Top News

Panda Green settles $350m notes with hours to spare

The debt-saddled developer now has to hope its latest, $230 million state bail-out goes ahead before summer or it will be left $260 million in hock to its Beijing-owned main shareholder.
Markets & Policy

Scatec Solar swung from profit to loss last year

The Norwegian solar developer has gone from a $15.5 million profit at the end of 2018 to a $4.33 million loss just as its project co-financiers banked $21.5 million.
Markets & Policy

India’s solar cell and module exports grow 157% in eight months

Following a dip in the last fiscal year, the value of cell exports saw a massive surge to an estimated INR13.3 billion from April to November. Exports to the U.S. tripled during the eight-month period as shipments to Turkey and Belgium rebounded to becom...
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Renewables deals dwarfed by oil and gas at UK-Africa Investment Summit

The scale of fossil fuel deals signed between African governments and U.K. oil and gas interests reportedly amounted to more than 11 times the volume of renewable energy commitments as Britain scrambles for post-Brexit financial opportunities.
Highlights

Israel launches 300 MW solar-plus-storage tender

The government wants a 300 MW solar plant linked to large scale storage in the Negev desert. Construction is planned for late 2021 and completion in 2023.
Markets & Policy

Zimbabwe set for real solar growth

The government has decided to implement a proper independent power producer development plan for large scale PV, with the help of the World Bank.
Technology

Watch how to improve perovskite solar cells in 2D!

Saudi researchers claim to have improved the thermal stability and moisture resistance of such devices by replacing 3D hybrid perovskite with two-dimensional compounds. They used organic compound ethanolamine, which is said to provide better results in s...
Markets & Policy

Integrated energy system could see 110 GW of electrolyzers in Germany and Netherlands

A report from Dutch grid operator TenneT and gas business Gasunie suggests the companies should jointly develop infrastructure after 2030. With hydrogen and synthetic methane in demand, electricity and gas will become increasingly inter-linked. Only seam...
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Press Releases

Solarif insurance now available for Vikram Solar PV modules

Under the certification, Solarif will cover risks related to physical damage, inherent defects and all operational risks.

DXT Commodities signs an agreement for the acquisition of WESII’s share

DXT Commodities S. A.

Altai Solar Reaches 120 MW

Hevel Group has commissioned Chemal PV power plant fully based on heterojunction (HJT) modules with a capacity of 10 MW in the Altai Republic and has completed its solar parks construction program in the region.

The newest versions of archelios Pro and archelios Calc photovoltaic software solutions

Trace Software International announces the release of the latest versions of its photovoltaic software solutions archelios Pro and archelios Calc. The company boasts impressive expertise in the manufacturing of advanced and high- standards software solutions for the building and energy industries.

Opinion & Analysis

Broken promises: Legal recourse for retroactive FIT cuts

Generous feed-in tariffs, a short-lived boom and retroactive cuts – the early stages of large-scale solar deployment in Europe followed a regrettable pattern. Project developers have increasingly turned to the legal system for restitution, and many have been successful, writes Daniel R. Meagher, a partner in Winston & Strawn’s international arbitration practice.

Transitioning to larger wafers

Since 2017, 156.75 mm M2 wafers have been the standard. However, improvements in cell efficiency appear to have hit a bottleneck, making wafer size a hot topic among manufacturers once again. In the second half of 2018, 158.75 mm G1 mono wafers were introduced to the market. Corrine Lin of PVInfoLink argues that while G1 will likely become the mainstream format over the next two years, 166 mm M6 wafers and 210 mm M12 wafers are presenting new options for manufacturers.

Harmful lead in photovoltaics – are there sustainable alternatives?

Without globally unified standards in waste management, the risk from toxic materials such as lead will become increasingly important.

A new era of sustained growth

After several years of weak solar demand growth in Europe, compared to the historical highs of 2011, installations are expected to surge by 88% to reach a new installation record of 23 GW in 2019, writes Cormac Gilligan, research manager at IHS Markit. A range of favorable macro conditions have coalesced this year to reignite the market.

12 GW bifacial demand in 2020

Back in June, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) granted Section 201 tariff exemptions to bifacial cells and modules, but reversed the decision on Oct. 28. Two weeks after the reversal, the U.S. Court of International Trade issued a temporary order against the withdrawal of the bifacial exemption. An investigation is now underway, with the first hearing taking place on Dec. 5.

China’s market in transition

By the end of 2018, China was home to around one third of global cumulative PV capacity, with around 175 GW of operational PV systems. In the context of China’s power sector, writes Frank Haugwitz of Asia Europe Clean Energy Advisory, the cumulative installed capacity makes up 9% of the total existing power generation capacity and contributed approximately 2.7% to total electricity generation.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Is China’s market heading toward a cliff edge?

Even when taken in the context of the growing pessimism that has gripped China’s PV industry regarding 2019 demand since the middle of the year, the latest figures from the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) are astonishing. More optimistic forecasts from earlier in the year have been downwardly revised, with installations headed for a “cliff edge” decline that could see demand fall by as much as 50% year on year. So, what exactly has taken place?

Galp to buy ACS solar assets for €2.2 billion – enough to rebuild Real Madrid

Portuguese gas company Galp Energía says it will become “the largest solar energy company in the Iberian peninsula”. The agreement includes operating PV plants with an installed generation capacity of 900 MW plus a further 2.9 GW under development.

Deal reached to keep Energyra module production in the Netherlands

The Dutch PV manufacturer plans to start production this year after a last-minute rescue package arrived as the company’s equipment was being auctioned off.

Qatar’s 800 MW tender draws world record solar power price of $0.01567/kWh

Utility Kahramaa has revealed the winning consortium initially offered $0.01745/kWh with the price then reduced based on financial market indices.

Engie sells controlling stake in 813 MW Indian solar portfolio

This transaction is part of Engie’s develop, build, share and operate strategy which involves selling part of its stake in renewables assets while carrying out operations and maintenance.

Solving seasonal storage with aluminum cycling

Scientists at Switzerland’s University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil have demonstrated an aluminum conversion process which could be valuable for long-term renewable energy storage. Simulations suggest that by employing the process, a new multi-family building in Switzerland could meet all its energy demand from a 7-11 kWp solar system.

Installations

Featured

What broke at Oakey

With its high wholesale power prices, attractiveness to capital, wide open spaces and abundant sunshine, there is every reason to believe Australia is a PV project developer’s nirvana. However, as the wreckage at the 55 MW Oakey 2 site in Queensland reveals, challenges under the Australian sun should not be taken lightly.

Railway-connected large scale PV project announced in Germany

A 42 MW solar park will be built in eastern Germany to generate power for the 16.7 Hz network of German rail operator, Deutsche Bahn. Construction is expected to start once final approvals are received from local authorities.

Germany tops global league table for renewable energy

A list compiled by a British price comparison website draws upon data from German company Statista which shows clean energy – including hydro – made up 12.74% of the nation’s power mix at the end of September.

Congolese president makes off-grid renewables pledge

Félix Tshisekedi reportedly said he wants to use standalone energy units, such as solar home systems, to bring electricity to at least 21 million people in the next nine years.

‘China will add 35-38 GW of solar this year’

Power generation statistics released by the National Energy Administration appear to confirm the nation added 12 GW of solar last month. China also deployed another 41 GW of polluting coal-fired power plants last year.

Albania launches 140 MW solar tender

The country’s second large scale solar plant will be built in the Karavasta area, in the centre of the country. Half the energy produced will earn a tariff payment of no more than €55/MWh, the rest will be sold on the energy market.

Technology

Featured

BIPV: More than the module

Building integrated PV has been described as a place where uncompetitive PV products attempt to go to market. But this may be unfair, says Björn Rau, the technology manager and deputy director of PVcomB at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. Rau argues that the missing link to BIPV deployment lies at the intersection of the architectural community, construction industry, and PV manufacturers.

Perovskites meet the stability standard

European research group Solliance says its perovskite modules have passed three key industry standard reliability tests: Light soaking, damp heat and thermal cycling. The group said it is the first time perovskite modules of that size have achieved such results and represents a milestone in the technology’s move toward commercialization.

New process could yield 26.6% efficient IBC cells

Researchers in Germany are trialing a host of new processes and materials to develop interdigitated back contact solar cells. A deposition technology named ‘hot-wire’ chemical vapor deposition, is said to provide excellent passivation without the need for treatments such as recrystallization or hydrogenation.

Navajo Nation land could host 2.2 GW pumped hydro storage station

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has accepted Daybreak Energy’s application to develop a 2,230 MW pumped-hydro facility on the banks of Lake Powell in Utah.

A new front electrode structure for shingled PV panels

Researchers in Korea have proposed a new design for dividing and bonding which is said to provide higher efficiency from fewer fingers. The number of fingers optimized for division into five cells was 128 and for three, 171. Five offer power conversion efficiency of 17.346% and three 16.855%.

Lake Bonney big battery ready to supply Tesla’s Australian EV charger network

The 25 MW/52 MWh battery at the Lake Bonney wind farm is in the final stages of testing. Once operational, the big Tesla battery will supply the electric carmaker’s Australia EV supercharger network with renewable electricity.

Manufacturing

Featured

Preparing for takeoff

With demand for lithium-ion battery cells picking up, largely driven by EVs but also from the fast-growing stationary storage segment, production capacities in China are ramping up quickly. But safety and quality must remain centrally important in the face of the need to scale, even more so after the numerous battery fires that shocked buyers globally and brought the South Korean market to a standstill. Clean Energy Associates (CEA) has launched the 2019 BESS Supplier Market Intelligence Program report, covering 40 suppliers, in an effort to support buyers navigating this novel supplier landscape. George Touloupas, CEA’s director of technology and quality for solar and storage, shares the company’s key findings on the supply chain and tells us what can have an impact on Li-ion safety and reliability.

A new strategy to mitigate voltage spikes in small solar systems

The approach combines virtual impedance and a modified pulse-width modulation strategy to suppress fault currents in grid-connected PV systems.

Lead-free soldering in modules: It can be done!

pv magazine’s UP sustainability campaign has investigated the use of lead in PV panels and found, with soldered cell interconnections in particular, viable alternatives are scarce. However, German headquartered manufacturer Opes Solutions has launched a small module for the off-grid market featuring lead-free solder, developed at the request of a customer. We caught up with Opes CEO Robert Händel for a closer look at the module and the challenges and benefits of going lead-free.

Panasonic claims 16.09% efficiency for lightweight perovskite solar module

The device has an area of 802cm² and thickness of 2mm. The manufacturer claims it improved module performance through an inkjet coating method and a reduction in weight by using thin glass substrates.

Breaking news: Zhonghuan Semiconductor up for sale

The body responsible for state-owned assets in the Chinese port city of Tianjin has approved plans to sell all or part of the solar manufacturer to outside investors – although the rumored beneficiary is thought to be partially state-owned itself.

China holds firm on strategy to build self-sufficient domestic polysilicon industry

The Chinese government will extend duties on U.S. and South Korean polysilicon for another five years from today despite committing to buy $200 billion more American goods and services in the trade deal signed on Wednesday. Poly manufacturer REC Silicon says it expects polysilicon to form part of that trade agreement.

Energy Storage

Featured

Exit strategy

With aggressive emissions-reduction goals and renewable energy targets expanding globally, storage is the final puzzle piece in the transition to a 100% renewable energy-powered grid. New gas-fired peaker plants are now being offset with the construction of storage facilities, and it is projected that the favorable economics of clean technologies will overtake existing gas generation assets by 2035. With the near-future potential of leaving stranded assets on the balance sheet, and advancing battery technology capabilities, there is a promising outlook for the accelerated decarbonization of the power sector.

Total to deploy 20,000 EV charging stations in the Netherlands

The public charging points will be installed in the provinces of North Holland, Flevoland and Utrecht. The oil giant said they would all be powered by renewable energy.

A clean energy world would support millions of new jobs

A study from Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology has predicted solar and other renewables can provide a global energy jobs revolution – just as four European operations revealed recent struggles.

Turkish solar reaches 6 GW

The nation deployed around 923 MW of new solar last year. Around 350 MW came in the form of unlicensed projects given an extension to their grid-connection deadlines.

Portugal pushes back solar auction to March

The minister of environment and energy transition has told parliament two auctions for large scale solar will be held this year, with a new procurement round now planned. The minister revealed energy storage may play a part in the capacity tenders.

Solar is gaining traction in MENA region – but plenty of obstacles remain

Solar deployment continued to pick up in the Middle East and North Africa in 2019, the Middle East Solar Industry Association has said in its annual report.

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