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The weekend read: Europe ramps up policy support for storage

Policy support for battery energy storage is gaining momentum across Europe as national governments remove regulatory barriers and the EU pledges financial support for this emerging technology. In several countries, revised capacity markets now allow energy storage operators to compete for subsidy contracts on a more equal footing with power generators. Support from the European Battery Alliance and €1 billion in loans from the European Investment Bank in 2020 alone should help shore up investor confidence. Battery storage will be a key component to support the growth of solar PV – but the rollout of projects will have to accelerate faster to fulfill this potential.
Installations

Thin-film amorphous silicon greenhouses begin to sprout

Researchers have matched the tinting of semi-transparent PV modules with the bandwidth of light that plants absorb for photosynthesis. A promising trial with basil and spinach has opened up economic opportunities for farmers.
Manufacturing

SolarEdge violated Huawei inverter patent, rules Chinese court

Huawei said the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court in China has ruled in its favor in a patent dispute with its Israeli rival.
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SMA presenta una nueva solución para optimizar los sistemas fotovoltaicos residenciales

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Back-Contact’s Move to the Front

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Manufacturing

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Polysilicon, module prices continue to rise

Polysilicon prices continued to soar this week. Prices have been rising across the PV supply chain since mid-July due to recent accidents at two Chinese polysilicon factories, according to EnergyTrend.
Manufacturing

Solar tile with passive cooling

Researchers built the device by attaching 17%-efficient monocrystalline PV cells to a mortar roof tile that was doped with a phase-change material (PCM). The PCM solar tile provided 4.1% more power than the PV tile with no cooling agent in the winter, an...
Markets & Policy

The PV world 10 years ago – Summer Series Part III

pv magazine editor Pilar Sánchez Molina takes a look at PV sector news from 10 years ago as part of an ongoing series. These insights bring back memories of an exciting, challenging period, while pointing to where we might be in 2030.
Manufacturing

Silver price rally won’t affect PV industry

Silver prices reached their highest levels this week since 2016. But Michael DiRienzo, executive director of The Silver Institute, says prices are still not high enough to complicate silver supplies for the PV industry.
Events

France’s EnerGaïa, Italy’s Key Energy to be held in fall, Australia’s All-Energy 2020 canceled

France's EnerGaïa Forum will be held Dec. 9-10 in Montpellier, while Italy’s Key Energy event will be held in Rimini from Nov. 3-6. Australia’s top PV industry event will not take place in 2020.
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Press Releases

ET Solar Attended SNEC 2020 PV Power Expo

On August 8th,2020, the SNEC 2020 PV Power Expo was held at Shanghai’s new international expo center in China. As a leading photovoltaic manufacturing company of high-quality PV products, ET Solar brought it’s Southeast Asia manufacturing capacity and it’s energy storage products to this exhibition.

3D-Micromac receives order from LWD Solar for a microCELL™ TLS half-cell laser system

3D-Micromac AG, the industry leader in laser micromachining and roll-to-roll laser systems for the photovoltaic, medical device and electronics markets, today announced the order intake for a microCELL TLS laser system for the plant in Langenwetzendorf, Thuringia. The initiator of the investment is the Heckert Solar GmbH, one of the largest and leading PV module manufacturers in Germany with a production capacity of 400 MW at their site in Chemnitz.

Advanced Energy Introduces Innovative, Five-Output Power Supply For Solar PV Manufacturing Industry

Ascent MS optimizes power delivery and lowers costs for crystalline silicon PECVD processes in the production of solar cells

Talesun Solar Launches Super-High Power Module up to 590W

The leading China PV module maker launched its latest super power PV module with larger wafer of 182, the BISTRA PRO series, via an online release. And the company introduced to world audience the features and advantages of the new products.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

All details of Ukraine’s new feed-in tariffs for PV

On July 21, 2020, the Law on Feed-in Tariff Restructuring was passed by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Solar’s warranty risk

The warranty risk of solar must be addressed early in the development phase of PV projects, as it is not possible to buy warranty insurance later during the operational phase. Decisions taken by developers at this stage will remain important for the next 25 years. The good news is that an industry standard exists, and it can be easily and cost-effectively applied to most PV projects, writes Ronald Sastrawan from Munich Re.

Three factors for success in the Irish solar market

Recent years have seen an explosion of installed PV capacity across the European Union, fueled by the well-documented rapid reduction in technology costs and favorable subsidy regimes in many jurisdictions. However, one corner of Northern Europe remains relatively untouched by the solar revolution, writes Adam Sharpe of Everoze. The Republic of Ireland currently has the second-lowest amount of installed PV capacity in the European Union, at just 36 MW by the end of 2019.

Terawatt scale by 2022

The solar sector is no stranger to breaking records. Perhaps the most impressive figure to emerge from SolarPower Europe’s new ‘Global Market Outlook’ is that the global solar sector will reach terawatt scale by 2022 – just four years after the 500 GW milestone was reached. Michael Schmela from SolarPower Europe sets out the reasoning behind this and other key findings in the report.

As countries reopen, market recovery begins

As the Covid-19 pandemic gradually eases, countries around the world have slowly begun to relax lockdown measures. Some countries have also launched varying types of economic stimulus to support the solar sector. In contrast to others, the Chinese market is stable, as the country has had some success in controlling the virus.

Universal energy access just got harder

This year marks a uniquely critical juncture on the road to universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy. The massive disruption caused by Covid-19 complicates the outlook to 2030, which is the target date for reaching UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, writes Rohit Khanna, manager of the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program.

Covid-19

Featured

Portugal’s 700 MW solar auction ten times oversubscribed

Minister of the environment and climate action, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, announced the development and revealed nine of the ten lots tendered include energy storage.

Covid-19 weekly round-up: Updates shed light on tough second quarter for solar industry firms

But Israeli inverter company Solaredge and Indian engineering, procurement and construction services provider Sterling and Wilson have both offered hope of a recovery in Europe as Chinese glass producer Xinyi said it kept the furnaces going throughout the worst of the pandemic.

Wacker CEO hits out at Chinese rivals

Rudolf Staudigl highlighted polysilicon manufacturing overcapacity among Chinese competitors as he announced Covid-19-battered second-quarter figures for the Munich-based chemicals conglomerate.

REC Silicon sells off last remnants of Moses Lake polysilicon

The Norwegian company mothballed its Washington State facility more than a year ago and is now reliant on semiconductor-grade poly and silane gas produced at its fab in Butte, Montana – a facility for which the business says it has received plenty of interest from potential purchasers.

SolarEdge up 12% after hours on second-quarter revenue and solid earnings – despite Covid-19

The inverter and energy storage company was able to maintain its streak of profitable quarters in what was expected to be a hard period for solar and the Israeli business said it sees “signs of recovery in the U.S.”

Value of Indian PV imports tanked 83% in second quarter

Mercom India Research has said the quarterly value of solar cell and module imports was down 83% in the second quarter of the year, compared to the same period of 2019, to sit 54% lower than the value recorded in the January-to-March window.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Shifting geopolitical sands

After a decade of operation, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has become an established presence in assisting the deployment of renewables. Now under the leadership of Director General Francesco La Camera, it continues its work on a range of issues pertaining to renewable energy deployment, with a renewed focus on facilitating international investment.

First Solar posts strong Q2, sells O&M unit to NovaSource

Another stalwart of the solar industry was able to take the necessary precautions in order to maintain a sense of normalcy during the pandemic, leading to a quarter of increased sales, net cash, and a positive outlook to finish off the year.

Tesla may become power provider in Germany

The high-profile electric car maker is conducting a survey of German customers to gauge their interest in a Tesla electricity tariff.

The PV world ten years ago – summer series part II

pv magazine editor Pilar Sánchez Molina recalls news from the PV sector of ten years ago as part of a new series. The insights offered will not only bring back memories for the pioneers of that exciting, challenging period but may also offer an idea of where we could be in 2030.

Bangladesh net metering requirement may deter solar pump owners

The government has finally issued guidelines on how solar-powered irrigation system owners can be paid for exporting power back to the grid. However, for those who expect to have to use grid power to augment solar from time to time, there could be a sting in the tail.

Croatia tenders 50 MW of solar

The Croatian energy regulator is seeking to allocate 88 MW of renewable energy generation capacity. The tender is part of the country’s plan to procure 2.26 GW of renewables including more than 1 GW of solar.

Installations

Featured

Remote possibilities

If the Canadian Arctic strikes you as a place that doesn’t have enough sunlight for PV, you wouldn’t necessarily be correct. Although there are periods of 24-hour darkness in winter, there are locations with sufficient sunlight for PV to make a major dent in remote communities’ diesel consumption, reports Anteo Petkovic, from Green Sun Rising.

Challenging plans to deploy PV on dikes

Dutch researchers are trying to determine whether large-scale PV projects can be deployed on flood-control dikes across the Netherlands. A 5 MW solar project has already been built on a dike near Groningen, but the researchers believe there is potential to build up to 2.9 GW of PV on such embankments.

Bosch buys more solar power

German utility RWE will sell solar electricity to the German conglomerate under a 16-year power purchase agreement. The electricity will be generated by a 50 MW solar plant in southern Germany. Bosch has also sealed power supply deals with Statkraft and Vattenfall.

Solar for parking machines

New Zealand researchers have proposed a way to assess the technical and economic feasibility of PV-powered parking machines. Solar might be an ideal solution, but the siting of the machines is critical and should be planned in advance, in line with available solar radiation and potential shading.

BP’s latest green pledge includes fossil fuel assets sell-off

The British energy company has pledged to raise investment in low-carbon energy – including biomass and natural gas-fired hydrogen – tenfold by 2030 and said it would reduce its upstream oil and gas activity 40% over the same period.

Mexican utility confirms first invesment in solar

The Comisión Federal de Electricidad will invest around $342 million into two PV plants with a total generation capacity of 350 MW at its geothermal facility in Baja California. President Obrador, meanwhile, has described the previous regime’s Energy Reform program as a ‘pillage policy.’

Technology

Featured

The way to the TOPCon

TOPCon cell technology has become one of the two leading next-generation options after mono PERC. But for the n-type architecture to truly become a rival to PERC, high-quality and cost-effective production technologies must become settled.

‘Spontaneous de-doping’ for 17.8%-efficient perovskite mini-module

U.S. scientists have found a new ‘de-doping’ process in perovskite solar cells that could cut production costs and produce better devices. They have used this to fabricate a mini-module with 17.8% efficiency.

Low-cost catalysts for hydrogen production

Researchers in Singapore have taken a deep dive into spinel oxides – a class of materials known to act as a catalyst in the production of hydrogen through water electrolysis. Better understanding of how the materials work enabled the scientists to develop a machine learning model to predict their efficiency.

Getting serious about soiling

Scientists in the United States and India are investigating the impacts of soiling on PV installations in the Indian state of Gujarat. The group, which found that soiling losses for the state could add up to $12 million per year, is looking for low-cost ways to monitor and reduce the impacts of soiling on modules in the field.

Recom unveils tri-cut solar panel series

The Jaguar series, with 20.81% efficiency and 445 W of maximum output, may be a solution for installations with space constraints. The panels are based on a special cell design, which Recom describes as an evolution of the half-cut cell concept.

Looking to phosphorous for next-gen batteries

Scientists in the United States have fabricated a working lithium-ion battery using a phosphorous-based anode. The batteries show significantly higher capacity than today’s lithium-ion tech, and could serve as a guideline for future design of high-performance anodes for Li-ion batteries.

Manufacturing

Featured

The hidden contest of the cell makers

Predicting which technological pathway will dominate in solar cell production is somewhat of a fool’s errand. A battle is currently underway between several of solar manufacturing’s big guns regarding both wafer size and p-or-n-type technology, and the outcome remains to be seen.

SunPower survived shutdowns to post strong Q2

Supply chain and manufacturing disruptions will lead to shipping decreases in the third quarter, but SunPower’s pre-pandemic measures ensured strong performance, solid demand, and higher installations.

Panasonic abandons Chinese solar manufacturing tie-up

The Japanese electronics giant said a partnership with GS-Solar will not materialize and it will continue producing its modules in Japan and Malaysia while seeking other cooperation opportunities.

The PV world ten years ago – summer series part I

pv magazine editor Pilar Sánchez Molina recollects everyday news from the PV sector of ten years ago as part of a new series. The insights offered will not only bring back memories for the pioneers of that exciting, challenging period but may also offer an idea of where we could be in 2030.

Enphase Q2 micro-inverter revenue falls despite demand ‘rebound’

Coming off a strong, profitable first quarter, Enphase sees the second-quarter results of Covid-19 in compressed revenue and a swing to a loss. Gross margins remain strong.

CPV panels for agrivoltaics

Swiss startup Insolight has raised €4.6 million to bring its concentrating PV module technology to commercial production. The panels have a claimed efficiency of 30% and power output of 160 W. Originally conceived for rootop solar, the product is now being recommended as an interesting option for agrivoltaic projects.

Energy Storage

Featured

Zero-waste batteries

Efforts to recycle lithium-ion batteries face a range of technical and economic challenges, but such programs are already far more commonplace than many assume. However, there are still significant obstacles looming a few years down the road.

English councils tender for solar car parks and storage

Two local authorities on the English south coast are tendering for up to 250 kW of solar generation capacity and at least 300 kWh of energy storage under an arrangement which should not cost the cash-strapped councils a penny.

Green hydrogen economy assessment for US, Europe

A new report by the International Council on Clean Transportation provides forecasts for green hydrogen prices by 2050. The group claims to have included system costs that have been ignored in green hydrogen economy assessments thus far. Average green hydrogen prices, however, will almost be halved in the United States and Europe.

A residential vanadium flow battery

Flow battery manufacturers typically pursue utility scale storage projects but German start-up VoltStorage is targeting the household market.

South African utility Eskom launches tender for 80 MW/320 MWh of storage

The South African national power company is planning to deploy large scale energy storage capacity at the Skaapvlei substation. The facility will help manage the intermittent energy generated by a 100 MW Eskom wind farm.

Amorphous lithium discovery could lead to new high-performance batteries

Researchers have set out to study the kinetics of lithium deposition during cycling in a battery. By changing different parameters, they’ve found that it’s fairly easy to put lithium into amorphous form, which is superior on an electromechanical level.

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