The pv magazine weekly news digest


Utilities across the United States are stepping up efforts to dismantle retail-rate net metering and impose charges that undermine the economics of customer-installed solar, according to a new report.

NC Clean Energy Technology Center and Meister Consultants’ annual 50 States of Solar report found that state policies are experiencing “considerable uncertainty and volatility” due to these utility-led initiatives.

In Palo Alto, California, a city council committee recommend the approval of a power purchase agreement with Hecate Energy for what may be the lowest price paid for power from a solar project to date: $36.76 per megawatt-hour. The Wilsona Solar project will be built near , some 100 kilometers north of Los Angeles.

In other Golden State news, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) verified a module efficiency world record of 22.8% for California-based cell and module manufacturer SunPower, which said its latest X-Series module is now the most efficient on the market.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., a forthcoming 4.8 MW solar farm near the English town of Swindon will offer residents the chance to purchase a stake in the £4.8 million ($6.7 million) community project. The Swindon Borough Council is backing the project with £3 million in the first such council-backed solar scheme of its kind in the country.

Across the channel, German utility giant E.ON is partnering with Dresden-based Solarwatt to develop its own modular storage systems based on Solarwatt’s MyReserve battery technology. The deal is a major achievement for Solarwatt, which has gone from manufacturing solar modules to providing system solutions, according to Stefan Quandt, the company’s main shareholder (and the biggest single shareholder of German automaker BMW).

Germany also saw the first installation of carmaker and storage solutions rival Tesla. German solar and storage installer Praml completed two of the first installations of Tesla’s 6.4 kWh residential Powerwall battery system in the country. Powerwall systems are currently being rolled out in Germany, Australia and the U.S.

In other news, the World Trade Organization ruled against India’s domestic content requirement. Siding with the U.S., the WTO said the requirement violates international trade agreements. The ruling is not expected to have a major impact on India’s PV industry.