Top News

The weekend read: 2020 – the first year for the PV sector to record a decline

In the wake of Covid-19, IHS Markit lowered its solar forecast from 142 GW to 104 GW. Compared to the 125 GW of solar capacity installed in 2019, the forecast would mean a turnaround from 13.6% annual growth to a 15% contraction. The IHS Markit forecast is based on Covid-19 being controlled and market restrictions being gradually lifted in the second and third quarters of the year.
Manufacturing

Chinese PV Industry Brief: new listing plans and more POE encapsulant capacity

Daqo revealed it will list its main production unit in Shanghai, while Goodwe secured approval for its own plans to list shares. Cybrid Technologies, meanwhile, said it will ramp up production of polyolefin elastomer (POE) encapsulant films.
Markets & Policy

Does solar sustainability go far enough?

Solar PV is on track to become a terawatt-scale industry. With this opportunity comes challenges, particularly when future raw material and manufacturing volumes are considered. For progress to be made, sustainability becomes a crucial issue. Already the...
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Manufacturing

German scientists study causes of LeTID

Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB are trying to understand the causes of light and elevated temperature induced degradation (LeTID) in PERC solar cells. Initial investigations should provide ...
Installations

100% solar-powered floating villa

Australian designer Chuck Anderson’s Lilypad is a 100% solar-powered villa floating off Palm Beach in north Sydney.
Installations

Indian Railways plans 3 GW of solar capacity

The projects – to be developed in three phases of 1 GW each – will be completed by the end of 2023. While the first and third phases will be developed under public-private partnerships, the second phase will be built under India's Central Public Sect...
Installations

Australia’s first digitized PPA

The 9.4 MW Robinvale Solar Farm is Suntech’s first 100%-owned project in the Australian pipeline to come to fruition and the first solar project in the country to deploy WePower’s blockchain-based PPA architecture, which opens up opportunities for sm...
Installations

Single-axis bifacial PV offers lowest LCOE in 93.1% of world’s land area

Researchers from the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore have concluded that utility-scale PV projects relying on bifacial panels and single-axis trackers deliver the lowest levelized cost of energy in most of the world. They found that the comb...
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Press Releases

Scatec Solar completes solar hybrid plant for IOM in Malakal, South Sudan

Scatec Solar has commissioned a combined solar and battery storage plant in Malakal, South Sudan. The plant will power the Humanitarian Hub in Malakal, which is managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

New FuturaSun Silk Pro module, a combination of Pro elements: in the wafer, cell, and module

166 mm wafer, half-cut multi-busbar, module with two independent sections. Technological evolution to reach up to 375 Watts in 1.

VP Solar is entrusted with AEG solar products distribution for Italy

The AEG distribution network for photovoltaic products welcomes a new partner with 20 years specialized expertise and a clear vision, centered on conscious consumers, integrated energy systems, and digital technologies.

KSTAR finished 500MW inverter supplies for the owner SPIC

Shenzhen KSTAR Science and Technology Co. , Ltd has finished all the central inverter supplies of 500MW parity PV project in Hei Longjiang,China.

Opinion & Analysis

Asian buoyancy floats solar

Global floating PV installations are set to jump by 143% from 2019 to hit more than 900 MW of annual capacity additions this year, according to IHS Markit’s Floating PV Report – 2020. Growth has been driven in recent years by a surge in the number of floating PV systems installed in countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, and the Netherlands, with total global installed capacity reaching about 1.5 GW at the end of 2019. IHS Markit Research Manager Cormac Gilligan and Senior Analyst Chris Beadle examine how these countries have taken the lead, with developers building large quantities of floating PV, while also installing pilots to better understand the technology and test its capabilities and cost-effectiveness.

Agricultural PV emerges as Japan’s next opportunity

Self-consumption, the ability to isolate from the grid and provide power in the event of outages, and agricultural solar are key components in the 2020 revisions to Japan’s feed-in tariff program, reports RTS Corp.’s Izumi Kaizuka.

N-type uptake under Covid-19

As p-type mono cell efficiencies edge closer to their limits, n-type cells are increasingly being recognized as next-generation technologies, writes PV InfoLink analyst Amy Fang. Manufacturers have focused their research and development efforts in recent years on the creation of commercially viable pathways for heterojunction (HJT) and tunnel-oxidized passivated contact (TOPCon) cells.

Solar panel recycling: Turning ticking time bombs into opportunities

Australia has certainly demonstrated its appetite for solar power. Now, with the average lifespan of a solar panel being approximately 20 years, many installations from the early 2000’s are set to reach end-of-life. Will they end up in landfill or be recycled? The cost of recycling is higher than landfill, and the value of recovered materials is smaller than the original, so there’s limited interest in recycling. But given the presence of heavy metals, such as lead and tin, if waste is managed poorly, we’re on track for another recycling crisis. A potential time bomb could present itself as an opportunity, however, if the global EV industry showed an interest in the recovered solar products.

Comparisons of PR factors for large-scale solar PV power plants limited

For an investor of large-scale solar PV power plants, efficiency and reliability are two of the most interesting issues. For rating purposes, the Performance Ratio (PR) factor, has been created. However, this metric is only suitable for comparisons to a limited extent, argues Edwin Cunow, owner of LSPV Consulting.

Compensation for curtailments of renewable generation in Ukraine

As of November 2019, certain RES producers have been intermittently forced to reduce their output or halt production of electrical energy altogether under the instructions of Ukraine’s transmission system operator, NEC Ukrenergo. DTEK, along with several other large market players led the call for limitations. Many of the country’s RES producers have become alarmed.

Covid-19

Featured

Covid-19 weekly round-up: It is still unclear how the crisis will play out on various solar segments, although one US installer says business has never been better…

Module price falls driven by the energy demand slump and Chinese oversupply may reverse at the end of the year, Germany appears immune to the Covid rooftop curse and emergency funding has been offered up to EU businesses affected by the crisis.

Solar costs have fallen 82% since 2010

The levelized cost of energy generated by large scale solar plants is around $0.068/kWh, compared to $0.378 ten years ago and the price fell 13.1% between 2018 and last year alone, according to figures released by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Covid-19 delayed 63% of India’s planned big solar in first quarter

Coronavirus-related disruption severely impacted solar installation during the first three months of the year, as the nation added only 689 MW of utility scale PV, against the 1,864 MW that was scheduled to be commissioned.

Germany installed 380 MW of solar in April

The rooftop segment maintained strong growth but utility scale PV saw a slowdown on previous months. In the first four months of 2020, newly deployed PV systems added up to 1,479.5 MW of generation capacity, compared with around 1.6 GW in the same period of last year. The nation’s cumulative PV capacity hit 50.46 GW at the end of April.

Electric aircraft engines could take to the skies over Australia

Zero-emission, low-cost regional flights with just eight other sanitized folk and a disinfected pilot! Yes, Covid-19 is warping our view of the future but the successful electrically-powered maiden flight of a Cessna Caravan last week offers the potential for new modes of transport to support a wider economic recovery in Australia.

Solar could hold advantage in post-pandemic global energy sector

The International Energy Agency has acknowledged dramatic falls in energy investment caused by the Covid-19 crisis but said renewables, including PV, offered an attractive proposition to investors as the dust settled, given their enticing economics and short turnaround times.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Shifting geopolitical sands

After a decade of operation, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has become an established presence in assisting the deployment of renewables. Now under the leadership of Director General Francesco La Camera, it continues its work on a range of issues pertaining to renewable energy deployment, with a renewed focus on facilitating international investment.

Green finance is more than a bubble

Felicia Jackson explains why green finance is changing the energy world and is not just a dream for solar fans. Hailing from London, she is a financial expert, a co-founder of New Energy Finance, now Bloomberg NEF, a member of the UN working group that discusses methods for environmental goals, and a professor at the University of London. Jackson will also author a pv magazine white paper on the topic, scheduled to publish this summer.

US trade commission has dismissed Hanwha patent infringement claim

The Chinese manufacturer this morning said the International Trade Commission had agreed with the initial determination issued by an administrative law judge in April, that Jinko and peers Longi Solar and REC Group had not infringed Hanwha’s solar cell passivation technology.

Autarco unveils rooftop module series

The Dutch PV system provider’s MHI panels feature multi-busbar technology and 120 half-cut, monocrystalline cells. The series has a power output of 355-375 W and efficiency of 19.2-20.3%.

A ten-year PPA for 50 MW Spanish project

Dutch solar developer Sonnedix will supply Norwegian renewables company Statkraft with around 100 GWh of green electricity annually from 2021 to 2031. The electricity will be generated by a solar plant planned in Badajoz. Sonnedix also announced the acquisition of 4.6 MW more Spanish solar capacity.

China reaches 1.7 GW of electrochemical storage capacity

According to new numbers released by the China Energy Storage Alliance, the country’s storage capacity topped 32.4 GW at the end of last year. The association said the storage market is expected to continue to grow steadily in the years ahead.

Installations

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Remote possibilities

If the Canadian Arctic strikes you as a place that doesn’t have enough sunlight for PV, you wouldn’t necessarily be correct. Although there are periods of 24-hour darkness in winter, there are locations with sufficient sunlight for PV to make a major dent in remote communities’ diesel consumption, reports Anteo Petkovic, from Green Sun Rising.

EV batteries providing grid stabilization services at Italian car factory

Fiat Chrysler has begun construction of a vehicle-to-grid pilot at its Mirafiori manufacturing facility in Turin. The project, which also includes 5 MW of PV, will eventually become a virtual power plant.

Scottish Water launches tender for solar projects up to 5 MW

The Scottish water provider is seeking proposals for the development and construction of several solar plants ranging in size from 50 kW to 50 MW. The installations can be a combination of ground-mounted PV systems and rooftop arrays.

Choosing representative strings for measuring power loss

Analyzing monitoring data does not always accurately identify under-performing assets; and when investigating supposed power loss with IV-curve measurements, a representative sample via thermography should be selected. These are two conclusions drawn from a case study, which will be discussed during the upcoming asset management session at the pv magazine virtual roundtable Europe 2020.

PV systems could provide up to 60% of output during hurricanes

Researchers in the U.S. have demonstrated, using simulations, PV system generation can range from 18-60% of clear-sky potential during hurricanes – provided the arrays do not suffer damage. According to them, solar installations could continue to provide back-up power when grids are down during hurricanes, especially if coupled with energy storage.

Hawaiian utility allocates 460 MW of PV and 3 GWh of storage in renewable energy procurement

Winners of the island state’s largest ever renewable energy procurement include AES, Hanwha, Engie, EDF, Longroad.

Technology

Featured

The way to the TOPCon

TOPCon cell technology has become one of the two leading next-generation options after mono PERC. But for the n-type architecture to truly become a rival to PERC, high-quality and cost-effective production technologies must become settled.

Game theory for solar module manufacturing

Researchers in Iran have applied the Stackelberg leadership model to determine whether the creation of a closed-loop solar module supply chain – including panel refurbishing – is feasible. According to their findings, a similar supply chain may only be set up with public subsidies, which would ensure that costs for R&D, module production, and recycling are distributed between the government and all the chain’s players.

An 18.12%-efficient perovskite solar cell with reduced hysteresis

Researchers in Japan have modified the tin(IV) oxide layer of a perovskite device with a fullerene-derivative-based self-assembled monolayer to produce a cell they claim offers stability and a reduction in the hysteresis effect which makes predicting power output so tricky.

PV plants lasting longer, with lower operational costs

Solar plants are now expected to last 32.5 years and cost $17 per kW/year to operate, as shown by a Berkeley Lab survey of industry participants.

Assessing the soiling mitigation properties of anti-reflective coatings

Researchers in China have sought to understand how soiling exacerbated by anti-reflective coatings might inhibit solar panel output. In terms of effectiveness against soiling, the scientists found hollow-silica-nanoparticle coatings did better than solid silica alternatives.

Israel wants another 15 GW of solar by 2030

Energy minister Yuval Steinitz has announced the country’s 2030 renewable energy target will rise to 30%, with solar expected to account for the lion’s share. Approximately $23 billion more clean energy investment is envisaged this decade.

Manufacturing

Featured

The hidden contest of the cell makers

Predicting which technological pathway will dominate in solar cell production is somewhat of a fool’s errand. A battle is currently underway between several of solar manufacturing’s big guns regarding both wafer size and p-or-n-type technology, and the outcome remains to be seen.

teamtechnik receives stringer order for 400 MW German fab

German equipment manufacturer teamtechnik announced it has received an order from a European module manufacturer for several stringers to process nine busbar half cells. Already a major trend among module makers in China, 9BB technology now looks to be headed further afield.

Silver demand for PV manufacturing may have peaked in 2019

A Silver Institute study says demand for the precious metal for solar manufacturing accounted for 11% of global consumption last year but reduced solar generation capacity up to 2023 will eat into that figure and ‘thrifting’ technological advances will kick in after that point.

Longi and DuPont expand collaboration on product innovation

The companies aim to jointly develop higher quality and more competitive cells and modules that will in turn ensure the viability of PV power plants.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Jinko’s new capacity and a 200 MW solar park

JinkoSolar has begun construction of a new 16 GW module production base in Yiwu city, Zhejiang province and Eging PV has resumed a 200 MW solar project in Qitai county in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, after securing approval from local authorities. The China National Energy Administration has confirmed the nation can add no more than 48.45 GW of solar to the grid this year.

Narendra Modi calls for a rooftop-solar-powered city in every Indian state

The prime minister again emphasized the need for India to develop its own solar manufacturing industry and also urged officials to get on with plans to make the region of Ladakh carbon-neutral.

Energy Storage

Featured

Zero-waste batteries

Efforts to recycle lithium-ion batteries face a range of technical and economic challenges, but such programs are already far more commonplace than many assume. However, there are still significant obstacles looming a few years down the road.

PPA signed for solar-wind-storage microgrid on Saint Helena

Pash Global, a subsidiary of multinational commodities trader Trafigura Group, has signed a renewables power purchase agreement for a project on the British overseas territory of Saint Helena. The microgrid will help the South Atlantic island’s aim of investing in renewables, reducing diesel dependence and increasing fuel security and price stabilization.

Siemens and Engie plan 12 MW green hydrogen and gas project in France

A €15.2 million power-to-X-to-power hydrogen storage facility is being planned in Saillat-sur-Vienne, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The project partners want to use renewable energy from the grid and water to produce and store electrolyzed hydrogen. It would then be mixed with natural gas to power an upgraded, 12 MW Siemens SGT-400 industrial gas turbine which previously generated steam for local manufacturing and would be able to return power to the grid to meet demand.

Northvolt and aluminum company plot Norwegian EV recycling plant

The sustainable lithium-ion battery manufacturer wants to secure raw materials to recycle into its products and will tap one of the world’s most advanced electric vehicle markets for its end-of-life batteries.

Spain and Italy are European renewables investment hot spots, says CEO, and Mexico really should be too

pv magazine spoke to Mark Jones, chief executive of privately-owned clean energy investment company Susgen about where the newly-launched business is looking to spend the cash pile it has allocated for big, early-stage project pipelines.

Software developer claims its platform can unlock a distributed generation world

U.K.-based Power Transition today launched a crowdfunding exercise to raise the £300,000 it says it needs to scale up its blockchain-based, peer-to-peer energy trading platform beyond a 47-home demonstration project.

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