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The weekend read: Bifacial adoption spurs rethink on PID

PV systems are unique among electronic devices, as they are expected to survive outdoors for at least 25 to 30 years. This makes module and system quality one of the cornerstones of guaranteed returns on investment. Potential-induced degradation (PID) is a critical failure mode with a potentially high financial impact. New research from imec and Hasselt University looks at the damaging impact that PID can have on bifacial technology, writes Michaël Daenen, a professor at EnergyVille and Hasselt University.

First Solar signs 2.4 GW deal, reports results from a “challenging” 2020

The thin-film module manufacturer achieved a turnover of $2.7 billion and a profit of $400 million last year. The company also revealed that it is evaluating further U.S. manufacturing expansion, “contingent on the right policy environment.”

German steel giant wants to set up 500 MW green hydrogen plant

German energy company Steag is helping Thyssenkrupp decarbonize its steel production site in Duisburg-Walsum. Green hydrogen generation is expected to be powered by a mix of wind and solar power.

pv magazine Annual Award 2021: open for entries

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Entries are currently being accepted for the awards across six categories: Modules, Inverters, Balance of System (BoS), Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), Sustainability, and Manufacturing. Enter free today to go in the running to be a 2021 winner!

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A good pairing – Inverter and storage compatibility in a changing European residential market

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Our February Edition is out!

Get your hand on our new edition here!


What to expect:


  • Energy Storage
  • Hybrid inverters
  • Agrivoltaics
  • Solar vs coal



Save the date!


China may deploy up to 75 GW of PV this year

According to new forecasts from AECEA, China may see strong development of large-scale solar plants this year, due to a massive pipeline of unsubsidized projects. Furthermore, the distributed generation segment will be boosted by incentives provided by t...

Batteries double CO2 savings of households with PV systems

Photovoltaic systems for single-family homes reduce electricity-related CO2 emissions of the households by 45%, according to EUPD Research. When a battery is added the CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 85%.
Markets & Policy

In the mind of a residential PV system owner

Scientists in the Netherlands have identified five different profiles of homeowners that have installed or could install rooftop PV systems. According to their findings, substantial differences characterize the five segmentation groups. The research is i...

Sensorless fault-detection method for rooftop, large-scale solar

Turkish researchers have developed an algorithm to distinguish faults and changes in PV plant output. The sensorless method only uses electrical data gathered from the DC inputs of inverters. They tested it on 8.5 MW of ground-mount PV at nine sites, as ...

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Thinner wafers, rising profits and new solar ambitions for Yunnan Province

Goodwe and Irico have both announced rising revenue and profits for the fiscal year 2020. Zhonghuan Semiconductor intends to produce thinner wafers to respond to increasing polyisilicon prices. The southwestern province of Yunnan wants to add another 15 ...

Press Releases

LONGi´s Hi-MO 4m all black PV module obtains Class 1 fire certification for the Italian market

LONGi announced today that its Hi-MO 4m all black PV module has obtained the highest (Class 1) fire safety certification for the Italian market, having successfully completed all relevant testing.

Sandvik supplies school with solar panels to inspire the next generation of engineers

The future of solar power is burning bright. According to a report by The International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable power is set to expand by 50 percent between 2019 and 2024, with solar photovoltaic (PV) representing almost 60 percent of this expected growth.

Plug Power and SK Group Complete $1.6 Billion Capital Investment to Build Hydrogen Economy in Asian Markets

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG), a leading provider of turnkey hydrogen solutions building the global green hydrogen economy, and SK Group, one of the leading South Korean business groups, announce the completion of the $1.

BayWa r.e. acquires Kaiserwetter’s IoT, asset intelligence and data science capabilities

Global renewable service provider, energy developer and distributor BayWa r. e.

Opinion & Analysis


New EU battery rules support a sustainable energy industry

On Dec. 10, European Internal Market and Environment Commissioners Thierry Breton and Virginijus Sinkevičius, in conjunction with Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, announced a keenly anticipated piece of legislation: the commission’s proposal for modernized EU battery rules. Pia Alina Lange – head of communications for Recharge, the European battery industry association – says that while there are potential pitfalls with the new regulation, it could pave the way to sustainable industry development.

Residential storage growth continues despite Covid-19 headwinds

The global residential energy storage market continued to grow in 2020, writes IHS Markit Analyst Michael Longson. Many suppliers were looking to build upon a strong first quarter when Covid-19 hit in March 2020 and slowed the market significantly. However, as a result of several funding packages being introduced and the gradual easing of local restrictions, shipments continued to grow throughout the second and third quarters, enabling strong year-on-year growth for the sector in 2020.

Renewables targets falling by the wayside, according to African solar survey

An overview of the state of solar across the continent by trade body the Africa Solar Industry Association has highlighted a patchy policy landscape where clean power ambitions are often not followed through.

Global PV installations to surpass 150 GW in 2021

Despite pandemic-induced impacts, the PV market was bigger than expected last year. In particular, an installation rush in Vietnam and China took place in December and pushed global demand upward. PV InfoLink estimates that global module demand in 2020 reached 140 GW. Analyst Mars Chang delves into the numbers.

Renewable energy project financing in Chile analyzed

Taking a renewable energy project into its operational phase calls for several workstreams to be synchronized. The one that perhaps jumps out the most is permitting processes: correctly navigating the intricate and time-sensitive steps for licenses and permits. Regardless, each workstream calls for a different set of skills, and because of interlinked chicken-or-egg causality, it is difficult to say which single element is most important in a project’s development. However, there is an unsung element of the financial closing which has as much, if not more, impact on a project’s profitability than the cost of debt does: the underlying terms and conditions.

Global actions delivering electricity for rural households through off-grid renewable energy

The Sustainable Development Goal set forth in SDG 7.1 calls for universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services by 2030. It is estimated that currently 789 million people do not have access to electricity in their homes or communities. Rural inhabitants encompass 80% of the total number of people lacking household electricity access. On a global scale, rural inhabitants have been gaining access to electricity at a rapid rate over the past couple decades (IRENA 2020, 23). However, certain regions have seen little improvement in this area. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the starkest example.



Photon Energy update after ‘difficult’ quarter

The Amsterdam-based, Australia and central Europe-facing developer saw sales slump thanks to Covid-19 last year but has touted a growing operational project portfolio.

Austrian solar industry wants Covid-recovery funds spent on renewables-friendly grid

The national PV body in the country wants €1 billion from the EU’s recovery and resilience fund to be allocated to upgrading the electricity network to host more solar power generation capacity.

Renewables compete with coal and shale oil as Jordan pursues energy independence

The kingdom has had a ban on new large scale clean energy projects since January 2019 as Covid-19 exacerbated a situation in which generation capacity already outstripped supply. Lifting that embargo, and re-starting renewables auctions would be a step in the right direction, according to IRENA.

Storage and PAYG critical to deployment of African off-grid renewables

The former need not necessarily relate to conventional lithium-ion batteries, however, as a recent webinar staged by Solarpower Europe and EU body GET.invest discovered.

EU reveals how much each member state can expect from Covid-recovery pot

The European Parliament and Council of Ministers continued to tidy up the details of the bloc’s Covid-recovery package today by publishing the rules of how the money will be disbursed.

Solaredge records pandemic progress despite tough final quarter

Full-year revenues nudged up despite tough comparisons with the end of 2019 for the final quarter of last year. The inverter maker expects to log revenues of $385-405 million in the current three-month window.

Markets & Policy


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.

Shell acquires Next Kraftwerke

Through the operation, Shell wants to consolidate its position in the virtual power plant market.

Giant solar project under development in Romania

A group of international investors is planning to build a 700 MW solar plant in Arad, in western Romania.

‘There is no magic to get to €1.5/kg for green hydrogen in 2022’

Solar pioneer Thierry Lepercq spoke with pv magazine about recent plans of the HyDeal consortium to deploy 95 GW of solar and 67 GW of hydrogen capacity in southern Europe by 2030. Record low green hydrogen prices are easily achievable as solar PV has already reached the required cost level and effects of scale in procurement and manufacturing of electrolyzer capacities will help reduce production costs, he says. Lepercq is also convinced that the consortium will begin selling solar-powered hydrogen at €1.5/kg when the initial supply to industrial customers begins in September 2022.

Belgium becomes a GW solar market

The central European country had its best year in terms of new PV deployment in 2020 with around 1,010 MW of installed capacity. Its cumulative solar capacity surpassed 6 GW at the end of December.

Analyst anticipates India rebound after poorest solar figures for five years

Out of the total solar installations, 78% (2520 MW) came from utility-scale PV and 22% (719 MW) from rooftops, says a Mercom India report.



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.

Indian panel-cleaning startup expands manufacturing capacity

Solavio Labs has already held three funding rounds to support the development of its new panel-cleaning robot.

EDP wants to deploy another 13 GW of renewables by 2025

The Portuguese utility also wants to close all its coal power plants by 2025.

Neoen completes financing for 300 MW storage facility in Australia

Construction has commenced on the 300 MW / 450 MWh Victoria Big Battery storage facility near Geelong after the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) provided French renewable energy developer Neoen with a $160 million funding injection.

These 3 technologies could deliver more solar and wind to the US grid

In a U.S. study of the added renewables capacity made possible by grid-enhancing technologies, Brattle Group found that both solar and wind power would benefit in Kansas and Oklahoma through 2025.

Hybrid PV-CSP has a lower LCOE than gas in Chile

Researchers from the Center for Solar Energy Technologies of Fraunhofer Chile have conducted a comparative analysis which shows that the lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE ) in Chile can be achieved by a combination of large scale PV and concentrated solar power (CSP).



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.

Metal-perovskite-metal back contact solar cell with 4.31% efficiency

A numerical study by researchers at India’s Chitkara University has shown enhanced charge extraction in metal-perovskite-metal back-contact solar cell structure through electrostatic doping. The proposed design yielded a 59.4% improvement in power conversion efficiency over previously reported structures.

Relectrify launches 36 kW/120 kWh storage system made of second-life EV batteries

Relectrify said its new storage system is suitable for commercial and industrial applications and is designed for installations in the 120 kWh to 2 MWh range.

NREL looks at opportunities in lithium-ion battery recycling

U.S. scientists assessed the reuse and recycling of large-format lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems and found there is plenty of room for improvement.

Mini perovskite solar module with 18% efficiency from CEA-INES

The mini panel has a surface of 10 cm². It was built with a manufacturing technique that is claimed to be compatible with the integration of perovskite into heterojunction silicon solar cells in tandem architecture.

MIT scientists develop perovskite solar cell with 25.2% efficiency

The US researchers claim to have achieved the remarkable result by adding a special conductive layer of tin dioxide bonded between the conductive layer and the perovskite material. They also improved the perovskite layer special additives that do not alter the material’s bandgap.



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.

Enphase to issue $1bn senior notes

The inverter business will use some of the proceeds to buy back notes due to mature in 2024 and 2025.

New process to assess quality of perovskite semiconductors

According to German scientists, the quality of the photoluminescence quantum yield of the perovskite layers can be reliably and precisely determined for the first time. It shows that the promising material has more potential for optimization than previously assumed.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Another massive glass order and a broken partnership

Jinko Solar secured another 338 million square meters of PV glass from Flat Glass. Tongwei and Trina Solar have left the monocrystalline wafer production joint venture they set up with Longi.

Rising prices may push PV industry away from silver

Increasing prices may prompt module manufacturers to find alternatives, or at least reduce silver use in solar cell metallization, according to a recent study. Researcher Samuele Lo Piano, however, told pv magazine silver availability does not represent an issue for large scale PV. Copper-nickel alloys may offer an alternative, he added, but there could be a long wait for them to be viable.

New shingled PERC solar module from Hyundai

The South Korean manufacturer has brought, to Europe and Australia, its recently launched shingled PERC panel, with an output ranging from 470 to 480 W and an efficiency of up to 20.5%. The products come with a 25-year linear power output guarantee and a 25-year product guarantee.

Energy Storage


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.

Trina Solar enters storage business

The module manufacturer’s new storage unit, Trina Storage, aims to create innovative solutions for the combination of photovoltaics and storage, grid services and other applications.

Vehicle-integrated PV reduces EV charging time in sunny regions by 40%

Dutch scientist Bonna Newmann spoke with pv magazine about the present and future of vehicle-integrated PV from a technological and economic perspective. Solar panels installed on cars could have a payback time of only three or four years and ensure 10,000 km of pure PV-generated road travel per year, she said. Furthermore, if you live in a sunny place, you can drive an electric car with solar panels for weeks during summertime, without the need for recharging, she pointed out.

More EU cash for green hydrogen

The sustainable gas is among ten areas of research and innovation which would benefit from backing by the bloc, member states and industry, if a new European Commission proposal is adopted.

Australian coal company seeks large-scale renewable projects to transition portfolio

The Queensland Government-owned energy company, Stanwell Corporation, has announced it is from today seeking expressions of interest from renewable energy projects to incorporate into its fossil-fuel heavy portfolio.

Puerto Rico launches first of six calls for renewables and storage

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority has been ordered to procure a total of 3.75 GW of renewables and 1.5 GW of energy storage.

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