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China dominates transport fuel-cell patents

The World Intellectual Property Organisation says China accounted for 69% of the patents filed for transport-related fuel-cell tech in 2020, with road transport significantly dominating applications.
Energy Storage

Mine shaft gravity storage startup completes capital raise as it preps for demonstration

Green Gravity, a startup proposing to use old mine shafts for gravitational energy storage, has raised $1.4 million in its first formal capital raise. The company, headed up by former BHP executive Mark Swinnerton, is now finalising its concept engineeri...
Manufacturing

Upcycling silicon waste from end-of-life solar panels into thermoelectrics

Researchers in Singapore have developed a new technique in which polycrystalline silicon is pulverised into powder and pelletised into ingots. The process relies on spark plasma sintering to dope the silicon with germanium and phosphorus.
Announcements

Help shape the future of O&M: A first-of-its-kind survey

Automation is increasingly being deployed in solar O&M. pv magazine is partnering with Ecoppia to understand the extent to which automation is embraced, and what the integration challenges, and potential upsides, are. Take this survey to add your input and help shape the solar project automation tools of the future.

pv magazine Annual Award 2022: open for entries

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Entries are currently being accepted for the awards across six categories: Modules, Inverters, Balance of System (BoS), Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), Sustainability, and Manufacturing. Enter free today to go in the running to be a 2022 winner!

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Technology

Gallium doping and solar cell degradation

German scientists have conducted a series of experiments on gallium-doped silicon solar cells to understand the causes of degradation in PV cells and modules treated with gallium rather than boron. They confirmed that the performance losses are caused by...
Markets & Policy

Labor already under fire over imminent fossil fuel projects

It’s been just over 24 hours since Anthony Albanese was sworn in as the new prime minister of Australia and already his government is coming under heat for its longstanding refusal to block the 114 coal and gas projects under development in Australia, ...
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Energy Storage

Sungrow’s new battery to be deployed in 16 mid-scale Victorian solar farms from Lavo

Chinese inverter brand Sungrow has signed a 79 MW inverter and 176 MWh battery energy storage contract with Sydney-based hydrogen battery company Lavo. The contract will see Sungrow add its storage solution to 16 mid-scale solar farms in Victoria.
Technology

Have your say on the future of automation in solar O&M

Cost efficiency while maximizing power output is the name of the game in solar project development and asset management. And the automation of the provision of utility scale solar operations and maintenance (O&M) is fast becoming one of the most comp...
Markets & Policy

Standalone power system to be allowed in the NEM from August

The Australian Energy Regulator has begun consultations to allow distributor-led standalone power systems (SAPS) to become part of the national electricity system. Proving highly successful in Western Australia, these SAPS could soon be properly rolled o...

Press Releases

Thai Asia Pacific Brewery partners with Blueleaf Energy for a “Brewed by the Sun” solar PV project, paving the way for clean energy adoption

Thai Asia Pacific Brewery, (TAP Group), is making an important step-change towards more sustainable brewing and contributing yet another achievement to Heineken’s Brewing a Better World sustainable development strategy with the installation of 1. 2 MWp solar power plant at the brewery.

New online tool uses data to remove guesswork for solar customers

Origin, in collaboration with Accenture and Google Cloud, has launched an Australian-first DIY online solar tool that uses 3D data, visual AI and advanced analytics to provide customers with quick, accurate and tailored recommendations of how solar will perform on their rooftops and their potential savings within 10 minutes.

Fortescue Group announces major leadership reshuffle

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (Fortescue, ASX: FMG) today announced it will transition to a truly global company and restructure the organisation to have both the CEO of Fortescue and the CEO of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) reporting directly to the Board.

Woolworths Group inks renewables deal with Iberdrola

Woolworths Group’s operations in South Australia will be powered by 100% renewable electricity from July this year - the first state to go completely green in the retailer’s nationwide transition by 2025.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

Teals and Greens will turn up the heat on Labor’s climate policy – here’s what to expect

Public concern over climate change was a clear factor in the election of Australia’s new Labor government. Incoming Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has committed to action on the issue, declaring on Saturday night: “Together we can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower”.

EV policy should be front and centre this election, but its fallen by the wayside

It’s disappointing that EV adoption policy in Australia has been put on the back-burner this election, writes Des Hang, CEO and co-founder of Carbar. The concern is that action on this issue will be slow regardless of who gets into power, simply because it’s not generating as much buzz as it should during the campaign.

No end to solar supply/demand imbalance

The solar supply chain problems that began last year with high prices and polysilicon shortages are persisting into 2022. But we are already seeing a stark difference from earlier predictions that prices would decline gradually each quarter this year. PV Infolink’s Alan Tu probes the solar market situation and offers insights.

UNSW Exclusive: unlocking the potential of singlet fission for future PV devices

Materials which undergo singlet fission provide an exciting and different pathway for exploiting the full solar spectrum, researchers at the prestigious University of New South Wales explain.

How climate-friendly is an electric car? It all comes down to where you live

If you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle, whether due to soaring fuel prices or to lower your greenhouse gas emissions, where you live can make a huge difference to how climate-friendly your car is.

Australia plans to be a big green hydrogen exporter to Asian markets – but they don’t need it

Australia is vying to become a major green hydrogen export industry, particularly in the Asia Pacific, but new research from the Australian National University suggests the opportunity may be overstated.

Covid-19

Featured

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.

90 MW Sebastopol Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga reaches commissioning phase

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures Australia’s 90 MW (AC) solar farm outside Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, has reached the commissioning phase after less than a year of construction. Barring no obstacles, the project should start exporting solar energy to the grid in a matter of months.

Module and shipping cost inflation could cost the world 50 GW of solar next year

The input costs of the two biggest contributors to solar plant development expense have gone through the roof since the world began to come out of Covid-19 lockdowns, to leave project developers with some difficult choices.

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.

Markets & Policy

Featured

China’s cumulative PV capacity tops 322 GW

In other news, Zhonghuan Semiconductor announced it will begin selling 210 mm n-type wafers and the local government in Zhejiang Province said it wants to deploy another 12.4 GW of new PV by 2024.

Albanese vows to transform Australia into clean energy ‘superpower’

Incoming Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese has promised to make the nation a “renewable energy superpower” in the wake of Labor’s federal election victory at the weekend.

IEA report confirms Australia remains a solar PV stronghold

Australia remains among the solar capitals of the world with a new report from the International Energy Agency revealing the country leads the way in PV penetration and ranks No.1 in the world for installed solar PV per capita with 990W per person.

IGO-Tianqi JV claims ‘Australian first’ lithium milestone

Australian miner IGO is claiming an Australian first in its joint venture with China’s Tianqi Lithium after producing battery grade lithium hydroxide, a key component in rechargeable battery technology, at its Kwinana refinery in Western Australia.

Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to host 1.4 GW solar park

A new solar power plant will be developed on 2,800 hectares of land near a temple in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is expected to be operational within a year.

EU wants rooftop PV mandate for public, commercial buildings by 2027, residential by 2029

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced a mandate for rooftop solar on commercial and public buildings by 2027, and for residential buildings by 2029. The EU target for renewable energy has been increased from 40% to 45%.

Installations

Featured

Virtual power plant technology on trial in NSW schools

The New South Wales government has announced plans to use part of an estimated eight million square metres of public school roof space to install rooftop solar PV as it seeks to test the most effective ways to generate, store and export renewable energy into the state’s electricity grid.

Updated standard means change for rooftop solar installers

Australia’s rooftop solar industry has undergone a significant change with a new national standard that removes the requirement for rooftop PV installations to include a DC isolator now in effect.

$150 million loan scheme delivers 20MW rooftop solar rollout

A $150 million loan scheme introduced by the Australian Capital Territory government has sparked an uptake of rooftop solar in Canberra with more than 20MW of new solar PV rolled out across roofs in the nation’s capital.

Legislation increases certainty for $30 billion Sun Cable megaproject

The Northern Territory government has doubled down on its support for the world’s biggest solar PV and storage project with parliament passing legislation that will facilitate the $30 billion-plus Sun Cable Australia-Asia PowerLink project which is expected to transform the region into a green industrial hub and establish a new energy export industry for Australia.

Shopping complex switches on massive rooftop solar system

The switch has been flicked on what has been labelled one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest rooftop solar PV systems with Queensland government-owned Yurika announcing an almost 5MW system installed atop the Logan Hyperdome Shopping Centre is now operational.

Amazon announces two new solar farms now online in NSW

Two new solar farms in regional New South Wales are now delivering clean energy to the National Electricity Market with e-commerce giant Amazon announcing its first Australian utility-scale renewable energy investments and are now operational.

Technology

Hydrogen: cobalt-based single-atomic catalysts with 40% improved performance

South Korean researchers have developed an atomic cobalt-based catalyst technology that is suitable for catalyst development in a range of fields, including fuel cells, water electrolysis, solar cells, and petrochemicals. The European Commission, meanwhile, has announced plans to support green hydrogen.

Quantum well superlattices for a new world record cell efficiency of 39.5%

Scientists in the United States have fabricated a triple-junction solar cell that reached 39.5% efficiency – a world record for any type of cell under one-sun illumination. Though relying on materials and processes that are still too costly for most commercial uses, the concept could soon see actual applications in powering satellites and other space-bound technology.

Outback town teams with CDU to research renewable energy future

With the Northern Territory town of Alice Springs turning towards renewable energy to address the challenges associated with its isolated grid, researchers from Charles Darwin University have announced they will help investigate how the outback community can facilitate its transition towards a renewables-dominated future.

Weekend read: Making tandem cells stack up

Perovskite tandem technology is shaping as the route to PV cell efficiencies well beyond 27%. But building the tandem stack in a way that can be scaled into gigawatt production is not a trivial challenge, says Sebastian Gatz, VP photovoltaics for German equipment supplier Von Ardenne.

Cost comparison between lithium batteries, fuel cells, reversible solid oxide cells as storage for off-grid rooftop PV

Scientists in the United Arab Emirates have looked at how off-grid rooftop PV could be combined with batteries, fuel cells or reversible solid oxide cells for energy storage. The modelling assumed a typical commercial building in Los Angeles.

Amazon invests in novel solar cell production facility

Ambient Photonics will build a fully automated manufacturing facility to produce solar cells for powering consumer electronics.

Manufacturing

Featured

Consumer watchdog sounds warning for LG-branded home batteries

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a call for homeowners to urgently check their residential energy storage systems amid a national recall of some LG-branded batteries which may overheat and ignite.

German giant opens base in Perth to capitalise on green hydrogen promise

The hydrogen electrolyser subsidiary of German giant Thyssenkrupp has opened a new office in Perth, Western Australia in a bid to capture some of the region’s green hydrogen frenzy.

Smarter E products at a glance

pv magazine summarises the products we covered at the recent Smarter E exhibition, in the first of a series of reports on all of the new releases from the annual trade fair in Munich, Germany.

Hanwha Q Cells to build US solar module factory, expand cell capacity in South Korea

Hanwha Q Cells plans to build a 1.4 GW solar panel factory at an undisclosed location in the United States. It has also announced plans to expand its cell capacity to 5.4 GW in South Korea. CEO Justin Lee spoke to reporters at the Smarter E event about the company’s plans and current supply chain issues.

Vertical PV system for green rooftops

Norwegian startup Over Easy Solar AS is launching a vertical PV system for rooftop applications at this year’s Smarter E in Munich, Germany.

REC showcases G12 residential heterojunction PV module with gapless design

REC’s new heterojunction solar panel series features efficiencies of up to 22.3% and an operating temperature coefficient of -0.26% per degree Celsius.

Energy Storage

Featured

$190 million Mornington big battery gets AEMO green light

The proposed 240 MWp/480 MWh Mornington big battery project being developed by solar and energy storage specialist Maoneng on Victoria’s coast is a step closer to realisation with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) providing grid connection assessment approval.

Trina launches grid-scale storage solution

Trina Storage’s new 2.1 MWh DC All-New Elementa solution is a modular LFP battery cabinet with a plug-in concept to connect multiple units. The company is ramping up battery manufacturing capacity to strengthen vertical integration, given supply chain risks throughout the world.

LG Energy Solution unveils new battery storage solutions, moves to LFP

South Korean battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution presented its latest innovations at the Smarter E event in Munich last week. It also announced its transition from nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) battery chemistry to lithium iron phosphate (LFP) in its future products.

Emissions-free battery recycling facility will use electricity rather than smelting

ACE Green Recycling has announced plans to build a new plant in Texas to recycle both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.

Heat-storage building material to passively cool PV systems, batteries

German researchers have developed a new shape-stabilised phase change material with the ability to store up to five times more thermal energy than commercially available phase change materials (PCMs).

VPP pilot provides glimpse of future in DER-rich grid

Western Australia has been offered a glimpse of its energy future with the $35 million Project Symphony aggregating its first package of residentially generated energy and successfully participating in a simulated two-way Wholesale Electricity Market.

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