Top News

AGL expands VPP with solar battery sales to eastern states 

AGL Energy has expanded its solar battery VPP to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria with the immediate launch of solar battery sales for residents of the eastern states, while solar and battery bundles will be available by the end of the year.
Installations

NSW coal country commits to clean energy transition

A new raft of councils across New South Wales' coal country have committed to climate action and renewable energies are joining the Cities Power Partnership. Lake Macquarie City Council, Port Stephens Council and Cessnock City Council have followed the l...
Energy Storage

WoodMac: Tesla Battery Day 2020: Too good to be true?

Like most Tesla events, speculation and hype were at all-time highs after CEO Elon Musk hinted that something “very insane” would be revealed. He was not far off! Tesla detailed a completely new cell, along with plans to improve manufacturing, costs ...
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Markets & Policy

Chinese PV industry headed toward grid parity

Project delays and price changes due to fluctuating demand are disrupting the Chinese solar market. Researchers who have analysed the situation claim that the nation’s PV industry will be back on track toward grid parity by the end of the year.
Installations

‘Nuclear power is now the most expensive form of generation, except for gas peaking plants’

The latest edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report indicates the stagnation of the sector continues. Just 2.4 GW of new nuclear generation capacity came online last year, compared to 98 GW of solar. The world’s operational nuclear power cap...
Energy Storage

Perth-based consultancy signs MOU with UK battery manufacturer to produce lithium cells in WA 

Lithium Valley south of Perth is set for two new faces after UK battery manufacturer AMTE Power and Perth-based infrastructure firm InfraNomics signed an MOU to explore the possibility of establishing lithium-ion cell manufacturing facilities in Western ...
Installations

Small-scale surge continues with Yates Electrical 20 MW partnership

South Australia's small-scale solar sensation Yates Electrical Services is teaming up with Sustainable Energy Infrastructure to develop 20 MW of small-scale solar over the next 18-months, another sign of the strength of the small-scale solar surge which ...
Energy Storage

Best membrane for vanadium redox flow batteries

A new research paper looks at the membranes used for applications in vanadium redox flow batteries. It outlines various membrane technologies and the obstacles to bringing batteries to mass production.
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Press Releases

Vestas and Utopus Insights demonstrate cost-saving success of their open market five-minute self-forecasting pilot

Vestas and its digital solutions subsidiary, Utopus Insights, have successfully used the data from their five-minute self-forecasting pilot to produce customer cost-savings.

SolarEdge launching three phase hybrid inverter in Australia

SolarEdge is bringing DC optimisation to the three phase residential market in Australia with the introduction of a hybrid inverter with unprecedented design flexibility.

WoodMac: China pledges carbon neutrality by 2060

On 22 September, China announced its ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2060. Wood Mackenzie experts weigh in on what this means.

SwitchDin accelerates growth with new leadership appointment

Control of energy flows is a growth industry, and Newcastle-born globally active smart-software company SwitchDin is preparing for expansion with the appointment of former sonnen executive, Mark Sheldon as COO.

Opinion & Analysis

Featured

APAC Energy Buzz: Could coal and renewables put the squeeze on gas? 

Rising gas prices, increased energy security and economic recovery at all costs pose risks to Asia’s power sector gas demand growth.

Bigger and better: Technology

The SNEC 2020 PV Power Expo opened on Aug. 8 in Shanghai. Unlike previous editions, the world’s largest solar trade fair was mostly attended by Chinese participants this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the trade fair used to offer insights into global market trends, volumes were low this year due to a buyer/seller standoff amid rising prices caused by the recent accidents at polysilicon plants in Xinjiang. Also, there was little change in technologies. PV InfoLink’s Corrine Lin offers insights into cells and modules at SNEC 2020.

Australian Hydrogen Council supports emerging export market

The move by Standards Australia has set the stage for Australia to play an important role in the growing hydrogen economy. Eight international standards for hydrogen were adopted in the process. The time is now, argues the Australian Hydrogen Council Fiona Simon, for these standards to be adopted into regulations to enable a new hydrogen export industry.

Energy storage and network reinforcement

As renewables penetration increases, transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure will require significant reinforcement. Battery storage is becoming a key alternative to traditional ways of reinforcing network infrastructure, because it is fast to deploy, can provide multiple services, and often comes at a lower capital cost. IHS Markit analyst Oliver Forsyth delves into the additional value streams that strengthen the case for grid-connected batteries.

COVID-19 vs Renewables: How the pandemic is impacting Australia’s solar curve

With Australians spending more time at home during the day as a result of COVID-induced restrictions, many are questioning the impact of shifting energy demand patterns on the solar curve. Byron Serjeantson, Regional Manager at Flow Power considers the potential outcomes of these changes.

The new standards that underpin our renewable future

As new forms of renewable energy mature, strong standards governing safety, storage, transport and more help to build confidence in each industry sector. Here Daniel Chidgey, Head of Stakeholder Engagement at Standards Australia outlines the latest guidance for hydrogen, energy storage and ocean energy.

Covid-19

Featured

Taylor bets $18 billion on emissions technology, ignores own hot air

Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor address the National Press Club on Tuesday with his First Statement on the Morrison Government's Technology Investment Roadmap. While hydrogen, storage and electric vehicles get a look in, the Morrison Government is also looking for ways to artificially substantiate its gas-led recovery.

SNEC 2020 CEO Series, Shanghai – Interview with CEO of Ginlong Solis

As one of the most rapidly growing inverter manufacturers, Ginlong Solis went public and became listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) early last year. With the support from the capital market, Ginlong Solis continued its rapid growth. According to Wood Mackenzie, the company ranked among the top ten inverter manufacturers in terms of global product shipments in 2019. How has Ginlong Solis developed its market strategy? What new products and solutions is Ginlong Solis showcasing at SNEC 2020 in Shanghai? And how is the company dealing with the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic? These issues are addressed in the following interview with Wang Yiming, the founder and CEO of Ginlong Solis.

Coalition’s $1.4b ARENA extension cuts solar and wind while enabling fossil fuels

The Australian Government has finally announced new long term funding and an expanded remit for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) beyond 2022. The funding package, which looks more like a cut than anything else, pushes investment away from solar and wind and toward fossil fuel enabling technologies like carbon capture and storage. 

WePower’s Marketplace connects steel manufacturers with renewable energy producers

With new solar coming online or joining the queue at the back of the grid bottleneck, WePower’s Marketplace acts as a connective tissue between renewable energy generators and the coal intensive steel manufacturing industry. WePower then, is helping to build Australia’s green steel industry of the future. WePower’s Harley Tempest sat down with pv magazine to discuss.

UNSW doctoral student’s solar fairytale wins 3 Minute Thesis Final

UNSW Faculty of Engineering doctoral researcher Bruno Vicari Stefani won the University’s Virtual 3 Minute Thesis Final by creatively reimagining the fable of the Three Little Pigs to demonstrate how combining hydrogen with low-cost silicon in solar can improve efficiency.

All gas no brakes – Morrison Government spares some change for transmission upgrades

In a week dominated by the Morrison Government’s announcement of its gas-led strategy for economic recovery, it also committed $250 million to critical transmission infrastructure projects. At the same time TransGrid announced 6,900 MW of renewable investment interest in its New England Transmission Infrastructure project.

Markets & Policy

Featured

Supermarket Wars Renewed – Coles signs 10-year PPA with CleanCo

The Supermarket Wars have taken to the aisles of renewable generation as each grocer strives for greater renewable integration. This week, Coles Group signed a 10-year PPA with QLD state-owned generator CleanCo to source more than 90% of its QLD energy requirements from the as yet completed Western Downs Green Power Hub.

WA opens potentially 1.5 GW renewable hydrogen hub to global expressions of interest

The Western Australian Government has invited Expressions of Interest from around the world into its potentially 1.5 GW wind and solar hydrogen hub at Okajee Strategic Industrial Area. WA’s Mid-West region has some of the world’s best solar and wind resources which could feed the development of WA’s green hydrogen economy.

Thin-film agrivoltaic solar tubes

German tech company Tube Solar AG has secured €10.8 million to develop its cylindrical agrivoltaic modules. The lightweight devices could also be used on roofs until now considered unsuitable for PV.

Digitalisation of transformers, a fundamental step in grid transition?

Increasing transformer reliability and performance has the potential to better control voltages in the grid, and enable greater connection of renewables. With its first major launch since Hitachi finalised its US$11 billion acquisition of ABB Power Grids in July, the company shows how digitalisation of transformers can help smooth the energy transition.

Cutter Rail: Clenergy’s new mounting system just made for installers

Solar panels are growing to produce higher output, racking needs to evolve in tandem. Industry participants have contributed to a new Australian-manufactured rail that is engineered to ensure safety, longevity and the needs of installers working on residential and commercial rooftop projects.

Tesla battery day bingo

Tesla battery day is next week. Earlier this year, Elon Musk told analysts that what he had to say “will blow your mind. It blows my mind.” Here’s a list of battery hyperbole and terms you’re bound to hear at the event.

Installations

Featured

Centralised vs decentralised: surge in small-scale utility PV causes inverter decision rethink

While long commissioning delays and approval processes continue to hamper Australia’s utility scale market segment, smaller projects are surging ahead. And given the shift in the market, argues Fimer Australia’s Aaron Zadeh, inverter selection requires a rethink.

Google to create easier renewable power purchase pathways

The tech giant has eliminated its entire carbon legacy and is moving toward running entirely on renewables, 24/7. More importantly, it’s looking to create pathways for other renewable purchasers to follow in its wake.

Photovoltaic shade for greenhouses

French start-up Solar Cloth has secured a patent for a PV shade screen for solar greenhouses.

Hobsons Bay City Council set to become first Melbourne metro council to start a VPP

Hobsons Bay City Council is accelerating its Large Scale Solar Installation Program with a Virtual Power Plant to enable the sharing of solar generated energy around the Council’s assets. Going forward, Council wants to see its VPP expanded to include the vast array of members in its community.

Keeping PV panels honest — ACT innovation fund pumps up testing capacity

Michelle McCann and Lawrence McIntosh, the partners behind the solar panel testing facility, PV Lab, in Canberra think of Australia’s PV installations, large and small, as making up a vast virtual power plant. Their goal is to wring the promised performance from panels being sold into the Australian market and the ACT Government has just boosted their chances.

WA colours in 30 regional school rooftops with PV

Call it a school upgrade, a maintenance improvement, a learning opportunity, a right start in life … Western Australia’s Solar Schools Program was launched last week in the Pilbara town of Port Hedland to bring multiple benefits to the quality of student experiences in the state’s regions.

Technology

Featured

Smooth operators: Australian-designed ESS spells grid independence for the 24-60 kWh end of town

"We've put together the best components to make a unique Australian-designed solution that is compliant to the new battery standards," says EVO Power's Jamie Allen. Off grid or upmarket, just add solar.

New report finds superannuation sector is accelerating fossil fuel divestment

A new report from Net Zero Momentum Tracker has found that the Australian superannuation sector, which is expected to hold a majority of ASX-listed equity by 2040, is accelerating its divestment from risky greenhouse gas emitting fossil-fuels. The finding represents another disconnect between the Morrison Government’s gas fetish and investor diffidence with dying industries.

SNEC 2020 CEO Series – Interview with Liu Zhifeng, Vice GM of Jolywood

Jolywood is one of the few PV manufacturers, who has placed its bet on TOPCon technology. Instead of focusing on the simplicity of the production process, Jolywood believes the conversion rate is more critical. With years of efforts, the company has established its leading position among TOPCon players. During the SNEC 2020 in Shanghai, pv magazine had the opportunity to interview Liu Zhifeng, Vice General Manager of Jolywood, and listened to his views on some hot topics, especially the cell tech route.

Spring cleaning – wind and solar are sweeping gas and coal out the door 

New analysis from Rystad Energy and Cornwall Insights Australia demonstrate how the return of spring has once again emphasised the growing supremacy of wind and solar in Australia’s energy makeup. The stats don’t lie, wind and solar are sweeping coal and gas out the door.

Australia and Germany shake hands on green hydrogen future

Australia and Germany have brought their national hydrogen strategies together after signing a new agreement for a joint feasibility study into green hydrogen production and trade. The agreement was welcomed around the country as auspicious of Australia’s potential as a global green hydrogen superpower.

Energy incumbents attempt to hinder AEMO with hot air report

Energy industry incumbents the Australian Energy Council and Energy Networks Australia hired UK firm Cambridge Economic Policy Associates to review the Australian Energy Market Operator’s “governance framework”. In principle, a review of the AEMO’s governance given its widening role in Australia’s energy future is valuable, but this report is about as useful as a toothpick to a pelican.

Manufacturing

Featured

Long read: Time is now for HJT

There’s nothing new under the sun, and this is ever so in PV. So it should come as no surprise that the hottest new cell technology has actually been in mass production for decades. But is now the time for heterojunction to move into the mainstream? There are serious challenges to overcome if so, but momentum is undoubtedly building.

SNEC 2020 CEO Series: Suntech bounces back

Once an industrial solar giant, Suntech has worked hard to rebuild its foundations and regain a solid footing in the global PV industry, following its financial crash in 2013. pv magazine caught up with CEO Tang Jun at this year’s SNEC 2020, held in Shanghai, China, last month, to find out its plans for the future, and how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected operations. Strong global growth and continued multi-crystalline production are two cornerstones of the business.

First Solar changes course: now selling its thin-film solar panels into the distributed generation market

The utility-scale solar pioneer and specialist is going small. After decades of avoiding distributed generation, its distributors will now offer First Solar’s series 6 modules to “projects and customers of all shapes and sizes.”

Light and shade of 500 W plus solar panels – part IV

In the fourth and final article of a series, pv magazine editor Pilar Sánchez Molina analyzes with industry experts challenges and opportunities created by new panels with power output exceeding 500 W.

Inverted pyramid-based PERC solar cell with 21.4% efficiency

A Chinese research group has developed a PERC cell on a commercial 180-μm-thick monocrystalline silicon wafer with a standard size of 156 × 156 mm2. The cell has an open-circuit voltage (VOC) of 0.677 V, a short short-circuit current (ISC) of 9.63 A, and a fill factor of 80.30%.

Light and shade of 500 W plus solar panels – part III

In the third article in a series, pv magazine editor Pilar Sánchez Molina and industry experts continue their discussion on the challenges and opportunities created by new panels with power output exceeding 500 W.

Energy Storage

Featured

FCAS fetches highest revenues in SA and NSW

Battery energy storage developers might consider the findings of new research by Cornwall Insight Australia, that batteries located in South Australia last year earned the most from supplying Frequency Control Ancillary Services to the NEM, and that New South Wales also offers fertile ground.

Long read: Inside WA’s bet on PowerBanks

Western Australia is soaked in sunshine, and PV uptake is challenging the grid. But small numbers of medium-sized community batteries are taking the heat off the system, while helping more people to reap the dividends of rooftop solar PV.

QLD is in the zone – opens new renewable energy zones for proposals

The Queensland Government has opened the registrations of interest period for its three planned and well-funded Renewable Energy Zones. The Sunshine State is calling on the renewables sector to come forward and lead Queensland’s renewable revolution.

Floating PV to offset underperforming hydropower

Brazil now has 12  GW of underperforming hydropower capacity, according to U.S. researchers. Large-scale floating PV is an ideal solution to offset this shortfall, due to its high capacity factor, load correlation, and high potential output during periods of high demand.

Goyder Renewables Zone off to a capital start as ACT charges up two big batteries

The forecast for the ACT is two big batteries and gale-force winds as the territory’s Government awarded two considerable contracts in its latest ‘reverse auction’, including a 14-year contract with Neoen, the first for its massive Goyder Renewables Zone. 

Solar-plus-storage for the Cook Islands

Around 4.2 MWh of energy storage capacity will be connected to a solar and diesel micro-grid on Rarotonga, the largest of the islands in the South Pacific nation. Three 40-foot containers with a total power output of 4.8 MVA will be used as a power reserve and for grid support by utility Te Aponga Uira.

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