Top News

The Weekend Read: Value generation with rural mini-grids

Commercial mini-grids: To provide electricity access for all by 2030, the International Energy Agency estimates mini-grids will provide power to one-third of the 1.1 billion people without electricity. Powering equipment that can generate income for rural villagers is hailed as one of the most important ways of enhancing rural mini-grid bankability. Rural mini-grid companies today are working with communities to understand what income-generating equipment, called productive uses of electricity, can make viable businesses.
Installations

Dubai set to launch phase V of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park

The Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) has issued a tender to seek IPP advisory services for the fifth phase of the gargantuan solar plant. After launching the first four phases, which are set to reach a combined capacity of 1 GW, the emirate is now assessing how to reach the 5 GW target set for the project by 2030

Markets & Policy

Around 250 signatories call for an end to EU anti-dumping measures

In a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, more than 250 organizations and companies from EU member states have called for the termination of trade restrictions applied to Chinese PV manufacturers. The current anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs – and minimum import prices for Chinese crystalline modules and cells – are due to run until 3 September

Markets & Policy

Sunpower secures a $300 million bridge to pay off loan certificates

The financially troubled PV maker has secured a last-minute line of credit to repay Total and other lenders, as it burns through cash.

Manufacturing

Open letter: German government must protect its solar industry

In an open letter, more than 30 German PV companies and research institutes demand an industrial strategy to retain a domestic solar industry. According to the signatories, that means increased co-operation with France and the consideration of sustainability criteria for PV tenders

Technology

Singulus and SERIS continue HJT research after proof of concept

By proving inductively coupled plasma can be used for HJT-cell production, the research institute and corporate partner will now work on ways to find cost-effective production methods with the aim of making a GW scale roll out of HJT cells viable

Markets & Policy

The path to US$0.015/kWh solar power, and lower

GTM Research projects US$24 cent/w solar panels and utility scale fixed-tilt systems at US$70 cent/W by 2022, which opens up new possibilities for ultra-cheap power from solar.

Highlights

France sees first-quarter PV additions almost treble

New grid-connected PV systems from January to March totaled 246 MW, to take the nation’s cumulative capacity to 8.3 GW

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

The impact of energy storage, pumped heat storage on global energy

With the percentage of renewables in the global energy mix increasing, and global energy demand projected to increase by 30% over the next two decades, energy storage is more important now than ever. But what are the main technologies for energy storage, and how will these technologies affect global energy? Gabriel Hurtado González, Energy Solutions Manager at Mitie, and Sasaenia Paul Oluwabunmi, Operations Officer at the OPEC Fund for International Development answer this pertinent question.

“We helped large-scale solar be commercially viable,” says departing Australian Renewable Energy Agency boss

The booming large scale and rooftop PV market in 2018 is providing reasons to be optimistic about the future of solar under the Australian sun. Reflecting on his six-year tenure as CEO at ARENA ahead of his departure in August, Ivor Frischknecht points to the role the agency played in bringing down the costs of large scale solar as ARENA’s greatest achievement.

Are the big Chinese powerhouses coming to America?

In the face of actual and threatened tariffs in the US and India, the world’s biggest solar manufacturers may have to set up shop in the protectionist nations in question ahead of a predicted cooling in their home market

Hydrogen, don’t give up!

For decades, hydrogen has been sold to us as the energy carrier of the future. You might not want to hear it anymore, because the future never seems to start. But times will change as recent developments in Germany indicate, writes Berlin-based renewable energy consultant, Stephan Franz.

Data is driving change – adapt or fall off the grid

As global economies develop, and uses for renewable energy diversifies, new pressures are being placed on the electric network. Yet, utilities are sitting on a wealth of data that can reveal better insights into their operations, writes Dan Beasley, Director, Utilities, Cyient.

Energy storage-as-a-service: The hottest game in town?

Alexander Schönfeldt of energy storage specialists, Younicos examines the growing trend of energy storage-as-a-service, and explains why the sector is growing at such a rate.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Large it up Down Under

Australian large-scale solar: From just a handful of large-scale solar PV projects a few years ago, Australia is becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. With a substantial project pipeline, the country is in the box seat to experience a banner year in 2018, with the 2020 Renewable Energy Target now in hand and a new policy taking shape for the period beyond.

Gas Natural Fenosa breaks ground on 50 MW solar park

The project was awarded by the Spanish government in an auction held in July. Fenosa plans to finish work on the facility by the end of this year

Voltalia bags PPA for 50 MW in Kenya

A PV power plant will be located in Kopere, western Kenya, and will deliver electricity to local power provider KPLC

CW Enerji to build 420 MW module factory in Turkey

The Turkish company, which has invested an initial $26.6 million in the manufacturing facility, hopes to raise its annual capacity to 1 GW

Daqo gets government approval and cheaper power for poly production expansion

The Chinese giant wants to increase polysilicon production by 70,000 MT in two phases after construction work began at the start of this month

Turkey’s rooftop PV seeks a market

The most subscribed event at the recent International Energy and Environment Conference (ICCI), held in Turkey, concerned the host nation’s rooftop PV market – and certain common themes emerged from sessions held on the topic

Installations

A burning issue

Cables and connectors: The quality and performance of solar balance of system components in the U.S. market is generally quite high, but there are still low quality, knock-off, or outright counterfeit products available at discounts large enough to attract some shortsighted installers or other buyers in the market.

EDF Solar secures PPA for 7 MW project in central Spain

The solar facility will sell part of its power to a company near Toledo. Through a seven-year PPA, the buyer will cover around 40% of its energy needs

Soltec to launch world’s first bifacial tracking evaluation center

Spanish manufacturer of horizontal single-axis solar trackers Soltec, together with Black & Veatch and the Renewable Energy Test Center, have created a new evaluation center in Livermore, California. The inauguration will take place on July 9

ADB finances its first utility-scale PV plant in $160 million deal

Asia’s largest IPP receives funds to develop renewable energy assets in line with Indonesia’s plans to increase renewable generation to 23% by 2025. The ADB’s support for PV at this scale is novel and could help overcome financing gaps that have hindered PV development in emerging nations

Survey finds digitalization, decentralization and decarbonization concerns energy leaders

The World Energy Council tracks the top concerns of energy leaders and has created a tool with Arup to display its findings. The rise of digitalization issues and the decreasing significance of fossil fuels indicates a strong renewables market ahead and energy start ups are receiving increasing attention from utilities and leaders

Blockchain project Solar DAO will action its first PV plants, in Kazakhstan

The world’s first digital, autonomous, closed-end, utility-scale PV project investment fund – enabling people with any budget to become co-owners of projects – has announced the implementation of its first arrays, in Kazakhstan, with 4 MW in the north-west of the country and 4 MW in the south. Solar DAO says it will save about $50,000 per MW since total development costs will be less than $5,000 per MW.

Technology

Featured

The new rising stars

Module technology trends: In the past decade, continued technology advances and cost improvements made solar one of the most dynamic industries of our time, as it continues to make a significant and growing contribution to the global supply of electricity. Technological innovation is taking place in a context of extreme price competition among solar manufacturers, which explains the focus on cost control.

University of Texas develops new solar system integrating energy generation and storage

Researchers at the University of Texas have been awarded $3 million by the Texan Department of Energy in a bid to accelerate research in battery storage technology to overcome the “Achilles heel” of solar power

Solar quadruples in big US capacity auction as electricity price soars

Unit cost of power is set to almost double for around a fifth of the US population in three years’ time as abandonment of all-of-the-above Obama strategy sees fewer generators participate in PJM capacity auction

Ireland offers funding for European collaboration on renewables

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has announced a €500,000 fund of Irish government and European Commission cash to promote sustainable energy technology development

PV leading the charge to low-emission future says IEA

With 34 of the 38 key technologies needed to hit the Paris Agreement’s best-case scenario falling short, PV and electric vehicles are keeping hopes alive

SMA launching new multi string battery inverter

SMA says its new product will offer digital services such as monitoring and automatic notifications to perform maintenance as well as offering an emergency supply system. According to analysts, the varied applications of new inverters signal an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Manufacturing

Featured

From cost to tech-driven advances

Quality across the PV chain: With around 100 GW installed in 2017 (according to PV Market Alliance’s preliminary numbers), the global PV industry has once again beaten even the most optimistic of forecasts. However, this rosy picture hides some specific developments that highlight how the road to maturity could be long and at times chaotic, and why support for the industry must continue, both in Europe and beyond, writes Gaëtan Masson, director of the Becquerel Institute.

Tongwei, Longi sign 55,000 MT polysilicon supply agreement

China’s Tongwei and Longi Green Energy Technology have announced a new polysilicon supply deal under which Tongwei will sell 55,000 metric tons of polysilicon to Longi through the end of 2020

Sonnen secures €60 million investment from Shell Ventures

Germany-based PV-storage provider sonnen has closed a new funding round from a group of investors led by Shell Ventures. Sonnen has already began to draw on the funds as it continues to expand market shares in the U.S. and in Australia. Shell Ventures is now a major sonnen investor and future cooperation agreement has been agreed to.

Hurricane Maria moves Solartech Universal’s expansion to South Florida

Solartech Universal plans to expand its current 80 MW/year capacity by 180 MW/year. The company is seeking a facility in South Florida.

India may miss solar PV target, says CEO survey

The country will achieve solar PV capacity of 50 to 75 GW by 2022 – a little over 60% of the 100 GW target. Total rooftop capacity will be less than 10 GW.

PV inverter market becoming more diversified as price pressure intensifies – IHS Markit

PV inverter shipment volumes have gone up recently, but an increasingly competitive market has seen declining prices, forcing manufacturers to think out of the box to find new business applications for their products.

Energy Storage

Featured

The cells of the future

Li-ion storage: battery manufacturers have a major task ahead of them, they have to meet runaway global demand, improve the performance, safety and longevity of storage devices, and of course bring down price. Instead of hoping for a big breakthrough, they are pursuing an approach involving many small steps.

How solar emergency microgrids provide resilience to vulnerable communities

In this op-ed for pv magazine, Clean Coalition’s Frank Wasco explores how microgrid projects by Solar Saves Lives and other organizations show that communities can build back right and prepare for natural disasters.

Study: 100% global energy system feasible

Several scientist have joined to rebut an Australian article that questions the feasibility of a global energy transition. For this purpose, they have gathered hundreds of studies on energy systems and conclude, that there are neither fundamental technical nor financial barriers to achieve 100% renewable energy supply.

Solar, wind will drive the value of energy storage in the US

A much heralded report shows solar and wind will lower wholesale prices, but it also shows a coming evolution in the pricing profile of the grid. These shifts in timing, shape, regularity and length will drive energy storage demand.

By 2030, EVs could outnumber the total vehicles in India today

To smoothen this transition, the country needs to build fast solar PV-powered charging stations. In 2017, there were only 220-250 operational charging stations in India, compared to 56,000 petrol stations.

Crowd investment kicking off PV, storage system market in developing countries

Autarsys reports the roll-out of two off-grid battery systems in Madagascar. Thanks to crowd investment, its order books are full. Streamlining the process of investment, the Germany-based start-up will cooperate with crowd investment platforms, Greenvesting and Ecoligo.

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Press Releases

Canada set to become a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency

A world leader in the production and use of renewable energy, Canada believes in the power of international partnership to accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon economy and improve Canadians’ access to this $1-trillion clean tech market.

SNEC 2018: Hanwha Q CELLS to Launch Q.ANTUM Solar Module Series Q.PEAK-G5 at SNEC 2018

Hanwha Q CELLS, one of the world’s largest producers of 100% in-house solar cells and modules, announced that it will participate at SNEC 2018 PV POWER EXPO, the largest solar trade show in China from May 28 to May 30, 2018, at Booth N1-320. The advanced technologies, solar cells and modules, as well as PV solutions from around the world will be showcased there.

New: Voice service with Solar-Log™

Thanks to the power of Solar-Log™, if you need information about your PV plant, you can now just ask for it. Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ is now compatible with Amazon's Alexa Voice Service and can answer important questions about solar PV performance.

Endeas launches all-in-one tool to drive down testing cost in PV module manufacturing

Innovative PV testing technology company Endeas launches a novel all-in-one tool for the final testing of PV modules. The QuickSun 600 is the first product to include – in a single machine – a class A+A+A+ solar simulator; electroluminescence and visual inspection; and insulation resistance, ground bond and bypass diode tests