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The weekend read: The recent evolution of solar PV energy costs

Forecasts for the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of solar PV were hotly contested over the past decade, with one trend predominating: All but the most optimistic outlooks were wrong. pv magazine has gathered data to showcase the recent evolution of solar PV energy costs, and the results are stark. Within just a few years, initial projections become outdated, which means that forecasts of solar PV prices are more art than science.
Installations

New heights of solar: Aggreko to install 25.9 MW hybrid solar system at 4,500 m

Fresh from the success of its 7.7 MW microgrid at Gold Fields' Granny Smith mine in Western Australia, Aggreko has signed a 10-year contract with the global gold miner to install at 25.9 MW hybrid solar and thermal power solution at its Salares Norte min...
Markets & Policy

Chinese PV Industry Brief: New supply deals for Xinte, Chint, Flat Glass, Trina, Longi and Risen

Longi, Trina and Risen secured solar module supply deals in a tender held by the China National Nuclear Corp. Furthermore, Xinte, Flat Glass and Chint won contracts to supply polysilicon, glass and wafers, respectively.
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Installations

Wind-solar-storage hybrid offers cheaper electricity than new coal in India

A new report establishes the feasibility of wind-solar-storage hybrid projects over new coal plants in the Indian states with high renewable energy potential. Tamil Nadu was chosen for the technical and commercial assessment.
Highlights

European scientists want to develop hybrid vanadium redox flow battery with supercapacitor

European scientists are designing a new type of redox flow storage system aimed at flexibly balancing power grids in the event of critical conditions. Funded by the EU, the research project is being coordinated by the Landshut University of Applied Scien...
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Highlights

Bangladesh joins hydrogen energy race

The Bangladeshi government has launched a pilot hydrogen production project as part of its effort to reduce the country's dependency on fossil fuels and accelerate the transition to clean energy.
Markets & Policy

Polish oil company plans 100 MW solar park at brown coal mine

The solar park is expected to be connected to the grid infrastructure of a coal power plant located nearby. Polish oil group Orlen is targeting 2 GW of renewable energy assets by 2030.
Manufacturing

Passive cooling with porous materials for PV modules

Researchers in the Middle East have proposed a new passive technology to cool off solar modules, based on highly conductive porous materials.

Press Releases

Arctech White Paper: AI-Powered Tracker Boosts Energy Output by Up to 7%

Jan 20th 2021, Suzhou, China, Arctech Solar, the leading solar rack and tracker maker, released a technical white paper today, entitled “Next Generation of the AI-powered Solar Tracking Solution”, at an online global launch event. The white paper details a major upgrade for its trackers solution to advanced smart system with comprehensive AI integration.

Growatt receives pv magazine award 2020 for its new generation inverter

Leading PV inverter manufacturers are bringing innovations to the distributed generation sector, eager to model state-of-the-art energy solution and shape the future. Growatt’s new generation residential inverter MIN 2500-6000TL-XH - that was given the pv magazine award 2020 at the Virtual Award Ceremony – stands out as a trailblazer towards the future of smart solar energy for households.

Greencells Group signs joint development agreement for 237 MWp Solar in Italy and the Netherlands with Blue Elephant Energy

Greencells Group, a global service provider for the development, construction, and maintenance of utility-scale solar power plants, and Blue Elephant Energy AG, a Hamburg-based independent operator of solar and wind power plants, have entered into a joint development agreement for a portfolio of 237 MWp of solar capacity in Italy and the Netherlands.

Cornwall Insight strengthens its Board

Cornwall Insight, an award-winning international firm delivering comprehensive Insight that enables businesses, markets, and policymakers to succeed in the net zero transition, has further strengthened its Group Board.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

The world won’t wait – Biden needs to catch up

The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States has brought hope the country will play a central role in the world’s energy transition and combating climate change. However, rather than teaching other countries lessons, the U.S. will need to catch up with the rest of the world, and it needs to do so quickly – the world won’t wait for the U.S.

2021: 34% year-on-year growth projected in annual PV installations

The PV industry is in for a wild ride to add 158 GW in 2021, writes IHS Markit’s Josefin Berg. Delayed projects from this year, together with a generally increased appetite for renewables around the world, leads us to project 34% year-on-year growth in annual PV installations in 2021 – a year when module prices will remain high for at least the first two quarters.

Module Price Index: 2020 – Taking the time to say ‘thanks’…

Alongside all of the problems, 2020 has brought us a few promising solar module manufacturer initiatives and developments. Martin Schachinger of pvXchange.com looks back over the second half of the year and offers a quick look at what could be in store for 2021.

Turkish PV manufacturer report reveals country’s annual production capacity is 5,610 MW/year

In September 2020, Stantec Turkey launched a market assessment report for the Turkish solar PV panel manufacturing sector. The English version of the “Market Report for Turkey’s Photovoltaic Panel Manufacturing” followed in November. The report, based on collected data from local manufacturers, depicts the history of the market since its inception in 2011 and provides unique insights into its development and future potential.

Guggenheim Solar Index: More to come in ‘21

With the wholesale transformation of the power industry from the inside out and other energy transition mega-trends, capital will continue to flow into renewables from ESG, energy funds, and retail, writes ROTH Capital Analyst Jesse Pichel. Look for a greater mix of unsubsidized economic solar projects to support improving revenue visibility, increasing earnings quality, and multiple expansions.

Solar set to shine in a post-pandemic world

The world is still combating Covid-19, with Europe now impacted by a second wave of the virus. While the market reported delays for a few projects, the impacts on the PV sector remain unclear. But if the world fails to curb the Covid-19’s spread, governments may be forced to reintroduce strict measures, thereby sapping PV demand. PV InfoLink’s Mars Chang expects module demand to hit 126 GW by the end of this year.

Covid-19

Featured

Beijing: China installed 48.2 GW of solar in 2020

With the nation almost doubling its new generation capacity figure for the year last month, the National Energy Administration is reportedly considering a joint solar and wind capacity target of 120 GW for this year.

Jenny Chase predicts up to 194 GW of solar this year

Falling module prices will help PV post another record year after an estimated 132 GW was installed worldwide in 2020, according to an energy transition investment trends report published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

IFC says green recovery could drive $2.5tn renewables market this decade

The private-sector arm of the World Bank, which claims to leverage $3 of its own capital and $8 from third parties for every dollar invested in its blended finance funds, has attempted to quantify what devoting Covid recovery funds to green investment would mean for emerging economies.

EU records annual rise of 7 TWh in third-quarter solar output

European renewables, including Spanish solar, made big gains as energy demand recovered before the second wave of Covid infections. Nuclear was a notable loser, in part because clean energy volumes in the north of the continent drove down power prices sufficiently to make reactors uncompetitive.

Renewables cheaper than fossil fuel plants by 2030

A report by McKinsey & Company reinforces the widely-held view renewables will supplant fossil fuels in the energy system but also joins the chorus of voices warning the world is on track to fall well short of limiting global temperature rises this century to 1.5C.

Indian reliance on polycrystalline tech production leaves it trailing China

Polycrystalline PV technology, which is seeing its market share tumble on the global stage, still dominates India’s small solar manufacturing base and is emblematic of the R&D shortfalls in the sector, according to a survey of the state of the industry.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Power play under way Down Under

Economics and common sense have to win out over a climate-denying, pro-fossil fuel government, says John Grimes, the chief executive of Australia’s Smart Energy Council. And in the absence of renewable energy targets, he argues that the power of the people seems to be leading the way.

Axpo signs first solar PPA in Switzerland

Swiss energy company Axpo will supply electricity to a supermarket chain from a 2.2 MW solar plant under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The facility is being deployed at the Muttsee dam, at an altitude of almost 2,500 meters above sea level.

Canada installed 70 MW of PV in 2020

The country’s cumulative installed solar capacity surpassed 3 GW at the end of December, according to new statistics from the Canadian Renewable Energy Association.

pv magazine Award: The Winners

In many respects, the past year has been unlike any other. But the innovation and ambition driving the expansion of the solar and energy storage industries is one constant that has remained, Across seven categories, pv magazine’s award winners for 2020 demonstrate high levels of technical expertise, creativity, mass production capabilities, and real market impact from PV and power electronics companies big and small. Following on from the virtual award ceremony held this morning, the winners are….

UK added 545 MW of solar last year to hit 13.9 GW

The news comes on the day a private equity investor in the English North East announced plans to jointly develop a 1.4 GWp solar portfolio with Canadian Solar.

The Indian market for off-grid solar refrigeration

Standalone solar-powered refrigerators present a $20 billion opportunity in India for vaccine storage, milk chillers, households, micro enterprises, and cold storage for farm produce, according to a new report by Gogla.

Installations

Featured

Bulking up for bigger tracking challenges

Bigger modules and more challenging conditions are leading tracker designers to strengthen their offerings to deliver the stability required for long-term operation. Eduardo de San Nicolás, Soltec’s chief strategy officer, says that the Spanish company’s efforts have resulted in a new generation of trackers fit for almost any wind conditions – along with a host of other benefits including advanced communications and optimized bifacial yield.

More than 800 MW of floating PV under development in Greece

Greek conglomerate Gek Terna has unveiled plans to deploy three large-scale floating PV plants at three different water reservoirs. Total investment in the projects is expected to amount to €170 million. Furthermore, the national utility PPC is reportedly planning to deploy another 50 MW and InterPhoton Group is considering to build a 500 MW facility.

Lowest bid in Malta’s third PV tender hits €0.12/kWh

The highest bid in Malta’s latest procurement exercise was €0.129/kWh. The Maltese authorities selected eight PV projects, with capacities ranging from 1 MW to 3 MW.

Big interest in Australia’s proposed 1.5 GW solar-wind-hydrogen hub

The Western Australian government has called for expressions of interest for its proposed 1.5 GW solar-wind-hydrogen hub at the Okajee Strategic Industrial Area. This week, it said that 65 companies from around the world are interested.

Rollercoaster for the European PPA market in 2020

The Covid-19 crisis temporarily paralyzed the business for large scale unsubsidized solar projects across Europe. At the end of the year, however, demand for projects that are financed through electricity purchase agreements regained speed. Pexapark estimates that there is currently 10 GW of renewable energy capacity under signed PPAs in Europe, most of which is for solar power.

Improving PV-powered water electrolysis with external fields

Australian researchers have analyzed different ways to improve the efficiency of PV-powered water electrolysis for hydrogen generation. They include the use of magnetic fields, light energy, ultrasonic fields, and pulsating electric fields. Energy costs remain prohibitive, but molecular movement and the redistribution of molecules in water during electrolysis could open a path to viability.

Technology

Featured

Something truly new

You can try to succeed by making a better version of your competitors’ product, or you can try to do something completely new. NexWafe has chosen the second path. It is developing plans to manufacture wafers for high-efficiency solar cells in Bitterfeld, Germany, that are produced more sustainably and at lower cost than any other products available today.

The best redox flow battery tech

Batteries based on vanadium or zinc bromide represent the cutting edge of redox flow storage tech, an international research team has claimed. They have identified challenges and opportunities for about a dozen redox flow storage technologies, while providing estimates of their current and projected levelized costs of storage.

A pinch of chili gives perovskites a kick

Scientists in China found that capsaicin, the natural compound responsible for a chili pepper’s spicy flavor, can also act as a ‘secret ingredient’ in perovskite solar cells, making them both more efficient and stable. The group added capsaicin to the precursor materials of a common perovskite, leading to dramatic improvements in the resulting solar cell.

Mitsubishi and Japanese university offer peer-to-peer trading alternative to FIT payments

Blockchain systems are being tested as a means of offering solar households revenue for excess power they generate, now the FIT program has ceased.

Measuring outdoor performance in perovskites

Scientists in Spain and Colombia took a closer look at the degradation mechanisms affecting perovskite solar cells, and developed a new, high throughput method to characterize their performance in an outdoor setting. The group evaluated the method through outdoor testing on perovskite modules manufactured in a lab. it expects its findings to offer easier device characterization and better understanding of the degradation mechanisms affecting perovskite solar cells, both important factors in the technology’s development.

Pulsating spray cooling system for PV modules

Iranian scientists have assessed a new active approach for solar module cooling based on water spraying. Water sprayed from different angles can reduce the operating temperature of PV modules, with limited water consumption. However, the team noted that they have yet to assess the economic viability of the system.

Manufacturing

Featured

Circular innovations

Slowly but surely, environmental concerns are making their way into mainstream thought throughout the PV industry. A look at recycling offers an example of this, with stakeholders trying to get ahead of the high volumes of end-of-life modules already on the horizon. pv magazine examines the technologies that will be needed, alongside policy and economic support, to keep the bulk of these modules out of landfill and ultimately to establish a circular economy for PV materials.

Shoals Technologies announces IPO

Tennessee-based Shoals Technologies has balance-of-systems solutions deployed on more than 20 GW of solar energy systems throughout the world.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Another 21 GW of module capacity and record PV growth for SPIC

Longi and Risen both announced plans to build up new module and cell manufacturing capacity. Furthermore, the State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) has revealed it deployed more than 10 GW of solar power last year.

Tesla launches solar inverter

The EV manufacturer with big solar ambitions has finally leveraged its expertise in power electronics technology and launched a solar inverter.

New manufacturing method for kesterite solar cells

German scientists have designed a manufacturing process to reduce the thickness of the molybdenum diselenide interface layer in kesterite solar cells. They used two different configurations of silicon-oxynitride diffusion-barrier layers.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: New planned IPO and more solar glass deals

Huawei has strengthened its technology partnership with Chint, while TBEA is planning an IPO for its polysilicon unit Xinte Energy. Furthermore, glass manufacturers keep acting to overcome current bottleneck.

Energy Storage

Featured

Energy supply in an archipelagic nation

Mobile electricity storage systems (MESS) – batteries that are charged and then transported – could offer one of the best scenarios for electrification across the vast Indonesian archipelago, which spans more than 17,000 islands. A team at the University of Indonesia is working with multiple government agencies to bring the idea to scale and provide affordable electricity to rural Indonesians.

WoodMac predicts 30% drop in Asia-Pacific front-of-meter battery costs by 2025

A new Wood Mackenzie report suggests that costs for front-of-the-meter battery storage systems in the Asia-Pacific region could fall by 30% by 2025. The declining costs are already having a palpable impact, as 2021 has opened with a slew of large-scale battery project announcements.

Industrial processes key for Australian solar, wind projects

Last year was the time for mega-solar projects to strike record low prices – $0.0135/kWh in Abu Dhabi for the unimaginably vast 2 GW Al Dhafra project. Not to be left behind, some Australian project developers are pursuing equally grand plans, with clean-tech guru Michael Liebreich saying that their likelihood for success will lie in what the proponents plan to do with the vast amount of clean, cheap energy.

Puerto Rico awaits procurements to add 3.75 GW solar, 1.5 GW storage

Puerto Rican regulators have ordered PREPA to procure solar and storage, but the utility’s board chairman says that the island’s grid can support only a fraction of the mandated amount.

EU cash will fund solar lights for fishers

Pending final closing, the Electrification Financing Initiative has announced it is considering private equity investments of €1.5 million to two French firms operating in Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso and Senegal, and $1.5 million to a Tanzanian business operating in Tanzania and Uganda.

New phased microgrid approach for industrial-estate development

Peel Renewable Energy is about to energize a 1.2 MW solar farm in Australia, as part of a fresh approach to microgrids. Infrastructure remains small, but the renewables-powered microgrid can grow to meet the needs of incoming businesses.

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