Top News

Serbia to switch from FIT to feed-in premiums and auctions

With its feed-in tariff program set to expire at the end of the year, Serbia will be looking to introduce new mechanisms to support renewables in the form of feed-in premiums and auctions. The country’s PV uptake is still in its nascent stage however, with abundant regulatory obstacles still in place
Energy Storage

University of Texas develops new solar system integrating energy generation and storage

Researchers at the University of Texas have been awarded $3 million by the Texan Department of Energy in a bid to accelerate research in battery storage technology to overcome the “Achilles heel” of solar power

Manufacturing

Soltec to launch world’s first bifacial tracking evaluation center

Spanish manufacturer of horizontal single-axis solar trackers Soltec, together with Black & Veatch and the Renewable Energy Test Center, have created a new evaluation center in Livermore, California. The inauguration will take place on July 9

Markets & Policy

ADB finances its first utility-scale PV plant in $160 million deal

Asia’s largest IPP receives funds to develop renewable energy assets in line with Indonesia’s plans to increase renewable generation to 23% by 2025. The ADB’s support for PV at this scale is novel and could help overcome financing gaps that have hindered PV development in emerging nations

Manufacturing

Tongwei, Longi sign 55,000 MT polysilicon supply agreement

China’s Tongwei and Longi Green Energy Technology have announced a new polysilicon supply deal under which Tongwei will sell 55,000 metric tons of polysilicon to Longi through the end of 2020

Markets & Policy

Solar quadruples in big US capacity auction as electricity price soars

Unit cost of power is set to almost double for around a fifth of the US population in three years’ time as abandonment of all-of-the-above Obama strategy sees fewer generators participate in PJM capacity auction

Technology

Ireland offers funding for European collaboration on renewables

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has announced a €500,000 fund of Irish government and European Commission cash to promote sustainable energy technology development

Manufacturing

Survey finds digitalization, decentralization and decarbonization concerns energy leaders

The World Energy Council tracks the top concerns of energy leaders and has created a tool with Arup to display its findings. The rise of digitalization issues and the decreasing significance of fossil fuels indicates a strong renewables market ahead and energy start ups are receiving increasing attention from utilities and leaders

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

The impact of energy storage, pumped heat storage on global energy

With the percentage of renewables in the global energy mix increasing, and global energy demand projected to increase by 30% over the next two decades, energy storage is more important now than ever. But what are the main technologies for energy storage, and how will these technologies affect global energy? Gabriel Hurtado González, Energy Solutions Manager at Mitie, and Sasaenia Paul Oluwabunmi, Operations Officer at the OPEC Fund for International Development answer this pertinent question.

“We helped large-scale solar be commercially viable,” says departing Australian Renewable Energy Agency boss

The booming large scale and rooftop PV market in 2018 is providing reasons to be optimistic about the future of solar under the Australian sun. Reflecting on his six-year tenure as CEO at ARENA ahead of his departure in August, Ivor Frischknecht points to the role the agency played in bringing down the costs of large scale solar as ARENA’s greatest achievement.

Are the big Chinese powerhouses coming to America?

In the face of actual and threatened tariffs in the US and India, the world’s biggest solar manufacturers may have to set up shop in the protectionist nations in question ahead of a predicted cooling in their home market

Hydrogen, don’t give up!

For decades, hydrogen has been sold to us as the energy carrier of the future. You might not want to hear it anymore, because the future never seems to start. But times will change as recent developments in Germany indicate, writes Berlin-based renewable energy consultant, Stephan Franz.

Data is driving change – adapt or fall off the grid

As global economies develop, and uses for renewable energy diversifies, new pressures are being placed on the electric network. Yet, utilities are sitting on a wealth of data that can reveal better insights into their operations, writes Dan Beasley, Director, Utilities, Cyient.

Energy storage-as-a-service: The hottest game in town?

Alexander Schönfeldt of energy storage specialists, Younicos examines the growing trend of energy storage-as-a-service, and explains why the sector is growing at such a rate.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Large it up Down Under

Australian large-scale solar: From just a handful of large-scale solar PV projects a few years ago, Australia is becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. With a substantial project pipeline, the country is in the box seat to experience a banner year in 2018, with the 2020 Renewable Energy Target now in hand and a new policy taking shape for the period beyond.

TenneT issues €1.25 billion in green bonds

Dutch/German transmission operator Tennet Holding B.V. has launched a €1.25 billion green bond program. The issuance is backed by five major banks – BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, ING Bank, Lloyds and Rabobank.

PV leading the charge to low-emission future says IEA

With 34 of the 38 key technologies needed to hit the Paris Agreement’s best-case scenario falling short, PV and electric vehicles are keeping hopes alive

CDPQ takes majority stake in Invenergy Renewables

Invenergy plans to maintain day-to-day management of its renewable energy business, with the Québecois fund manager increasing its economic stake to 52%.

Sonnen secures €60 million investment from Shell Ventures

Germany-based PV-storage provider sonnen has closed a new funding round from a group of investors led by Shell Ventures. Sonnen has already began to draw on the funds as it continues to expand market shares in the U.S. and in Australia. Shell Ventures is now a major sonnen investor and future cooperation agreement has been agreed to.

SMA launching new multi string battery inverter

SMA says its new product will offer digital services such as monitoring and automatic notifications to perform maintenance as well as offering an emergency supply system. According to analysts, the varied applications of new inverters signal an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Installations

A burning issue

Cables and connectors: The quality and performance of solar balance of system components in the U.S. market is generally quite high, but there are still low quality, knock-off, or outright counterfeit products available at discounts large enough to attract some shortsighted installers or other buyers in the market.

Blockchain project Solar DAO will action its first PV plants, in Kazakhstan

The world’s first digital, autonomous, closed-end, utility-scale PV project investment fund – enabling people with any budget to become co-owners of projects – has announced the implementation of its first arrays, in Kazakhstan, with 4 MW in the north-west of the country and 4 MW in the south. Solar DAO says it will save about $50,000 per MW since total development costs will be less than $5,000 per MW.

8.5 MW PV project connected to the grid in Iran

Pars Reys Energy Bahar, a subsidiary of French energy company Hanau Energies Group has announced the completion of an 8.5 MW PV project in in Damavand County, 130 km from Iranian capital Tehran.

Lightsource BP acquires Ireland-based software company Ubiworx

British developer Lightsource has announced the acquisition of Irish software company Ubiworx. The company is a specialist in the internet of things and has already worked closely with Lightsource over the past two years

$758 million financing for the first PV-CSP plant in Latin America

Chilean company Cerro Dominador have announced the signing of a $758 million deal to finance the first combined concentrated solar power-PV project in Latin America – a 210 MW scheme in the Atacama desert

EBRD arranges financing for 50 MW project in Kazakhstan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced it will work alongside the Clean Technology Fund and Asian Development Bank to provide a loan for the construction of a 50 MW solar power plant in Kazakhstan’s central Baikonur region.

Technology

Featured

The new rising stars

Module technology trends: In the past decade, continued technology advances and cost improvements made solar one of the most dynamic industries of our time, as it continues to make a significant and growing contribution to the global supply of electricity. Technological innovation is taking place in a context of extreme price competition among solar manufacturers, which explains the focus on cost control.

Study: 100% global energy system feasible

Several scientist have joined to rebut an Australian article that questions the feasibility of a global energy transition. For this purpose, they have gathered hundreds of studies on energy systems and conclude, that there are neither fundamental technical nor financial barriers to achieve 100% renewable energy supply.

JinkoSolar hits new output records for p-type and n-type

Chinese module giant JinkoSolar today announced that it hit record power output levels for modules based on p-type and n-type technology. Both records are confirmed by TÜV Rheinland in Shanghai.

SolarEdge posts 82% revenue growth, announces acquisition of Gamatronic

GAAP gross margin improved 4% year-on-year, while shipments grew by 345 MW in the most recent quarter. Through the acquisition of the U.S.-based UPS provider, the Israeli inverter supplier makes its first move outside of the pure-play solar sector.

Silver prices to fall by $4/toz by 2030, World Bank says

A recently published report on commodity markets published by the World Bank indicates that the recent decline in commodity prices for silver is likely to continue over the next 10-20 years. The looming trade dispute between the U.S. and China is impeding investor trust, as future outlook remains murky.

Japanese scientists develop wireless optical neural stimulator based on PV

A very small implantable device that can be used to control brain patterns has been developed by Japanese researchers using photovoltaic technology. The device is both the smallest and the lightest wireless optical biodevice to have ever been developed.

Manufacturing

Featured

From cost to tech-driven advances

Quality across the PV chain: With around 100 GW installed in 2017 (according to PV Market Alliance’s preliminary numbers), the global PV industry has once again beaten even the most optimistic of forecasts. However, this rosy picture hides some specific developments that highlight how the road to maturity could be long and at times chaotic, and why support for the industry must continue, both in Europe and beyond, writes Gaëtan Masson, director of the Becquerel Institute.

Hurricane Maria moves Solartech Universal’s expansion to South Florida

Solartech Universal plans to expand its current 80 MW/year capacity by 180 MW/year. The company is seeking a facility in South Florida.

India may miss solar PV target, says CEO survey

The country will achieve solar PV capacity of 50 to 75 GW by 2022 – a little over 60% of the 100 GW target. Total rooftop capacity will be less than 10 GW.

PV inverter market becoming more diversified as price pressure intensifies – IHS Markit

PV inverter shipment volumes have gone up recently, but an increasingly competitive market has seen declining prices, forcing manufacturers to think out of the box to find new business applications for their products.

China’s GCL-Si mulls purchase of semiconductor manufacturer, may leave cell, module business

GCL System Integration Technology (GCL-Si) has revealed tentative plans to buy an unspecified state-linked semiconductor manufacturer, with Chinese media reports suggesting that the Shenzhen-listed PV module supplier may leave the solar cell and module business to exclusively focus on producing wafers for the semiconductor industry.

Panasonic to hire 80 workers at Tesla’s US gigafactory

The Tesla/Panasonic gigafactory is taking on more workers, as a sign of health. However many details remain unclear.

Energy Storage

Featured

The cells of the future

Li-ion storage: battery manufacturers have a major task ahead of them, they have to meet runaway global demand, improve the performance, safety and longevity of storage devices, and of course bring down price. Instead of hoping for a big breakthrough, they are pursuing an approach involving many small steps.

How solar emergency microgrids provide resilience to vulnerable communities

In this op-ed for pv magazine, Clean Coalition’s Frank Wasco explores how microgrid projects by Solar Saves Lives and other organizations show that communities can build back right and prepare for natural disasters.

Solar, wind will drive the value of energy storage in the US

A much heralded report shows solar and wind will lower wholesale prices, but it also shows a coming evolution in the pricing profile of the grid. These shifts in timing, shape, regularity and length will drive energy storage demand.

By 2030, EVs could outnumber the total vehicles in India today

To smoothen this transition, the country needs to build fast solar PV-powered charging stations. In 2017, there were only 220-250 operational charging stations in India, compared to 56,000 petrol stations.

Crowd investment kicking off PV, storage system market in developing countries

Autarsys reports the roll-out of two off-grid battery systems in Madagascar. Thanks to crowd investment, its order books are full. Streamlining the process of investment, the Germany-based start-up will cooperate with crowd investment platforms, Greenvesting and Ecoligo.

Brazil’s first solar-plus-storage power plant to come online

The plant, which consists of a 300 kW solar installation and a 1 MW storage system, was built by local power utility Cemig in partnership with Grupo Algar. The project is located in Uberlândia, in the state of Minas Gerais, which is the Brazilian region with the highest penetration of solar and renewables – and a grid that is in a urgent need of improvement.

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Press Releases

New: Voice service with Solar-Log™

Thanks to the power of Solar-Log™, if you need information about your PV plant, you can now just ask for it. Solar-Log WEB Enerest™ is now compatible with Amazon's Alexa Voice Service and can answer important questions about solar PV performance.

Endeas launches all-in-one tool to drive down testing cost in PV module manufacturing

Innovative PV testing technology company Endeas launches a novel all-in-one tool for the final testing of PV modules. The QuickSun 600 is the first product to include – in a single machine – a class A+A+A+ solar simulator; electroluminescence and visual inspection; and insulation resistance, ground bond and bypass diode tests

EBC joins the Small is Beautiful campaign: Small scale installations support clean energy future and create local jobs

23 May 2018, Brussels - EBC, the European Builders Confederation representing construction micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe, has joined the Small is Beautiful campaign to support small-scale renewable and co-generation installations in Europe. These installations are currently under threat in the Clean Energy Package negotiations, as Member States move to withdraw incentives, such as priority dispatch for the smallest renewable installations.

Solar Steel supplies 66 MW of its TracSmarT ® Single Axis tracker in Al-Azraq, Jordan

Solar Steel, a division of Gonvarri Steel Services, is supplying 66 MW of its TracSmarT® Single Axis tracker in Al-Azraq, Jordan.