Friday Field Notes 111816


Oh, dear . . . President-elect Trump is causing quite the panic for some renewable energy supporters. There was a lot (a lot) of doom and gloom swirling about this week. And for good reason. Trump remains dubious in regard to climate change; in his 2015 book Crippled America, he touted renewable energy as “really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.” But Maggie Koerth-Baker, in her article It’s Hard to Tell Whether Trump Supports Renewable Energy – And That May Not Matter Much (FiveThirtyEight), reminds us to take a good hard look at the facts and figures–because they’re telling us not to lose hope just yet. So for now, let’s just focus on doing what we can: using our resources responsibly; working toward more efficient technologies; lobbying for more solar-friendly policies; supporting our communities; and otherwise being good stewards of this planet we call home.

Now for other solar news from the week. . .

Sunrun, for one, does not intend to slow down any time soon. Here’s what Lynn Jurich, Sunrun’s CEO, thinks about the new administration: “The bipartisan support is strong, and in fact, the renewal that we just went through last year was led by prominent Republicans. Importantly, the solar industry employs hundreds of thousands of solar workers across the country, adding workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy. These are jobs that are not going to be exported; these are blue-collar jobs; these are well-paying jobs.”  (Green Tech Media) We tend to agree.

According to GTM Research, loans and direct purchases will be more popular than leasing and power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2017 (PV Magazine).

Letterhead Press Inc., a print finisher and packaging manufacturer in New Berlin, Wisconsin, is gearing up to go solar. Once they install their 337 kilowatt (kw) array, it will provide 75 percent of its peak electricity demand. But Letterhead Press President Michael Graf doesn’t intend to stop there: “We all know that the cost of electricity is going up dramatically. My goal is to make this company 100 percent self-sufficient. Some people might think that’s crazy, but five years from now I believe people will look back and say we had a really good idea.” (Biz TimesAh, trailblazers . . . 

French oil major Total plans to install solar panels on 5,000 of their service stations worldwide (Reuters). Sure, the move will cost a pretty penny (and by ‘pretty penny’ I  mean some 300 million over the next five years)–but considering it will save them $40 million a year, it’s a smart move.

Remember when Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne gave his thoughts on an electric Ferrari?  “It’s an almost obscene concept. You’d have to shoot me first.” Well, it seems he may be having a change of heart. Now he’s claiming “all Ferraris sold from 2019 will have some hybrid elements.” (Clean Technica) What, exactly, that means no one knows–but baby steps, my friends, baby steps . . .

Researchers in Finland are using solar power to turn water and carbon dioxide into (renewable) liquid fuel. The project is a partnership between Lappeenranta University of Technology and VTT Technical Research Centre and is expected to be completed sometime next year (2017). (Seeker) Intriguing, no?

PS. We’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving next week – eating entirely too much and spending a little extra time with those we love. That being said: no Friday Field Notes next week. And a Happy Thanksgiving to you!


Now, for our disclaimer: Friday Field Notes is a weekly post about the goings on in (and possibly around) the field of solar. We simply link to news articles from the week to help you stay in the loop. While we try to stick with reputable sources, we cannot attest to the accuracy of each and every piece. Furthermore, the links and subsequent views and commentary are purely the opinion of the writers. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the company, nor should they be considered professional opinion, backing, and/or advice.