In this week’s Solar News Roundup, a new exclusion passes for bifacial solar panels from the January 2018 solar tariff, and Elon Musk says that the Tesla Solar Roof is currently being installed in eight states.
Bifacial solar panels get excluded from Trump’s solar tariff
In the second round of exclusions to the January 2018 solar tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, bifacial solar panels have been given a pass. Bifacial panels make up less than 1 percent of global solar panel system installations but are gaining popularity due to their significant efficiency advantages over traditional panels.
“This [exclusion] is going to give bifacial more of a competitive edge against other modules,” said senior solar analyst Colin Smith of Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. “It’s certainly going to bring the overall cost down and make them more attractive to developers.”
While it remains unclear just how much this new exclusion will impact bifacial adoption, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) welcomed the announcement and hinted at potential market ramifications: “This exemption will accelerate the adoption of bifacial technology in the United States, which is still in a relatively early stage,” said SEIA’s VP of market strategy John Smirnow. “Most of the leading module suppliers now offer or will soon offer bifacial products.”
Currently, the U.S. has very limited bifacial manufacturing capacity; the leading bifacial manufacturers are based overseas, including Longi, LG, Trina, and Yingli.
Elon Musk says the Tesla Solar Roof is being installed in 8 states
Will the Tesla Solar Roof ever fully be rolled out? It’s been more than two full years of Tesla taking orders without much to show on the installations side, but at a recent company shareholder meeting, Elon Musk said that the Solar Roof is currently being installed in eight states. It’s hard to say how many systems have actually been installed or how long it will be until Solar Roofs start popping up in more places, but this new development is certainly positive progress.
In addition to this announcement, Musk also said that the company is working on completing the third version of the product. “We are about to complete version 3 of the solar roof,” he said. “This is actually quite a hard technology problem to have an integrated solar cell with a roof tile, have it look good, and last for 30 years.” He even teased the possibility that this third iteration of the roof could potentially be cost-competitive with a typical shingled roof. However, as with any Solar Roof announcement, time will tell if Musk’s optimism is misplaced.