The pv magazine weekly news digest

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The Elon Musk founded company signed a non binding letter of intent with Japanese electronics giants Panasonic. The agreement, which is dependent upon completion of SolarCity’s acquisition, would see Panasonic produce cells and modules at Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York. The Panasonic products will likely be bundled with Tesla’s range of storage products and leased through SolarCity, giving Mr. Musk a serious stake in the industry.

SunEdison project snapped up?

Another of fallen solar developer SunEdison’s projects has been picked from the bankrupt company’s carcass. This time it’s the development rights to a 500 MW project in Andhra Pradesh, India. India’s Solar Energy Corporation (SECI) received a INR 2 billion (US$30 million) payment. The buyer remained anonymous, but is believed to be Indian clean energy developer Greenko, which also paid $390 million to secure all that SunEdison left behind on the subcontinent.

Gold medal for China?

After being disappointed to finish third at this summer’s Olympic Games, China was proud to achieve a new world record in aperture efficiency for multicrystalline silicon solar modules. Scientists working at Trina Solar’s State Key Laboratory of PV Science and Technology of China achieved an aperture efficiency of 19.86%, 0.7 above the previous record.

In more news from China, Electronics heavyweights Huawei this week announced plans to extend its range of inverters to the residential sector. Huawei, well known as a leading supplier of string inverters for large scale arrays, has been a little shy on the details of its new products, but has stated that it plans to enter the residential inverter market in the second quarter of 2017.

IEA on board with solar??

Having consistently underestimated the growth of renewables for more than a decade, the International Energy Agency finally seems to be taking note. The agency has stated that the outlook for solar and wind will be “significantly raised” in its upcoming report. Check pv magazine on Tuesday for full coverage of the IEA’s mid term renewables outlook report.

Europe’s faltering minimum price undertaking continued to, ah, falter this week, as Suntech became the latest big Chinese manufacturer to withdraw from the EU’s Minimum Import Price agreement. The company stated that given the extent to which prices have fallen, the agreement is “no longer fit for purpose” and bemoaned the European block’s lack of willingness to adjust.

India’s commitment to the solar industry looks more solid every day. In fact, the government is reportedly planning to unveil a diamond ring in the form of a INR 210 billion (US$3.1 billion) investment, aimed at ramping up domestic production. Although the proposal is still under review, overseas shipments of Indian produced cells increased by 116% compared to last year, so there could be a big opportunity to capitalize on.

Singapore has released a 40 MWp tender, the latest part of its SolarNova program. The program will see a total of 220 MWp of PV installed on public housing blocks and at government locations across the city-state. Winning bidders will be announced in early 2017, with the production to be completed by 2019.

African off grid heading west

Following the success of several off grid solar projects across east Africa, non-profit organization Solar Village Project (SVP) is preparing to install solar arrays in seven villages in Senegal. This could be the start of something big for the West African nation, as a report from Renewable Energy Policy Network last month revealed that US$139 million was invested in off grid projects across East Africa in 2015.

Some better news for Europe to round off this week’s round up: German storage specialists Sonnen secured $85 million in capital funding, much of which was raised by two new partners, international tech company Envision Energy, and former CEO of Allianz Capital Partners, Thomas Putter. Sonnen is looking to cement its position in the German market, as well as expand into other European nations and Australia.