In this week’s Solar News Roundup, we take a look at the federal climate report released this Thanksgiving, as well as an intriguing patent filed by Tesla.
New climate report outlines potential climate change impacts to the power system
This past Black Friday, the authors from 13 federal agencies released a federal climate report forecasting deep economic challenges in the U.S. likely headed our way due to climate change. Of note to the energy sector, the report notes that challenges in power delivery and our energy infrastructure might mean “cascading impacts on other critical sectors.” The report points to increasing instances of extreme weather events as threats to our power generation and transmission systems costing potentially billions of dollars.
As a case study, the report looks at the cost of grid-hardening efforts in Consolidated Edison’s and Public Service Electric and Gas’ service areas post-Superstorm Sandy. Those projects cost $2 billion in 2014, and reconstruction to energy systems following Hurricane Maria tells a similar story of massive monetary investment to repair climate change-driven damage to our energy infrastructure.
It’s not all gloom and doom, however. The authors note that “a transformation driven by technology, markets, and policies that will change the sector’s vulnerability to extreme weather and climate hazards” is already occurring. Renewable resources like solar and wind are a part of that shift, and figure to be a very important part of a resilient energy future. Other important components of the energy infrastructure to come are microgrids, energy efficiency, and energy storage systems.
Tesla’s new Solar Roof patent outlines a way to uniquely color solar shingles
The much-anticipated Tesla Solar Roof is one of the most intriguing products coming down the pipeline in the solar industry, and recent news of a patent filed by Tesla only makes their solar shingle product more interesting. Reportedly, one of the primary concerns directly from Elon Musk about his solar shingles is their appearance. This new patent covers technology allowing Tesla to uniquely color solar shingles, potentially allowing for the tiles to match any roof type in an effort to remain as low-profile as possible.
Tesla’s patent outlines a way for the company to produce colorized solar tiles without compromising on solar efficiency, which could be a huge breakthrough in the industry. Current methods of colorizing solar modules involve tinted glass and/or encapsulation sheets which absorb sunlight and decrease solar module efficiency. Tesla’s solution uses a texturized shingle surface with a color filter layer that can display a unique color with almost no light absorption.
While the Tesla Solar Roof has been the subject of much scrutiny, especially as thousands of property owners who have put deposits down still don’t know when to expect installations, there are many industry-changing aspects to the product that, if eventually released on a large scale, could change the way solar generation works for individual property owners.