Bloomberg News: China to Cut Solar, Wind Power Prices as Project Costs Fall

China is reducing the amount of money it pays to newly completed solar and wind power generators for their electricity, in order to reflect declines in construction costs, the country’s price regulator and economic planner said Monday.

The nation will cut tariffs paid to solar farms by as much as 19 percent in 2017 from this year’s levels, and by as much as 15 percent for wind mills in 2018 from current prices, according to a statement posted on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website. The changes will help reduce subsidies paid to new photovoltaic and wind power projects by about 6 billion yuan ($863 million) annually, the NDRC said.

The move comes as average solar panel prices have tumbled about 30 percent this year, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, resulting in a lowering of the bids that solar developers offer to build projects. Prices of wind turbines also fell in 2016, according to London-based BNEF.

PV-Tech: 1366 Technologies and Hanwha Q Cells Hit Record 19.6% Efficiency With ‘Direct Wafer’ Technology

PV-Tech: Trina Sets New Mono PERC Cell Efficiency Record of 22.61%

U.S.-based wafer producer 1366 Technologies and "Silicon Module Super League" member Hanwha Q Cells have jointly hit a new record of 19.6% efficiency for cells using 1366's 'Direct Wafer' process. The record, independently confirmed by the Fraunhofer ISE CalLab, was achieved using 1366’s kerfless, drop-in 156-mm multicrystalline wafers using its ‘Direct Wafer’ method and Hanwha’s Q.ANTUM passivated emitter rear contact cell process. According to a 1366 Technologies statement, the Direct Wafer process creates multicrystalline wafers directly from molten silicon instead of taking several steps that require more energy and expense. The firm also claimed that its technology can be adopted by 60% of the PV market, without manufacturers having to add any new equipment.

"Silicon Module Super League" member Trina Solar has set a new world record of 22.61% efficiency for a p-type mono-crystalline cell, with passivated emitter and rear cell technology at its State Key Laboratory of PV Science and Technology of China. The large-area 243.23 cm2 solar cell was fabricated on a large-sized boron-doped Cz-Si substrate. Last week, Trina Solar’s shareholders voted by a huge majority to back the company’s plan to pursue privatization and delisting from the New York Stock Exchange.

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Rick Perry Mum on Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, But Has Backed Interim Solution  

President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for energy secretary, Rick Perry, is not saying whether he intends to push for a revival of plans to entomb the nation’s highly radioactive waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.

But Perry’s 14+ years as Texas governor might hold clues to his views, as he then supported creation of a temporary site in his state to store highly radioactive spent fuel piling up at nuclear power reactors there for decades.

Applying that approach nationally could postpone a day of reckoning on Yucca Mountain or another permanent repository by 40 years or more, giving Nevada officials and other opponents additional time to muster political and scientific arguments against burying it in tunnels at the Nye County site.

President Barack Obama defunded the Yucca Mountain project in 2011, and it has repeatedly been declared “dead” in recent days by outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada. At a minimum, experts say it would take more than a decade and could cost $30 billion before the shuttered Yucca underground dump site could be licensed and start accepting the first waste shipment.

Reuters: Toshiba May Book Big Loss on U.S. Nuclear Acquisition, Shares Plunge    

Toshiba Corp said on Tuesday it may book a goodwill impairment loss of several hundreds of billion yen on a U.S. nuclear power acquisition made by its Westinghouse division, sending its stock tumbling 12 percent.

Toshiba did not specify a figure in its statement. Potential losses reported by domestic media have ranged from 100 billion yen to 500 billion yen ($850 million to $4.3 billion).

Such a loss would deal another heavy blow to a sprawling conglomerate hoping to recover from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal as well as a writedown of more than $2 billion for its nuclear business in the last financial year.

The potential loss relates to Chicago Bridge & Iron's nuclear construction business that Westinghouse acquired in December last year for $229 million.