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Saturday read: Return of the sun tax

Australia’s success with widespread residential take-up of solar PV installations may be facing a stumbling block, a new proposal by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC), the rule maker of the nation’s grid. And for solar veterans, the development summons the ghoul of Spain’s infamous “sun tax.”
Manufacturing

LG claims new rooftop module range ideal for Australia

South Korean solar module maker LG Electronics has unveiled a new range of solar panels for residential and commercial PV projects which it has described as the most reliable and efficient renewable energy solution it has yet created.
Markets & Policy

Telstra dials up its renewable energy commitment

Telecommunications giant Telstra has continued it transition to renewable energy, signing a long-term agreement to purchase electricity from the Crookwell 3 Wind Farm being built near Goulburn in New South Wales.
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Installations

Japanese duo team up to build Queensland solar farm

Japan’s biggest oil refiner Eneos and Tokyo-based trading house Sojitz have entered the large-scale solar sector in Australia, announcing they will build a 204 MW solar farm in Queensland.
Energy Storage

Solarwatt, BMW launch new storage system for residential PV

The smallest of the storage units has a capacity of 4.8 kWh and an output of 1.5 kW. It can be expanded to eight battery modules in steps of 2.4 kWh and has a maximum of 57.6 kWh, and 6 kW, of power.
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Manufacturing

Simplifying solar cell deposition

Scientists in Germany have developed a new process for deposition of silicon dioxide layers during cell production. Without the need for high pressure, flammable gases, or vacuum conditions, the process could lead to cost reductions for cell manufacturer...
Energy Storage

Queensland commits $2bn to renewable energy projects

The Queensland government has underscored its commitment to a clean energy future, announcing a $2 billion fund to be used to finance new renewable energy and storage projects, hydrogen production and clean energy resources projects.
Installations

Victorian solar farm included in international agrisolar program

Italian energy giant Enel will implement an experimental agrisolar program at its 34 MW Cohuna Solar Farm in Victoria with data from the research project to be used to help formulate a “best practice” template for utility scale solar PV sites in othe...

Press Releases

Work starts on north Queensland pumped hydro project

Work has officially begun on a major new energy project backed by a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan which will help to secure energy supply across north Queensland and support more than 500 jobs during construction and 30 ongoing jobs.

Discover Energy and ACE EV Group to trial vehicle-to-grid smart energy trading solution

Leading smart energy retailer Discover Energy has announced a strategic partnership with Australian Clean Energy Electric Vehicles Group (ACE EV Group) to trial Australia’s first commercially ready vehicle-to-grid (V2G) smart energy trading solution.

Fluence commissions ‘first wave’ of 470 MW grid-scale battery portfolio for SMC Global Power in the Philippines

Fluence, a leading provider of energy storage technology, services and software, announced this week that it has completed commissioning of two 20 MW/20 MWh battery-based energy storage systems in the Philippines for San Miguel Corporation Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMCGPH).

HG Metal partners with LYS Energy Group to build and operate a rooftop grid-tied solar system

HG Metal Manufacturing Ltd (“the Group"), a leading steel distributor and fabricator based in Singapore, has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) with LYS Energy Group (“LYS”), to build and operate a rooftop grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Group’s premises located at 28 Jalan Buroh.

Opinion & Analysis

Why green hydrogen is reaching tipping point

An increasingly dynamic low-carbon hydrogen market has seen a deluge of government support, corporate commitments, announced projects and even bystander intrigue over the past 18 months. We believe this activity amounts to a paradigm shift which will see green hydrogen – hydrogen created from the electrolysis of water using renewable energy – emerge as a key element of the energy transition.

Check your mirrors: 3 things rooftop solar can teach us about Australia’s electric car rollout

Governments and car manufacturers are investing hundreds of billions of dollars on electric vehicles. But while the electric transport revolution is inevitable, the final destination remains unknown.

Software can reimagine breakthrough battery tech to power the electric future

By understanding the challenges that impacted the solar industry, battery material manufacturers will be better equipped to scale next-generation technologies from the lab to have a real-world impact.

‘Green steel’ is hailed as the next big thing in Australian industry. Here’s what the hype is all about

Steel is a major building block of our modern world, used to make everything from cutlery to bridges and wind turbines. But the way it’s made – using coal – is making climate change worse.

IHSM clean energy insights: High module prices and shipping costs jeopardize 2021 installation outlook

In the first installment of a new monthly blog by IHS Markit, Edurne Zoco, executive director for clean energy technology, writes that high prices and increased freight costs are putting solar PV procurement teams under extreme pressure, particularly those teams with connection deadlines this year that were anticipating a more favorable pricing and logistic environment in the second half of 2021.

10 million reasons why we need to talk about NEM generator operations

Whilst automated rebidding got some coverage from the most recent Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO) Quarterly Energy Dynamics, something else happened in the quarter that seemed to get less attention but is possibly much more important to operations for wind, solar and battery owners in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

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

Consumers look at off-grid options amid talk of tariffs

Solar module manufacturer Q Cells Australia has revealed a growing number of residential customers are contemplating exiting the grid entirely as policy makers grapple with how to integrate increasing amounts of small-scale renewable energy technologies like rooftop solar PV and batteries into the electricity grid.

What’s been ‘lost’ amid the ‘solar tax’ outrage and how AEMC’s reforms benefit solar customers

As the Australian Energy Market Commission rifles through submissions on its reform package proposal, the Commission’s Chief Executive, Benn Barr, tells pv magazine Australia about some of the “profound changes” which have been overlooked and why he thinks two-way pricing is crucial.

Solar & wind still cheapest generation sources in Australia, despite costly integration, CSIRO finds

Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, and the Australian Energy Market Operator have found even when factoring in additional ‘integration’ costs such as storage and new transmission infrastructure, solar and wind continue to be the cheapest sources of new-build electricity generation in Australia.

Renewable transmission superhighway, EnergyConnect, clears final hurdle

South Australian transmission company ElectraNet on Monday announced it will invest $457.4 million to deliver the its section of the Project EnergyConnect, the high-voltage electricity transmission interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales.

World-first ‘solar hydro’ plant to be built in Victoria, promising 17 hours of storage for $27m

Australian technology company RayGen Resources has received funding to build a 3 MW/50 MWh ‘solar hydro’ power plant. Described by ARENA as the “first of a kind,” it is being lauded as one of the largest and lowest cost storage projects undertaken in the country. Energy giant AGL has also come onboard and will assess whether the technology would be suitable for its soon-to-retire Liddell facility.

GEV to construct 430t hydrogen cargo ship for small scale grid blending market

Global Energy Ventures, the firm currently working on a 2,000t hydrogen cargo ship, has announced the commencement of construction on a 430t pilot-scale version to service the emerging market for economies wanting begin blending small amounts of green hydrogen into existing gas networks by mid-2020s.

Installations

Featured

Glenrowan West Solar Farm completed and commissioned

16-months after construction began in northern Victoria the 149 MWp Glenrowan West Solar Farm has finally been completed and commissioned despite the extenuating circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New walkways for the installation of rooftop PV systems

Spanish mounting system provider Alusín Solar has developed a solution to enable the transit of installers on roofs. It has recently commissioned a production line for this product, which it dubbed Carex.

Plans for 3 GW renewable hydrogen production facility progress with land secured in Queensland in government–Japan partnership

State-owned electricity generator Stanwell has secured land in Aldoga, west of Gladstone, to build a large-scale 3 GW hydrogen electrolysis plant as part of its partnership with Japan’s Iwatani Corporation, well established in the hydrogen production industry.

Computational model for agrivoltaics

A U.S. scientist has developed a computational framework that assesses how well a hypothetical agrivoltaic project would perform in achieving desired outcomes such as the volume of PV electricity produced, and energy-to-agriculture. The method considers the high-frequency decomposition of solar irradiance into multiple rays and analyzes how these rays are propagated forward in time, to assess multiple reflections and absorption for various system configurations. It also takes into account panel inclination, panel refractive indices, sizes, shapes, heights, and albedo.

Growatt launches new inverter for commercial and utility-scale projects

The new product has an efficiency of 98.8% and a European efficiency of up to 98.5%. It features 10 independent maximum power point tracking (MPPT) inputs, with MPPT voltage ranging from 180-1000 V.

Helping companies take a smart path to net zero, and reliably account for their impacts

It’s one thing to set a target for net zero, another to chart a course that will get you there in competitive form. Services are emerging to bridge the gap.

Technology

Featured

A repair tape for cracked backsheets

Backsheet failures have plagued the industry, causing hefty financial burdens to many asset owners. DuPont has launched a product it says allows for easy repair of modules.

Global powerhouses partner to develop clean ammonia value chain for shipping fuel

Commodity trader Trafigura and Oslo-based ammonia leader Yara International ASA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see supply of clean ammonia as well as joint R&D projects as the two companies look to promote clean ammonia as a shipping fuel and develop its value chain and infrastructure.

Cleaning solar modules with sand and wind, on Mars

NASA scientists have partially cleaned up the solar modules of the Insight lander operating on Mars, by using grain sands collected nearby and trickling them on the panels during the windiest time of the day. This handmade technique has made it possible, according to them, to increase the PV array’s yield of about 30 watt-hours of energy per ‘sol,’ or Martian day.

A new UNSW review of research invites a rethink of silicon heterojunction solar cell manufacture

A review of existing research on any particular topic “should provide some novel insights”, says UNSW solar researcher Dr Matthew Wright. UNSW’s new paper shows defect engineering of SHJ solar cells has come a long way, but what if these proven efficiency gains could be better applied?

Portable solar carport designed by student wins Genius award

Dubbed Gismo Power, the appliance is entirely mobile, can be grid-connected, and may be folded for storage.

Perovskite stability, and the effects of defects

An international team of scientists fabricated perovskite solar cells which retained almost all of their initial 21% efficiency after 1,000 hours under continuous operation at their maximum power point. The researchers credit this performance to their discovery of an additive that served to ‘block’ ions that cause device degradation, and also hope their work will contribute to an improved understanding of the relationship between efficiency and stability in perovskite PV.

Manufacturing

Featured

Factory explosion in Xinjiang threatens further polysilicon shortage

With the solar industry already seeing prices rise because of a shortage of panel raw material polysilicon, an explosion yesterday at the factory of a silicon metal producer in Xinjiang could have further repercussions on supply. No casualties have been reported.

Saturday read: Manufacturing meets big data

As PV manufacturing lines continue to get larger, keeping track of the measurement data that’s vital for quality and process control becomes an ever more herculean task. Flashing equipment supplier h.a.l.m. has developed a software solution that keeps all of this data in one place and provides operators with a real-time view of production line performance and quality. pv magazine caught up with Managing Director Michael Meixner to discuss the latest on big data in PV manufacturing.

Nano-micro-scale cooler for solar modules

The proposed technique is based on radiative cooling and consists of a glass coating made with a two-dimensional subwavelength nanostructured grating, which is imprinted in soda-lime glass and has enhanced mid-infrared emissivity, and a micro-structured grating. The temperature decrease provided by the nano-micro-grating coating was found to be approximately up to 5.8 degrees Celsius.

Adhesive mounting system for any kind of solar modules

The system, developed by Spanish specialist Alusín Solar, is being tested by Endesa in a 9.8 MW project for self-consumption. The mounting structure is made with aluminium bars that, instead of being fixed to the roof with screws, are attached through a double-sided adhesive.

Flexible bifacial kesterite solar cell at 9.3% efficiency

Scientists in China developed a new kesterite solar cell they say could be suitable for indoor or outdoor applications. The bifacial solar cell reached 9.3% frontside efficiency, and also achieved a 9.0% on the backside.

EPC loyalty culminates in two companies commanding Australia’s tracker market, analysis finds

Australia’s single axis tracker market has been deemed “highly concentrated” with just two companies, Nextracker and Array Technologies, commanding 77% of the market, the equivalent of 5.8 GW AC, according to analysis from Rystad Energy RenewableCube.

Energy Storage

Featured

1 GW pumped hydro project progresses in Queensland, state minister pushes for ‘deserved’ federal contribution

The Queensland government has today announced $22 million for detailed design and cost analysis for a new pumped hydro facility at Borumba Dam, west of the Sunshine Coast.

Hybrid Systems unveils ‘world’s biggest’ SPS factory as it targets growing market

Solar and battery microgrid specialist Hybrid Systems Australia has announced it will establish the “world’s biggest” standalone power system manufacturing facility in Western Australia as it looks to cater for growing demand for the technology.

Conservation Council calls for big battery to replace Callide turbine

The Queensland Conservation Council has joined a chorus of voices calling on the State Government to abandon plans to rebuild the ageing Callide turbine after it was severely damaged by an explosion and fire, sparking the state’s worst power outage in decades.

Tesla boss declares Australia can power renewable energy age

Tesla has revealed it expects to spend more than $1 billion a year on raw materials from Australia for its batteries but the electric vehicles giant said the nation has the chance to secure a much more lucrative slice of the global supply chain as the world transitions to renewable energy.

New IEEFA report sees South Australia as world’s energy transition model

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial analysis (IEEFA) has published a report in which it points to seven key lessons energy planners the world over can take from South Australia’s extraordinary renewable energy integration. However, even South Australia, IEEFA’s model, still requires thoughtful planning and policy for the path forward.

‘We see a future where Australia produces thousands of terawatt hours of renewable electricity’

Chief Executive of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Darren Miller, says he envisions a future where Australia will produce up to ten times more clean electricity than the country requires to become a “shining example of what is possible if you have the right ingredients and the right ambition.”

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