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Plastic for solar panels?

Three companies are swapping out aluminum and glass in favor of plastic to save weight and add flexibility. We look at the pros and cons.
Manufacturing

Microgrid-forming PV microinverter from Enphase

The 97%-efficient device is said to be the most powerful PV microinverter developed by the company to date and is capable of forming a microgrid during a power outage. The U.S. manufacturer expects to ship the first products in December.
Manufacturing

Solar tile with 19.22% efficiency from Canada

The solar tile has a power output of 15 W and is recommended for flat concrete roof tiles. It can operate with a maximum system voltage of 600 V.
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Energy Storage

Italy reaches 252 MW/405 MWh of distributed energy storage capacity

The country added 60MW/106 MWh in the first half of the year. Energy storage continues to grow with the region of Lombardy and Veneto being the two largest contributors.
Manufacturing

Flowable silicone sealant to repair damaged solar module backsheets

The special sealant is based on a product developed by U.S.-based Dow Corning for solar panel frame sealing. Its creators claim the new solution is able to make damaged panels recover high insulation resistance and operate normally.
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Installations

Burundi’s first solar park comes online

Under development since 2015, the 7.5 MW solar plant was built thanks to the efforts of multiple international entities including the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the U.K. government-funded Renewable Energy Performance Pla...
Installations

Morocco + green hydrogen could be at heart of sustainable shipping revolution

With green hydrogen needed to produce the 'e-ammonia' required for carbon-free vessels, new clean power generation capacity and potential solar power hotspots near international shipping lanes will be crucial.
Manufacturing

Vehicle-integrated PV for heavy-duty trucks

A German consortium is testing an 18-ton electric truck covered with a 3.5 kW PV system. The solar modules were designed by scientists at the Fraunhofer ISE and produced by German manufacturer Sunset Energietechnik GmbH. The panels are equipped with a sp...

Press Releases

Green Genius secures €20 million financing from Eiffel Investment Group for PV projects

Green Genius leading European renewable energy developer, has signed a EUR 20 million financing with Eiffel Investment Group’s funds. The company plans to use these funds to finalize the development of solar PV projects in Italy and Spain.

Trina Solar 112MW power plant with 670W Vertex modules connected to the grid

Trina Solar Co. , Ltd.

FIMER Supports Major Jordanian Company to Realize Solar Ambition

Tier One inverter supplier, FIMER, has installed its technology in a new 1MW ground-mounted solar plant for Consolidated Sulpho-Chemical Industries Co (CISC) – one of the largest companies in the Middle East – to enable it to reduce costs and become more self-sufficient.

TrinaTracker presents innovative solutions to increase tracker reliability while reducing O&M costs

TrinaTracker, a leading tracker manufacturer and business unit of Trina Solar Co. , Ltd.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Will China’s ‘double carbon’ and ‘dual control’ policies drive demand for solar?

Factories suffering from rationed grid electricity could help drive a boom in on-site solar systems, and recent moves to mandate the retrofitting of PV on existing buildings could also lift the market, as analyst Frank Haugwitz explains.

Prioritizing electrification

The urgency to decarbonize the building sector has caught global attention in the lead-up to the COP26 summit, commencing on Oct. 31. Wood Mackenzie’s Ben Hertz-Shargel says that success will require a two-pronged strategy of massively electrifying building heat over the coming decade, while also investing in technologies that can pick up future heating demand if the grid cannot handle it.

China’s emission-reduction action squeezes PV production

Industrial shutdowns and reduced factory production capacity levels indicate the companies producing the raw materials used by solar manufacturers are being afflicted by electricity consumption measures just as other sectors are. It is not clear whether the solar industry will be afforded any favors by Beijing, as analyst Frank Haugwitz explains.

More sun for everyone

It turns out that you can have too much of a good thing, says Mark Byrne of Australia’s Total Environment Centre. Or rather, it’s possible that there is too much rooftop PV at some times in some places. As a result, a range of critical reforms – including the introduction of export tariffs to pay for upgrades of the electricity distribution network – are necessary to allow for the uninhibited growth of solar in the future, he argues.

Nigeria’s solar workforce can help the world to net zero

With a rising chorus of voices calling for more solar industry recruits to perform the energy transition, Nigeria already has a skilled base of PV engineers and, with a little help filling the few gaps they have in their knowledge, the nation can step into the breach immediately, as Testimony Gabe-Oji, chief technology officer for Abuja-based installer Green Energy Spectrum, explains.

The evolution of residential PV in China

China is the largest residential PV market in the world, and this trend is only expected to strengthen in the next few years. By July 2021, China’s cumulative installed residential PV capacity had reached more than 30 GW, with a total of 1.864 million residential units hosting solar PV systems. IHS Markit’s Holly Hu looks behind these impressive numbers.

Covid-19

Featured

EU raises another €9bn for Covid recovery

The latest, seven-year investment attracted offers worth more than €100 billion from investors and means the European Union has already generated €54 billion of the €80 billion of bond proceeds it is aiming for this year, as part of its five-year, €800 billion NextGenerationEU support package.

Is it time for the world to start thinking about 1.7C?

A note issued by Norwegian analyst Rystad has hinted it may be time to consider abandoning the 1.5-degree average global temperature rise ceiling agreed upon in Paris six years ago, because the world will never be able to pump out enough solar panels in time.

EU to start auctioning green bonds next month

An independent third-party has approved the European Commission’s safeguards to ensure the projects in member states financed by €250 billion of green bonds over the next five years, will have genuine emission reduction credentials.

International group offers $68m loans for struggling off-grid clean energy distributors

‘More than 90’ suppliers of appliances such as solar lanterns and home solar panels, as well as mini-grid installers, will be offered low-interest credit by an assortment of government-backed and privately-financed entities.

‘The chance to reset with a green recovery has now been lost’

Norwegian consultancy DNV today published the latest of its annual surveys of the state of the energy transition and lamented the fact so very little has been achieved during the last five years. We are forging ahead into a world that will be 2.3C hotter this century, predicts the report.

‘Polysilicon shortage will continue through 2021’

The latest global PV industry outlook published by trade group SolarPower Europe, has indicated tight supply of the solar panel raw material is expected to persist this year but the trade body said it would be unlikely to drive further price rises.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Reshaping the climate conversation

Inventor, serial entrepreneur, energy analyst and scientist Saul Griffith is set to add the title of “author” to his collection with the October publication of his new book, “Electrify: An Optimist’s Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future.” Griffith – the CEO of Otherlab and the founder of Rewiring America and Rewiring Australia – says that the discussion of rapid decarbonization can be reimagined by thinking about the electric “machines” that can be installed in our homes.

China PV Industry Brief: Installations slow, deals continue despite rising prices

This week saw prices in the polysilicon segment, and further downstream, rise again, with no end in sign. National Energy Agency statistics show a slowdown in installations for the second consecutive month in September. Manufacturers, however, continue to purchase components and materials in the expectation that prices will rise even further.

The hydrogen stream: High gas prices mean cost competitiveness

New investments and partnerships announced this week see hydrogen projects developing across Europe, India, Asia and more. The current climate of high prices for natural gas has led one company to exclaim that green hydrogen is now competitive with its fossil fuel produced ‘grey’ counterpart, and research continues into optimizing hydrogen supply chains and smoothing its integration into the energy landscape.

Nexwafe closes financing round with €32 million

Innovative solar wafer company Nexwafe has closed its latest financing round with €32 million. The round was lead by the Indian group Reliance, which contributed €25 million to the round. The Freiburg-based wafer manufacturer intends to use the funds to drive forward the production and commercialization of its kerfless PV wafers.

Spain’s renewables auction: Problem or opportunity?

Participating companies and industry experts from Spain’s most recent renewable energy auction, including APPA, Anpier, and Fundación Renovables, share their thoughts with pv magazine on the results published this week, and what could be done better in future tenders.

Renewable energy jobs reach 12 million globally, forecast to reach 25 million by 2030

A new report by IRENA and the International Labour Organization highlights the employment potential of an ambitious climate strategy and calls for comprehensive policies in support of a just energy transition.

Installations

Featured

Out of landfill, back in the stream

With technological progress, falling costs, and favorable subsidies all incentivizing Australian households to replace serviceable modules and upgrade their rooftop array, a stockpile of useable second-hand modules is mounting. But efforts to embrace reuse rather than refuse are taking shape.

Australian prefabricated solar array manufacturer launches new modular solution

Sydney-based 5B has taken the wraps off a new generation of its re-deployable modular Maverick solar technology which it says is not only quicker and easier to install than the previous model but 30% more powerful.

Highway-side solar could produce 36 TWh annually

A collaboration between universities, nonprofits, and a geospatial mapper led to development of a highway solar evaluation tool.

Bangladesh issues EPC tender for 60 MW PV project

Bangladesh has floated an international tender seeking engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning services for a 60-MW solar power plant in north-western Pabna district.

Statkraft’s 2021 “Low Emissions Scenario” calls for renewed urgency

Norwegian hydropower giant and Europe’s largest renewable energy generator, Statkraft, has published its annual “Low Emissions Scenario”, which describes investment in green projects as “unstoppable”, while calling for a dramatic scaling up for renewables, electrification and green hydrogen.

DNV puts different module formats to the test

Energy consultancy DNV was tasked by module manufacturing giant Longi Solar with comparing the balance of systems costs between modules utilizing 182mm and 210mm wafers, based on a 3.7 MW project in three different layouts. The results reveal a slim cost advantage for the smaller of the two, based on both fixed tilt and tracker systems.

Technology

Featured

A messy perovskite separation

There are increasing signs that a new era for PV production in Europe may be dawning. However, two pioneers of PV technology have decided, at this moment, to part ways. And while at present there are more questions than answers, technology and business strategy both appear to have played a role.

Solar panels blasted with sound to better understand microcracking

Researchers at NREL and EPRI focused heavy bass sounds on solar panels to simulate the effects of wind-caused deflection.

Korean researchers achieve 25.8% efficiency for single junction perovskite solar cell

The record efficiency was obtained thanks to an interlayer placed between the electron-transporting layer and the perovskite layer, which eliminated the need for passivation. The cell was also able to retain around 90% of its initial efficiency after 500 hours under standard illumination.

Ambient processed inorganic perovskite solar cells at 19.75% efficiency

Scientists in South Korea demonstrated a fabrication technique for perovskite solar cells relying entirely on room temperature, ambient conditions processes. Using an all-inorganic perovskite material, and a spray coated electron transport layer, cells fabricated by the group achieved a maximum efficiency of 19.75%.

The burgeoning underground scene of hydrogen storage

Underground hydrogen storage seems to be coming up a lot lately, and with the burgeoning hydrogen industry needing somewhere to store itself, it’s not hard to understand why. One of the countries with the best credentials for the future hydrogen economy is Australia. A newly published report has quantified the country’s “massive opportunity” for underground hydrogen storage.

Laser focus on perovskite film formation

Scientists in the United States developed a method to observe the structure and mechanics of a perovskite material during its synthesis and transition from liquid precursors to a solid thin film. The group says its work will provide new insight into manufacturing and the development of reliable large-scale processes for perovskite solar cell production.

Manufacturing

Featured

What’s next for polysilicon?

The past 12 months have proved profitable for polysilicon manufacturers, as selling prices have soared to levels not seen since 2011. However, with major new capacity expansions on the horizon from most of the leading manufacturers, and new players planning to enter the scene, the market balance looks set to shift. Exawatt’s Alex Barrows rounds up where the industry stands and what might happen next.

SolarEdge launches residential battery and inverter

The DC-coupled battery has 94.5% round-trip efficiency and the inverter offers up to 11.4 kW power and 10.3 kW backup power.

The weekend read: Hidden PV module traps

Frédéric Dross of STS shares the minor yet essential details that buyers must pay close attention to when finalizing PV module purchase agreements, based on the company’s experience advising clients across the globe. Avoiding hidden traps in purchase agreements comes down to detailed contractual knowledge, fine print, and understanding common practices to bypass strict controls.

Big modules head for standardization

PV manufacturing giant Trina Solar says it has agreed with other industry players on a set of standard dimensions and other technical specifications for PV modules utilizing 210mm wafers – the largest currently available on the market. The manufacturer says it expects the China Photovoltaic Industry Association to formally release the standard before the end of October.

A lightweight plastic to replace aluminum module frames

South Korean company LG Chem has developed a new plastic material that it says could replace the metal frame of a PV module, making it much lighter. The company says it has already secured mass production capability for the material and begun selling products at full scale.

Solargiga reports nine-month figures

Shipments and revenue both rose in the first three quarters, for a company which this year announced the painful consequences of winding down its cell manufacturing operation were behind it.

Energy Storage

Featured

Moorabool burning

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on July 30, 150 firefighters responded to a fire at Neoen’s 300 MW/450 MWh Victorian Big Battery in Moorabool, which is due for completion this year. The fire crews arrived to a 13-ton lithium battery ablaze in a shipping container, and the fire wasn’t brought under control until three days later, on the afternoon of Aug. 2. With a widescale investigation now underway, pv magazine asks how such failures can be prevented, and whether we should be better prepared for the inevitability of battery failure.

Re-Source 2021: Q&A with Iron Mountain’s Chris Pennington

US data management company Iron Mountain has a growing portfolio of onsite and PPA renewables, and it’s one of the first major corporate firms to track its renewables by the hour as part of an innovative PPA that may serve as a forerunner for widespread 24/7 matching.

Western Australia to produce cathode materials in trial production

Construction has begun on a manufacturing pilot project to see battery-grade nickel, cobalt and manganese for precursor battery cathode materials (PCAM) in Perth. The facility is expected to be completed in early 2022 and is one of a number of developments that will look to establish Western Australia (WA) as a materials supplier to the growing battery manufacturing industry.

Frazium Energy signs €100 million deal for mega solar-storage project in Eswatini

With an initial capacity of 100 MW, the plant will supply more than 100 million kWh a year to countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, helping to reduce load shedding by providing much needed power at peak times.

Umicore to purchase 42,000 tons of lithium battery material

Belgian materials company Umicore has signed a contract with Australia headquartered Vulcan Energy Resources to purchase up to 42,000 tons of lithium hydroxide over a five year period beginning in 2025. The material will be used in Umicore’s production of cathode materials for lithium-ion cell manufacturers.

Co-located hubs key to battery industry competitiveness

A report from Australia’s Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre which analysed the development of battery hubs in the U.S., Germany and Japan, has found that co-location and cooperation between industry and government were key to their success. For Australia to play the same game, it will have to leverage its wealth of resources, and clean up its act along the way.

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