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Technology and R&D

Improving PV-powered water electrolysis with external fields

Australian researchers have analysed different ways to improve the efficiency of PV-powered water electrolysis for hydrogen generation. They include the use of magnetic fields, light energy, ultrasonic fields, and pulsating electric fields. Energy costs remain prohibitive, but molecular movement and the redistribution of molecules in water during electrolysis could open a path to viability.

Green ammonia breakthrough a potential boon for solar-powered exports

Chemical engineers at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney have made a significant technological breakthrough in the development of green ammonia. The breakthrough could not only alter the global ammonia industry, but more easily use solar to produce green ammonia for export to countries like Japan and Germany instead of straight hydrogen.

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Green finance innovation caters for ‘Virtual Storage’ market

Hydro Tasmania and buyers Macquarie Group and ERM Power have signed a ‘Virtual Storage’ deal which will see the pumped-hydro company sell the rights to its highest priced periods of ‘discharge’ and buying a fixed MW block of low-priced ‘charge’. The innovative contract is the product of the ARENA-funded Renewable Energy Hub.

VIC Govt funds experiment to test benefits of solar in orchard farming

Unlike other nations with more limited land and faster growing populations, Australia has not yet understood the symbiotic benefits which accrue when solar PV and agriculture are combined. This week, the Victorian Government announced its Horticulture Solar Energy program and $5 million in funding for the Tatura SmartFarm to experiment with solar atop a pear orchard.

Weekend read: Big, and then bigger

Throughout 2020, a fast-moving story played out in PV module technology, with the introduction of larger wafers and subsequently larger module formats seeing the industry break into two camps, backing either 182 mm or 210 mm wafers. It remains to be seen whether one or the other will become a new industry standard, and both sizes will likely be plentiful on the market for the next few years at least. pv magazine takes a look at how we got to this point.

Anti-soiling nanocoating for large-scale PV

Dutch company Rads Global Business has developed an anti-soiling coating for solar PV modules that is claimed to reduce cleaning cost by around 60%. The anti-reflective and anti-corrosive coating is also said to mitigate potential-induced degradation (PID).

New mounting system to integrate small PV into wind farms

Switzerland’s Smartvolt has developed a special mounting system that facilitates the quick deployment of small ground-mounted PV systems at the base of ​​wind turbines.

Blossoming West Australian carbon footprint app launches business edition

A Western Australia app which allows schools, households and, from February, businesses to track and improve their carbon footprint is gaining both attention and prominent partners. The company’s founder and CEO, Vanessa Rauland, spoke to pv magazine about its rise.

The secrets to inverter success in Australia’s utility solar sector

SMA Australia had a bumper year in 2020, despite increasing competition and Covid-19, and partly because of the West Murray crisis. What’s next?

New approach to III-V tandems sets 32.9% efficiency record

A collaboration between the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the UNSW has yielded a new efficiency record of 32.9% for a tandem cell device utilizing III-V materials. Key to the achievement was a new technique enabling the researchers to take advantage of “quantum wells” in the material that serve to trap charges and enable tuning of the cell bandgap to absorb more of the light spectrum.

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