The pv magazine weekly news digest


There are no hard and fast rules that decide when an emerging talent, region or market finally becomes recognized as ‘established’. In the world of entertainment or sport, there are, at least, certain markers one can look to when evaluating a talent’s place in the cultural zeitgeist, but in solar, when does an emerging region qualify for established status?

This week, we may have had our answer. After last week’s neverending wave of Indian solar news, the past seven days has followed on seamlessly – suggesting that India is now firmly entrenched in the solar firmament.

Pretty much daily, India turned heads at pv magazine with its latest solar successes, but two stories in particular stood out – capturing the attention of our loyal readership like no other.

The first was the news that Adani Group and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) had separately submitted proposals for two 1 GW solar plants in the Indian state of Jharkhand – a story so commonplace these days as to be almost easy to ignore.

The $1.05 billion investment from Adani is the group’s latest in a long line of commitments in the Indian solar sector, and further proof of the confidence investors of all types are now placing in the market.

JSPL, meanwhile, proposed a similar 1 GW development in Jharkhand’s Godda district in the same week – a project that will boost the group’s solar footprint in India dramatically.

Also this week, Swiss power and automation company ABB reached a noteworthy Indian benchmark – the firm has now installed 2 GW of inverters in the country, thus cornering half of India’s 4 GW solar industry.

"India is one of the world’s fastest-growing solar markets, and ABB has steadily built this business up over the years," said ABB’s president of discrete automation and motion division Pekka Tiitinen.

"Our next level strategy is built around expansion opportunities into promising growth markets and today we can deliver up to 3 GW of inverter capacity from Bangalore each year, supported by local engineering and service expertise."

Brazil boost, Mexican movement

Whatever India can do, Brazil can match. Almost. Once again the Brazilian solar market was in the spotlight this week following a successful Intersolar South America show last week.

The news that JinkoSolar is to supply 579 MW of PV modules in the country caused a stir. The agreement, struck as part of the solar auction that took place last Friday, will see the Chinese solar company drastically ramp up its presence in Brazil, building upon just 30 MW of installed capacity.

"We were very successful in the last auction in Brazil," Alberto Cuter, JinkoSolar's general manager for Latin America and Italy, told pv magazine. JinkoSolar will become one of the largest module suppliers in Brazil and one of the main module suppliers for winning projects in last week's auction, in which a total of 1.043 GW of solar projects were awarded.

JinkoSolar will deliver the modules from its factory in China. "For this auction we will import," Cuter stressed. Other module manufacturers are planning to produce modules in Brazil in view of the local content requirement to access financing from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) for winning projects in the auction.

Last week’s auction was the country’s second national solar tender. Brazil held its first solar auction last year. The two auctions awarded a combined total of about 2 GW of solar projects.

In Mexico eyes were turned to the official government journal, which established the legislation for longer PPAs for solar projects, up to 20 years and with specific schemes for renewable energy.

Energy auctions for long-term supply will take place every year. Additional auctions under altered PPA and technology conditions could be introduced in the future as required.

Several renewable energy companies like Sowitec and Sunedison have expressed their interest in participating in the auction.

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New tech on the block

In an industry that prides itself on considered yet often inspired innovation, invention in the inverter space has been about as creative as a painting-by-numbers color chart in recent years.

Enter SolarEdge, the Israeli company better known for its power optimizers, to put the metaphorical cat amongst the inverter pigeons with the announcement of its new HD-Wave technology. Speaking to pv magazine, SolarEdge’s Lior Handelsman effused about the new technology’s ability to alter inverter design, leading to fewer and smaller components, a more lightweight chassis and eventually lower production costs – and with improved performance in efficiency.

"Inverters have not improved at the rate of computers, TVs or mobile phones over the past few years. The reason being is that inverters require a very large cooling component and have traditionally been made using heavy and costly magnetic made out of copper and other materials," said Handelsman. "These physical parts make up a big portion of inverter costs. The more watt power you can get per kilo makes things more effective."

In Australia, organic PV and perovskite solar cell developer Dyesol announced this week that it has made a significant breakthrough in perovskite stability for solar applications, claiming to have produced 1 cm squared perovskite cells that have a conversion efficiency of around 10% and can withstand accelerated degradation testing for more than 1000 hours.

"This achievement gives us confidence to accelerate development and scale-up of our preferred low cost and easily produced PSC technology architecture, as we've now reproducibly, both within and between batches, proven that the system is inherently photo-stable in larger 1 cm2 cells with high efficiency of >10%," said Dyesol CTO Damion Miliken in a statement. Miliken added that the company has developed "significant internal IP along the way."

Also in the news…

Another week, another punch in the gut for the U.K. solar industry. The FIT pre-accreditation process for larger rooftop and small scale solar farms – which served as a handy way to lock-in an agreed FIT rate prior to commencing a potentially lengthy development process – is to be scrapped from October 1 with very little rhyme or reason given by the government. The Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, did attempt to defend the government’s actions, but was met with predictably deafening – and wholly justified – criticism from the long-suffering players within the industry.

With Greece still embroiled in a painful economic crisis and on the literal frontline in Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis, a little bit of good news sparkled from the historic nation this week in the form of the ever-irrepressible Greenpeace Greece.

The organization has launched an inspirational crowdfunding campaign with the aim to solarize the entire country – a country, lest we forget, with a solid PV history and some of the world’s best insolation rates.

"With energy poverty being one of the most dramatic symptoms of the Greek crisis (six out of 10 households are struggling to pay their energy bills), investing in the abundant sun, the country’s biggest asset, will be key to a Greek recovery," remarked Greenpeace Greece.

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