already at the factory. The scientists have not studied the individual car brands of batteries, how these particular produced or what electricity they use. But if we to an understanding of the importance of battery size takes an example: two common electric cars on the market, the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S, have batteries in about 30 kWh and 100 kWh.