First Solar & Moapa Paiute Tribe Break Ground On 250 MW Solar Project

Enjoy the beautiful line of diversity and the faces of happy folks breaking ground on the 250 MW Solar Project of the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. Community, government, and energy industry leaders symbolically joined on March 21st to actively commemorate the start of construction for the project.


(From right to left) US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joins Moapa Band of Paiutes Chairwoman Aletha Tom, First Solar CEO James Hughes, LADWP director of power system planning and development Randy Howard, and the Moapa Band of Paiutes Tribal Council to break ground on the 250 MW Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project.
Image Credit: First Solar

“Today’s event marks a very important milestone for Nevada, the Moapa Band of Paiutes, and tribal nations throughout the country,” said Reid. “The Moapa Southern Paiute Solar project is the first utility-scale solar project on tribal land and will deliver much needed economic benefits to the Tribe and Nevada. It will also create about 400 construction jobs, and replace dirty energy with clean solar power.”

The news release from First Solar states: ”U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) joined representatives from the Moapa Band of Paiutes, executives from First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), as well as other community, government and energy industry leaders to celebrate the start of construction of the 250 Megawatt (MW)AC Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. The project is located on the Moapa River Indian Reservation just north of Las Vegas, and has a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the LADWP to deliver clean, solar energy for 25 years to the City of Los Angeles.”

Continuing, the news release describes how much of leadership from the Moapa Band of Paiutes will help to generate clean electricity and reduce pollution:

The power plant, anticipated to be fully operational by the end of 2015, is expected to generate enough clean solar energy to serve the needs of more than 93,000 homes. This amount of renewable energy will displace approximately 313,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually—the equivalent of taking about 60,000 cars off the road.

The project will play a key role in LADWP’s efforts to build a clean energy future by expanding renewable energy to 33 percent of its total power supply and eliminating coal power. Solar energy from the Moapa plant will contribute 2.4 percent toward LADWP’s renewable energy portfolio. This transformational goal also includes reducing energy use by at least 10 percent through energy efficiency measures; expanding local solar and other forms of distributed generation; initiating a robust demand-response program; and rebuilding local power plants to better integrate renewable energy and be more flexible to meet peak demand.

Of course, this will also help the Moapa Band of Paiutes. It will create jobs and economic growth. ”This is an important step in becoming a leader in Indian Country and will help to create a model for other Tribes to follow,” said Aletha Tom, Chairwoman of the Moapa Paiute Tribal Council. “If our small Tribe can accomplish this, then others can also. There are endless opportunities in renewable energy, and Tribes across the nation have the available land on which to build them.”


Read the entire press release for more information. Enjoy some more details about the Moapa Band of Paiutes here:

The Moapa Band of Paiutes is part of the Southern Paiute Nation with a mission to preserve its homeland, particularly the 72,000 acre Moapa River Indian Reservation, by building an independent and self-governing community and providing opportunities for economic, educational and cultural growth. The Paiutes respect and honor the land and all living things upon it, and the Tribe has the ability to be a front-runner in the clean energy field. The Tribe also operates farms, the Moapa Travel Plaza, a sand and gravel operation and has other future plans for expansion at the Valley of Fire area.

Read more on related solar stories:

Native American Tribe’s Push For Solar & Wind (To Replace Coal & Keep Out Natural Gas)

First Solar Module Cost To Almost Halve (While Natural Gas Prices Increase)

First Solar And GE Team Up For Next Generation PV Plants

First Solar & Moapa Paiute Tribe Break Ground On 250 MW Solar Project was originally published on Solar Love!.

New Chevy Volt App

For you Chevy Volt owners or soon-to-be owners, one of your crew has gone and created a new Chevy Volt app. Here are the details (with minor modifications) via the forum:

new chevy volt appHi Volt/Ampera community,

I am really exited to present an app, MyGreenVolt, specifically developed for our Volt.

The purpose is to expose to the driver some of the information not available on the dashboard.

I have included a snapshot of the main screen below.


Some of the readings are:
- Instant power delivered by the main traction Li-Ion battery with min and max values
- Voltage and current at the battery level
- Graph of instant power of each of the electric motors
- Clear bar chart showing temperature of battery, transmission, AC/DC converter, and gas engine coolant
- State of the battery heater (on or off)
- Energy utilization breakdown for main traction, HVAC, battery heater and other components
- Energy efficiency including driven electric miles (or km), kWh/mile (or kWh/km), mile/kWh(or km/kWh), and energy consumption in kWh for the last trip.
- State of charge of the battery
- Gas engine rpm and load

You need of course a Bluetooth OBD2 adapter. The app works with WiFi but this is still experimental.

This is for BlackBerry devices running BB10 OS and the app is free

Be tolerant as I developed this app on my spare time :-; . I am willing to actively support and improve it so feel free to download the app and provide your feedback.

Link to MyGreenVolt web site describing the app and how to set it up:

If you are interested in news and updates, follow MyGreenVolt App on Facebook:…22800784583669


Editor’s Note: I’ll add that several Chevy Volt owners in the forum where I found this seemed excited about it. Of course, most of them want it for iOS or Android. The developer (Fredo) is working on making it available for Android. No word (as far as I’ve seen) regarding iOS.

New Chevy Volt App was originally published on EV Obsession.

Commercial Solar Grid Parity Now Reality In Italy, Germany, & Spain

The days when solar power was more expensive than other power sources are quickly passing us by. News out of Europe is that commercial solar power is now at grid parity in some major European countries.

A new study, the PV Grid Parity Monitor, conducted by consulting firm Eclareon, has found that commercial solar power hit grid parity in Italy, Germany, and Spain in 2013. Based on levelized cost of energy (LCOE) calculations, commercial solar now competes with retail electricity in these European countries.

“In countries such as Italy and Germany, both at grid parity and with proper regulation, PV systems for self-consumption represent a viable, cost-effective, and sustainable power generation alternative,” said David Pérez, partner at Eclareon in charge of the study.

grid parity germany italy spain

As you can see in the chart above, of the 7 countries studied, 4 are yet to hit commercial solar grid parity. Of them, Mexico certainly looks the best-positioned to hit it next, and France seems to be next in line after that.

You can also see large variation in the solar policies of these countries. For example, Spain is infamous now for its retroactive solar feed-in tariff cuts. It has also made it illegal for people to consume electricity they generate from their own solar panels.

Italy and Germany, on the other hand, have largely cut solar feed-in tariffs as initially scheduled. Overall, their solar policies have been much more stable. They also have policies supporting the adoption of energy storage, which is a good supplement to rooftop solar, especially if costs can be brought down as they were with solar panels.

Of course, Brazil and Mexico are seen as having the most supportive policies for solar PV electricity self-consumption.

Notably, LCOE for commercial solar power has been coming down in all 7 countries a great deal, but, as might be expected, they’ve been coming down slowest in the countries already at grid parity, which have more mature solar PV markets and have less incentive to further cut prices:

commercial solar lcoe

For more details, check out the full PV Grid Parity Monitor.

This was the first commercial solar grid parity monitor from Eclareon. I’ll keep you up to date with changes in the coming ones.

Commercial Solar Grid Parity Now Reality In Italy, Germany, & Spain was originally published on Solar Love!.

Is Tesla Stock Worth $65, $320, $229, or… ?

Admittedly, this article is jumping off of an article that is ~3 weeks old, which is probably ancient in the world of investing, but I think it’s still useful and interesting for the underlying points.

At the end of February, Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley projected that Tesla stock could go up to $320 within 12 months, one of the higher estimates on the table, while John Lovallo of BofA Merrill Lynch had its target at $65. Kirk Lindstrom, decided to examine the arguments behind each case over on Seeking Alpha.

Jonas vs Lovallo

Jonas’ $320 was a doubling of Morgan Stanley’s previous target price of $153! From the article:

Key assumptions are:

  1. “Tesla’s annual sales to reach almost 400,000 units by 2020, and around 1.1 million units by 2028.” This would give Tesla a global market share of roughly 0.9% by 2020.

  2. The new “Gigafactory” will cut the cost of the battery nearly in half: “With full-scale battery operations, Tesla battery packs used in the Model S, which currently cost over $15,000, could eventually cost close to $100 per kilowatt hour (kWh), or around $8,500 apiece.”

  3. Much arm-waving about the benefit of being in the Silicon Valley with a lot of us smart people: “Tesla is Ideally Positioned to Lead the Autonomous Cars Segment.”

  4. Opportunity in Energy Storage for the Home and business markets. “Electric utility demand in the US is currently a $400 billion business and a $2 trillion business globally. Morgan Stanley believes the opportunities in this space are boundless.”

Lovallo, meanwhile, thought that there wouldn’t be demand for anywhere close to 500,000 Teslas by 2020. Furthermore, he noted:

“We believe it is important for investors to remember that Tesla is an auto manufacturer, first and foremost, which is an inherently capital intensive business…. In our view, the Gigafactory investment will translate to even more capital intensity and add further pressure to margins and returns.”

Lindstrom’s Follow-up Points

Now, Lindstrom then went further and examined how much growth Tesla really needs to see in order to compete with leading competitors (or the closest thing to them) — Mercedes and BMW.

If we assume that Tesla can meet the bullish forecast for 400,000 cars by 2020, that would put it at number 33 in a world ranking of auto production by manufacture for 2012 according to The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, or OICA.

1.1 million units would place Tesla in 20th place, several slots below Daimler AG (OTCPK:DDAIF) (Mercedes) at #12 and BMW at #14, which I believe are Tesla’s main competition.

bmw mercedes tesla

Unlike Tesla, BMW is already building over two million autos a year at a profit, while paying a 3% dividend.

According to Bloomberg, BMW has a market cap of 53,917 million euros (about US$74B), with a 2.98% dividend yield and a PEG ratio of 2.5.

If you believe Tesla can grow earnings by 52% a year for five years, then you can make a case based on PEG that it will grow into its current valuation and it would look cheap compared to BMW if it could pay a 3% dividend. Growing earnings at over 50% a year for five years is difficult, especially when the competition is so large.

Indeed, as much as I think Tesla can disrupt the auto industry, that’s essentially betting that almost everything goes right, which is a risky bet. I think I’d take the stance Elon took last year: Tesla investors are putting a lot of faith into Tesla achieving some very considerable targets.

Do I think Tesla won’t achieve them? No, I think Tesla will. But I also wouldn’t put my money on a stock based on such large growth that is based on so many difficult things going well. As much as I am a Tesla fanboy and think I will buy a Tesla someday, I don’t think I could justify such assumptions when there are so many other, safer buys out there.

Other Comments

Before closing, there were a handful of comments under the article that I wanted to highlight. Here’s a big one from user 6012571:

MY roommate’s boyfriend works at TSLA and he’s been selling his shares since they hit $120. Since they have restrictions on the stock they have to wait unitl the restictions come off. He, and I, and her, laugh all the way to the bank.. I bought at $40 and sold out at $180 with no regrets. He has told me all of the other employees dump the stock the first chance they get and are buying condos, houses, ect… NOT TESLA CARS. WALL ST can be so dumb.

Here’s a simple but elegant one, from NetworkBob:

A $30B market cap for a company that produces less than 40K automotive units annually is a stretch.

Here’s on on the other side, from Ford Prefect 1969:

This whole Ford is better than Tesla conversation brings to mind a funny story told by Steve Jobs around the time of his return to Apple.

It went something like this:

“So they told me Apple is like a ship with a hole in the bottom, and they asked me…. could I help to steer it in the right direction”

Tesla is the hole in the bottom of the ship called the auto industry. It really does not matter how big the industry players currently are or what direction they turn in, until such a time as they can address the fact that Tesla is producing vehicles that are far more advanced and desirable and far better value for money in their class, Tesla will continue to flood the ship.

It is not a question of what Tesla is worth. The burden of proof now rests on whether F, GM, TM, etc will be worth anything at all a decade hence.

One thing is for sure, TSLA will be worth a lot more in 10 years time than it is now. The same cannot be said for any other member of the balance of the auto industry.

Another from him:

Not sure that it matters that Tesla does not currently compete with Ford.

It will do, imminently in auto industry timescales, and Ford is nowhere near ready for that.


tesla model e

Is a screen grab from a Tesla recruitment video hosted on Vimeo.

It is not a Model S and it fits the description of the Model E. It probably is an early CAD rendering of it.

This thing at $35K with free long distance travel, no pain at the pump and not for profit servicing I think will more than challenge anything from Ford that starts with a base price in excess of $20K and make a laughing stock of the C-Max, Lincoln hybrids and Fusion energi products at around the same sticker price.

It will take a while for Tesla to gain mega scale production, but I cannot see anything on the horizon to prevent Tesla behaving as a monopoly and absorbing market share absolutely as fast as practicality and cash flows permit. That is another problem for the current crop of big auto. Tesla’s business model allows it to expand cash flow positive in excess of 50% annually and I believe 100% without burning any cash.

Evidently it also has as much access to capital as it wants. $2bn is nothing, I was amazed that it asked for so little. I am sure $5 bn would have been no problem either. Think on that when in less than 2 years Tesla reports that it has a million reservations for the car in the picture above.

That is the risk Ford and others are facing, the auto market is Tesla’s playground now. That much is clear for the sake of looking. Relative production volumes at the dawn of massive change are a smoke screen.

DeepValueLover gets to the heart of the matter, imho:

If Tesla’s current price is based on the rate of growth then why is the price 2.56 higher than that pace of growth?

…and that is with Tesla growing earnings at 100% per year.

The stock price is ~2x the value of future growth.

There will be a SEVERE pullback…probably this year.

But I’ll also at Ford Prefect 1969‘s response to that comment:


I think the starry eyed shorts will be SEVERLEY disappointed.

There may well be a gradual tapering of earnings multiples over a period of years. Set against that is the fact that the forward looking statements of this company are ridiculously conservative.

The big money knows it, that $2bn of bonds targeting $360 is big money.

Closing Look At Tesla & A Few Stocks

Here are the market caps for a handful of auto companies as I write this (all values are in USD):

And here are 2013 vehicle sales for those companies (in millions) as well as a 500,000 estimate for Tesla in 2020:

Is Tesla Stock Worth $65, $320, $229, or… ? was originally published on EV Obsession.

Terrorists Could Black Out US Electric Grids With “Simple” 1-2-3 — Developing More Solar Would Increase Grid Security

electric lines

A recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission analysis finds that it would be fairly easy for terrorists to knock out all the electric grids in the US. And not just for a short time, but for about a year and a half!

“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer,” FERC officials wrote in a memo for a former FERC chair.

John Upton at Grist further summarizes: “Crippling America’s old-fashioned electrical grid for a long period of time would be disturbingly easy. Saboteurs need only wait for a heat wave, and then knock out a factory plus a small number of the 55,000 electric-transmission substations that are scattered throughout the country.”

Oh, but surely these substations are heavily protected, right? Umm…

From a Wall Street Journal article on this story:

In last April’s attack at PG&E Corp.’s Metcalf substation, gunmen shot 17 large transformers over 19 minutes before fleeing in advance of police. The state grid operator was able to avoid any blackouts.

The Metcalf substation sits near a freeway outside San Jose, Calif. Some experts worry that substations farther from cities could face longer attacks because of their distance from police. Many sites aren’t staffed and are protected by little more than chain-link fences and cameras.

Holy yikes!!


Now, I think solar enthusiasts know what one very helpful solution would be. And if you didn’t before, you probably caught it in the title above. It is: a very distributed electricity system. For example, an electricity system that uses a ton of distributed solar power systems (e.g., rooftop solar).

Microgrids would be especially helpful and protecting against any such attacks. High military officials have been telling us this for years.

So, let’s get on it! Let’s install a ton of solar power, and let’s get moving on microgrids of the 21st century.

(By the way, FERC was not too pleased with the Wall Street Journal covering this sensitive topic. But the fact of the matter is: we need to develop a more secure grid, and maybe we need the public to push for that.)

Photo Credits: tieden / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND & Abdulelah_Qutub / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Terrorists Could Black Out US Electric Grids With “Simple” 1-2-3 — Developing More Solar Would Increase Grid Security was originally published on Solar Love!.