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Solar news: December 13th, 2019

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, the residential solar market in the U.S. has its best quarter yet, and General Motors and LG Chem partner for one of the world’s largest battery plants.

Residential solar has a record 2019 Q3

According to research from Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. residential solar market hit an all-time high for installations in Q3 of this year, breaking the previous record set in Q1 of 2016. The U.S. added 712 megawatts (MW) of residential solar this past quarter, and the market as a whole added 2.6 GW.

Interestingly, traditional solar strongholds in the Northeast faced headwinds not seen in the past: “Higher levels of saturation and the resulting steep customer-acquisition costs have slowed installation volumes since peak installation years, as the market grows past early-adopter consumers,” explained Wood Mackenzie analysts. While the Northeast didn’t grow significantly, the market leader California kept up growth rates, as well as new markets such as Wyoming and Iowa.

GM and LG Chem partner for $2.3 billion EV battery plant in Ohio

Last week, General Motors (GM) and battery maker LG Chem announced a $2.3 billion electric vehicle battery cell plant in Ohio. The new project is slated to be one of the world’s largest battery manufacturing facilities. It will employ over 1,100 people and have an annual capacity of over 30 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of batteries, with more flexibility to expand in the future.

The facility is reportedly part of a larger EV strategy by GM: CEO Mary Barra said that the battery plant will accelerate their current initiative to introduce 20 new EVs globally by 2023. Barra also noted that the battery cells produced at the facility will be used in a GM electric pickup product that they’ll begin production for in the fall of 2021 in Detroit. Additional electric vehicles are slated to be added to the Detroit plant’s product line over time.

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