From the Mag: A selection of stories from the August issue


Published this week, pv magazine August takes a well-earned sit down amid the summer heat to chat to a broad portfolio of leading solar innovators in our conversation special.

Subscribers can enjoy these insightful interviews, and more, by heading over to our archive page now to read the latest issue.

But fear not, non-subscribers, fo you are treated, as always, to three free teaser articles – hand-picked each month for your enjoyment…

Japan’s horizon sun

Official PV projections from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) forecast solar PV to reach around 64 GW of cumulative installed capacity by 2030 – accounting for around 7% of the nation’s energy mix.

But with solar’s strength growing increasingly apparent in the Land of the Rising Sun with each passing month, many experts working within the domestic industry believe this official forecast to be too conservative. The Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) is confident that the country can reach 100 GW of installed PV capacity by that date, and posits that a growing preference for clean solar power among a public still scarred by the recent Fukushima disaster can only play into the hands of the solar industry.

Discussions about just how much support to send solar’s way are ongoing at government level, but the attraction of securing the nation’s energy supply – a nation, lest we forget, highly vulnerable to natural disasters – is a strong one, right across the board.

PV powers resource sector

Thomas Hilig of renewable energy consultants THEnergy looks at two off-grid solar diesel hybrid energy projects that have been installed at different locations across Australia’s vast and remote landscape. Their common denominator? Both projects are located next to busy, energy-intensive mines, and both have ably demonstrated solar’s ability to service the resource industry.

Solar arrays have actually been servicing remote mining operations for quite some time, but recent advances in affordable and reliable storage technology has made PV an even more attractive option, and it is this solar+storage partnership that is reducing mining companies’ reliance on expensive and polluting diesel generators.

Manifold other benefits are yielded with solar, which is serving to highlight diesel’s shortcomings and generate greater returns on investment for mining owners, writes the consultant.

The 1500 V modus operandi

Questions have abounded for years about the ‘natural evolution’ of the solar industry, and which path it might take. And while storage and PERC technologies may be at the cutting edge when it comes to innovation, one simpler trend could prove pivotal in driving the next wholesale shift in the solar landscape – the trend for 1,500 volt components.

At large-scale installations, 1,500 VDC has already made waves, offering a great deal of perks in terms of performance and efficiency, while also generating better LCOE and cost returns.

"A key advantage of higher voltage is that for the same power, the current in the conductor is reduced, which in turn reduces the size of the conductor and losses in the conductor," said First Solar’s VP for system development, Mahesh Morjaria. First Solar is one of the leading players in the new 1,500 V landscape, having collaborated last year with General Electric on the creation of 1,500 volt inverter compatible CdTe modules.

Further analysis by GTM Research has found that the installation of 1,500 VDC systems can lower costs by as much as $0.05 per watt compared to 1,000 VDC, and there are multiple additional benefits, too. This growing trend will be on pv magazine’s radar over the coming few months, so watch this space for more discussion, insight and innovation in the 1,500 volt sector.


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