Top News

The weekend read: Floating on optimism

The past year has been an exciting period for proponents of floating solar. A range of new projects and pilots have been announced across the globe over the past 12 to 14 months, with IHS Markit’s Solar Deal Tracker now listing floating PV installations in 24 countries throughout the world, all in varying stages of development.
Energy Storage

Video Interview: IHS Markit talks sector coupling, storage trends at Energy Storage Europe

IHS Markit’s senior market analyst for energy storage Julian Jansen discusses the role that South Korean battery producers play in the global storage chain, and sees reasons to be bullish for Europe’s own storage market.

Markets & Policy

Naxitis acquires 25 MW in Portugal

The French corporate and investment bank acquired the project from Hyperion Renewables via its unit for responsible investment solutions Mirova. The project has already secured a 10-year PPA from local power distributor Axpo Ibéria.


Four key takeaways from the Solar Solutions exhibition in the Netherlands

The Dutch solar fair has now taken the shape of an international event, due to the increasing number of big players attracted to the Netherland’s PV market, and the high level of professionalization that has now been reached by the local ecosystem of installers and distributors. Although a few uncertainties on the possible changes of the current regulatory framework are suggesting caution, solar across all of its segments is clearly set to become a mainstream source of energy nationwide.


Luxembourg scientists provide new insight on how sodium can be used in thin-film solar cell manufacturing

The research team found that sodium, contrary to common belief, does not decrease per se indium and gallium interdiffusion, while instead hindering intergrain diffusion by segregating at grain boundaries.

Markets & Policy

Austrian utility Wien Energie begins solar offensive

Austria’s largest power provider announced a plan to invest around €100 million in solar and €15 million in recharge stations for electric vehicles over the next five years. The company aims at investing mainly in residential and C&I projects.


Microsoft signs 315 MW of solar power contracts in Virginia, US

The company is billing the contract with a portion of a 500 MW project as the largest corporate solar power purchase agreement (PPA) to date.


Oman taps UK firm for consultation on 1 GW residential solar plan

The Middle Eastern nation’s Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER) has contracted PassivSystems to consult on the Oman government’s plan to install rooftop solar PV atop 30% of the nation’s homes.

Opinion & Analysis


Energy storage-as-a-service: the hottest game in town?

Alexander Schönfeldt of energy storage specialists Younicos examines the growing trend of energy storage-as-a-service, and explains why the sector is growing at such a rate.

The sun shines brighter if the risks don’t cloud it

Finance in developing countries: Economics teaches that capital flows from where it is in surplus to where it is in demand. But that is not the case with renewable energy. The biggest pots of institutional capital in advanced economies are not shifting to developing ones. It is time to take a hard look and develop solutions that resolve this anomaly.

Regulations clarifying the use of solar PV in Cambodia

On January 26, 2018, the EAC issued a set of regulations to clarify the general conditions for installing and operating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Cambodia. Kohe Hasan, partner at Reed Smith and director of Resource Law LLC (Singapore), and Kaknika Lin, assistant consultant at KPMG Cambodia Ltd provide a summary of the key regulations, in addition to discussing the country’s investment climate.

Building a better world of smart structures on the smart grid

It is a truth universally acknowledged that billions of people around the world live in poverty. But does it have to be that way? Today’s technological progress means that tomorrow we will be able to produce more, more efficiently – lifting people above the breadline with accelerated economic growth all around the world. Key to these efforts are smart buildings, argues Hussain Kazmi, a PhD student at KU Leuven and Enervalis.

Ukraine’s renewable energy outlook under the new electricity market design

Svitlana Teush, counsel at Redcliffe Partners law firm in Kyiv, Ukraine, discusses the country’s new electricity market design and what it means for renewables. Currently, she says, the renewable energy sector in Ukraine is an attractive investment prospect and has considerable potential for further growth in the coming years.

Markets & Policy


Europe takes a second look

M&A and secondary markets: With the pace of solar growth in Europe slowing, activity in the secondary solar market appears to have picked up, funneling solar assets into the hands of a shrinking few. Such consolidation of the market has manifest in increased mergers and acquisitions activity, particularly in the O&M space. Is this new PV landscape an inevitability, a one-off, or simply cyclical?

Jinko posts strong increase in shipments for 2017, but lower profits

Last year, the Chinese module maker shipped 9.8 GW, and achieved revenue of $4.0 billion. Both gross and net profit, however, declined due to lower ASPs, higher polysilicon prices and increased output from OEM partners.

Energy demand growth doubles in 2017, wind, solar see a banner year, IEA reports

As global energy demand went up by 2.1% in 2017, more than twice the growth rate in 2016, renewables saw the highest growth rate of any energy source, meeting a quarter of global energy demand. According preliminary estimates from the IEA, solar PV accounted for 27% of the growth in renewables-based power output last year.

Meyer Burger reports €67.8 million loss for fiscal 2017

The Swiss PV equipment manufacturer recorded a loss of about €68 million last year. Although Meyer Burger was able to slightly increase sales, the EBITDA margin was below 3%. This year, the company is aiming for an EBITDA margin of 10% percent in order to return to profitability.

Somalia lays ground for solar

Solar energy in Somalia is looking to expand, amid several structural issues. The UNDP office in the country has now issued a Request for Proposals for the financing of a skills development program in the solar energy sector in Mogadishu, Kismayo and Baidoa.

Solargiga posts $16.96m net profit in 2017

Solargiga Energy has recorded a net profit of CNY 107.5 million ($16.96 million) for the year to the end of December 2017, from a net loss of CNY 239.149 million in the preceding 12-month period.



Two sides to tracking

Bifacial trackers: Solar tracker makers are bringing specially designed models to the market in order to embrace the coming wave of bifacial panels. While bifacial panels may capture up to 10% more light than monofacial panels, single-axis trackers typically add 25% to that bifacial gain, resulting in a roughly estimated 12.5% gain from the two technologies combined, compared with fixed installs using monofacial panels.

Spain has 24 GW of solar projects under review

Investments in new large-scale solar energy projects in Spain are expected to surpass €4 billion over the next two years. Meanwhile, the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha is planning to reduce the time frame for the authorization process for solar and renewables from 12 to 9 months.

Helsinki carbon neutral plan targets 1/6 of electricity needs from rooftop solar

Scheme’s goal is the reset the Finnish capital’s carbon neutrality target date from to 2035 by ramping up renewable energy use, electric vehicle adoption and energy-efficiency upgrades.

Northwest Europe could install 60 GW of subsidy-free renewables by 2030, report finds

Aurora Energy Research report calculates as much as €180 billion renewable investment opportunities in the region through to 2030, of which €64 billion could be for subsidy-free projects.

Brookfield, GLP establish JV to develop 300 MW of rooftop solar in China

Canadian asset management firm Brookfield and Chinese industrial logistics provider GLP will install C&I rooftop solar arrays across China under a new joint venture, eventually building out a 1 GW portfolio.

Solar on tap: Australia’s Carlton Breweries signs PPA with BayWa r.e. for PV supply

The Melbourne-headquartered brewer will receive solar energy from a 112 MW solar farm located in the state of Victoria and owned and operated by Germany firm BayWa r.e. The move is part of Carlton’s drive to become 100% renewable.



Refining the process

CdTe modules: At its production facility in Germany’s ‘Solar Valley,’ Calyxo is producing CdTe modules at production costs moving towards $0.20/W, many of which are destined for repowering PV plants across Europe. pv magazine caught up with Calyxo CTO and COO Michael Bauer, to discuss the company’s latest developments.

Solliance hits 26.3% efficiency on perovskite/silicon tandem

European solar research organization Solliance and the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) have announced the achievement of 26.3% efficiency on a transparent perovskite solar cell combined with a crystalline silicon solar cell.

Fixing perovskite defects with potassium

Scientists led by Cambridge University have discovered that adding a simple solution of potassium to the ink solution has the effect of ‘healing’ defects in metal-halide perovskite films, and immobilizing ion movement. This, according to the researchers, could push the material to higher efficiencies, while also increasing its stability.

US scientists get new insight into inner workings of hybrid perovskites

Researchers at Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have provided a new understanding of what happens inside a hybrid perovskite material in the first few trillionths of a second after it’s hit with simulated sunlight.

Japanese scientists develop ZHR method to improve manufacturing of thin film monocrystalline silicon

The research team believes that the new technology may resolve technical problems and drastically reduce the manufacturing cost of the lift-off process in the production of thin film monocrystalline solar cells.

Natcore develops new processes for patented foil cell

U.S. based technology company, Natcore has announced two new processes, which it says could dramatically reduce the production costs of its foil cell, which it has been working to commercialize for the past couple of years.



A multi-layered battle

Lamination innovation: The ongoing ambition of laminator manufacturers is to develop machines that can deliver high output through a faster lamination process, while simultaneously reducing their footprint by combining several machines into one. However, an in-depth process know-how is essential in order to produce defect-free modules. Which players possess such knowledge?

Trina Solar launches TrinaPro Integrated Solution

Also to mark its 20th anniversary this year, Trina Solar launched its TrinaPro integrated PV solution at a ceremony attended by Chinese and foreign participants. Trina Solar’s founder and CEO Jifan Gao noted this important move from not only supplying top-notch photovoltaic components, such as the manufacturer’s high-efficiency cells and modules, but now supplying integrated solutions capable of further reducing PV’s already low levelized cost of energy (LCOE).

Astronergy announces upgrades to German production line

Module manufacturer Astronergy has announced a series of upgrades contributing to an overall production efficiency increase of 40% at one of its production lines in Frankfurt (Oder), close to Germany’s border with Poland.

India: Adani to expand its module and cell manufacturing facility to 2 GW

In an exclusive interview, Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) CEO, Jayant Parimal, tells pv magazine the renewable energy company is looking to to expand both its module and cell manufacturing facility to 2 GW capacity. Moreover, it is also looking to develop floating solar PV projects in its home market, India, in addition to continuing its focus on the utility-scale solar and wind sectors.

The 9th ITRPV: module price pressure to continue as production capacity tops 130 GWp and price learning curve rises to 22.8%

Annual International Roadmap for Photovoltaics, compiled by the German production equipment industrial association (VDMA), reveals slowdown in module price reduction for 2017 in contrast to significant market increase that saw module production capacity rise above 130 GW.

JinkoSolar reveals details of US factory in filing

The plant will make modules based on 158.75 mm square P-type mono PERC cells, and JinkoSolar plans to begin operation in October.

Energy Storage


Price decline on pause

IHS Markit analysis: The price of lithium-ion battery modules has been falling each year since IHS Markit began tracking this market, with average prices for stationary storage applications falling by nearly 70% between 2012 and 2017. This has been the principal enabler of a strong pick-up in demand for battery storage, writes Sam Wilkinson, IHS Markit’s Associate Director – Solar and Energy Storage.

Video: Energy Storage Europe technology tour 2018

If you were unable to make it to Düsseldorf for the recent Energy Storage Europe exhibition and conference, fear not: this 12-minute video tour brings you all you need to know about the latest tech, service and product developments in the European storage space.

Video interview: Fluence talks peaking capacity at Energy Storage Europe

Praveen Kathpal, Fluence’s VP of Market Applications, explains how the newly formed company – a collaboration between Siemens and AES – is providing flexible peaking capacity to utilities in Southern California, and hears how Europe offers an opportunitiy for the integration of storage into transmission and distribution planning.

SolarEdge launches inverter with EV-charging capability

Power electronics company, SolarEdge has announced the launched of an EV charging inverter in Europe.

Varta enters Australian residential storage market

German energy storage producer, Varta Storage has entered the Australian market. It is introducing the pulse 3 and pulse 6 models, sized at 3.3 kWh and 6.5 kWh.

Energy storage or grid extension – wrong question, right answers, finds panel

Panel discussion at Energy Storage Europe tackled the issue of whether the best way for keeping the lights on as economies around the world grow is to extend the grid network or add energy storage, and found that the best solution lies somewhere in between.

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Press Releases

“Contracting for solar systems” enables access to low-cost solar power without additional capital expenditure

Hanwha Q CELLS, ISM Energy and Stadtwerke Bitterfeld-Wolfen enable the customer’s participation in the energy transition without any capital expenditure.

Eguana launches new energy storage product lines

The products will be on display at the California Solar Expo in San Diego next week on March 27-28 along with key partners LG Chem and Pason systems supporting the launch.

Sungrow receives first VDE 4120 compliance certificate for string inverter

The SG60KTL is a compact 66 kVA three-phase inverter with a maximum efficiency of 98. 9% in a very compact and light weight design for easy installation.

Dutch solar revolution: KiesZon to develop largest single roof solar project of the Netherlands

A press release regarding the realization of the largest single roof solar project of the Netherlands, consisting of 28,000 solar panels.