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⚡ "Solar Power: The Silver Linings of Ditching Silver"

The Interchange

Photo by American Public Power Association / Unsplash

Host: David Banmiller
Guest: Jonathan Gifford | Founding Editor | PV Magazine
Category: ⚡ Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[11:33] “I think rather than incentives, what is needed more widely on an international level for solar is […] getting out of the way and letting the industry deploy. […] I consulted with my PV Magazine USA editors just earlier, and they were telling me that […] they're seeing much much more NIMBYism activity be on a state by state level […] and putting roadblocks up in the way for solar. But it also applies to things like grid access […]. So I think rather than saying, we need to alter tariffs, or we need to provide you with upfront subsidies, it's rather more just […] clearing the way and letting us get on with it a little bit.”

[12:59] “The landscape of solar for the last 10 years has been one of peaks and troughs. […] They call it the solar coaster within the solar industry, because changes of policy just cause these weird spikes in demand and then followed by a trough. And the industry is always kind of scrambling to meet supply in certain markets, and then they have to refocus on another one and push that in while there's some kind of subsidy program coming into effect. But really, what is more effective and at the price point solar is today is […] regulatory stability that will allow the industry to continue to scale, continue to make those investments in manufacturing infrastructure, and then all of the associated infrastructure […]. And that will also give investors some sense of security.”

[22:43] “The energy system wasn't built overnight and we're not going to change the whole global energy system and go 100% solar everywhere at once. But we need to build a hell of a lot of solar and a hell of a lot of wind, and some storage, and some green hydrogen and demand response, and EVS and all of these things at once. And it can look kind of intimidating […] if you try and take it on all at once, but these changes can be made and they're very often complimentary. Switching to EVs helps the stationary storage market, and then the EVS can do some grid smoothing potentially, with vehicle to grid capabilities, when they're plugged into the garage, the network operator might be able to use it for a bit of grid smoothing […]. So it's this integrated system. I really like the metaphor of we’re going to an energy network where there'll be producers and prosumers, and consumers all interacting in a very dynamic way.”

[34:19] “There's a little bit of a chicken and egg problem within the solar industry at the moment in terms of end of life. Because recycling of solar modules is too expensive, because there's not the volume and until we get the volume, they're not going to develop better recycling. […] There are some claims that there's this kind of mounting tidal wave of solar waste that's just off the horizon and we have no way of dealing with it. That's not true at all. And there are some pretty exciting technologies for the recycling of solar modules that […] collect all this silver […]. You can do closed loop solar manufacturing. But it's really not there yet, because the recycling doesn't have the volume to deal with at the moment.”

[41:51] “Longer term, I think some of the technology […] like perovskites and […] tandem solar cells will be what will take efficiency to the next level. But if you're talking only two or three years, it's not so much solar as solar and what it's coupled to. And that will be energy storage.

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 48 min | 🗓️ 11/12/2021
✅ Time saved: 46 min