The pv magazine weekly news digest

There comes a time in every heavyweight boxing bout that the two opponents take a break from pummeling one another to come together and embrace. Now, anybody who has ever watched more than one boxing fight will likely deduce that this is due to mutual exhaustion: nothing more, nothing less.

However, us romantic souls at pv magazine like to imagine that the two bruisers take this moment to whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears in a kind of sweat-dripped, blood-soaked display of respect and affection, before proceeding once more with the pummeling.

Apropos of nothing, China and the U.S. came together last week on a climate action plan that may see the two nations actively collaborate on carbon reduction and clean energy. Skeptics may scoff and say that the two giants are simply circling one another to spot an opening, but the signs were solid that Obama’s Clean Power Plan has forged a template for positive action from both parties.

A joint statement from the two premiers commits to a number of positive actions on fighting emissions and climate change, chief among them the revelation that China will give grid priority to low-carbon energy sources through a "green dispatch" system. Fighting talk indeed.

Bringing home the bacon

The battle to win the hearts and wallets of the American public has been equally bloody across the U.S. residential solar sector, but recent quarters have shown that there is one clear winner. SolarCity is well out in front in terms of market share, and data published this week by GTM Research confirmed that the Elon Musk-backed company has maintained its grip on the sector, installing 34% of all home solar systems across the U.S. in the first half of the year.

As heavyweights go, SolarCity is a formidable opponent, but its nearest challenger – Vivint Solar – now has the combined heft of SunEdison and TerraForm Power in its corner, so could we see a Rocky-like underdog victory in the near future? Nothing is certain but – unlike the actual Rocky movies – this saga will be well worth keeping an eye on.

Common cents

From rooftop to large-scale, the U.S. solar industry has been the headline attraction all week across the global solar landscape. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory delivered a killer hit this week too with the revelation that the utility-scale solar segment in the U.S. has driven average solar costs down to a below-the-belt $0.05/kWh.

Supported by the 30% ITC, solar is pricing itself slap-bang in the middle of the average wholesale electricity price range, but would be slightly higher if that tax incentive was absent, the study found.

Hanergy won’t throw in the towel

On the ropes, backed into a corner, legs turned to jelly… throw-in-the-towel or come-out-fighting time? For Hanergy, it’s the latter, everytime.

This week the company’s founder made the incredible claim that Hanergy’s stock woes were not the result of odd business practices but instead the cruel and inevitable outcome of a concerted and malicious short-selling campaign among hedge funds.

The incredible claim came on the same day that Hanergy’s company deputy chairman Liu Min resigned, citing "personal health reasons".

Australia penetrates

Everybody needs good neighbors, right? And if those neighbors have a lovely, glistening solar array, then all the better. Chances are high that many Australians have such neighbors after it emerged this week that the country has the highest residential solar penetration rate in the world – its 15% way ahead of second-place Belgium, which has 7%.

"We’re clearly leading the world in rooftop solar," said Energy Supply Association CEO Matthew Warren, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "Most other countries are in low single digits, so we’re kind of pioneering the experiment of rooftop solar and the world is watching," Warren told ABC Radio National.

Also in the news…

A new government for Greece promises much, but what could it mean for the country’s energy policy? pv magazine’s Greek correspondent Ilias Tsagas lifts the lid on the new guy in charge, the challenges the country faces, and progress made despite some extremely difficult conditions.

SkyPower has been busy this week announcing a number of ambitious large-scale solar projects across many of the world’s less developed nations, most notably a set of rather grand plans to develop 2.2 GW of solar PV in India and – perhaps more interestingly – 2 GW of solar PV in neighboring Bangladesh.

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