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Opinion & Analysis

N-type solar development

This year, PV cell manufacturers will face the challenge of transformation. Apart from adjusting the ratio of production for different-sized cells, some manufacturers are turning to next-generation opportunities, shifting investment from p-PERC to n-type technology. PV InfoLink Analyst Amy Fang discusses the issues facing n-type cell development this year.

PV policy developments in the Baltic states

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have seen uneven development in PV installations to date, and the three Baltic states are still highly dependent on imports from Russia. Estonia needs to replace aging energy infrastructure, and so far it has led the region in PV deployments. Latvia, meanwhile, has a high level of hydro in its energy mix, and less incentive to build PV. IHS Markit analyst Susanne von Aichberger examines the latest policy developments in the Baltic states.

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IHSM clean energy insights: High module prices and shipping costs jeopardize 2021 installation outlook

In the first installment of a new monthly blog by IHS Markit, Edurne Zoco, executive director for clean energy technology, writes that high prices and increased freight costs are putting solar PV procurement teams under extreme pressure, particularly those teams with connection deadlines this year that were anticipating a more favorable pricing and logistic environment in the second half of 2021.

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Turning Nepal’s solar game around

Until 2016, Nepal suffered from chronic power shortages. At that time, just 65% of the country’s population had access to electricity. Assessing the situation, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimated that the country has the potential for 2.1 GW of installed PV capacity. Although the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has officially been able to buy solar power under long-term PPAs since July 2014, the majority of projects granted these contracts have been large-scale hydropower plants. Following slow activity, plans are finally afoot, however, to boost the country’s solar footprint.

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Australia’s energy storage installed base to grow more than five times by 2030

In its latest report, IHS Markit predicts that energy storage installations in Australia will grow from 500 MW to more than 12.8 GW by 2030. Today, Australia makes up less than 3% of total global installations for battery energy storage and is the seventh largest market globally. By 2030, it is forecast to comprise 7% of global installations and become the third largest market. This growth will be largely driven by three distinct market segments: residential, standalone front-of-the-meter, and collocated with utility-scale renewables.

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C&I sector in Sub-Saharan Africa embraces captive solar solutions

The Commercial and Industrial (C&I) solar sector currently accounts for 75% of power demand in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, due to the unreliable nature of energy supply from the grid, consumers under this segment have been forced to invest in alternative sources of energy, which they consider to be more reliable and less expensive, such as the use of captive solar solutions.

New applications, surging demand

China’s project development segment is dynamic, to say the least. Having undergone significant changes toward a “subsidy-free” footing, developers are now facing requirements to integrate storage, deploy hybrid arrays, and pursue self consumption through BIPV and agrivoltaics applications, writes Frank Haugwitz, the director of the Asia Europe Clean Energy (Solar) Advisory (AECEA).

Price trends amid polysilicon shortage

Recent financial statements from the big module manufacturers indicate that higher prices for polysilicon and PV glass since the third quarter of 2020 have dealt a severe blow to profits in the module business. Module manufacturers have gradually scaled down capacity utilization since the Lunar New Year, as demand has been weaker than expected, given the absence of China’s usual June 30 installation rush, as in past years. In April, Tier-1 module makers further cut utilization rates to 55-70%. PV InfoLink’s Corrine Lin examines the price trends that are developing in 2021.

China reaches a tipping point in 2021

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.

Botswana tops list of world’s ‘super abundant’ renewables nations

A Carbon Tracker report estimates 60% of the world’s technical solar potential – enough to produce 3.5 exawatt-hours of clean electricity per year – would already be cheaper than fossil fuel if installed. Of the remainder, most would be in sub-Saharan Africa, a region which has the potential to be a global solar and wind powerhouse.

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