Module manufacturers have once again adjusted their prices upwards. This is already the third or fourth price increase in the last six months, and there is no end in sight, writes Martin Schachinger of pvXchange. But why is it so hard to achieve long-term, sustainable development in the global solar market, at least on the part of manufacturers? Few other industries are so turbulent, with constant swings between excess supply and bottlenecks, between price collapses and price rises – and always to the breaking point of the market. Yet again, planning security is out the window.
This year will be a key period in the development of China’s solar PV market. It is the first year of the 14th five-year plan, the first calendar year after President Xi Jinping announced the 2030-60 carbon emissions commitment, and the first year for utility and commercial unsubsidized projects. IHS Markit expects the solar industry in China to reach another milestone with more than 60 GW of installations this year, advancing the ground for the energy transition and the displacement of traditional energy sources to fulfill the goal of a net carbon future over the next four decades to come.
Supply shortages and price increases slowed solar stocks in April, writes Jesse Pichel of ROTH Capital Partners. In the United States, however, new policies promise to foster growth in the second half of the year.
In the second part of a pv magazine series on commercial-scale solar, we look at community solar options as a viable alternative for tenants and owners alike.
As more renewable energy capacity is built, commissioned, and connected, grid stability concerns are driving rapid regulatory changes. In the European Union, regulatory changes are now building momentum. As the first mover, Germany has shown that achieving compliance can initially seem burdensome, but it can quickly be integrated into existing processes and platforms.
Owners and operators of energy storage systems, as well as investors, need transparent ways to evaluate battery performance. They need certainty that the selected batteries for their ESS projects will perform reliably, have predictable life expectancies, and meet projected revenue and contractual obligations over their lifetimes. The economic viability of entire projects depend on this confidence, writes Michael Kleinberg of DNV.
This year will witness the end of the French program for PV tenders known as “CRE4”, which began in 2016. To date, they have enabled over 7.2 GW of solar capacity to benefit from a subsidized tariff (feed-in tariff or feed-in premium). A few months before the last CRE4 tenders and the launch of the PPE2 (or CRE5), Finergreen evaluates their impact on the French solar industry.
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.
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.
The speed at which manufacturers are introducing changes from one product generation to the next is accelerating – currently, formats are scarcely available for more than a few months before another revised product is launched. But occasionally new module dimensions also bring new problems, be it in handling, plant design, or logistics. Ever-shorter product cycles and hastily launched record-breaking modules with capacities of 500 W, 600 W, or even 700 W are not always welcomed with open arms – especially by those who have to work with them, writes Martin Schachinger of pvXchange.com.
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