World

Live fast, die young: MIT study proposes use of 10-year panels

Research has found even short-lived, 10 to 15-year solar panels could provide enough return for bankable projects. The researchers believe panel costs, coupled with an industry mindset now fixed on the final solar energy price rather than costs per kilowatt installed, may open opportunities for PV products currently snubbed because of a short lifecycle.

The blackest black for more efficient solar cells

MIT scientists claim to have created a material 10 times more black than anything witnessed to date. It is said to be able to absorb more than 99.96% of incoming light and reflect 10 times less light than other superblack materials. The invention may be interesting for the development of black silicon PV technology and carbon nanotube-based solar cells.

‘Mono will supply 80% of the world’s solar by 2021’

Polysilicon manufacturer Daqo has announced the start of pilot production in Xinjiang and expects to ramp up to full output by the end of the year, doubling the company’s annual capacity to 70,000 MT. Some 90% of its poly will be mono by that stage and Daqo expects 40% to be suitable for n-type products next year.

‘The world has no chance of beating climate change if natural gas is part of the mix’

A report by Germany’s Energy Watch Group thinktank has said we would be better off sticking to coal and oil than switching to gas because emissions of methane, the most potent greenhouse gas, caused by gas extraction render any related carbon savings irrelevant.

Long read: Size matters

The latest development on the module front sees manufacturers adopting larger wafer sizes in order to reach the industry’s raised expectations for power output. Older “M2” wafers have been the standard in recent years but now appear to be on the way out. Several theories about optimal size are gaining ground, but the future direction of the standard is still far from clear.

The energy transition is easily affordable but all hope of 1.5C warming will vanish in 2028

Technical consultancy DNV GL has published its Energy Transition Outlook 2019. While the electric vehicle, storage and renewable energy industries are likely to see significant rises in demand, the sobering conclusion is the world will miss carbon reduction targets by a long shot.

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Solar pioneer Pierre Verlinden: The big problem is apathy

On the first day of this year’s EU PVSEC conference, Adelaide-based veteran solar researcher Pierre J Verlinden won the Becquerel Prize for Outstanding Merits in Photovoltaics. The award recognized more than 40 years as a leading PV researcher in academia and at leading companies including Sunpower and Trina Solar. Its recipient, now a board member of Australian solar technology provider BT Imaging, spoke to pv magazine about what is needed from solar to stave off catastrophic climate change.

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Eric Luo: China will see just 20-25 GW of solar per year through 2025

The GCL System chief executive made comments that fly in the face of an expected solar gold rush in China that analysts predict will start this month. Though rising overseas demand will address overcapacity fears, according to Luo, the soundbite is sure to chill PV boardrooms across the world’s biggest solar market.

Long read PT 2: PV in need of a new chapter for wind

In part two of this feature on wind resilience in the PV industry, the lack of structural codes comes into focus. Weather events, and wind above all, are the most common causes of failure for PV plants. In the United States, the first steps have been taken to catch up with other industries and a dedicated chapter for PV is set to be included in the next update of the American Society of Civil Engineers code. In Europe, no such plans are in place.

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Long read PT 1: Tracking in the wind

Extreme wind events are the biggest cause of failure and insurance claims for any PV plant, according to Thorsten Kray, Head of the Building Aerodynamics Department at Institut für Industrieaerodynamik GmbH, Aachen. For structural reasons, single-axis trackers are more prone to the issues than fixed-tilt structures. In this two-part series, pv magazine will examine the ways that wind impacts trackers and what EPCs and investors need to look out for, in addition to outlining a range of approaches from big tracker suppliers that were designed to mitigate wind-related damage.

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