Solar Will Be Cheapest
by Emma Foehringer Merchant
February 02, 2021

With President Joe Biden in the White House, ink drying on a spate of new climate-focused executive orders and an extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit on the books, the immediate future looks relatively rosy for solar.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration anticipates that renewables will be the fastest-growing source of electricity through midcentury. While solar accounted for about 15 percent of renewable electricity generation in the U.S. in 2020, according to EIA, that will increase to nearly 50 percent by 2050. And solar will be the cheapest form of electricity across the United States by 2030, according to a recently released Wood Mackenzie report. The consultancy expects solar costs to decline 15 to 25 percent over the next ten years.

In a recent series for Squared, I cataloged some of the technological innovations that could define the next decade for solar. Here, I’ll dig into the macro trends Wood Mackenzie analysts expect to drive the resource’s next decade.

Costs will continue falling through 2030

In 2011, the Department of Energy launched its SunShot initiative, modeled after the moonshot effort of the mid-twentieth century, to “reduce the costs of solar energy and reestablish U.S. global leadership” in solar. A decade later, the U.S. has accomplished at least one of those goals; three years before DOE had targeted, SunShot successfully lowered utility-scale solar prices to its goal of $1 per watt.

Cost declines have been the most integral tool in allowing large-scale solar to grow. Worldwide, solar system prices fell by more than 80 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to WoodMac’s analysis.

Meanwhile, installations grew.

Although SunShot floundered under President Trump, prices kept falling in the U.S. Overall, prices for the engineering, procurement and construction of large-scale solar systems fell by more than 30 percent during Trump’s presidency, according to WoodMac.

That happened amid uncertain policy; the Biden administration’s support should provide more stability to the industry. WoodMac expects that costs will continue dropping. Solar is already competitive in a swath of the West and much of the Southeast. That trend will make its way into more of the Northeast by 2021 and the Mountain West by 2022. It will come for the frigid northern Midwest by mid-decade.

By 2030, solar will be the lowest-cost source of generation across the entire U.S.

Corporate purchases

Solar power’s downward price trajectory has caught the eye of corporate buyers. That’s a big market for renewables: Commercial and industrial electricity consumption accounted for more than 60 percent of electricity sales in 2019. And large companies have already become some of the most significant buyers of renewable electricity. In Q4 of 2020, these buyers accounted for 20 percent of the contracted pipeline for large-scale solar. In 2019, commercial solar installations grew 10 percent over the previous year, according to tracking from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Analysts expect continued declines in the levelized cost of solar energy to strengthen that demand, which in turn has significant potential to reshape energy markets. After signing onto a growing slate of contracts tied to renewables projects, many companies are now looking for even more control of their electricity supply. A recent statement spearheaded by the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, a group with members including Facebook and General Motors, lays out the energy policies corporations hope to see advanced under the Biden-Harris administration. Their asks include expanding wholesale electricity markets to smooth the trading of electrons across regions. Some companies, such as Google, have already joined regional transmission organizations to gain more leverage in determining how those markets function.

The ability for solar to compete on price alone means that more merchant-centric projects could also be on the horizon, according to WoodMac. Most solar projects in the United States have relied on long-term, contracted revenue streams that last for at least a couple of decades. But as investors have become increasingly comfortable — perhaps too comfortable, some might say — with the structure of solar deals and the returns associated with the projects, shorter contracts have become more common.

“There’s definitely a lot of buzz in the market about the prospects of having merchant-based projects. But in the truest sense of the word, I don’t think there is a single [merchant solar] project yet,” said Ravi Manghani, WoodMac’s head of solar research. “Developers would need to come up with the right sort of hedging tools, whether these are physical tools like potentially storage, or financial tools, like hedges or insurance products. Those will have to become more commonplace as these projects start to be truly merchant.”

The role of storage and transmission

Cost declines have helped solar gain momentum. But overall, solar provided only about 2 percent of U.S. electricity in 2019. And if the resource is to grow significantly enough to meet clean energy mandates and climate goals set out by states and countries, it needs more support.

Energy storage is already being added to more utility-scale projects, and more projects are being designed to allow for its later addition, to help extend the hours in which solar projects can deliver electricity. Developers and asset owners such as Capital Dynamics have said storage is a consideration, if not the default, for every project.

“In the long run, as solar washes over the United States, storage follows along behind,” John Breckenridge, Capital Dynamics’ head of clean energy infrastructure, told Greentech Media this fall.

While storage will help balance uneven solar production, transmission is needed to carry it from where it’s most cost-effectively generated to where it’s most in demand.

Lack of transmission capacity has major potential to constrain solar growth, stymieing decarbonization efforts like those set out by the Biden-Harris administration. Already, experts and wonks are asking the new administration to confront that challenge. Clean energy groups supported by numerous past members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission highlighted that need in a report released this week.

“There is no climate plan that is serious if it does not anticipate a significant regional transmission upgrade,” said Pat Wood III, who served as FERC chair from 2001 to 2005, in an event spotlighting the report.

The administration appears to be paying attention to these issues already. An order President Biden signed this week urges the acceleration of federal permitting for transmission. And in a Wednesday Senate hearing on her nomination to head the Department of Energy, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm named building out transmission to transport clean electricity as a “high priority” if she is confirmed.

“I’m very eager to work with FERC to get transmission lines established ASAP,” Granholm said Wednesday. “I feel like this is a conversation that’s been had for years, about having the right transmission lines in place to take power…(clean power especially) from places that are generating to the power and load centers.”

Aside from storage and transmission, which will make solar easier to use in more places and at more times of day, solar itself is becoming more efficient.

Bifacial solar, which allows for the absorption of sunlight on both sides of a panel, is perhaps the most significant solar technology improvement in recent years, or at least the one to become most mainstream. It’s already the default choice for numerous developers in the U.S.

The Section 201 exclusion that bifacial solar enjoyed for a time aided that development, though the exclusion was ultimately reversed by the Trump administration (solar groups are challenging the verdict).

Despite the policy confusion surrounding tariffs, analysts at Wood Mackenzie name bifacial among just a few technological innovations that are likely to boost solar production and help cut costs in the coming years. (Others are larger panels and wafer sizes, as I cover here, as well as improvements in solar trackers). Commercial bifacial solar modules offer production gains of 7 to 8 percent while costing not much more than single-sided panels. Analysts expect “the next decade will be marked by steady technological improvement along the entire solar value chain.”

“Every little improvement in generation or production means the capacity factor continues to go up, and that has direct implications in terms of the levelized cost,” said WoodMac’s Manghani.

In today’s mobile world, standard lithium-ion batteries are used in a myriad of situations, and battery life comes to be precious. It can be especially annoying when a mobile device has to be charged in a public place with only one available outlet.

There are many reports on how to save battery power, but what can we do to extend battery life? Here are a few ways that Himax has you covered.

Keep the battery at room temperature

Store the battery between 20 to 25℃. During the charging process, the temperature of the battery will increase due to the electric current. Therefore, do not leave your battery in the car or charge it if the temperature inside the car is too high. Heat is the biggest factor in shortening the life of a lithium battery.

Consider purchasing a high-capacity rectangle lithium battery

Standard rectangular rechargeable batteries will degrade over time regardless of whether they are used or not. As a result, spare batteries will not last longer than batteries in use. When purchasing a battery, be sure to ask about the latest manufacturing date of the product.

rectangular pouch batteries

Avoid completely discharging the lithium battery

If the discharge voltage of each cell of a standard lithium-ion battery falls below 2.5V, the safety circuit built into the battery will break, and the battery will appear to be depleted. For safety reasons, do not charge an over-discharged lithium-ion battery if it has been stored under these conditions.

Lithium-ion polymer batteries charging

If you are storing the lithium batteries for an extended period of time, store them at a storage charge in a cool place. Only by storing the battery properly can excessive power consumption be minimized and the life of the battery extended.

Stay tuned for more battery technology or visit Grepow’s Website now: https://www.grepow.com/

Lithium cell

Lithium cell

Low-Temperature LiFePO4 Battery: Why It’s Best For RV

Like humans, batteries could function their best at room temperature. Low-temperature batteries like Lithium Iron Phosphate, like the LifePO4 Battery manufactured by Grepow, could be useful for RVs. These good batteries can work well in a temperature range of about 40 to 50That’s why these batteries are ideal for RV application because these are specially-made, low-temperature batteries that are ideal for longer use in, particularly cold environments.

Perhaps you want to know deeper about what LiFePO4 Battery has to offer. In this article, you will understand how the low-temperature LifePO4 batteries work, and why it is ideal for any RVs. You will also know its features to help you understand this product.

lifepo4-battery-12v

Benefits of Using Low-Temperature LiFePO4 Batteries 

When it comes to powering your RV, perhaps you want to consider Grepow’s Low-temperature LiFePO4 Batteries. Here are the benefits when you opt to use these kinds of batteries.

  • LiFePO4 batteries are safer and even more practical for low-temperature
  • It can be charged at temperature down to 0℃
  • It features proprietary technology which draws excellent power from the charger itself
  • The process of charging and heating is seamless for users
  • Internal heating and monitoring system are easy to process
  • Environmentally friendly and proven safe for use in any system
  • Customizable (Voltage, Capacity, Size, BMS)
  • Provides your RV a high energy density
  • The cycle life could reach thousands of cycles

LiFePO4 battery Features 

Understanding your battery’s features is essential to know if it’s compatible with your RV. Check out the Grepow’s Low-Temperature LiFePO4 features to know how it delivers more power and longer life.

Grepow LifePO4 battery 0.2C discharge at -20 to -40 degree temperature

0.2C discharge at -20 to -40 degree temperature

  • Very good temperature resistance; the range of operating temperature is from -40℃to 50℃.
  • The discharge current at 0.2C is over 85% of initial capacity at -20℃, 85% at -30℃, around 55% at -40℃.
  • Has a higher capacity than other similar-sized lead-acid batteries.
  • A good drop-in replacement for lead-acid batteries
  • It comes with a longer life cycle compared to other lithium-ion batteries.
  • Can reach up to 2000 times life cycle

LiFePO4 battery Applications

One good thing about the Grepow’s LiFePO4 battery is that it can be used or applied to various equipment. It’s widely used in fields that require low-temperature applications like:

  • Medical Equipment
  • Drones/UAVs
  • Remote Controls for Passion and Hobbies
  • Industrial Applications
  • Powersports
  • Energy Storage (Home Solar, Outdoor, Marine)

 

NI-MH-Battery

NI-MH-Battery-Pack

A nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery is similar to a nickel cadmium (NiCd) battery, but it has higher capacity, less memory effect, and lower environmental pollution (or more simply, it doesn’t have the toxic cadmium) than the NiCd battery. Its recycling efficiency is better than that of lithium-ion batteries, and it is known as the most environmentally friendly battery.

The discharge performance of NiMH batteries can also meet the needs of most electronic products, and it is particularly suitable for products that require stable voltage over long discharge times.

High C-rate

Typically, high C-rate Ni-MH batteries can be charged at 1C and be fully charged in just over an hour. When discharged with a current of 5C, the median voltage of the battery can reach more than 1.24V and still discharge over 90% of its capacity.

Ni-MH batteries are efficient in their fast charging and high current-discharge performance, which makes them especially suitable for the high current discharge of electrical appliances, such as power tools, large toys (car toys, remote control aircraft) and so on.

Charging efficiency

The charging efficiency is the ratio of the capacity of a battery discharged under certain discharge conditions up to a certain cut-off voltage to the capacity of the battery input, which can be calculated according to the following formula:

Ni-MH battery's charging efficiency formula | Grepow
the battery’s charging efficiency formula

Because the input energy is partially consumed in the side reaction to produce oxygen, the charging efficiency is affected by the charging rate and the environmental temperature. The charging current must be within a certain range when charging: if the current is too small or too large, the charging efficiency will be low.

High charge rate

A Ni-MH cell has many similar characteristics to its NiCd counterpart, and it also follows a similar discharge curve to that of the NiCd. However, the Ni-MH battery is intolerant of overcharging, which can result in reduced capacity.

In order to ensure the best battery life, 1C charging is the recommended charging rate. After fast charging, it is recommended to use 0.03-0.05C trickle charging to compensate for self-discharge and maintain battery capacity.

High discharge rate

Himax’s Ni-MH batteries can offer up to 2 times the C-rate of similarly sized, standard NiCd batteries. Due to their higher discharge rate and energy density characteristics, users can use Himax’s Ni-MH batteries in more powerful devices and applications.

The following picture is the discharge curve of :

NiMH UP43SC2000 Performance Measurement Data Plots | Grepow
UP43SC2000-15C Performance Measurement Data Plots

Here are some specifications of Himax Ni-MH battery:

specifications of Grepow NiMH battery

There are three different series for Himax’s Ni-MH batteries that correspond to thor different discharge rates:

LP series, which stands for low power, means that the medium discharge rate is within a 5C rating. HP series stands for high power, and it has a discharge rating of 10C. Finally, the UP series, standing for ultra high power, has a discharge rate of 15C or more.

The above information comes from Himax, the manufacturer of Ni-MH, LiPO, and LiFe batteries. For more information, please further explore our blog or contact us at sales@himaxelectronics.com.

Li-polumer-battery

Batteries play a vital role in our lives. They are used to store electricity and power various electrical appliances. Especially lithium-ion batteries, they are used in a wide range and are often used in some small portable appliances, such as mobile phones. The battery is a consumable material, and it is often charged and discharged. No matter the battery is the best, it has a certain lifespan, and the price of lithium-ion batteries is higher than other batteries, so try to choose good quality lithium-ion batteries when buying, and the service life can be longer , Then how do we detect the quality of lithium-ion batteries?

Li-polumer-battery

How to detect the quality of lithium-ion batteries:

1. The fastest inspection method is to test the internal resistance and maximum discharge current. A good quality lithium ion battery has very small internal resistance and large maximum discharge current. Use a multimeter with a 20A range to directly short-circuit the two electrodes of the lithium-ion battery. The current should generally be about 10A, or even higher, and it can be maintained for a period of time. A relatively stable battery is a good battery.

2. Look at the appearance. The fullness of the appearance, such as a lithium-ion battery of about 2000mAh, is relatively large. The workmanship is fine or the packaging is fullness.

3. Look at the hardness. The middle part of the lithium-ion battery can be squeezed gently or moderately by hand. The hardness is moderate, and there is no soft squeezing feeling, which proves that the lithium battery is a relatively high-quality battery.

4. Look at the weight. Remove the outer packaging and feel whether the weight of the battery is heavy. If it is heavy, it is a high-quality battery.

5. During the live working process of the lithium-ion battery, if the two poles of the battery are not hot after continuous discharge for about 10 minutes, it proves that the battery protection board system is perfect. Generally, the quality of lithium-ion batteries with high-quality protection boards is better than ordinary lithium-ion batteries.

The service life of a good-quality lithium-ion battery is about two or three years. The non-durable performance of a lithium-ion battery is that the power consumption is very fast, and the charging time is reduced accordingly. In order to ensure the long-lasting use of lithium-ion batteries, pay attention to the protection of lithium-ion batteries, such as new batteries. Generally, the first three charges must be charged for 12 hours to activate the battery. Normally, you should also pay attention to it. There will always be a blind spot, which is to charge the mobile phone when it is completely dead. This idea is wrong. In order to protect the lithium-ion battery, try to charge the battery with half of the battery.

12v-lifepo4-battery

Most energy storage systems, like UPS and solar energy storage, use lead-acid batteries,  but more and more people are coming to use lithium iron phosphate batteries (LiFePO4) instead.

How does LiFePO4 replace Lead-acid batteries?

LiFePO4 batteries are compatible with lead-acid-battery equipment all the while having a higher discharge platform, volumetric specific capacity, and cycle life.

12.8V-7Ah-Lead-acid-battery

12.8V 7Ah Lead-acid battery

The nominal voltage of each cell of a lead-acid battery is 2.1V while the LiFePO4 is 3.2V.

To connect cells in series to form a 12V battery pack, lithium iron phosphate only needs 4 cells (3.2V x 4 = 12.8V) compared to the 6 cells of a lead-acid battery (2.1V x 6 = 12.6V).  Already based on this knowledge, it is clear that lithium iron phosphate batteries are more advantageous than lead-acid batteries in terms of energy ratio, weight, and volume.

12V-7Ah Lithium Battery

12.8V 7Ah Himax LiFePO4 modular battery

Each LiFePO4 Modular 12.8V battery can be set up in parallel or series in order to meet the needs of your current set up. For example, for a 48V setup, 4 cells of 12V should be hooked up in series. Simply remove the Lead-Acid Batteries and replace them with the Lithium iron phosphate Batteries and attach cables and secure the holding bracket.

Limitation of Lead-acid batteries

The charging efficiency of Lead-acid batteries is relatively low at 70% whereas the charging efficiency of LiFePo4 batteries can exceed 80% or even 90%. A lead-acid battery needs more energy for recharging, so a lot of energy is lost during the charging process.

Some other features of lead-acid batteries are as follows:

  • Fast or partial charges ruin a lead-acid battery
  • Charging times are long from 6 to 8 hours
  • An incorrect charger or setting reduces battery life
  • Poor maintenance will also reduce battery life

Other benefits of Lead-acid replacement batteries

Consistent voltage for a longer time

No more flickering lights or spotty performance. Lead-acid batteries can be unreliable for powering accessories at 50% or lower whereas Himax 12.8V LiFePO4 Lead-acid replacement batteries provide a constant output of energy all the way down to as little as 5% of its power.

lead-acid-vs-LiFePO4-battery

Fast Charging

Lithium-ion batteries can be “fast” charged to 100% of their capacity. Normally, the LiFePo4 battery can be charged to 50% of its capacity in only 30 minutes. However, the Grepow lithium batteries with fast-charging technology can reach 100% of its capacity within 30 minutes; the maximum charging efficiency can go up to 3C for the charging rate.

Smart and Multi-connected battery

LiFePO4 batteries are equipped with a Battery Management System (BMS) board, and you can check on the State of Charge (SOC). More importantly, the 12.8V modular LiFePo4 battery allows for multiple connections, so you can connect batteries in series and parallel without an external BMS (max 4S10P; the maximum parameter is 51.2V and 70Ah). You can also assemble the battery into different structures and shapes to fit it into the available space of your device.