Unpopular solar opinions, 2022 edition

BloombergNEF’s Jenny Chase breaks down her annual Twitter thread on the year in solar.

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On the Catalyst with Shayle Kann podcast this week:

In a funny twist of fate, solar’s success has made it old news. It’s the fastest-growing source of electricity in the world, not to mention one of the cheapest. But it’s far from the hot topic it was a decade ago when utility-scale photovoltaics were still an emerging technology. Now that it’s a more mature tool in the climate fight, we take it for granted.

And yet there’s so much more we need to do. To reach net zero by 2050, we likely need to quadruple global solar capacity by 2030, according to projections by BloombergNEF. But labor shortages, high material costs and interconnection bottlenecks are still standing in the way. 

So how do we get to where we need to be?

In this episode, Shayle talks to Jenny Chase, who managed BloombergNEF’s solar insights team for 17 years before leaving the role this month. Every year, she tweets a thread of 50 not-always-popular opinions on solar, covering the state of the industry and the challenges it needs to solve. For this episode, Shayle picked the opinions he found most interesting and unpacked them with Chase.

They cover Jenny Chase’s opinions on:

  • The biggest bottlenecks holding back solar deployment, including labor shortages, high polysilicon prices and grid interconnection backlogs

  • Why we don’t need new technology breakthroughs in solar

  • Perovskite and building-integrated photovoltaics 

  • How residential solar and battery salespeople are fudging their savings projections

  • How the federal Inflation Reduction Act could spur an unsustainable boom in the manufacturing of solar and hydrogen equipment manufacturing

  • Why leading forecasts could be underestimating solar deployment

Recommended resources:

  • Twitter: Jenny Chase’s 2022 thread of opinions on solar

  • Canary Media: What’s behind solar’s polysilicon shortage — and why it’s not getting better anytime soon

  • Canary Media: Perovskites can make solar panels more efficient than silicon alone

  • Bloomberg: Solar outshines wind to lead China’s clean-energy transition

  • Bloomberg: Solar growth estimates for 2050 are aggressive, but not unrealistic

Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

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Catalyst is supported by CohnReznick Capital, a trusted source for renewable energy investment banking servicing the U.S. sustainability sector. Visit cohnreznickcapital.com to learn more.