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Mittwoch, 13. Dezember 2017

Tesla and Sunrun Among Winners of Massachusetts Storage Grants

Tesla and Sunrun Among Winners of Massachusetts Storage Grants

storage
Tesla Inc.Sunrun Inc. and National Grid Plc are among recipients of energy-storage grants totaling $20 million from Massachusetts.
Massachusetts had initially committed $10 million in grants in an effort to become an energy-storage leader. It ended up doubling that, awarding grants to 26 projects.
Tesla won more than $2.3 million in grants. National Grid received $875,000, and Sunrun got $561,000, according to an emailed statement Thursday from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s office. Other winners include NextEra Energy Inc., EnerNOC Inc. and Advanced Microgrid Solutions LLC.
After years in the laboratory, large-scale energy storage is being increasingly used on the grid as regulators make it mandatory and prices decline sharply. Prices for lithium-ion battery packs have fallen 24 percent from 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Baker established Massachusetts’s energy storage initiative in 2015 to accelerate development of early commercial technologies. That includes batteries, flywheels, thermal storage and pumped hydroelectric power systems.

©2017 Bloomberg News
Lead image credit: CC0 Creative Commons | Pixabay

Multi-Billion Dollar Plan to Re-Power Puerto Rico Includes DERs, Renewables

Multi-Billion Dollar Plan to Re-Power Puerto Rico Includes DERs, Renewables

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If Hurricane Sandy, during which millions of New Yorkers lost power and damage to the electric grid was substantial, was the spark that ignited New York’s “Reforming the Energy Vision, aka REV” then perhaps Hurricane Maria will be the spark that ignites a new energy vision for Puerto Rico.
Read: Hurricane Sandy Uncovers Strength and Simplicity of Renewable Energy Systems
On Tuesday, December 12, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced a plan to rebuild and transform Puerto Rico's electric power system with modern grid technologies and control systems. The new system will have increased renewable generation, such as wind and solar; incorporate new distributed energy resource (DER) technologies, such as energy storage and microgrids; reduce dependency on fossil fuels; and enable energy to become abundant, affordable and sustainable for the people of Puerto Rico, according to the Governors.
The plan was created by the Puerto Rico Energy Resiliency Working Group established by Governor Cuomo to aid the island in its damage assessment and power grid rebuild planning. Member of the working group include the organizations heavily involved in the energy transformation such as the New York Power Authority, DOE, ConEd, EPRI, SEPA, NREL and others.

The group released a 63-page report, “Build Back Better: Reimagining and Strengthening the Power Grid of Puerto Rico,” which offers its vision for the future of the transmission and distribution system, system operations and generation and includes damage assessments and cost estimates. An implementation roadmap is also included in the report.
The total estimated costs, including a 30 percent scope confidence escalator, come in at a whopping $17.6 billion. Of that $17.6 billion, $1.4 billion would support the development of DERs including microgrids and solar PV. Another $97 million would go to rebuild hydro and renewable power plants.
The envisioned system will be more resilient, efficient, advanced, and less dependent on fossil fuel imports that cost Puerto Ricans more than $2 billion annually, said the Governors in a press release.
Read: Microgrids, Solar, Energy Storage Could Be Foundation of Puerto Rico’s Energy Recovery
The working group's rebuild recommendations are based on experience implementing power system recovery, rebuilding and hardening in the aftermath of hurricanes encountered on the U.S. mainland over the last decade. The recommendations include the use of modern technology and incorporate lessons learned from the successful rebuild efforts in other regions after natural disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy in New York. Additionally, the plan's recommendations align with the U.S. Department of Energy's recommendations for power system hardening and resiliency.
"After Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo saw firsthand the real hardships of New Yorkers without electricity and heating for days and even weeks on end," Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance, New York State.  "The Governor immediately put into action a strategy to rebuild the grid of the past with the grid of the future under Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, for a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system. I'm proud to be part of the plan to ensure Puerto Ricans will benefit from New York's experience and knowledge as we help the U.S. territory rebuild their grid."
"In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York, a plan was immediately put into place to harden and enhance the power grid to ensure storms would not damage our communities in the future — and now is the time to implement a similar plan to ensure these upgrades are also completed in Puerto Rico," Governor Cuomo said. "We need to act now to transform the island's power grid and provide the people of Puerto Rico with a modern and reliable electric system."
The development of the plan was undertaken in parallel with New York State's post-hurricane assessment and restoration support to Puerto Rico that began in September. Currently, more than 450 New York State utilities workers are on the ground in Puerto Rico, working diligently to repair the island's power grid.
Lead image: Puerto Rico Map. Credit: DepositPhotos.

Gewerbespeicher von Smart Power neu in pv magazine-Marktübersicht

Gewerbespeicher von Smart Power neu in pv magazine-Marktübersicht


Das Unternehmen Smart Power aus Feldkirchen bei München bietet ein Großspeichersystem mit der Bezeichnung „SPS²“ in vier verschiedenen Größenklassen an. Die kleinste Variante hat eine nutzbare Kapazität von 50 Kilowattstunden bis hin zu einer Megawattstunde, die größte fängt bei 500 Kilowattstunden an und lässt sich bis in den Multimegawattstunden-Bereich skalieren. Die integrierten Lithium-NMC-Batterien kommen genauso wie die Batteriemanagementsysteme von Samsung. Das Energiemanagementsystem der Speicher ist eigens von Smart Power entwickelt. Weitere Detail-Informationen finden Sie in unserer Marktübersicht der großen Batteriespeicher.
Das Unternehmen schildert einen interessanten Anwendungsfall für einen Gewerbespeicher, der für die Stadtwerke Trostberg realisiert werden soll. Standort des Speichers wird ein Gewerbegebäude sein, der wirtschaftliche Nutzen entstehe in diesem Fall aber primär beim Netzbetreiber und werde auch durch diesen vergütet, erklärt Smart Power. So sei die Regelgröße für die Betriebsführung des Speichers die Netzlast des Netzbetreibers, also in diesem Falle der Trostberger Stadtwerke. Der Speicher werde nach dieser Netzlast optimiert gefahren. Die vermiedenen Netzentgelte des Netzbetreibers gegenüber dem vorgelagerten Verteilnetzbetreiber bilden dabei den ersten Erlöspfad. Weiterhin wird der Speicher in der Primärregelleistungs-Vermarktung angemeldet, was den zweiten Erlöspfad darstellt. Eine dritte Erlösmöglichkeit ist die Kompensation von Blindleistung im Netz der Stadtwerke.
In einem weiteren Projekt hat Smart Power im Juni dieses Jahres einen Speicher mit 1,2 Megawattstunden als Forschungsobjekt für die TU München realisiert (pv magazine berichtete).

Pfalzsolar realisiert gewerbliche Photovoltaik-Dachanlage für 100 Prozent Eigenverbrauch

Pfalzsolar realisiert gewerbliche Photovoltaik-Dachanlage für 100 Prozent Eigenverbrauch


In Hatzenbühl hat Pfalzsolar eine Photovoltaik-Anlage auf den Gebäuden der Eichenauer Heizelemente GmbH & Co. KG mit einer Gesamtleistung von 283 Kilowatt installiert. Das Familienunternehmen, das auf elektrische Heizsysteme für die Autoindustrie, Industrie und Hausgeräte spezialisiert ist, werde die jährlich erwarteten rund 267.000 Kilowattstunden Solarstrom direkt selbst verbrauchen, teilte der Projektierer aus Ludwigshafen am Dienstag mit. Um die Photovoltaik-Erzeugung an den Lastgang des Unternehmens anzupassen, seien die knapp 1000 Solarmodule in Ost-West-Ausrichtung auf den Dächern installiert worden.
Als stromintensiver Betrieb habe sich Eichenauer Heizelemente die Frage nach einer dauerhaften Senkung der Energiekosten gestellt. Die Investition in eine Photovoltaik-Anlage sei die „logische Konsequenz“ gewesen, auch weil die Dächer für die Solarstromerzeugung optimal geeignet seien, hieß es weiter. Das Unternehmen sei künftig durch die Photovoltaik-Anlage zwar nicht autark, könne aber „einen guten Teil seines Energiebedarfs“ damit decken.
Pfalzsolar sieht nach eigenen Aussagen ein hohes Potenzial für Gewerbe- und Industriebetriebe in der Region, die ebenfalls mit hohen Stromkosten konfrontiert seien. „Eine Photovoltaik-Anlage ist nicht nur ein ‚grünes Aushängeschild‘, sondern eine wirtschaftliche Investition, die sich für Betriebe langfristig rechnet. Und das auch ohne Subventionen“, sagte Dominic Lauer, Leiter des Privat- und Geschäftskundenvertriebs bei Pfalzsolar. Immer mehr produzierende Unternehmen würden das auch erkennen und so ihren Beitrag zur Energiewende liefern.

EDF forciert Photovoltaik-Investitionen mit 30-Gigawatt-Plan

EDF forciert Photovoltaik-Investitionen mit 30-Gigawatt-Plan


Frankreichs Energieriese EDF will in Frankreich bis 2035 Photovoltaik-Anlagen mit 30 Gigawatt Gesamtleistung aufbauen. Den „EDF Solar Power Plan“ hat Konzernchef Jean-Bernard Lévy Anfang der Woche der Öffentlichkeit vorgestellt. Das zuständige Tochterunternehmen EDF Energies Nouvelles soll demnach die Kapazitäten aufbauen, zusätzlich zu den anderen Erneuerbaren-Initiativen im Konzern etwa in der Wind- oder Wasserkraft.
Nach Unternehmensangaben liegt das geplante Zubau-Volumen vier Mal höher als die bisher installierte Photovoltaik-Leistung in Frankreich. Der „Solar Power Plan“ werde in der Bauphase zehntausende neue Arbeitsplätze schaffen. EDF wolle die Photovoltaik-Kraftwerke zusammen mit Industrie- und Finanzpartnern zum Beispiel auf den eigenen Grundstücken unmittelbar an den Atomkraftwerken, auf Industriebrachen oder auf dem Wasser aufbauen.
„Der Plan markiert einen Wendepunkt in der Entwicklung der Solarstromkapazität der EDF“, sagt Konzernchef Lévy. Er stelle die konkrete Umsetzung des 2015 ausgegebenen Ziels dar, die Kapazitäten bei erneuerbaren Energien innerhalb des Konzerns bis 2030 zu verdoppeln. Der Plan stehe außerdem im Einklang mit den Bestrebungen der Regierung, die Energieversorgung neu zu justieren.
Bisher produzieren bei unserem Nachbarn 58 Atomreaktoren mit insgesamt 63 Gigawatt Leistung gut drei Viertel des Stroms, wie die Nachrichtenagentur dpa berichtet. Demnach hatte die Regierung ursprünglich das Ziel ausgegeben, den Atomstrom-Anteil bis 2025 auf 50 Prozent zu senken – wegen dem drohenden Ersatz durch eine klimaschädliche fossile Stromerzeugung hatte Umweltminister Nicolas Hulot den Plan um einige Jahre nach hinten verschoben.
Frankreichs Energieriese hatte am Montag außerdem verkündet, bis 2030 seine komplette Fahrzeugflotte elektrifizieren zu wollen. EDF sei dabei als erstes französisches Unternehmen der im September in New York gegründeten EV100-Initiative beigetreten. Die Unternehmens-Initiative will die Entwicklung hin zu Elektroautos beschleunigen.

Schweizer „Flirt“ mit Photovoltaik

Schweizer „Flirt“ mit Photovoltaik


Die Schweizerische Südostbahn AG (SOB) will mit Hilfe der Photovoltaik ihren Energiebedarf und die Betriebskosten senken. Daher habe sie das Unternehmen Swiss CMT AG beauftragt, ein entsprechendes Konzept für die Verbesserung der Energiebilanz seiner Regionalbahnen zu erarbeiten, hieß es am Mittwoch. Der Einsatz der Photovoltaik bei den Zügen sowie an den Bahnhöfen spielte dabei eine zentrale Rolle.
Im Schienennetz setze SOB überwiegend elektrische Triebwagen des Herstellers Stadler Rail ein, darunter auch den „Flirt“. Die Abkürzung steht für „flinker leichter innovativer Regional-Triebzug“. Ein Auftrag an CMT ist, diesen effizienter zu machen. „Zunächst ging es in unseren Gesprächen um aerodynamische Effekte, doch schnell wurde klar, dass an der Außenhülle des Zuges nicht viel zu ändern war“, erklärte CMT-Geschäftsführer Marcel Schubinger. Anschließend rückte der Stromverbrauch in den Fokus. Dabei griff er auf ein anderes Kundenprojekt zurück, bei dem ein Verstärkungslaminat für Leichtbau-Solarzellen entwickelt worden sei. So sei schließlich die Überlegung ins Spiel gekommen, die Zugdächer mit Photovoltaik auszustatten – auch weil die Bahnen überwiegend im Freien unterwegs seien und über eine große Dachfläche verfügten.
„Auch wenn es kaum möglich ist, den Strombedarf eines ganzen Zuges durch sein eigenes Solardach zu decken, wollten wir es genauer wissen“, so Schubinger weiter. Im Zuge seiner Bacherlorarbeit an der Hochschule Rapperswil sei eine Machbarkeitsstudie durchgeführt worden, um die Einsparpotenziale genauer zu untersuchen. Dabei sei die optimale Platzierung der Solarmodule ebenso wie der zu erwartende Ertrag geprüft worden. Aufgrund der bescheidenen Platzverhältnisse, der Verschmutzung durch den Fahrleitungsabrieb und anderer Faktoren erwiesen sich die Dachschürzen als optimale Platzierung, wie die Studie ergab. Zugleich zeigte sich, dass die Solarmodule möglichst leicht sein müssten, da jedes Kilogramm mehr an Gewicht einen höheren Energieverbrauch verursache. Zugleich stellte sich bei den Untersuchungen heraus, dass mit einem „Sandwich-Paneel“ der Innenraum besser wärmeisoliert werde.
Dennoch sei die Netto-Energie-Gewinnung durch die Solarmodule auf den Zugdächern unter den Erwartungen der Ingenieure geblieben. Sie könnten nicht wirtschaftlich betrieben werden, so das Ergebnis der Prüfung. „Die Investition ist mit diesem bescheidenen Strom-Ertrag nicht kostendeckend. Würde die gleiche Solar-Fläche auf einem gut ausgerichteten Dach stehen, würde sie einen rund fünffachen Output erzielen und wäre in kürzester Zeit amortisiert“, erklärte Schubiger. Dabei hatte er nicht nur die Bahnsteigdächer im Sinn, sondern auch Bahnhofs- und Hallendächer sowie die Schallschutzwände entlang der Zugstrecken. Diese seien alle bestens für Photovoltaik geeignet, nur nutze sie bislang niemand, so Schubigers Analyse. SOB wolle dies nun aber prüfen.
„Ein Leichtbau-Solar-Paneel besteht im Wesentlichen aus einem Photovoltaik-Laminat, welches auf ein strukturelles Sandwich-Paneel geklebt wird“, erklärt Schubiger. „Dieses besteht in diesem Fall aus einem glasfaserverstärkten Decklaminat, einem Kern-Werkstoff wie Schaum oder Waben-Platte sowie einem weiteren, glasfaserverstärkten Decklaminat. Ein solches Paneel kann praktisch beliebig vergrößert werden, also auch in Abmessungen von 2,5 mal 10 Metern“, so Schubiger weiter. Die Photovoltaik-Anlagen könnten auch dachintegriert installiert werden.

Fraunhofer IWES wird aufgespalten

Fraunhofer IWES wird aufgespalten


Das Fraunhofer-Institut für Windenergie und Energiesystemtechnik IWES ist 2009 gegründet worden und nun auf knapp 600 Mitarbeiter angewachsen. Die beiden Institutsteile hätten in den vergangenen Jahren weitgehend unabhängige Profile entwickelt. Daher hätten Vorstand und Senat der Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft nun die Aufspaltung beschlossen, hieß es am Dienstag. Die beiden Teile würden ab Januar 2018 als eigenständige Institute fortgeführt, auch um für Kunden und Industriepartner eine Profilschärfung zu erreichen.
Das Fraunhofer IWES in Kassel werde zum neuen „Fraunhofer-Institut für Energiewirtschaft und Energiesystemtechnik IEE“. Das Fraunhofer IWES Nordwest mit Hauptsitz in Bremerhaven werde weiterhin mit dem Kürzel IWES und der leicht geänderten Institutsbezeichnung „Fraunhofer-Institut für Windenergiesysteme IWES“ firmieren, so die Entscheidung. Bei übergreifenden Fragestellungen wollten beide Institute auch künftig zusammenarbeiten.
Damit könne sich das Fraunhofer IWES künftig ganz auf die Windbranche konzentrieren. „Nach einer intensiven und erfolgreichen Aufbauphase sieht sich das künftige Fraunhofer-Institut für Windenergiesysteme als ein auf die Windbranche fokussiertes Institut bestens gerüstet, um zur Bewältigung der derzeitigen enormen technischen Herausforderung einen substanziellen Beitrag zu leisten“, erklärte Andreas Reuter, Institutsleiter des Fraunhofer IWES in Bremerhaven.
Das Fraunhofer IEE wiederum habe sich mit Forschungen zur nationalen und internationalen Transformation der Energieversorgungssysteme in den Bereichen Energiewirtschaft und Systemtechnik etabliert. „Wir entwickeln Lösungen für technische und wirtschaftliche Herausforderungen, um die Kosten für die Nutzung erneuerbarer Energien weiter zu senken, die Versorgung trotz volatiler Erzeugung zu sichern, die Netzstabilität auf gewohnt hohem Niveau zu gewährleisten und das Geschäftsmodell Energiewende zum Erfolg zu führen“, sagte Clemens Hoffmann, Institutsleiter des Fraunhofer IEE in Kassel.

Forscher entwickeln Nanogras-Glas für höhere Effizienz von Solarmodulen

Forscher entwickeln Nanogras-Glas für höhere Effizienz von Solarmodulen


Forscher der US-Universität von Pittsburgh haben mit nanoskaligen grasähnlichen Strukturen ein Glas hergestellt, das trotz oder gerade wegen großer Trübung große Mengen Licht durchlässt. Wie das Wissenschaftsportal „The Optical Society“ berichtet, ist dies das erste Glas mit so starker Trübung und Lichtdurchlässigkeit zugleich. Demnach lag die Lichtdurchlässigkeit bei 95 Prozent einer gleichzeitigen Trübung auf ähnlichem Level.
Diese Kombination von Eigenschaften könnte demnach dazu beitragen, die Leistung von Solarzellen und LEDs zu steigern. Die Forscher experimentierten mit Glas, das Nanogras-Strukturen mit Blättern von 0,8 bis 8,5 Mikrometern Höhe und einem jeweiligen Durchmesser von einigen hundert Nanometern hatte. Das Forscherteam entwickelte das neue Glas, um die Lichtaufnahmefähigkeit von Solarzellen zu verbessern, wie es weiter hieß. Dabei sollen die Nanostrukturen verhindern, dass Licht von der Oberfläche der Solarzelle reflektiert wird. Stattdessen treffe trotz der Trübung mehr gestreutes Licht auf das Halbleitermaterial in der Solarzelle und wird dort in Strom umgewandelt.
Für optimale Ergebnisse käme es dabei auf die richtige Grashöhe an. Die Forscher fanden heraus, dass kürzeres Nanogras die Antireflexionseigenschaften verbessert, längeres neige wiederum dazu, die Trübung zu erhöhen. Glas mit 4,5 Mikrometer hohem Nanogras zeige eine schöne Ausgewogenheit von 95,6 Prozent Durchlässigkeit und 96,2 Prozent Trübung bei Licht mit einer 550-Nanometer-Wellenlänge (gelbes Licht, eine Komponente des Sonnenlichts).
Obwohl die Forscher die genauen Kosten für die Herstellung des neuen Glases erst noch ermitteln müssen, seien diese wohl als niedrig einzuschätzen. Die Nanostrukturen werden den Forschern zufolge durch sogenanntes reaktives Ionenätzen in das Glas geätzt – eine skalierbare und einfache Methode, wie sie bei Leiterplatten längst verwendet wird.
Das Glas weist laut Bericht aber noch eine weitere Qualität auf: Im Wasser schaltet es von trüb auf klar. Mit der Technik ließe sich zum Beispiel die Privatsphäre eines Raumes kontrollieren. Die Entdeckung dieser Schaltbarkeit sei indes ein Zufall gewesen. Projektleiter Sajad Haghanifar bemerkte diese Eigenschaft beim Reinigen des Glases. Die Erklärung ist einfach: „Das Wasser fließt zwischen die extrem hydrophilen – wasserliebenden – Nanostrukturen, so dass das Nanogras-Glas wie ein flaches Substrat wirkt.“ Da Wasser einen sehr ähnlichen Brechungsindex wie das Glas habe, gehe das Licht gerade hindurch. Ohne Wasser treffe das Licht wiederum auf die streuenden Nanostrukturen.
Die Wissenschaftler wollten jetzt noch das innovative Glas auf seine Haltbarkeit und auf selbstreinigenden Eigenschaften testen – was am Ende ebenfalls der Effizienz von Solarmodulen zugute käme.

Idea of solar powered trains gaining traction

Idea of solar powered trains gaining traction


In the U.K., Imperial College and 10:10 have released a report detailing how British rail could be powered by solar PV by 2020, thus saving roughly £4.5 million (around US$6 million) annually. Community-owned models are an attractive option, they say.
With specially designed power electronics, the two explain how PV can be directly connected to electrified railways to supply one tenth of the energy needed to power trains, without connecting to the grid.
Using technology developed by 10:10 earlier this year, the Renewable Traction Power project will plug track-side solar panels into trackside substations, where trains can directly use the generated electricity.
By using direct current rail systems, the electricity generated through the traction power would not have to be converted to AC, thus saving around £4.5 million a year.
Imperial and 10:10 further outline how solar traction power is both technically feasible and commercially attractive under today’s market conditions, with the scheme being potentially operational by 2020.
Demand for traction power from railways is said to be increasing. Railway operators could be supplied with track-connected solar that is both lower cost and much cleaner than grid-supplied electricity. This could result in reduced fares for customers, says the report.
Analyses by Imperial and 10:10 indicate that a first wave of six to 10 solar traction farms could be community-owned and built, with backing from secure, 27 year PPA’s that would supply Network Rail with electricity at a price per kWh equal to the price they currently pay today under their supply contracts.
Solar traction is set to be initially deployed on the London Underground, with 6% of the energy demand covered by solar-power. Following this, 15% of the train networks across Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex could be powered by track-connected solar PV arrays and, in the north of England, 20% of the Merseyrail network in Liverpool.
However, as the report outlines, there is potential for solar traction power in other countries, like India, which is aggressively deploying solar PV throughout the country and has 25,000 km of rail, which could benefit from it; and Spain, which already has a large solar PV installation base, and 7,000 km of rail, could also expand its PV portfolio by employing solar for its railways.
Switzerland considers solar powered trains
In related solar train news, the Swiss South Eastern Railway AG (SOB) has commissioned a feasibility study from Swiss CMT AG, with the aim of reducing its energy requirements and operating costs.
It found that solar PV is “well-suited” for installation on the roofs train stations, hall roofs, and the soundproofed walls along railway lines.
Initial focus was placed upon PV on the roofs’ of the trains themselves. However, results concluded that the net energy production by the modules remained below the expectations of the engineers, while pollution and space constrictions also had a negative impact. As such, they were not deemed economically feasible.
“Even though it is hardly possible to cover the electricity demand of a whole train with its own solar roof, we wanted to know more about it,” said CMT CEO Marcel Schubinger.

Brazil: Distributed solar generation reaches 150 MW

Brazil: Distributed solar generation reaches 150 MW

All solar power generators installed under Brazil’s net metering scheme have reached a combined capacity of around 150 MW to date, according to provisional statistics released by the Brazilian solar association, ABSOLAR.
In mid-July, the same association reported that distributed solar generation in Brazil totaled around 140 MW. This means that over the past five months, around 10 MW of new PV systems installed under net metering were connected to the grid in the country.
Overall, ABSOLAR reports, the total renewable energy power generation capacity under net metering has reached around 200 MW.
The association added that there are currently 18,214 solar power generators installed in Brazil under net metering, 42% of which is respresented by residential installations. Industrial and commercial PV systems, meanwhile, have a share of 9% and 39%, respectively. Furthermore, ABSOLAR revealed that PV arrays installed in rural properties and on the rooftops of public entities each have a 5% share.
The president of ABSOLAR, Rodrigo Sauia said the recent growth of the distributed generation business in Brazil was mainly attributable to the drop in prices of PV equipment, as well as to the strong increase in power prices in Brazil over the past two years.
In 2016, new distributed generation PV installations totaled 67.9 MW.
The net metering scheme was introduced by the Brazilian government in 2012. More recently, more financing options for this kind of solar project have been offered, such as specific financing offers linked to regional programs.
In 2016, the Brazilian government also introduced a package of measures to improve net metering conditions at a national level. The measures include, along with better financial conditions for project loans, an increase in the size limit for projects under net metering to 5 MW.
Aneel, the Brazilian electric power regulator, is targeting 1.2 million PV systems under net metering by 2024.

Japanese scientists use organic ferroelectric to extract more current from solar cells

Japanese scientists use organic ferroelectric to extract more current from solar cells


A group of scientists at Japan’s RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science is developing a new quantum-mechanical process to extract current from solar cells in a more efficient way.
The researchers have used ferroelectric organic molecules to solve the problem of the lack of ‘inversion’ symmetry of several semiconductor materials, as these spontaneously separate their positive and negative charges; a task that oxide ferroelectrics cannot achieve, because their atoms are flipped about the center of the repeating unit.
For the latter, light-induced transitions of charges to excited states become unbalanced and, as a result, a ‘shift current’ along a specific crystal direction is created. “This shift current propagates rapidly and with less energy loss than a current generated by applying an electric field. But shift currents usually generate insufficient photovoltaic power for practical uses,” the research team said.
The scientists have developed an organic ferroelectric with strong quantum polarization to explore its shift-current capabilities. According to them, this is made of alternately stacked tetrathiafulvalene (TTF) and p-chloranil (CA) aromatic rings. It undergoes instantaneous charge separation when cooled to around −200 degrees Celsius, and is particularly sensitive to sunlight.
“Most ferroelectric materials need light with energy in the ultraviolet region to excite carriers over a large band gap,” said the project coordinator Masao Nakamura. “With TTF–CA, the band gap is narrow and responds to visible and infrared light, which is really important for applications like solar cells,” he went on to say.
The research group believes that the shift-current effects in TTF–CA are so sizeable, that they can be used as a technology platform to transfer this photoelectric conversion in next-generation PV devices.

Sunverge to build VPP project for TEPCO in Japan

Sunverge to build VPP project for TEPCO in Japan


The U.S. integrated solar and storage solutions provider will install the systems throughout TEPCO’s service area, in cooperation with Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co.
In an online statement, Sunverge CEO Martin Milani argued that the aggregation and centralized management of distributed energy resources as single fleets is increasingly gaining prominence as a relatively low-cost way to ensure grid stability.
Sunverge will connect the storage units that it will install in TEPCO’s service area to create a VPP, which it will manage as a single node on the grid via its own energy management platform. It claims that TEPCO will be able to use its in-house controls to adjust to significant changes in electricity demand within time periods of less than 15 minutes.
“This project will demonstrate how centrally managed distributed resources on Japan’s electric grid can help ensure greater reliability,” San Francisco–based Sunverge said, noting that concerns about grid stability have risen significantly in Japan since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.
“The net aggregated power flow at the virtual node level is controlled through coordinated operations at the individual unit level based on the predicted load, PV generation and available storage capacity.”
The VPP project is designed to showcase the use of aggregated storage to ensure grid stability. It will aim for specific wattage levels in individual meters, for example, to dispatch electricity if net loads exceed those targets, or to bring more power in if net loads fall below them.
Sunverge will also deploy an algorithm to establish site demand targets for the storage systems, which will be installed according to anticipated, location-specific loads, expected levels of solar generation and the amount of energy stored in each battery.
The company claims these targets will help to ensure that the storage units do not run out of power due to dispatch, while also preventing them from reaching full capacity due to the importation of electricity from the grid.
VPPs have emerged as a key policy priority for the Japanese government in recent years. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has agreed to provide JPY 7 billion ($59.4 million) in subsidies to support VPP development through the end of the current Japanese fiscal year, which runs through the end of March 2018.
In July 2016, regional Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) revealed plans to launch a solar-powered VPP pilot project in western Japan.
The pilot — which KEPCO is running in cooperation with a consortium of 13 other companies, including Mitsubishi and construction contractor Obayashi — is set to conclude at the end of February 2018. KEPCO has said that it hopes to commercialize the project by the end of the decade.

Brazil: 162 MW PV project to come online in Q4 2018

Brazil: 162 MW PV project to come online in Q4 2018


Spanish EPC company, Prodiel has been taken on to construct the 162.25 MW Apodi PV plant. Work is set to last for 11 months, with commercial operation slated for Q4 2018.
The plant, located in the city of Quixeré, in the state of Ceará, will comprise around 500,000 solar panels across an area of 414 hectares. When complete, it is expected to generate approximately 317,844 MWh/year.
Over $215 million has been invested in the project, which was awarded to the Norwegian joint venture Scatec Solar and Statoil of Norway, by ANEEL, Brazil’s National Electric Energy Agency, under an auction in November 2015.
This November, Spanish single-axis solar tracker manufacturer, Soltec announced it will supply 5,368 units of its SF7 tracker to the project.
Last week, Brazil’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (MME) announced it will hold a new auction for thermoelectric, wind, solar and hydro large-scale power projects on April 4, 2018.
The new A-4 auction is expected to allocate around 1 GW of PV capacity.

Solar Frontier to venture into BIPV — report

Solar Frontier to venture into BIPV — report


The Tokyo-based thin-film solar manufacturer hopes to start selling the new building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) products by the second half of 2019, CEO Atsuhiko Hirano told Bloomberg this week. Hirano said the company will use more aluminum in its new BIPV product offerings, instead of glass to reduce weight. 
Solar Frontier is the latest Japanese solar supplier to follow the lead of Tesla into the growing BIPV market segment, along with Kyocera and Sharp, the latter of which started selling semi-transparent solar panels for use as windows in late 2012.
In August, Tesla told its shareholders it had started installing its Solar Roof tiles on a pilot basis. It said at the time it expected to launch mass production of the product at its solar “Gigafactory” in Buffalo, New York, by the end of this year.
In November, Solar Frontier revealed it had halted operations at its 150 MW Tohoku factory in northeastern Japan, with additional plans to stop production at its 50 MW facility in Miyazaki prefecture by the end of this month. The production halts are part of plans to consolidate production at its flagship 900 MW Kunitomi factory, which is also located in Miyazaki.
Although Solar Frontier is now streamlining its production footprint, it recently started producing its SmaCIS solar panels, which are specifically designed for residential PV applications in Japan. It also plans to start selling its new 180 W and 185 W SFK Series thin-film solar cells from the start of 2018.
In addition, Solar Frontier’s board recently approved a plan to shift part of its business to RS Renewables, a company that will be established via an incorporation-type company split.
The new entity will be responsible for overseas sales of PV modules and PV project development, according to a statement by its parent, oil refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu. The incorporation-type split will be implemented in the first week of January.

Hyet Solar seeks investors for 200 MW module fab in India

Hyet Solar seeks investors for 200 MW module fab in India


Hyet Solar, an Arnhem, Netherlands-based producer of flexible solar modules, is exploring the possibility of constructing a 200 MW module manufacturing facility in the Indian state of Assam, pv magazine has learned.
The Dutch firm is hoping to attract investors – either Indian or foreign – to help support the venture.
Max Middelman, business development manager for Hyet Solar, told pv magazine that discussions are at an early stage, and while there is no concrete timescale for when the fab will be built, added: “India is a really interesting solar market for us right now”.
Hyet Solar would not be directly investing the reported €200 million required to set up the fab, but would offer to tie up with local partners and financial institutions. The Dutch firm’s flexible solar modules are chiefly designed for rooftop applications due to their aesthetics and ability to fit all roof types and spaces.
The Make in India program – introduced to attract foreign investment into India’s manufacturing landscape – has so far had mixed success in boosting the nation’s largely dormant PV manufacturing space.
However, with the government currently mulling the introduction of tariffs on solar components imported from China, Taiwan and Malaysia, conditions could soon be ripe for domestic PV manufacturing.
Chinese modules accounted for 89% of all installations in India this year, with domestic manufacturers unable to compete on price (modules are imported from China for as little as $0.32/Wp) or volume – despite sitting on 7 GW of module manufacturing capacity, data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) shows that a mere 1.7 GW of module production capacity is currently viable.
However, new data from India’s Department of Commerce shows that module imports are down 40% quarter-over-quarter in Q3 a prices for Chinese modules rose and the pending anti-dumping case put the brakes on development. Year-on-year, the $732 million volume of imports registered in Q3 was some 44% higher than the same period last year.

Sunseap, Linyang Energy MOU targets 500 MW of solar in Singapore

Sunseap, Linyang Energy MOU targets 500 MW of solar in Singapore


Solar developer, Sunseap signed the MOU with Linyang Energy on December 8 in Singapore. By the end of 2018, they intend to install 100 MW of rooftop and floating PV; and 500 MW by 2020.
A total of $500 million will be invested in the partnership, according to Linyang Energy, which also targets the supply of at least 300 MW of its N-type bifacial solar modules; and cooperation on energy efficiency and virtual power station projects.
“We see much potential in leveraging our networks and domain expertise to deliver innovative clean energy solutions in a reliable and cost-effective manner to grow in the renewable energy market in Asia,” commented Frank Phuan, Co-Founder and Director, Sunseap Group.
Sunseap has made a number of financing announcements this year, thus underscoring its position in the Singaporean solar market. These include: $55.6 million by Banpu, Thailand’s biggest coal miner in September; an undisclosed investment amount by Shell in August; and a financing package to support a handful of PV installations by United Overseas Bank in May. Also in May, the company announced the successful close of a third financing round worth $5 million.

EBRD earmarks $22 million for 50 MW Jordan PV plant, $100 million for green bonds

EBRD earmarks $22 million for 50 MW Jordan PV plant, $100 million for green bonds


The Jordanian solar power program has received a further financial boost, as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced plans to support a 50 MW solar PV plant, located 300 km north-east of the capital city of Amman, where it is set to progressively replace a nearby aging 150 MW gas-fired power plant.
The $22 million loan will be issued to Solar Power Projects PSC, a Jordanian company fully owned by ACWA Power, the Saudi Arabian power group, alongside parallel loans from the German Investment Corporation DEG and the Arab Bank, worth $16 million each.
“This project will progressively replace the aging gas-fired plant with a new solar installation generating the cheapest power in Jordan while using the existing transmission line. It is the eighth solar PV project financed by the EBRD in the country during the past four years, bringing the total installed capacity of power projects supported by the Bank in Jordan to more than 1,100 MW,” said Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD Director for Power and Energy.
He notes that the Risha project demonstrates what can be achieved in an environment where the regulatory framework, the tariff design and access to finance allow for the successful use of renewable sources of energy.
Including the 50 MW Al Safawi solar plant, signed in September, the EBRD has financed 145 MW of renewable generating capacity in Jordan during 2017 alone, in an effort to back the country’s energy transition in the face of serious challenges arising from the refugee influx.
Backing green finance
Following an approval by its Board of Directors, the EBRD is also gearing up to release up to $100 million for “Amundi Planet – Emerging Green One” – the world’s largest green bond fund, having raised over $1.2 billion so far.
The development bank announced it will invest up to 5% of the fixed-income fund, which was established in July by Amundi, a privately-owned investment manager, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group.
The fund is said to be the first of its kind, dedicated exclusively to emerging markets with a focus on investing in green bonds issued by private sector financial institutions.
The fund aims to allocate at least triple the amount of the EBRD’s investment to the bank’s countries of operations, as part of its regional diversification policy.
EBRD President Suma Chakrabati said in a statement that the fund is expected to increase the availability of green finance in the EBRD regions, increase investor awareness of green capital market products, and support local financial institutions in issuing green bonds, in line with the Green Bond Principles.
In addition to the investment, the EBRD is launching a dedicated Green Bond Technical Cooperation Programme focusing on capacity building and green bond origination in EBRD countries of operations, thus increasing green bond supply to enable the financing of green projects.
Against the backdrop of rapid growth in the global market for green bonds which, according to the U.K.-based Climate Bonds Initiative, saw more than $100 billion of issuance in 2017 alone, the EBRD stands out as not only an investor, but also a major issuer. Since 2010, the bank has issued 65 green bonds worth €2.3 billion.
Greening the cities
Launched at the One Planet climate summit in Paris today, the Green Cities Climate Finance Accelerator, established under the partnership of the EBRD and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), an alliance of close to 7,500 cities and local governments, will speed up and increase the delivery of finance for city climate projects worth $1.5 billion.
The EBRD will allocate over $500 million in “first mover” financing aimed at leveraging additional third party contributions for the development and implementation of city action plans and projects in up to 60 cities, including many that have not been a focus for climate support so far.
The initiative was launched in the presence of European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, who co-chairs the GCoM with Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.

Schneider Electric to go 100% renewable by 2030

Schneider Electric to go 100% renewable by 2030


As the movement towards powering society with renewable energy gains steam, in many cases it is corporations that are leading the charge. Yesterday, French energy management and automation company Schneider Electric announced that it would join the ranks of tech giants Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon, and power 100% of its global operations with renewable energy by 2030.
Schneider Electric already has rooftop solar in place at facilities in India, Thailand and its headquarters in France. However, the company notes that even as it plans to add more rooftop PV, this will only meet a portion of its total demand.
In addition to this, Schneider Electric is planning two more mechanisms – both the procurement of electricity through off-site renewable energy projects under long-term power contracts, and the purchase of Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), which it describes as a “free market instrument” that guarantees that every megawatt-hour of electricity used is paired with new renewable energy generation.
Energy performance goals
In keeping with its leading role in energy technologies, Schneider Electric is not stopping with merely procuring and building renewable energy. The company has also set ambitious energy performance standards, planning to double the economic output of every unit of energy consumed by 2030, using 2005 as a baseline.
This move is in line with the falling energy intensivity of advanced economies, which have continued to grow GDP while using less electricity. The company plans to use its own energy management solutions, which it says have allowed it to reduce its energy consumption 10% every three years for the past decade.
“Schneider Electric strives to answer the world’s new energy challenge by boosting energy efficiency everywhere: in homes, buildings and cities, industry, the grid, and throughout remote communities,” reads a press statement by the company. “In a world more decarbonized, more digitized, and more decentralized, energy use needs to be more productive.”
Both Schneider Electric’s renewable energy pledge and energy performance goals being undertaken in partnership with The Climate Group, and the company has signed on as part of the Group’s RE100 and EP100 programs.

China’s Three Gorges connects part of 150 MW floating solar plant

China’s Three Gorges connects part of 150 MW floating solar plant


The largest floating solar plant in the world has begun feeding power into the grid in China, confirmed the installation’s developer and owner, Three Gorges New Energy Co., on Monday.
Located in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, the 150 MW PV plant will be fully complete in May 2018 – at which point it can properly claim to be the world’s largest such installation.
Three Gorges New Energy, which is a unit of Chinese conglomerate Three Gorges Corp., has invested more than RMB 1 billion ($151 million) in the array, which floats atop a lake formed in Panji District, Huainan City, after a former mine below the surface collapsed.
The idle water was identified by Three Gorges in July as an ideal location to implement its floating PV technology, and the company is also exploring a complementary fishing model that will energize the location in the hope of stimulating both the local economy and supporting ecological efforts at the site.
The solar plant usurps the previous largest floating array in China, which is a 40 MW installation – also in Anhui province – built by Chinese inverter specialists Sungrow.
The trend for building on water in China is growing. Data from the National Energy Administration (NEA) shows that in the first three quarters of the year, 5.6% of ground mounted solar power installed was idled due to grid congestion.

Japan may surpass 2030 PV target of 64 GW within two years — RTS

Japan may surpass 2030 PV target of 64 GW within two years — RTS


The Tokyo-based consultancy said that there is a “high possibility” that the country will hit the 64 GW mark in early 2020. Japan’s cumulative installed PV capacity stood at approximately 41.6 GW at the end of 2016, according to statistics from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
“It is necessary to set a new target greatly exceeding the current installation target for 2030,” RTS said, claiming that the government may decide to revise the solar installation target to as high as 150 GW by 2030.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) expects the country to install at least 5 GW (DC) of solar capacity this year. By the end of October, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) had approved approximately 40.5 GW of solar for development under its revised feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.
A METI committee is expected to start discussing the country’s longer-term energy plans for the period through 2050 at some point early in the new year. Although the ministry has yet to revise its long-term energy installation targets, it started discussing the formulation of its fifth short-term strategic energy plan in August.
Its current energy targets, set in 2014, call for renewables to account for 22 to 24% of the national energy mix by 2020, which is slightly higher than the current nuclear target, but below the country’s plans for coal-fired generating capacity.
However, RTS does not expect significant changes in the new three-year plan, which will be released by the end of the current fiscal year on March 31, 2018.
In late November, METI held its first auctions for PV projects above 2 MW in size. Eight companies won the rights to build 141 MW of solar across nine sites, out of 500 MW of capacity up for grabs. The lowest winning bid coming in at JPY 17.2/kWh. METI is expected to announce new tender rounds in the upcoming fiscal year.
Falling demand
Japanese demand for solar continues to fall at the utility-scale, with PV module shipments for such projects falling to 728 MW in the July-September period, down 23% year on year, according to the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA). By contrast, shipments of solar panels to be used in residential PV applications rose 19% on the year, to 250 MW over the same period, the JPEA said.
However, although developers are increasingly focusing on the residential PV segment — in line with current market trends — a number of companies are still pushing forward with plans to build big solar projects, RTS said.
For example, SB Energy, the renewables development unit of Japanese telecoms group SoftBank, recently revealed plans to install 102.3 MW of solar in the town of Yakumo, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. In addition, Tokyo-based PV developer Looop is now building a 31.6 MW solar project — paired with 6.59 MWh of storage capacity — in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido.
PV system prices continue to fall in Japan, with RTS estimating the average price of residential solar systems at about JPY 200,000 ($1,760) per kilowatt. Total shipments of solar panels in Japan reached 1.39 GW in the July-September period, down roughly 24% from a year earlier, the consultancy said, citing statistics from the JPEA.
RTS said that Sharp, Kyocera, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric posted “sluggish” results in the April-September period, largely due to declining sales in the Japanese PV market.