Top News

Chinese PV Industry Brief: 1 GW of distributed solar came online in August

More than 1 GW of subsidized small solar arrays were installed in China last month alone and manufacturer Suntech has announced the start of operations at its 500 MW Indonesian cell and module fab.
Manufacturing

Nextracker inks 1 GW supply deal and claims up to 12% bifacial yield gain

The 1 GW fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai will feature NX Horizon trackers with the deal announced after the manufacturer published new bifacial yield gain claims.
Manufacturing

New molecular precursor for kesterite solar cells

Scientists in India have developed a new molecular precursor for applications in kesterite solar cells. They used the precursor to build a superstrate type solar cell with an efficiency that is purportedly among the highest ever recorded. They relied on ...
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Markets & Policy

Hitachi halts 5.8 GW of UK nuclear plans

With the Japanese conglomerate this week walking away from two new nuclear plants in the United Kingdom, project developer Horizon Nuclear Power has confirmed all activities at both sites will cease. The facilities had struggled to secure funding despite...
Energy Storage

Solar-powered unmanned airplane with lithium-sulfur battery

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute has conducted a battery-powered test flight of solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle EAV-3. The aircraft is powered by solar cells on its wings and body and an LG Chem lithium-sulfur battery.
Markets & Policy

Solaria brings its patent claims against Canadian Solar to ITC, adding a third patent

Californian solar module manufacturer Solaria Corporation has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to issue an exclusion order to prevent the sale in the United States of Canadian Solar shingled solar modules it claims infringe its patents.
Markets & Policy

Scottish Power to bring parent’s hydrogen expertise to northern Europe

The U.K. utility is a partner in the Green Hydrogen for Scotland initiative which aims to be fueling commercial vehicles with sustainable hydrogen within two years, starting with a 10 MW electrolyzer on the outskirts of Glasgow.
Manufacturing

Indian solar leaders call for overhaul to navigate Covid-19

Indian PV manufacturers have highlighted the need to find alternative supply chains and to push automation and Internet of Things applications on the factory floor, in order to keep production running amid raw material and labor shortages.
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Press Releases

EBRD, GCF and CTF US$ 42.6 million for solar plant in Kazakhstan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is organising a new financing for the construction of a 76MWp solar plant in the Karaganda region of Kazakhstan, a leader in the development of renewable energy in Central Asia, with a total installed solar capacity of 216MWp.

KSTAR announces supply of first energy storage system with CATL technology in Netherlands

KSTAR announced the supply and operation of the company’s first all-in-one ESS system Blue-series in the Netherlands, which combines KSTAR inverter with CATL battery solution.

Growatt’s new generation storage ready inverter now compatible with LG Chem home battery

Growatt’s storage-ready inverter MIN 2500-6000TL-XH has been listed by LG Chem as the compatible inverter with its RESU10H battery.

Trina Solar’s Vertex 600W/550W series ultra-high power modules pass TUV Rheinland’s comprehensive reliability test

On September 16, 2020, Trina Solar Co. , Ltd announced that the company's Vertex 600W/550W series ultra-high power modules had passed the comprehensive reliability test by TUV Rheinland.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Reducing solar’s environmental impact through ecolabels

It is undeniable that easy access to energy has provided tremendous benefits to humankind over the last several decades. But that access has come at a price – one that society only discovered after the fact. From the thousand-year half-lives of spent nuclear fuel to the climate change impact of fossil fuels, access to energy has had a high environmental cost. Renewable energy, especially solar, seeks to provide that same access without the environmental cost. But what is the environmental impact of solar panels and inverters? Is society once again seeking to benefit from an energy source without understanding and addressing its environmental impact? Not this time, writes Green Electronics Council CEO Nancy Gillis.

Bigger and better: Technology

The SNEC 2020 PV Power Expo opened on Aug. 8 in Shanghai. Unlike previous editions, the world’s largest solar trade fair was mostly attended by Chinese participants this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the trade fair used to offer insights into global market trends, volumes were low this year due to a buyer/seller standoff amid rising prices caused by the recent accidents at polysilicon plants in Xinjiang. Also, there was little change in technologies. PV InfoLink’s Corrine Lin offers insights into cells and modules at SNEC 2020.

Texas will outshine California in 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cast a cloud on industries around the world, but the U.S. utility-scale solar segment is still growing, writes IHS Markit solar analyst Maria J. Chea. Around 3 GW of solar PV is set to be installed this year in Texas alone, but opportunities also abound across several other southern U.S. states.

Qatar’s national solarized fintech strategy

The State of Qatar is a World Bank high-income economy, backed by the world’s third-largest natural gas and oil reserves. Qatar has the third-highest GDP per capita in the world, with very high human development. Similar to other Gulf Cooperation Council states – the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain – Qatar is wrestling with the fluctuations in global hydrocarbons prices that started in 2014 and are now compounded by the Saudi-led embargo since 2017.

Consolidation continues for polysilicon makers

While mono-grade polysilicon prices did not decrease much in the first quarter owing to stable demand, multi-grade fell to record lows as its market share diminished. During the second quarter, writes PV InfoLink senior analyst Cooper Chen, the market saw excessive supply. Monocrystalline manufacturers have been running at full tilt and bringing new capacities online as scheduled, while the pandemic rages on overseas.

Bifacial modules: The challenges and advantages

Bifacial modules are one of the older developments in solar panel technology, dating back to the 1960s. It is also one of the latest advances to take hold. According to many experts, however, it is now on track as the latest trend to sweep the solar industry and will soon become the standard.

Covid-19

Featured

Xinte Energy warns of possible polysilicon and inverter glut

The poly manufacturer discussed the impact of Covid-19 on its solar and wind project development business and fleshed out details of global polysilicon oversupply during a pandemic-hit first half of the year.

Bangladesh set to embrace gas, rather than renewables

A national energy strategy which prioritizes coal is being ripped up just two years after its introduction, thanks to Covid-related slumps in demand, but legislators appear likely to look to gas, rather than solar and wind power as an alternative, due to land issues and energy storage costs.

Leclanché restructure delayed

Eneris Group has suspended its financial commitments for the time being and Leclanche shareholder Fefam has provided a bridge loan of CHF34 million to give the historic company more time to set up a joint venture for large scale battery cell production in Europe.

Divisions emerge ahead of EU Climate Law and Just Transition bill reading

The weeks ahead could prove decisive for the bloc’s decarbonization ambitions as the European Parliament prepares for several votes and legislative proposals from the commission. The European Climate Law and the Just Transition Fund are critical parts of the European Green Deal but remain points of contention at Brussels.

EU Green Recovery plan could support 2.3 GW of Spanish solar project capacity

Three big projects are candidates for support from the Covid recovery plan laid out by the bloc.

Covid-19 weekly round-up: Australian states target green recovery as France devotes €30bn to energy transition

Clean energy power plants will figure prominently as Queensland and Victoria bid to reset their economies for a post-coronavirus world. France suffered a hit to its new solar deployment figures in the first half of a Covid-hit year but its neighbor appears to have no such concerns.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Starting a new industry

As a business prospect, producing hydrogen via sustainable means remains in its infancy. However, analysts appear increasingly certain that we are seeing the dawn of a vital new industry. In Europe, some countries (such as Germany and Portugal) have already adopted national strategies for the production and use of the fuel. And in July, the European Union also published a comprehensive hydrogen strategy as a central part of a climate-neutral Europe.

California introduces new net metering regime

The state’s new net metering is a highly anticipated, high-stakes proceeding. It will effectively modify the rules for the net metering tariff in California, which is arguably the most important policy mechanism for customer-sited solar of the last decade.

Australian government reduces support for solar, wind

The Australian government has announced new long-term funding and an expanded remit for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency beyond 2022. The funding package, which looks more like a cut than anything else, pushes investment away from solar and wind toward technologies like carbon capture and storage.

Thin-film agrivoltaic solar tubes

German tech company Tube Solar AG has secured €10.8 million to develop its cylindrical agrivoltaic modules. The lightweight devices could also be used on roofs until now considered unsuitable for PV.

Plasma enables smaller, more powerful NMC-811 cathodes

Batteries could shrink even more with smaller crystals in the cathodes. Battery packs in electric vehicles and consumer goods could become smaller, while still offering high performance.

Tesla battery day bingo

Tesla battery day is next week. Earlier this year, Elon Musk told analysts that what he had to say “will blow your mind. It blows my mind.” Here’s a list of battery hyperbole and terms you’re bound to hear at the event.

Installations

Featured

Investing in PowerBanks for high returns

Western Australia is soaked in sunshine, and PV uptake is challenging the grid. But small numbers of medium-sized community batteries are taking the heat off the system, while helping more people to reap the dividends of rooftop solar PV.

Toshiba develops more Japanese solar and hydrogen

The electronics giant is building two PV plants with a combined generation capacity of 58 MW with U.S. module manufacturer First Solar. Toshiba is also extending its hydrogen research project in Fukushima for another two years.

French government considers cutting pre-2011 FITs

Financial newspaper Les Echos claims the government is mulling a renegotiation of historic feed-in contracts after the Court of Auditors in 2018 ruled the incentives too generous.

South Africa to tender 6.4 GW of solar and wind, 513 MW of storage and 4.5 GW of conventional generation

The country’s regulator has approved a government plan to tender for 11.81 GW of power generation capacity on top of the 2 GW tender opened last month.

Chile connects first floating PV plant to grid under net billing scheme

Developer Solarity has completed the first floating PV array to be connected to the national distribution network under Chile’s net billing scheme. The plant will supply 100% of project owner Hortifrut’s energy needs, while allowing it to sell excess power to the grid.

Bulgaria wants another 2.6 GW of renewables by 2030 – and coal

The government’s energy strategy targets new clean energy capacity this decade but all existing coal power plants will also remain active, gas pipelines could be upgraded and new nuclear facilities deployed.

Technology

Featured

The state of solid-state batteries

Solid-state batteries hold the potential to overcome many of the limitations of today’s lithium-ion storage technologies. Though they have been a research topic for more than 30 years, and more recently have seen billions of dollars poured into their development by leading carmakers and electronics giants, commercial development is still extremely limited. Major roadblocks remain in the way of both device performance and industrial-scale processing. pv magazine recently caught up with solid-state’s research community for a look at where the technology stands.

New world record for large-area organic PV module efficiency

Scientists in Germany have achieved 12.6% efficiency with a 26 sq cm organic panel and 11.7% for a 204 sq cm device. The feats were achieved with a new module layout and a slower, high-resolution, short-pulse laser structuring process.

From tandem cell to double absorber for 34.45% efficiency

Scientists in the United States theorize that a ‘double absorber’ cell comprising two active thin-film layers within one cell stack could achieve impressive efficiencies, whilst eliminating many of the challenges inherent to the design of tandem cells. For now though, it’s only on paper.

Convert launches new PV tracker control system

Solar PV tracking manufacturer, Convert, is launching its TRJ-AI Tracker Control System. The company says its new TRJ-AI innovation provides the industry the opportunity to easily control, manage, and monitor tracking systems from digital devices reliably and remotely to optimize the energy production of solar plants.

Tandem cells head outdoors

Scientists in Saudi Arabia headed outdoors to test the effects of the region’s high desert temperatures on the performance of small perovskite-silicon tandem cells in several different configurations. Their findings could offer new insight into selecting the best materials for long-term stability in the field.

Vanadium redox flow battery for storage of wind and solar power

Researchers in India have developed a 5 kW/25 kWh vanadium redox flow battery with an energy density of 30 watt-hours to 40 watt-hours per liter.

Manufacturing

Featured

Coming around

Given the number of batteries (primarily lithium-ion) that are required to decarbonize the power and mobility sectors, the industry is now preparing for a mountain of battery waste. Recycling is technically feasible, but is also subject to sensitive economics. The framework in which recycling companies can achieve the best life-cycle costs for batteries needs to be carefully enabled through policy – and it will likely include a mixture of technologies and business models, in order to allow life-cycle emissions of batteries to be brought down.

Polish solar manufacturers unite to compete with imports

Businesses, supported by the government, will join forces to strengthen their industry and contribute to the European Green Deal through made-in-EU products.

SNEC 2020 CEO Series, Shanghai – Interview with CEO of Ginlong Solis

As one of the most rapidly growing inverter manufacturers, Ginlong Solis went public and became listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) early last year. With the support from the capital market, Ginlong Solis continued its rapid growth. According to Wood Mackenzie, the company ranked among the top ten inverter manufacturers in terms of global product shipments in 2019. How has Ginlong Solis developed its market strategy? What new products and solutions is Ginlong Solis showcasing at SNEC 2020 in Shanghai? And how is the company dealing with the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic? These issues are addressed in the following interview with Wang Yiming, the founder and CEO of Ginlong Solis.

Cooling PV panels with seawater

An Anglo-Egyptian research group has developed a passive cooling method based on saturated activated alumina, with saline water as a cooling agent.

Nanostructures for ultrathin flexible wafer

Scientists in South Korea combined two processes to etch a nanostructure of tiny pyramids onto the surface of a silicon wafer. As well as trapping more light and increasing the cell efficiency, the group claims that its nanostructure improves the mechanical flexibility of the cells. This could potentially allow for the use of much thinner silicon wafers than is currently possible in production.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: New 10 GW module factory planned as 3.6 GW of cell capacity comes online

Power company Datang Group is reportedly planning to spend around $148 million replacing a coal-fired power plant with a 200 MW solar project in Shanxi province and two solar players are set to issue stock.

Energy Storage

Featured

Long-duration storage advances, but regulators need more time

Lithium-ion batteries can do a great job of load shifting to balance solar’s midday peak, while also providing other stability services to the grid. But when it comes to really balancing an energy system that’s led by intermittent renewables, energy storage for longer durations can give system operators a lot more to work with. pv magazine takes a look at some of the technologies promising to fill this gap.

National lithium-ion battery supply chains ranked

Analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance have quantified the influence of markets around the world. The ranking supplies a snapshot of 25 countries and also offers a five-year outlook.

Australia and Germany shake hands on green hydrogen future

The two nations have brought their national hydrogen strategies together after signing a new agreement for a joint feasibility study into green hydrogen production and trade. The agreement was welcomed around the country as auspicious of Australia’s potential as a global green hydrogen superpower.

How long will the lithium supply last?

Researchers have sounded the alarm. If no serious efforts are made on second-life battery use, recycling and vehicle-to-grid applications, decarbonization efforts may hit the buffers a lot sooner than expected.

Panda Green begins recovery as director dramatically ousted in shareholder vote

All the indicators are pointing gradually in the right direction as new owner Beijing Energy bids to put a torrid year behind the solar developer and the company has announced its intent to enter the European solar market and explore hydrogen and energy storage.

NREL scientists estimate global potential of hydro-linked floating PV at up to 7.5 TW

The U.S. based researchers said linking solar with hydro in a full hybrid system configuration may result – at best – in the deployment of 7,593 GW for an estimated annual power generation of 10,616 TWh and a 20% reservoir coverage. And combining solar with hydro in this way brings further benefits, including improved system operation at different time scales, more opportunities for storage thanks to pumped hydro, increased utilization rates of transmission lines, reduced PV curtailment, and lower interconnection costs and water evaporation.

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