Top News

First Solar to build the largest solar plant in the US South

Georgia Power has awarded a power contract to the PV maker and developer under its latest solicitation. The project will utilize First Solar’s large-format Series 6 modules.
Energy Storage

Storage Highlights countdown #5: Electrochaea’s scalable methanation plant

As Energy Storage Europe approaches, pv magazine counts down the five highest-ranked energy storage highlights, selected by our independent jury, that visitors to the exhibition can lay their eyes on. In fifth-place was Electrochaea’s scalable methanation plant: A rather quirky hydrogen-to-methane storage innovation that won plaudits for delivering large-scale power-to-gas capability.

Technology

Blockchain company raises $40 million to further develop energy trading platform

WePower is raising money in hopes of leveraging Bitcoin’s ‘blockchain’ technology to enable instant tracking and trading of clean electricity.

Markets & Policy

India: Avaada Power to develop 1.6 GW of solar in Uttar Pradesh

Avaada Power Pvt Ltd has committed US$1.55 billion to develop solar PV projects in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India.

Manufacturing

Jabil closes 700 MW solar module factory in Poland

The company, which was one of Europe’s largest OEM module manufacturers, has decided to close its Polish manufacturing facility, due to an expected drop in demand.

Energy Storage

South Australia: Labor sets 75% RE target by 2025

The South Australian Labor Party has increased its Renewable Energy Target (RET) to 75% by 2025. It also plans to introduce a target of meeting 25% of the state’s peak electricity demand with stored renewables – equating to 750 MW of storage capacity.

Installations

BayWa r.e. plans 175 MW solar project in southern Spain

The company’s unit, Sunshine Latin has secured a permit and a fiscal incentive for the project from the municipality of Alcalá de Guadaíra, where the solar facility will be located.

Markets & Policy

Netherlands launches spring round of 2018 SDE+ program for large-scale solar, renewables

The first window to submit project proposals will be opened on March 13. The program is open to, among other renewable energy projects, solar plants over 1 MW and projects ranging in size from 15 kW to 1 MW.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Ukraine’s renewable energy outlook under the new electricity market design

China road trip, pt III: 2017 was a big year for China’s PV industry, with the 50 GW+ installation figure exceeding expectations. Against such a backdrop of growth, excitement for pv magazine’s third China road trip grew as we finalized details to visit key suppliers and see firsthand what developments might be in store for this year. Taking in n-type cells and modules, bifacial double glass modules and trackers developed specifically for such technology, this was Eckhart K. Gouras’ journey.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Tracking disruptive technologies

China road trip, pt III: 2017 was a big year for China’s PV industry, with the 50 GW+ installation figure exceeding expectations. Against such a backdrop of growth, excitement for pv magazine’s third China road trip grew as we finalized details to visit key suppliers and see firsthand what developments might be in store for this year. Taking in n-type cells and modules, bifacial double glass modules and trackers developed specifically for such technology, this was Eckhart K. Gouras’ journey.

UK National Grid accelerates EV adoption with installation of super rapid charging stations

The National Grid is planning to support the installation and development of ultra-rapid, directly connected EV charging points along the U.K.’s major motorways.

Jordan to launch 30 MW storage project

The project is scheduled to come online by mid-2019 and will help the local grid better manage the increasing power generation from wind and solar facilities, which at the end of 2017 had reached a combined capacity of 500 MW.

Canada unveils roadmap for coal phase out, RE implementation

The Canadian Department of Energy has revised its goals to phase out coal powered electricity by 2030. It will increasingly focus on renewable energy (RE) and natural gas. In Alberta alone, an extra 5 GW of solar and wind are expected to be installed.

Germany’s auction for large-scale solar: Bids below €0.04/kWh for the first time

Price drop continued in the first round of the 2018 tender series. The final average price of solar bids was €0.0433/kWh, a value which is quite below that of the tenders for wind power.

IE signs investment deal with Alten RE for up to 600 MW of sub-Saharan Africa PV projects

A deal, worth up to US$36 million, has been signed by South Africa’s Inspired Evolution (IE), under which it will invest in Alten RE Developments Africa B.V. Over 600 MW of solar PV projects are set to be developed.

Installations

Featured

Adapt and integrate

Mounting and BIPV: Solar mounting systems are being used in new and unusual ways for building-integrated photovoltaic projects, ranging from rooftop to wall and to awning installations. As the market slowly moves from select government buildings, educational campuses and corporate flagships to the mainstream commercial segment, the mounting systems required for BIPV will become more standardized, more readily adaptable, and less expensive, manufacturers say.

Solar to lead global renewables growth for next five years — KPMG

Investors throughout the world made 406 investments in large-scale renewables in 2017, collectively valued at roughly €40.1 billion (US$49.5 billion), but solar is set to grow more in terms of capacity than any other clean-energy technology over the next half decade, according to a new report. Battery storage will play a crucial role in this, it found.

Solar Frontier posts $73 million operating loss in 2017

Japanese thin film PV manufacturer, Solar Frontier has posted an operating loss of JPY 7.8 billion (US$73.2 million) for 2017, as it continues to rejig its business strategy and consolidate production in Japan.

Germany starts first mixed wind-solar auction

Bids for solar PV ground-mounted projects and wind farms on land can be submitted to the Federal Network Agency by April 3. Overall, the German government will allocate around 200 MW of capacity in the tender.

Portuguese grid operator to invest €70 million to accommodate more solar

Overall, the grid improvement is expected to enable at least 800 MW of new solar PV plants to come online in the south of the country.

Enel switches on 103 MW solar plant in the Brazilian state of Bahia

The $110 million project is expected to generate 220 GWh per year.

Technology

Featured

Made in Germany

PV equipment supply: While the bulk of the world’s solar module manufacturing is now located in China, supply of production tools has remained largely the remit of European, and particularly German, engineering companies. pv magazine investigates whether this dominance can continue as China’s equipment providers begin to step up their game.

US researchers get the lead out of perovskites

Scientists led by Brown University have developed perovskite solar cells, which replace the toxic lead common to many of these material structures with titanium. The researchers say that with further optimization, the material could eventually be ideal for use as a tandem cell layer.

Aurora Solar Tech infrared tool upgraded for HJT cell measurement

The Canadian firm’s Decima Gemini infrared measurement technology has been updated to measure performance and characteristics of transparent conductive oxide layers key in heterojunction cell technology.

Trina Solar hits new efficiency record for IBC cell

Trina Solar has set a new record of 25.04% total area efficiency for an n-type interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar cell. The record has been independently verified by Japan Electric Safety and Environmental Technology Laboratory.

US researchers develop new redox flow compound

A team of scientists from the U.S. University of Rochester has developed a compound, which it says could double the effectiveness of redox flow batteries, and “transform the energy storage landscape”.

Aging tests for perovskite, dye-sensitized solar cells must improve, research says

Finnish scientists have found that only one third of tests reported the intensities of visible and UV light, humidity and temperature adequately.

Manufacturing

Featured

An arm and a leg

Robotics in PV: The momentum of China’s solar growth appears unstoppable, driving the hunger for faster, qualitative automated solutions for the domestic PV manufacturing industry. Thus, most new solar manufacturing facilities or production upgrades are equipped with nearly fully automated lines.

Shinsung secures 64 MW solar cell order from France

The monocrystalline cells from the Korean manufacturer will be shipped to the French subsidiary of Chinese solar company, Upsolar.

Russian companies plan vertically-integrated monocrystalline module factory

The manufacturing facility is planned to be built in Russia’s Astrakhan region thanks to an investment of 1.5 billion RUB (around US$26.5 million).

The weekend read: Tracker market is adapting to bifacial module technology

Solar tracker makers are bringing specially designed models to the market in order to embrace the coming wave of bifacial panels. While bifacial panels may capture up to 10% more light than monofacial panels, single-axis trackers typically add 25% to that bifacial gain, resulting in a roughly estimated 12.5% gain from the two technologies combined, compared with fixed installs using monofacial panels.

India: Topaz Solar plans 1.2 GW solar module, 500 MW cell manufacturing fab

As a first phase, Topaz Solar Private Limited has said it will set up a 500 MW solar PV module manufacturing facility in India’s northeastern state of Odisha. Production begin is aimed for 2019. It will seek to increase this capacity by another 700 MW, and add 500 MW of cell manufacturing under a second phase.

Indian government makes surprising u-turn on electric vehicle policy

Minister for road transport, Nitin Gadkari drops plans to introduce national policy to support growth of electric vehicles in surprising reversal on earlier ambitions.

Energy Storage

Featured

South Australia’s big battery delivers

Utility-scale storage: The 100 MW Hornsdale Power Reserve was delivered by Tesla in under 100 days – a good thing as the company would’ve picked up the tab if it had failed to do so. But the project is also delivering grid services and demonstrating arbitrage trading at a pace and scale that is changing minds about the potential of utility-scale storage and the role of synchronous generation on Australia’s National Electricity Market.

Enel, Enertrag and Leclanché plan big storage project in Germany

The three companies want to jointly install a 22 MW storage facility that will provide primary control power and grid services. The planned investment for the project is €17 million.

Belgian grid operator, Eandis tests storage at its solar-powered facilities

‘TheBattery’ storage system of the Dutch provider of high and low voltage equipment, Alfen, will be used by the Belgian power distributor to store solar power produced at its logistical center in Lokeren, Flanders.

US regulators open markets to energy storage

As the conclusion of a 15-month rule-making, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will require grid operators to value the contributions of energy storage, and begins a process to look at how aggregated distributed energy resources can compete in wholesale markets.

Global storage growth of 4.6% in 2017 reflects patchy state of sector, finds BNEF

Despite hitting a record 1.17 GW of new grid-scale storage capacity in 2017, growth was a mere 4.6% on 2016 having surged 61% the year prior. Industry’s reliance on policy support means foundations for growth remain uneven, report finds. Average costs, however, fell by 24% last year.

Japan to install up to 7 GW in 2018 despite cancellation of 14.6 GW of approved capacity — report

Japan will likely install 6 GW to 7.5 GW (DC) of solar in 2018, from about 7 GW in 2017, despite government efforts to cancel approvals for projects that were registered under the country’s old feed-in tariff (FIT) program, according to a new report.

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Press Releases

GETI 2018 finds flexible working at the heart of happiness for renewables professionals

The second annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), the world’s largest energy recruitment and employment trends report, is released today, revealing the full extent to which automation and digitalisation are not just reshaping but revitalising renewables workforces.

KFC’s in the Eastern Cape are going green with solar energy

KFC’s across Port Elizabeth are the latest in a growing list of businesses joining the solar energy revolution with SolarAfrica.

Armenia: Pre-bid Conference for Masrik-1 PV project was held in Yerevan

A pre-bid Conference for the 55 MW Masrik-1 solar photovoltaic project in Armenia organized by the R2E2 Fund was held in Yerevan on 31 January, 2018.

Ashalim 35 MWp PV plant inaugurated with STI Norland´s solar tracker STI-H1250

At the end of January, Ashalim PV plant, located in the Negev desert in Israel, was connected to the grid