Top News

PI Berlin findings say little about module quality in Europe

PI Berlin analysis has suggested the quality of modules is particularly high in Asian factories with a large throughput. However, just 2% of the 67 GW of production capacity audited for the study originated in Europe. The audits for the white paper were mostly carried out by Solarbuyer between 2012 and 2018.
Installations

The Windy – or maybe that should be nuclear – City will go 100% renewable

Chicago may be the largest city in the U.S. to commit to 100% renewable energy and has set a 2035 target date. The famous city’s long association with nuclear power says a lot about the future of clean energy Statesside.
Markets & Policy

Development banks unlock €38 million for Ukrainian PV plant

Black Sea and European lenders have loaned €19.1 million each to a 57 MW solar plant in southern Ukraine, as the country scrambles to renew its electricity sector. The EBRD is committed to lending €250 million to renewables projects in Ukraine to hel...
Energy Storage

Storage Highlights Countdown #9; Keeping score of battery performance with DNV GL

The Energy Storage Europe conference is nearing and pv magazine is featuring the top ten developments in the field as our Energy Storage Highlights, selected by an independent jury of experts. Having kicked off with a hydrogen fuel cell based appr...
Markets & Policy

Shell moves to acquire German storage business Sonnen

In May, oil giant Shell invested in German manufacturer Sonnen. Now the 112-year-old company wants to fully acquire the business, subject to Germany’s monopoly authorities. Sonnen said it hopes the deal will accelerate its growth by expanding its marke...
Markets & Policy

EDF negotiates Luxel acquisition to boost its French solar deployment

France is set to have a near-3 GW annual solar market for the next six years from tenders alone and energy giant EDF wants a 30% piece of the action. To do so, the utility has entered negotiations with Luxel shareholders to acquire the PV developer.
Markets & Policy

EnBW and Energiekontor ink PPA for subsidy-free PV plant in Germany

The companies have entered a 15-year agreement for the plant, probably the first PPA for a project that size in Germany. Last week, EnBW said it was considering constructing a subsidy-free solar park in Brandenburg.
Installations

Chinese city wants 700 MW of new solar within two years

The capital city of pollution-blighted Zhejiang province has announced an ambitious clean air policy in the wake of Beijing’s call for local governments, big lenders and power companies to pull out the stops to restart the solar revolution.

Press Releases

Kasapreko Company Limited and CrossBoundary Energy Ghana complete commissioning of 400KWp solar plant

Kasapreko Company Limited (Kasapreko), CrossBoundary Energy Ghana Limited (CBE Ghana), and Yingli Namene West Africa Limited (Yingli Namene) are today announcing the completion of commissioning of Kasapreko’s 400. 4 KWp solar plant located at Kasapreko’s Spintex Road bottling facility.

5MW solar PV tender open for prequalification in the Maldives

Government of Maldives announced the installation of 5MW Solar Photovoltaic system in the Capital city Male’. This is an initiative of the Government of the Republic of Maldives, on a plan to transform the electricity sector through private sector investments in renewable energy development on a large scale.

Talesun Solar Aims 3 GW Mono PERC Capacity in 2019

Talesun Solar plans to expand its mono PERC capacity quickly to 3 GW within 2019. Meanwhile the China key PV player is also transferring its main module lines to half-cut type to fulfill increasing market needs of Europe, USA, Japan and Australia.

Tender for Africa’s largest rooftop PV-plant

The tender to build Africa’s largest rooftop PV-plant’s located closed to Accra, Ghana is open. The investor LMI is one of the largest Ghanaen companies.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Reading between the lines: What is the real message of BP’s Energy Outlook 2019 report?

The rise of renewables may have hogged the headlines but there is, nevertheless, a reassuring underlying message to investors with their money in fossil fuels. However there may be hope in meeting the Paris Agreement goals, if only we could encourage a few more trade wars...

The reform of the European electricity market is imperative for the PV revolution

Antonio Delgado, founder and CEO at AleaSoft Energy Forecasting has analysed the proposal for the reform of the European electricity market, which is still to be approved by the European Parliament. Below he discusses its most relevant aspects for the wholesale electricity market.

Debunking the low-cost nuclear myth

An article published in the FT this week was right to point out that pricing new energy capacity involves more than just comparing strike prices, but if you are in the business of calculating real costs, do it properly. For nuclear in particular, that’s a case of ‘in for a penny, in for (several) pounds’.

Outlook for n-type

Among n-type manufacturers, SunPower, Panasonic, and LG had the leading roles in interdigitated back contact (IBC), heterojunction (HJT), and tunnel oxidized passivated contact (TOPCon), respectively. But Chinese cells with low cost and high efficiency trends have been on the rise. In the future expansion of n-type production lines, the power of Chinese cell manufacturers and equipment makers can’t be underestimated.

Will Colombia’s renewable energy auction set a new bar for the market?

Colombia is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. According to data from the Colombia’s National Mining and Energy Planning Unit, UPME and the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), hydro potential is estimated at 56 GW countrywide, while solar is close to 42 GW and wind 15 GW in the Guajira region alone. Today, hydroelectric sources make up 65% of the energy mix, while wind and solar account for just 0.11% and 0.06%, respectively. As these numbers underscore, Colombia has barely scratched the surface of its renewable potential.

MENA: Opportunity in diversity

MENA countries have made significant strides in recent years in the fostering of both large-scale and distributed solar market segments. However, some investors and developers may turn elsewhere for opportunities if there remains a predominance of large utility-scale projects dominated by a small number of players, writes Iwan Walters, a partner in the corporate practice of Eversheds Sutherland.

Markets & Policy

Featured

PV’s Polish cold turkey

Considering the remarkable advances made by the solar sector since the Rio ‘Earth Summit’ of 1992, PV was notable by its absence at the Convention of Parties (COP) climate change summit held by the UN in Poland.

Chint’s 103 MW Dutch solar park will use Astronergy panels

Chinese module maker announces start of construction on big project in the Netherlands weeks after announcing production of solar panels at its German Astronergy unit would be halted.

PV explosion not enough to keep EU on track for 2020 renewables ambition

Despite solar’s explosive growth, the bloc is unlikely to meet its 20% clean energy target. Transport in particular remains a drag, with slow adoption rates for alternative fuels. Wind power supplanted hydro as Europe’s largest renewable electricity source.

India a $50bn market for energy storage, says US energy firm chief

Given its ambitious goal of achieving 175 GW of renewable power generation capacity by 2022 – and push for electric mobility – the world’s second most populous nation presents a potentially huge investment opportunity.

Rising Nordic power prices lifted Statkraft’s fourth-quarter results

The Norwegian renewable energy company cited rising prices, cost reduction plans and lucrative transactions as the main reason for its positive update. The average Nordic energy price in the quarter was €47.7/MWh, an increase of 56% from the same period a year earlier.

World’s first solar-powered passenger car on roads next year

A Dutch start-up has designed an electric vehicle that runs solely on solar energy, and aims to deliver its first models next year. The car will also be available to lease.

Installations

Featured

Towering utility bills drive C&I tracker market

The growing market for tracker-mounted solar within the U.S. commercial and industrial market is being driven squarely by mammoth utility bills that often include time-of-use charges and total demand charges. Single-axis and double-axis systems are being deployed on warehouses, at agricultural facilities, factories, mines, landfills, carports, and other sites, often with a payback of only a few years, equipment sellers say.

Storage Highlights Countdown #10; Proton Motor hydrogen electrolyzer for full self-sufficiency

The Energy Storage Europe conference and trade show is nearing and pv magazine is featuring the top ten developments in the field as our Energy Storage Highlights, selected by an independent jury of experts. We kick off with Proton Motor’s contribution to a Swiss project that enables apartment tenants to live without a gas or electricity grid connection.

US solar installations grew in 2018 despite tariffs

Clean energy analyst BloombergNEF says the U.S. installed 11.7 GWdc last year – 15% more capacity than earlier estimated – as well as 292 MW of batteries. Despite new solar and wind growth, and coal closures, however, emissions still rose from 2017 levels on the back on increased gas use.

Baltic’s largest PV rooftop inaugurated

The region’s largest rooftop solar system has been mounted on a plastics factory in Lithuania. The 1.4 MW site’s inauguration was attended by 100 high-level guests from the nation’s business community.

Malawi launches 20 MW solar tender

Utility Egenco is seeking developers for a large-scale solar power plant in Salima, in central Malawi.

Solar, wind and storage can provide seven key grid services

Former NREL employee pens paper to rebut claims conventional energy can supply the essential grid services needed to return to normality after network disruption. The author says claims renewable energy cannot provide such services are erroneous.

Technology

Featured

Sweet sweep

The amount and nature of desert dust determines whether daily cleaning of solar modules is a favorable option. However, frequent and water-intensive cleaning, as well as the amount of labor required, can be costly in desert installations. But the ingenuity of automation is on its way to help.

India gets first grid-scale battery energy storage system

The 10 MW system at Tata Power Delhi Distribution’s Rohini substation is said to be South Asia’s largest.

South Africa’s load shedding nightmare may vanish with more renewables

As utility Eskom starts load shedding due to power plant failure, the 4 GW of wind and solar in the country are helping reduce energy shortages. Blue Horizon Energy Consulting Services’ Chris Ahlfeldt tells pv magazine renewables – rather than Eskom’s plans to expand conventional generation capacity – would provide a safer, cheaper solution to the power crisis.

Flying the – 4 milliwatt – flag for piezo/solar renewables

Scientists at the U.K.’s University of Manchester have developed a flag which can harvest solar and wind energy while hoisted. The banner, say the researchers, can generate up to 4 mW of energy, and could be used to power remote sensors or small electronic devices.

Vietnam mulls multi-layered FIT scheme as it kicks energy transition into gear

With its feed-in tariff set to expire at the end of June, Vietnam is considering different levels of payment, classified across three irradiation regions and involving four solar technologies. Future payments would range from $0.0659-0.0985/kWh, with the cloudy north in line for the highest tariffs and with the government likely to revise tariffs for new projects every two years.

Amprion and OGE announce 100 MW power-to-gas project in Germany

The €150 million project is entering the approval phase. Using the new facility, expected by 2023, the two companies will test how electricity from renewable energy can be converted into green hydrogen and green methane via electrolysis.

Manufacturing

Featured

Reflections on a soiled module

Having quickly proven their performance boosting potential and durability, anti-reflective coatings are now found on the majority of modules rolling off the world’s production lines. Today, coating suppliers are looking to tackle losses from soiling as well as reflection, and working to keep up with cost reductions and extended lifetime expectations at module level. Older modules, installed without a coating, could also be set to benefit from their latest innovations.

Turkey’s 1 GW Konya project in doubt

Project partners Hanwha Q Cells and local company Kalyon Enerji appear to have ended their partnership and to be negotiating the terms of a ‘divorce’.

ABN Amro takes majority stake in Dutch PV module testing company Eternal Sun

The controlling interest in Eternal Sun group was acquired by the Dutch bank’s Energy Transition Fund. The value of the transaction was not revealed.

Chile wants to know amount of local content of its solar plants

Public body Codesser wants to hire experts to carry out a “Study to determine the participation of national suppliers in the provision of construction, operation and maintenance components and services in solar energy projects in Chile”.

REC Silicon to suspend production at Moses Lake poly factory

Norway-headquartered REC Silicon has revealed plans to halt operations at its Moses Lake facility in the U.S. in 17 days’ time. The company says it has taken the decision to maintain liquidity for its semiconductor business with American workers set to pay the price for President Trump’s trade war with China.

Investor search for Solarworld failed, module factory to be auctioned-off

The manufacturer’s insolvency administrator has declared the investor search over. By March at the latest, all production equipment at the German module factory in Freiberg, as well as the buildings themselves, should come under the hammer.

Energy Storage

Featured

A smarter way to charge electric vehicles

It seems that almost every day, there is another big announcement relating to electric vehicles (EVs) and how we are going to charge them. Delta-ee Principal Analyst John Murray examines the ins and outs of different business models proposed for the future of EV charging and its relationship to the energy system.

Slovakian utility ZSE launches virtual battery for residential PV

The service, costing €2 per month, is for residential customers that use PV products provided by the power company. The system is provided by E.ON group – a shareholder in the Slovak utility – and has already been launched in Germany, Czechia and Italy.

New Zealand identifies 11 GW solar potential

The nation already meets well above 80% of its electricity demand from renewable energy. With e-mobility and electric industrial processes on the rise, higher demand has created new development opportunities.

Financial backing for study of grid effects in Australia’s booming distributed generation market

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has awarded AU$9.6 million in grants for five projects and seven studies into the role of distributed generation assets on the grid – and how to expand their penetration.

The weekend read: From solar to gas

The opportunities for power-to-gas have long interested the solar community, but large-scale projects have been exceptionally rare. The outgoing CEO of SolarPower Europe, James Watson, has presided over a transformative period at the organization, and departed in January to head up Eurogas – right at the point the region’s solar sector is set for revival. Advancing a power-to-gas agenda, Watson tells pv magazine editor in chief Jonathan Gifford, will be a big part of his new challenge.

Ikea begins online sale of PV panels in Italy

A few weeks after launching the sale of its “Solstrale” modules in Germany, the Swedish furniture giant also began offering online its PV panels and systems throughout Italy.

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