Top News

Sungrow plans 3 GW inverter fab in India

Sungrow, the world's second largest inverter supplier according to GTM research, has announced plans to expand production facilities into India. The fab would be its first outside of China. The Chinese inverter company is aiming to strengthen its global delivery capability by setting up central and string inverters facilities in the state of Karnataka.
Manufacturing

Order situation ‘weakening’ for German equipment suppliers, says VDMA

After a strong finish to 2017, Germany’s equipment suppliers are looking at weaker demand in 2018, although the industry still expects sales growth of 9.2% this year, according to the latest Business Climate Survey published by the German Engineering Federation’s Photovoltaic Equipment Group.

Installations

Middle East to add 8 GW of PV in 2018, says GTM Research

Most of this capacity is expected to come from large-scale solar projects, as distributed generation still suffers from the high subsidies granted to residential and commercial electricity customers.

Installations

Netherlands: Land prices are rising due to increasing development of solar parks

The country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate has urged regional governments and municipalities to grant licenses for solar PV parks on agricultural land only as a last resource. No restrictive measures, however, are being considered.

Energy Storage

Bolivia hires ACI Systems for its first lithium factory

The German company was chosen among eight bidders through an expression of interest process. It will be responsible for the construction, assembly and commissioning of a lithium manufacturing facility. The Bolivian government expects an annual income of US$1 billion.

Markets & Policy

ReneSola records positive performance following restructuring

The Chinese solar PV project developer has posted positive earnings for both FY2017 and Q4, although it has not included its discontinued manufacturing operations in its latest financials. Overall, it has a project pipeline of 1.1 GW, big plans for Europe and a strategic investor interested in injecting US$31.6 million in its Chinese Holdco.

Manufacturing

Longi half cut PERC module exceeds 360 W

Longi is progressing at breakneck speed, having announced yet another world record. This time, the Chinese manufacturer says its 120-cell half-cut monocrystalline PERC module has exceeded 360 W.

Installations

Spanish region of Aragon fast-tracks eight PV projects totaling 398 MW

Overall, the fast-tracked solar parks will require an aggregate investment of approximately €267 million, the regional government said.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Hydrogen, don’t give up!

For decades, hydrogen has been sold to us as the energy carrier of the future. You might not want to hear it anymore, because the future never seems to start. But times will change as recent developments in Germany indicate, writes Berlin-based renewable energy consultant, Stephan Franz.

Data is driving change – adapt or fall off the grid

As global economies develop, and uses for renewable energy diversifies, new pressures are being placed on the electric network. Yet, utilities are sitting on a wealth of data that can reveal better insights into their operations, writes Dan Beasley, Director, Utilities, Cyient.

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.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Large it up Down Under

Australian large-scale solar: From just a handful of large-scale solar PV projects a few years ago, Australia is becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. With a substantial project pipeline, the country is in the box seat to experience a banner year in 2018, with the 2020 Renewable Energy Target now in hand and a new policy taking shape for the period beyond.

Power Ledger partners with Japanese utility in new trial

Australia-based peer-to-peer (P2P) energy pioneer Power Ledger will partner with Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) to trial its blockchain-enabled platform. The limited trial will first involve only 10 homes in Osaka, however, Power Ledger says that Japan is an excellent fit for P2P energy trading.

Strong sales for Germany’s equipment makers in Q4 2017 – VDMA

According to the latest report published by the German Engineering Association (Verbandes Deutsches Maschinenbau Anlagen, or VDMA), solar equipment sales for German tool makers increased by 117% in Q4 2017, compared with the previous quarter.

China bucks forecasts to install 9.65 GW of PV in Q1, DG leads the way

Of the 9.65 GW of solar PV China installed in the first quarter of 2018, 7.68 GW comprised distributed generation (DG) systems, reports China’s National Energy Administration (NEA). Changes to the country’s PV policy have also been proposed.

Energía Hoy, pv magazine group launch pv magazine Mexico

Trade publishers energía hoy and pv magazine group have partnered to launch a new website – www.pv-magazine-mexico.com – and weekly newsletter to cover the fast growing Mexican solar PV market.

Oxford PV picks up GBP 8.02 million in investments

British headquartered perovskite startup, Oxford PV has received an additional GBP 8.02 million (US$11.2 million) in funding from existing investors. The company states it will use the funds to continue its development of commercially viable perovskite-on-silicon tandem cells.

Installations

A burning issue

Cables and connectors: The quality and performance of solar balance of system components in the U.S. market is generally quite high, but there are still low quality, knock-off, or outright counterfeit products available at discounts large enough to attract some shortsighted installers or other buyers in the market.

Grasshopper Solar gets $210 million financing from Deutsche Bank

The Canadian solar company will use the funds to expands its asset base and reach new business opportunities.

India: Utility-scale solar plants completed in Odisha, Karnataka

IBC Solar has completed the installation of a 27 MW solar PV plant in the state of Odisha, while Sunsure Energy installed 20 MW across two plants in Karnataka.

GCL-Poly Energy offers $110m loan to subsidiary

China’s GCL-Poly Energy Holdings has agreed to lend US$110 million to GNE Development, a wholly owned unit of the group.

Nigerian universities go off-grid with solar PV, storage mini-grids

Four of Nigeria’s federal universities and university teaching hospitals across the country have signed EPC contracts to develop mini-grid solutions, which will power their facilities and disconnect them from the main electricity grid. A total of 9.3 MW of PV and 5,760 battery cells will be deployed.

The weekend read: On track for quality improvement

China continues to grow in importance as a key source of components for solar trackers produced by the world’s leading tracker companies, in part since improvements in Chinese quality control have advanced significantly over the last few years.

Technology

Featured

The new rising stars

Module technology trends: In the past decade, continued technology advances and cost improvements made solar one of the most dynamic industries of our time, as it continues to make a significant and growing contribution to the global supply of electricity. Technological innovation is taking place in a context of extreme price competition among solar manufacturers, which explains the focus on cost control.

European researchers discover new effect of light on perovskites

Scientists led by Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research have demonstrated for the first time that, as well as electrons, light also releases charged particles in a perovskite solar cell material. The researchers state that this groundbreaking discovery could make possible new solar power applications, such as batteries directly charged by light.

UK researcher’s discovery could push PV into shape

A team of scientists at Warwick University in the U.K. has discovered a method for altering the structure of a semiconductor at the nano level which, it says, could push cell efficiencies of several materials beyond their theoretical limits.

Webinar Q&A: Reaching higher standards with cell and module innovation

The next generation of solar PV modules will see different technologies combined at both the cell and module level. That was the main conclusion of a recent pv magazine webinar, powered by JinkoSolar. Overall, a great deal of interest from participants was generated. Here, Andrea Viaro, Head of Technical Service Europe for JinkoSolar, responds to their questions.

Microlink Devices hits 37.75% efficiency for triple junction cell

U.S. technology company Microlink Devices has achieved a record efficiency of 37.75% on its triple junction thin film cells. The lightweight cell achieves a power density of more than 3000 W/kg, and is designed for use in satellites and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The new efficiency record is confirmed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Colombia to host its first floating PV project

The floating solar array will be deployed at the water reservoir of Peñol-Guatapé, which is owned and operated by local energy and telecommunications utility, Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM).

Manufacturing

Featured

From cost to tech-driven advances

Quality across the PV chain: With around 100 GW installed in 2017 (according to PV Market Alliance’s preliminary numbers), the global PV industry has once again beaten even the most optimistic of forecasts. However, this rosy picture hides some specific developments that highlight how the road to maturity could be long and at times chaotic, and why support for the industry must continue, both in Europe and beyond, writes Gaëtan Masson, director of the Becquerel Institute.

Meyer Burger to appeal Chinese ruling in patent infringement lawsuit

Meyer Burger (Switzerland) Ltd has said it will appeal the decision by a Chinese court to dismiss claims that Wuxi Shangji Automation Co. Ltd has infringed on its patented wire wrapping system.

Indian government mandates stringent quality controls for solar equipment

In a much-awaited move, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has mandated that, effective April 16, 2018, all solar equipment manufacturers will have to register their equipment with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

Demand for silver in global PV industry rose 19% in 2017, says Silver Institute

Approximately 76% of silver demand in the solar PV industry was used last year in frontside pastes, while the remaining 24% was used in backside pastes. Comoditization, however, is having detrimental effects on producers’ margins.

SunPower to buy SolarWorld Americas

The two biggest names in the solar trade fight will now be one company. SunPower will again be a U.S. manufacturer, and SolarWorld will begin producing P-Series modules.

EU grants €5 million to perovskite research consortium

Belgian institute Imec will be the coordinator of a project involving many of Europe’s leading research organizations, which will focus on developing stable, scalable, low cost PV modules based on perovskite technology. The project, named ‘ESPResSo’ has received more than €5 million in funding from the European Union.

Energy Storage

Featured

The cells of the future

Li-ion storage: battery manufacturers have a major task ahead of them, they have to meet runaway global demand, improve the performance, safety and longevity of storage devices, and of course bring down price. Instead of hoping for a big breakthrough, they are pursuing an approach involving many small steps.

Battery storage funding booms in Q1 (w/ chart)

The latest report by Mercom Capital finds VC investment in battery storage companies rising five-fold year-over-year to $299 million in 12 deals.

China to power new sustainable development zone with renewables

The Chinese authorities plan to use renewable energy technologies to provide all of the electricity that will be consumed in a new economic zone that is being developed near Beijing, according to local state media reports.

ABB launches what it says is world’s fastest EV charger

The Terra High Power charger can charge an electric vehicle (EV) in just eight minutes, thus adding up to 200 km of range, says ABB, which launched the new model at this year’s Hannover Messe.

US: ESA lays path for 35 GW of energy storage by 2025

National trade association, the ESA has published a roadmap for the adoption of 35 GW of energy storage in the U.S., as well as outlining the benefits of such a move. pv magazine USA spoke with CEO, Kelly Speakes-Backman about storage and the challenges of state-level advocacy at ESA’s annual conference in Boston.

IEA-PVPS: Integration of solar requires improved forecasts, flexibility resources, more storage

In a new report, the association states that urgent action is required for, among other issues, the improvement of solar generation forecasts, the exploitation of storage systems, and the reduction of minimum operation and start-up times for both existing and new thermal and hydro generators.

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Press Releases

GES Secured Long-term Financing of US$ 38 Million from FMO and DEG for Monte Plata Solar Project in Dominican Republic

Neo Solar Power Corporation (“NSP”, publicly listed on Taiwan Stock Exchange, Ticker: 3576 TT), today announced that its subsidiary, General Energy Solutions Inc. (“GES”), has secured a 16-year US$38 million long-term financing from Netherlands Development Finance Company (“FMO”) and German Investment and Development Corporation (“DEG”) for its SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) named Electronic J.

Varta Storage Top 3 in European Home Energy Storage Systems

According to the EuPD, the company was ranked bronze among domestic storage system providers on the European continent in 2017.

Huawei Supports BayWa r.e. to Build Don Rodrigo

The biggest single PV plant in Spain and the first to be subsidy-free.

TESVOLT expands sales activities in UK and Ireland

On 1 April, Lawrie Wilson joined the TESVOLT team to help boost international sales. As Area Manager, he will be responsible for the growing market in the UK and Ireland.