Technological innovation in PV is taking place in the context of extreme price competition among solar manufacturers, writes Karl Melkonyan, senior analyst for solar demand at IHS Markit. This, he argues, explains the focus on lowering manufacturing costs, increasing efficiencies, and reducing losses at all stages of the manufacturing process.
The airline industry has been among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic; carriers are in ‘freefall’ as Glen Peters, research director at the Center for International Climate and Environment Research in Oslo recently wrote, with governments mulling stimulus packages for airline bailouts. How we react to the coronavirus outbreak is crucial for society as a whole and the solar and energy storage industries can lead the charge in rewriting the status quo.
Contracts to build solar PV plants usually contain a performance warranty to ensure that the owner receives an asset that delivers the agreed-upon minimum performance level. But can warranties and assessment methodologies guarantee that plant performance is being correctly assessed? The answer is not entirely straightforward, writes Felipe Canto Teixeira, a partner at Everoze.
The battery and renewable energy industries are facing increased scrutiny for their human rights impacts. In December, U.S.-based technology and electric vehicle companies were named in the first lawsuit seeking to hold downstream companies responsible for allegedly aiding and abetting child labour in cobalt extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (https://bit.ly/2UgQPgZ). Energy storage technology, such as batteries, is increasingly developed alongside solar and wind-powered electricity generation. This means the battery industry’s material risks are now of direct concern to a broader group of companies involved in the global transition to a low carbon economy.
Supply-chain constraints related to China’s coronavirus outbreak could weigh on the performance of the U.S. solar market in 2020, writes SPV Market Research’s Paula Mints.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy has delayed auctions to procure new transmission as well as generation capacity and has not announced when they will resume.
Yulin, in Shaanxi province has brought the curtain down on around 1 GW of PV projects which are under construction. It had previously been expected the city would add around 5 GW of new solar this year.
The annual event, originally scheduled to take place on Aug. 25-27, has now been postponed to Nov. 16-18, 2020. The organizers claim that existing contracts will remain valid for the new dates, and the venue and all contractual conditions will remain unchanged.
While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the renewable energy market is still not clear, Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy says that new solar and wind projects will grind to a halt in 2020, creating a ripple effect in the years to come, as currencies throughout the world continue to slide against the US dollar.
pv magazine rounds up the latest Covid-19-related stories likely to affect the world of solar and energy storage.
Scientists in the United States have developed a carbon nanotube method of fabricating a lithium-ion battery with a silicon anode. The device reportedly demonstrated better than 87% capacity retention after 1,500 cycles. The developers say their discovery overcomes many of the obstacles to the use of silicon as an anode and could open up the use of other materials for electrodes in lithium-ion devices.
Australian company Infinity Lithium has signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Battery Alliance to promote its lithium mine project in San José, Extremadura. It would be the first lithium project to obtain European financing but has already raised the hackles of local environmentalists and residents.
French developer Qair will start building a 5.8 MW floating solar array later this year on a lagoon on the East African nation’s main island. It claims the installation will be the world’s largest floating PV project to be built on saltwater upon completion.
The Australian peer-to-peer energy trading pioneer has revealed the world’s biggest “choose your own energy source” project in France.
The Dutch government is planning to reduce tariffs by 9% annually from 2023 to 2030. The plan should still ensure a reasonable payback time for homeowners willing to go solar, according to the authorities.
Dutch power company Liander has installed two large transformers at a distribution station in Ulft, in the province of Gelderland. The devices should provide more room for renewables on the network from next year.
Swiss developer Axpo is now modifying the design of the 2 MW plant and is expected to make a final decision on construction later this year. It is currently in negotiations with potential electricity consumers.
Researchers in the United Arab Emirates have proposed a PV-powered irrigation system that runs on a fuzzy logic-based algorithm, with a remote-control wireless monitoring system interface.
Investors in debt-saddled PV developer GCL New Energy will have to wait at least another month before a vote on a proposed project sale to a Chinese state-owned entity which would bring benefits of $526 million.
In a recent conversation with pv magazine, Virginia Canazza, the CEO of Italian consultancy REF-E, outlined future scenarios for PV in the Italian PPA market. Projects will be delayed, as prices for gas and CO2 certificates are already low. Unsubsidized PV projects via PPAs might still be bankable, but it is unlikely that investors will risk dealing with small margins. Current capture prices do not justify investments and new entrants may wait for market stability.
Chinese manufacturer Jolywood claims it has reached 23.5% cell efficiency on the production lines for its n-type TOPCon technology. The achievement, which has not been verified by a third party, represents a 0.3% improvement to Jolywood’s reported mass production efficiency.
An Italian consortium has developed a panel recycling process it claims can recover up to 99% of raw materials. The developers claim their technique takes only 40 seconds to fully recycle a standard panel, depending on size and recycling site conditions.
Scientists in Germany have developed a “heavy duty” test to provide insight into the long term effects of potential induced degradation in PV modules. The tests go well beyond those established by IEC standards and seek to guide manufacturers and investors on the best choice of materials – encapsulants in particular – when it comes to long term PID resistance.
The Middle Eastern kingdom has ordered the shutdown of solar wheeling facilities which use the grid to connect to energy offtakers. The move has come in response to tumbling electricity demand after the nation halted all non-essential industries as it tries to limit the spread of Covid-19.
French agricultural PV specialist Sun’Agri has revealed the results of tests run on a solar plant integrated with viticulture. During heat waves, the company said, vines shaded by solar panels continued to grow and needed less water.
The U.S. solar panel manufacturer has filed a lawsuit against Canadian Solar in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California.
A Solargiga subsidiary has handed over $2.5 million to almost double its stake in a 1.2 GW capacity module manufacturing business set up in June by investors which include the local government.
France’s Sunbooster has developed a technology to cool down solar modules when their ambient temperature exceeds 25 C. The solution features a set of pipes that spread a thin film of water onto the glass surface of the panels in rooftop PV systems and ground-mounted plants. The cooling systems collect the water from rainwater tanks and then recycle, filter and store it again. The company claims the technology can facilitate an annual increase in power generation of between 8% and 12%.
The Chinese manufacturer says the first products exited the factory 11 days after mass production started. The panels were launched by the company late last month.
The Asian Development Bank says developing countries in Asia and the Pacific should consider developing their own solar industry supply chains as the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed their over-reliance on China to carry through the energy transition.
During an online launch event, a Blade Battery pack was pierced with a nail without becoming unstable or experiencing dangerous high temperatures. The company says the device will be safer during car accidents.
Wood Mackenzie has cut its 2020 storage outlook to 430 MW – still an increase of more than 100% over 2019 – amid concerns over the role of sales, commissioning and interconnection in a period of shelter-in-place ordinances.
Another big solar event has joined the list of those canceled because of Covid-19. The next edition of The Smarter E event will take place next year.
Scientists in Moscow have developed a titanium-based electrode material for metal-ion batteries they claim challenges the perceived wisdom of the element’s cathode potential and which could give researchers a ‘playground’ for the design of sustainable, cost-effective, titanium-based electrodes.
The Economic Community of West African States should prioritize the development of solar PV to meet surging energy demand over the next 30 years, according to a newly published study.
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