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Sunday read: Bringing costs down to earth

Rising efficiencies and the plummeting cost of solar modules over the past few years, recent months notwithstanding, are leading innovators toward ideas that may look unusual in the current tracker-dominated world of large-scale solar parks. Advocates of the new approaches argue that they leave traditional models looking decidedly flat by comparison.

Saturday read: Game of drones

Drones have already established themselves in industries as disparate as warfare, wedding photography, and burrito delivery, and increasingly the solar sector is taking the high road, too. Combined with thermal imaging, drones have the potential to obviate expensive maintenance costs for large-scale solar plants, as well as C&I and growing niches like floating PV. But how useful are they, and what role does AI play in making the most of a bird’s eye view?

How long do residential solar inverters last?

Multiple factors affect the productive lifespans of residential solar inverters. In the second part of our new series on resiliency, we look at PV inverters.

Semi-transparent organic solar cell for window applications

Developed by U.S. scientists, the 10%-efficient device is intended for applications in solar windows and promises efficiencies close to 15%. According to its creators, the cell retained 80% of its efficiency after 1,900 hours at 55 degrees Celsius.

Price increases hit US solar

Price increases, supply chain disruptions, and a series of trade risks are threatening the U.S.’s ability to decarbonise the grid, warned SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.

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Sunday read: looming impacts of international trade disputes on polysilicon

Polysilicon capacity is unable to catch up with rapid capacity expansion in the mid and downstream segments, writes Corrine Lin, chief analyst for PV InfoLink. New polysilicon capacity requires big capex investment and a lead time of more than two years to complete construction and reach full operation. With unbalanced capacity between the upstream and downstream segments, polysilicon prices have been rising since the second half of 2020, with prices for mono-grade polysilicon surpassing CNY 200/kg (US$27.40) in June 2021, up more than 250% year on year.

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How safe are smart EV chargers?

Research has uncovered critical security threats associated with a number of common smart electric-vehicle chargers, but it’s not too late or too logistically difficult to remedy the issues.

Designer bacteria for energy storage

A group of biologists in the United States working with a bacteria discovered a mechanism that could be used to convert electricity into biofuels or other useful substances. With better understanding of the genetics, the group says the mechanism could rival hydrogen for the storage of renewable energy.

Novel chemistry hybrid flow battery: non-aqueous, high-voltage, and crossover-free

Scientists in the United States claim to have created a crossover-free, high-voltage, non-aqueous hybrid flow battery with a novel chemistry for the solid sodium anode. The device has shown a high working voltage of around 2.6 V and a coulombic efficiency of 95.0%.

Measuring impacts on solar performance, whatever the weather

Scientists in the United States used machine learning to analyse maintenance reports, performance data and weather records from more than 800 solar farms located across the country. The analysis allowed them to determine which weather conditions have the biggest impact on PV generation, and to suggest the most effective ways to boost the resilience of PV installations to extreme weather events.

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