The pv magazine weekly news digest

Welcome to this week’s Tesla weekly digest.. well come on, we may as well, right? I mean could we just once have a weekly digest that doesn’t feature the ubiquitous Musk publicity machine?

Anyway, inevitably, we start this week’s round-up of all that’s hot in solar by revealing our most-read story this week revolved around the speech Tesla founder JB Straubel gave to open this year’s Intersolar North America.

Straubel instantly showed just why we love his company so much when he used the word ‘bummer’ in his remarks to express why a lack of storage on the grid should not be permitted to hold back the solar revolution.

And the man presented a compelling business case for the Tesla-Panasonic ‘Gigafab’ battery production line under construction in Nevada, revealing the company expects to require 35 GWh of lithium-ion batteries per year in five years’ time and that it already consumes 10% of the world’s lith-ion production.

And all without a Powerwall in sight…

Business-as-usual, cries Yingli

"The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated…" said global solar mega-giant-leviathan Yingli’s PR department last Friday, with communications types in Baoding, China, scrambling to issue a press release about a 240 MW order for its panels.

In the face of persistent rumors it had been forced to cease production by its onerous debt pile, Yingli released news of the order, for Latin America’s two largest PV-CSP hybrid plants in northern Chile – the place to be for solar at the moment, according to Bloomberg’s number-crunchers.

The release pointedly mentioned that the first half of the 780,000-module order had been shipped with phase two due out of its warehouse next month. So have at it you dastardly trade press scaremongers… it may as well have added. Mind you, you’d expect one of the world’s top dogs to have a pretty large inventory to run down, wouldn’t you?

Solar sold out

Aside from the increasingly popular weekly news digest – whose customary place in the most-read chart means I’m either a brilliant writer or you lot can only be bothered to tune in once a week … but let’s not dwell on that.

Aside from the increasingly popular weekly news digest, those industrious folks at Bloomberg revealed clean energy finance worldwide fell 3% to $54.4 billion in the second three months of the year, compared to the figure for January-to-March.

Analyst Luke Mills cheerily pointed out a marked plunge in venture capital funding was an indicator solar – and wind, biomass and hydro – have finally gone mainstream, VC backers typically hailing from the ‘their first album was so much better’ crowd.

Solar, it seems, is no longer sexy, cult or underground – and we can probably thank Tesla for that.

Reasons to be Cheerful – while we’re on the subject of cult heroes – included the rise and rise of residential systems, Germany enjoying an 80% leap in renewables funding from Q1 to Q2, and the appearance of Chile as a hot emerging market, helped along by Yingli, of course.

Anything Chile can do…

Not that investors in Thailand have been lacking enthusiasm as the south east Asian nation is being predicted to almost double its capacity by adding 1.2-1.5 GW of new solar this year, according to the man responsible for generating such investment, at least.

Is that prediction, offered up by Pichai Tinsuntisook, pie in the sky? Not really, said analysts from IHS, who have Thailand down for an only-slightly-more-modest 700 MW-1 GW increase in capacity this year.

And if independent analysts are backing the man at the head of the Federation of Thai Industries’ renewable energy division, the figure looks less fanciful, surely?

"We are revising the numbers slightly after talking to local sources," said IHS analyst Josefin Berg, but, ahem, we’ll skate over that admission and think positive.

However it shakes out this year, Thailand is on course to install more solar capacity than the rest of south east Asia combined which just goes to show emerging market rival Chile, that you are only as good as your last ‘everything must go’ module order.