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Organic solar for high-speed data detection and indoor light harvesting

Researchers in the United Kingdom have built a 14%-efficient organic PV device that can be used in high-speed optical wireless communication systems. The cell consists of a 4×2.5mm photoactive layer fabricated with a bulk heterojunction of a polymer donor and fullerene and non-fullerene acceptors.
Installations

Solar 101: How to evaluate solar contractors for rooftop projects

A well-designed rooftop solar system should last 20 or 30 years, or longer. This guide for choosing the right contractor should help ease your concerns.
Markets & Policy

Jolywood signs megadeal with Chinese utility to supply 7 GW of household solar

Based on current market prices, the five-year contract could be worth almost $4 billion to the $1 billion company, but the TOPCon manufacturer has not publicised the price at which it will supply and install modules for its state-owned sponsor.
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Our May Edition is out!

Get your hand on our new edition here!

What to expect:

  • Bigger modules present bigger supply chain challenges
  • Life after PERC is a battle that’s going down to the wire
  • Only so big, the limits to the power of size alone

 

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Installations

A string of off-grid solar-powered data centres will transform regional business

Edge Centres' model for grid-independent data distribution at the edge of connectivity is set to rock regional Australia with its low-cost reliability, and has been welcomed by solar operators in Japan.
Energy Storage

Sunny lifestyle: sonnen Australia adds EV subscription to its clean-energy offering

Revving up the appetite for EVs, sonnen and Carbar join forces to make electric car "ownership" easy. A new subscription model, with all running costs included, and the ability to trade up at two weeks' notice, may supersede buying altogether.
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Installations

Can hydrogen bump diesel to power large-scale agriculture?

Third-generation Wimmera-Mallee farmer Thomas Blair is expanding his fellow farmers’ horizons to cultivate green hydrogen.
Energy Storage

New stack design for cheaper redox flow batteries

German scientists have proposed a new design for stacks used in redox flow batteries. Through a powder-to-roll process, a device that weighs 80% less than a conventional stack was fabricated.
Markets & Policy

Going with the vanadium flow: Yadlamalka battery takes shape

A new South Australian big battery will show the value of deploying diverse storage technologies in the NEM. Matt Harper calls pv magazine Australia from Canada, to talk tech.

Press Releases

Enel X brings its ‘E-Bus’ charging platform to Australia

E-mobility is taking hold in Australia's mass transit systems, and digitally optimised charging infrastructure is key to its success.

Works begin at Australia’s first regional renewable hydrogen plant

Work has begun on Australia's first community hydrogen power plant, providing an innovative and renewable alternative to the use of diesel in the Gascoyne town of Denham.

Green energy powers Swan Reach water pipeline

More than 7,300 solar panels are now powering one of SA Water’s major drinking water pipelines between the River Murray and Barossa Valley, as the utility makes progress in its pursuit of a zero cost energy future.

Solar and storage microgrid platform eleXsys Energy completes $6.55 million capital raise

EleXsys Energy - trading in Australia as Planet Ark Power - has completed a $6. 55 million capital raise to support the global expansion of its solar and storage microgrid platform.

Opinion & Analysis

Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it just transitions

Last November, the NSW government announced its Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap which is expected to attract up to $32 billion in private investment for renewable energy infrastructure by 2030. The Roadmap aims to unlock 12GW of new renewable energy capacity from selected Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) with an additional 2GW in storage. Last month, the state government progressed its plans as it opened consultations on “specific urgent and mechanical policy details” on regulations needed to implement the Roadmap.

Paying Australia’s coal-fired power stations to stay open longer is bad for consumers and the planet

Australian governments are busy designing the nation’s transition to a clean energy future. Unfortunately, in a misguided effort to ensure electricity supplies remain affordable and reliable, governments are considering a move that would effectively pay Australia’s old, polluting coal-fired power stations to stay open longer.

5MS is coming but it still remains a known unknown

The shift from 30-minute settlement to 5-minute settlement (5MS) is fast approaching – 162 days away but who’s counting.

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.

Covid-19

Featured

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.

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.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Sunday read: Too big to handle

There has been a flurry of activity within the PV cell manufacturer landscape over the past 12 to 18 months, and it’s largely been in one direction: bigger. But as large-format modules arrive on the market, questions are being raised as to how long the trend can continue and when bigger becomes, quite simply, too big.

Saturday read: Age of green hydrogen causes co-location rethink

The regions where the desert meets the sea have long been thought the most desolate and unproductive areas of the world, fruitful solely for those clever cultures who call them home. However, in the 21st century, that fiscal notion is turning on its head, and turning as rapidly as a wind turbine in a tornado, making harsh regions like Western Australia a verified paradise.

“Queenslander!” – Sunshine State likely to oppose AEMC solar export charge

Queensland is likely to join Victoria in dissension on the Australian Energy Market Commission’s draft determination which is being called a tax on solar. The Queensland Energy Minister, Mick de Brenni, has criticised the plan. Could this be the domino which brings the other states and territories falling into place against a rule change?

Australian solar also rises, new AEC report shows Australians going big on PV

The Australian Energy Council’s quarterly Solar Report points to something getting bigger in the solar industry that isn’t just the larger format modules. What’s getting bigger is the average size of solar systems Australians are installing on their homes and small businesses.

Big solar-plus-storage comes to Taiwan

Taiwanese module maker URE Corp is planning to link a 150 MW solar plant to a 15 MW/15 MWh storage facility.

Best countries for renewable energy investment

IHS Markit has released its latest Global Renewables Markets Attractiveness Rankings, based on measures related to investment confidence and ease of development, with Australia ranking in the top ten.

Installations

AGL pushes ahead with renewable energy plans for Liddell site

Australia’s largest energy retailer AGL is forging ahead with its strategy to convert the 1,680 MW Liddell Power Station site into a renewable energy hub, announcing on Friday it has commenced transition planning in preparation for the ageing coal-fired power plant’s closure in 2022-2023.

Bowen blasts decision after Government backtracks on wind farm funding

The Opposition has blasted the Federal Government after it was revealed a cabinet minister had used extraordinary powers to veto public funding approved for the $380 million Kaban green energy hub in North Queensland, declaring it was inconsistent with the government’s goals and policies.

Vic Solar cops $3 million fine after thousands targeted with ‘predatory’ tactics

A Victorian solar PV company which swindled thousands of customers out of millions of dollars has been fined a massive $3 million while its sole director has been slapped with a $450,000 penalty and disqualified from being a director of any company for five years.

Northern Territory targets renewable energy schemes with budget spending

While Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is putting the finishing touches on the Federal Budget, the Northern Territory Government has already rolled out its 2021-22 Budget and solar PV and battery storage are among its spending priorities with an extra $4.8 million invested in existing renewable energy schemes.

New England Solar says end in sight for Australian asset sale

Solar infrastructure business New Energy Solar remains committed to offloading its Australian assets, confirming the sale of its 87 MW Beryl and 47 MW Manildra solar farms in central west New South Wales is “progressing well”.

India to finance 100 MW Bangladeshi solar plant

The federal government will provide $131 million of soft loans for a $177 million, 100 MW solar park near the Jamuna river in Bangladesh’s Jamalpur district, where a second park of a similar size is being planned by Dhaka and a Chinese partner.

Technology

Featured

The best radiative cooling tech for PV arrays

Scientists in China have analysed the radiative cooling techniques used in combination with solar energy systems such as PV arrays, solar thermal collectors, and concentrated PV installations. They identified five major system typologies based on functionality and working time.

Land of milk and honey, Hycel set to work on hydrogen opportunities for dairy industry

It has been said that it is no use crying over spilt milk, and similarly there is no use crying over emissions already spilt by the dairy industry, there is only to curb those emissions and Deakin University’s Hycel Technology Hub is looking to do that for the dairy industries in both Australia and Uruguay.

A different angle on perovskite defects

Scientists in China took a closer look at the role of defects in limiting the performance of perovskite solar cells, demonstrating a screening effect that could be tuned to make material defects “invisible” to charge carriers, greatly improving cell performance. Using this approach they demonstrate a 22% efficient inverted perovskite solar cell, and theorise several new pathways to even higher performance.

Researchers discover new method to make old lithium batteries new

Scientists investigating the aging mechanisms affecting today’s lithium-ion batteries observed that the loss of lithium over time is one of the main causes of performance loss. With this in mind, they developed and tested a “relithiation” process that promises to eliminate much of the cost and complexity from recycling battery components and materials.

‘I know a lot of people hate this’: ESB Chair explains why we need a coal subsidy

In its first briefing following the publication of its Post 2025 Market Design Options Paper, the Energy Security Board’s Independent Chair, Dr Kerry Schott, spoke candidly about what will inevitably be a “messy” transition to renewables.

Absorbent glass mat battery for residential storage

Silicon Valley-based start-up Gridtential has secured US$12 million (AU$15.5m) in funds to develop what it calls the world’s first factory-ready, single-block, 24V, deep-cycle lead battery. The product is claimed to be ideal for personal mobility vehicles and renewable energy storage in homes and offices.

Manufacturing

Featured

Australian manufacturer unveils new 400W module as demand grows

Australia’s only solar module manufacturer Tindo Solar has unveiled a new generation 400 W module for the domestic and export markets as the Adelaide-based company rides a wave of success that has delivered a 40% increase in retail orders and 70% rise in wholesale orders in the past 12 months.

Thai plans for 8 GWh lithium battery gigafab

The 1 GWh first phase of a planned 8 GWh lithium battery factory in Thailand is likely to be up and running during 2023.

Saturday read: Microcracks and module design

New cell and module technologies are boosting power outputs, but they often have implications for quality. A focus purely on cell cracking illustrates just this point, with some approaches proving beneficial, and others potentially problematic – cue Tristan Erion-Lorico from PV Evolution Labs (PVEL).

Australian solar industry remarkably silent as global pressure mounts around allegations of forced labour in supply chain

The solar industry in Europe and the United States is continuing to ramp up the pressure on the use of polysilicon produced in Xinjiang, China – in response to allegations that forced labour is being used in its production. By contrast, the Australian industry’s response has been markedly muted. Although it is true that most global solar industries are heavily reliant on Chinese manufacturing, Australia is overwhelmingly so.


Sungrow launches high-voltage battery and hybrid inverter for residential applications

The Chinese manufacturer will begin selling its new products in Australia and Europe. The hybrid inverter has an efficiency of up to 98.4% and the lithium iron phosphate battery features a storage capacity between 9.6 kWh and 102.4 kWh, depending on the number of modules.

German researchers overcome main challenge for perovskite PV modules

Researchers in Germany claim to have overcome the primary hurdle in the development of large-area perovskite PV modules – scaling up from the cell to the module level. They achieved an efficiency of up to 16.6% on a module surface of ​​more than 50 centimetres squared, and 18% on a module with an area of 4 centimetres squared.

Energy Storage

Featured

Taylor announces $30 million funding for Territory infrastructure initiatives

The proposed 35 MW Darwin big battery has received a major financial boost with the Federal Government announcing it will provide $15 million for the project as part of a $30 million funding injection for electricity infrastructure initiatives in the Northern Territory.

$3.1 billion recycling opportunity emerges as batteries boom

Australia’s national science agency has identified a potential $3.1 billion industry that is there for the taking with the increasing penetration of renewables in grids nationwide sparking substantial growth in the battery energy storage sector.

Canadian investor Amp Energy bets big on Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia

A clean energy investment firm based in Canada but already with a growing portfolio in Australia has set out an expansion plan in excess of $2 billion and 1.3 GW for the creation of a Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia, including at least three massive solar projects, two of which would supply South Australia’s green hydrogen ambitions.

NSW feed-in-tariffs to drop in line with falling wholesale electricity prices

Recommendations by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal will see payback times for solar systems extended, but also favour battery uptake.

How to retrieve 36% in power losses at the solar-to-electrolysis end of hydrogen production

An Australian innovation, the unassuming-looking CQSola power controller has under-the-hood smarts that could significantly cut the cost of hydrogen produced using solar energy.

Sunday read: Battery testing builds certainty

Owners and operators of energy storage systems, as well as investors, need transparent ways to evaluate battery performance. They need certainty that the selected batteries for their ESS projects will perform reliably, have predictable life expectancies, and meet projected revenue and contractual obligations over their lifetimes. The economic viability of entire projects depend on this confidence, writes Michael Kleinberg of DNV.

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