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The weekend read: Taking the lead

This quarter, pv magazine‘s UP Initiative focuses on lead – a toxic heavy metal that’s present in many PV technologies, and one that’s often mentioned in connection with hazardous substances across the green energy supply chain. We take a closer look at the issue and ask what it would mean for manufacturers to replace lead in their modules with more environmentally friendly materials.
Markets & Policy

EU data protection rules could kill VPPs and other new business models

Ursula von der Leyen’s newly-appointed EU Commission is facing an early test of its credentials with the European Council caught in the crossfire over citizen data rights. The renewables industry voiced fears yesterday, at a digitalization conference i...
Markets & Policy

Poly-maker Wacker blames Chinese state subsidies for its latest €750m hit

The Munich-based group has reported a big impairment on its polysilicon production assets. The company cited the lack of a recovery in the PV project market, persistently low polysilicon prices and overcapacity in manufacturing, blaming state subsidies t...
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View-factor vs. ray tracing – which bifacial modelling techniques should you use?

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High or low tilt angles for single-axis trackers in extreme winds – a different approach

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Hybrid inverters – the new trend in residential solar+storage?

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Did you miss our Future PV Roundtable at RE? The video is out!

2019 energy storage North America special

In cooperation with Energy Storage North America, which took place in San Diego, California in November, pv magazine has put together an Energy Storage special edition.

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2019 Sustainability Award window opened

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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

Scottish Power enters PV business

The distribution network operator for central and southern Scotland says it wants to maximize onshore renewables potential by adding solar and storage to its clean energy business. The company said hybrid projects combining wind, solar and storage will b...
Installations

Ambitious 1 GW agrivoltaic livestock farming project announced in Malaysia

The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute is planning a huge solar power project which will integrate agriculture and livestock farming in the Sabah region. The research institute claims to have already secured $50 million for the project’s f...
Markets & Policy

French researchers developing algorithm to identify losses in PV projects

Liten, a research institute of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, is developing a method of assessing losses at every stage from the reception of solar rays to the injection of electricity into the grid, to ‘make it possible ...
Markets & Policy

Danish renewables auction too successful at driving down public cost of clean energy

The Danish Energy Agency allocated 252 MW of clean energy generation capacity, of which 83 MW was solar and 93 MW solar-wind hybrid facilities which included 34.1 MW of PV capacity. The average price premium to be paid on top of wholesale electricity rat...
Installations

Cyprus installs largest rooftop PV under net billing program

The 2.5 MW array will operate under a payment system which guarantees grid operators will not be left out of pocket.
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Press Releases

Solar monitoring specialist Solytic and Powerdoo join forces

Powerdoo is joining Berlin-based Solytic. The startup is building a digital advisor for all topics around solar to turn data into profitable actions.

Jema awarded with a new battery energy storage system project in Tonga Islands

Tonga’s first large scale Battery Energy Storage System to be built at the Popua Power Station is expected to be operational in May 2020, contributing to Tonga’s 50% Renewable Energy target.

Antaisolar provided solar racking for 34 MW PV project in Japan

The 34 MW solar project is located in Hokkaido, Japan- a remote area with a slope of 0-20º. Combined with the local complex terrain environment, Antaisolar provided aluminum solar racking solution with E-W direction adjustable and ground screw foundation.

Top 5 highlights from Clenergy at All-Energy Australia 2019

See below for the top 5 highlights from Clenergy during All-Energy Australia 2019.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

How solar could save the Mekong

A simple feasibility analysis shows the Mekong River in Cambodia would benefit from floating solar plants coupled with storage, rather than more hydro.

Success factors for hybrid microgrids

When it comes to hybrid microgrids, writes Fabian Baretzky, senior business development and sales manager for Dhybrid Power Systems, the incorporation of various sources of energy and complex requirements for long-term stability of the energy supply require expertise and an effective energy management system.

Module prices continue to slide

After China’s National Day holiday, demand started picking up at a slow pace, but the anticipated installation rush did not occur as expected, due to land and financing issues, as well as the return of winter. These factors will also delay the timing of more than 6 GW of capacity to the first half of next year. PV InfoLink has thus downwardly revised its estimates for installed capacity in the fourth quarter to 11.3 GW in China and 30 GW globally, bringing this year’s global demand forecast to below 120 GW.

Is the EU solarizing its digitized economy sans an environmental tax policy?

The EU is solarizing its digital economy at a fast pace. The factors behind this paradigm shift in energy – when renewable energy is projected comprise 90% of the electricity mix in Europe by 2040 – include technical, economic, environmental.

A record year for trackers

It was a record year for global shipments of single-axis solar photovoltaic (PV) trackers in 2018, as they increased by more than 40%, surpassing 20 GW globally for the first time, writes IHS Markit senior analyst Camron Barati. While the United States continued to be the largest individual market for single-axis trackers last year, shipments also increased in Mexico, Australia, Egypt, Spain, and other large utility-scale markets.

Solar will power ahead to offer 20% more output for 25% lower module costs within 15 months

PV industry veteran Karl-Heinz Remmers recalls the trajectory of solar power this decade and predicts stronger than expected development for the ten years ahead.

Markets & Policy

Featured

The specter of PV protectionism

Trade tariffs are spreading across the global PV industry. The United States has been especially active with its sandwich of old antidumping and countervailing duties coupled with new Section 201, 232 and 301 duties. Some of these are part of the Sino-U.S. trade dispute; others impact not only Chinese producers, but manufacturers around the world. So, what will be the impact of this new era of PV protectionism on the solar sector?

Elon Musk calls for an ‘immediate’ and ‘significant increase’ in Tesla’s solar installs

Tesla was once the unquestioned leader in the U.S. residential rooftop market with a market share of around 33 percent, but today, the company is No. 3, and its market share during the first quarter was a little more than 6 percent.

Teaming up for 20% efficient CIGS

Manufacturers and research institutes from across Europe have announced plans to collaborate on creating improved processes for CIGS module production. Optimistically named SUCCESS, the project targets production line efficiencies of better than 20% for 30x30cm modules.

Vietnam introduces auction scheme for large-scale PV

With the publication of Notification No. 402/TB-VPCP on Nov. 22, the Vietnamese government has cemented its transition from feed-in tariffs to auctions, in a clear step away from earlier promises to revive the FIT scheme.

A2A to acquire 1 GW solar pipeline from China’s Talesun

The Italian utility has agreed to buy the PV development pipeline for an undisclosed sum via a subsidiary, and vowed to start building its first large-scale, subsidy-free PV plant in the early months of 2020.

Nevada toys with 1 GW of storage by 2030

In what has been a crazy year for Nevada, the Public Utilities Commission is ending on an equally insane note by proposing 1 GW of energy storage to be deployed across the state by the last day of 2030.

Installations

The return of BIPV

Since the beginning of 2019, many people within China’s PV industry have started to get the same feeling. Not about grid parity, or about mono replacing multi, but about something more unexpected. More and more people are speaking up at conferences and meetings about building-integrated PV (BIPV), which has been little more than a niche curiosity for years. Now BIPV, it seems, is making a big comeback in China.

20MW/35MWh solar+storage plant to be built in Sudan

Egyptian manufacturer El Sewedy Electric has secured a contract from the Sudanese government to build the $45 million project in Nesitu county, near the national capital of Juba. The African Export-Import Bank is financing the project.

Coupling pumped hydro with renewables and other storage technologies

The combination of pumped hydro with other storage technologies can increase renewables penetration, improve operational safety and reduce maintenance costs at large-scale hydropower plants, according to new research. The study also focuses on techniques to determine the optimal size of renewables-based pumped hydro storage systems. Costs for hybrid solar-pumped hydro projects currently range from $0.098/kWh to $1.36/kWh.

17MW/15MWh storage system for solar plant at gold mine in Mali

Mali is set to host one of the world’s largest off grid solar+storage projects, as a 30 MW solar plant will soon be coupled with a 17MW/15MWh storage facility to power the Fekola gold mine. Finland’s Wärtsilä will supply the battery.

France’s Ombrea develops solar blinds with sliding PV panels

The company said its technology, which is managed by an AI-based system, can be used in agrivoltaic projects.

Private solar PPAs signed in France and Germany

French renewables company Voltalia has secured a 25-year power purchase agreement from Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale for a 10 MW solar plant and Germany’s Enerparc has signed a long term deal with Norwegian energy company Statkraft for a solar park planned in Bavaria.

Technology

Featured

Perovskites hit the home stretch

Microquanta Semiconductor holds a 17.25% efficiency record for a relatively large-area perovskite module and wants to build a production facility with fresh capital from investors. pv magazine takes a look at the Chinese startup and some of the basic questions surrounding the technology.

Hot charge extraction to push perovskite efficiency

With the absorption of ‘hot’ charges, which lose their energy faster than it can be absorbed by any convention technology, solar cells could become massively more efficient. An international group of scientists has developed a method to examine the bond between a perovskite and charge extraction layer, and determine the most suitable materials for hot charge extraction in a solar cell.

Chalcogenide perovksites for PV energy and waste heat recovery

According to new research, metal chalcogenide perovskites can be used as a thermoelectric material than can convert thermal energy from the sun to usable electric power. These materials, which can also be used to develop perovskite PV cells, are known for their high thermal and aqueous stability, along with their nontoxic elemental composition.

Australia’s Marinus Link interconnector project inches forward following new reports

Tasmania’s ambitions of becoming the “battery of Australia” improved following early reports on the proposed Marinus Link, a second interconnector between the states of Tasmania and Victoria, which show that the project’s economic advantages far outweigh expected costs.

Nice Solar Energy sets new world record for CIGS efficiency

Chinese-German JV Nice Solar Energy has set a new world record of 17.6% efficiency for a CIGS module with a 0.72m² surface. The achievement has been confirmed by German testing organization TÜV Rheinland.

Star Wars’ Death Star with PV modules could surpass global energy needs by 10 times

EOn has calculated the number of PV modules that could theoretically be installed on the Imperial space station from the popular film series. It concluded that even a small version of the station would be able to provide enough solar power to supply 2.5 billion households on Earth.

Manufacturing

Featured

Addressing HJT capex, opex in equipment supply

Heterojunction can be an attractive technology pathway for a number of PV producers, says Christian Knechtel CEO and CFO of Von Ardenne. However, the key to deployment could lie in manufacturing key production tools in a cheaper manner while continuously ramping up throughput.

Longi Solar signs 1.2 GW bifacial module deal with Adani

The Chinese module maker will supply Adani Green Energy with 1.2 GW of Hi MO4 bifacial modules, with cell efficiency reaching 22.5% and module power peaking at 430W (72 cells).

Hanergy-owned Alta Devices reportedly lays off 250 employees without notice

The U.S. business built and sold record-setting gallium-arsenide solar cells but its parent has seemingly run out of patience. Having failed to give its workers notice of the move, Hanergy is either in contravention of U.S. employment law, ‘faltering’ or subject to ‘unforeseen business circumstances’.

Assessing metal leaching from PV modules dumped in landfill

An Indian research team has analyzed around 300 scientific studies about PV panel waste containing carcinogenic metals. The researchers said solar module recycling is not economically profitable and policy support is necessary to avoid panels being dumped in landfill.

Japanese researchers explain why organic solar cells are damaged by UV light

Scientists have observed that the efficiency of an organic PV device decreases by around 50% when it is exposed to 100-h light irradiation. They attributed this loss to increased resistance of the organic semiconductor layer.

Is it worth increasing cell efficiency? A new metric tells you when

A group of scientists is proposing a new metric – the value of efficiency – to calculate the maximum allowable cost to increase a cell’s efficiency and improve the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). The researchers expect that more regional diversification may be seen at the global level in the years to come, with the proposed metric offering higher values in North America, Central and Northern Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

Energy Storage

Featured

Flow batteries scale up to GW production

Plans for a gigawatt factory in Saudi Arabia, bullet-proof warranties and an international vanadium rental service are propelling a new generation of batteries into the energy storage big league. Pioneers of redox flow technology claim that they can put an end to the degradation and safety issues afflicting lithium-ion batteries. They also expect imminent economies of scale to reduce the cost of bulk energy storage and unlock new markets for solar power.

BYD to introduce next-generation Battery-Box in 2020

The Chinese manufacturer has also announced plans for a tenfold production capacity increase, as it wants to cater to all project sizes with two versions of its high-voltage storage system.

Could EVs start to displace fossil fuel-driven vehicles within five years?

With almost a decade having passed since electric vehicles hit public roads, the price of battery packs has dropped 87% since 2010, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. With rising efficiency and evolving supply chains, the market research group suggests cumulative demand will bring prices down to parity with internal combustion engine vehicles by 2024.

Indonesia plans domestic electric vehicle industry

A presidential decree has enacted a range of incentives for e-mobility roll-out with domestic content requirements increasing over time.

Colorado utility sees ‘opportunistic window’ with solar, wind, storage

Black Hills Energy is seeking 200 MW of solar power or wind plus energy storage capacity as part of a request for proposal, driven by summer 2019 bids for solar+storage of $0.024/kWh and $0.036/kWh and looming cuts to the 30% investment tax credit.

Narrowing down 166 billion battery materials

Researchers at the U.S. Argonne National Laboratory have applied a combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence to help narrow down a list of 166 billion molecules that could be used to form the basis of a battery electrolyte. The technique, say the researchers, offers a way to greatly reduce the cost of narrowing down such an enormous data set, while still providing a precise understanding of each molecule and its likely suitability.

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