Top News

European researchers discover new effect of light on perovskites

Scientists led by Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research have demonstrated for the first time that, as well as electrons, light also releases charged particles in a perovskite solar cell material. The researchers state that this groundbreaking discovery could make possible new solar power applications, such as batteries directly charged by light.
Manufacturing

Indian government mandates stringent quality controls for solar equipment

In a much-awaited move, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has mandated that, effective April 16, 2018, all solar equipment manufacturers will have to register their equipment with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Markets & Policy

SolarWorld Americas comments on duties exemptions for competitors, SunPower

Shortly before the announcement of its acquisition by SunPower, SolarWorld’s former U.S. subsidiary commented on the request by its competitors to be exempt from the new U.S. solar PV import tariffs.

Manufacturing

Demand for silver in global PV industry rose 19% in 2017, says Silver Institute

Approximately 76% of silver demand in the solar PV industry was used last year in frontside pastes, while the remaining 24% was used in backside pastes. Comoditization, however, is having detrimental effects on producers’ margins.

Energy Storage

ABB launches what it says is world’s fastest EV charger

The Terra High Power charger can charge an electric vehicle (EV) in just eight minutes, thus adding up to 200 km of range, says ABB, which launched the new model at this year’s Hannover Messe.

Installations

Nigerian universities go off-grid with solar PV, storage mini-grids

Four of Nigeria’s federal universities and university teaching hospitals across the country have signed EPC contracts to develop mini-grid solutions, which will power their facilities and disconnect them from the main electricity grid. A total of 9.3 MW of PV and 5,760 battery cells will be deployed.

Manufacturing

The weekend read: On track for quality improvement

China continues to grow in importance as a key source of components for solar trackers produced by the world’s leading tracker companies, in part since improvements in Chinese quality control have advanced significantly over the last few years.

Markets & Policy

Historic UN deal for shipping industry could lead to solar powered ships

A climate change strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, adopted last week by the United Nations (UN) International Maritime Organization (IMO), could boost the electrification of ships using solar PV technology.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

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.

The sun shines brighter if the risks don’t cloud it

Finance in developing countries: Economics teaches that capital flows from where it is in surplus to where it is in demand. But that is not the case with renewable energy. The biggest pots of institutional capital in advanced economies are not shifting to developing ones. It is time to take a hard look and develop solutions that resolve this anomaly.

Regulations clarifying the use of solar PV in Cambodia

On January 26, 2018, the EAC issued a set of regulations to clarify the general conditions for installing and operating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Cambodia. Kohe Hasan, partner at Reed Smith and director of Resource Law LLC (Singapore), and Kaknika Lin, assistant consultant at KPMG Cambodia Ltd provide a summary of the key regulations, in addition to discussing the country’s investment climate.

Building a better world of smart structures on the smart grid

It is a truth universally acknowledged that billions of people around the world live in poverty. But does it have to be that way? Today’s technological progress means that tomorrow we will be able to produce more, more efficiently – lifting people above the breadline with accelerated economic growth all around the world. Key to these efforts are smart buildings, argues Hussain Kazmi, a PhD student at KU Leuven and Enervalis.

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.

IEA-PVPS: Integration of solar requires improved forecasts, flexibility resources, more storage

In a new report, the association states that urgent action is required for, among other issues, the improvement of solar generation forecasts, the exploitation of storage systems, and the reduction of minimum operation and start-up times for both existing and new thermal and hydro generators.

Netherlands urgently needs qualified workforce for solar and renewables

The alert came from the Dutch Social and Economic Council, which advised the government to invest in, among other things, training more workforce specializing in building and maintaining renewable energy power plants. On the other hand, is a fact that qualified installers are urgently needed to deploy the several GWs of of solar power allocated under the SDE+ incentive program.

Revenues rise for Scatec Solar amid increased construction activity

Norway based project developer, Scatec Solar has posted consolidated revenue of NOK 289 million (US$37.1 milion) for the first quarter of 2018, and the company’s EBITDA increased to NOK 212 million ($27.1 million), over the previous quarter’s NOK 207 million. It attributes the improved financials to an increase in development and construction activity.

Hong Kong authorities propose generous new rooftop solar FIT

The Hong Kong government will start discussing plans from early next week to give owners of residential and commercial rooftop solar PV systems the chance to sell surplus electricity to the grid.

Microlink Devices hits 37.75% efficiency for triple junction cell

U.S. technology company Microlink Devices has achieved a record efficiency of 37.75% on its triple junction thin film cells. The lightweight cell achieves a power density of more than 3000 W/kg, and is designed for use in satellites and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The new efficiency record is confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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.

5 GW Indian solar park ‘crucial’

The Gujarat state government has approved a 5 GW solar PV park, to be located in the Dholera Special Investment Region. The development of what will become the world’s largest such project when complete, is seen as “crucial” on the back of Bangladesh’s recent interest to procure 2 GW of solar energy from India.

F&S Solar energizes 15 MW solar facility at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

The 15 MW project was developed under the Netherlands’ SDE+ program for large-scale renewables.

SouthPole Consulting plans 125 MW solar plant in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls

The IPP project is being conceived mainly for self-consumption, although its developers have not excluded selling some of the generated power to a nearby industrial district.

IDB finances Jinko’s 80 MW project in Argentina

The project, to be developed in the province of San Juan, was selected by the Argentinean government in the second auction round (Ronda 1.5) of the RenovAr program for large-scale renewable energy projects.

France announces winners of 200 MW tender for rooftop PV

The final average price of the awarded projects was €80.8/MWh, slightly below the previous tender of the same type, in which the average price was €85/MWh.

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.

UK researcher’s discovery could push PV into shape

A team of scientists at Warwick University in the U.K. has discovered a method for altering the structure of a semiconductor at the nano level which, it says, could push cell efficiencies of several materials beyond their theoretical limits.

Webinar Q&A: Reaching higher standards with cell and module innovation

The next generation of solar PV modules will see different technologies combined at both the cell and module level. That was the main conclusion of a recent pv magazine webinar, powered by JinkoSolar. Overall, a great deal of interest from participants was generated. Here, Andrea Viaro, Head of Technical Service Europe for JinkoSolar, responds to their questions.

Colombia to host its first floating PV project

The floating solar array will be deployed at the water reservoir of Peñol-Guatapé, which is owned and operated by local energy and telecommunications utility, Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM).

EU grants €5 million to perovskite research consortium

Belgian institute Imec will be the coordinator of a project involving many of Europe’s leading research organizations, which will focus on developing stable, scalable, low cost PV modules based on perovskite technology. The project, named ‘ESPResSo’ has received more than €5 million in funding from the European Union.

Fraunhofer ISE, Schmid develop production line concept for custom design modules

German research institute, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and equipment supplier, Schmid have jointly developed a production line for customizable modules for building-integrated projects. According to Fraunhofer ISE, the concepts developed by joint study could reduce the production cost for BIPV modules as much as 35%.

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.

SunPower to buy SolarWorld Americas

The two biggest names in the solar trade fight will now be one company. SunPower will again be a U.S. manufacturer, and SolarWorld will begin producing P-Series modules.

US: SEIA reports 18 companies reducing solar deployment, workforce in 2018

U.S. solar trade organization, Solar Energy Idustries Association (SEIA) has listed cancelled investments and hiring as well as job losses in its comments supporting requests for exclusion from Section 201 tariffs.

Solargiga reports decline in shipments, turnover due to lower ASPs

In the first quarter of this year, the Chinese solar manufacturer registered a 34% drop in revenue, while quartely shipments also declined around 19% year-on-year, to 462 MW.

Hanwha Q Cells shuts down wafer production in China

The company’s wafer factory in China was closed in the fourth quarter of 2017. Hanwha Q Cells, however, intends to further produce wafers at its new factory in Turkey.

The weekend read: China’s monocrystalline boom

Two large Chinese ingot and wafer makers have announced bold plans to expand their capacities beyond anything seen to date. In the process they could transform the entire upstream solar manufacturing landscape.

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.

US: ESA lays path for 35 GW of energy storage by 2025

National trade association, the ESA has published a roadmap for the adoption of 35 GW of energy storage in the U.S., as well as outlining the benefits of such a move. pv magazine USA spoke with CEO, Kelly Speakes-Backman about storage and the challenges of state-level advocacy at ESA’s annual conference in Boston.

Storage pipeline grows to 10.4 GW, installations reached 1.9 GW in 2017, finds IHS Markit

Analyst data records 53% annual growth in storage in 2017, rising to 1.9 GW as South Korea climbed to top of the tree in terms of cumulative capacity. Global project pipeline has soared to 10.4 GW.

Sterling and Wilson creates new hybrid and storage business, targets 1 GW installations

The Indian multinational EPC has this week unveiled a new global division that will focus on the development of power+storage hybrid solutions. The new unit will focus initially on lighting up remote islands and has an installation target of 1 GW.

Lithium-ion battery prices could rise as cost of cobalt shoots up, warn analysts

Price of cobalt, a raw material used in lithium-ion batteries, rose 26% in the first quarter of the year, following 114% annual increase in 2017, finds EnergyTrend. Suppliers may look at ways to lower cobalt content in new iterations, experts say.

Solar and wind plus storage to increasingly replace gas plants

A session at BNEF’s Future of Energy Summit explored how renewables paired with energy storage are successfully competing with new gas plants.

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Press Releases

Proinso wins Queen’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Trade

Proinso has won the 2018 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, in recognition of its outstanding performance.

Panasonic launches off-grid solutions project to mark its centenary

Panasonic Corporation announced it has kicked off a project for people living in off-grid areas that combines educational activities to promote understanding of electricity and provision of the company’s related products.

Eni goes green with Enerray

The Maccaferri Industrial Group company inaugurates the first PV park for Eni Green Data Center

IBC SOLAR and Van der Valk Solar Systems are going to collaborate in the Benelux

IBC SOLAR is expanding its product portfolio in the Benelux by including the innovative mounting systems of Van der Valk Solar Systems.