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Sunday read: Strong growth ahead for storage

Annual battery storage installations will exceed 10 GW/28 GWh in 2021, following a particularly strong year in 2020, despite the challenges created by the global pandemic, writes IHS Markit analyst Mike Longson. Combined solar and storage will be a core focus for new deployment in 2021, as the front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter energy storage markets are both expected to grow significantly in the months ahead.
Energy Storage

Saturday read: China’s push for decarbonisation

The carbon market is finally a reality in China. After 10 years of delays, regional pilot schemes and general uncertainty, China’s national carbon market became a reality on Feb. 1, 2021. Over time, the scheme is expected to support China’s gradual s...
Technology

United States county uses innovative method to identify optimal solar sites

A U.S. research group has used high-resolution data to drill down to individual parcels of land, in order to figure out how much space is available for solar at optimal locations and preferred sites.
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Keep cool and distribute stress: A recipe for improved performance

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Markets & Policy

Facebook achieves net-zero emissions, looks to global value chain to follow suit

The social media giant met its 2018 goal at the end of 2020 and now aims to achieve net zero emissions for its entire value chain by 2030.
Installations

Retail property major makes solar PV move

SCA Property Group has revealed plans to commence installing solar PV energy systems on the rooftops of some of its $3.5 billion shopping centre portfolio as it looks to establish itself as one of the biggest renewable energy generators in the Australian...
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Installations

Juwi builds on off-grid portfolio with 13 MW solar project

The Australian arm of German renewable energy specialist juwi has added another off-grid solar PV project to its burgeoning portfolio, announcing it will construct a 13 MW solar farm at the site of the Gruyere gold mine in Western Australia.
Installations

Australian PV glass developer sets sights on Japanese market

Solar glass developer ClearVue Technologies has once again looked beyond the Western Australia horizon by inking a distribution agreement with Japanese company Tomita Technologies which will see its building integrated PV (BIPV) glazing products sold in ...
Hydrogen

Companies and ports lined up for Australian green hydrogen export to Germany

The joint feasibility study between Australia and Germany, HySupply, to determine the viability of a renewable energy-based hydrogen supply chain between the two countries, has progressed again after global firm RWE Supply & Trading and Australian-ba...

Press Releases

Big Canberra Battery market sounding now open

The ACT Government has formally commenced market sounding for the Big Canberra Battery ecosystem. Battery storage technology varies in size, location and core use.

New report: Australia must triple its climate goal this decade

AUSTRALIA must triple its emissions cuts within the next decade and reach net zero emissions soon after to protect Australians from the impacts of accelerating climate change, a new Climate Council report says.

Coca-Cola Amatil joins the global RE100 renewable energy initiative

Coca-Cola Amatil has announced it has joined the global RE100 renewable energy initiative and committed to power its entire operations, spanning six countries, with 100% renewable electricity by 2030 (by 2025 in Australia and New Zealand).

Remote power upgrades to unlock further investment

The Northern Territory Labor Government will invest $2 million over the next two years to advance the delivery of clean and reliable electricity to remote communities across the Territory.

Opinion & Analysis

Floating solar farms could cool down lakes threatened by climate change

Solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history, according to a 2020 report by the International Energy Agency. But there’s something holding this clean energy powerhouse back: space.

Strong growth ahead for international battery storage markets

Annual battery storage installations will exceed 10 GW/28 GWh in 2021, following a particularly strong year in 2020, despite the challenges created by the global pandemic, writes IHS Markit analyst Mike Longson. Combined solar and storage will be a core focus for new deployment in 2021, as the front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter energy storage markets are both expected to grow significantly in the months ahead.

Now they want to charge households for exporting solar electricity to the grid — it’ll send the system backwards

It’s come to this. The Australian Energy Markets Commission has produced a draft decision that will make households and small business with solar panels pay to inject their surplus production into the grid.

We need an energy access revolution: A new approach to innovation can help

840 million people still don’t have access to electricity today, according to the World Bank. But the radical decrease in the cost of the green technologies of solar and battery storage provides an unparalleled opportunity to close this gap and achieve universal electricity access by 2030.

Down 55% – but not out

Over 2,000 MW – or around 55% – of South Australia’s firm supply capacity was unavailable on March 12, 2021, along with virtually all of its large-scale renewable supply (a further 1,800 MW or so) but the lights stayed on – just.

100% Renewables – A year in practice

It has now been over a year since City of Newcastle made the switch to a 100% renewable electricity supply contract, as one of the first Local Governments in Australia to do so. For those that love energy data, it tells an interesting tale.

Covid-19

Featured

Here’s what Biden’s infrastructure bill offers solar and cleantech

The $2 trillion package includes a proposed 10-year extension of the ITC and PTC and calls for further incentives to add transmission capacity. Most solar advocates liked it, but one nonprofit panned it as being too industry-friendly.

Five large-scale community batteries to be integrated into the Sunshine-absorbent State’s substations

Queensland’s government will install five community batteries at regional substations across the state in a bid to time-shift its abundant solar resources.

‘Falling solar module costs are behind us’

Canadian Solar is pivoting towards energy storage and is preparing to IPO its manufacturing and Chinese solar project activity in China, under the CSI Solar operation, by July.

Sunday read: History repeats

“Unprecedented” was a term widely used in 2020, as the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic. The same word can be similarly applied to the plans and investments in production capacity announced by Chinese PV manufacturers right across the supply chain. But what shape are these expansions taking and what is driving this renewed confidence? Vincent Shaw reports from Shanghai.

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.

2020 Year in Review

Soon 2020 will only be a worry to future high-school history students. But when they ask us if anything good at all happened in 2020, remember this review and tell them that solar PV shone in the darkness. Despite the mess of it all, 2020 has been another good year for Australian solar. The industry has demonstrated resilience, and significant progress has been made in the fields of energy storage, green hydrogen and others.

Markets & Policy

Featured

PV module price index: New dimensions, new problems

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.

South Australia unveils new export limits for rooftop solar

South Australia’s electricity distributor SA Power Networks has announced plans to introduce new ‘flexible’ export limits for rooftop solar PV in some areas of the state in a bid to manage the growing amount of distributed energy resources and associated network congestion.

Fortescue delegation meets with Jordanian government to explore green hydrogen opportunities

Jordanian government officials have met with a delegation from Fortescue Metals Group to discuss investment opportunities in green hydrogen and ammonia, although details of the meeting remain scant.

Wagga Solar Farm extension enabled by PPA despite Indigenous artefact destruction

Greek energy company Mytilineos and its subsidiary Metka EGN continue to put down roots in the Australian market, signing a Power Purchasing Agreement which will allow construction to commence on its 23 MW extension to Wagga Wagga North Solar Farm. The extension comes after the company was fined in January for breaching its Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit by commencing works without first notifying Heritage NSW, leading to the destruction of Indigenous artefacts.

Solar may cover 75% of global electricity demand by 2050

A new study from the Lappeenranta University of Technology predicts solar may even achieve a 69% share for total primary energy supply by the end of the first half of the century. In terms of price, solar PV is expected to achieve a capex of €246/kW-installed (AU$385/kW-installed) for utility scale projects, and of €537/kW (AU$840/kW) for residential arrays by 2050. The levelised cost of energy (LCOE), however, is expected to remain constant over the next three decades, as the energy transition will also be implemented with storage technologies, increased flexibility and the production of synthetic fuels.

Australia’s vanadium prospects progress as two leading companies evolve flow battery strategies

In a strange synchronicity, two of Australia’s major aspiring vanadium producers have today come out with announcements. TNG Limited has solidified a deal to commercialise vanadium redox flow batteries using output from its Mount Peake project, while competitor Australian Vanadium has filed a patent application for its vanadium processing route.

Installations

Complaints emerging from construction site of NSW solar farm

Complaints including a lack of women's hygiene facilities and a precariously dangling shipping container are being taken up by the NSW and ACT Electrical Trades Union after workers say they've been met with deaf ears by the company managing the site of the Suntop Solar Farm in NSW's Central West.

Developer drives ahead with solar farm plan for Victorian coal country

Australia’s transition to renewable energy continues with developer ARP Australian Solar pushing ahead with plans to establish a 70 MW solar PV and battery energy storage project on the outskirts of Morwell in the heart of Victoria’s coal country.

Genex powers ahead with 250 MW pumped hydro project

Construction is set to commence on the 250 MW Kidston Pumped Hydro Storage Project later this month after developer Genex Power announced it had secured all the financing required to progress the $775 million project.

Solar power has to be about quality as well as quantity

Greater dispatchability will be required from solar as it becomes increasingly mainstream worldwide, or investors could experience diminishing returns as a victim of the technology’s success at bearing down on electricity prices.

AGL partners with Finnish company to deliver C&I customers hybrid energy systems

Energy giant AGL has signed a memorandum of understanding with Finnish technology company Wärtsilä, to develop large-scale hybrid energy systems for AGL’s commercial and industrial customers.

India closing in on 7 GW of rooftop solar

India had installed 6.8 GW of cumulative rooftop PV capacity by the end of 2020, with consumer-owned systems accounting for about 72% of the total, according to Bridge to India.

Technology

Featured

Space PV technology company acquired to ‘unlock notable market potential’

The company being acquired, Azur Space, produces triple-junction space solar cells with an average efficiency of up to 30% and is planning to develop ultra-thin solar cells with up to 35%.

Fraunhofer ISE sets record efficiency for front/back solar cell

The cell reached 26.0% efficiency and showed open-circuit voltage values of up to 732 mV. It was fabricated with a back junction (BJ) design with a full-area p-n-junction at the back surface.

Silicon for batteries moves to commercial production

U.S. company Group 14 Technologies has announced it will launch factory capable of producing 120 tons per year of its innovative silicon-carbon-based anode material for lithium-ion batteries. The factory is located at Group 14’s headquarters in Washington and is the first of several planned by the company.

Battery storage systems 30% cheaper than rival gas peaker plants for firming renewables

The contest is over. Faster, cheaper, more flexible than gas turbines … battery energy storage must be the future peaking energy service provider of choice says the hard evidence exposed in a new paper by the Clean Energy Council.

Hair! Coming to a next-generation solar cell near you

A human hair derivative has been found to protect, stabilise and enhance the performance of perovskite solar cells.

Solar powers novel green hydrogen fuel technology

A homegrown technology developed by the University of Newcastle and Southern Green Gas has seen the development of a novel green hydrogen fuel and carbon neutral green methane. The fuel was demonstrated in Hyundai’s Nexo hydrogen fuel cell SUV in Sydney.

Manufacturing

Featured

Debate on alleged forced labour in Chinese PV industry heats up in Europe

Three Dutch political parties have brought the forced labour issue to Parliament and have asked the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaad, to report on the matter.

Jolywood plans new Indonesian fab

Chinese module manufacturer Jolywood is preparing to invest in a joint venture with state-controlled local partner PT Len Agra Energy to set up 1 GW of annual cell and panel capacity.

JinkoSolar 2020 results reveal a resilient supply of Tier 1 solar modules

Pandemic uncertainties have concentrated key solar players and “heightened competition for ‘survival of the fittest'”, says JinkoSolar Chairman and CEO Xiande Li. The company’s latest figures show it is well placed in Australia and in the global arena.

Cooling PV modules with radiative sky cooling

French scientists have proposed the use of radiative sky cooling as a passive cooling technique to cut PV module temperatures by 10 C. They claim the method could improve performance by more than 5 W/m2.

GoodWe launches two residential batteries

The Chinese manufacturer has unveiled a low-voltage battery with a modular design and a high-voltage storage system which is claimed to have a one-hour, ultra-rapid charge rate.

Saturday read: New pathways in flexible thin film

Having picked up GBP 5.8 million ($8 million) in a series of investments, U.K.-based Power Roll is pushing ahead with pilot production of an innovative new thin film with which it can manufacture both solar modules and capacitors. In the future, the design could also bring the potential for solar generation and energy storage within a single lightweight device.

Energy Storage

Featured

WA mining company begins journey towards renewable power station with battery install

Gold mining company Wiluna Mining Corp has started its move to renewables, installing a 2 MW battery to replace diesel generators with plans to integrate solar, wind or pumped storage options in the coming years.

Sunday read: Australia’s next wave of large-scale solar development

Call it “latent energy” – Australia’s renewable resources are expected to help some of the world’s greatest polluters to reach their net-zero emissions targets, writes Natalie Filatoff, senior editor at pv magazine Australia.

Pumped hydro study earns praise from Solar Citizens

Queensland-based community group Solar Citizens has described as long overdue reports the State Government is considering a new pumped hydro facility near Gympie which would generate renewable energy to service the burgeoning Sunshine Coast region.

Council ‘coffs up’ for free solar PV advice service

Concerned that a lack of understanding in the community is hindering the uptake of rooftop solar, a New South Wales local council has struck an agreement with the Australian Energy Foundation in a bid to demystify solar PV and battery energy storage systems.

Taiwan joins the gigafactory club

Taiwan Cement is planning to build a US$352 million EV battery factory in southern Taiwan. The 1.8 GW facility will produce high-charge-discharge nickel ternary batteries.

Work begins on green hydrogen storage cavern in Sweden

Vattenfall, SSAB and LKAB are building a rock cavern storage facility in a coastal city in northern Sweden. The 100-cubic-meter facility will be built 30 meters below ground and will begin storing green hydrogen next year.

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