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Grid stability and 100% renewables

New research from Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson seeks to remove any doubts about grid stability in a world powered entirely by renewable energy. The latest study models 100% wind water and solar powered grids across the United States, finding no risk of blackouts in any region and also broad benefits in cost reduction, job creation and land use.

Google lends a hand in the search for new solar cell designs with open-source tool

Scientists in the United States developed a computer simulator that can calculate the conversion efficiency of different solar cell materials and configurations – helping to guide research and optimisation of new cell designs. The simulator is available to researchers as an open-source tool to save time and spot the best opportunities for optimisation of any given approach.

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Behind the price drops in lithium-ion batteries

Scientists in the United States pieced together data from hundreds of different sources, looking to establish the key factors that have led to consistently falling prices for lithium-ion technology since their commercialisation thirty years ago. They find that public-funded research, primarily in chemistry and materials science, has made the largest contribution to cost reduction. And they offer suggestions on policy and investment to ensure that the research can continue to make these important contributions to reduction in battery costs.

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Mathematical model to predict rooftop PV system yield

Scientists in India developed a mathematical model to predict the output of solar cells and modules in the field. The model was developed and tested using both sun simulator and actual installed modules. The scientists state that their model can be applied to a PV installation anywhere in the world, and that by taking into account module degradation over time their forecasts can be as much as 26% more accurate than existing energy yield models.

Big modules head for standardisation

PV manufacturing giant Trina Solar says it has agreed with other industry players on a set of standard dimensions and other technical specifications for PV modules utilising 210mm wafers – the largest currently available on the market. The manufacturer says it expects the China Photovoltaic Industry Association to formally release the standard before the end of October.

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Umicore to purchase 42,000 tons of Australian lithium battery material

Belgian materials company Umicore has signed a contract with Australia headquartered Vulcan Energy Resources to purchase up to 42,000 tons of lithium hydroxide over a five year period beginning in 2025. The material will be used in Umicore’s production of cathode materials for lithium-ion cell manufacturers.

Strong potential for inorganic perovskites

Scientists in the United States have developed a method to compare the performance and number of defects in different perovskite cell materials. Based on simulations and work with prototype materials, the group finds that all-inorganic materials have higher potential efficiency than their more widely researched organic-inorganic counterparts.

Reliance Industries acquires 100% stake in REC Group, plans new manufacturing bases

India headquartered multinational Reliance Industries, through its subsidiary Reliance New Energy Solar Limited, yesterday announced the acquisition of Norway headquartered module manufacturer REC Group. The move comes as Reliance pushes forward with its US$10 billion plan to move in on the renewable energy industry, having also this week announced acquisition of a 40% share in EPC provider Sterling & Wilson.

New ‘matrix’ layout for shingled solar cells

German equipment supplier M10 and research institute Fraunhofer ISE will unveil a new prototype stringer for shingled module layouts at the Intersolar Europe trade show later this week. Employing an offset layout for the shingles, the approach promises a relative efficiency gain of up to 6%, compared to a conventional half-cell module.

Comparing new solar module formats

JA Solar published data comparing its own modules, based on the 182mm wafer format, with others utilising the larger 210mm size over a six month period in field testing. The data show that the smaller of the two formats reached an average daily energy yield almost 2% higher. According to JA Solar’s analysis, the higher currents produced by the 210mm modules led to higher resistance, and more energy lost as heat.