It is now a well-established trend. After the switch to larger wafer sizes played out in 2019, this year has seen virtually all of the biggest PV manufacturers introduce new modules in dimensions above the 2-meter mark, and with power ratings in excess of 500 W – in some cases, as high as 800 W. As these modules begin to roll off production lines in larger quantities, it’s vital to take a look at the challenges and opportunities they bring to system design, installation, and long-term operation.
Even as solar installations continue to grow and renewables make their way further into the energy mix, a look at the bigger energy picture reveals a worrying lack of commitment among utilities to a transition away from fossil fuels. This was the conclusion of researchers at Oxford University, who found that globally, less than half of all utilities have prioritized the development of renewables over the past 20 years. Even among those that have focused on solar and wind, just 15% actually reduced commitments to fossil fuels at the same time.
A pilot project in China was brought online this month, combining 10 MW of PV with electrolyzers for hydrogen production and carbon dioxide hydrogenation to synthesize methanol. The methanol is supplied to the chemical industry, or can be converted back into hydrogen for energy use. And the project’s creators say their next goal is scaling the project up to 10 or even 100 times its current size.
Scientists in the U.S. examined the use of different conductive filler materials in a lithium-ion battery electrode, finding that adding single walled carbon nanotubes to a nickel-cobalt-manganese cathode resulted in better electrical conductivity and higher rate capability for the overall battery. The results, according to the group, could provide new insights into design of high power, high energy battery electrodes.
Scientists in Australia conducted a detailed cost analysis for perovskite-on-silicon tandem PV cells, based on several possible iterations of the technology. The research identifies areas where unexpectedly high costs might prove a bump in the road toward commercialization and suggests ways these might be reduced.
Scientists have fabricated a working battery using a new type of dual-ion chemistry. The design avoids many of the rare or expensive materials found in today’s lithium-ion batteries, and also comes with an inherently lower risk of fire. The battery showed promising performance, and its creators say they have identified several areas where performance could potentially be improved.
A new report published by the European Technology and Innovation Platform outlines the need for continuing research into the reliability of PV systems and components, and for the collection and sharing of performance data. The report recommends a holistic approach to reliability, going beyond current testing standards to identify new degradation mechanisms, and making use of sensors and drone imaging to monitor systems in the field to prevent and report on system failures.
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