The throes of a lithium shortage are increasingly upending long-term supply strategies and stoking demand for alternative technologies for stationary energy storage projects. Once seen as synonymous with renewable batteries, stationary Li-ion faces strong headwinds due to rapidly accelerating demand from the automotive sector as EVs capture the mainstream.
The solar supply chain problems that began last year with high prices and polysilicon shortages are persisting into 2022. But we are already seeing a stark difference from earlier predictions that prices would decline gradually each quarter this year. PV Infolink’s Alan Tu probes the solar market situation and offers insights.
As we closed out the first quarter of 2022, the energy storage industry continued to show stunning growth. When scrolling through the news, reading studies, and attending events, one can’t help but notice how critical battery energy storage is to a myriad of markets and industries. As innovative technologies emerge at a breakneck pace, they reveal three key trends in both market priorities and the sector’s current and future direction.
Vitaliy Daviy is the CEO of emerging markets focussed cleantech organization IB Centre Inc. and holds an optimistic view of Ukraine’s sector after the war. According to him, the country has the keys to energy independence and security.
On Feb. 10 in Belfort, President Emanuel Macron announced his vision for the French global energy industry to 2050. He reaffirmed France’s desire to massively develop renewable energies as intermittent sources on top of the baseload provided by the nuclear industry whose revitalization has already made headlines since. Macron claimed they are “the only means to meet [our immediate energy needs] in a profitable and competitive way”. By 2050, the capacity of the French solar park should be multiplied by more than 10 to exceed 100GWp, while the onshore wind capacity could double to reach 37GW. Offshore wind power should also experience a real take-off as France aims to develop and build 40GW over the same period.
It should come as no surprise that clean energy spending is a big chunk of Warsaw’s four-year EU grant and loans package, given that the nation’s grid-connected solar capacity rose from 3.99 GW at the end of 2020 to 6.3 GW four months ago, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The clean power numbers published annually by the International Renewable Energy Agency provide a snapshot of the global solar market and, this year, a lot of figures were unchanged from the previous dataset, especially in the off-grid segment.
Covid-19 has left Shunfeng International’s accountants unable to publish its official 2021 numbers on time, but its estimated figures announced a net current liability of almost $155 million and a “capital deficiency” of near $140 million.
Polysilicon maker Xinte is forging ahead with a huge expansion strategy just as solar developers at the opposite end of the industry continue to bleed cash.
Lack of locally-denominated finance, and of sufficiently long-term loans, are well established hurdles to the development of photovoltaics in Africa.
Average polysilicon prices ranged from CNY 273 ($40.82)/kg to CNY 280/kg this week, according to an industry association in China.
Sun Cable’s massive AUD 30 billion ($20.7 billion) Australia-Asia PowerLink project has passed another major milestone by obtaining approval from Infrastructure Australia.
National Grid Renewables and First Solar have partnered on multiple projects in the past, including the 200 MW Prairie Wolf Solar Project in Illinois and the 275 MW Noble Solar and 125 MWh Storage Project in Texas.
The European Investment Bank says a new €10 million ($10.5 million) loan will offer electricity access to almost 650,000 people in Benin.
Jamaica is lifting taxes on imported lithium-ion batteries, while Guyana has announced funding for eight big solar-plus-storage projects across three regions.
Norwegian scientists have tested a new floating PV system concept at a water reservoir in Sri Lanka. The system is made of composite beams to support the solar panels and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes to provide buoyancy.
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is overseeing bids from prospective contractors to supply, install and commission solar cold storage capacity in Senegal, Sudan, and Seychelles. Bidding is also open for two 2 MT systems in Djibouti.
Australian renewables startup Okra Solar has raised $3 million to scale up distribution of its solar-based hardware and software solutions. It aims to electrify more than 290,000 off-grid homes in Nigeria over the next three years, while also expanding its operations in countries such as Haiti.
ACWA Power and Emirates Water and Electricity Co. (EWEC) have commissioned the first phase of the Al Taweelah Independent Water Plant in the United Arab Emirates. The facility, which can produce more than 6.4 million cubic meters of water per day, sources some of its power from a nearby solar park.
Scientists in South Korea have combined PV generation with vegetable farming and have found that solar array shading provides favorable results for crops such as broccoli and cabbage.
Germany’s Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin has confirmed that Longi’s new heterojunction solar cell has achieved a power conversion efficiency of 26.5% – an improvement of 1.1%.
Princeton University researchers have developed a new way to accelerate solar cell longevity testing.
Toshiba is cooperating with Swedish battery specialist Echandia to develop pure hydrogen fuel cells that could be used for continuous operation in marine applications.
The Renewable Energy Test Center has released a new report on PV module performance.
New research from LUT University shows that there is no single correct orientation for a PV installation.
India’s Natural Battery Technologies has developed lithium-based battery inverters that can be charged with solar power. The batteries are designed for residential and commercial use, with storage capacities typically ranging from 1.5 kWh to 20 kWh.
AES, Clearway Energy Group, Cypress Creek Renewables, and D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments have started looking for qualified US manufacturers.
French manufacturer 2CA has developed a 20%-efficient solar module that weighs four times less than a glass-glass module of the same size. It claims the frameless, self-supporting panel could be used for lightweight applications at military camps and other remote locations.
University of Cambridge scientists have created new databases for dye-sensitized and perovskite cells, respectively. They used the ChemDataExtractor text-mining toolkit to collect the data.
An Italian-Greek research group has developed a large-area perovskite solar panel with graphene-doped electron transporting layers. With increasing temperatures, the module exhibits a smaller drop in open-circuit voltage than commercially available crystalline silicon panels.
In two remote regions of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, PV-powered microgrids bring electricity to a university and an agricultural ranch, neither of which are well served by the regional grid. The microgrids make use of lithium-ion batteries supplied by Growatt, alongside modules from local manufacturer SolarEver. The projects serve as an example of how products like Growatt’s off-grid inverters and energy storage solutions can bring reliable solar power to regions with limited energy access.
India’s Hinduja Group has invested GBP 15 million ($18.4 million) with four other investors in Connected Energy, a developer of energy storage systems based on second-life electric vehicle batteries.
PolarGreen Tow is a portable PV system with a capacity of up to 6.5 kW. It can be used to supply power for electric cars or remote locations, or to provide energy during blackouts.
Volvo said it will offer fuel cell electric trucks by the second half of the decade, while an airport in northern Japan has started working on a feasibility study for local hydrogen production. Uruguay, meanwhile, has presented a new hydrogen strategy.
A research team has used a molecule known as 2,6-dihydroxy-anthraquinone (DHAQ) to improve the durability of organic aqueous redox flow batteries. They claim the molecule enables a net lifetime that is 17 times longer than past research has shown.
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