Renewables MMI®: Solar Panel Orientation Fight Shaping Up

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Solar PV array

For years, homeowners who bought silicon crystalline photovoltaic solar panels were advised to mount them on the roof facing south. That captures the most solar energy over the course of the day, which benefits the homeowner, but does so at hours that are not so helpful for the utility and the grid as a whole.

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Mount them to catch the sunlight from the west in the afternoon, and the panels’ production, overall ,would fall, but it would come at hours when the electricity was more valuable.

The New York Times reports a new study of 110,000 California houses with rooftop solar systems confirmed that a vast majority of the panels were pointed south because most of the panel owners were paid by the number of kilowatt-hours the panels produced. Pointing them southward maximizes production over all, but peak production comes at midday, not in late afternoon, when it would be more helpful. Now, utilities want homeowners to change their panels. The owners, wanting to maximize production, are naturally balking at the suggestion.

Prices for neodymium saw the biggest increase on the weekly Renewables MMI® this week, rising 1.7% and settling at CNY 352,000 ($56,550) per metric ton. The price of Chinese steel plate rose 0.6% to CNY 3,190 ($512.48) per metric ton after falling 1.2% during the previous week. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese cobalt cathodes closed flat at CNY 220,000 ($35,344) per metric ton. Silicon remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 15,000 ($2,410) per metric ton.

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Prices for Japanese steel plate remained constant, closing the week at JPY 80,000 ($663.12) per metric ton. Korean steel plate prices held steady from the previous week at KRW 900,000 ($818.03) per metric ton. The price of Chinese steel plate rose 0.6% to CNY 3,190 ($512.48) per metric ton after falling 1.2% during the previous week. US steel plate prices ticked up 0.4% over the past week to $811.00 per short ton.

US grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) saw little movement at $2,688 per metric ton.

The Renewables MMI® collects and weights 8 metal price points used extensively within the renewable energy industry to provide a unique view into renewable energy metal price trends. For more information on the Renewables MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

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