The pv magazine weekly news digest

What did we learn in the world of solar this week? With your ever-reliable pv magazine first to all the big stories and revealing the joyous news of America’s decarbonization milestone, much-needed hope for the embattled population of Gaza and a Middle Eastern company offering hope of salvation to struggling European renewables companies, the most-read story online was about the weather.

It seems we have more English readers than we bargained for – or maybe general election fatigue is already settling in over in Blighty.

Regardless, our bulletin on the severe sandstorms that afflicted north west China on the last day of March gave an insight into the downside of developing solar projects in the Far East’s most sun-drenched region as severe storms crashed into projects in Hami, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and in Dunhuang, in Gansu province.

Hope for Gaza

The United Nations’ Development Program lightened the mood, however, with news of a $529,300 cash injection from the OPEC fund for international development for a new project being rolled out in Gaza as part of the stalled Palestine Solar Initiative.

The Renewable Energy Generation through Solar Panels for Public, Education, Health and Water Facilities project – presumably whichever pen-pusher named that is being paid on a lineage rate – will see solar installations benefit four schools and two maternity clinics as well as powering a submersible pump to help the 1,000 children catered for by the Down’s Syndrome Society in Gaza.

US leads the way in decarbonization

And while we’re on the subject of life-affirming good news, the gas-guzzling Americans stereotype will soon have to be shelved if the predictions of the analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) regarding the U.S. power sector come to fruition.

BNEF is predicting the carbon emissions emitted by the U.S. power industry will drop to their 1994 lows on the back of record-busting renewable energy installations, natural gas and the huge number of nasty coal-fired power stations being closed down.

As favorable factors converge this year, said the BNEF yesterday (Thursday), 23 GW of coal-fired power will be switched off and a stupendous 18 GW of renewable power generation added – 9.1 GW of it solar and more than half of that figure in California alone – just imagine what will happen when the 49 other states are told about PV!

FRV says hola! to new owner

The acquisition of Spanish solar developer FRV by the new renewable energy arm of Dubai-Saudi group Abdul Latif Jameel will alert struggling solar businesses across Europe’s moribund market, not least because the CEO of the Middle Eastern company said the move is likely the first of a renewable energy shopping spree.

The new owners of FRV will acquire a portfolio of solar projects in Australia (94 MW), Uruguay (65 MW), Brazil (175 MW) and Egypt (60 MW) which should at least ensure some rewarding holidays for the CEO in question and, in further good news, all of FRV’s 70 staff will be retained.

25 per cent PERC cell efficiencies

The world is cutting emissions, making life more bearable in Gaza and even the world’s oil producing countries are picking up the baton and, to top it all, solar panel efficiencies of 25 per cent are within reach, according to Martin Green, a researcher at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

The future lies with multi-crystalline PERC cells as increasing efficiency becomes more important than cutting costs for the world’s solar manufacturers.

With that boatload of positive news you can’t help but have a good weekend, unless you live in north west China… possibly.