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Weekend Read: Small change, big effect

Starting this year, ground-mounted solar modules in Germany can be replaced before the end of their service life, unlocking gigawatt-scale potential for new generation capacity without lengthy permitting processes or the need for new sites. Opinions differ as to what should happen with the decommissioned but still functioning modules, as pv magazine Deutschland’s Sandra Enkhardt reports.
Installations

Germany launches tender for 1,950 MW of large-scale solar

Germany’s Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) has opened the first round of a 5,850 MW tender for ground-mounted solar. The ceiling price has been raised to €0.0737 ($0.080)/kWh.
Manufacturing

Greek manufacturer to open organic solar cell factory

Organic Electronics Technologies (OET) has announced the start of a European-funded project that will develop and build an automated manufacturing production line for integrated printed organic photovoltaics in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Announcements

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Manufacturing

A look into a crystal ball reveals the secrets of perovskite solar cell stability

Scientists in Switzerland and South Korea looked deep into the crystalline structure of a perovskite thin-film to better understand the mechanisms behind the sensitivity to heat and moisture that causes so many stability issues for solar cells based on t...
Highlights

Italy allocates 94.2 MW of solar in latest renewables auction

Italy’s energy agency has awarded 94.2 MW of solar capacity at 15 locations and 22 MW of wind in its latest auction.
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Installations

Netherlands reports 40 PV installation accidents over past 18 months

The Netherlands Labour Authority (Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie) has provided accident statistics related to the installation of solar energy systems. It says there have been four casualties among solar installers over the past three years.
Markets & Policy

Acen Renewables starts building 360 MW of utility-scale solar in Philippines

Acen Renewables, a Manila-based developer, is building two solar plants in the provinces of Pangasinan and Zambales.
Markets & Policy

DEWA to procure R&D solar module production line

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) may install a new R&D production line in its solar R&D center at the massive 5 GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

Press Releases

96 MWp more green energy in the grid: two new MET solar parks have started production in Hungary

The construction works of MET Gerjen Solar Park and MET Söjtör Solar Park have been completed and the solar power plants have commenced commercial operations. The investments cover an area of 170 hectares altogether in the two Hungarian municipalities, where almost 180.

Energy Act for Ukraine Foundation and Menlo Electric will donate photovoltaic installations for Ukrainian schools and hospitals

The cooperation aims at protecting schools and hospitals from power supply interruptions caused by ongoing missile attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure. Both organizations are looking for partners to contribute to the 100RESforSchools and 50RESforHospitals programs, in which 150 institutions are to be equipped with solar and storage solutions.

FBE success: flow batteries covered by key Battery Passport sustainability provisions

With the final vote of the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, the Batteries Regulation will enter into force this year.

NGK Begins Operation of NAS Batteries for Self-Wheeling for Renewable Energy Electricity by OMRON FIELD ENGINEERING

NGK INSULATORS, LTD. announces that it has received an order from OMRON FIELD ENGINEERING CO.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Consumers have a right to know the energy make-up of goods

With energy certification already a must-have for any business which makes green energy claims, Ed Everson, chief executive of England-based, global certification company Evident, makes the case for firms to be required to make full disclosure of their energy sources.

The fastest energy change in history

Solar and wind are being installed at a rate that is three times faster than all other new electricity sources combined. This offers compelling market-based evidence that PV and wind are now the most competitive and practical methods for deploying new generating capacity.

Ready for takeoff

Airport PV can provide an instant boost to emission-reduction efforts while work continues on sustainable aviation fuels. Developing solar projects at or near airports, however, is not as straightforward as typical ground-mount installations.

Rethinking soiling

The two dominant methods used in the industry to estimate soiling levels on solar projects go some way in mitigating losses, but there is plenty of scope for more accurate observation.

Will Africa be left behind in the scramble for renewables?

Buoyant predictions about a rosy future for African photovoltaics, based on the continent’s abundant solar resources, continue to overlook the difficulties of securing investment, as Empower New Energy co-founder and CEO Terje Osmundsen explains, referring to a report published by the Africa Solar Industry Association at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi today.

Hope springs renewable

Russia is destroying Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, raising questions about how to ensure the safety and function of the country’s energy industry, particularly its nuclear power plants. What role can renewable energy play in such extreme circumstances?

Covid-19

African PAYG solar companies have hogged 72% of sector’s investment

The first post-pandemic update on the state of the world's off-grid solar industry has painted a picture of domination by European companies, but highlighted the potential for new startups in West Africa and an increasing use of PV as a backup to unreliable grid supplies.

Off-grid solar continues to expand

The off-grid solar sector has shown resilience in the face of pandemic-related challenges, with 70 million people gaining access to electricity from early 2020 to the end of 2021. However, the ability to pay for solar energy kits has taken a hit.

AfDB announces cheap loans to back off-grid solar in Africa

The African Development Bank has announced that European and US donors will provide $20 million of concessional loans to support pay-as-you-go solar companies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Irena gives latest update on stark chances of electricity access for all by 2030

The International Renewable Energy Agency’s latest annual report on the progress towards UN sustainable development goal seven estimates 670 million people will still lack electricity in 2030, and more than 2 billion will be reliant on unhealthy, polluting cooking methods.

Poland prioritizes renewables in pandemic-recovery plans

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.

Irena fleshes out chilling effect of Covid on off-grid solar

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.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Asia takes the lead on floating PV

Floating PV is consolidating as a growth segment for PV demand, mainly driven by supportive policies and incentives extended by governments across the world. A major reason for this push is the limited land availability in many markets. Despite higher equipment prices compared to ground-mounted installations, developers see the opportunity to save on land and O&M costs. The output can also be as much as 30% higher than a ground-mount PV plant, depending on the site and technology used.

US developer moves toward licensing for 900 MW pumped storage project

Developer rPlus Hydro has submitted an application for a final license to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the Seminoe project– a milestone reached by only a few pumped storage projects over the last 20 years.

US renewable PPA price increases cool off as material costs fall

Edison Energy says in a new report that prices increased more moderately in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to the steep price hikes seen since 2021.

India’s NTPC tenders 1.5 GW of solar projects

NTPC Renewable Energy has tendered a balance-of-system (BoS) package for 1 GW of solar, with an option for an additional 500 MW of capacity. Bidding is open until Jan. 21.

Second-life batteries might beat new ones on solar LCOE in remote locations

UK scientists have discovered that second-life batteries could provide a lower levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) than conventional batteries in school buildings equipped with PV in East African schools. They said the cheapest system configuration uses either 7.5 kW or 10 kW of solar with 20 kWh of storage.

Puerto Rico could approach 40% renewables by 2025

Rapidly deploying 5.2 GW of planned solar and storage in Puerto Rico, a possibility raised in a report by six national laboratories, would require an improvement in the Puerto Rico utility’s practices. A mandated procurement process has suffered delays at many steps.

Installations

Featured

Australia builds big

While the first half of 2022 was one of the busiest periods on record for new wind projects in Australia, with more than 2 GW breaking ground, solar got off to a much slower start with construction on 635 MW of new PV projects getting underway. Rystad Energy’s David Dixon attributes this slowdown to high cost and supply chain challenges and a lack of available power purchase agreements.

RWE, Greek utility build 210 MW of solar at former lignite mine

Germany’s RWE and Greece’s PPC electric utilities have signed today an agreement to start in spring the construction of 210 MW of new solar pv capacity at a former lignite mine in northern Greece. This is the first stage for the implementation of a 2 GW solar pipeline in the country that the two companies have been partnering on since 2019.

Only5mins! – ‘Additionality’ must be adhered to in Africa’s green hydrogen development

Chigozie Nweke-Eze is an economist, geographer and founder of Integrated Africa Power. He sat down with pv magazine to discuss green hydrogen development in Africa, from the project pipeline to the necessity of “additionality” when it comes to ensuring hydrogen doesn’t become yet another exploited African resource.

Microsoft to purchase 2.5 GW of Qcells solar

Qcells will provide US-made solar modules and perform engineering, procurement, and construction for Microsoft’s solar projects.

Indonesian utility kicks off tender for 100 MW floating solar plant

PT PLN Nusantara Power has launched a tender for a floating PV project that will likely be built at a dam on the island of Java, Indonesia.

Turkey aims to produce hydrogen at $2.40/kg by 2035

Turkey has released a hydrogen roadmap as part of its plans to meet its 2035 net-zero emission targets, hinging on solar energy and importing electrolysis technologies in the short term. Gulmira Rzayeva, research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, says this target is realistic.

Technology

Featured

Copper is the new silver lining

As the PV industry scales to annual terawatt-level production to rapidly curtail the world’s emissions, it will become more challenging to continue the cost reduction trajectory. Increasing module production from current levels of 200 GW to 300 GW to several terawatts each year will consume significantly more material resources than the industry currently uses. This will require consideration of the additional materials to be sourced, writes Alison Lennon, chief scientist at Sundrive Solar and professor at the UNSW’s School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering.

Titanium oxide hydrophobic coating to clean solar panels

Germany’s Fraunhofer FEP has unveiled a dirt-repellent coating for solar panels. The material is reportedly able to acquire superhydrophilic properties at night and wash away the dirt through the beading raindrops.

Scientists assess lifetime for perovskite PV to become competitive on rooftops

Researchers say that lightweight, high-performance perovskite solar modules could soon become competitive with crystalline PV modules in the residential segment, as such products will likely have lower manufacturing and balance-of-system costs in the future.

Australian scientists source silicon from solar waste to build better batteries

Researchers from Victoria’s Deakin University say they have successfully tested a new process that can safely and effectively extract silicon from end-of-life solar panels, and then convert it into nano materials worth more than $45,000 (USD 31,500) per kilogram, in order to build better batteries.

TÜV Rheinland opens solar module testing lab in China

Germany’s TÜV Rheinland said it will invest €22 million in the 5,000 m2 facility for testing photovoltaic modules as part of a massive lab.

Eggplants grow 50% more under solar panels

French specialist Sun’Agri unveiled the agronomic results on a crop of eggplant grown in a greenhouse commissioned in the Lot-et-Garonne in September, 2020.

Manufacturing

Featured

Catalyst for an EU comeback

Plans for Europe’s largest-ever PV cell and module factory are taking shape, with equipment orders placed and a projected start date in mid-2024. Enel Green Power has received €118 million ($116.36 million) in funding from the EU Innovation Fund to support the project, out of a total €600 million investment. The EU is hoping it will catalyze further investment in similar projects, and start a high-tech comeback for European solar manufacturing.

Falling costs, 15 GW of US solar module production, TOPCon trends

A recent Wood Mackenzie report looks at trends and challenges in the burgeoning US solar market, including manufacturing stimulated by the US Inflation Reduction Act.

US startup begins producing 40%-efficient thermophotovoltaic cells

Antora Energy says its new 2 MW factory will make thermophotovoltaic cells for thermal storage applications. The cells are based on III-V semiconductors and reportedly have a heat-to-electricity conversion efficiency of more than 40%.

New way to calculate LCoE of perovskite solar

Italian researchers have analyzed different ways to assess the levelized cost of energy (LCoE) of perovskite solar cells and modules. They said a common approach should soon be defined to increase the market maturity of the tech.

Only5mins! – The steeplechase of perovskite solar

The potential of perovskite solar cells and modules is still held back by issues such as stability and efficiency losses when scaling up from cell to module. But Annalisa Bruno, a scientist at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, says most of these challenges could be overcome in the near future, with this technology extending from building-integrated PV to conventional solar projects.

Passive solar module cooling tech based on paraffin wax

Egyptian researchers have used paraffin wax as a phase-change material (PCM) to reduce the operating temperatures of PV modules. They have found that the material improves power yield by more than 15%, compared to a reference module without cooling.

Energy Storage

Featured

Cobalt clings on

Cobalt is key for boosting energy density and battery life, but it comes with caveats: expensive, scarce, and linked to unethical mining practices, wild price fluctuations, and a tenuous supply chain. In recent years, battery manufacturers and automakers have intensified efforts to reduce or eliminate cobalt in lithium-ion cathodes. But sometimes, old habits die hard, as pv magazine’s Marija Maisch explains.

Only5mins! – ‘We are in desperate need of power’

Chanda Nxumalo, the chairperson of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), speaks with pv magazine about the prospects of the South African energy market, its new regulations and the bright future for the PV sector. Nxumalo also addresses the challenges and opportunities for battery storage, green hydrogen and women in renewables.

Estonia to host 550 MW pumped hydro storage facility

Energiasalv has secured a construction permit to build a 6 GWh pumped hydro storage plant in Paldiski. Work on the facility is planned to start in the summer of 2024.

Administrators move swiftly to settle future of Sun Cable

Two of Australia’s richest people are expected to be rivals in the bidding process for Sun Cable, the developer of what could be the world’s biggest intercontinental solar and energy storage project. Administrators indicate that the sale process could be completed within three months.

Storing renewables via regenerative braking in underground mines

Scientists in Austria have developed a long-term energy storage system that uses regenerative braking to adjust the descent speed of sand in mine shafts and generate electricity.

US startup unveils saltwater flow battery for large-scale storage

US-based Salgenx has developed a scalable redox flow battery with two separate tanks of electrolytes, one of which is saltwater. Unlike other flow batteries, the new device is membrane-free, promising big gains at the levelized cost of storage level.

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