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The weekend read: Past the Arctic Circle, one degree at a time

Solar has a small but increasingly important role to play in the Nordic energy transition. And while there is still a gap in PV cost-competitiveness across some markets, interest in solar facades, BIPV solutions and C&I applications is growing.
Markets & Policy

Greece to install 3 GW of solar in mining regions

Greece has announced plans to install two PV projects at mining sites. The installations are part of the national utility’s new strategy, in line with the country’s efforts to phase out coal.
Markets & Policy

No more money for Polish coal

Polish power providers Enea and Energa have suspended construction financing for a new 1 GW coal power plant in northeastern Poland. According to the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, this could mark the beginning of the end for the $1.6 billion project. The ...
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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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Installations

Another big solar PPA from Spain

Iberdrola has secured a long-term PPA from telecoms service provider Orange. The electricity will be delivered by a 328 MW solar plant that the Spanish energy group is building in Spain's Extremadura region.
Installations

Brazilian hydropower dam to host 30 MW of floating solar

Belgium's Tractebel will build three floating PV projects at the 52.2 MW Batalha hydropower project, which is owned by Brazilian state-run power company Eletrobras Furnas.
Manufacturing

Algeria’s Condor claims PV business is fully operational

The Algerian electronics manufacturer said its solar business unit has not filed for insolvency, stating that it continues to operate as 'normal'. The company also said that it is now working on two solar projects with a combined capacity of 100 MW.
Energy Storage

Storage Highlights 2020 – Gigawatt Winner: egrid and ads-tec

And so it is again. With the new decade, pv magazine brings forth yet another energy storage highlights. Approximately two weeks of work went into sifting through this year’s 22 highlights submissions, conducting research, and preparing them for...
Installations

Solar brings safe water to Bangladeshi coastal communities

F Cubed, an Australian company that specializes in solar-powered desalination systems, has landed a contract valued at almost $5 million to supply 1,140 units that will provide clean drinking water to around 30,000 people in Bangladesh.
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Press Releases

CISOLAR 2020: Ukraine may join the TOP15 of the world’s most advanced countries in terms of solar power in 2020

The main regional business event in the field of solar energy devoted to the latest technology, trends, and investment opportunities – CISOLAR 2020, the 9th International Solar Energy Conference and Trade Show of Central and Eastern Europe – will take place in Kyiv on April, 7-9 (ua. cis-solar.

Hunt achieves key milestone in perovskite technology development

Hunt Energy announced today that its solar technology company, Hunt Perovskite Technologies (HPT), has achieved an industry-leading milestone in the development of a highly-durable perovskite technology for the manufacture of low-cost printed solar cells.

Sunseap raises $100 million in Series D funding

Sunseap Group Pte Ltd (Sunseap), Singapore’s leading provider of renewable energy solutions, continues to attract strong investor following. It said today that it has raised S$100 million in its fourth round of fund-raising from Banpu, a listed company on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, as part of its commitment towards sustainability.

Industrial Strategy for Solar Key to Reigniting European Solar PV Manufacturing

VDMA joins letter that calls for industrial strategy for solar and renewables to be at heart of European Green Deal

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Out with old inverters, in with the new

Global demand for replacement inverters will likely grow by almost 40% to reach 8.7 GW in 2020, as a large and expanding installed base of aging solar PV installations drives deployment, writes Miguel De Jesus of IHS Markit.

Energy communities as a business model for utilities

Energy Communities are one of the most talked about recent advancements in the world of energy, but what they are exactly and what kind of value proposition they provide is seen on a broad spectrum. There are many different definitions of communities – therefore, understanding energy communities requires us to first unpack the idea of community itself.

Is Russia’s tax policy hindering the solarization of its multinational Stablecoin Initiative?

Russia is taking the lead in issuing a multinational stablecoin backed by commodities – a cyber-initiative connecting some of the most promising hub of hydrocarbon rich economies stretching across Eurasia, Africa and South America.  However if such technology is fueled by hydrocarbon energy, temperatures are expected to rise 3.2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by the end of the century. A decisive role could be played by the BRICS in finding innovative solutions to the functioning of the current global framework, particularly in transitioning to green economies.

Broken promises: Legal recourse for retroactive FIT cuts

Generous feed-in tariffs, a short-lived boom and retroactive cuts – the early stages of large-scale solar deployment in Europe followed a regrettable pattern. Project developers have increasingly turned to the legal system for restitution, and many have been successful, writes Daniel R. Meagher, a partner in Winston & Strawn’s international arbitration practice.

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.

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?

Another strong quarter for SunPower

An unusually profitable fourth quarter has anchored an even rarer profitable year for SunPower, bolstering growing confidence in its decision to spin off its module manufacturing business into Maxeon Solar Technologies.

Coronavirus could cause PV module, battery cell shortages in Australia

As the outbreak takes its toll on solar panel and battery manufacturing in China, Australia is bracing for disruptions in the supply chain.

California’s solar mandate to deliver more than 1 GW

From pv magazine February edition California’s new residential solar mandate, effective from the first day of 2020, is going to add more than 1 GW of PV over the next five years, according to analysts. The US state already has a nation-leading 26.2 GW cumulative PV installed base. The new solar building code is directed […]

Is this the end for Korean polysilicon?

The nation’s only two poly manufacturers could both shutter factories in their homeland due to downward price pressure. OCI says it will maintain only 6,500 MT of its 52,000 MT annual production capacity in an operational state and Hanwha Chemical says it is ‘examining the situation’. Poly analyst Johannes Bernreuter has discussed the reasons for the crisis with pv magazine.

Ganfeng Lithium affected by coronavirus but share price keeps on rising

The board of the lithium miner and refiner has revealed how the outbreak has hit its Chinese production after noting ‘unusual’ share price gains this week.

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.

Turkey cuts admin fee for rooftop PV systems

The one-off charge for PV systems with generation capacities of 10-100 kW will be almost halved. The fee levied on 100 kW-1 MW arrays will come down by 1-30.7%, depending on system size.

New hold-up in GCL project business’ $155m asset sale

Shareholders planning to vote on whether to sell off 294 MW of Chinese solar capacity to Beijing-owned utility China Huaneng will have to wait a little longer to find out how.

Vattenfall secures 10-year power supply deal for 60 MW of German solar

A Deutsche Telekom subsidiary has agreed to buy solar power from Vattenfall.

UK energy minister says country is ‘now off coal’ – despite still operating four major coal-fired plants

An all-party U.K. parliamentary group for renewable and sustainable energy event in London has again confirmed the view the government remains unmoved by calls for support for the solar sector. However, a window of opportunity may be about to open for rooftop PV thanks to proposed legislation for new homes building standards.

‘The battery of the future will not be limited to a single technology’

pv magazine has spoken to José Antonio Unanue, director of the battery energy storage system business at Ingeteam, the equipment integrator and manufacturer of the first grid-connected battery storage system in Spain, which electric utility Iberdrola launched in Caravaca de la Cruz, Murcia, at the end of November.

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.

New non-fullerene electron acceptor for 17% efficient organic solar cell

Chinese scientists have developed a cell with a new blade-coating method and BTP-4Cl-12, a kind of acceptor that is a derivative of the Y6 acceptor, which is widely used in organic PV applications. The researchers also claim that the cells can maintain good efficiency levels, even if its surface is lightly expanded.

FuturaSun launches glass-glass mono module

The Italian manufacturer said the product has a 30-year performance warranty and strong resistance to adverse weather. The 330 W panel has a claimed efficiency of 19.78% with FuturaSun reporting the 325 W and 320 W versions have efficiencies of 19.48% and 19.18%, respectively.

Healing the cracks for a more stable perovskite

Scientists in the United States have demonstrated simple methods for ‘healing’ the cracks that form in perovskite solar cells. While it is far from clear how the approach could be applied commercially, the work suggests possibilities for maintaining the performance of perovskite cells in long-term operation.

A titanium solar cell with 24% efficiency

The Australian research team which developed the device said the higher efficiency was achieved through a nanowire design which eliminates the interface inside the titanium dioxide band.

India’s future energy options all add up to coal, agree the experts

Panellists including a government representative and a member of the chief policy thinktank used by Narendra Modi agreed coal will continue as the staple source of Indian power into the mid century and technology should be employed to ‘clean’ it.

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.

PV industry silver demand to fall slightly

Trade body the Silver Institute says silver demand in the solar industry will dip slightly this year but remain near to previous record highs. Silver paste consumption for PV has been reduced due to advances in metallization techniques.

Jinko Solar the world’s biggest module provider again in 2019

The solar giant shipped 14.2 GW of modules last year, up 33% on 2018 for the high-water mark of another year dominated by Chinese manufacturers.

Tongwei to open new 30 GW cell fab in Sichuan

Construction of the $2.87 billion factory is scheduled to start in March and manufacturing activity should be launched in 2021.

An inverted perovskite cell with 22.3% efficiency

Saudi researchers have developed a cell which is said to exhibit improved structural and optoelectronic properties as well as enhanced carrier mobility and diffusion lengths. The feat was achieved by reducing voltage losses using a new passivation technique.

Trimming optical losses in tandem perovskite cells

Spanish researchers have unveiled a monolithic nano-structured perovskite silicon tandem device they claim can reduce optical losses by more than a third compared to planar perovskite cells of the same kind.

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.

Storage Highlights 2020 – Gigawatt Winner: Enapter

And so it is again. With the new decade, pv magazine brings forth yet another energy storage highlights. Approximately two weeks of work went into sifting through this year’s 22 highlights submissions, conducting research, and preparing them for the jury. Once again, this year’s work was crowned by the moderation of the jury meeting, in which six leading industry experts discussed the technologies and solutions. Differing from previous years, the jurors have selected the top five “Gigawatt” winners, followed by five “Megawatt” winners, and a series of “Finalists” which will be published in the coming weeks, leading up to Energy Storage Europe.

The inner workings of a lithium battery

An international group of scientists has developed a comprehensive method to track the microscopic processes at work in lithium batteries. Employing a ‘virtual unrolling’ model developed for ancient manuscripts too sensitive to be opened, the group peeked inside the layers of a commercial battery to gain a better understanding of the processes at work and the degradation mechanisms affecting them. Their findings, the group says, could provide a benchmark for battery characterization.

Coronavirus could cost Chinese battery makers 26 GWh of output

WoodMac analysts say the amount of new battery manufacturing capacity added in the nation this year could fall by as much as 10% because of the outbreak. With Tesla’s Shanghai gigafactory affected by the extended new-year-holiday shutdown, the analyst warned of potential supply shortages for Australia and the U.S. and U.K.

Energy density advances and faster charging would unlock EV revolution

With electric vehicles making up only 3% of the global car market last year, analyst WoodMac says battery packs need to be cheaper and lighter and range anxiety must be addressed to change the habits of drivers.

Israel’s 300 MW solar-plus-storage tender reportedly at risk

Financial newspaper Globes has reported the tender, launched only three weeks ago, is being opposed by the country’s Land Authority, which claims the project could interfere with sand-mining near Dimona.

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