The pv magazine weekly news digest

Where’s your head at? Paris most likely as COP21 assembles world leaders, heads of state, and ‘C’ level executives all the while dominating headlines in the solar world.

Solar itself has somewhat of a dominant position during COP21 proceedings and events this week, particularly among renewable technologies. Around 40 heads of state joined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President François Hollande to launch both the International Solar Alliance and the Terrawat Initiative, which aim to sweep aside regulatory hurdles to widespread solar adoption and to facilitate capital flows into PV deployment. Lofty and commendable goals indeed.

But as nice as good news is to read, bad news travels fast and we learned this week that Abengoa’s insolvency proceedings may overcome its U.S. yieldco, Abengoa Yield.

While the yieldco has been making efforts to distance itself from its parent’s financial woes, it has emerged that cross default clauses may cause ripples right across the pond from Spain and engulf the U.S. subsidiary yieldco. It would spell bad news for investors and for solar projects in all their forms, Abengoa Yield is reportedly looking for buyers for the 47% stake in it the parent company currently holds.

Big in France

With big names assembling at the big climate show currently underway in Paris, what better time to celebrate Europe’s biggest PV power plant. With COP21 down the road in Paris, the timing was sublime as project developer Neoen was joined by the unique EPC consortium of France’s Eiffiage, Schneider Electric and Germany’s Krinner in Bordeaux to celebrate the completion of the 300 MW Cestas project.

pv magazine has been tracking the project closely and has published six articles featuring the project in the magazine in recent months, looking at all aspects of the project from the mounting structures, to the power electronics, finance, monitoring and beyond. We bid a warm santé to assembled team. Champagne anyone?

Enough with baseload already

With global leaders attempting to find a global solution to, ah, global climate change in Paris this week, it is the perfect time to find a zero-carbon solution to energy supply.

Researchers from Stanford have turned their attention to the task and produced energy roadmaps for 139 countries concluding that while different countries will require different solutions, solar, wind and hydro can be combined in various forms to power the world. Geothermal also has a role to play, found the researchers, particularly in chilly Iceland.

Energy Program Director Mark Z. Jacobson said, "These are basically plans showing it’s technically and economically feasible to change the energy infrastructure of all of these different countries."

Jacobson also rejected claims that adopting renewable energy to such a wide extent would be too expensive and unreliable. “What this shows is that all these claims are mythical."

And if that isn’t exciting enough, who doesn’t like a good model [Ed: and module for that matter], Goldman Sachs concluded this week that the low carbon economy, including solar and wind, will produce more energy over the next five years will contribute more to global energy supply than the U.S. shale gas boom over the previous five.

Analysts Brian Lee and Jaakko Kooroshy, who worked on the Low Carbon Economy report, believe that solar PV and onshore wind power combined will add the equivalent energy of 6.2 million barrels of oil a day to the world’s energy supply, outstripping the 5.7 million barrels a day of U.S. shale oil produced from the nation’s wells since 2010.

IEA at it again

Staying global for the time being, the Energy Watch Group (EWG) provided more data to back up its claims that the IEA is missing a trick when it comes to renewable energy projections. Having previously slammed the IEA’s outlook for renewables, the Energy Watch Group backed up its claims with some figures, noting that while the IEA expects renewable deployment to plateau, that even its figures for 2014 installs are wrong.

Oh, and if you think there might be a green or two amidst the Energy Watch Group, you’d be right.

"The IEA has been holding back the global energy transition for years. The false World Energy Outlook predictions lead to high investments in fossil and nuclear sector, hinder global development of renewable energy and undermine the global fight against climate change," president of EWG and former [Greens] Member of the German Parliament, Hans-Josef Fell said.

Let’s get local

Local markets were also of interest this week, with Entergy Louisiana’s move to wind up net metering causing a stir, while the City of Las Vegas’ decision to go 100% renewable catching attention for the right reasons. But before you get too excited by ‘Sin City’s’ big announcement, it’s only the municipality that is going green, not the bright lights and gaming tables in the city’s Casinos.

Further afield, solar ambitions from Dubai, with a 25% by 2030 goal, and India, with 13 GW in 2016, are piquing the interest of solar investors and developers. While Dubai has set out a ambitious but achievable program to go 25% PV, doubts remain as to whether Indian Prime Minister Modi’s 12 GW will get off the ground.