This year has witnessed upheaval in the global energy system as inflation, geopolitical conflict, and the reality of a changing climate continue to drive the transition to cleaner energy. Next year, these trends are likely to continue and accelerate as renewable energy adoption continues to grow and the inextricable link between energy security and national security is increasingly recognized. Alan Greenshields, of US-based iron-salt flow battery maker ESS Inc, offers four predictions for 2023.
New life-cycle assessment (LCA) data for PV systems confirms that greenhouse gas emissions from 1 kWh of solar electricity are far lower than emissions from fossil-fuel power plants. The difference has been fairly constant since 2018, but has improved substantially since when IEA PVPS started reporting on this measure in 1996.
PV module prices have finally stabilized and a slight downward trend has even started to set in. Whether this will continue depends mainly on how demand shapes up over the next few months. The softening of prices reflects a gradual build-up of inventories which need to be drawn down again this year, if possible – even if it means slashing prices. But for other PV-system components, the situation is quite different, writes Martin Schachinger of solar wholesaler pvXchange.
While the climate summit held at Sharm El Sheikh last month prompted pledges of raised funding for solar lanterns and single-panel systems, the money allocated to date is woefully short of what has been estimated would be required to provide universal access to electricity this decade. Drew Corbyn of Netherlands-based global off-grid solar body GOGLA, outlines three urgent courses of action to accelerate access to electricity.
The latest attempt by the California Public Utilities Commission – CPUC, the US state’s regulator – to reform net metering rules, seems to again be solely motivated by the desire to kill off rooftop PV, as energy economist Ahmad Faruqui reported in the latest issue of pv magazine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adani Solar has started producing large monocrystalline silicon ingots for M10 and G12 wafers. It is targeting 2 GW of ingot and wafer capacity by the end of 2023 and 10 GW by 2025.
Masdar said it has started operating the 5 MW Ile de Romainville PV project in the Seychelles. The installation is backed by 3.3 MWh of storage capacity.
Robestec has connected a 220 MW/440 MW battery storage system to the grid in Ningxia, China. It is reportedly China’s largest standalone energy storage station, and uses lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries from Hithium Energy Storage.
The Flemish government will halve the solar panels premium from a maximum of €1,500 ($1,594) in 2022 to €750 from Jan. 1, 2023. It will also end the home battery premium earlier than initially announced, from April 2023. The premium for heat pump boilers, on the other hand, will be retroactively doubled.
Germany’s latest solar auction allocated 104 MW of solar for buildings and noise barriers on motorways. The tender volume was 202 MW which went partly unsubscribed. The volume-weighted average award value fell slightly to €0.0874 ($0.093)/kWh.
A recently published report from the IEA-PVPS on building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) digitalization found many BIPV professionals are unsure of a suitable method for estimating shading in BIPV projects.
US-based Emporia Energy has developed a home battery system with an inverter and transformer. The lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery has a storage capacity of 8.2 kWh, and up to six modules can be combined for up to 49 kWh of energy storage. The inverters come in 7.6 kW or 9.6 kW versions.
China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) said the country installed just under 7.5 GW of new PV in November, bringing cumulative additions in 2022 to 65.7 GW, far short of the estimated 85 GW or more.
Chinese module manufacturer DAS Solar has launched an all-black bifacial glass-glass module series with an output of 410 W to 430 W. The new series features efficiencies of up to 22% and a temperature coefficient of -0.3% per degree Celsius. The company is offering a 15-year product warranty and a 30-year power warranty for 87.4% of the initial yield.
Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité (CIE), a utility in the Ivory Coast, is set to inaugurate its first solar plant – a €40 million ($42.6 million), 37.5 MW installation, backed by a 10 MW storage system by Saft.
Longi said it has achieved a 26.56% efficiency rating for a gallium-doped, p-type heterojunction (HJT) solar cell and a 26.09% efficiency rating for an indium-free HJT cell, both based on M6 wafers. Germany’s Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH) has confirmed the results.
Australian startup Syenta has developed a 3D printer capable of printing highly complex and functional electronics like photovoltaics, batteries, sensors and more, promising to do so in ways that are faster, cheaper and use less energy.
Researchers from the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia have reportedly developed a perovskite solar cell with comparable stability and durability to commercial silicon PV cells. They used a high-temperature processing method with dimethylammonium chloride to control the intermediate phases of perovskite crystallization.
Researchers from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) have developed a new low-temperature production process for bifacial thin-film solar cells based on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS). It resulted in record yields of 19.8% for front lighting and 10.9% for rear lighting.
A group of researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has achieved a new world efficiency record for a silicon-perovskite tandem solar cell, with a certified efficiency of 32.5%.
Bharat Vikas Group (BVG) says it will build a 500 MW, fully automated PV module production line in India, with plans to eventually expand it to 2 GW.
Canadian manufacturer Sparq has unveiled a three-phase microinverter for on-grid and off-grid solar water pumps. It has a peak efficiency of 97.5% and a nominal maximum power point tracking (MPPT) efficiency of 99.8%.
Scientists in Italy have proposed the use of radiative coolers made of cementitious materials to reduce the operating temperature of solar panels. The novel system configuration consists of a stack made by a reflector, a cement-based radiative cooler, and a bifacial solar cell.
US researchers have proposed the use of solar inverters in utility-scale solar assets to replace expensive voltage compensators, in order to provide voltage support at night. They said reactive power from PV inverters could be significantly cheaper and suggested the introduction of incentives to convince PV plant owners.
CubicPV, backed by $26 million in new funding, has announced plans to make silicon wafers in the United States, which would fill a critical gap in the US solar supply chain.
Mitsubishi Power Americas will supply batteries for the development of three battery energy storage systems in the southeast US. The three hybrid projects are being developed by Origis Energy as part of 1.5 GW of operational and contracted assets in the region.
As Australia’s hydrogen project pipeline doubles in 12 months, Iberdrola announces investment in a green hydrogen and green methanol production plant in Tasmania. Meanwhile, projects in Scandinavia target the shipping industry.
Growatt’s new APX HV cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery has a storage capacity of 5 kWh and a nominal voltage of 650 V. It can be scaled up to six battery modules, for a maximum capacity of 30 kWh, or 60 kWh in parallel. It comes with a 10-year warranty.
Swedish startup POL has unveiled POL Lux, a catamaran boat design with dual electric motors and a solar canopy that can covert into a private sleeping area.
Croatia is preparing to build Eastern Europe’s largest energy storage project. IE Energy has secured €19.8 million ($20.9 million) to develop a 50 MW storage system, potentially extendable to 110 MW by 2024.
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