Kevin’s Daily Digest, 4/27/16

First Solar makes a bold design move, the Saudis vow to enter rehab, Rhone Resch exit interview, rail storage to go merchant ancillary, and more.

The Daily Digest, published Monday-Friday, focuses on the latest news in renewables, storage and electric vehicles. For more follow me on Twitter @kkchristy.

First Solar Moving to a Medium Voltage DC Power Plant Architecture (GTM2-paywall). In my nearly 15 years in solar, this is probably the most significant rethinking of PV design that I’ve seen.

The political hurdles facing a carbon tax — and how to overcome them (Vox). “Let’s assume that a carbon tax, equal to the social cost of carbon, is the ideal climate policy — the most efficient and cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions. Let’s stipulate that it is our ultimate goal. Now, how do we get there?”

Saudi Prince Announces Plan To Free Kingdom From Oil ‘Addiction’ (ClimateProgress). “We have developed an oil addiction in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, among everyone,” Prince Mohammed said Monday. “That is dangerous, and that is what has hampered the development of many different sectors in recent years.”

Why companies like Google and Walmart are buying so much wind power (Washington Post). “Corporations and other non-utility customers — including some municipalities and universities — accounted for more than half of the wind power capacity sold through so-called power purchase agreements in 2015, according to the AWEA. The group said that corporate and other non-utility buyers have signed contracts for more than 4,500 megawatts of wind power capacity, or enough to power the equivalent of about 1.2 million American homes.”

Rhone Resch Exit Interview: A Crash Course on the Modern Political History of Solar in Washington (GTM). “We then had an energy bill that was being developed. It didn’t pass in 2004 and carried over to 2005. We had our sponsors for a 30 percent tax credit. We built support — Republican support... We ended up being successful because we focused on the economics and jobs — speaking with one voice and gaining Republican support.”

First-of-its-kind rail energy storage project targets role in CAISO ancillary services market (UtilityDive). “Instead of arbitrage, the Nevada project will bid into the CAISO ancillary services market, responding to the signals the grid operator sends every four seconds to help balance supply and demand. In that scenario, Kelly said multiple trains could be moving up or down (charging or discharging) hundreds of times a day in response to the ISO’s needs.”

Ford Has No Plans To Join Electric Car Range Race (Cleantechnica). “Kevin Layden, director of electrification programs and engineering for Ford, told the press his company has no plans to join the electric car range race. Instead, it will introduce a new Focus Electric with 100 miles of range this fall. The Focus Electric currently has 76 miles of range. “I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population,” said Layden. “It’s going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now.” Less range means the car can use a battery pack that is smaller, lighter, and less costly.”

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