Top News

London fund announces investment vehicle for new subsidy-free UK solar

NextEnergy Capital Group has secured a £100 million credit line from Spanish lender Santander as it aims to connect the U.K.’s largest solar plant to the grid this year.
Manufacturing

Sharp unveils black, half-cut-cell module

The solar panel will be part of the half-cut-cell series recently launched by the Japanese manufacturer and the company claims it is ideal for rooftop PV projects with aesthetic requirements. The 19.0%-efficient product has a power output of 320 W.
Markets & Policy

Malta launches 15 MW solar tender

The government wants to procure several 1 MW-plus solar plants. The tender is the third of its kind, and part of the 50 MW incentive scheme the island’s government launched in November 2017.
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Installations

Renewables can avoid crippling LNG and coal subsidy bill for Bangladesh

U.S. thinktank the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says the nation should reorder its power network to harness cheap, modular renewables after existing power station overcapacity was worsened by plunging electricity demand during th...
Installations

Norway deployed 51 MW of solar in 2019

The figure took the nation to a cumulative 120 MW at the end of the year, according to figures published by Norwegian solar industry organization the Solenergiklyngen. Around 2 MW of the capacity added in 2019 came in the form of off-grid projects.
Markets & Policy

Solar arrays on wave energy generators, along with wind turbines

German startup Sinn Power has combined wave, wind and solar power to create what it claims is the world's "first floating ocean hybrid platform."
Markets & Policy

Shuifa playing central role in bailing out distressed Chinese PV developers

The state-owned construction business which saved Singyes Solar with a US$200 million bail-out is now preparing to invest in a 75% stake in debt-saddled peer China Solar, whose shares have been unlisted since August 2013.
Installations

Tariffs under $0.034 financially unviable in Indian PV sector

PV developers in India must consider a range of risks to secure reasonable returns on solar projects, according to new research by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and JMK Research & Analytics.
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Press Releases

LONGi has the highest Altman-Z score among all solar manufacturers in BloombergNEF’s Q2 report, displaying strong bankability

LONGi has the highest Altman-Z score of 3. 27 among all photovoltaic manufacturers in BloombergNEF’s recently released “2Q 2020 Global PV Market Outlook” and is now the largest module manufacturer, with a production capacity of 20GW.

LBBW finances construction of the largest solar power plant in the Netherlands

Around 15 kilometers northeast of the city of Groningen, LBBW is financing the most powerful solar power plant in the Netherlands, with a rating of 103 megawatts. The Midden Groningen solar farm was built by Hamburg-based Blue Elephant Energy AG, which will also operate the farm.

Amazon Announces Five New Utility-Scale Solar Projects to Power Global Operations in China, Australia, and the U.S.

The five projects include Amazon’s first renewable energy project in China, second in Australia, second and third in Ohio, and 12th in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with a combined 615 MW of additional renewable capacity and an expected generation of 1. 2 million MWh of energy annually, or enough to power 113,000 average U.

The future is now – Analize your solar project in less than 10 minutes

The renewable energy software company, VesBox, have created an automation tool that measures the financial bankability of renewable energy solar projects globally. The VesBox Platform also identifies all possible environmental, social and ecosystem risk factors associated with your project, all in less than 10 seconds.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Compensation for curtailments of renewable generation in Ukraine

As of November 2019, certain RES producers have been intermittently forced to reduce their output or halt production of electrical energy altogether under the instructions of Ukraine’s transmission system operator, NEC Ukrenergo. DTEK, along with several other large market players led the call for limitations. Many of the country’s RES producers have become alarmed.

Financing solar in Turkey – Green finance and new business models

Looking at the various solar power plant mechanisms brought by regulatory changes in 2020, the Turkish PV market is aiming to adopt some exciting new financial and business models.

PV module recyclers aiming for high-purity material recovery

France’s National Institute for Solar Energy takes a look at the state of play in the European solar panel recycling industry.

A gigawatt solar factory in Europe? Why it must be in France

With Swiss solar equipment company Meyer Burger laying plans for a module fab in North Rhine-Westphalia and Norwegian panel maker REC Group mulling a fab in Sarreguemines, northeastern France, Xavier Daval – from French renewables association the SER – says it is time Europe resumes its path to a stable solar manufacturing industry, not least because of the rising proportion of solar module costs accounted for by shipping.

Light after lockdown in Europe’s corporate PPA market

Following the easing of drastic measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, paused or decelerated PPA negotiations are starting to regain momentum as corporates signal their intention to stick to long-term carbon-reduction targets.

Impact of Covid-19 on the Ukrainian energy sector

Over the past few months, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented global economic and social crisis all over the globe. Ukraine is no exception. The pandemic has significantly affected all aspects of life, including the country’s domestic energy sector.

Covid-19

Featured

Covid-19 weekly round-up: US job losses raise concern but France and China continued to add new solar

Cell supply shortages could kick-start manufacturing activity in India, EV car sales are braced for a fall while still gaining market share and a new date has been set for the world’s biggest solar trade show.

China added almost 4 GW of solar in first quarter despite Covid-19

The world’s solar superpower saw the amount of new capacity added in the first three months of the year fall 24% from the same period of 2019 as 1.75 TWh of solar electricity was curtailed, but the National Energy Administration expects both statistics to improve as China exits the public health crisis.

France added 176 MW of solar in first three months of the year

Quarterly new additions were 15% lower than in the October-to-December window. The France Territoire Solaire thinktank said the lower volumes could be explained by the initial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Electric vehicles show more resilience than conventional cars during Covid-19 shock

EV sales are set to be 1.7 million off because of the economic fallout of the Covid-19 crisis, however analyst BloombergNEF predicts that will be less of a hit than the anticipated fall in sales of conventional cars, increasing the penetration of electric models into the overall market.

Bangladeshi solar installers call for waiver of state loans

Installers which took advantage of cheaply-priced government finance say customers affected by the Covid-19 crisis cannot afford to pay for the solar home systems they have rolled out while expanding renewables programs.

Battery electric vehicle sales in UK were outpacing hybrids – before Covid-19 struck

Pure EVs had begun to claim a rising market share before coronavirus containment measures decimated sales last month. Even in the face of an 88% monthly fall in EV sales from March to April, however, clean energy models fared better than petrol and diesel sales.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Shifting geopolitical sands

After a decade of operation, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has become an established presence in assisting the deployment of renewables. Now under the leadership of Director General Francesco La Camera, it continues its work on a range of issues pertaining to renewable energy deployment, with a renewed focus on facilitating international investment.

JA Solar opens up on new 525 W+ module

The Chinese manufacturer has not revealed the price of its new ‘ultra-high power’ products, nor whether the power output claims associated with them have been independently verified, but claimed the 78-piece module in the series could generate ‘very close to 600 W.’

Used EV batteries for large scale solar energy storage

MIT scientists have suggested used electric vehicle batteries could offer a more viable business case than purpose-built systems for the storage of grid scale solar power in California. Such ‘second life’ EV batteries, may cost only 60% of their original purchase price to deploy and can be effectively aggregated for industrial scale storage even if they have declined to 80% of their original capacity.

Schletter increases production capacity in China

The German mounting system maker has expanded its production capacity in Shanghai after opening a new, bigger fab in March.

Romania re-introduces PPAs to attract investors

The Romanian government has decided to re-introduce directly negotiated Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to boost investment in its renewables sector, but only projects commissioned after June 1, 2020 will be eligible.

Czech government plans retroactive cuts for PV incentives, again

According to the Czech Solar Association, the move against solar will likely trigger defaults for thousands of PV projects. The Czech government also plans to build more nuclear power plants and has vowed to extend the lifespan of its coal-fired plants.

Installations

Featured

Remote possibilities

If the Canadian Arctic strikes you as a place that doesn’t have enough sunlight for PV, you wouldn’t necessarily be correct. Although there are periods of 24-hour darkness in winter, there are locations with sufficient sunlight for PV to make a major dent in remote communities’ diesel consumption, reports Anteo Petkovic, from Green Sun Rising.

Borehole thermal energy storage for solar

The municipality of Drammen, Norway, has started testing a seasonal PV storage project that uses boreholes in the ground. The operators of the project are using electricity from PV modules to produce heat via a CO2 heat pump and outdoor air. The heat is produced by the CO2 pump during the spring, summer and fall, in addition to heat produced by solar thermal collectors.

Greece to tender up to 482 MW of PV in July, set up storage framework

The Greek energy regulator said on Wednesday that it wants to tender up to 482 MW of new solar capacity on July 27 for plants up to 20 MW in size.

Italian homeowners can now install PV systems for free

The Italian government has raised the tax breaks it offers for building renovations and energy-requalification projects – potentially including storage-backed rooftop PV systems – to 110%. The new measure is part of the Relaunch Decree, which is a package of guidelines aimed at reviving the Italian economy in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Croatia introduces provisions to tender 1 GW of solar

The authorities plan to assign 2.26 GW of renewable energy capacity overall under the scheme, which will include other energy sources such as hydropower, wind, biomass, biogas, and geothermal energy. The government will provide projects it selects with a feed-in price premium, which will be paid for the power generated by the projects, on top of spot market prices.

First defeat for Mexican government in its fight against renewables

Twenty-three renewable-energy operators have resumed testing of their installations, just a few weeks after the Mexican government halted grid connections for new solar and wind power projects, pending further notice. Mexicio’s National Energy Control Center (Cenace) has faced a series of “amparo” lawsuits since the government introduced the new measures against renewables.

Technology

Featured

The way to the TOPCon

TOPCon cell technology has become one of the two leading next-generation options after mono PERC. But for the n-type architecture to truly become a rival to PERC, high-quality and cost-effective production technologies must become settled.

New method to measure cell voltages in operational PV modules

Scientists in Japan have proposed a new model to estimate cell voltages in solar modules by irradiating the cells with a weak modulated laser light. The method could be used to detect hot spots and other panel-degradation issues, such as potential induced degradation (PID) peeling, cracking, and poor contacts.

New solar module backsheet based on polyamide

Backsheet manufacturer Tomark-Worthen LLC has developed a new polyamide backsheet under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot initiative. The product is based on a novel polyamide-ionomer alloy created by U.S. chemicals producer DuPont. The alloy, as well as the other materials in the backsheet, are stabilized with a UV/anti-oxidant package that slows down the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. The manufacturer claims that the backsheet is 25-30% more affordable than high-efficiency fluoropolymer products.

Harvesting electricity from shadow

Researchers in Singapore have created a device that can produce electricity from the contrast in illumination between lit and shadowed areas under weak ambient light. Although not directly related to solar, this new technology opens up new horizons for producing clean energy under indoor lighting conditions.

Australian scientists claim breakthrough in perovskite stability

In a world-first, perovskite solar cells developed by Australian scientists have passed a series of heat and humidity tests using a low-cost solution to overcome some of the challenges that are hindering the technology’s commercialization. The scientists did this by suppressing the decomposition of the perovskite cells using a simple, low-cost polymer-glass blanket.

Lead-free quantum dot solar cells with 10% efficiency

Scientists in the United States have created a quantum dot solar cell which has a photon-to-electron conversion efficiency of 85%. The device is also said to exhibit remarkable defect tolerance and toxic-element-free composition.

Manufacturing

Featured

The hidden contest of the cell makers

Predicting which technological pathway will dominate in solar cell production is somewhat of a fool’s errand. A battle is currently underway between several of solar manufacturing’s big guns regarding both wafer size and p-or-n-type technology, and the outcome remains to be seen.

New 650 V MOSFET for silicon carbide inverters

CREE has developed a new MOSFET that could be suitable for silicon-carbide-based string inverters above 10 kW in size. The U.S. manufacturer says switching losses are 20% lower with the new transistor than with silicon carbide MOSFETs, and claims that the product reduces conduction losses by 50%, to offer potential power-density growth of 300%.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Jinko Power and Trina Solar go public, profit growth for Daqo, and new dates for SNEC

Jinko Power has moved forward with plans to list shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, while Trina Solar said that the China Securities Regulatory Commission has approved its application for its own initial public offering. Polysilicon producer Daqo, meanwhile, reported solid first-quarter results, and the organizer of the SNEC solar show changed the exhibition’s dates and location once again.

New 400 MW solar module factory for Germany

Production is set to start in the first quarter of next year at the planned fab in Greiz, Thuringia. The facility will manufacture 370 W panels featuring half cells, large wafers and nine busbars.

A pressure-assisted technique to increase perovskite solar cell efficiency

Researchers in the United States claim to have significantly increased the efficiency of a perovskite solar cell by applying a range of pressures to the device. According to them, pressure-assisted processes such as lamination, cold welding and rolling/roll-to-roll processing can be used to improve interfacial surface contacts in perovskite cells.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: 5.5 GW of PV procurement, new dates for SNEC, and a 200 MW project

Datang Group has launched a bidding process to procure 5.5 GW of PV modules and inverters for its own solar projects. The SNEC trade show in Shanghai has set new official dates, after being postponed in early April due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And Topray Solar is seeking to raise funds for a 200 MW solar project in Guangdong province.

Energy Storage

Featured

Zero-waste batteries

Efforts to recycle lithium-ion batteries face a range of technical and economic challenges, but such programs are already far more commonplace than many assume. However, there are still significant obstacles looming a few years down the road.

Total develops electric aircraft refuelling truck

The French oil and gas company will develop the vehicle with engineering compatriot Gaussin. Intended for the Airbus industrial site in Toulouse, the vehicle will be equipped with a lithium-ion battery made by Total subsidiary Saft and will be able to tow two 30-ton fuel tanks.

Northvolt unveils modular lithium-ion battery

The Swedish storage system manufacturer said its Voltpack Mobile System can be used in different market segments, particularly for remote or weak grids. The battery has a scalable storage capacity ranging from 245 kWh to 1,225 kWh. Swedish utility Vattenfall is now testing the system’s capabilities.

Investors bet $27.5 million that Nanotech Energy’s graphene battery breakthrough is the real thing

The startup claims to be “the world’s top supplier of graphene” and plans to release a non-flammable, environmentally friendly lithium battery that can charge “18 times faster than anything that is currently available on the market” — within the next year.

Three signs that battery energy storage is mainstream today

With the inclusion of battery energy storage into new building codes and safety standards, it’s obvious just how mainstream storage is today.

Ancient Hindu sun temple, town in eastern India to go 100% solar

The Indian government plans to set up of a 10 MW grid-connected solar project and a range of unique off-grid applications – including solar trees and solar drinking water kiosks – to meet all the energy requirements of town situated next to a 13th-century Hindu temple.

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