New Scientist: Iceland Drills Hottest Hole to Tap Into Energy of Molten Magma

Drilling into hot rocks to tap geothermal energy is one thing. Drilling deep enough to tap the energy from magma oozing into volcanoes is quite another, offering a massive increase in the potential to exploit Earth’s inner heat.

That is the task of a rig now drilling 5 kilometers into the rugged landscape of old lava flows in Reykjanes, at the southwest corner of Iceland. Drilling began on 12 August.

By the end of the year, the Iceland Deep Drilling Project hopes to have created the hottest hole in the world, hitting temperatures anywhere between 400 and 1,000 °C.

Recharge: Panasonic Confirms It Would Use Its Own Technology at Tesla NY Factory

Panasonic has confirmed it would use its own PV technology at a new cell and module factory in New York if its recently unveiled partnership with Tesla is finalized, deepening questions about what role -- if any -- SolarCity’s Silevo would play at the factory.

In announcing the collaboration with Panasonic on Sunday, Tesla appeared to suggest that Silevo -- a PV technology startup acquired by SolarCity in 2014 for as much as $200M -- would be effectively sidelined if the deal works out.

There's a possibility that Silevo’s technology could somehow be used by Panasonic, which makes cells and modules based on its unique heterojunction with intrinsic thin-film layer (HIT) technology -- wherein amorphous silicon is layered onto a crystalline silicon substrate.

Bloomberg: Get Ready for the Rooftop Solar Stall

This was supposed to be solar’s moment. Residential panel installations in the U.S. grew 71 percent in 2015 as the falling cost of panels made the power they generate more competitive. In December, Congress unexpectedly extended a tax credit set to expire at the end of 2016. Panel buyers will get reimbursed for 30 percent of the cost of new solar panels through 2019 and at least 22 percent through 2021.

Yet instead of energizing the industry, the extension has hurt growth, as solar companies no longer rush to meet a deadline.

RenewEconomy: Wind, Solar Almost Half the Cost of New Coal Generators in South Africa

The cost of wind and solar energy has fallen so dramatically that wind and solar plants can now be built in South Africa at nearly half the cost of new coal, according to the country’s principal research organization.

A presentation from the energy division of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research illustrates the dramatic different in costs, based on tenders held this year for wind, solar and coal and assumed costs for other technologies.

The analysis by Dr. Tobias Bischof-Niemz and Ruan Fourie shows that solar and wind are on par on pricing, and are more than 40 percent cheaper than new baseload coal plants. Solar and wind are at 0.62 rand per kilowatt hour ($A0.058/kWh), with coal at 1.03 rand/kWh ($A0.09/kWh).

The Courier: Scottish Motorists Switching On to Electric Cars

Interest in electric cars in Scotland is accelerating thanks to a zero-interest loan fund from the Scottish government -- with more than half the £7.8 million pot already claimed.

The Low Carbon Transport Fund gives access to interest-free loans of up to £35,000 to purchase an electric car.

The number of electric cars on Scotland’s roads in the last 10 years has grown, with a 54% rise last year.