The Weekend Read: Polysilicon and wafer manufacturer ranking

Polysilicon and wafer manufacturer ranking: PV demand reached record levels in 2017, with global installations surpassing 100 GW for the first time ever. Few in the industry expected deployments to hit this level, piling the pressure on to the supply chain. Armed with polysilicon and wafer manufacturer ranking data supplied by IHS Markit, pv magazine delves into the past year’s upstream landscape.
Highlights

SunPower to lay off 150-250 workers, blames Section 201

The company’s latest restructuring will involve losing roughly 3% of its global workforce, all in “non-manufacuring” positions.

Technology

Unique properties of organic polymer solar cells expected to open niche market opportunities

While they cannot match the durability and efficiency of inorganic silicon-based solar cells, organic polymer solar cells show potential to provide power to remote microwatt sensors, wearable technology and the Wi-Fi-connected devices constituting the Internet of Things.

Energy Storage

EU Battery Alliance wants 20 EU giga factories, Saft announces partnership with Siemens, Manz and Solvay

The EU Battery Alliance is calling on industry to take advantage of the expected 2025 €250 billion battery market by establishing between 10 and 20 European giga battery factories. Saft, meanwhile, has announced an alliance with Siemens, Manz and Solvay to work on advanced lithium ion and solid-state battery technology.

Markets & Policy

Who is leading the Turkish PV module market?

Turkey recorded its best year to date for levels of solar PV installations, adding 1.79 GW of capacity in 2017. On the back of this, pv magazine takes a look at the most active players in the Turkish PV module market.

Energy Storage

UNDP launches tender for hydro-solar hybrid mini grid in Afghanistan

The project is part of the country’s Afghanistan Sustainable Energy for Rural Development (ASERD) program, which aims to bring sustainable power to 200 rural communities over the next four years.

Markets & Policy

Netherlands launches 2018 support scheme for innovative solar, renewables

The Topsector Energie scheme, which will also support all kinds of innovative energy projects, has a budget of €130 million for 2018.

Highlights

Shifting demand and pricing pressure main solar tracker challenges – GTM Research

Following its latest global solar PV tracker report, GTM Research speaks to pv magazine about what the sector can expect to see this year. Shifting demand and pricing pressures will be the main challenges. While Latin America continues to grow, the U.S. market will rebound. Bifacial and C&I growth confirmed as hot tracker trends.

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.

Turkey to issue 1 GW solar tender by the end of the summer

The tender may also include the deployment of storage. Overall, the Turkish government expects to assign 2 GW of renewable energy generation capacity through the tender mechanism, YEKA this year.

First Solar sold out well into 2020

The thin film PV maker forecasts its new Series 6 PV module to begin mass production in Ohio in Q2 – with 1GW expected to be manufactured globally in 2018. The company also increased its 2018 guidance.

US trade authorities provide details on exemptions to solar import duties

Solar PV makers seeking exemptions to Section 201 duties must make them by March 16, but there is no guarantee that any will be granted.

Canadian Solar announces sale of 24 PV plants to Greencoat Capital LLP

The already operational power plants sold for US$267.7 million comprise 272,000 Canadian Solar modules in total. Canadian Solar is set to provide operations and maintenance services to the plant, which could generate up to 142,000 MW per year for its new owner, based in the U.K.

Engie secures Italy’s first private PPA for “grid-parity” solar

The French energy giant will sell electricity under a five year PPA to the four Italian facilities of Austria headquartered brick and roof tile manufacturer, Weinerberger.

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 trackers: Record 2017 shipments; up to 20 GW expected in 2018

Last year saw record levels of global solar tracker shipments, reports GTM Research. It forecasts even bigger growth in 2018, despite continued consolidation. NEXTracker held on to the top spot once again, while Latin America became the biggest market.

Albania grants first two FITs licenses for PV projects up to 2 MW

The projects will be awarded a feed-in tariff (FIT) contract with a regulated tariff of €100/MWh.

State Grid of China’s offer to acquire Brazil’s CPFL Renovaveis judged too low

The renewable energy unit of the Brazilian power distributor, CPFL Energia is the largest shareholder in the country’s distributed solar energy business. The Initial Public Offering (IPO) from the Chinese utility, however, has been deemed too low by the Brazilian securities market authority.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

Ecoprogetti awarded 250 MW PV production line in Vietnam

Italian solar equipment manufacturer, Ecoprogetti has finalized an order for a 250 MW PV production line in Vietnam. The glass-backsheet line will be installed by June 2018, according to to the company.

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.

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.

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.

Sonnen to establish battery factory in South Australia

German battery and solar energy company, sonnen GmbH will move its Australian headquarters from Sydney to Adelaide, where it will also establish a manufacturing hub.

BNEF: Australia ties with Germany as fastest growing residential storage market

Australia is on the cusp of a residential battery storage boom. The Climate Council published the forecast last week in its Fully Charged: Renewables and Storage Powering Australia report. BNEF confirms with pv magazine that as a result of the rapid growth, Australia sits alongside Germany as the fastest growing market for residential battery 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.

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.

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.

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Press Releases

Meeco completes installation of sun2roof solar rooftop systems on 57 buildings in Guyana

The government of Guyana aims to establish a 100% renewable energy supply in the country. A further step towards achieving this target has now been taken as The meeco Group, together with its local joint venture company oursun Guyana, has just completed the installation of sun2roof solar energy solutions on the rooftops of 57 government-owned buildings.

Solar Promotion Group purchases events division of Solarpraxis Neue Energiewelt AG

The portfolio of leading event brands such as Intersolar and ees is expanding – driving the new energy world forward even faster.

Toyo awarded large-scale PV power plant project in Japan

Toyo Engineering Corporation (TOYO, President and CEO Kiyoshi Nakao) has been awarded a large-scale photovoltaic power plant project in Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, by KS Power 1 G. K.

ReneSola announces resignation of current CFO and appointment of new CFO

ReneSola Ltd, a solar project developer and operator, today announced that Maggie Ma will resign as Chief Financial Officer effective February 28, 2018, to pursue other interests.