The pv magazine weekly news digest

Americas

In the United States this week, SolarCity launched a $1 billion funding program aimed at developing 300 MW of commercial solar atop rooftops across the country. The initiative, backed by Credit Suisse, is aimed at the development of carports for businesses and solar installations on schools and government agencies over the next two years.

SolarCity partner company Tesla Motors is set to unveil a new solar storage battery for homes and businesses. Tesla is currently testing the batteries in some 300 homes in California and 11 Walmart locations, according to press reports.

Storage solutions remain a hot commodity around the globe. Chinese solar developer Solar Power, Inc. (SPI) acquired a $33.4 million stake in U.S. energy management group ZBB Energy Corporation as part of a wide-ranging pact that includes a 40 MW supply agreement for energy storage systems over a four-year period.

As part of a supply agreement valued at between $80 million and $120 million, SPI will integrate ZBB’s energy storage systems in its PV solutions for solar markets around the globe. The deal is expected to result in SPI owning a 54% stake in ZBB.

Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo is investing in renewable energy infrastructure to help balance the electricity grid serving the northeastern United States. The company has commissioned Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) to build the first independent large-scale battery power storage system for the frequency regulation market operated by regional grid operator PJM. The project will employ Toshiba lithium ion batteries.

In Mexico’s Baja California, Energy Partners Latin America is developing a 150 MW solar plant budgeted at $279 million. The plant will be located in the sun-rich northwestern corner of the peninsular state.

Asia

China continues to make massive strides in its solar development. This week analysts at Deutsche Bank predicted the country’s PV capacity could surpass 20 GW this year following a better-than-expected first quarter and improved policy outlook.

Elsewhere in China, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group is set to build a 10 MW gallium arsenide (GaAs) thin film solar cell research and development and manufacturing factory at the Huangpi Linkong Industrial Park in Wuhan City.

The move follows Hanergy’s acquisition of California-based GaAs specialist Alta Devices in January and marks the group’s first GaAs thin film solar call R&D fab in China.

In Japan, General Electric is set to invest in a 42 MW solar farm in Futtsu City as part of its commitment to invest in $1 billion in renewable energy projects annually.

MENA region

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has announced the 800 MW third phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with a project’s tender expected to be released in the third quarter of the year.

Dubai has been making strides in its efforts to increase the use of clean and renewable energy. The emirate recently increased the share of its renewable energy target to a 7% share by 2020 and 15% by 2030, and doubled the capacity of phase two of the Solar Park from 100 MW to 200 MW.

Europe

In Germany, a flood of bids has poured in for the country’s first round of PV tenders. German Federal Network Agency authorities reported 170 bids in their first call for tenders for a 150 MW, which was oversubscribed many times over.

Swiss group Meyer Burger, meanwhile, reached a settlement agreement with GT Advanced Technologies. GTAT has agreed to recognize Meyer Burger’s $35 million claim and assume ownership of equipment it had ordered before a soured deal with Apple allegedly forced it into bankruptcy.

Around the world

Global investment in the smart grid and storage sectors soared in the first quarter of 2015. The smart grid sector raised $185 million in Q1, a dramatic increase from $59 million it received in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a new report by Mercom Capital Group.