The latest batch of energy yield results from the outdoor test field at Xi’an, China are out.
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.
Sliding electricity demand and declining commercial and industrial activity in India could prompt distribution companies to block or delay payments to solar power producers.
Antonio Delgado Rigal, chief executive of energy forecasting service Aleasoft, has told pv magazine all unsubsidized solar project financing will be postponed until it is possible to make reliable price predictions again. Projects could change hands in the meantime though, thanks to deep-pocketed investment funds on the lookout for bargains.
SunPower CEO: “We remain on track to complete our planned company split into two independently focused pure-play solar companies by the end of the second quarter.”
An Austrian consortium has developed a hydrogen generation, storage and fueling station along with fuel cell-propelled snowmobiles. The team was so certain of the readiness of the solution they launched it during an FIS World Cup skiing event.
Researchers in Brazil have suggested using solar radiation databases and simulator software to scale PV-diesel mini-grid generators. The profiles of PV generation and mini-grid load demand are critical to finding the right balance, according to the academics.
According to a Norwegian group of researchers, the reactive power capability of three-phase voltage source inverters can help to reduce problems caused by the intermittent nature of solar power on distribution networks. The scientists claim they are preferable to expensive grid infrastructure such as under-load tap changing transformers, step voltage regulators, and fixed and switchable capacitors. The group has developed a system model featuring a 7.63 kW PV array module, a three-phase voltage source inverter with 9.5 kVA of capacity, a boost converter, a three-phase dynamic load, and a utility grid.
Sun Investment Group has launched a purchasing model which offers the chance to buy or rent solar panels elsewhere for those without the prospect of an installation which can generate energy directly for their home.
The country’s power utility has completed the pre-selection process to seek developers for a 20 MW solar project in the Banjul region. The project will feature up to four PV plants and will be developed under the national Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project.
Analysts from German energy advisory Enervis have told pv magazine power purchase agreement-linked solar projects which are under development in Europe may be delayed by the Covid-19 outbreak and new unsubsidized projects appear unlikely any time soon, thanks to the current economics.
Xinyi Solar reported record profits earlier this month, not surprisingly prompting bullish talk of extending its plans to expand production capacity this year and next. However, with PV demand in Europe key to its returns, the company has accepted the coronavirus epidemic may have an impact this year.
Chinese scientists have developed a single-layered organic solar cell based on non-fullerene acceptors with improved fill factor and short-circuit current density. They achieved their results with a new morphology that could be more suitable for vertical charge transport.
Researchers in Italy extensively analyzed four different configurations of their proposed system to assess its potential, including under non-optimal, ‘off-design’ conditions and concluded that, for now, subsidies would still be required for the commercial production of synthetic natural gas.
An international research team has defined the operational parameters needed to design and manufacture crystalline silicon PV modules for tropical climates. The group proposed a back-junction, back-contact cell tech with a selective laser soldering technique it claims offers the best potential to yield such robust panels.
A research team in the US has proposed a ‘dual-angle solar harvesting’ method it is claimed could help PV developers optimize energy yield and land use. It is claimed the method would be particularly suitable for projects in cloudier climates and at higher latitudes.
The ‘best conversion performance in the world in a dark room’ is how the developers of a new organic PV device have described it. Such cells could be used as a wireless source of energy for internet of things applications or in gadgets such as temperature-humidity and motion sensors.
The US solar company says its production lines in Ohio, Malaysia and Vietnam have thus far been able to carry on operations. The company says measures have been taken to protect its workers at all of its premises.
A slump in demand would weigh more heavily on the storage industry than a temporary production shutdown and IHS Markit analysts say that is where the risk lies, rather than with a temporary shortage of battery cells. A similar prediction has been made for the PV market.
Franc Raffalli, president of the Photovoltaic Professions Group of the French Building Federation spoke to pv magazine about the impact of the coronavirus on the French PV industry.
The CEO of Norwegian floating solar company Ocean Sun has spoken to pv magazine about his company’s innovative design for floating PV projects in near-shore locations and semi-sheltered waters. A pilot project built in the Philippines last year, said Børge Bjørneklett, is providing better-than-expected power output.
The federal government’s ‘economic response to the coronavirus’ legislation encompasses the installation of commercial and industrial solar.
Scientists in China claim to have identified a special cathode material that could be utilized in more stable potassium-ion storage systems. According to the group, this new material could enable the development of storage systems able to retain 94% of their capacity after 2000 cycles, with 0.003% capacity fade per cycle.
Tesla’s Nevada operation is still open for business, though. The EV and battery maker has assured the market its cash position is strong enough to weather an “extended period of uncertainty”.
Electrolyzer manufacturers are in agreement on the goal of rapidly reducing investment costs, mainly through economies of scale. Some are embracing large units, while others are betting on quantity over size. The first approach is attractive for operators of large PV plants, while the latter is better suited to operators of small systems.
The International Renewable Energy Agency has devised a valuation framework to lay the foundations for successful storage deployment. As the technology matures and moves toward a projected fall in price, revenue stacking will be crucial to assess viability and properly value its benefits.
Byron Bay-based solar retailer Smart Energy says it is seeing an unprecedented surge in sales and enquiries for solar and home energy storage as consumers look to shore themselves up in uncertain times.
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