How One Startup is Working to Improve Risk Management in the Solar Industry
Investing in renewable energy, though far less so than any time before, can still be risky business. There’s a lot of variables to consider and with the market becoming increasingly competitive, it can be difficult to know where your money should go.
KWh Analytics wants to change that.
The data analytics-focused startup is set to receive a $500,000 federal grant to create a ratings system—not dissimilar to the FICO score in the U.S.—to help investors make better decisions about where to invest. The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot program, which consists of $53 million set aside for specifically for solar R&D.
The project is based around a plethora of solar panel performance data collected since its inception in 2012. It’s comprised of roughly 1 GW from 40,000 different systems across various project scales, collected by KWh.
Now, KWh wants to make use of that data in the form of an algorithm to create a scoring system for predicting performance of various combinations of solar installers and technology.
According to the company, it has data on roughly 100 brands of solar panels, 12 inverter brands, and quite a few installers.
As the solar industry grows, companies such as KWh Analytics are becoming more important, since investors want more certainty their money is being put to use wisely. With KWh’s potential ratings system, investor certainly could be more concrete and the industry could grow at a far quicker pace.
“So far, the industry has a collection of raw data but is not using it to assess risks,” CEO Richard Matsui said. “We will clean the data and assign risks.”
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.