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France publishes second-quarter FITs for PV systems up to 100 kW

The feed-in tariff granted reduces each quarter, in line with how much solar capacity was installed in the previous three-month period.
Installations

PV-powered desalination system for rural areas

Italian start-up Genius Watter has developed a solar desalination solution that is claimed to be particularly suitable for remote areas with no connection to grid electricity. The system is able to produce up to 1,000 cubic meters of potable water per da...
Markets & Policy

Irico emphasizes picture of boom time for solar panel glassmakers

The state-owned PV glass manufacturer, which claims to be one of the world's big three, hived off its distracting new materials, solar module, and solar project development businesses to focus entirely on its core output in 2020.
Announcements

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Entries are currently being accepted for the awards across six categories: Modules, Inverters, Balance of System (BoS), Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), Sustainability, and Manufacturing. Enter free today to go in the running to be a 2021 winner!

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Markets & Policy

Colombia to hold renewables auction by the end of October

Project selected in the auctions will be granted a 15-year PPA and will have to begin delivering power in December 2022.
Markets & Policy

Winaico launches full black module with output of 370 MW

The module features a power conversion efficiency of 19.94% and a temperature coefficient of -0.35% per degree Celsius. The product is recommended for residential and commercial projects
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Installations

India’s NTPC tenders 1 GW of solar capacity, BHEL issues global tender to select module partners

Developers have until May 27 to submit bids for NTPC's projects anywhere in India. BHEL is seeking module supply partners for an aggregate 750 MW of panels.
Manufacturing

Polysilicon passivate junctions getting closer to commercial production of c-Si modules

A new study from Australia has highlighted the potential of polysilicon passivated junctions for revolutionizing the commercial production of crystalline silicon solar panels. It also presented, however, the technical and economic hurdles that must still...
Installations

Two firefighters killed and one missing after Beijing battery blaze

An explosion occurred as firefighters were dealing with a fire in a 25 MWh lithium-iron phosphate battery associated with a 1.4 MW rooftop array at a shopping mall in the Chinese capital on Friday.

Press Releases

FuturaSun in Cape Verde: clean energy for clean water

FuturaSun photovoltaic modules for the desalination plant on the island of Boa Vista in the Cape Verde archipelago: drinking water for the desert area

Pfeiffer Vacuum presents extension to DigiLine series: Total pressure vacuum gauges with digital signal output

Asslar, Germany, April 20, 2021. For more than 20 years now, Pfeiffer Vacuum’s portfolio has included its comprehensive DigiLine range of digital total vacuum pressure gauges, which can be modularly adapted to suit any industrial vacuum application.

Pinsent Masons advises on the project financing of the Rabigh Solar PV IPP Project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the financiers (Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Mizuho Bank and Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation) on the project financing provided to a consortium led by Marubeni Corporation in joint venture with Al Jomaih Energy & Water Company Limited of the 300MW solar power plant to be built and operated in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia.

18.7 MW solar power project was implemented by Philadelphia Solar in Jordan

Philadelphia solar, photovoltaic panel and steel mounting structure manufacturer, it is the first MEA-based company that manufactures, develops, designs, constructs, owns and operates utility-scale commercial and industrial photovoltaic plants.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Analysis of France’s CRE4 PV tenders and their impact

This year will witness the end of the French program for PV tenders known as “CRE4”, which began in 2016. To date, they have enabled over 7.2 GW of solar capacity to benefit from a subsidized tariff (feed-in tariff or feed-in premium). A few months before the last CRE4 tenders and the launch of the PPE2 (or CRE5), Finergreen evaluates their impact on the French solar industry.

We all trust the PV performance ratio test – but should we?

The performance ratio test is at the core of the handover from EPC to owner. Yet sometimes, even when best practice is applied – and without particularly demanding guaranteed values to be achieved – these tests fail good projects. This can lead to costly delays and wasted effort spent trying to find issues that might not exist. Everoze Partner Dario Brivio reviews the likelihood of this happening and considers ways to increase confidence in the precision of such tests, based on recent independent analysis of real-world projects.

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?

Covid-19

Covid delays drove 20% dip in solar project revenue for Chinese developer last year

But new ventures into coal-fired steam and petrochemicals products helped state-owned China Shuifa Singyes towards a significantly healthier balance sheet in 2020.

GCL confirms thumping annual loss for 2020

The polysilicon maker lurched from a $17m profit in 2019 to a $960 million loss last year, according to an unaudited extract from its overdue annual figures. Publication is being held up by an auditor enquiry relating to a $71m abandoned-production-project pre-payment which appears to be either owed by, or to, a GCL subsidiary.

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.

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.

Fraunhofer ISE reveals Spain may host 5 GW module factory

The vertically integrated factory is expected to be located near Sevilla, in southern Spain. The factory will be owned and operated by the newly created company Greenland Gigafactory.

British company to produce solid-state lithium-sulfur products this year

Oxfordshire-based Oxis Energy says it will produce the less flammable devices sought by the aviation industry using the same manufacturing processes as those used to make lithium-ion and conventional-lithium-sulfur products.

Uzbekhydroenergo, EDF join forces to develop pumped hydro, floating PV

The two companies are initially planning to build a 200 MW pumped-hydro facility in the Bostanlyk district of Uzbekistan’s Tashkent region.

Mounting interest for solar-linked bilateral deals in Russia

Under the current Russian energy regulatory framework, bilateral deals can be concluded between a seller and a buyer with a power distribution company mediating as a third party.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: First quarter brought 5.5 GW of new solar, Zhonghuan Semiconductor acquires stake in Maxeon

Solar demand grew around 40%, year-on-year, during the first three months of 2021 and wafer producer Zhonghuan Semiconductor has raised its holding in Singaporean solar manufacturer Maxeon to become its second-largest shareholder after Total.

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.

Australian solar installer receives unexpected response from customers after switching exclusively to microinverters

Solar installer Jake Warner has received surprising feedback from his customers after he chose to transition his company, Penrith Solar, exclusively to microinverters two months ago. “What I found is actually the opposite to what I expected,” Warner told pv magazine Australia

Global database for PV system performance

The database brings together photovoltaic performance data and meteorological values from PV systems located in all climate zones. It is being built by an international consortium including the Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics CSP, and the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences.

The Hydrogen Stream: 20 MW green hydrogen plant in Finland, two Australian projects move forward

Storegga, Shell and Harbour Energy want to set up a 20 MW blue hydrogen production facility in the U.K. Australia’s Origin Energy wants to build a hydrogen facility at the Port of Townsville, in Queensland. South African company Sasol and Toyota South Africa Motors have announced a partnership to “commence exploration of the development of a green hydrogen mobility ecosystem in South Africa,” starting with zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell (FC) heavy-duty, long-haul trucks.

Pollinator-focused solar parks

Researchers in the US ascertained that the partial shading provided by solar parks creates a microclimate that favors the abundant growth of more varied flowers and pollinators. They also found that partial shading increases bloom abundance by delaying bloom timing, increasing forage for pollinators during the hot and dry late season.

Mathematical model to couple pumped hydro with wind and solar in islands

An group of international scientists has developed a mathematical model to design hybrid renewable energy systems relying on pumped hydro storage for islands. According to their analysis, which was applied to the Ometepe island in Nicaragua, a similar system could provide a cost of energy ranging from €0.047/kWh to €0.095/kWh.

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.”

No bifacial solar in West Africa? That’s likely to change soon

A technology-focused event held by the Africa Solar Industry Association has heard development pipelines across the continent are swiftly changing to accommodate double-sided PV panels, and that’s good news for solar tracker providers too.

US start-up secures distribution agreement for nickel-hydrogen battery technology

EnerVenue signed its first major distribution agreement with Hong Kong’s Towngas. The deal will pilot the company’s nickel-hydrogen battery technology and serve as an audition for future deals to come.

Cold room powered 100% by solar

The Cryosolar solution consists of a 20-foot or 40-foot container equipped with a plug-and-play PV system installed on the roof. It has 180 mm thick insulation and 10 to 35 cubic metres of storage with shelves.

Green hydrogen and the cable-pipeline dilemma

New research from Singapore has found that gas pipelines for the onshore transport of green hydrogen and the cables for the transport of electricity to produce it at a distant location have similar costs at a 4000 km transmission distance. For longer distances, gas pipelines were found to be cheaper than cables, although the electric lines are said to benefit from scaling up and higher utilization. For both options, however, a currently too high hydrogen LCOE remains the biggest barrier to overcome.

Model agreement to make solar and wind share same connection point in the Netherlands

The model agreement was outlined by Dutch consultancy Ventolines B.V. and follows the introduction of new provisions for the sharing of the same connection point issued by the country’s government last year.

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.

UK’s Power Roll wants to manufacture solar films in India

The UK-based flexible solar film developer is expanding into the Indian market with Thermax as its market development and manufacturing partner.

Heterojunction design for 26%-efficient copper bismuth oxide thin-film solar cell

Researchers in Bangladesh have simulated a solar cell based on a copper bismuth oxide material, used as an absorber, with n-type cadmium sulfide (CdS) utilized as a buffer layer. In the experiment, the device achieved an efficiency of 26.0%, an open-circuit voltage of 0.97 V, a short-circuit current density of 31.61 milliampere per square centimeter, and a fill factor of 84.58%.

First Solar claims lowest module degradation rate in the industry

The US cadmium telluride thin-film module maker said its Series 6 CuRe panels are able to retain 92% of its performance at the end of the 30-year warranty. The improved stability of the product was achieved by eliminating copper and placing Group V elements such as antimony or arsenic onto the tellurium crystal sites.

The weekend read: Flexible PV tools for the next generation

A solar manufacturing investment cycle appears to be underway in Europe, with equipment suppliers reporting surging levels of inquiries for new production lines. Larger PV wafer formats are driving the change, along with renewed confidence in the outlook for the solar PV market on the continent. To meet the demand, European equipment suppliers are now embracing flexibility.

Amorphous silicon solar cells still niche market

In the second interview of a series, Arvind Shah, a professor at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, told pv magazine about the challenges facing amorphous silicon cells. He said the tech could be used in some window applications and greenhouses, but not in rooftop projects, as the stabilised efficiency of these cells is too low.

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.

GM and LG Energy plan a $2.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant

The automaker’s future Ultium-powered EVs are designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging. Most will have 400V battery packs and up to 200 kW fast charging capability.

Australian green hydrogen project grows from 1 GW to 8 GW, following commitment from Total Eren

Province Resources has signed a memorandum of understanding with French renewable energy developer Total Eren, which could see the two companies have equal shares in Province’s HyEnergy Zero Carbon Hydrogen project proposed in northwest Western Australia.

Australian coal mine to transform into pumped hydro facility

Australian utility AGL is transforming its operations in a number of ways, from restructuring the company itself, to building energy storage facilities for flexible distribution of renewable energy into the future. The company is also planning to build a pumped-hydro facility at a disused open-cut coal mining site in eastern Australia.

The Hydrogen Stream: 39,700 km European hydrogen network planned, Germany means business

Several heavyweights in Germany have announced projects to move forward with green hydrogen. RWE, Uniper and Bosch have all announced large-scale projects and the German government has allocated €52 million for hydrogen research. The European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative is proposing a hydrogen network of 39,700 km by 2040, with further growth expected after 2040.

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.

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