1 India solar prices undercut fossil fuels (Michael Safi in The Guardian) Wholesale solar power prices have reached another record low in India, faster than analysts predicted and further undercutting the price of fossil fuel-generated power in the country.
The tumbling price of solar energy also increases the likelihood that India will meet – and by its own predictions, exceed – the renewable energy targets it set at the Paris climate accords in December 2015. India is the world’s third-largest carbon polluter.
Ensuring it generates as much of that energy as possible from renewable sources is considered crucial to limiting catastrophic global temperature increases. At a reverse auction in Rajasthan, power companies Phelan Energy and Avaada Power each offered to charge 2.62 rupees per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated from solar panels they hope to build at an energy park in the desert state. Last year’s previous record lowest bid was 4.34 rupees per kWh.
Analysts called the 40% price drop “world historic” and said it was driven by cheaper finance and growing investor confidence in India’s pledge to dramatically increase its renewable energy capacity.
It reduces the market price of solar tariffs well past the average charged by India’s largest thermal coal conglomerate, currently around 3.20 rupees per kWh . Wholesale price bids for wind energy also reached a record low of 3.46 rupees in February.
By 2022, India aims to have the capacity to generate 175 gigawatts of power from solar, biomass and wind energy. A draft report by the country’s electricity agency in December predicted that capacity would increase to 275 gigawatts by 2027. The same draft report said it was unlikely India would need any new coal power stations for at least 10 years, beyond the 50 gigawatts of projects already in the pipeline.
2 Toyota’s first profit fall in five years (BBC) Japanese car giant Toyota has seen profits fall for the first time in half a decade. The firm said it sold more cars in the year to March 2017 than in the previous 12 months but that higher costs and currency fluctuations hit results.
The profit of 1.83 trillion yen ($16.1bn) was down 21% from 2016-17. Toyota has warned next year’s profits will be even lower, due to the strength of the Japanese currency. Toyota, which has lost its top-selling carmaker status to Germany’s Volkswagen sold 10.25 million vehicles over the year, up from 10.19 million units a year earlier.
However income from those sales was slightly down at 27.6 trillion yen. The carmaker has been struggling in the US, its biggest market. Sales fell in North America as it battled to meet demand for bigger cars such as sport utility vehicles, which have become more affordable to drive thanks to lower petrol prices.
3 Snapchat shares plunge (Straits Times) Snap Inc shares plunged after the Snapchat parent reported slowing user growth and revenue that missed analyst estimates amid stiff competition from copycat messaging apps.
Snap’s net loss widened to 2.21 billion, or $2.31 per share, in the first quarter, from $104.6 million, or 14 cents per share, due to stock-based compensation related to its IPO. Shares tumbled nearly 24 per cent in after-hours trading to $17.58, wiping some $5 billion from Snap’s market capitalization in the latest reversal after a red-hot March initial public offering, which was the biggest for a US tech company since Facebook Inc in 2012.
That performance echoed slides in Facebook and Twitter after they posted debut scorecards following their IPOs. Twitter shares cratered 24 per cent the next day, while Facebook’s tumbled 11 per cent, still the biggest-ever one-day losses for both.
Snap said its daily active users (DAUs) rose 36.1 percent to 166 million in the first quarter from a year earlier, marking a slowdown from the 47.7 per cent rise for the fourth quarter and 62.8 per cent jump for the third quarter that the company reported in its IPO filing.