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Solar news: May 3rd, 2019

In this week’s Solar News roundup, renewable energy is set to outproduce coal for the first time in April and May, and Tesla begins offering solar panel installations below market averages.

Renewable energy electricity generation overtakes coal for the first time

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy electricity generation in the U.S. likely overtook coal generation for the first time ever in April, and this trend may continue into May as well. Their projections state that renewables generated 2,322 thousand megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per day in April, while coal produced 1,997 thousand MWh/day.

While this is partly due to the seasonal trend of taking coal plants offline more during lower demand months to perform maintenance and upgrades, these findings highlight what has now become an unavoidable trend in the electricity generation sector: renewables are here to stay and are an integral part of a larger transition in the energy landscape.

Tesla announces solar system pricing below the national average

Tesla sent waves through the solar industry this week with the announcement of a new strategy and pricing scheme for their solar panel systems. According to the Tesla website, the company is now selling solar panel systems for around $2.85/watt, which is below market average prices for residential solar panel systems.

There are a few reasons Tesla has been able to cut their pricing so dramatically. Most importantly, they seem to be significantly streamlining the purchasing process by requiring all parts of the transaction to occur online. They’re also only offering preset sizes of solar energy systems (4kW, 8kW, 12kW, and 16kW). By requiring solar shoppers to take pictures of parts of their home electrical systems and roofs and then having them upload those pictures to the Tesla website, Tesla is able to cut many of the costs traditionally associated with their solar business, including salaries and commissions for sales representatives speaking to individual homeowners.


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