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The world’s largest EV battery maker, CATL, is spearheading a new initiative to develop solar cells, joining Tesla and others in what’s expected to be a record year for the industry.

CATL takes on the booming solar market

After emerging as the most significant player in the electric vehicle battery market for the sixth straight year, CATL is taking on a new market.

According to Bloomberg, CATL is examining perovskite solar cell development. The innovation holds promise, potentially enhancing solar performance and driving down costs.

Perovskite solar cells have advanced greatly over the past decade, going from roughly 3% efficiency in 2009 to over 25% today. However, there are still hurdles to clear, including limited stability compared to the leading photovoltaic (PV) technology.

Although no other details were offered, CATL said, “We are building a pilot test line.” CATL also signed a strategic partnership agreement with JA Solar to collaborate and jointly develop in the photovoltaic industry, according to JA Solar’s LinkedIn.

Tesla, which sources from CATL, saw solar deployments rise 40% YOY in the first quarter to 67 MW. China’s largest EV maker, BYD, says it can produce roughly 5 GW of panels annually.

CATL-solar
CATL aims for carbon neutrality across core operations by 2025 (Source: CATL)

Transitioning to cleaner energy

The news comes as a record number of solar panels are expected to be deployed this year. In fact, for the first time, clean energy investments led by solar are expected to outpace fossil fuels in 2023, according to a new IEA report.

Of the $2.8 trillion set to be invested in energy across the globe, over $1.7 trillion is expected to go toward clean energy, such as renewable energy, EVs, and battery storage.

CATL-solar
Annual clean energy investments (Source: IEA)

Forecasts from BloombergNEF suggest solar installations will grow another 36% this year to 344 GW.

Meanwhile, as Tesla noted in its Q1 earnings, the solar industry has been “impacted by supply chain challenges” that are concentrated in China. Several analysts and other organizations have stated the need for a more diverse solar supply chain.

Electrek’s Take

For CATL, it makes sense as a battery maker to get into solar panel production. Many home and commercial solar systems are now being paired with battery storage (like Tesla’s Powerwall) to provide backup energy in the event of a blackout.

With enough battery capacity, CATL will have the opportunity for an all-in-one home energy system to drive revenue further and take advantage of two huge growing trends in battery storage and solar panels.

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Chinese ministry says EU’s anti-subsidy EV probe made spy-like levels of ‘unreasonable demands’

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Chinese ministry says EU's anti-subsidy EV probe made spy-like levels of 'unreasonable demands'

Another day, another deeper understanding of the conversations going on behind closed doors as China and the EU approach the negotiating table as they toe the lines of a looming trade war surrounding vehicle imports and anti-subsidy probes of Chinese EVs.

June has been a noteworthy month for global EV market news, as nearly every day, we are delivered a new chapter in an ongoing saga of a looming trade war between China and the European Union.

The dispute between the two global markets began last fall when the EU Commission announced an anti-subsidy probe to determine if Chinese-made EVs imported into Europe were given an unfair advantage due to state-backed funds.

As part of the probe, the EU Commission requested information from several Chinese automakers selling their EVs in Europe, including names like NIO, BYD, XPeng, and state-owned SAIC. Even before the probe results were shared, the EU began threatening tariffs, after the US announced it would quadruple duties on Chinese imports from 25% to 100%.

In retaliation, China threatened tariffs on European imports up to 25%, particularly on gas vehicles from German automakers and other industries. Before sharing its results, the European Commission argued that three Chinese EV automakers, including SAIC, had yet to supply adequate information to the anti-subsidy probe and as a result, would face the highest tariffs (38.1%) on imports.

Across the world, China’s Ministry of Commerce is painting a different picture, calling the requested details of the EU’s anti-subsidy probe of Chinese EVs “unprecedented,” comparing the probe to espionage.

China tariffs

Chinese deem anti-subsidy EV questions spy-like

Per Reuters, China’s Ministry of Commerce has spoken out about the EU’s anti-subsidy probe on EV imports, calling the detailed information demanded from Chinese automakers “unprecedented.”

In a local news conference in China earlier today, Commerce Ministry spokesperson He Yadong said the EU Commission “mandatorily required” Chinese automakers to share advantageous information regarding sourcing raw materials for batteries, manufacturing components, developing sales channels, and their respective pricing.

When asked whether the EU Commission was using the anti-subsidy probe to spy on Chinese EV automakers, Yadong said the following:

The type, scope, and quantity of information collected by the European side was unprecedented and far more than what is required for a countervailing duties investigation.

State media CCTV is pushing a similar “spy” narrative against Brussels following an article posted Wednesday. During today’s news conference, Yadong also said that the EU’s claims that Chinese car companies like SAIC did not fully cooperate are “groundless.”

With Beijing working with European automakers to ease or stop the incoming EV tariffs and the Chinese state media accusing the EU Commission of spying, we appear to have moved beyond brinkmanship and into a potential trade war.

In addition to its own threatened tariffs on EU vehicles imported into China, Beijing has also launched a dumping investigation into EU pork imports, further raising tensions. Meanwhile, Chinese EV automakers who obliged the anti-subsidy EV probe have spoken out against the tariffs but are not wavering on their expansions in the EU markets, no matter what.

Companies like NIO have expressed confidence that they will continue to expand and sell well in Europe, whether they pay duties on each EV import or not.

The EU’s tariffs are expected to take effect on July 4, 2024. This story remains ongoing.

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BYD hits a major milestone as its Yuan brand crosses 1 million in sales

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BYD hits a major milestone as its Yuan brand crosses 1 million in sales

China’s leading EV maker, BYD, just hit another major milestone. The BYD Yuan family surpassed 1 million in sales this week, becoming its latest brand to cross the threshold.

BYD Yuan family tops 1 million in sales

BYD has been on a roll as it expands the brand into new territory. Its latest accomplishment comes as another one of its family of brands hit the 1 million sales mark.

The Yuan brand topped 1 million in sales, BYD announced Thursday. BYD’s Yuan family consists of the Yuan Plus, Yuan Up, and Yuan Pro SUVs. After launching in February 2022, the Yuan Plus (known as the Atto 3 overseas) is the first electric SUV underpinned by BYD’s e-platform 3.0 for EVs.

With starting prices under $16,500 (119,800 yuan) in China, BYD’s electric SUV competes with other top-selling models like the Tesla Model Y and Volkswagen ID.4.

As the first EV built for overseas markets, BYD’s Yuan Plus (Atto 3) has quickly become a best-seller in key markets like Europe, Australia, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, and others. In September, the 500,000th Yuan Plus rolled off BYD’s assembly line.

BYD-Yuan-1-million
BYD Yuan series tops 1 million in sales (Source: BYD)

The Yuan Up went on sale in March 2024, starting at under $13,400 (96,800 yuan), while the Yuan Pro, which hit the market last May, is priced at $13,200 (95,800 yuan).

BYD’s Yuan is its latest series to hit the 1 million sales market following the Song and Qin brands.

BYD-Yuan-1-million
BYD Atto 3 (Yuan Plus) in Japan (Source: BYD)

With over 428,500 models sold last year, Yuan is one of BYD’s best-selling brands, accounting for 14% of 2023 sales. Through the first five months of 2024, BYD has sold nearly 135,000 Yuan models or roughly 10.5% of total sales.

BYD-Yuan-1-million
BYD Yuan Plus (Atto 3) EV interior (Source: BYD)

After applying for an emissions and noise certification with the South Korean environment ministry this month, BYD is expected to launch the low-cost Atto 3 (Yuan Plus) on Hyundai and Kia’s home turf, where the domestic automakers dominate the market.

Hyundai and Kia’s share fell 3.5% last year to 76.6% as new EVs like Tesla’s China-made Model Y gain momentum.

Source: CnEVPost, BYD

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More states expected to roll out Inflation Reduction Act energy-efficiency rebates this summer

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More states expected to roll out Inflation Reduction Act energy-efficiency rebates this summer

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Lev Radin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New York is launching a program offering homeowners up to $14,000 in total rebates for energy-efficiency upgrades to their property, and more states are expected to follow suit by summer’s end.

The rebate programs are part of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, the largest piece of climate legislation in U.S. history, which President Joe Biden signed in 2022.

The law earmarked $8.8 billion for consumers via two Home Energy Rebates programs.

The financial incentives help consumers reduce or fully offset the cost of upgrades to make their homes more energy-efficient, thereby reducing carbon emissions and cutting homeowners’ future energy bills, state and federal officials said.

Such projects might include installing air sealing, insulation, electric heat pumps and electric stoves, for example.

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New York launched part of its rebate program on May 30, making up to $14,000 of federal funds available to low-income households.

When combined with a fledgling state program called EmPower+ — which offers up to $10,000 per low-income household — consumers can access up to $24,000 in total rebates for making energy-efficiency upgrades, according to Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

‘Several’ states will roll out rebates by September

States, territories and tribes — which administer the programs — must apply for the federal funds.

Seventeen states had applied for Home Energy Rebates funding as of June 14, according to the U.S. Energy Department. New York was the first to roll out funding to consumers.

The Energy Department expects “several more states” to make the rebates available “between now and September,” it said. The agency has approved applications submitted by California and Hawaii, the final stage before rollout.

New York’s launch “is a milestone,” said Kara Saul Rinaldi, CEO and founder of AnnDyl Policy Group, a consulting firm focused on climate and energy policy. “Over the next year we’ll be seeing these programs roll out across America.”

How the rebate program works

Climate change causes home values to fall off a cliff

The HEAR program carries a maximum dollar amount per project. For example, New York is paying the following maximum federal rebates:

  • Air sealing, insulation and ventilation: $1,600
  • Electrical service upgrade (panel box): $4,000
  • Electrical wiring upgrade: $2,500
  • Heat pump water heaters: $1,750
  • Heat pumps: $8,000

Low-income households are eligible to offset 100% of their project costs, up to $24,000 of combined federal and state funds.

These rebates are delivered via contractors, who will quote a project’s cost to consumers with rebates applied, according to Harris, of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. NYSERDA has a directory of qualified contractors who can make such upgrades.

New York aims to launch the second phase of the HEAR program in the fourth quarter of 2024, Harris said.

If approved by the Energy Department, the state would expand the rebate program in a few ways, she said: It would be available to moderate income residents, defined as being between 80% and 150% of area median income; to multifamily buildings; and to the purchase of electric appliances like ENERGY STAR-rated electric stoves and electric heat pump clothes dryers, which would be available at the point of sale from retailers.

Home Efficiency Rebates program

By contrast, the Home Efficiency Rebates program is technology-neutral. No state has yet launched such a program, though applications are pending with the Energy Department.

The value of the rebates are tied to how much overall energy a household saves via efficiency upgrades. The deeper the energy cuts, the larger the rebates, up to $8,000.

The program is available to all households, regardless of income

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