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The weekend read: Don’t throw caution to the wind

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has opened a formal investigation into the exact failure mode behind the destruction at the Yamakura Dam floating PV installation. In the end, the ministry seeks to draw up a plan to revamp not just the dam, but also the arrays that are still intact. This is a learning exercise that should be closely followed, as floating PV is enjoying growing popularity.
Markets & Policy

Future perspectives on solid-state storage

Solid-state batteries are viewed by many as the most promising technology to succeed lithium-ion in many energy storage applications. But there are still plenty of barriers to large-scale use of this type of battery. An international team of scientists h...
Installations

Is thin-film module technology the best solution for offshore PV?

An international research team has claimed that thin-film modules are an ideal solution for floating PV projects in offshore locations, mainly due to their superior hydrodynamic properties. The scientists have also said that direct contact between instal...
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Manufacturing

Moisture-resistant perovskite cell with 22.02% efficiency

Scientists in China have used a fluorine-containing Lewis acid treatment to develop a perovskite cell that is said to retain between 63% and 80% of its initial efficiency after 14 days under 75% and 85% relative humidity.
Markets & Policy

Tesla can continue to cut trees for German ‘gigafactory’

The company has secured approval from the Berlin-Brandenburg administrative court to start clearing 91 hectares of forest for its first European "gigafactory," which is scheduled to start operations in summer 2021.
Installations

Chilean energy provider aims to build 788 MW solar park

Colbún has applied for approval to build a 788 MW solar project in Chile's northern region of Antofagasta.
Manufacturing

Hanwha officially exits polysilicon business

Hanwha Solutions has confirmed that it will shut down its polysilicon business over the course of the next year, only a week after saying that it was still evaluating its plans for the sector.
Markets & Policy

Vietnam might maintain FITs for 3 GW of approved large-scale PV projects

The transition from a feed-in tariff scheme to an auction mechanism may take longer than expected in the Southeast Asian country, as the Ministry of Industry and Trade is considering maintaining FITs of $0.0709/kWh to $0.0769/kWh for projects that secure...
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Press Releases

ML System expands its international sales

ML System, a specialized technological company and the leader of the Polish Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) market is executing several large-scale export projects to Croatia, Norway and Italy. The company expects to enlarge its foreign potential steadily.

Records of wind and photovoltaic energy production in Europe and negative daily price in Germany

The German market had its first negative price day of 2020 on Sunday, thanks to an increase in temperatures, lower demand and high wind energy production. Spain broke its historic record for instant PV energy production twice last week and Germany’s daily wind energy production also set a record.

How Agri-PV can support the EU clean energy transition in rural communities

SolarPower Europe launches new workstream focused on integrating solar installations with agricultural infrastructure (Agri-PV)

Better Energy lights the way with large-scale solar in Poland

The Danish solar energy provider continues its market-leading activities and has made yet another breakthrough in the Polish market with the allocation of two solar projects in the governmental tender for large-scale solar and wind.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

New markets for old batteries

The increased urgency for the automotive industry to deal with the disposal of EV batteries in the mid-term future will act as a catalyst for the emerging second-life battery market, writes Abhishek Sampat, Principal Analyst at Delta-EE. Automakers, and potentially third parties, are expected to exploit new value streams and a second-life market is predicted to drive down costs for stationary energy storage, with little to no compromise in quality to the end user.

Discussing bifacial project economics

Bifacial solar module technology will find beneficial application in a significant number of solar energy power plants, according to a technical assessment conducted by ArcVera Renewables. While advertised 25% or greater gains in energy yield are unlikely for most projects, typical project energy production gains are 3-10%. Analysis finds that many projects under the scrutiny of informed technical due diligence, proper measurement and site design, will reap meaningful net present value. Although financing institutions have recently not awarded significant debt financing value to bifacial projects, full credit for bifacial benefits are expected to accrue rapidly, as experience and market penetration increases.

2020 module market forecast

According to PV InfoLink’s database, JinkoSolar topped the 2019 rankings for global module shipments with around 14 GW – far higher than any of its rivals. Notably, this is not the first time Jinko has secured the No. 1 spot; it has avoided slipping from the top as many of its predecessors did in the industry’s earlier years. The company is followed by JA Solar and Trina Solar (each shipping more than 10 GW), and then Longi, Canadian Solar, Hanwha Q Cells, Risen Energy, Suntech, Astronergy, and Talesun.

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.

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?

Storage Highlights 2020 – Gigawatt Winner: Areva H2Gen

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.

Rio Tinto to power Australian iron ore mine with solar PV

Mining giant Rio Tinto has approved the construction of a large-scale solar PV and battery storage system for its Koodaideri mine in Western Australia. When completed, the solar plant will be among Australia’s largest PV installations at a mining site.

Enphase posts strong Q4 and massive 2019

The company is profitable and recording enormous jumps in revenue. All signs point to a strong 2020 for residential solar – which could keep the momentum going.

German polysilicon maker will cut 1,000 jobs

Wacker Chemie has taken the first steps of its restructuring program with the lay-offs set to particularly affect its German locations. Poor performance by the chemical company’s polysilicon business is the main cause of the crisis.

Australian state frees itself from federal shackles to unlock more grid capacity

The government of Victoria has decided to break from national electricity rules and introduce legislation to fast-track priority projects such as grid scale batteries and transmission upgrades, and make room for more large scale solar and wind. The announced reforms have prompted a flurry of reaction.

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.

Italian car factory to add 15 MW of solar and 850 charging points

Carmaker Fiat Chrysler is bringing solar power to its Mirafiori manufacturing hub in Turin. A rooftop array will be installed by the auto giant with EDF-owned energy company Edison. French group Engie will install electric vehicle charging points in the car park.

Colombian oil company to power fossil fuel extraction with 50 MW of solar

The PV capacity being developed by EcoPetrol will power Colombian pumping stations at San Fernando and Apiay as well as the oil fields of Castilla, Chichimene and Apiay, in the Eastern Plains of the country.

How to make rooftop PV resilient in hurricane regions

A report published by the Rocky Mountain Institute makes recommendations for rooftop PV in regions affected by high winds. The study draws on the knowledge of structural engineers asked to analyze 25 solar systems across five Caribbean islands after they were hit by major hurricanes in 2017 and last year.

Ghana’s first bilateral solar PPA

Plastic manufacturer Miniplast will buy electricity from a 704 kW grid-connected solar array owned and operated by Norwegian developer Empower New Energy AS.

German PV tender delivers record low solar power price of €0.0355/kWh

The 100 MW tender was five times oversubscribed and the average final price tariff offered was €0.05 lower than the previous procurement round.

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.

Preventing lead leakage in perovskite cells

A U.S. research group has used a lead-absorbing material to coat the front and rear of a perovskite solar cell stack. The researchers claim the films captured 96% of lead leakage when the cells were damaged.

SolarEdge figures tick all the boxes for investors

Lack of flannel in the latest quarterly and full-year filing indicates the Israeli inverter maker is happy the figures speak for themselves. The company is in an expansionary mode as it enters the energy storage and electrical vehicle markets with cash from its financial warchest.

New layer raises efficiency of heterojunction solar cells

A Dutch research team has used highly transparent, hydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon oxide layers to improve the optoelectrical performance of contact stacks in a silicon heterojunction device. The material is said to offer superior electrical as well as favorable optical properties.

A quantum dot solar cell with 16.6% efficiency

Scientists at Australia’s University of Queensland have set a new world efficiency record for a quantum dot solar cell. The group fabricated a 0.1cm² device from a perovskite material and measured power conversion efficiency at 16.6%. The record has been verified by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Turkey introduces new provisions for energy storage

Rules published in the official journal provide certainty on how storage systems will have to be connected to the grid and who will take care of the process on behalf of governmental institutions. The regulations are expected to benefit rooftop PV and up-to-1 MW ‘unlicensed’ projects

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.

Spanish bank acquires big stake in solar racking manufacturer

Banco Sabadell has acquired a 41.5% interest in Pamplona-based STI Norland through its Aurica Capita fund.

Chinese giant doubles down on cell production expansion

The 5 GW of new production lines announced by JA Solar at the start of the year have now been doubled as the company also unveiled plans to rejig up to 3.6 GW of its existing facilities to accommodate bigger wafers.

Indian tender for supply of 12 million solar cells

State-owned engineer and manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited has invited bids for the supply of cells with five busbars and a minimum efficiency of 18.8%. Bidding closes on Friday.

Batteries under solar modules just like microinverters and optimizers

Texan start-up Yotta Energy has a potential solution for residential solar-plus-storage. Will the micro-storage company become the next SolarEdge or Enphase or suffer the fate of JLM Energy? And whatever happened to SolPad?

A nanoparticle-sensitized solar cell with 8.5% efficiency

The record feat compares to usual figures of 2-3% for such devices. The Taiwanese scientists who developed the cell said it was prepared with the Silar method and is based on a ternary metal sulfide-alloyed semiconductor. They claim performance could be further boosted.

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: Fraunhofer ISE

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.

India to add 34 GW of solar through 2024

Consultancy Bridge to India has looked into its crystal ball to predict India will add 10 GW of solar capacity this year and the same next year before deployment slows to 7 GW per year in 2022 and 2023, dogged by hurdles such as an inexplicable ongoing demand for new coal-fired power plants.

Shell PPA for electricity from 100 MW energy storage facility in the UK

The oil giant says it will use the electricity provided by two 50 MW batteries to optimize the integration of renewables nearby. The task will be undertaken by the group’s Limejump unit. The energy storage units are set to be operational this year.

Storage Highlights 2020 – Gigawatt Winner: sonnen

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.

Bridging the gap between battery and supercapacitor

By engineering the structure of a hard carbon electrode, scientists at the CIC energIGUNE research center have created an ‘ultrafast battery’ which has been shown to combine the energy density of a lithium device with the fast discharge times normally associated with supercapacitors.

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