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Sunday read: To replace or repair

Backsheet chalking, especially of polyamide backsheet films, doesn’t take long to lead to cracks and then safety shutdowns. Sometimes, though, the period may be much longer or shorter than expected. Assessing the risk and whether on-site repairs offer a long-term solution is currently a topic of strong debate within the PV industry, as Cornelia Lichner from the pv magazine Deutschland team reports.
Installations

Saturday read: Powerful equation to expand C&I

Big rooftop PV systems on factories, warehouses and public buildings need not be limited by ownership issues nor local grid capacity, claims Australian innovator EleXsys Energy. The company is maxing out an Ikea in Adelaide, Australia, with solar and sto...
Energy Storage

Sun Cable customer exits as energy price rises take toll

The world’s biggest solar PV and storage project has suffered a setback after a Singapore electricity retailer which had lined up to be a foundation customer for the renewable energy generated by Australia’s $26 billion Sun Cable project announced it...
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Hydrogen

Fortescue links with Plug Power to build electolyser gigafactory

Fortescue Future Industries has revealed it will partner with North American hydrogen technology company Plug Power to build the world's largest green energy infrastructure and equipment-manufacturing facility in Central Queensland.
Markets & Policy

Morrison confirms he will attend COP26 climate summit

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed he will travel to Scotland for the United Nations COP26 international climate conference later this month, signalling an about-turn after he had previously indicated he might not attend the talks.
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Installations

Coles secures path to 100% renewable energy by 2025

Supermarket giant Coles will be 100% powered by renewable energy in less than four years’ time after the company announced the last of the power purchase agreements needed to meet the ambitious target were signed this week.
Hydrogen

Octopus Energy, RES to invest in UK green hydrogen economy

Octopus Energy and RES have announced a new partnership under which they plan to invest GBP 3 billion (AU$5.5 billion) in the construction of green hydrogen plants throughout the United Kingdom by 2030.
Installations

EDF Renewables invests in Vietnamese PV rooftop market

The French energy group has invested an undisclosed sum in Vietnam’s SkyX Energy. The goal is to install 200 MWp of C&I PV rooftop capacity in the country.

Press Releases

Solar Cube stand-alone power system recognised in Australia’s International Good Design Awards

Boundary Power, a joint venture between West Australian utility, Horizon Power, and Australian-owned and operated engineering industry leader, Ampcontrol, has been awarded a 2021 Good Design Award in Engineering Design for its Solar Cube stand-alone power system (SAPS).

Derby Hospital solar contract awarded to local companies

A contract to install rooftop solar at the Derby Hospital has been awarded to two West Kimberley companies as part of the WA Recovery Plan. The 364 kW rooftop solar system will supply around 40% of the hospital's energy requirements and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 334 tonnes annually.

Peak retail body calls for more aggressive climate action

Australia’s largest and most diverse retail representative body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) supports calls for Australia to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050, with a more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target.

Energy traceability cleantech Enosi closes $1.48 million capital raise

Australian energy traceability company Enosi has secured $1. 48 million in a capital raise to support the ongoing development of its proprietary energy traceability technology and its local and overseas expansion.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

I’m pickin’ up good vibrations: 5-minute settlement reviewed

We are just through the first two weeks of 5-minute settlement. While there has been much anticipation regarding the implementation and the potential for drastic swings in prices, we felt it was an excellent time to take a quick look at the pricing outcomes to see if any immediate trends are emerging.

The net-zero bandwagon is gathering steam, and resistant MPs are about to be run over

Prime Minister Scott Morrison appears to be moving towards securing Coalition agreement for a net-zero emissions by 2050. It comes weeks out from the crucial COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, where Australia’s record on global climate action will be heavily scrutinised.

This summer be prepared for hail damaged solar panels

Last year, a day after Halloween, I saw firsthand the result of the most hectic hailstorm I’ve ever endured. Springfield Lakes, Greenbank and a few surrounding Brisbane suburbs got absolutely smoked. It was reported in February that the damage bill had reached at least $805 million. More recent reports have estimated it to be over $1 billion.

Five reasons why the Morrison government needs a net-zero target, not just a flimsy plan

Prime Minister Scott Morrison may be warming to a net-zero emissions target by 2050, but Australia is still far from adopting it – largely thanks to resistance from the National Party.

The world’s largest solar parks

In the third of a series of four blogs, solar pioneer Philip Wolfe lists the world’s largest solar parks. In these articles, a “solar park” is defined as a group of co-located solar power plants.

A tale of two causes: curtailment as renewable records break

The past week saw more records broken in the National Electricity Market (NEM), with instantaneous renewable generation hitting a record 59.8% in the afternoon of Sunday 19 September 2021, before breaking 60% for the first time on Monday 20 September 2021. Sunny weather across both days meant rooftop solar made up around half of renewable generation at this peak output, reducing operational demand and suppressing prices during the day.

Covid-19

Featured

Sunday read: A decisive movement in module prices

The sky is the limit. Fortunately, this expression does not apply to current prices for PV panels, which have recently declined, following a continuous rise since the beginning of the year. Whether this situation holds, or whether prices drop further in the coming months is hard to say at the moment, writes Martin Schachinger of pvXchange. Polysilicon prices and thus wafer and cell prices could be in for a slight decline. However, a decisive movement in module prices in general is unlikely before the fourth quarter.

Looking beyond 5-minute settlement to tariff models that show how flexible energy retailers can be

Processing nightmare, or product opportunity? Impending five-minute settlement comes at a difficult time for energy retailers. Software from across the ditch could help highlight the benefits and opportunities of more solar and a forecast uptick in battery energy storage.

‘Polysilicon shortage will continue through 2021’

The latest global PV industry outlook published by trade group SolarPower Europe, has indicated tight supply of the solar panel raw material is expected to persist this year but the trade body said it would be unlikely to drive further price rises.

Sterling and Wilson Solar’s order book grew 72% in FY2021, despite Australian subcontractor’s bankruptcy

Despite the growth, one-off exceptional events in the fourth quarter hit the solar EPC’s overall fiscal performance. These included a prime subcontractor going bankrupt in Australia, rising module prices, and increased freight costs.

100+ businesses band together to demand 1% of GDP be allocated to clean energy in May budget

More than 100 Australian businesses, including some of the country’s largest, have banded together to put pressure on government to commit at least 1% of GDP to a green energy recovery in the May budget and to ensure a more equitable transition to renewables for marginalised Australians.

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.

Markets & Policy

Featured

States pave way for Morrison to beat 2030 emissions pledge

With Prime Minister Scott Morrison under increasing pressure to back a 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target before the United Nations' COP26 climate conference in Glasgow at the end of the month, a new report indicates the federal government can capitalise on state and territory efforts to keep the global 1.5°C goal in play.

Australia’s largest solar supplier expects shortfalls and up to 30% prices hikes as global stock contest escalates

Australia’s largest wholesale solar distributor is expecting shortfalls of supply coupled with 20% to 30% cost increases as a result of the energy crisis in China. The situation in Australia is particularly fragile, pv magazine Australia was told, with our low pricing and the comparable size of our market not playing to our favour in the global battle for solar supplies.

Solar installer fined $500,000 after string of safety breaches

A Victorian solar installer has been fined $500,000 for a string of workplace safety breaches, including a 2019 incident where a worker suffered serious injuries after falling through a skylight.

Why the NSW hydrogen strategy is ‘smarter’ in its $80 billion industry proposition

The New South Wales government at long last released its hydrogen strategy today. The wait, according to hydrogen expert Andrew Horvath, has been worthwhile. He described the strategy as clever in its approach to drawing longterm hydrogen investment into the state. “It’s a little bit different the way [NSW] looked at it,” he told pv magazine Australia, refuting the strategy’s branding as less ambitious than other states.

China plans new polysilicon production, 100 GW of solar for desert areas

China’s president has detailed plans to accelerate the planning and construction of large-scale wind and PV projects in desert areas, while Wuxi Shanghai announced new granular silicon and nano-silicon production capacity expansions.

Reliance Industries acquires 100% stake in REC Group, plans new manufacturing bases

India headquartered multinational Reliance Industries, through its subsidiary Reliance New Energy Solar Limited, yesterday announced the acquisition of Norway headquartered module manufacturer REC Group. The move comes as Reliance pushes forward with its US$10 billion plan to move in on the renewable energy industry, having also this week announced acquisition of a 40% share in EPC provider Sterling & Wilson.

Installations

Featured

BHP inks supply deal with Australia’s largest wind+solar farm

Mining giant BHP is poised to finalise a “bespoke” renewable energy agreement with the Australian arm of Spanish energy group Iberdrola for the 317 MW Port August Renewable Energy Park in South Australia to supply up to 50% of the miner’s electricity needs for its Olympic Dam mining operation.

CEP.Energy teams with Enerven to accelerate solar+storage strategy

Green energy fund CEP.Energy is forging ahead with plans to establish itself as a renewable powerhouse, appointing Adelaide-headquartered contractor Enerven to provide engineering, procurement and construction services as it looks to accelerate its ambition to build 1.5 GW of solar and 2 GW of big battery capacity around Australia.

Battery start-up raises $12 million as it prepares for ASX listing

Queensland-based designer and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery energy storage systems RedEarth Energy Storage plans to expand its product range and increase manufacturing capacity after raising $12 million in a pre-initial public offering funding round led by Ord Minnett Private Opportunities.

Meyer Burger unveils new solar tiles

Meyer Burger plans to start selling a new building-integrated PV product from 2022. It says the solar tiles have a high energy yield, with simplified installation and the ability to also provide heating. German engineering company paXos designed the tiles.

Wirsol seeks renewable projects and acquisitions: first stop Barnawartha

Against the backdrop of a second Victorian reverse auction for renewable energy, German-owned developer Wirsol takes up a large-scale solar project in the border city of Wodonga.

Fortescue Future Industries to build a 2 GW hydrogen electrolyser plant in Central Queensland

From iron ore magnate to renewable energy mogul, Dr Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest intends producing everything he needs to turn the world away from fossil fuels to green hydrogen. The latest? A renewable energy infrastructure-manufacturing facility in Aldoga, near Gladstone.

Technology

Featured

Risen showcases n-type solar panel with output of 700 W

The 210 mm module can reach a power output of up to 703.6 W and a power conversion efficiency of 23.08%. The result was confirmed by Germany’s TÜV SÜD.

Genex Power seizes the opportunities for renewable energy storage at the north end of the NEM

The first big battery to stand alone without government support, Bouldercombe Battery Project capitalises on Genex Power’s experience gained on the road to Kidston Clean Energy Hub.

Contracts are out for major SA construction works on Project EnergyConnect

Nothing if not critical, the 900 km renewable energy transporter is inching towards shovel time. This weekend ElectraNet awarded transmission and substation contracts for South Australia’s piece of the electron super highway to Australia’s National Electricity Market.

Electro-thermal storage system for commercial applications launched

Developed by Swedish manufacturer Azelio, the system stores renewable energy in recycled aluminium and has an electrical and thermal energy output, with a total efficiency of 90 %. One unit’s storage capacity reaches 165 kWh of electrical output and on top of that thermal energy between 55-65 degrees Celsius. Its modular configuration allows the deployment of projects with a capacity of up to 100 MW.

Governments shine spotlight on 1.5 GW Marinus Link project

The proposed $3.5 billion Marinus Link interconnector between Tasmania and the Australian mainland has reached a significant milestone with “critical” environmental referrals being lodged with the federal and Victorian governments.

New ‘matrix’ layout for shingled solar cells

German equipment supplier M10 and research institute Fraunhofer ISE will unveil a new prototype stringer for shingled module layouts at the Intersolar Europe trade show later this week. Employing an offset layout for the shingles, the approach promises a relative efficiency gain of up to 6%, compared to a conventional half-cell module.

Manufacturing

Featured

Saturday read: Chinese U-turn on stranded Australian coal could aid solar imports 

China's coal crunch looks set to see the nation turn to the Australian coal it has kept stranded via its year-long unofficial import ban. The news isn't great for CO2 emissions, but could ease the significant impacts being felt by the Chinese solar industry.

Fortescue eyes 1 GW solar PV module manufacturing plant

Fortescue Future Industries has revealed plans to develop a 1 GW solar PV module manufacturing plant in Australia after confirming it had acquired a 60% stake in Netherlands-based renewable energy specialists High yield Energy Technologies Group.

Vanadium redox flow batteries with purported LCOS of $0.10/kWh

Singapore-based VFlowTech has secured funds to scale up manufacturing of its vanadium redox flow batteries. The company currently offers three modular products that can be scaled to multi-megawatt-hour systems.

Vietnamese manufacturer unveils PV module for agrivoltaics

Vietnamese manufacturer Irex has announced a new glass-glass solar panel with a power output of 265 W and a power conversion efficiency of 18.1%.

Solar tile with 14.2% efficiency from Denmark

Dansk Solenergi ApS has developed a 13.6 kg tile that can be used for both new buildings and building renovation. The device is currently being produced in Denmark, where the company operates a 40 MW line.

New discovery could make organic PV competitive with crystalline silicon

A group of international researchers has observed how non-radiative charge recombination occurs in organic PV and claims to have identified a potential solution that could bring this solar tech closer to crystalline silicon in terms of power conversion efficiency.

Energy Storage

Featured

Iron flow battery tech shows promise for mid-duration energy storage

The ESS battery systems have a prescribed design life of 25 years, but the battery modules, electrolyte, plumbing, and other components may well last for decades longer with proper maintenance.

Panasonic launches 5 kW fuel cell system for commercial applications

The system has dimensions of 834×417×1,766 mm and weighs 205 kg including the design panel. It achieves an electrical efficiency of 56% and can be connected with a hot water storage unit.

Aussie scientists champion closed-loop pumped hydro

Closed-loop pumped-hydro storage offers more chances to minimise environmental effects on water sources and overcomes the problem of finding suitable sites. According to an Australian research team, closed-loop systems could prevail on open-loop systems in the future and this trend is confirmed by another group of scientists from the United States.

How one chemical engineer is channeling Australia’s plentiful PV into hydrogen-derivative renewable fuels

Rose Amal arrived in Australia from Indonesia 38 years ago to study at UNSW. Now her leadership and research are contributing to a new sustainable economy for Australia and clean fuels for energy-hungry industries.

HDF to construct baseload power plant using green hydrogen, plans Australia expansion

The project includes a solar park coupled with what HDF Energy claims is the “largest green hydrogen storage of intermittent electricity sources” at 128 MWh. Importantly, the company also simultaneously announced expansion plans into Australia, saying its hydrogen technology will soon be available here, adding that it has “projects already in development for Australia”.

Genex taps Tesla for Queensland big battery project

Australian renewable energy developer Genex Power has inked a deal with Tesla to develop its 50 MW/100 MWh Bouldercombe Battery Project in Queensland using the United States-based electric vehicle manufacturer’s lithium-ion battery technology.

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