Top News

Lead-free soldering in modules: It can be done!

pv magazine’s UP sustainability campaign has investigated the use of lead in PV panels and found, with soldered cell interconnections in particular, viable alternatives are scarce. However, German headquartered manufacturer Opes Solutions has launched a small module for the off-grid market featuring lead-free solder, developed at the request of a customer. We caught up with Opes CEO Robert Händel for a closer look at the module and the challenges and benefits of going lead-free.
Manufacturing

Panasonic claims 16.1% efficiency for lightweight perovskite solar module

The device has an area of 802cm² and thickness of 2mm. The manufacturer claims it improved module performance through an inkjet coating method and a reduction in weight by using thin glass substrates.
Installations

Statkraft greens Polish steel with 10-year PPA

The Norwegian hydropower producer has tapped its extensive Polish power purchase agreement portfolio to offer a bankable supply agreement for one of the biggest power consumers in the country.
Announcements

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Supersize PV – how bigger blocks with advanced power conversion topology can improve plant economics

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Cracking the case: quantifying the impact of cell cracking

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The latest batch of energy yield results from the outdoor test field at Xi’an, China are out.

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Markets & Policy

Breaking news: Zhonghuan Semiconductor up for sale

The body responsible for state-owned assets in the Chinese port city of Tianjin has approved plans to sell all or part of the solar manufacturer to outside investors – although the rumored beneficiary is thought to be partially state-owned itself.
Technology

Mysterious new chlorophyll with potential PV applications

Japanese researchers are studying the ‘Chl f’ substance which features a pigment in photosynthesis which can absorb far-red light from the lower end of the spectrum.
Markets & Policy

Singyes owner Shuifa to funnel $62m into the business

The construction group, which indirectly owns 67% of the solar developer will pay the funds to complete the $98m sale of two 50 MW solar farms in China to a third-party soon to also be controlled by Shuifa.
Installations

Crop yield rises with solar-powered irrigation

PV systems have helped farmers in the Philippines become less dependent on rain. Projects in Camarines Sur have shown pumping water with solar is not only cheap but can also raise rice yield.
Installations

Central Bank of Brazil launches two more solar tenders

Brazil’s biggest lender wants to secure solar power through a leasing arrangement. The central bank expects to buy around 8 GWh of electricity per year for its agencies in the state of Bahia and another 2 GWh in Ceará.
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Press Releases

BISOL Group Announces the Launch of a BISOL Supreme Series PV modules with 100 % Output Power Guarantee

BISOL Group is excited to announce the launch of a BISOL Supreme series PV modules, a brand new and unique product that offers 100 % Guarantee on Output Power. The official launch date for BISOL Supreme modules is February 1, 2020.

Phono Solar Signs 500MW Supply Agreement with Wattkraft

Phono Solar, a subsidiary of SUMEC Energy, announced that it has signed a 500MW PV module supply agreement with Wattkraft, a German distributor and engineering system integrator, in the following years from 2020 to 2021.

Filtrelec® is a technical and economical field-proven solution for photovoltaic power plants to fully comply with Clean Water Act requirements

Filtration system Filtrelec® is the most efficient rainwater/transformer dielectric oil filtration system on the market. This filter protects solar power plants installed outdoors from any risk of pollution due to transformer oil spillages.

Grupo T-Solar issues a 567.8 million green financing

The proceeds will be used to refinance 23 photovoltaic solar projects with a combined installed capacity of 127 megawatts across Spain.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Transitioning to larger wafers

Since 2017, 156.75 mm M2 wafers have been the standard. However, improvements in cell efficiency appear to have hit a bottleneck, making wafer size a hot topic among manufacturers once again. In the second half of 2018, 158.75 mm G1 mono wafers were introduced to the market. Corrine Lin of PVInfoLink argues that while G1 will likely become the mainstream format over the next two years, 166 mm M6 wafers and 210 mm M12 wafers are presenting new options for manufacturers.

Harmful lead in photovoltaics – are there sustainable alternatives?

Without globally unified standards in waste management, the risk from toxic materials such as lead will become increasingly important.

A new era of sustained growth

After several years of weak solar demand growth in Europe, compared to the historical highs of 2011, installations are expected to surge by 88% to reach a new installation record of 23 GW in 2019, writes Cormac Gilligan, research manager at IHS Markit. A range of favorable macro conditions have coalesced this year to reignite the market.

12 GW bifacial demand in 2020

Back in June, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) granted Section 201 tariff exemptions to bifacial cells and modules, but reversed the decision on Oct. 28. Two weeks after the reversal, the U.S. Court of International Trade issued a temporary order against the withdrawal of the bifacial exemption. An investigation is now underway, with the first hearing taking place on Dec. 5.

China’s market in transition

By the end of 2018, China was home to around one third of global cumulative PV capacity, with around 175 GW of operational PV systems. In the context of China’s power sector, writes Frank Haugwitz of Asia Europe Clean Energy Advisory, the cumulative installed capacity makes up 9% of the total existing power generation capacity and contributed approximately 2.7% to total electricity generation.

Never a dull moment in the US-solar market

With its trade wars, exclusions from tariffs, reversals of exclusions, and stays of reversals of exclusions – in addition to the repeal of the Clean Air Act and potential changes to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act – the U.S. solar market is anything but boring, writes SPV Market Research’s Paula Mints.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Is China’s market heading toward a cliff edge?

Even when taken in the context of the growing pessimism that has gripped China’s PV industry regarding 2019 demand since the middle of the year, the latest figures from the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) are astonishing. More optimistic forecasts from earlier in the year have been downwardly revised, with installations headed for a “cliff edge” decline that could see demand fall by as much as 50% year on year. So, what exactly has taken place?

Czechia wants another 1.9 GW of solar by 2030

The raised renewable energy ambition has been dismissed by the domestic solar association, which accuses president Miloš Zeman of wanting to destroy the Czech PV sector. In 2019, the country added only 7 MW of new PV installations.

China added 12 GW of solar last month for 30 GW annual figure

An insider at the China Photovoltaic Industry Association has told pv magazine there was an end-of-year rally after less than 18 GW of new capacity was installed to the end of November.

China holds firm on strategy to build self-sufficient domestic polysilicon industry

The Chinese government will extend duties on U.S. and South Korean polysilicon for another five years from today despite committing to buy $200 billion more American goods and services in the trade deal signed on Wednesday. Poly manufacturer REC Silicon says it expects polysilicon to form part of that trade agreement.

A clean energy world would support millions of new jobs

A study from Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology has predicted solar and other renewables can provide a global energy jobs revolution – just as four European operations revealed recent struggles.

When losing a few PV panels can cost millions of dollars

European satellite operator Eutelsat has revealed one of the two solar arrays on its recently launched 5 West B satellite has been lost. Only 45% of the craft’s generation capacity can be operated, hitting the company’s bottom line to the tune of $5-10 million.

Installations

Featured

What broke at Oakey

With its high wholesale power prices, attractiveness to capital, wide open spaces and abundant sunshine, there is every reason to believe Australia is a PV project developer’s nirvana. However, as the wreckage at the 55 MW Oakey 2 site in Queensland reveals, challenges under the Australian sun should not be taken lightly.

Total and Marubeni win Qatar’s 800 MW solar tender

The resulting project will sell power to Qatar General Electricity and Water Corp under a 25-year power supply deal. French oil and gas giant Total and Japanese conglomerate Marubeni will hold a combined 40% stake in the power plant, which will be built near Doha, the Qatari capital.

Pilot agrovoltaic project with mobile PV modules launched in France

The solar facility, near Lyon, will be developed by Engie unit Compagnie Nationale du Rhône. Tests will be carried out for three years at a project intended to demonstrate the benefits of combining solar with agriculture.

Turkish solar reaches 6 GW

The nation deployed around 923 MW of new solar last year. Around 350 MW came in the form of unlicensed projects given an extension to their grid-connection deadlines.

German development bank to fund Bangladesh canal-top PV study

Renewables authority official tells pv magazine the nation’s irrigation canals could host almost 1 GW of solar generation capacity.

Portugal pushes back solar auction to March

The minister of environment and energy transition has told parliament two auctions for large scale solar will be held this year, with a new procurement round now planned. The minister revealed energy storage may play a part in the capacity tenders.

Technology

Featured

BIPV: More than the module

Building integrated PV has been described as a place where uncompetitive PV products attempt to go to market. But this may be unfair, says Björn Rau, the technology manager and deputy director of PVcomB at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. Rau argues that the missing link to BIPV deployment lies at the intersection of the architectural community, construction industry, and PV manufacturers.

Longi claims 22.38% efficiency world record for PERC mono panel

The Chinese manufacturer said the result was confirmed by Germany’s TÜV Rheinland. The achievement beats the company’s previous record of 21.65%, set last month.

All-inorganic perovskite solar cell hits 16.1% efficiency

Researchers from the City University of Hong Kong have developed an all-inorganic perovskite cell with an electron-pair donor which offers a pair of non-bonding electrons. The cell was developed by applying that ‘Lewis base’ small molecule to passivate the inorganic perovskite film.

Jinko claims two more efficiency records for bifacial panels

The Chinese manufacturer has achieved conversion efficiencies of 21.82% and 22.49% for its p-type PERC and n-type HOT bifacial panels, respectively. The results were confirmed by Germany’s TÜV Rheinland.

Greece to overhaul licensing regime which puts the brakes on solar

The energy ministry has published a plan to radically simplify the renewable energy permitting process. The new system is expected to come into force as early as next month and will be applied retroactively to address a 22-month backlog in generation license applications.

Mind the gap

Fire safety engineering researchers have demonstrated increasing the gap between the modules of commercial PV arrays and flat roof surfaces is a decisive factor in reducing fire risks. Experiments have identified a critical gap height below which flame spread rate increases significantly.

Manufacturing

Featured

Preparing for takeoff

With demand for lithium-ion battery cells picking up, largely driven by EVs but also from the fast-growing stationary storage segment, production capacities in China are ramping up quickly. But safety and quality must remain centrally important in the face of the need to scale, even more so after the numerous battery fires that shocked buyers globally and brought the South Korean market to a standstill. Clean Energy Associates (CEA) has launched the 2019 BESS Supplier Market Intelligence Program report, covering 40 suppliers, in an effort to support buyers navigating this novel supplier landscape. George Touloupas, CEA’s director of technology and quality for solar and storage, shares the company’s key findings on the supply chain and tells us what can have an impact on Li-ion safety and reliability.

SolarPower Europe repeats call for solar strategy as part of European Commission’s €1tn Green Deal

Lobby group CEO Walburga Hemetsberger says the plans announced by commission president Ursula von der Leyen this week should place the European solar industry front and center.

Solargiga hits 10% revenue rise – on back of 48% more shipments

The Chinese manufacturer had to ship a lot more ingots, wafers, cells and modules to secure a modest rise in returns, according to its unaudited 2019 figures.

Singulus scores €50m CIGS production kit order from unit of China’s CNBM

The German PV equipment provider has agreed to supply manufacturing equipment for CIGS thin-film solar panels to the CNBM Bengbu Design and Research Institute for Glass Industry, a subsidiary of cement producer China National Building Material.

‘Renewables must grow four times faster to ensure sustainable future’

The share of renewables in the global energy mix must more than double by 2030 for the world to advance the energy transition and achieve sustainable development goals, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. Renewable electricity should supply 57% of global power by the end of the decade, up from 26% today.

Jolywood says 105 MW Oman project demonstrates value of n-type

As it moves towards grid connection this month, the solar project in the south of Oman demonstrates the value proposition of n-type PV cell technology, Chinese solar manufacturer Jolywood has argued at the World Future Energy Summit. The project is said to be the largest n-type bifacial array in the world.

Energy Storage

Featured

Exit strategy

With aggressive emissions-reduction goals and renewable energy targets expanding globally, storage is the final puzzle piece in the transition to a 100% renewable energy-powered grid. New gas-fired peaker plants are now being offset with the construction of storage facilities, and it is projected that the favorable economics of clean technologies will overtake existing gas generation assets by 2035. With the near-future potential of leaving stranded assets on the balance sheet, and advancing battery technology capabilities, there is a promising outlook for the accelerated decarbonization of the power sector.

Solar is gaining traction in MENA region – but plenty of obstacles remain

Solar deployment continued to pick up in the Middle East and North Africa in 2019, the Middle East Solar Industry Association has said in its annual report.

Abu Dhabi fund approves $105m for clean energy projects

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development will support half a dozen megawatt scale projects featuring solar in the Caribbean and Africa. In addition to around 42.5 MW of new solar capacity, the fund will also back the development of energy storage, waste-to-energy and biogas facilities.

US government expects 24 GW of new solar this year

A Department of Energy agency expects 17.4 GW (DC) of utility scale solar power generation capacity plus 6.6 GW of small scale PV will be installed in 2020. That volume would be 60% higher than the record, set in 2016.

NEC Energy Solutions to build 100 MW of storage capacity in Northern Ireland

The company will provide two 50 MW systems for investor the Gore Street Energy Storage Fund and project developer Low Carbon. The projects will be completed by the first quarter of 2021.

New organic redox flow battery aims for €0.05/kWh/cycle by 2030

An international research group led by CIC EnergiGUNE, a Spanish research center, is designing new redox organic flow batteries. The researchers claim the batteries will offer longer duration, as well as higher power and energy densities, in a more environmentally sustainable format. The European Commission provided €3.8 million in funding for the initiative.

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