The throes of a lithium shortage are increasingly upending long-term supply strategies and stoking demand for alternative technologies for stationary energy storage projects. Once seen as synonymous with renewable batteries, stationary Li-ion faces strong headwinds due to rapidly accelerating demand from the automotive sector as EVs capture the mainstream.
The solar supply chain problems that began last year with high prices and polysilicon shortages are persisting into 2022. But we are already seeing a stark difference from earlier predictions that prices would decline gradually each quarter this year. PV Infolink’s Alan Tu probes the solar market situation and offers insights.
As we closed out the first quarter of 2022, the energy storage industry continued to show stunning growth. When scrolling through the news, reading studies, and attending events, one can’t help but notice how critical battery energy storage is to a myriad of markets and industries. As innovative technologies emerge at a breakneck pace, they reveal three key trends in both market priorities and the sector’s current and future direction.
Vitaliy Daviy is the CEO of emerging markets focussed cleantech organization IB Centre Inc. and holds an optimistic view of Ukraine’s sector after the war. According to him, the country has the keys to energy independence and security.
On Feb. 10 in Belfort, President Emanuel Macron announced his vision for the French global energy industry to 2050. He reaffirmed France’s desire to massively develop renewable energies as intermittent sources on top of the baseload provided by the nuclear industry whose revitalization has already made headlines since. Macron claimed they are “the only means to meet [our immediate energy needs] in a profitable and competitive way”. By 2050, the capacity of the French solar park should be multiplied by more than 10 to exceed 100GWp, while the onshore wind capacity could double to reach 37GW. Offshore wind power should also experience a real take-off as France aims to develop and build 40GW over the same period.
It should come as no surprise that clean energy spending is a big chunk of Warsaw’s four-year EU grant and loans package, given that the nation’s grid-connected solar capacity rose from 3.99 GW at the end of 2020 to 6.3 GW four months ago, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The clean power numbers published annually by the International Renewable Energy Agency provide a snapshot of the global solar market and, this year, a lot of figures were unchanged from the previous dataset, especially in the off-grid segment.
Covid-19 has left Shunfeng International’s accountants unable to publish its official 2021 numbers on time, but its estimated figures announced a net current liability of almost $155 million and a “capital deficiency” of near $140 million.
Polysilicon maker Xinte is forging ahead with a huge expansion strategy just as solar developers at the opposite end of the industry continue to bleed cash.
Lack of locally-denominated finance, and of sufficiently long-term loans, are well established hurdles to the development of photovoltaics in Africa.
JA Solar has revealed plans to build a 10 GW cell factory in Jiangsu province, while Shuangliang Eco-Energy has agreed to buy 222,5000 metric tons (MT) of polysilicon from Tongwei.
Solar cell and module prices have increased by more than 40% over the last 18 months in India, driven by polysilicon prices. However, bid tariffs have remained lower than what is needed to mitigate the rise in PV module prices. The risk of lower returns is significant for 4.4 GW of projects that have been awarded over the past 18 months, with tariffs below INR 2.2 ($0.028)/kWh.
Romania has unveiled a state aid scheme to support investments in the production of hydrogen powered by solar, hydro and wind, while Air Products and Gunvor have agreed to build a hydrogen import terminal in Rotterdam.
US Customs and Border Patrol has detained a large shipment of quartzite, a raw material for making polysilicon, from an unnamed Tier 1 solar module supplier.
India’s Sanvaru is expanding its lithium battery production capacity to 400 MWh per year by setting up a new factory in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Its devices are used for stationary and EV storage.
France’s Q Energy has developed a new way to combine solar generation and the cultivation of hops, which can grow up to 8 meters in height. The agrivoltaic system consists of two mounting units with 52 bifacial PV modules.
Norway’s Glint Solar has developed cloud-based software that finds suitable surfaces for solar parks. It analyzes factors such as the distance to the grid or substations, topography, soil depth, and solar radiation. The tool can also be used for preliminary project sizing.
Spanish heating specialist Elnur Gabarron offers a residential heating system that works with surplus solar power and storage heaters. The system can work as a backup solution, combined with existing conventional heating, or as a household’s main heating system, with minimal use of grid electricity.
Egypt’s Elsewedy Electric, which has developed solar and storage projects on its home continent, has secured a new financing package, according to International Finance Corp.
Scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have said that the combination of floating solar with hydropower could reduce PV curtailment.
Buildings, particularly those with glass facades, are getting closer to self-powering, according to Australian scientists who recently developed a 15.5%-efficient, semi-transparent solar cell that allows more than 20% of visible light to pass through.
A research group led by Chinese manufacturer JinkoSolar has developed a tandem perovskite-silicon cell with a subcell based on TOPCon tech. The group succeeded in reducing voltage losses in the silicon sub-cell by minimizing the shunting probability during device fabrication.
Mitsubishi Electric’s new 2.0kV LV100 semiconductor device is based on its insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) technology and Relaxed Field of Cathode (RFC) diodes. It is designed for industrial applications that need “middle-ground” power converters between DC1500 V and 3.3 kV.
A Chinese-Finnish research group has proposed the use of seasonal, soil-based thermal energy storage in combination with photovoltaics in residential districts. They have found that the hybrid concept could cover up to 58% of total heating demand.
Enerwhere has designed a solar-plus-storage mobile unit for offgrid locations such as oil and gas fields and construction sites. It can be adapted to different needs and is scalable up to megawatt-scale projects.
German researchers have developed a new PV cell with a certified efficiency of 23.5%, an open-circuit voltage of 1.59 V, a short-circuit current of 19.4 mA cm–2, and a fill factor of 75.5%. It reached maximum efficiency of up to 24.9%, due to the high quality of the subcells.
Romania is set to put new solar regulations into force through the end of 2026. The rules will allow PV, wind, biomass, bioliquid, biogas, storage projects, and transformer stations to be built directly on land in several previously prohibited fertility classes.
Stanford University scientists have built an optical concentrator that purportedly harvests more than 90% of the light that hits its surface.
Renewable hardware that lasts longer and uses fewer materials could bolster recycling efforts and help to build an effective circular economy for solar and battery technologies, says the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
East Hope has halted production due to a fire at its factory in the Zhundong Economic and Technological Development Zone, in China’s Xinjiang region. pv magazine recently spoke with polysilicon analyst Johannes Bernreuter about the possible consequences of the fire on the supply chain.
The operator of the 150 MW/193 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia has been fined AUD 900,000 ($620,470) for failing to provide essential services to maintain the stability of the grid.
The California Public Utilities Commission has introduced a new rule to streamline the interconnection process for distributed energy resources.
The Netherlands is planning a €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion) green hydrogen network that will consist of 85% recycled natural gas pipes. It is expected to go online in 2027.
Dutch researchers have developed a heat pump that can be used in combination with rooftop solar generation, due to its modulating capabilities and temperature flexibility. It measures 55 cm x 55 cm x 55 cm and has an output of 6 kW.
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have found that nanoscopic refractory metal layers like tungsten could improve dendrite growth tolerance in electrolytes of solid-state Li-ion batteries. The team collaborated with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University.
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