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GCL confirms thumping annual loss for 2020

The polysilicon maker lurched from a $17m profit in 2019 to a $960 million loss last year, according to an unaudited extract from its overdue annual figures. Publication is being held up by an auditor enquiry relating to a $71m abandoned-production-project pre-payment which appears to be either owed by, or to, a GCL subsidiary.
Markets & Policy

Pollinator-focused solar parks

Researchers in the US ascertained that the partial shading provided by solar parks creates a microclimate that favors the abundant growth of more varied flowers and pollinators. They also found that partial shading increases bloom abundance by delaying b...
Technology

Mathematical model to couple pumped hydro with wind and solar in islands

An group of international scientists has developed a mathematical model to design hybrid renewable energy systems relying on pumped hydro storage for islands. According to their analysis, which was applied to the Ometepe island in Nicaragua, a similar sy...
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Entries are currently being accepted for the awards across six categories: Modules, Inverters, Balance of System (BoS), Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), Sustainability, and Manufacturing. Enter free today to go in the running to be a 2021 winner!

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Keep cool and distribute stress: A recipe for improved performance

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Waterproofed: new cable testing, standard for Floating PV

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Markets & Policy

No bifacial solar in West Africa? That’s likely to change soon

A technology-focused event held by the Africa Solar Industry Association has heard development pipelines across the continent are swiftly changing to accommodate double-sided PV panels, and that's good news for solar tracker providers too.
Markets & Policy

Auctions will not influence PPA prices in Spain

LevelTen Energy reports each quarter on the prices that wind and solar project developers have offered for power purchase agreements, and makes medium-term estimates for the most important markets. Italy and Spain have been the most active markets in the...
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Australian green hydrogen project grows from 1 GW to 8 GW, following commitment from Total Eren

Province Resources has signed a memorandum of understanding with French renewable energy developer Total Eren, which could see the two companies have equal shares in Province’s HyEnergy Zero Carbon Hydrogen project proposed in northwest Western Austral...
Energy Storage

US start-up secures distribution agreement for nickel-hydrogen battery technology

EnerVenue signed its first major distribution agreement with Hong Kong’s Towngas. The deal will pilot the company’s nickel-hydrogen battery technology and serve as an audition for future deals to come.
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Meet ‘Thunder’: A new 21.3% efficient PV panel series by AE Solar

AE Solar has launched a new 380-400 W solar PV panel series, "Thunder", which features PERC monocrystalline technology and efficiencies of up to 21.3%.

Press Releases

Pinsent Masons advises on the project financing of the Rabigh Solar PV IPP Project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the financiers (Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Mizuho Bank and Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation) on the project financing provided to a consortium led by Marubeni Corporation in joint venture with Al Jomaih Energy & Water Company Limited of the 300MW solar power plant to be built and operated in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia.

18.7 MW solar power project was implemented by Philadelphia Solar in Jordan

Philadelphia solar, photovoltaic panel and steel mounting structure manufacturer, it is the first MEA-based company that manufactures, develops, designs, constructs, owns and operates utility-scale commercial and industrial photovoltaic plants.

MWT: A Better Tech Route for PV

Few months ago, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) published its latest guidance report, the “China's Photovoltaic Industry Development Roadmap 2020” (hereinafter referred to as “Roadmap”). In this Roadmap, CPIA provided professional suggestions for both China government and all industrial players on key concerns of the industry including market trend and future technologies.

DNV advises Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) during the development of the 1.5 GW Sudair Solar PV plant

Saudi Arabia’s largest solar farm, one of the world’s largest PV plants by capacity, will power 185,000 homes

Opinion & Analysis

We all trust the PV performance ratio test – but should we?

The performance ratio test is at the core of the handover from EPC to owner. Yet sometimes, even when best practice is applied – and without particularly demanding guaranteed values to be achieved – these tests fail good projects. This can lead to costly delays and wasted effort spent trying to find issues that might not exist. Everoze Partner Dario Brivio reviews the likelihood of this happening and considers ways to increase confidence in the precision of such tests, based on recent independent analysis of real-world projects.

Solar and silver price hikes

The PV industry has experienced several rounds of price increases since the second half of 2020, from polysilicon to materials such as PV glass and films. Between July 2020 and February 2021, prices quoted for 3.2 mm and 2 mm glass surged by more than 60% per square meter. Prices for EVA and POE encapsulant films skyrocketed by more than 40% and 10%, respectively. Prices for silver paste also rose 7%, and have since remained stubbornly high. PV InfoLink Chief Analyst Corrine Lin examines the impact of silver’s recent price turbulence on PV cell manufacturing.

Strong growth ahead for battery storage

Annual battery storage installations will exceed 10 GW/28 GWh in 2021, following a particularly strong year in 2020, despite the challenges created by the global pandemic, writes IHS Markit analyst Mike Longson. Combined solar and storage will be a core focus for new deployment in 2021, as the front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter energy storage markets are both expected to grow significantly in the months ahead.

Africa’s solarized digitalization agenda

The seventh session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development convened on the theme of “Building forward better towards a resilient and green Africa to achieve the 2030 & 2063 Agenda” and promote the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

Innovations in battery storage key to a solar-powered future

A few years ago, fluctuations and complex storage solutions were the main factors hampering solar growth. Today, the sector is poised to leverage technologies to make a decisive leap. With a sustainable future around the corner, it will be innovative battery storage that will drive solar PV to become more powerful and efficient than ever before. But what are the latest developments in PV and energy storage, and which innovations are poised to transform the industry?

We need an energy access revolution: A new approach to innovation can help

840 million people still don’t have access to electricity today, according to the World Bank. But the radical decrease in the cost of the green technologies of solar and battery storage provides an unparalleled opportunity to close this gap and achieve universal electricity access by 2030.

Covid-19

Featured

UK added 175 MW of solar in first quarter

More than 7% of the U.K.'s solar generation capacity is now unsubsidized, according to trade body Solar Energy UK, with the nation reaching more than 14 GW of photovoltaic projects during the first three months of the year.

Focus of off-grid funding shifts in Africa

West Africa hogged more than twice as much investment as the east in a year which saw stock market backing plunge an ‘alarming’ 46%, leaving donor grant funding and debt to pick up the slack during a Covid-hit year, according to off-grid industry body GOGLA.

Solar changing shape of electricity prices in Northern Europe

Rising volumes of photovoltaic project capacity are increasing the incidence of negative price periods for electricity–and changing the times of day when they occur.

Chinese solar glass companies enjoy bountiful reporting season

An ‘explosive’, ‘booming’ global solar market in the second half of a Covid-hit 2020 saw the previous glass manufacturing overcapacity reversed, as float and auto glass producers bent all their efforts on making material for PV modules.

Chinese solar company highlights credit downgrades of state-owned entities

A record number of defaults last year has spooked some lenders, according to Solargiga, but the solar manufacturer has announced ambitious plans to ramp production capacity this year and next.

Greece’s recovery plan to invest €10bn in clean energy

The Greek government has published its plan for a post-Covid economic recovery. The strategy aims to mobilize at least €10 billion towards the green energy sector, with the prospect of further EU loans on top.

Markets & Policy

Featured

What Asia needs to turn away from coal

Given the rapid decrease of the solar electricity cost, pv magazine explores the drivers and obstacles behind switching off coal and embracing photovoltaics and other renewable energy technology in Asia. The good news: things are moving in the right direction.

ECJ indicates EU member states free to revise signed feed-in tariff contracts

The court has agreed with advocate-general Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe that Italy’s move, in 2014, to reduce solar incentive payments contained in signed agreements held by developers does not breach EU law.

Walmart adds 6.5 MW of rooftop and canopy parking solar to California stores

The $10 million portfolio was developed by Sol Customer Solutions and will deliver energy to seven stores across the state.

Model agreement to make solar and wind share same connection point in the Netherlands

The model agreement was outlined by Dutch consultancy Ventolines B.V. and follows the introduction of new provisions for the sharing of the same connection point issued by the country’s government last year.

Adani wins 150 MW Indian solar tender with bid of $0.03/kWh

The PV plant—to be set up in the state of Gujarat for a private utility—will supply power for INR2.22/kWh for 25 years.

Unsubsidized solar may reach 57 GW in Italy by 2040

New research by Aurora Energy Research expects new unsubsidized solar PV capacity to grow to 5 GW by 2025, 12 GW by 2030, 32 by 2035, and 57 GW by 2040.

Installations

Featured

The future is female among Egyptian engineers

How do you achieve gender equality among shift-working engineers in a remote location in North Africa? With a clear vision and concrete measures, according to Scatec’s operations and maintenance (O&M) team in Egypt, which has a 30% share of female engineers.

Green hydrogen and the cable-pipeline dilemma

New research from Singapore has found that gas pipelines for the onshore transport of green hydrogen and the cables for the transport of electricity to produce it at a distant location have similar costs at a 4000 km transmission distance. For longer distances, gas pipelines were found to be cheaper than cables, although the electric lines are said to benefit from scaling up and higher utilization. For both options, however, a currently too high hydrogen LCOE remains the biggest barrier to overcome.

Australian coal mine to transform into pumped hydro facility

Australian utility AGL is transforming its operations in a number of ways, from restructuring the company itself, to building energy storage facilities for flexible distribution of renewable energy into the future. The company is also planning to build a pumped-hydro facility at a disused open-cut coal mining site in eastern Australia.

The Hydrogen Stream: 39,700 km European hydrogen network planned, Germany means business

Several heavyweights in Germany have announced projects to move forward with green hydrogen. RWE, Uniper and Bosch have all announced large-scale projects and the German government has allocated €52 million for hydrogen research. The European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative is proposing a hydrogen network of 39,700 km by 2040, with further growth expected after 2040.

India tenders 1.2 GW of hybrid wind-solar projects

Projects selected in the procurement exercise will sell power to the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) under a 25-year PPA.

German power provider tests vertical agrivoltaics

Lechwerke is testing two pilot systems close to existing solar parks. It also aims to build its first large-scale project.

Technology

Featured

Filling the energy technology, poverty gap

Advanced technology is of little use if it cannot reach those who need it most. Two Indonesian companies – Kopernik, an NGO based in Bali, and Sumba Sustainable Solutions, from the island of Sumba – are trying to bridge the gap between those in need and those with technological solutions. They both focus on the PV electrification of rural areas and brightening Indonesia’s “last mile.”

Cold room powered 100% by solar

The Cryosolar solution consists of a 20-foot or 40-foot container equipped with a plug-and-play PV system installed on the roof. It has 180 mm thick insulation and 10 to 35 cubic metres of storage with shelves.

Heterojunction design for 26%-efficient copper bismuth oxide thin-film solar cell

Researchers in Bangladesh have simulated a solar cell based on a copper bismuth oxide material, used as an absorber, with n-type cadmium sulfide (CdS) utilized as a buffer layer. In the experiment, the device achieved an efficiency of 26.0%, an open-circuit voltage of 0.97 V, a short-circuit current density of 31.61 milliampere per square centimeter, and a fill factor of 84.58%.

First Solar claims lowest module degradation rate in the industry

The US cadmium telluride thin-film module maker said its Series 6 CuRe panels are able to retain 92% of its performance at the end of the 30-year warranty. The improved stability of the product was achieved by eliminating copper and placing Group V elements such as antimony or arsenic onto the tellurium crystal sites.

Amorphous silicon solar cells still niche market

In the second interview of a series, Arvind Shah, a professor at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, told pv magazine about the challenges facing amorphous silicon cells. He said the tech could be used in some window applications and greenhouses, but not in rooftop projects, as the stabilised efficiency of these cells is too low.

New compressed air storage tech from Canada

Canadian compressed air storage specialist Hydrostor said that projects built with its technology have a capex range of between $175 and $250/kWh. The company secured C$4 million ($3.19 million) in funds from Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program and Sustainable Development Technology Canada to pursue the development of its global pipeline.

Manufacturing

Featured

Bifacial adoption spurs rethink on PID

PV systems are unique among electronic devices, as they are expected to survive outdoors for at least 25 to 30 years. This makes module and system quality one of the cornerstones of guaranteed returns on investment. Potential-induced degradation (PID) is a critical failure mode with a potentially high financial impact. New research from imec and Hasselt University looks at the damaging impact that PID can have on bifacial technology, writes Michaël Daenen, a professor at EnergyVille and Hasselt University.

The weekend read: Flexible PV tools for the next generation

A solar manufacturing investment cycle appears to be underway in Europe, with equipment suppliers reporting surging levels of inquiries for new production lines. Larger PV wafer formats are driving the change, along with renewed confidence in the outlook for the solar PV market on the continent. To meet the demand, European equipment suppliers are now embracing flexibility.

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Xinte wants to increase polysilicon capacity to 100,000 metric tons

Xinte unveiled a $197 million plan to raise its polysilicon production capacity to 100,000 metric tons per year in Xinjiang. Longi signed a strategic cooperation agreement with oil and gas giant Sinopec to jointly develop hydrogen and renewable energies.

I’ve got solar over my skin

Researchers in Japan have built a PV-powered device to measure volumetric variations in blood circulation. The system, which is just a few microns thick, was built with an organic solar module, a polymer light-emitting diode (PLED), and an organic photodetector.

5N Plus enters space solar cell business with acquisition of Azur Space

The purchase price should range between €73 million and €79 million. Azur Space produces triple-junction space solar cells with an average efficiency of up to 30% and is planning to develop ultra-thin solar cells with up to 35%.

Low outdoor degradation for 20.76%-efficient solar cells made of UMG silicon

Spanish manufacturer Aurinka has tested the degradation rate of its 20.76%-efficient solar cells made of 100% upgraded metallurgical grade (UMG) silicon and has found it shows the same values as conventional polysilicon. The company is currently building a UMG factory in northern Spain.

Energy Storage

Featured

New EU battery rules support a sustainable industry

On Dec. 10, European Internal Market and Environment Commissioners Thierry Breton and Virginijus Sinkevičius, in conjunction with Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, announced a keenly anticipated piece of legislation: the commission’s proposal for modernized EU battery rules. Pia Alina Lange – head of communications for Recharge, the European battery industry association – says that while there are potential pitfalls with the new regulation, it could pave the way to sustainable industry development.

Italy should embrace solar, not gas to hit raised climate ambition

Instead of splurging €11 billion of EU cash on uneconomic new generation capacity, the Italian authorities–and electricity bill payers–would be better served investing in a mix of current clean power technologies which would include almost 17 GW more solar capacity.

Latin America’s first CSP plant now online

A consortium led by Abengoa and Acciona has commissioned a 110 MW concentrated solar power project, paired with 100 MW of PV, in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Australian developer advances 250 MW pumped hydro project

Genex Power is set to begin building a 250 MW pumped hydro facility next to an existing 50 MW solar farm later this month, as it has secured the financing it needs to move forward.

Australian vanadium companies unveil new flow-battery strategies

Australian Vanadium filed a patent application this week for its vanadium processing route, while rival TNG signed a deal to commercialize vanadium redox flow batteries.

Silicon for batteries moves to commercial production

U.S. company Group14 Technologies today announced the launch of a factory capable of producing 120 tons per year of its innovative silicon-carbon-based anode material for lithium-ion batteries. The factory is located at Group14’s headquarters in Woodinville, Washington and is the first of several planned by the company.

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