Top News

GTM Research predicts 11% reduction in the U.S. solar market from tariffs

President Trump’s tariff decision was not the worst-case scenario for the U.S. market, but GTM Research says that it will still have effects, particularly in marginal and emerging regional markets.
Installations

Enovos acquires Skytron O&M business & control room

With its latest acquisition, Saarbrücken, Germany based Enovos now manages large-scale PV systems amounting to around 600 MW in Germany. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Installations

Akuo Energy secures financing for Mali’s second solar park

The 50 MW solar plant will be located in Kita, western Mali, and will require an investment of around €77 million.

Energy Storage

Battery, smart grid and efficiency companies raise $1.5 billion in VC funding in 2017, Mercom finds

In 2017, battery storage, smart grid, and energy efficiency companies saw a YoY increase in venture capital funding, garnering a combined $1.5 billion, up from the $1.3 billion raised in 2016, finds latest Mercom Capital report.

Markets & Policy

Trump levies graduated tariffs starting at 30%, exempts 2.5 GW in cells

The decision, released on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s website, could keep current U.S. module manufacturers in business by keeping their cell lifelines open.

Technology

Berkeley Lab researchers develop perovskite ‘smart window’ material

Scientists from the renowned U.S. Berkeley Laboratory have discovered a perovskite material, which can be used in photovoltaic glass applications, and can be switched between transparent and non-transparent without diminishing its electronic properties.

Installations

Belgium’s Flanders region plans to launch virtual net metering

The new scheme, named Zonnendelen, will enable electricity consumers with no available surface to install a PV system to buy a share in a net metered installation owned by a third party, and to use its stake in the project to reduce their energy bills.

Energy Storage

UK’s Faraday Institution announces further £42m for storage research

Backed by the U.K. government, the Faraday Institution’s latest program sees four consortia receive funding to conduct application-inspired research into addressing challenges in electric vehicle batteries.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Power, to the people

Puerto Rico: The devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico was vast and indiscriminate. Reporter Daniella Cheslow visited some of the areas most badly affected and found a shredded grid, a rising demand for energy independence, solar and storage, and a heartening reminder of humankind’s capacity for kindness, endurance and determination.

US solar tariff announcement elicits mixed feelings

SolarPower Europe and SAFE see a resulting contraction in the market, while EU ProSun is calling for the preferential treatment of EU solar manufacturers in the U.S. BNEF says a general window for negotiation of individual country agreements may be possible in the next few weeks.

Japanese battery maker to start production in Hungary

Lithium ion (Li-ion) manufacturer, GS Yuasa has announced plans to establish a European subsidiary, and to construct a new manufacturing plant for lithium batteries in Miskolc, Hungary.

Japan: Disappointing first auction; plans for 200 GW solar by 2050

Japan’s first solar PV auction has reaped disappointing results, with just 41 MW set to be developed. Under the revised FIT, meanwhile, 27.7 GW were cancelled. Despite this, JPEA is aiming for 200 GW of solar PV installs by 2050. Overall, cumulative installed capacity has reached over 40 GW. There are still many plans afoot for large-scale projects, although it is the rooftop sector, which holds the most promise.

Private PPAs for renewables reach 5.4 GW in 2017, BNEF says

Last year’s result surpassed by more than 1 GW the results registered in 2015 and 2016, when the combined capacity of this market segment reached 4.4 GW and 4.3 GW, respectively.

Source: US solar tariffs won’t be as severe as feared

A source told pv magazine that the Section 201 decision has been made, but announcement last Friday was delayed. While tariffs will be imposed, they said, the levels and other details will not be the worst-case scenario.

Installations

Featured

All about that baseload

Interview: The emergence of Finnish power firm Wärtsilä as a fledgling heavyweight in the world of renewables could usher in a new thirst for hybridized large-scale solar plants. The President of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions Javier Cavada outlines his vision for a solar+A.N.Other future.

Conergy enters Vietnam market with 30 MW solar project

The German-headquartered EPC has been selected by project owners, BIM Group and AC Energy to begin construction of the solar plant in April in the Ninh Thuan province of the country.

Hungary to launch 300 MW solar program for farmers

The new scheme envisages the construction of 600 solar farms with a capacity of 0.5 MW each.

Cap Vert reaches financial close for 33 MW of middle-sized DGPV projects in Chile

All of the 11 projects are being developed under Chile’s PMGD Program for distributed generation.

Turkey added 1.17 GW of solar in December alone

According to new figures from the local grid operator, Turkey’s cumulative installed PV capacity has reached 3.42 GW, as of the end of 2017. The end-of-year rush was due to the 25% FIT reduction granted to unlicensed projects, which came into effect on January 1.

China’s cumulative PV capacity hits 130 GW, to reach 250 GW by 2020

According to China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), the country installed a total of 52.83 GW of solar PV in 2017, with cumulative capacity now sitting at 130.25 GW. Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory Co. Ltd (AECEA) forecasts this to reach 230 GW by 2020.

Technology

The next segment for trackers?

C&I trackers: Trackers have already taken over the utility-scale U.S. solar market segment, but the potentially bigger commercial and industrial segment has been largely ignored by tracker makers, EPCs, and developers. However, this could be about to change, as players in this segment look to trackers for their next move.

AEE outlines key cyber security threats, as energy goes digital

A new report published by the U.S. Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEE) identifies the biggest threats, and challenges for regulators, policymakers, technology providers and other players in protecting rapidly evolving energy systems from cyberattacks.

Scientists develop porous scaffold to boost battery capacity

Researchers from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering worked with a graphene structure, the particles of which resemble ‘crumpled paper balls’, and have created a scaffold onto which lithium atoms can be deposited.

NREL scientists observe perovskite degradation at nano-scale

A team from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a novel microscopic technique, which enables them to observe degradation in perovskite materials at the nano-scale, and pinpoint key areas for attention in their efforts to improve the stability and durability of the material.

Longi achieves record conversion rate of 20.41% for PERC modules

Longi Green Energy Technology has announced a new record conversion rate of 20.41% for its P-type PERC monocrystalline modules (type 60).

Leading research institutes to collaborate on flexible CIGS

Two of Europe’s leading research institutes, Germany’s Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden Württemberg (ZSW) and the Institut Photovoltaïque D’Île de France (IPVF) have announced plans to closely cooperate in researching concepts for flexible solar cells utilizing CIGS technology.

Manufacturing

Featured

Building new markets

Thin film and BIPV: Thanks to their light weight and potential to be deployed on glass and other materials, thin film PV solutions show strong potential in building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). CIGS is seen by many in the industry as a particularly suitable technology for these applications, and as the first of several factories is brought online in China, pv magazine looks at the potential for this and other thin film technologies in the nascent market for BIPV.

JinkoSolar looks to set up US factories

A source has revealed to pv magazine that the Chinese PV behemoth is the company negotiating with the city of Jacksonville, Florida.

Report: Trump says he’ll announce solar tariff decision “soon”

In an interview with Reuters, the president slammed what he referred to as the dumping of inexpensive modules on the U.S. market.

Taiwan’s UREC to receive government backing, will shift focus to downstream PV

The Taiwanese Government is set to invest in the United Renewable Energy Company (UREC), which is expected to be officially formed in Q3 2018 by solar cell makers, Neo Solar Power (NSP), Gintech Energy and Solartech Energy. The new company will shift focus from cell manufacturing to downstream solar PV.

Meyer Burger achieves highest order intake in six years

According to preliminary financial figures released today, Swiss equipment provider Meyer Burger has registered a slight increase in sales for the full year 2017, improving on its 2016 net result. Nevertheless, the company is still reckoning with a significant loss for the year.

The emerging Middle Eastern PV module industry – interview

In an interview with pv magazine, the Business Planning and Strategy Manager of Jordan-based consultant, Sina Industrial Projects Co, Ali Suleiman provides an extensive overview on the emerging Middle Eastern PV panel manufacturing industry. How much more this industry will be able to grow, however, remains unclear. It is also difficult to predict if big players will emerge on the Middle Eastern solar energy landscape.

Energy Storage

Featured

Major milestones for PAYG solar in Africa

Off-grid financials: Acquisitions in the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar home system market indicate signs of market maturity: market specialization, the formation of multiple revenue streams, and the first equity exit. pv magazine spoke with the PAYG companies involved in the recent acquisitions to understand the impact on their businesses, and on the PAYG solar market as a whole.

BNEF releases 2018 clean energy predictions

BNEF has released its top 10 clean energy predictions for 2018, including at least 107 GW of solar PV installs. China will lead, but Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East will notably up the ante. India will install less RE than in 2017, but will see fossils outpace RE for the last time; and China will see distributed grid connected solar leading the market. Li-ion prices are also declining, while EV sales grow.

AES, Siemens launch energy storage platform Fluence, confirm involvement in 100 MW LA storage project

Collaboration between the U.S. energy firm and the German power electronics giant officially licensed on January 1, as details of a massive 100 MW/400 MWh lithium-ion battery storage project in California were announced.

Nearly 500 MW of large batteries installed on the US grid in three years (w/ chart)

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Energy finds an acceleration in the deployment of batteries, dominated by lithium-ion technology.

China the global leader in 2017 clean energy investment, at over $44 bn

China was the global leader in 2017 clean energy investment, says a new report. On the solar front, the country accounts for 60% of all cell production; and will continue to lead installation developments for at least the next five years. New 2020 targets are expected to be set. In the battery arena, Chinese companies are also set to dominate.

German Development Bank granted incentives to 6,900 residential solar-plus-storage systems in 2017

Approved incentive applications reached a volume of approximately €123 million. At the turn of the year, however, the rebate granted by the German Government dropped from 13% to 10%.

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Press Releases

TrinaBESS unveils “one product fits all” residential energy storage solution by adding off-grid capability in the US

TrinaBESS, the energy storage company of Trina Solar, unveils the off grid capability for its TrinaHome S Series – US Edition.

Acquisition of 9 MWp solar PV projects marks Obton’s UK market entry

Finalizing the transaction of two solar PV projects of 4. 9 MWp and 4.

Steven De Proost wins the category “Best CEO in the European Solar Industry 2017”

Steven De Proost of 7C Solarparken AG has been voted "Best CEO in Europe" in the Solar PV category by the London-based publication European CEO Magazine in their annual European CEO Awards.

Oxford PV’s Henry Snaith awarded 2018 Blavatnik Young Scientist Award

Perovskite solar technology leader’s Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer recognised as one of the UK’s top scientists, for his pioneering perovskite solar cells development work, today being commercialised by Oxford PV.