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

The weekend read: The mainstreaming of solar PV

From playing a key role in facilitating the scaling of the solar sector, to opening new markets and enabling grid and energy storage technologies, multilateral financial institutions have been an important part of the ongoing global energy transition. And as Felicia Jackson writes from London, with the expansion of “green banks” and clean-energy lending, the role of these institutions is only set to expand.
Manufacturing

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 ...
Highlights

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.
Announcements

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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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Markets & Policy

Canadian Solar’s shipments rise 30% YoY amid strong figures for 2019

The company said that multicrystalline modules accounted for 68% of its shipments in the fourth quarter and 74% for all of 2019, with monocrystalline modules accounting for 32% and 26%, respectively.
Markets & Policy

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.
Energy Storage

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.
Hydrogen

South Korea’s president makes zero-carbon economy election pledge

For the first time ever, President Moon Jae-in’s ruling Democratic Party has vowed to achieve a zero-carbon economy, just weeks ahead of the April 15 legislative election.
Covid-19

How Covid-19 is affecting the Brazilian PV sector

Brazilian consultancy Greener has conducted a survey of more than 500 solar companies in Brazil to assess the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The results show that demand has already started to slow down, and that PV system prices are on the ri...
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Press Releases

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.

SolarPower Europe: new President and 3 new Board Members

Following the Board elections of SolarPower Europe on 26 March, held remotely, Aristotelis Chantavas, Head of Europe for Enel Green Power, has been elected as the new President of the association, replacing the outgoing Christian Westermeier from Wacker Chemie.

Coronavirus: Energy Storage Europe 2020 postponed until 16-18 March 2021

Energy Storage Europe 2020 is postponed until 16-18 March 2021 due to the effects of coronavirus/Covid-19. It will thus take place from Tuesday to Thursday during calendar week 11 of 2021.

Solar-driven water desalination system for Maasai village, Tanzania

The solar company Phaesun installed a solar-powered system for water desalination and purification in the Tanzanian Maasai village Ndedo.

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.

Covid-19: Revenue dip could spell trouble for Indian PV producers

Sliding electricity demand and declining commercial and industrial activity in India could prompt distribution companies to block or delay payments to solar power producers.

Covid-19 halting European PPA market – Part II

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 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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

Consumer platform for purchasing remote solar in Lithuania

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.

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.

Covid-19 halting European PPA market

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A dual-angle approach to building solar plants at higher latitudes

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.

An organic solar cell with 25% efficiency

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.

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.

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.

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.

How Covid-19 is affecting the French solar sector

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.

Floating PV learning from aquaculture 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.

Australian government stimulates PV in the face of Covid-19 threat

The federal government’s ‘economic response to the coronavirus’ legislation encompasses the installation of commercial and industrial solar.

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.

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.

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”.

The weekend read: Hydrogen is getting cheaper

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.

Capturing the full value of energy storage

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.

Forget toilet paper, Australians are panic-buying PV

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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