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Weekend Read: From diesel to DC

For a long while, it looked as if hydrogen fuel cells would be the technology of choice for emissions-free road transport. However, truck manufacturers and freight forwarders recently turned their attention to battery-electric vehicles. This will require special charging technology and PV looks set to play an important role.
Installations

Only5mins! – Sunnova’s micro-utility model challenging California utilities

US residential solar specialist Sunnova is seeking approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for its micro-utility business model, which could potentially disrupt the state's energy landscape. pv magazine speaks to CEO John B...
Energy Storage

The Hydrogen Stream: Honda reveals plans to halve fuel cell costs by 2030

Honda has revealed a new hydrogen strategy, while Air Liquide and TotalEnergies have announced a new hydrogen joint venture.
Announcements

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DroneBase’s North American Solar Scan brings transparency to U.S. solar market

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Energy Storage

AC vs. DC in residential buildings equipped with solar-plus-storage

Scientists in Sweden have compared AC and DC topologies in PV-powered buildings using battery storage. They have found that DC distribution systems can achieve energy savings when they are combined with solar-plus-storage systems.
Highlights

Reflective membrane to increase albedo, power yield in bifacial PV projects

Germany-based Solmax has developed a reflective membrane made of polyethylene resins and coated with a thin white polyethylene layer that reflects ultraviolet (UV) rays. The company claims the membrane can increase the energy yield of a bifacial PV proje...
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Highlights

Romania allocates $666 million for solar rebates

The Romanian authorities say that its new state budget will facilitate the deployment of more than 150,000 PV systems.
Markets & Policy

Israel may lift land restrictions for large-scale solar

Policymakers in Israel are trying to create better conditions for large-scale solar projects. Land for ground-mounted facilities is still limited to 2,000 hectares, which equals 2 GW of installed capacity.
Markets & Policy

DNV acquires Australia’s Solcast

Norway's DNV has acquired Australia-based solar data specialist Solcast for an unspecified sum.

Press Releases

Better Energy and Industriens Pension invest in EUR 800 million partnership to construct new solar parks

Better Energy and Industriens Pension are ready to make another major joint investment in expected 15 new solar parks in Denmark, Poland and Sweden for a construction sum of EUR 800 million. The two parties already jointly own 21 solar parks in a separate partnership.

Angèle Reinders new director Solliance

Angèle Reinders, professor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), has been appointed Solliance’s new director. Reinders will lead the new broad focus of the Dutch/Flemish/German solar energy partnership.

Veritas Capital Completes Acquisition of Wood Mackenzie

Veritas Capital today announced that an affiliate of Veritas has completed the purchase of Wood Mackenzie from Verisk.

Scatec sells its Upington solar plant in South Africa for NOK 569 million to finance further growth

Scatec ASA has today signed an agreement with a subsidiary of STANLIB Infrastructure Fund II, managed by STANLIB Asset Management Proprietary Limited, to sell its 42% equity share in the 258 MW Upington solar power plant for a gross consideration of ZAR 979 million (NOK 569 million).

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Battery supply chain state of health

As the US Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act demonstrated, companies preparing to spend big on batteries are at risk of being blindsided by supply-chain-related legislation. Here are some tips on how US developers can anticipate policy curveballs.

Consumers have a right to know the energy make-up of goods

With energy certification already a must-have for any business which makes green energy claims, Ed Everson, chief executive of England-based, global certification company Evident, makes the case for firms to be required to make full disclosure of their energy sources.

The fastest energy change in history

Solar and wind are being installed at a rate that is three times faster than all other new electricity sources combined. This offers compelling market-based evidence that PV and wind are now the most competitive and practical methods for deploying new generating capacity.

Ready for takeoff

Airport PV can provide an instant boost to emission-reduction efforts while work continues on sustainable aviation fuels. Developing solar projects at or near airports, however, is not as straightforward as typical ground-mount installations.

Rethinking soiling

The two dominant methods used in the industry to estimate soiling levels on solar projects go some way in mitigating losses, but there is plenty of scope for more accurate observation.

Will Africa be left behind in the scramble for renewables?

Buoyant predictions about a rosy future for African photovoltaics, based on the continent’s abundant solar resources, continue to overlook the difficulties of securing investment, as Empower New Energy co-founder and CEO Terje Osmundsen explains, referring to a report published by the Africa Solar Industry Association at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi today.

Covid-19

African PAYG solar companies have hogged 72% of sector’s investment

The first post-pandemic update on the state of the world's off-grid solar industry has painted a picture of domination by European companies, but highlighted the potential for new startups in West Africa and an increasing use of PV as a backup to unreliable grid supplies.

Off-grid solar continues to expand

The off-grid solar sector has shown resilience in the face of pandemic-related challenges, with 70 million people gaining access to electricity from early 2020 to the end of 2021. However, the ability to pay for solar energy kits has taken a hit.

AfDB announces cheap loans to back off-grid solar in Africa

The African Development Bank has announced that European and US donors will provide $20 million of concessional loans to support pay-as-you-go solar companies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Irena gives latest update on stark chances of electricity access for all by 2030

The International Renewable Energy Agency’s latest annual report on the progress towards UN sustainable development goal seven estimates 670 million people will still lack electricity in 2030, and more than 2 billion will be reliant on unhealthy, polluting cooking methods.

Poland prioritizes renewables in pandemic-recovery plans

It should come as no surprise that clean energy spending is a big chunk of Warsaw’s four-year EU grant and loans package, given that the nation’s grid-connected solar capacity rose from 3.99 GW at the end of 2020 to 6.3 GW four months ago, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

IRENA fleshes out chilling effect of Covid on off-grid solar

The clean power numbers published annually by the International Renewable Energy Agency provide a snapshot of the global solar market and, this year, a lot of figures were unchanged from the previous dataset, especially in the off-grid segment.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Asia takes the lead on floating PV

Floating PV is consolidating as a growth segment for PV demand, mainly driven by supportive policies and incentives extended by governments across the world. A major reason for this push is the limited land availability in many markets. Despite higher equipment prices compared to ground-mounted installations, developers see the opportunity to save on land and O&M costs. The output can also be as much as 30% higher than a ground-mount PV plant, depending on the site and technology used.

Polysilicon price rebound continues

Polysilicon prices started to rise in the second half of January, according to new data from the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNMIA).

European PV equipment makers pitch machines to US solar manufacturers

A $1 billion to $1.5 billion US market opportunity awaits PV equipment manufacturers through 2030, a McKinsey & Company consultant said at a recent event for potential equipment buyers and sellers in Washington, DC.

India confirms focus on green hydrogen, solar and battery manufacturing

India’s 2023-24 budget shows the government’s plans to support the domestic production of lithium battery cells.

Contractor kicks off tender for 7 MW of solar in Lebanon

DT Global, a US-based development firm, is seeking engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors to build a PV plant with 5 MW to 7 MW of capacity in Lebanon.

Only5mins! – Monetizing energy storage

Storage Hub founder Oliver Schmidt speaks with pv magazine about his outlook for battery energy storage pricing and the cost trajectory of electrolyzers. Schmidt’s new book, “Monetizing Energy Storage – A toolkit to assess future cost and value,” will be published by Oxford University Press in June.

Installations

Featured

Australia builds big

While the first half of 2022 was one of the busiest periods on record for new wind projects in Australia, with more than 2 GW breaking ground, solar got off to a much slower start with construction on 635 MW of new PV projects getting underway. Rystad Energy’s David Dixon attributes this slowdown to high cost and supply chain challenges and a lack of available power purchase agreements.

Big wafer benefits extend to n-type, says Trina Solar

China’s Trina Solar has published a white paper on its latest n-type TOPCon modules, with cost calculations and figures from demonstration projects. The Chinese PV manufacturer claims better performance from its 210 mm cells than with other n-type products based on smaller, 182 mm cells.

Portugal installed 890 MW of solar in 2022

Portugal’s cumulative PV capacity hit 2.59 GW at the end of 2022, outpacing the growth of other renewable energy sources. The country failed to meet its own installation predictions, likely because some large-scale projects awarded in the 2019 and 2020 auctions ended up missing their commissioning deadlines.

Brazil has 17 GW of distributed solar, with 32 GW under development

The Brazilian Association of Photovoltaic Solar Energy (ABSolar) says the country has reached 17 GW of installed solar capacity for PV projects below 5 MW in size. Over the past three months, connection requests for distributed-generation PV projects have hit 32 GW.

TBEA unveils new residential inverters

TBEA has developed new products with nominal power ratings of 10 kW to 25 kW and efficiencies of 98.5%.

Japanese oil giant opens PV-powered hydrogen pilot in Australia

Japan’s largest oil company, Eneos, has opened a green hydrogen demonstration plant in Brisbane, Australia. The project is relatively small, producing just 20 kilograms of green hydrogen per day, but Eneos Senior Vice President Yuichiro Fujiyama says the company will expand it in the “near future.”

Technology

Featured

Copper is the new silver lining

As the PV industry scales to annual terawatt-level production to rapidly curtail the world’s emissions, it will become more challenging to continue the cost reduction trajectory. Increasing module production from current levels of 200 GW to 300 GW to several terawatts each year will consume significantly more material resources than the industry currently uses. This will require consideration of the additional materials to be sourced, writes Alison Lennon, chief scientist at Sundrive Solar and professor at the UNSW’s School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering.

Overcoming thermal issues of vanadium redox flow batteries

Chinese scientists have analyzed reports of thermal issues with vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) and existing thermal management methods. They say the operating temperature should be maintained in the range of 10 C to 40 C to ensure VRFBs with high efficiency, weak side reactions, high electrolyte stability, and low crossover.

Enphase demonstrates bidirectional EV charger

Enphase’s new bidirectional EV charger enables vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid applications, and can be integrated with its home energy systems.

Inverted perovskite solar cell with 24.1% efficiency

An international research group has developed an inverted perovskite solar cell with an active area of 9.6 mm2 by using polymer dipoles for interfacial engineering. It retained 96% of its initial power conversion efficiency after continuous maximum power point (MPP) tracking for 1,000 hours.

EV batteries alone could satisfy short-term grid storage demand

Low participation rates for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) tech of just 12% to 43% are needed to provide short-term grid storage demand throughout the world by as early as 2030, according to a group of Dutch and US researchers.

LG unveils heat pump for water heating

LG has developed an air source heat pump with the capacity to heat 200 liters to 270 liters of domestic water. It uses R134a as a refrigerant and the pump has a coefficient of performance (COP) of up to 3.85.

Manufacturing

Featured

Catalyst for an EU comeback

Plans for Europe’s largest-ever PV cell and module factory are taking shape, with equipment orders placed and a projected start date in mid-2024. Enel Green Power has received €118 million ($116.36 million) in funding from the EU Innovation Fund to support the project, out of a total €600 million investment. The EU is hoping it will catalyze further investment in similar projects, and start a high-tech comeback for European solar manufacturing.

Only5mins! – Standards in agrivoltaics might limit innovation

Makoto Tajima, an agrivoltaics analyst for Japan’s Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), speaks to pv magazine about the growth of agricultural PV in Japan, as well as cost considerations and the pace of technological development.

Canadian Solar reveals plans to set up 14 GW of solar cell, module capacity

Canadian Solar says its cell and module capacity will reach 50 GW by the end of this year.

Swiss manufacturer unveils mini batteries for balcony solar panels

Soleis AG has developed two storage systems with capacities of 1 KWh and 2 kWh.

Only5mins! – PV system prices could drop by around 10% in Europe in 2023

Andreas Thorsheim, the CEO of Norway-based residential solar specialist Otovo, speaks to pv magazine about solar array prices, current market trends for distributed storage, and shortages of qualified professionals.

Katek unveils silicon carbide inverter for residential applications

Katek, a German PV inverter manufacturer, says its 4.6 kW coolcept fleX inverter features silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors from US-based Navitas Semiconductor. It is smaller and weighs less than non-SiC models.

Energy Storage

Featured

Cobalt clings on

Cobalt is key for boosting energy density and battery life, but it comes with caveats: expensive, scarce, and linked to unethical mining practices, wild price fluctuations, and a tenuous supply chain. In recent years, battery manufacturers and automakers have intensified efforts to reduce or eliminate cobalt in lithium-ion cathodes. But sometimes, old habits die hard, as pv magazine’s Marija Maisch explains.

International players look to revive British battery gigafactory

Just weeks after announcing its intent to build a AUD 300 million ($210 million) lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Australia, Recharge Industries has reportedly joined a host of other bidders considering the revival of collapsed UK battery company Britishvolt. Investment could also revive plans to construct a battery cell gigafactory in northern England.

World’s biggest solar, storage project up for sale

Sun Cable, the company behind the world’s largest solar and storage project, has officially gone up for sale after entering voluntary administration in Australia in January. Its administrator, FTI Consulting, is seeking binding offers of acquisition or recapitalization by the end of April, with a deal to be finalized by the end of May.

General Electric switches on 1.2 GW pumped hydro facility in China

General Electric has switched on two more 300 MW pumped storage turbines at a 1.2 GW hydro battery complex in China’s Anhui province, after finalizing the facility’s first 600 MW unit in December. The project has completed a trial period and commercial operations are now fully underway.

New lithium iron phosphate batteries for rooftop solar

V-Tac’s new 10 kWh lithium iron phosphate, wall-mounting battery system purportedly runs for more than 5,000 cycles.

Deploying solar, storage, heat pumps in the Arctic

US researchers have conducted case studies on the successful deployment of distributed renewables in the state of Alaska. In one study, two cities installed 223.5 kW solar PV arrays coupled with 351 kWh batteries and 250 kW inverters, in addition to cold climate heat pumps.