Top News

Longi achieves record conversion rate of 20.41% for PERC modules

Longi Green Energy Technology has announced a new record conversion rate of 20.41% for its P-type PERC monocrystalline modules (type 60).
Markets & Policy

UK: Shell signs 5 year private PPA with BSR for 69.8 MW solar project – comment

Shell Energy Europe Ltd has signed a five year power purchase agreement (PPA) with British Solar renewables (BSR), for the off-take of energy from England’s largest solar PV power plant.

Markets & Policy

Report: Trump says he’ll announce solar tariff decision “soon”

In an interview with Reuters, the president slammed what he referred to as the dumping of inexpensive modules on the U.S. market.

Technology

Leading research institutes to collaborate on flexible CIGS

Two of Europe’s leading research institutes, Germany’s Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden Württemberg (ZSW) and the Institut Photovoltaïque D’Île de France (IPVF) have announced plans to closely cooperate in researching concepts for flexible solar cells utilizing CIGS technology.

Markets & Policy

WFES: ISA signs letters of intent for $5bn financing, nine solar projects across five member states

This week’s World Future Energy Summit (WFES) saw a letter of intent inked at the International Solar Alliance’s (ISA’s) pavilion to secure financing of up to US$5 billion with India’s YES Bank by 2030. The organization also signed deals for nine solar projects across five ISA member countries, including in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India and Spain.

Manufacturing

Taiwan’s UREC to receive government backing, will shift focus to downstream PV

The Taiwanese Government is set to invest in the United Renewable Energy Company (UREC), which is expected to be officially formed in Q3 2018 by solar cell makers, Neo Solar Power (NSP), Gintech Energy and Solartech Energy. The new company will shift focus from cell manufacturing to downstream solar PV.

Markets & Policy

Japan’s NPC swings to profit in Q1 of fiscal 2018

The Japanese equipment provider also reports an increase in its sales and operating result in the period; and said its machinery business was almost as planned in the quarter, due to steady sales of PV module manufacturing equipment and automated machines.

Installations

Fotowatio closes financing for 342 MW of solar in Mexico

The solar unit of UAE-based Abdul Latif Jameel Energy will build the giant PV plant in the Mexican state of San Luis de Potosí. The facility is expected to start delivering power in 2019.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Power, to the people

Puerto Rico: The devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico was vast and indiscriminate. Reporter Daniella Cheslow visited some of the areas most badly affected and found a shredded grid, a rising demand for energy independence, solar and storage, and a heartening reminder of humankind’s capacity for kindness, endurance and determination.

Meyer Burger achieves highest order intake in six years

According to preliminary financial figures released today, Swiss equipment provider Meyer Burger has registered a slight increase in sales for the full year 2017, improving on its 2016 net result. Nevertheless, the company is still reckoning with a significant loss for the year.

Montenegro to halt renewable energy licenses; continues deployment of off-grid PV

Noting that it is close to reaching its 33% renewable energy target, Montenegro’s Ministry of Economy has said it will not issue any more licenses for renewable energy projects. It has, however, launched the third phase of deployment of solar PV systems for un-electrified households in secluded mountainous areas.

EU Parliament votes in favor of 2030 binding renewable energy target of 35%

The European Parliament has approved a proposal to raise the target submitted by its Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) in late November.

TÜV Rheinland: Centralized tracker architecture can reduce LCOE

A report published by TÜV Rheinland, which was commissioned by tracker manufacturer Array Technologies, shows that centralized tracker systems such as those offered by Array Technologies offer an LCOE advantage over other, decentralized system architectures.

WFES: Acwa Power partners with Huawei on solar plant monitoring

The Saudi Arabian power firm announces details of pilot project that will utilize Huawei’s FusionSolar control and monitoring system to enhance a fleet of PV plants.

Installations

Featured

All about that baseload

Interview: The emergence of Finnish power firm Wärtsilä as a fledgling heavyweight in the world of renewables could usher in a new thirst for hybridized large-scale solar plants. The President of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions Javier Cavada outlines his vision for a solar+A.N.Other future.

Total completes solar plant at its biorefinery in France

The 8 MW facility is relying on solar modules from the group’s unit, SunPower.

Skanska, Saule Technologies to install BIPV perovskite modules on office buildings

The two companies have signed a license agreement. The first pilot projects with the semitransparent perovskite solar cells are planned for this year in Poland

BNEF releases 2018 clean energy predictions

BNEF has released its top 10 clean energy predictions for 2018, including at least 107 GW of solar PV installs. China will lead, but Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East will notably up the ante. India will install less RE than in 2017, but will see fossils outpace RE for the last time; and China will see distributed grid connected solar leading the market. Li-ion prices are also declining, while EV sales grow.

PIF, Palestinian Government invest $35 million in PV rooftop projects

The Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) and the Ministry of Education have signed an agreement to install 35 MW of solar PV on the roofs of 500 public schools.

Senegal commissions another 30 MW solar park

The Ten Merina solar facility was built by Engie’s subsidiary, Solairedirect. The project was financed by French investment firm, Meridiam and Proparco.

Technology

The next segment for trackers?

C&I trackers: Trackers have already taken over the utility-scale U.S. solar market segment, but the potentially bigger commercial and industrial segment has been largely ignored by tracker makers, EPCs, and developers. However, this could be about to change, as players in this segment look to trackers for their next move.

Chinese researchers develop new gas-solid perovskite process

In another attempt at cracking the perovskite stability problem, scientists from China’s Liaocheng University and Hefei University of Technology have developed a new gas-solid process for the creation of perovskite thin-films, which they say can lead to improved stability and response time.

Harvesting energy from ‘hot’ electrons could boost perovskite efficiency

Scientists from the University of Groningen have discovered a tin-based perovskite material in which electrons retain high energy levels for much longer than previously. This discovery could allow for the creation of very high efficiency perovskite cells, by eliminating a large portion of energy loss through heat.

German scientists claim inhomogeneous perovskite films are highly functional

Contrary to common belief, holes in perovskite films may not always negatively affect the performance of perovskite-based solar cells, according to recent research from the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB).

Seasonal patterns show a need for more solar in the U.S. electricity mix

An abundance of hydroelectric power and wind is pushing up renewable energy in the spring months, but there is a need for more power during the summer peak, as well as issues with the geographic location of resources.

Researchers at Cambridge University develop new type of two-cell bio-photovoltaics

Researchers have developed and designed a new algae-powered fuel cell that is five times more efficient than existing plant and algal models, as well as having the potential of being more cost-effective to produce and more practical to use.

Manufacturing

Featured

Building new markets

Thin film and BIPV: Thanks to their light weight and potential to be deployed on glass and other materials, thin film PV solutions show strong potential in building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). CIGS is seen by many in the industry as a particularly suitable technology for these applications, and as the first of several factories is brought online in China, pv magazine looks at the potential for this and other thin film technologies in the nascent market for BIPV.

The emerging Middle Eastern PV module industry – interview

In an interview with pv magazine, the Business Planning and Strategy Manager of Jordan-based consultant, Sina Industrial Projects Co, Ali Suleiman provides an extensive overview on the emerging Middle Eastern PV panel manufacturing industry. How much more this industry will be able to grow, however, remains unclear. It is also difficult to predict if big players will emerge on the Middle Eastern solar energy landscape.

Brazil’s government to review project for Brazilian-Paraguayan vertically integrated PV production

The feasibility study for the 1.7 GW Green Silicon project was conducted by Germany’s Fraunhofer IPA, Fraunhofer ISE, Viridis-iq and ZSW in 2015. The project is being developed by the local hydropower producer, Itaipú in partnership with the industry trade association of the Brazilian state of Paraná, and with the support of German industry association, Solar Cluster Baden-Württemberg.

The weekend read: The science of soil

Soiling and solar: No two solar plants are ever the same, and the conditions that can impact energy yield can literally change with the wind. Soiled solar modules had long been considered a minor nuisance for the sector, but as understanding of how soiling affects output improves, so have techniques and technologies to tackle the persistent problem of dirty modules.

Hemlock calls on Trump to restore access to the Chinese polysilicon market

The last round of the trade war decimated U.S. polysilicon, and Hemlock Semiconductor is calling on Trump to address this in the Section 201 remedy.

Solaria raises $23 million, will triple manufacturing capacities

The high-efficiency PV maker plans to expand its annual production capacity to 300 MW by the end of 2018, with expansions in both the United States and South Korea.

Energy Storage

Featured

Major milestones for PAYG solar in Africa

Off-grid financials: Acquisitions in the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar home system market indicate signs of market maturity: market specialization, the formation of multiple revenue streams, and the first equity exit. pv magazine spoke with the PAYG companies involved in the recent acquisitions to understand the impact on their businesses, and on the PAYG solar market as a whole.

AES, Siemens launch energy storage platform Fluence, confirm involvement in 100 MW LA storage project

Collaboration between the U.S. energy firm and the German power electronics giant officially licensed on January 1, as details of a massive 100 MW/400 MWh lithium-ion battery storage project in California were announced.

Nearly 500 MW of large batteries installed on the US grid in three years (w/ chart)

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Energy finds an acceleration in the deployment of batteries, dominated by lithium-ion technology.

China the global leader in 2017 clean energy investment, at over $44 bn

China was the global leader in 2017 clean energy investment, says a new report. On the solar front, the country accounts for 60% of all cell production; and will continue to lead installation developments for at least the next five years. New 2020 targets are expected to be set. In the battery arena, Chinese companies are also set to dominate.

German Development Bank granted incentives to 6,900 residential solar-plus-storage systems in 2017

Approved incentive applications reached a volume of approximately €123 million. At the turn of the year, however, the rebate granted by the German Government dropped from 13% to 10%.

Iraqi refugee camp to be powered by Autarsys energy storage, PV system

Berlin-based Autarsys GmbH has announced plans to install an energy storage system together with a 300 kWp PV plant at a refugee camp in northern Iraq.

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Press Releases

Cepsa and Masdar join forces to expand their renewables businesses internationally

Both companies have complementary expertise to work together in developing projects in Spain, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The next step in energy storage: Large capacities for flexible and mobile use

Those in the know have long recognised that battery technology is indispensable to the energy transition. It makes it possible to meet a flexible demand for energy but usually requires a fixed installation.

In Adjuntas the first radio station in the Caribbean with a solar-powered transmitter

Community radio station Radio Casa Pueblo became the first broadcaster in the Caribbean to change its infrastructure to operate entirely with renewable energy.

Hanwha Q Cells launches professional ladies golf team

Hanwha Q Cells Co. , Ltd announced that it has officially launched the Hanwha Q Cells Ladies Golf Team.