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The weekend read: Chile’s energy transition and the crucial election

Chile continues to lead the energy transition in Latin America, but international investors are nervous. The pandemic is subsiding, thanks to a vaccination rate close to 80%, and energy demand is showing signs of recovery. However, the political landscape still has investors on edge, reports Luisa Cabello.
Markets & Policy

The Hydrogen Stream: New fuel cell tech for uncrewed ships, and a solar-powered hydrogen valley in southern Italy

A printed circuit board-based hydrogen fuel cell for use in autonomous boats and ships has been engineered by a British consortium, and Italian energy companies Snam and Edison want to set up a 220 MW green hydrogen production plant powered by 380 MW of ...
Highlights

Chinese PV Industry Brief: Work begins on 3.3 GW solar-CSP project linked to 500 MW of storage, in Qinghai

China Green Development Group is building a giant project consisting of 3 GW of photovoltaics and 300 MW of concentrating solar power. The plant is scheduled for completion in 2025 and is part of China's 14th five-year plan.
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Manufacturing

Sungrow supplies ‘Thailand’s largest floating solar plant’

The Chinese inverter company said the dam-hosted 58.5 MW project in northeastern Thailand was connected to the grid this month.
Energy Storage

Heat pumps can be standalone solutions even in cold climates

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) showed, through a pilot incentive program, that whole-home heat pumps are a feasible solution for heating when switching from gas. Project costs, however, were found to be higher than expected.
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Sustainability

Flexible organic PV films on clothing offer charging on the move

The sustainability claims of a crowdfunded 'e-textile' range launched by Art by Physicist are borne out by the fact each garment will be printed on demand.
Markets & Policy

Romanian coal provider has 725 MW of PV under development

CE Oltenia wants to build eight solar parks at three of its coal power plants and five of its coal mining sites by 2026. This new capacity should replace installed power from coal that the company wants to shut down over the next five years.
Highlights

CEA-INES unveils shingled heterojunction PV panel with 21.41% efficiency

The module is claimed to be one of the top five most performant heterojunction solar modules, in terms of power density, with the champion panel achieving 214.15 W/m² and the average device 209.5 W/m². The panel showed an efficiency ranging from 20.95%...

Press Releases

STI Norland launches new smart system for control and monitoring of solar power plants

STI Control is intended to provide with total control of a solar tracking project and maximized power generatio

A workshop discussing the localization of the photovoltaic energy industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia according to Vision 2030

The press release details the framework of the National Renewable Energy Program, where the Kingdom is expected to witness the development of over 35 renewable energy projects by the year 2030, the production of renewable energy to go from 9. 5 GW in 2019 to 27.

Relaunch: KOSTAL Solar Portal – powered by Solytic

The new KOSTAL Solar Portal was further developed as a relaunch with the Berlin PV monitoring specialist Solytic. With the new solar portal, more than 100,000 users possess a quicker, more comprehensible insight into the performance of their photovoltaic systems.

SAPVIA comments on SUNTECH SOLAR legal case against Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition

The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association has been named as a Respondent in an application filed by Suntech Solar Power South Africa (PTY) Limited (“Suntech Solar”) on 3rd September 2021.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Trolley car conundrum

The U.S. solar industry faces a moral dilemma, writes Paula Mints of SPV Market Research. Either continue to deploy projects and set aside concerns about forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region, or source PV cells and modules from elsewhere, while bearing higher costs, in the pursuit of urgent action against climate change.

Polysilicon amid international trade disputes

Polysilicon capacity is unable to catch up with rapid capacity expansion in the mid and downstream segments, writes Corrine Lin, chief analyst for PV InfoLink. New polysilicon capacity requires big capex investment and a lead time of more than two years to complete construction and reach full operation. With unbalanced capacity between the upstream and downstream segments, polysilicon prices have been rising since the second half of 2020, with prices for mono-grade polysilicon surpassing CNY 200/kg ($27.40) in June 2021, up more than 250% year on year.

The world’s largest solar power plants

In his second article, Philip Wolfe founder of Wiki-Solar lists the world’s largest individual solar PV power plants. The biggest solar parks and other clusters of plants will be listed in subsequent blogs.

Global tracker shipments reached 45 GW in 2020

The global single-axis tracker market increased shipment volume by 40% year on year to reach 45 GW in 2020. This was despite significant pandemic-related supply chain turbulence that resulted in longer lead times for the delivery of components, the idling of steelmaking capacity in some key markets, container shipping dislocation, and widespread restrictions, particularly at ports. Most notably, this caused the cost of some commodities, such as steel, to more than double between 2020 and 2021. Jason Sheridan, a senior research analyst for IHS Markit, runs through some of the key developments in the tracker market.

IHSM clean energy insights: The 30 largest EPC PV system providers took 28% of the global market in 2020

This summer, IHS Markit published its annual global ranking of EPC providers that build in-house developed and third-party PV projects, based on last year’s installations. 2020 was a year of many contradictions, with lockdowns and increasing component prices taking their toll on many of the companies, both large and small. At the same time, EPC providers with their main share of business in mainland China and the United States had a remarkable year.

Looking at the world’s largest solar power stations

Solar energy pioneer and founder of Wiki-Solar, Philip Wolfe updates his series of blogs on the world’s largest solar power stations, first published in pv magazine in 2019. At that time, there were no single solar power plants over 1 GWAC. The record now is 2.2 GWAC.

Covid-19

Featured

EU raises another €9bn for Covid recovery

The latest, seven-year investment attracted offers worth more than €100 billion from investors and means the European Union has already generated €54 billion of the €80 billion of bond proceeds it is aiming for this year, as part of its five-year, €800 billion NextGenerationEU support package.

Is it time for the world to start thinking about 1.7C?

A note issued by Norwegian analyst Rystad has hinted it may be time to consider abandoning the 1.5-degree average global temperature rise ceiling agreed upon in Paris six years ago, because the world will never be able to pump out enough solar panels in time.

EU to start auctioning green bonds next month

An independent third-party has approved the European Commission’s safeguards to ensure the projects in member states financed by €250 billion of green bonds over the next five years, will have genuine emission reduction credentials.

International group offers $68m loans for struggling off-grid clean energy distributors

‘More than 90’ suppliers of appliances such as solar lanterns and home solar panels, as well as mini-grid installers, will be offered low-interest credit by an assortment of government-backed and privately-financed entities.

‘The chance to reset with a green recovery has now been lost’

Norwegian consultancy DNV today published the latest of its annual surveys of the state of the energy transition and lamented the fact so very little has been achieved during the last five years. We are forging ahead into a world that will be 2.3C hotter this century, predicts the report.

‘Polysilicon shortage will continue through 2021’

The latest global PV industry outlook published by trade group SolarPower Europe, has indicated tight supply of the solar panel raw material is expected to persist this year but the trade body said it would be unlikely to drive further price rises.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Indonesia’s coal exit plan

Indonesia, the second-biggest coal exporter in the world, is now taking more steps to reduce its dependency on “black gold” as it starts to consider clean energy.

Myanmar extends deadline for 1 GW PV tender

Through the procurement exercise, the government wants to build ground-mounted solar power projects on an independent power producer (IPP), and build-own-operate (BOO) basis.

India unveils largest floating solar plant to date

A 25 MW project has been installed at the Simhadri thermal power station run by state-owned power company NTPC on the coast of Andhra Pradesh.

France’s second largest PV plant comes online

Built by French developer TSE, the facility has a capacity of 152 MW and is located in Marville, in northeastern France.

Skyrocketing energy, carbon prices already make green hydrogen competitive

Antonio Delgado Rigal, chief executive of energy forecasting service AleaSoft, tells pv magazine that skyrocketing gas and electricity prices are putting the global economy under strong pressure, while also opening up huge opportunities for solar, renewables and green hydrogen. He says current gas and electricity prices, along with rising CO2 prices, already make green hydrogen competitive. He therefore calls for immediate action on building new capacity, but acknowledges that a quick end is not yet in sight for rising prices.

Solar on new-build homes has significantly shorter payback period

A report by BloombergNEF and Schneider Electric has pressed the case for governments to unlock the world’s potentially huge rooftop solar potential, and cited California’s solar mandate as a shining example.

Installations

Featured

PV resilience under fire

The Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, is embracing solar energy as a reliable local energy source. However, its 2 million residents still only have access to electricity for just a few hours per day. Amjad Khashmann reports on damages to installed PV systems and the urgent need for new installations to support education, water, and health care.

Fresh grid congestion warning as almost 5 GW of solar and wind backs up in Netherlands

Electricity transmission system operator Tennet has been forced to notify its regulator of more bottlenecks ahead, with the 5.6 GW capacity of the Gelderland and Flevopolder regional network already contracted out.

Italy deployed 362 MW of PV in H1

At the end of June, Italy’s cumulative PV capacity surpassed 22.4 GW. Rooftop PV keeps driving the Italian solar market.

EU $6m credit line for solar appliances in Africa and South East Asia

Energy access entity EDFI ElectriFi has offered the revolving credit facility to a Californian distributor which supplies affordable, pay-as-you-go-enabled devices.

Australian generator teams with Japanese on 3 GW green hydrogen project

The Australian state of Queensland’s aim to become a leading producer and exporter of green hydrogen has received a boost, as state-owned electricity generator Stanwell has teamed up with a group of Australian and Japanese companies to launch a feasibility study for a proposed large-scale production and export project.

Legal dispute over South African content rules in 2 GW tech-neutral tender

The South African Department of Mineral Resources launched a tech-neutral procurement process for 2 GW of capacity in August 2020, in response to a chronic short-term electricity supply gap in the country.

Technology

Featured

In Conversation: The effects of defects

Mónica LiraCantú leads a research group investigating nanostructured materials for photovoltaic energy at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2). Recently, her group led a project that looked deep into the crystalline structure of a perovskite solar cell, revealing new information about the formation of defects in the material and how they could be engineered to improve both efficiency and stability. pv magazine caught up with the Barcelona-based scientist to discuss the state of the art in perovskite solar cells and remaining challenges on the road to commercialization.

Movable solar power station for off-grid applications

The modular power station comes with two lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries and has a capacity of 6 kW/24.6 kWh. It relies on a 3 kW pure sine wave inverter which the manufacturer said is able to adjust the AC charging rate.

Semi-transparent organic solar cell for window applications

Developed by U.S. scientists, the 10%-efficient device is intended for applications in solar windows and promises efficiencies close to 15%. According to its creators, the cell retained 80% of its efficiency after 1,900 hours at 55 degrees Celsius.

PV-powered mobile home with 730km range

Solar Team Eindhoven has developed an experimental mobile house that is powered exclusively by vehicle-integrated PV and is claimed to achieve a range of 730km, on a sunny day and at a, moderate speed of up to 85kph. The vehicle is equipped with a foldable PV system that can be unfolded and produce more power when the vehicle is not in motion.

How long do residential solar inverters last?

Multiple factors affect the productive lifespans of residential solar inverters. In the second part of our new series on resiliency, we look at PV inverters.

Coupling balcony solar panels with residential storage

South Korean researchers have tested four operational modes to combine residential batteries with balcony PV modules and have found that the best configuration is when solar is supplied to the load after the battery is fully charged. Charging the battery with the grid prevents the risk of full discharge in the absence of PV power, they said.

Manufacturing

Featured

In Converstation: Top n-type performance

In search of the next leap for cell and module efficiency, module manufacturers are now turning away from mono-PERC and increasingly toward n-type TOPCon technology. A few pioneering manufacturers have already begun mass production for the utility-scale market – including JinkoSolar. pv magazine recently caught up with Roberto Murgioni, Jinko’s division head of technical services and product management in Europe, for an update on the company’s TOPCon plans.

NREL model shows current incentives for PV module recycling are insufficient

Analysts at the US research institite modeled PV recycling strategies and found that current incentives are not well-aligned to drive recycling.

Goldi Solar plans 210 mm module production from next year

Indian PV manufacturer Goldi Solar will start producing its HELOC̣ Pro series M10 (182 mm) modules in November, and will add G12 (210 mm) panels to its lineup next year.

Dutch construction company invests in 300 MW solar module factory

The factory is under development in Eindhoven by Dutch start-up Solarge, and is scheduled to begin manufacturing activities in March.

SDN opens heterojunction module factory in South Korea

Planned to be located in Gwangju, in southwestern Korea, the new factory is expected to reach a capacity of 385 MW and to produce 550 W panels.

Indian PV manufacturer expands panel capacity with new 700 MW factory

Insolation Energy Director Vikas Jain recently spoke to pv magazine about the company’s plans to expand its solar panel manufacturing capacity to 700 MW with the addition of a 500 MW facility. The new factory will be equipped to produce poly, mono, mono PERC, and bifacial panels, with individual outputs of up to 600 Wp.

Energy Storage

Featured

In Conversation: Going full circle

With manufacturing ramping up year by year and policies already looking to get ahead of the large volumes of end-of-life products, the landscape for lithium-ion battery recycling is rapidly changing. pv magazine recently spoke with Mari Lundström, associate professor of chemical and metallurgical engineering at Aalto University, to find out what is needed on the research side for the effective recycling of batteries.

Rosatom identifies location for 3 GWh lithium-ion battery factory

Russian energy giant said its gigafactory will be located in Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad. The facility is expected to begin manufacturing activities in 2026.

The Hydrogen Stream: work begins on Chile’s first green hydrogen project and French energy giants target decarbonized hydrogen

TotalEnergies wants to decarbonize hydrogen production in Normandy with the support of Air Liquide and, in Chile, an international consortium has begun construction of the country’s first green hydrogen facility. Elsewhere, the Indian government has invited U.S. companies to bid for green hydrogen and electrolyzer contracts.

Pakistan’s looming water crisis could be eased by a solar-led energy system

With renewable energy generation said to consume up to 95% less water than fossil-fuel fired power plants, solar could lead the way to a less stressed existence in mid century, according to researchers from Finland’s LUT.

Developers move forward with GW-scale PV-wind-storage project in Australia

A couple of years ago, the Australian state of Queensland became a beacon to advisory Energy Estate and international renewables developer RES Group. The Moah Creek Renewable Energy Project, the first stage of their gigawatt-scale plan, is now about to be introduced to the community.

Indonesia moves forward with 1 GW pumped storage hydropower plant

The World Bank has agreed to finance part of a project owned by Indonesian state-owned utility, PLN. The facility is planned to enable a larger penetration of renewable energy to provide with power two large demand centers in West Java.