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Weekend Read: Industry and researchers in tandem

As efficiency records tumble and devices become more stable, Europe is seeing the beginnings of a race to commercialize high-efficiency perovskite-silicon tandem solar products, reports Valerie Thompson.

PV payback times hit average of 20 years in 2022, says SolarPower Europe

High interest rates and hefty capex drove up the average payback time for solar in Germany, Spain and Italy to around 20 years in 2022, according to a new report by SolarPower Europe (SPE) and Energy Brainpool. pv magazine recently spoke with SPE ...
Energy Storage

The Hydrogen Stream: Sunfire delivers 10 MW of alkaline electrolyzers to RWE

RWE has revealed that it has received alkaline electrolyzers from Sunfire for a pilot project in Germany, while the European authorities have reached a deal on the continent's renewable energy directive.

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Transparent advantage – Why transparent backsheet bifacial modules can beat out the cumbersome competition

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New tracker design: Multiple motors to tackle multiple challenges

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Energy Storage

Belgian developer starts digging hole for geothermal heat pumps in Bruges

Property developer Steenoven and an undisclosed construction contractor have started drilling a borehole for a new thermal energy storage system in the historic city of Bruges, Belgium.

Chinese module prices to fall by 15% from Q4 2022 to Q4 2023, says CEA

Solar module prices will be pressured by rising industrial capacity this year, with capacities doubling in the ingot/wafer stages and potentially quadrupling for polysilicon by 2027, according to the latest PV pricing report from Clean Energy Associates ...

DAH Solar unveils solar kit for balconies, rooftops

China’s DAH Solar has developed a turnkey solar system with a plug-in connection for residential applications. The kit can reach a maximum size of 2,279 mm × 1,134 mm × 32mm and weighs up to 59.8 kg.

Blade-coated flexible perovskite solar cell achieves 14.08% efficiency

Researchers in Italy have used blade coating to develop a flexible solar cell that does not contain toxic dimethyl sulfoxide. They used the cell to fabricate small solar modules with efficiencies of up to 6.58%.

Australia to earmark $10 billion fund to support clean energy manufacturing

Both houses of the Australian parliament have approved plans to establish an AUD 15 billion ($10 billion) national reconstruction fund to support domestic manufacturing in future industries and reduce the nation’s dependence on imports.

Press Releases

LONGi supplies BIPV solution to the 2023 Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia

On March 28th, the 2023 Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) was officially kicked off in Hainan Province under the theme “An Uncertain World: Solidarity and Cooperation for Development amid Challenges. ”

Sunport Power attends the 2023 Tokyo PV EXPO

The Tokyo PV EXPO was held from 15th to 17th March, 2023. Sunport Power brought its latest PV module products and innovations that are exclusively developed for Japan market to the show.

KSTAR launches full range of Smart PV and energy storage solutions in Hungary

KSTAR has launched its full range of Smart PV and Energy Storage System (with CATL battery) solutions to the Hungary market at the Reneo 2023

Conduct introduces PVshelter Angled with innovative construction and even more ease of installation

A compact design, less shade, greater ease of installation and even more fire safety. PVshelter Angled offers a new perspective in inverter mounting.

Opinion & Analysis


Making the business case for solar-plus-storage

Much has been said about the benefits installing solar and batteries can offer to businesses but, as companies face mounting input cost inflation, is the upfront investment too much to bear or have volatile electricity costs made the decision a no-brainer?

Minigrids edging closer to profitability

The minigrid space continues to attract a lot of attention from development partners in Africa. Minigrids can actually generate profits, so there is no doubt that commercial finance players will eventually jump on the bandwagon, according to the Africa Solar Industry Association (AFSIA).

IRENA SolarCity Simulator to drive economic opportunities, improve healthcare

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) explains how to optimally use its SolarCity Simulator, an open-access platform designed to help member countries to deploy PV systems at the municipal level.

Fortune favors the brave

The renewables industry fears that the new energy bill that the French government is preparing could make clean power generation even tougher. However, solar analyst Xavier Daval says that betting everything on the nation’s nuclear power fleet is a risky strategy.

Assessing the area intensity of PV

Solar is wrongly perceived by some people to be an area-intensive energy generation technology requiring much more space than conventional fossil-fuel power plants.

Get what you pay for

Clean Energy Associates (CEA) has calculated the price premium that solar developers will swallow in return for the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) savings offered by the latest generation of high-efficiency PV panels.


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.

SolarEdge reports record-breaking revenue

With comparisons with a Covid-hit 2020 inevitably offering a string of positive numbers, there was also little to concern the board of the inverter and battery manufacturer from the returns generated in the last quarter.

Module and shipping cost inflation could cost the world 50 GW of solar next year

The input costs of the two biggest contributors to solar plant development expense have gone through the roof since the world began to come out of Covid-19 lockdowns, to leave project developers with some difficult choices.

Solar job numbers kept on rising in 2020

The latest edition of a clean power jobs survey produced by IRENA and the International Labour Organization has stressed the important role which will need to be played by the public sector if the energy transition’s employment benefits are to be shared equally.

Markets & Policy


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.

Tesla misses own expectations for Solar Roof deployments

Three years ago, Tesla said it expected to install 1,000 solar rooftop arrays per week, which would have amounted to 156,000 Solar Roofs in that time period. However, Wood Mackenzie reports that just 3,000 have been installed to date.

Canada formalizes 30% federal ITC credit, other incentives

Canada’s new policy plan mirrors the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), including two new input tax credits (ITCs) targeting clean energy and technology manufacturing that will remain at 30% through 2033, stepping down to 15% in 2034 before phasing out altogether after 2034.

New software modeling tool for agrivoltaics

Sandbox Solar, a solar developer and US federal grant recipient, has released a beta version of its software modeling tool for agrivoltaic power plants. It supports the design and optimization of solar panels, as well as the crops underneath.

China exported 29.6 GW of solar panels in January-February period

New figures from China’s General Administration of Customs show uninterrupted growth in global solar module demand. Chinese manufacturers exported 14.85 GW of panels in January and 14.82 GW in February.

European Union set to raise renewables target to 42.5%

The European Parliament and the Council have reached a provisional agreement to raise the EU’s binding renewable energy target for 2030 to a minimum of 42.5% of the overall energy mix. The bodies also agreed on a further 2.5% indicative target, which would set Europe on a path to at least 45% renewables within this decade.



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.

Case study demonstrates 5% energy yield boost for n-type TOPCon modules

Data collected from a 30 MW PV project in China’s Tianjin Province demonstrates that n-type tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) modules achieve a little more than 5% more energy yield than p-type PERC. Analysis by JinkoSolar, which supplied its TOPCon modules to the project, credits the n-type modules’ increased performance to a better temperature coefficient in the project’s hot climate, higher bifaciality and lower degradation.

BIPV solutions for historical cities

A European Union-funded project is bringing building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) solutions to eight historical cities in Europe. pv magazine recently spoke with Júlia Pereira, project coordinator for EDP New, about the innovative solutions being blended into the landscape in Évora, Portugal.

Tata Power Solar to build 300 MW of PV in India

Tata Power Solar Systems has secured approval to build a 300 MW solar project as an engineering, procurement and construction contractor in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

Brookfield buys Origin Energy for $12.5 billion

A $12.5 billion (AUD 18.7 billion) takeover deal for Origin Energy has been struck with a consortium led by Canadian giant Brookfield. Brookfield’s vision for Origin Energy involves spending “at least” AUD 20 billion to build new renewables and storage.

Developer starts building 800 MW project with US components in Illinois

Swift Current Energy is set to begin construction on an 800 MW project by the fall of 2024.



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.

Slot-die coated perovskite PV cell with precursor ink hits 22.54% efficiency

German researchers claim to have reduced ribbing effects in using slot-die coating for the production of perovskite solar cells. The results are reportedly the most efficient solar cell built with this technique to date.

Redflow to work with Ameresco on solar-plus-storage solution

Australian battery manufacturer Redflow has signed a deal that will see it supply its “non-lithium” energy storage technology to clean energy outfit Ameresco which is looking to develop integrated solar and zinc-bromine flow battery solutions for its customer base throughout North America and Europe.

One year of net billing in Poland

While it initially had a chilling effect on the Polish residential solar market, the transition from net metering to net billing has also resulted in positive changes, such as better sizing of rooftop PV systems and a higher rate of self-consumption, says Instytut Energetyki Odnawialnej (IEO), a Polish research body.

Austrian manufacturer unveils propane heat pump for residential applications

iDM has developed a modular air-source heat pump that uses propane (R290) as the refrigerant. It can produce between 2 kW and 24 kW of heat and domestic hot water up to a temperature of 70 C. A larger version can produce between 10 kW and 50 kW of heat.

Ultra-thin solar cells self-repair damage from radiation in space

Arizona-based Solestial’s silicon-based solar cells exhibit a high level of resilience in space, according to third-party testing.



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.

Trina Solar aims for 26% TOPCon solar cell efficiency by 2027

Zhang Yingbin, Trina Solar’s head of global product strategy, speaks to pv magazine about the path to a supply chain dominated by n-type TOPCon products. He says Trina Solar will reach 30 GW of TOPCon solar module capacity by the end of 2023.

GCL starts building 12 GW solar module factory

GCL Integration expects to start operating a new 12 GW solar factory in October, bringing its total solar panel manufacturing capacity to 30 GW.

French startup unveils aluminum solar facade

C2F has developed a building-integrated PV (BIPV) facade made of aluminum that purportedly limits the impact of hot and cold weather, while also improving solar module performance.

Indosol, Reliance win incentives for poly-to-module manufacturing

Eleven companies in India have emerged as the winners of the second round of the production-linked incentive scheme for high-efficiency solar modules. In particular, Indosol, Reliance, and First Solar have secured incentives for fully integrated production.

Germany launches feasibility study on PV manufacturing

Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action says it will fund a study on the feasibility of quickly restoring a full PV supply chain in Europe. Three German companies are leading the study and are calling for participation from other industry stakeholders.

Energy Storage


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.

Missing investments jeopardize energy transition, says IRENA

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) told Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue participants this week that $5.4 trillion of annual investment is needed to support the global shift to renewables. Kenyan President William Ruto, meanwhile, called for a fair energy partnership between Europe and Africa.

The Hydrogen Stream: China Southern Power connects hydrogen plants to grid

China Southern Power Grid, a state-owned utility, has revealed plans to use alloy materials to store hydrogen.

Germany deployed 1.2 GW/1.9 GWh of residential batteries in 2022

Germany’s cumulative residential battery installations hit 5.5 GW at the end of 2022, with the large-scale storage business growing by more than 900%.

More than 500 MWh of standalone storage capacity starts in Texas

Wärtsilä Energy and Eolian LP have partnered on a new 200 MW grid-scale battery system. They claim that it is the largest merchant energy storage facility in the world.

Sirea releases storage systems for PV applications

France’s Sirea has developed a new range of smart plug-in systems for PV storage. The batteries can deliver from 20 kW (AC) to 500 kW, depending on the model, with storage capacities ranging from 100 kWh to 1 MWh.

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