Covid-19

Read pv magazine’s coverage of  Covid-19; and tell us how it is affecting your solar and energy storage operations. Email editors@pv-magazine.com to share your experiences.

Top News

Cooling down PV panels with water

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%.
Markets & Policy

Policy, policy, policy: BloombergNEF’s path to hydrogen uptake

A hot energy topic with little coordinated analysis, green hydrogen has finally attracted the number crunchers of BloombergNEF.
Covid-19

US behind-the-meter storage forecast falls 31% on coronavirus fears

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.
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The latest batch of energy yield results from the outdoor test field at Xi’an, China are out.

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Covid-19

European Council raises hopes of green stimulus package

The economic fallout of the Covid-19 outbreak is yet to be determined but as legislators scramble to establish fiscal support for the EU it is becoming clear the suits in Brussels are not prepared to scrap their hard-won Green Deal plan. Quite the opposi...
Covid-19

Covid-19 and dependence on China’s PV supply chain

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.
Covid-19

Intersolar Europe canceled

Another big solar event joins the list of those canceled because of the Covid-19. The next edition of The Smarter E event will not take place at a later stage this year, but only in 2021.
Covid-19

Jinko joins Covid-19 fight

The module giant today announced it will donate a million items of personal protective equipment to the European and Asian countries currently battling the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Technology

French-German alliance for vertical PV

French energy giant Total and German start-up Next2Sun have joined forces to develop vertical PV solutions in the French market. The oil group's unit Total Quadran plans to use the solution in agrivoltaic projects.
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Press Releases

The future is now – Analyse your solar projects in less than 10 seconds

The renewable energy software company, VesBox, has 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.

ABB completes acquisition of Chinese EV charging provider Chargedot

ABB has completed its acquisition of a majority stake in Chargedot Shanghai New Energy Technology Co. , Ltd.

Solar can play a key role in EU Green stimulus package

Following the informal European Council meeting on March 26th, EU leaders adopted a statement on the EU actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, calling on the European Parliament and Commission to “prepare the measures necessary to get back to a normal functioning of our societies and economies and to sustainable growth, integrating inter alia the green transition and the digital transformation”.

The smarter E South America 2020 postponed to November 16-18, 2020

São Paulo, March 27, 2020: The smarter E South America 2020 is postponed to November 16- 18, 2020 due to the effects of coronavirus/ Covid-19.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Could Covid-19 be the catalyst for change where the COP process has stalled?

While the world’s climate negotiators dither, the post Covid-19 world could see their efforts overtaken – but only if policymakers are bold enough to take the opportunity to offer truly green fiscal stimulus packages to get us through the crisis. Felicia Jackson, from the center for sustainable finance of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, gives her thoughts here.

Perovskite technology – beyond efficiency records

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 sky’s the limit: How solar and storage can set a post-Covid-19 example

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.

How performance warranties protect revenues

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.

Human rights risks threaten battery supply chains’ sustainability – now is the time to act

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.

US boom in the shadow of a black swan

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.

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.

A battery breakthrough for titanium cathodes

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.

Solar emerging as best bet for West Africa’s future energy mix

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.

ABB board donate 10% of salary to Covid-19 struggle

The company has warned shareholders about the potential affect of the virus on its operations in the first half of the year but said Chinese operations had almost returned to normal.

Limited impact of Covid-19 on Germany’s rooftop PV market

The Covid-19 crisis has far-reaching effects – including on the PV industry and solar installation market. The results of a survey conducted in a recent pv magazine webinar painted a picture of businesses unsettled by the pandemic but still taking orders at present.

Hungary allocates 131.4 MW of PV in renewables auction

Solar developers secured 131.4 MW of the capacity awarded in the auction, while a biomass installation accounted for the remaining 500 kW of capacity. The national energy regulator will provide 15-year feed-in premium payments to the winning projects.

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.

Solar tiles for new and historic buildings

Available in three versions, the product costs around $307-324 per square meter although prices will vary depending on project complexity. Swiss manufacturer Freesuns says its tiles can be used on historic buildings and can cover 100% of rooftops.

Adding solar at airports

An Indo-Malay research group has sought to define the best conditions for developing large scale solar projects at airports. The researchers provided insight on glare analysis as well as design and performance.

Chinese fishery hosting 260 MW of unsubsidized solar

The solar plant was built with fixed structures on a 400-hectare water surface at a fishery in Anhui province. The project was the first unsubsidized plant approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in 2019 and is selling power at a price of RMB 0.3844 ($0.054) per kWh.

Sheep in search of a solar plant

A large sheep farming company in Germany is seeking PV asset owners who will let its animals graze sustainably at solar project sites, in a move that could be a win-win situation for everyone.

German utility-scale PV tender concludes with average price of €0.0518/kWh

The government allocated 301 MW of PV capacity across 51 projects in the procurement exercise.

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.

Australian researchers make lithium extraction breakthrough

Researchers led by Monash University have made a discovery that will dramatically reduce lithium-from-brine extraction times. The innovative breakthrough is as simple as a sieve.

BIPV relying on voltage source inverters for grid stabilization

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.

Organic solar cell with new film morphology and 16.88% efficiency

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.

How much PV is needed in an hybrid solar-diesel mini-grid?

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.

A power-to-gas system integrating co-electrolysis and methanation

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.

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.

World’s biggest PV module factory

GCL System Integration plans to build a 60 GW solar module factory in China’s Anhui province, with a total investment of approximately $2.5 billion.

SunPower reduces management salaries, freezes hiring and withdraws 2020 financial guidance

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.”

First Solar manufacturing unaffected by Covid-19 measures

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.

Solar glass company posts stellar figures – but acknowledges Covid-19 threat

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.

Designing super-strong solar modules for the tropics

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.

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.

Green hydrogen can power green Alpine tourism

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.

Gambia maintains solar ambition

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.

A stable potassium-ion storage with new cathode material

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.

Covid-19: IHS Markit expects demand for private and commercial storage to fall significantly

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.

Panasonic suspends work at Tesla’s Nevada fab as carmaker’s California and New York gigafactories pause

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”.

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