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New compressed air storage tech from Canada

Canadian compressed air storage specialist Hydrostor said that projects built with its technology have a capex range of between $175 and $250/kWh. The company secured C$4 million ($3.19 million) in funds from Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program and Sustainable Development Technology Canada to pursue the development of its global pipeline.
Markets & Policy

German power provider tests vertical agrivoltaics

Lechwerke is testing two pilot systems close to existing solar parks. It also aims to build its first large-scale project.
Markets & Policy

Trina launches tracking system for high-power modules

The tracker has a length of 72 meters, which the company says allows for 120 modules per tracker. The new product was conceived as a multi-drive, dual-slewing system that is claimed to have improved overall stability compared to other products and to sho...
Announcements

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Markets & Policy

Solar cell with transparent passivate contact achieves 23.99% efficiency

German scientists have built a solar cell with ultra-thin transparent layers that are claimed to be effective in preventing recombination events. The technology, which has the potential of achieving efficiencies close to 26%, may be easily scaled up for ...
Markets & Policy

EIB and Greece agree first in EU to co-manage €5 bln of recovery plan

The European Investment Bank and Greece this week signed a first-of-its-kind agreement to jointly manage €5 billion of investment concerned with the EU member state’s post-Covid recovery plan. The strategy has a key focus on green energy.
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Installations

Juwi builds on Australian off-grid portfolio with 13 MW solar project

The Australian unit of Germay's Juwi has added another off-grid solar PV project to its burgeoning portfolio. It said it will construct a 13 MW solar farm at the site of the Gruyere gold mine in Western Australia.
Installations

Geospatial approach to evaluation of potential solar sites

A U.S. research group has used high-resolution data to drill down to individual parcels of land, in order to figure out how much space is available for solar at optimal locations and preferred sites.
Energy Storage

Italy should embrace solar, not gas to hit raised climate ambition

Instead of splurging €11 billion of EU cash on uneconomic new generation capacity, the Italian authorities–and electricity bill payers–would be better served investing in a mix of current clean power technologies which would include almost 17 GW mo...

Press Releases

Sonnenstromfabrik increases sales by 30 percent in 2020

The company managed to increase the sales of its high-quality PV modules by 30 percent. As in previous years, the company closed out the 2020 financial year with a positive financial result, setting it apart from many of its competitors.

Growatt launches high power single-phase inverter in Brazil

Growatt is now offering a new generation high power single-phase inverter MIN 7-10KTL-X in Brazil.

JinkoSolar Joins the United Nations Global Compact

JinkoSolar announced it has joined the United Nations (U. N.

Aerocompact presents piling systems for medium-sized solar parks onto the market

Austrian manufacturer of PV mounting systems Aerocompact presents its new COMPACTGround RAM-X product range for solar parks with more than 500 kWp output. In addition to the high energy density, the company has paid particular attention to quick assembly and maximum use of space in the series, which will be available worldwide from April.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Solar and silver price hikes

The PV industry has experienced several rounds of price increases since the second half of 2020, from polysilicon to materials such as PV glass and films. Between July 2020 and February 2021, prices quoted for 3.2 mm and 2 mm glass surged by more than 60% per square meter. Prices for EVA and POE encapsulant films skyrocketed by more than 40% and 10%, respectively. Prices for silver paste also rose 7%, and have since remained stubbornly high. PV InfoLink Chief Analyst Corrine Lin examines the impact of silver’s recent price turbulence on PV cell manufacturing.

Strong growth ahead for battery storage

Annual battery storage installations will exceed 10 GW/28 GWh in 2021, following a particularly strong year in 2020, despite the challenges created by the global pandemic, writes IHS Markit analyst Mike Longson. Combined solar and storage will be a core focus for new deployment in 2021, as the front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter energy storage markets are both expected to grow significantly in the months ahead.

Africa’s solarized digitalization agenda

The seventh session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development convened on the theme of “Building forward better towards a resilient and green Africa to achieve the 2030 & 2063 Agenda” and promote the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

Innovations in battery storage key to a solar-powered future

A few years ago, fluctuations and complex storage solutions were the main factors hampering solar growth. Today, the sector is poised to leverage technologies to make a decisive leap. With a sustainable future around the corner, it will be innovative battery storage that will drive solar PV to become more powerful and efficient than ever before. But what are the latest developments in PV and energy storage, and which innovations are poised to transform the industry?

We need an energy access revolution: A new approach to innovation can help

840 million people still don’t have access to electricity today, according to the World Bank. But the radical decrease in the cost of the green technologies of solar and battery storage provides an unparalleled opportunity to close this gap and achieve universal electricity access by 2030.

Covid-19 and distressed solar PPAs in Spain

Spanish law firm Rödl & Partner provides an update on distressed solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) in Spain, focusing on the impact, and economic and legal consequences, of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19

Featured

UK added 175 MW of solar in first quarter

More than 7% of the U.K.'s solar generation capacity is now unsubsidized, according to trade body Solar Energy UK, with the nation reaching more than 14 GW of photovoltaic projects during the first three months of the year.

Focus of off-grid funding shifts in Africa

West Africa hogged more than twice as much investment as the east in a year which saw stock market backing plunge an ‘alarming’ 46%, leaving donor grant funding and debt to pick up the slack during a Covid-hit year, according to off-grid industry body GOGLA.

Solar changing shape of electricity prices in Northern Europe

Rising volumes of photovoltaic project capacity are increasing the incidence of negative price periods for electricity–and changing the times of day when they occur.

Chinese solar glass companies enjoy bountiful reporting season

An ‘explosive’, ‘booming’ global solar market in the second half of a Covid-hit 2020 saw the previous glass manufacturing overcapacity reversed, as float and auto glass producers bent all their efforts on making material for PV modules.

Chinese solar company highlights credit downgrades of state-owned entities

A record number of defaults last year has spooked some lenders, according to Solargiga, but the solar manufacturer has announced ambitious plans to ramp production capacity this year and next.

Greece’s recovery plan to invest €10bn in clean energy

The Greek government has published its plan for a post-Covid economic recovery. The strategy aims to mobilize at least €10 billion towards the green energy sector, with the prospect of further EU loans on top.

Markets & Policy

Featured

What Asia needs to turn away from coal

Given the rapid decrease of the solar electricity cost, pv magazine explores the drivers and obstacles behind switching off coal and embracing photovoltaics and other renewable energy technology in Asia. The good news: things are moving in the right direction.

PV module price index: New dimensions, new problems

The speed at which manufacturers are introducing changes from one product generation to the next is accelerating – currently, formats are scarcely available for more than a few months before another revised product is launched. But occasionally new module dimensions also bring new problems, be it in handling, plant design, or logistics. Ever-shorter product cycles and hastily launched record-breaking modules with capacities of 500 W, 600 W, or even 700 W are not always welcomed with open arms – especially by those who have to work with them, writes Martin Schachinger of pvXchange.com.

Australian developer advances 250 MW pumped hydro project

Genex Power is set to begin building a 250 MW pumped hydro facility next to an existing 50 MW solar farm later this month, as it has secured the financing it needs to move forward.

Solar+storage pushing aside US coal, natural gas, says IEEFA

Technology improvements and price declines have made solar and wind the lowest-cost options in most of the United States, according to the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis.

European PV organization requests €20bn to support manufacturing

The European Union wants to provide €700 billion through its post-pandemic reconstruction program, but the European Solar Manufacturing Council says that €20 billion of the total should be used to shore up the European PV industry.

EBRD leads $6m green finance package for Armenia

Private sector businesses will be offered concessional loans to install solar and other climate change related equipment.

Installations

Featured

The future is female among Egyptian engineers

How do you achieve gender equality among shift-working engineers in a remote location in North Africa? With a clear vision and concrete measures, according to Scatec’s operations and maintenance (O&M) team in Egypt, which has a 30% share of female engineers.

Solar power and sheep, rather than soldiers

BayWa r.e. recently installed a 30 MW solar array on a former military base in France. The project is designed so that farmers can also use the land to breed sheep.

Five bidders to compete in final phase of Uzbekistan’s 200 MW PV tender

The 200 MW solar park will be built in Sherabad, in southeastern Uzbekistan’s Surkhandarya region.

Latin America’s first CSP plant now online

A consortium led by Abengoa and Acciona has commissioned a 110 MW concentrated solar power project, paired with 100 MW of PV, in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Chile’s cumulative PV installations hit 4.6 GW

New statistics from ACERA, the Chilean renewable energy association, show that solar covered around 12.9% of the country’s total electricity demand in March.

Larsen & Toubro begins building 300 MW solar plant in Saudi Arabia

India’s Larsen & Toubro has announced plans to provide EPC services to support the deployment of 300 MW of solar in Saudi Arabia, under a contract with a consortium involving Masdar, EDF Renewables, and Saudi Arabia’s Nesma.

Technology

Featured

Filling the energy technology, poverty gap

Advanced technology is of little use if it cannot reach those who need it most. Two Indonesian companies – Kopernik, an NGO based in Bali, and Sumba Sustainable Solutions, from the island of Sumba – are trying to bridge the gap between those in need and those with technological solutions. They both focus on the PV electrification of rural areas and brightening Indonesia’s “last mile.”

I’ve got solar over my skin

Researchers in Japan have built a PV-powered device to measure volumetric variations in blood circulation. The system, which is just a few microns thick, was built with an organic solar module, a polymer light-emitting diode (PLED), and an organic photodetector.

5N Plus enters space solar cell business with acquisition of Azur Space

The purchase price should range between €73 million and €79 million. Azur Space produces triple-junction space solar cells with an average efficiency of up to 30% and is planning to develop ultra-thin solar cells with up to 35%.

Low outdoor degradation for 20.76%-efficient solar cells made of UMG silicon

Spanish manufacturer Aurinka has tested the degradation rate of its 20.76%-efficient solar cells made of 100% upgraded metallurgical grade (UMG) silicon and has found it shows the same values as conventional polysilicon. The company is currently building a UMG factory in northern Spain.

Fraunhofer ISE develops front/back solar cell with 26.0% efficiency

The cell showed open-circuit voltage values of up to 732 mV. It was fabricated with a back junction (BJ) design with a full-area p-n-junction at the back surface.

Noise-based technique to test crystalline silicon solar cells

The proposed technique is said to be able to connect directly to the microscopic and medium scale defects in the solar cell materials. It is based on three kinds of noises that science has thus far been able to identify in PV devices.

Manufacturing

Featured

Bifacial adoption spurs rethink on PID

PV systems are unique among electronic devices, as they are expected to survive outdoors for at least 25 to 30 years. This makes module and system quality one of the cornerstones of guaranteed returns on investment. Potential-induced degradation (PID) is a critical failure mode with a potentially high financial impact. New research from imec and Hasselt University looks at the damaging impact that PID can have on bifacial technology, writes Michaël Daenen, a professor at EnergyVille and Hasselt University.

Debate on alleged forced labor in Chinese PV industry heats up in the Netherlands

Three Dutch political parties have brought the forced labor issue to Parliament and have asked the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaad, to report on the matter.

Meyer Burger wants to ship first HJT modules in July

The Swiss technology group wants to officially present its heterojunction modules, which are produced in Freiberg, Germany, at the end of April. Meyer Burger concluded its first official sales partnership in Switzerland, with Solarmarkt.

Silicon for batteries moves to commercial production

U.S. company Group14 Technologies today announced the launch of a factory capable of producing 120 tons per year of its innovative silicon-carbon-based anode material for lithium-ion batteries. The factory is located at Group14’s headquarters in Woodinville, Washington and is the first of several planned by the company.

French company unveils new rooftop PV mounting method

Axter, a French waterproofing specialist, has revealed a new mounting process for the installation of rigid solar modules on several types of buildings, including concrete, metal, and wood surfaces.

Solar power has to be about quality as well as quantity

Greater dispatchability will be required from solar as it becomes increasingly mainstream worldwide, or investors could experience diminishing returns as a victim of the technology’s success at bearing down on electricity prices.

Energy Storage

Featured

New EU battery rules support a sustainable industry

On Dec. 10, European Internal Market and Environment Commissioners Thierry Breton and Virginijus Sinkevičius, in conjunction with Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, announced a keenly anticipated piece of legislation: the commission’s proposal for modernized EU battery rules. Pia Alina Lange – head of communications for Recharge, the European battery industry association – says that while there are potential pitfalls with the new regulation, it could pave the way to sustainable industry development.

Australian vanadium companies unveil new flow-battery strategies

Australian Vanadium filed a patent application this week for its vanadium processing route, while rival TNG signed a deal to commercialize vanadium redox flow batteries.

Sasol, Air Liquide seek to procure 900 MW of renewables in South Africa

The two companies are seeking proposals to provide power to Sasol’s synthetic fuel plant in Secunda, Mpumalanga.

The Hydrogen Stream: EU launches call for low-carbon hydrogen tech, Netherlands unveils €338m plan

Furthermore, Michelin said it wants to become a world leader in hydrogen fuel cell systems and ScottishPower aims to build a green hydrogen plant at a wind power complex. Moreover, a study led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory suggested new strategies to design perovskite materials to speed up the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), a process that frees up molecular oxygen from water and is key for hydrogen production.

Sun Exchange crowdfunding offers a (Nhimbe) Fresh start

With Cape Town-based solar crowdfunder The Sun Exchange having generated $1.4 million for a 510 kW solar-plus-storage facility for Zimbabwean food company Nhimbe Fresh, pv magazine has spoken to the heads of both businesses–Sun Exchange CEO and founder Abraham Cambridge and Nhimbe executive chairman Edwin Moyo–about the fundraising exercise. First up is The Sun Exchange founder…

Using PET waste bottles to make batteries

Scientists in the U.S. claim to have successfully upcycled PET waste bottles into an electrochemical active-carbon material that functions as a double‐layer supercapacitor substance. They said that this achievement may lay the ground for the production of more sustainable batteries. Devices built with the proposed technique would not store as much energy as lithium-ion batteries but they could charge much faster.

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