Top News

COAG energy ministers sign off on progressing the NEG

Work on the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) policy will continue, with the COAG Energy Council approving its progress today. The detailed policy will be considered by state, federal and territory energy ministers for final approval in August.
Manufacturing

A commitment to American manufacturing: An interview with SunPower CEO Tom Werner

In this interview with pv magazine USA SunPower CEO Tom Werner gets into the why and how of his company’s purchase of SolarWorld Americas, and what to expect from SolarWorld’s Oregon factory in the future.

Markets & Policy

NEG likely to move forward, emission reduction remains sticking point

Signs continue to mount that Friday’s COAG Energy Council meeting will agree to move forward with the National Energy Guarantee mechanism. This comes despite continuing and serious objections from some states to the meagre 26%-on-2005 emission reduction target.

Installations

Neoen founder, Direct Energie, set to be acquired by Total

The French oil group, which is the parent company of U.S. solar manufacturer SunPower, is set to acquire a 74.33% stake in France’s third largest electric utility Direct Energie. Prominent Australian renewable developer and IPP Neoen was established by Direct Energie in 2008, although it will not be affected by the transaction and will continue to remain “totally independent”.

Technology

EU grants €5 million to perovskite research consortium

Belgian institute Imec will be the coordinator of a project involving many of Europe’s leading research organizations, which will focus on developing stable, scalable, low cost PV modules based on perovskite technology. The project, named ‘ESPResSo’ has received more than €5 million in funding from the European Union.

Installations

March rooftop solar installs sets new record, exceeding NEG modelling by 50%

Rooftop PV installation rates in Australia are breaking all previous records. March saw the highest number of rooftop systems ever installed in the country, worth a capacity of some 127 MW.

Markets & Policy

Clean Energy Council backs the NEG, with conditions

The CEC has encouraged COAG Energy Council to support the further development of the proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) in its meeting on Friday. The peak renewables body’s support, however, is contingent on the policy being fleshed out, “and [it] addressing concerns in relation to the emissions target.”

Markets & Policy

Australia’s slow march towards a National Energy Guarantee is gathering pace

David Blowers, an Energy Fellow with the Grattan Institute, reports that “solid progress” has been made on the design of the National Energy Guarantee.

Markets & Policy

Featured

NEG – a political hot potato

In anticipation of a more detailed presentation of the scheme, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg used the opportunity of the speech to the National Press Club to present the National Energy Guarantee as the best possible option to ensure reliability of supply, describing it as “technology neutral". Amid mounting criticism leveled by retailers, analysts and leading developers of battery storage, few signs of a national consensus on the proposed NEG are emerging.

Solar outstrips fossil fuels in 2017 leading record renewables investment, report finds

A new report drafted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre shows that global solar energy investments overshadowed all other forms of electricity generation in 2017. China is leading the pack of the world’s largest renewables investors, followed by Australia, Mexico and Sweden.

University of Wollongong researchers unveil new sodium-ion battery design

Scientists from the University of Wollongong have developed prototype battery cells based on sodium-ion technology, which the university says can achieve excellent cycling stability and easily be scaled up to mass production.

Shell envisions central role for solar in new report

Shell’s new report shows a world where solar meets the largest portion of primary energy demand as soon as 2050.

The (long) Weekend Read: A view of the large-scale boom

From just a handful of large-scale solar PV projects a few years ago, Australia is becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. With a substantial project pipeline, the country is in the box seat to experience a banner year in 2018, with the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) now in hand and a new policy taking shape for the period beyond.

Power Ledger, Greenwood Solution to deploy P2P energy trading platform in Melbourne

The first commercial deployment of Power Ledger’s P2P energy trading platform will take place in partnership with energy solutions business Greenwood Solutions, which will be in charge of installing solar across strata units.

Installations

Featured

Fast-falling EPC prices make sub-$60/MWh solar feasible

Analysis from Rystad Energy has revealed that sub-$60/MWh utility scale solar projects could be viable in sunny parts of Australia today. The highly competitive EPC landscape has been identified as the major driver of the improving PV power plant economics although, as always, cost of capital remains key.

UQ rooftop project demonstrates power optimizer value at C&I scale

In August 2017, Solar Hybrids completed a 226 kW array at the UQ’s Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence (PACE) in Brisbane. The system, across two rooftops presented a significant challenge in that both roofs were partially shaded. By utilizing SolarEdge, an additional 60 kW could be added to the array.

Solar to top 104 GW of new installations this year, finds GTM Research

Latest Global Solar Demand Monitor from GTM Research forecasts 6% annual increase in PV installation growth although current largest markets will register 7% contraction while geographic diversification poised to grow.

Soltec inks supply deal for 70MW Queensland solar farm

The Spanish tracker manufacturer has announced its first deal in Australia just months after opening a subsidiary in Sydney.

RCR lands Greenough River solar farm expansion deal

Western Australia energy provider Synergy has named RCR Tomlinson as EPC contractor for the expansion of the Greenough River solar farm from 10MW to 40MW.   

Solar to power Cannington mine

South32 has announced a remote, off-grid renewable energy project at its Cannington mine, which will involve a 3MW solar farm.

Technology

Featured

Fraunhofer ISE, Schmid develop production line concept for custom design modules

German research institute Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and equipment supplier Schmid have jointly developed a production for customizable modules for building-integrated projects. According to Fraunhofer ISE, the concepts developed by joint study could reduce the production cost for BIPV modules as much as 35%.

Solliance achieves 14.5% cell efficiency on perovskite module

Scientists at European solar research organization, Solliance have announced the achievement of 14.5% conversion efficiency on a perovskite module. The module uses a glass substrate, and the efficiency was measured on an aperture area of 144 cm².

Adelaide to get 8MW virtual power plant

A $7.7 million funding initiative for energy retailer Simply Energy to build a second virtual power plant across Adelaide was announced by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

ARENA commits $10 million to trial short-term forecasting

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced it is looking for expressions of interest for trialling short-term forecasting projects from large scale wind and solar farms across Australia.

SERIS researchers develop new multi-cSi texturing technique

Scientists from the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) have announced the development of a new wet chemical process to allow multi-cSi wafers to be cut with diamond wire saw technology, and subsequently textured to reduce their reflectivity.

RMIT researchers demonstrate first working proton battery

Scientists at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) have demonstrated the first working example of a ‘proton battery’, which utilizes a carbon electrode and reversible hydrogen fuel cell for the storage of energy. The scientists say that their small prototype has already demonstrated similar storage capacities to commercially available lithium-ion batteries, with plenty of potential for further optimization.

Manufacturing

Featured

Global inverter shipments to grow just 2% in 2018

Global solar PV inverter shipment are expected to increase just 2% this year, to just over 100 GWac, GTM Research’s Scott Moskowitz tells pv magazine. He further reveals that Huawei knocked SMA off the top revenue spot in 2017, for the first time.

SMA reports record shipments, lower revenue

The German inverter maker sold 8.5 GW of solar PV inverters last year. Revenue, however, dropped by €50 million, while net profit remained flat at €30 million.

SolarWorld files for insolvency – again

Roughly seven months after its new beginning, the German solar PV manufacturer has again filed for insolvency at the District Court of Bonn – the second time in one year. SolarWorld blames the planned phasing out of anti-dumping measures by the EU Commission against Chinese competition and the further drop in prices.

Sharp hits 25.09% efficiency on full size HJT cell

Japanese electronics giant, Sharp has announced the achievement of a 25.09% conversion efficiency, from a cell utilizing both heterojunction (HJT) and back contact technology. The measurement has been validated by Japan Electrical Safety & Environment Technology Laboratories (JET).

The 9th ITRPV: module price pressure to continue as production capacity tops 130 GWp and price learning curve rises to 22.8%

Annual International Roadmap for Photovoltaics, compiled by the German production equipment industrial association (VDMA), reveals slowdown in module price reduction for 2017 in contrast to significant market increase that saw module production capacity rise above 130 GW.

More than 20 PV makers request exemptions from US solar import duties

The list includes many of the big names in the industry as well as a request to exempt the entire EU panel industry.

Energy Storage

Featured

ABB supplies 30 MWh battery, microgrid to the Pilbara

Swiss electricity infrastructure giant ABB has supplied a large battery storage and microgrid solution to Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The system was installed at Alinta Energy’s 178 MW gas-fired Newman Power Station, which supplies a major iron-ore mine in the mineral-rich region.

Storage pipeline grows to 10.4 GW, installations reached 1.9 GW in 2017, finds IHS Markit

Analyst data records 53% annual growth in storage in 2017, rising to 1.9 GW as South Korea climbed to top of the tree in terms of cumulative capacity. Global project pipeline has soared to 10.4 GW.

1.4 GW of storage added in 2017 as Australia resi and U.S. large-scale leads way, finds GTM

Inaugural global energy storage report by GTM Research finds that Australia’s behind-the-meter storage market tripled in 2017, while the U.S. remains the world’s leading market with an installed energy capacity of 431 MWh. China poised to rise to second place globally in 2019.

Genex gets green light to develop Kidston Stage 2 solar project

After the 50MW Stage 1 solar farm was switched on late last year, the Kidston renewable energy hub has now received a development approval for 270MW of solar, which is to be co-located with a 250MW pumped storage hydro project.

SunWiz: Resi battery installs approach 21,000 in 2017

Australian solar analyst SunWiz puts Australian residential storage installations at 20,789 for 2017. The number represents a trebling on 2016 and it is the highest among analyst assessments of the market segment.

Fossil fuel global grip being loosened by holy trinity of affordable PV, wind and storage, finds BNEF

‘Unprecedented challenge’ for fossil fuels as low LCOE for solar and wind power, allied to tumbling storage costs, sees renewables claim larger share of bulk and dispatchable generation while adding vital flexibility to global energy mix.

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Press Releases

March Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data now available

The Clean Energy Regulator has released March 2018 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target market data.

Gannawarra Solar Farm Connects to Victorian Grid

Gannawarra Solar Farm connected to the grid and is proceeding through the commissioning process. To provide renewable power to approximately 18,100 Victorian homes.

COAG Countdown: Australia already powers past Government’s NEG 2030 target

Renewable Energy projects underway across Australian states and territories have already exceeded the 2030 targets outlined in the Federal Government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG), according to new data.

Turnbull’s energy crisis

Under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, a deep energy crisis has seen power prices skyrocket for households and the viability of tens of thousands of jobs placed in jeopardy.