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Weekend read: opportunity in the crisis

The developed world is facing scenarios of zero economic growth or even recessions, as inflation, energy costs, interest-rate rises, and tougher lending criteria makes life tough for business. But money is flowing into the energy transition by scaling and commercialising existing technologies, reports pv magazine’s Tristan Rayner.
Markets & Policy

Renewable projects report prompts call for energy market reform

The Clean Energy Council has reiterated calls to reform the grid connection process to provide increased certainty and security for investors after a new report revealed only one renewable energy generation project reached financial close in Australia in...
Markets & Policy

Market operator launches grid connections tool

The Australian Energy Market Operator has launched an online connections simulator designed to improve and accelerate the grid-connection process for new energy generation and storage projects in the National Electricity Market.
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TOPCon heads to the rooftop

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New entrants bring new perspectives: Hybrid inverter series for C&I applications

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Understanding Australia’s tantalizing battery market

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Technology

Neoen signs connection agreement for Goyder South project

Renewable energy developer Neoen has inked a connection agreement with network operator ElectraNet which will allow for the first stage of its $3 billion (USD 2 billion) Goyder South project to connect to the grid in South Australia, paving the way for f...
Covid-19

Freight costs edge toward 4% of solar module costs, near pre-pandemic levels

Freight costs fell for the 39th straight week to account for roughly 4% of solar module costs – close to pre-pandemic levels. PV consultant Asier Ukar tells pv magazine that this trend will likely continue over the short term.
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Installations

REC Group rolls out new solar module for rooftop market

Norway-based solar manufacturer REC Group has commenced production of the fifth generation of its TwinPeak module series, offering improved power outputs from 395 W to 415 W and efficiencies ranging from 20.1% to 21.1%.
Manufacturing

Martin Green’s solar cell efficiencies at a glance updated

A research group led by Professor Martin Green has published Version 61 of the solar cell efficiency tables. The tables include a world record for a silicon heterojunction cell, announced by Longi earlier this week, as well as five more new results.
Technology

Lithium-vanadium battery for renewables storage

AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group has energised its first hybrid storage system based on lithium-ion batteries and vanadium redox flow batteries in Germany. The system reportedly combines the advantages and electrochemical properties of both storage techn...

Press Releases

AEMC recommends rules for hydrogen and renewable gases

Recommended rules that will help pave the way for Australia’s hydrogen and renewable gas industry and support our emissions reduction plans have been sent to energy ministers for approval.

WA awards lead agency status to Bristol Springs renewable energy project

Frontier Energy’s Bristol Springs Renewable Energy Project has been awarded lead agency status by the Western Australian government under a program administered by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI).

Electric vehicle deal secured with federal government

The Greens and the government have agreed on amendments to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Electric Car Discount) Bill 2022 that prioritise electric vehicles over plug-in hybrids that rely on petrol. The agreement also includes shifting the Commonwealth fleet to electric vehicles.

bp pulse electric vehicle charging goes live in Australia

Bp has launched its global electrification brand in Australia with global CEO Bernard Looney officially opening the new bp pulse fast charge points at bp Bayside at Brighton East in Melbourne.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

The new space race heating up between China and US

The idea of capturing solar power in space for use as energy on Earth is not new but the race for space-based solar power is heating up and global superpowers China and the United States are leading the way.

Lean, clean, electrolysing machines – how clean is Australia’s hydrogen future?

Cornwall Insight Australia energy consultant Con Dimitrakakis explores how “clean” the hydrogen produced in Australia by a grid-connected electrolyser could be, depending on its location and change in variable renewable energy penetration into the grid.

1,500 new pumped hydro sites found next to existing reservoirs

In eight years, Australia wants to be four-fifths powered by renewables. Solar and wind investment is pouring in. But to firm the renewables and overcome the intermittency, we need overnight energy storage. That’s why there’s so much interest in pumped hydro.

State of Storage: Investigating battery profit for NEM states

It has been an interesting year for Australian energy markets, facing unprecedented high energy prices, coal outages, and market suspension. In this Chart of the Week, we investigate the impact a battery energy storage system would have made during FY 2022.

Ross Garnaut thinks Australia can become a low-carbon superpower; Clive Hamilton is not convinced

Economist Ross Garnaut’s latest book, the Superpower Transformation, is promoted as a “practical plan” to put the vision of in his earlier Superpower into effect. Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University, questions if the vision is premised on an imperfect logic.

To play climate catch-up, Australia must learn to battle supply chain woes

As uplifting as Australia’s climate turn around is, SMA Australia’s Joshua Birmingham says it would be “naive” to ignore the fact that this rapid growth will present challenges for the industry, with demand potentially outstripping supply in many key areas of the renewable energy value chain. 

Covid-19

Featured

Forced labour concerns prompt U.S. ports to block over 1,000 shipments of solar components

Panel shipments collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars are blocked from entering the United States market as they have failed scrutiny under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, said Reuters.

Elevated shipping costs to remain challenge for solar sector

Australia’s solar industry can expect to contend with elevated shipping costs and ongoing supply disruptions for at least another year before a ‘normalisation’ of the global ocean freight system.

EPC giant warns of workforce shortage challenge for large-scale solar

Global renewables contracting giant Sterling and Wilson Solar has warned Australia’s large-scale solar PV industry faces a significant workforce shortage as the nation shifts away from fossil fuels towards renewable power.

Rooftop solar price to keep rising this year

British analyst GlobalData has predicted residential and commercial rooftop panels will not return to a declining price trend until next year, with post-Covid logistics headaches the cause, rather than a polysilicon shortage.

BHP nickel refinery hooks up with the largest solar farm in the West

BHP has started the year by signing a PPA that will halve emissions at its Nickel West Kwinana refinery and double its green cred as a supplier to environmentally conscious lithium-ion battery manufacturers.

Major economies should divert fossil fuel Covid-recovery cash to clean energy before it’s too late

A report by Finnish company Wärtsilä has estimated the potential impact if every dollar committed to a non-renewables energy sector recovery was instead funnelled to clean power.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Rise of renewables sparks closure of Torrens Island gas power plant

Energy giant AGL has disclosed it will shutter its gas-fired Torrens Island B power station in South Australia within four years, citing the impending completion of a new electricity interconnector that will link power grids across three Australian states, unlocking gigawatts of new wind, solar PV and storage projects.

LG solar battery recall expanded, NSW reports battery fire spike

The ACCC, Australia’s consumer watchdog, has begun contacting almost 5,000 households as part of an updated recall on LG solar batteries prone to overheat and catch fire, with the watchdog noting the dangerous products may fall under various brand names. The news comes as NSW Fire and Rescue reported a massive spike in battery fires for 2022.

CellCube eyes Australia for 8 GWh flow-battery manufacturing facility

Australian renewables developer North Harbour Clean Energy will team with European battery energy storage systems supplier CellCube to establish a vanadium redox flow battery manufacturing and assembly facility in Australia with a projected capacity of up to 1 GW/8 GWh per annum.

Energy optimiser SolarEdge expands into full home solution

Customers’ desire for fast, simple access to rooftop solar has driven the industry towards one-stop solutions, with all system components under the same brand and warranty arrangements, and integrated under a proprietary intelligent digital control system. pv magazine Australia spoke with Gavin Merchant, country manager for Australia and New Zealand, about the new SolarEdge Home equation and the economic drivers of full rooftop package adoption.

Joint venture targets 4.5 GW of energy storage in Victoria

The developers behind a proposed $5.5 billion (USD 3.7 billion) pumped hydro renewable energy project in central Queensland have announced a new partnership to develop up to 4.5 GW of long-duration energy storage in Victoria that is to be integrated with new renewable generation and green hydrogen production.

Does Australia have the stomach to become a critical minerals superpower?

With the US offering tremendous capital to “friendshore” its renewable supply chains, the cofounder of a major renewables investor, David Scaysbrook, says President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act could turn Australia into a critical mineral and rare earth powerhouse. “The question is, do we have the stomach for that?” Scaysbrook asks. For Tim Buckley, director of Climate Energy Finance, it’s a matter of the government taking a whole system approach and going early.

Installations

Featured

Photon selects NSW for first solar + battery project acquisition, intended as European ‘prototype’

Dutch company Photon Energy Group has acquired its first utility scale solar and battery project, opting for a venture 500 kilometres northwest of Sydney which it says will become a “prototype” for its European portfolio.

Solar-wind hybrid Kennedy Energy Park poised to reach full potential

After almost four years of delays the solar-wind hybrid 60 MW Kennedy Energy Park in north Queensland is inching towards full operation. Project developer Windlab confirms the final stage of testing and commissioning of the Australian-first hybrid renewable energy project is underway.

CleanPeak to switch on massive 5 MW rooftop system

One of Australia’s largest rooftop solar arrays will be energised this week with CleanPeak Energy announcing the second phase of a 5 MW PV system at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide is set to be switched on in the coming days.

IEA outlines standardised guidelines for solar O&M

The International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power System Programme has standardised guidelines for operation and maintenance programs for large-scale solar plants. It defines O&M performance indicators and standard O&M operator services, as well as tools to analyse PV plant performance and safety.

Energy supply deal to deliver solar projects on NSW South Coast

A trio of New South Wales councils have signed a renewable energy supply deal with energy retailer Flow Power that will underpin the development at least two new solar projects totalling more than 8 MW of PV in the state’s South Coast region.

Rooftop solar powers WA to renewable energy record

The booming uptake of home PV systems has steered Western Australia to a new peak for instantaneous renewable energy share, with clean energy – including rooftop and large-scale solar – providing a record 81% of the total electricity generated in the state’s wholesale electricity market.

Technology

Building renewables emits carbon, but building them faster emits far less

A new study by Columbia University’s Climate School looks at the carbon emissions needed to build renewable energy.

Feds give CEFC $500m funding boost for renewable tech commercialisation

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation, effectively the federal government’s green bank, has been allocated a further $500 million (USD 332 million) to invest in the commercialisation of renewable energy, energy efficiency and other technology innovations.

Interactive chart of solar cell efficiency updated

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released a new, interactive version of its research cell efficiency chart for a range of PV technologies.

Green rates feat after Longi achieves record 26.81% with silicon cell

Chinese solar manufacturing giant Longi has announced the achievement of a world record 26.81% conversion efficiency from a cell utilising heterojunction technology on full-size silicon wafers in mass production. The company said the measurement has been validated by Germany’s Institute for Solar Energy Research.

Roadmap to achieve CIGS solar modules with efficiencies above 20%

Japanese scientists have described the steps that need to be taken to improve the average efficiency of CIGS solar modules, from around 18.5% at present to more than 20%. They presented all of the critical technical factors that are currently holding the tech back from broader market adoption.

Weekend read: A sustainability swan song

Pioneering PV researcher Martin Green has received an abundance of accolades over his 50-year career of fundamental solar research with teams at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). That contribution was further recognised on Sept. 26, when he picked up the WCPEC-8 Award in Milan, Italy. Green spoke with pv magazine about the role of technologies such as PERC cells and his efforts to advance non-toxic thin film semiconductors for the tandem cells of the future.

Manufacturing

Featured

Sunova Solar releases 575 W n-type PV panel with 22.2% efficiency

Sunova Solar is offering five versions of its new solar panels, with power outputs from 555 W to 575 W and efficiencies ranging from 21.4% to 22.2%. They have a temperature coefficient of -0.31% per degree Celsius.

New US policy ‘devastating’ for Australia’s green hydrogen ambitions, says investment manager

Cofounder of Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, David Scaysbrook, says the US Inflation Reduction Act can make Australia a green energy superpower – but not in the way we expect. The policy will fundamentally undercut Australia’s competitiveness exporting green hydrogen, but offers giant opportunities for critical materials. Scaysbrook also expects Australia’s 2023 to be lean in terms of renewable investment, especially when it comes to “vanilla” projects.

All-perovskite two-terminal tandem solar cell tech with 32.3% efficiency

Indian scientists have designed a new all-perovskite tandem solar cell configuration that can reportedly achieve higher efficiencies than similar devices built with the same materials. The top perovskite cell has a wide bandgap of 1.75 eV and the bottom perovskite cell has a bandgap of 1.25 eV.

Taiwanese consortium develops easily recyclable solar module

The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and United Renewable Energy (URE) have developed a solar panel that can be easily dismantled to simplify the recycling process. They claim 96% of the materials in the panel can be recovered, including all of the solar cells and front glass.

Queensland council plots path from coal hub to green superpower

The Gladstone Regional Council has ratified an ambitious roadmap that will be used to help the central Queensland city navigate the transition from traditional coal and gas hub to a green hydrogen and renewable energy superpower.

New algorithm to identify underperforming strings in PV systems

German researchers have created an algorithm to predict and identify string yield losses or underperforming strings without additional weather data. It could be used to inspect modules, strings, arrays, inverters, and transformers.

Energy Storage

Featured

Alliance forms to push Australia toward Renewable Energy Storage Target

Calls for the Albanese government to adopt a Renewable Energy Storage Target are growing, with an alliance of organisations visiting Australia’s Parliament to lobby for the move.

Powin, BlackRock start working on world’s largest battery

US battery specialist Powin and US investment firm BlackRock have started work on a 909 MW/1,915 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) in Australia. Construction is set to begin in 2023 and will finish by mid-2025.

Singaporean developer sizes up Australia’s ‘largest’ battery

Singapore-headquartered infrastructure developer Equis has announced plans to construct a 1,200 MW/2.4 GWh battery in Victoria that it claims will be the largest battery energy storage system yet developed in Australia and Asia.

NSW seeks proposals for renewables rollout across 2,200 public schools

After a productive pilot project that saw solar, batteries and VPP technology installed at 60 public schools in New South Wales, the state government is now seeking proposals to finance, deliver and operate such renewable energy solutions across 2,200 public schools.

Sun Cable to help unlock Indonesia’s $170 billion green industry opportunity

Sun Cable is seeking to develop the world’s biggest intercontinental solar and storage project, and has now inked a deal with the Indonesian government that could unlock more than $170 billion (USD 115 billion) in renewable energy generation and transmission operations in the archipelago.

Australian-first green hydrogen microgrid powers up in WA

Australia’s first hybrid solar and renewable hydrogen microgrid has officially launched as green hydrogen production began at Horizon Power’s demonstration plant in the coastal community of Denham in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region.

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