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Thursday, September 29, 2016

NREL Report Shows U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Costs Continuing to Fall in 2016

From NREL:


NREL Report Shows U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Costs Continuing to Fall in 2016

SEPTEMBER 28, 2016
Graph of Solar PV costs from Q4 2009 to Q1 2016
NREL U.S. PV system cost benchmarks, from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2016
NREL U.S. PV system cost benchmarks, from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2016
The modeled costs to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems continued to decline in the first quarter of 2016 in the U.S. residential, commercial, and utility-scale sectors, according to updated benchmarks from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Driving the cost reductions were lower module and inverter prices, increased competition, lower installer and developer overheads, improved labor productivity, and optimized system configurations.
"The continuing total cost decline of solar PV systems demonstrates the sustained economic competitiveness of solar PV for the industry across all three sectors," said NREL Senior Analyst and Project Lead Ran Fu.
The modeled costs for the first quarter of 2016 were down from the fourth quarter of 2015 by 6 percent, 4 percent, and 20 percent in the residential, commercial, and utility-scale sectors, respectively. The costs fell to $2.93 per watt of direct current for residential systems, $2.13 per watt of direct current for residential systems, and $1.42 per watt of direct current (Wdc) for residential systems for fixed-tilt utility-scale systems, and $1.49 Wdc for one-axis-tracking utility-scale systems.
"Such accurate cost benchmarks are critical for tracking the progress of PV systems toward cost-reduction goals. Because our cost model categorizes hardware and non-hardware costs with a high degree of resolution, the results can also be used to identify specific cost-reduction investment opportunities and assess regional levelized costs of energy," Fu said.
The new results also highlight the importance of non-hardware, or "soft," costs. As the pace of cost reductions for modules and inverters has slowed in recent years, the proportion from soft costs-such as labor, overhead, and permitting costs-has grown. In the first quarter of 2016, soft costs accounted for 58 percent of residential system costs, 49 percent of commercial system costs, and 34 percent of utility-scale system costs.
NREL uses a "bottom-up" modeling method to construct total capital costs by quantifying the typical cost of each individual system and project-development component, largely through dialogues and interviews with solar industry collaborators. The results represent total installed system costs from the perspective of the PV project developer or installer, including net profit in the cost of the hardware. The benchmarks are national averages weighted by state installed PV capacities.
NREL has produced the annual benchmarks since 2009. The full technical report (U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System Cost Benchmark Q1 2016)as well as a presentation about the new results and a data file are available online:
This ongoing work is supported by the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) through its SunShot Initiative. SunShot is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. This research is part of NREL's broader clean energy manufacturing analysis activities, which yield insights that can support Energy Department and industry decisions about research and development targets, investment strategies, and policy evaluation.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.
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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Microsoft and Liebherr Collaborating on New Generation of Smart Refrigerators | Cortana Intelligence and Machine Learning Blog

As part of the Liebherr household appliances division’s digital initiative, Liebherr and Microsoft are collaborating in the development of Liebherr’s new generation of the SmartDeviceBox. This is a communication module which fits into Liebherr refrigerators and freezers, connecting them to the internet. The system is designed to have a long lifecycle: Modular units can be integrated and upgraded at any time in existing SmartDevice-ready appliances to create value and comfort for customers through new digital features and solutions.



Microsoft and Liebherr Collaborating on New Generation of Smart Refrigerators | Cortana Intelligence and Machine Learning Blog

Johnson Controls chooses Azure IoT Suite

Amid growing pressure to reduce global energy consumption, everyone from individual homeowners to large corporations and government agencies are looking for greener ways to manage buildings. Johnson Controls, a leading provider of HVAC equipment and building automation solutions, wanted to create an easier, more-automated way to aggregate data and provide detailed intelligence on systems running in almost any location worldwide.



Johnson Controls chooses Azure IoT Suite

Partners join forces to develop robust IoT solutions for smart buildings

IDC projects Internet of Things (IoT) spending to grow from $591.7 billion in 2014 to $1.3 trillion in 2019 with a compound annual growth rate of 17%. Business Insider predicts that there will be 34 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, up from only 10 billion in 2015. Clearly, IoT is serious business with vast potential yet to be unlocked.



Partners join forces to develop robust IoT solutions for smart buildings

GE's Digital Wind Farm Unlocks Higher Production for Two Aging Plants in Japan

SCHENECTADY, NY—Aug. 25, 2016—GE Renewable Energy (NYSE: GE) announced it has secured five-year Digital Wind Farm services contracts for two aging wind farms in central Japan. Kinden Corporation’s 30 MW Shirama wind farm, a seven-year-old project near Osaka, expects the digital solution will increase the site’s annual energy production (AEP) by up to five percent. A second contract, signed with Kandenko, is expected to deliver up to two percent higher AEP for the 22 MW Chosi project, a twelve-year-old wind farm near Tokyo.



GE's Digital Wind Farm Unlocks Higher Production for Two Aging Plants in Japan