Morning Brief: Tesla working with Panasonic on 4680 battery cell pilot line at Giga Nevada, Another profitable quarter for Freedom Solar – pv magazine USA

Also in the brief: The Trump administration is burying dozens of studies detailing the promise of renewable energy, Kansas utility goes for “grid access” charge, plus sonnen working with Stanford

October 30, 2020

Tesla is working with Panasonic to build new 4680 battery cell pilot production line at Giga Nevada: Panasonic announced that it is working with Tesla to build a new prototype production line to produce its 4680 battery cell at Gigafactory Nevada. In a conference call following the release of its latest earnings, Panasonic’s Chief Financial Officer Hirokazu Umeda announced that they are working with Tesla to produce its new 4680 battery cell that was announced on ‘Battery Day’ last month. The executive said (via Reuters): “We have considerable know-how for that battery. We started working on it immediately after Tesla’s Battery Day (in September) and are also preparing to set up a prototype production line in parallel,” Tesla’s 4680 battery cell features a much larger form factor and it is expected to greatly reduce the cost per kWh. Source: Electrek

Austin-based Freedom Solar, a turnkey solar energy installer in Texas and the longest-existing residential and commercial solar power provider in the state, today announced its most profitable quarter since opening in 2007. In the third quarter of 2020, residential sales exceeded $27 million, with sales in every month of the quarter higher than the month before, and $2.2 million in commercial revenue. With quarter- over-quarter and year-over-year profits consistently on the rise, Freedom has significantly enlarged its staff and is aggressively expanding its Texas operations, as well as establishing a presence in Colorado and closing deals in Idaho, West Virginia, and Michigan markets. “We now have over 200 employees, including 60 new employees hired just over the past 60 days,” said Freedom Solar CEO Bret Biggart. Biggart said the company’s growth is, in part, due to an increase in commercial and residential sustainability practices. Source: Freedom Solar

The Trump administration is burying dozens of studies detailing the promise of renewable energy, impeding a transition away from fossil fuels: Dan Simmons of the U.S. Department of Energy doesn’t appear to fully support renewables. In fact, he has presided over his agency’s systematic squelching of dozens of government studies detailing its promise. One pivotal research project, for example, quantifies hydropower’s unique potential to enhance solar and wind energy, storing up power in the form of water held back behind dams for moments when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. By the time of the Hoover Dam ceremony, Simmons’ office at the Energy Department had been sitting on that particular study for more than a year. In all, the department has blocked reports for more than 40 clean energy studies. The department has replaced them with mere presentations, buried them in scientific journals that are not accessible to the public, or left them paralyzed within the agency. Source: Grist, in collaboration with InvestigateWest

After Kansas court rejected solar fee, utility seeks new ‘grid access’ charge: Solar advocates say Evergy’s proposed substitute is as discriminatory as one thrown out by the state’s high court. Six months after the Kansas Supreme Court threw out an electricity fee imposed only on customers with solar panels, Kansas’ major utility is seeking permission to impose a different fee, again targeting solar customers. Clean energy activists see the “grid access fee” now before the Kansas Corporation Commission as discrimination in a slightly different form. The regulators will begin a public hearing on the matter on Nov. 5. “If you have distributed generation, you pay more” under the proposal, said Zack Pistora, who represents the Sierra Club in Kansas. “A grid access fee is going to be discrimination… plain and simple. I don’t think this passes the ruling made by the Kansas Supreme Court.” Source: Energy News Network

sonnen, a provider of residential energy storage systems, is collaborating with Stanford University’s Sustainable Systems Lab on a research effort funded by the DOE’s ARPA-E Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) program. sonnen provided installation and engineering assistance to properly integrate their battery solutions with the intelligent load controllers & power management algorithms developed in Stanford’s Powernet Project. The technology will be studied in 15 solar-powered homes and a commercial agricultural facility in California. More here.

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