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Donnerstag, 20. Juli 2017

Solar Thermal Plants Aim to Keep Lights on at Night in Middle East

Solar Thermal Plants Aim to Keep Lights on at Night in Middle East

 
Solar plants that supply electricity at competitive prices after the sun goes down are about to become a reality in the Middle East, according to one of the region’s biggest developers of power plants.
ACWA Power International CEO Paddy Padmanathan confirmed his company is the low bidder on a $1 billion project that will feed electricity to the grid for the Dubai Water & Electricity Authority between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. More such plants are likely to follow because Chinese companies will start driving down the cost of equipment, he said.
The 200-MW Dubai contract, which runs for 25 years, will harness a two-decade old technology called concentrated-solar power (CSP), or solar thermal. Unlike solar PV, which generates a charge directly from the sun’s power, thermal plants use mirrors to concentrate heat on water, turning it to steam to drive a turbine. The heat can be stored in molten salt to be used later. The technology to date has slipped behind PV on cost but is quickly becoming more competitive, the executive said.
“I expect concentrated-solar power, within 18 months, to be head to head with combined-cycle gas, if not more competitive,” Padmanathan said in an interview in London. “The focus has been on PV and batteries, but there’s a limit on how long they can hold a charge for. We’re proving that CSP can work through the night.”
Since it can retain heat, the plant can keep working after dark. The sun’s energy in some cases can heat molten salt to 490 degrees Celsius (914 degrees Fahrenheit), which allows operators to predict when electricity will flow.
Uncertain Outlook
While solar thermal plants are becoming cheaper, PV costs are falling too, raising questions whether the Dubai project really will be as attractive as ACWA expects, said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“This plant in Dubai is for delivery by 2021,” Chase said. “By then, we’re expecting solar PV and batteries to be in the same order of magnitude for cost and will be a lot more flexible than a solar thermal plant. Also, a lot of these projects are operating below what they’re meant to, such as the entire Spanish fleet and some in India as well.”
There are 319 GW of PV panels installed worldwide, compared to about 5 GW of solar thermal, according to BNEF data. The mass deployment has driven down costs of solar panel equipment by about 70 percent since 2010, with the latest record set in Abu Dhabi at 2.45 cents per kWh. In comparison, solar thermal was around 15 to 18 cents per kWh until recently.
China hosts 80 percent of the world’s PV solar manufacturing industry. The nation’s expertise at mass production is credited with making solar panels more affordable, although companies are now reviving work on thermal technology.
More Suppliers
“There are currently just two suppliers in solar CSP,” Padmanathan said. “The others have gone bankrupt. I know of at least five Chinese companies that are starting to enter the market.”
ACWA, which is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, bid 9.45 cents per kWh, almost cutting in half the cost of CSP. Each of the bidders were also asked to submit an alternative tender. The offtaker will choose between the bid and the alternative bid, so the price may be even lower.
ACWA has also built similar projects in Morocco’s Noor solar complex and South Africa’s desert. One in each nation are operating, with two more in Morocco and one in South Africa currently under development. ACWA is also seeking to build two more projects in Morocco in the Midelt area, which will have a joint capacity of 350 MW.
“I’m also hoping to build one in Saudi,” Padmanathan said. “Right now they’re tendering for solar PV and wind, but I think they’ll want a CSP project as well, especially when they see how cost competitive it can be.”
©2017 Bloomberg News
Wikimedia Commons

Florida Storage Project to Demonstrate 250-kW/1-MWh Tesla Powerpack

Florida Storage Project to Demonstrate 250-kW/1-MWh Tesla Powerpack

 
Atlanta-based utility Southern Company and its Gulf Power subsidiary last week said it has launched an energy storage research project in Pensacola, Fla., at the Douglas L. McCrary Training and Storm Center.
The project will test and evaluate a 250-kW/1-MW Tesla Powerpack lithium-ion industrial energy storage system over a two-year period. The utility said that the project will demonstrate the requirements of an energy storage system for industrial and commercial customers.
Southern Company and Gulf Power developed the McCrary battery energy storage demonstration project in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute’s Integrated Grid Initiative and Tesla.

Next Level Design — New-School Solar Software Providers Take on the Incumbents

Next Level Design — New-School Solar Software Providers Take on the Incumbents

 
The market for solar PV design software has opened up significantly in the past five years. New offerings have taken off in that time, and they range from fully integrated systems offering one-stop functionality, to niche services that are hyper-focused on one segment of the design process.
Yet a huge amount of growth is still to come for these software systems and much of that growth will hinge on which systems users are choosing today, how they choose those systems, and the delivery mechanism for software options in the future.
Lead image: Solar design software. Credit: Chris Hipp with input from Paul Grana, Folsom Labs.
Growth with an Integrated Approach
Some of the most robust solar design software offerings used by developers — across residential, commercial and industrial (C&I), and utility-scale sectors — make it easier to sell and install solar. With an address and an electric utility bill, developers can quickly present a wealth of information — from financial analyses to engineering layouts to shading analyses — to help customers choose solar.
Independent software provider Aurora Solar says users of its software can produce a complete system design for a residential homeowner in about 15 minutes. Aurora was founded in 2013 and launched its software in early 2015. Co-founder Christopher Hopper says that in 2016, the company’s software was being use to design 1,000 projects per week. In 2017, that number jumped to 10,000.
According to Hopper, the company’s progress over the past two years stems from a few basic concepts that he and Co-founder Samuel Adeyemo agreed upon at the start.
They chose to build an independent software company that was not tied to a specific manufacturer, financing provider, or other entity.
“We thought it was important that the industry be able to make data-driven decisions,” Hopper said.
They also focused on integration.
“We realized there was a strong need for having an integrated design process that goes from A to Z — from an address to a finished proposal — and not break that process up into different steps across different software,” Hopper said. “Designing a solar system is a complex problem that touches a lot of different aspects, and we felt that integrating all those into one clear and streamlined software solution would provide a lot of value.”
Finally, they decided that providing software that enables remote design was critical for developers to grow.
“We felt that as the industry scales, it’s important to accurately design systems remotely,” Hopper said. “We wanted sales people to be able to accurately quote systems remotely without having to travel to the site and go through all the cumbersome and manual design steps.”
With updates to the software released every two weeks, Adeyemo said there have been hundreds of improvements to the system since its launch. Among those improvements are LIDAR mapping and a function called AutoDesigner, which allows users to enter parameters — the percentage of energy to offset or amount of bill savings — and the system will generate the best design to meet those objectives.
“We have a feature where you can use Google Street View to pull up information like the slope of roofs and the height of buildings,” Adeyemo said. “And we have another feature where you can automatically detect all the obstructions on a commercial building roof surface. We don’t want our clients to travel to a site until they have a paying customer, and those are the kind of features that allow us to continue pushing the envelope.”
3D residential solar design in Helioscope. Credit: Folsom Labs.
The Path to Interoperability
Other solar design software providers take a similar approach to Aurora, offering a functioning suite that delivers ease of use to employees across an organization.
Folsom Labs, which has been offering its integrated design software HelioScope since 2014, says its product shortens the learning curve for solar PV system design and opens up the bottleneck that can occur when, i.e., one engineer drives the entire design process.
“When the sales person can own the design experience, it’s the single biggest driver of ROI for Folsom’s customers - it’s pure ease of use,” Folsom Labs Co-founder Paul Grana said.
But at Folsom Labs, an integrated system is not the sole approach to software services. The company also is looking at how customers choose software and services today to think about the future.
The company has agreements with other niche software providers that allow interoperability between HelioScope and other systems. Folsom Labs, for example, recently reached interoperating agreements with Energy Toolbase and EcoTiza. The software systems remain independent of one another, and users have separate sign-ins for each, but the systems play together seamlessly. These agreements are just the “tip of the iceberg” according to Grana.
“We’ve provided our API documentation, which is basically all that is necessary [for interoperating], to over 100 different companies,” Grana said. “We’re huge believers in that kind of product tie-in so that people can get the best of as many worlds as possible.”
Grana cites as an example the way users today choose IT systems. They are not necessarily brand loyal across the IT spectrum. A user may buy a PC with a Microsoft operating system, but may choose to use Google Gmail over Microsoft Outlook for business email. So, too, a user may choose to use Dropbox over Google Drive for cloud storage, and so on.
In that context, Grana said, there are going to be some users who want HelioScope for design, financial optimization, proposals and CRM, and there will be others who want HelioScope for design, Energy Toolbase for finances and Salesforce for CRM.
“We want to have other products — Folsom Labs is going to have a CRM, and a pricing/proposal tool, but we also 100 percent want people to choose what they want,” Grana said. “It’s all good.”
Digging Deeper into Customer Choice
Customer choice, it appears, could matter more and more as the solar design software market grows. Grana says Folsom is looking into the future at a potential “share of wallet” approach, where they can capture a portion of a customer’s wallet by being a facilitator of sorts for additional tools.
This approach can happen in one of two ways.
First, Grana said, Folsom can begin to build interfaces to logical operations that users might want. A user, for example, could use an interface to see what the company’s project pipeline looks like, or analyze how a sales team is doing.
Second, Folsom sees an opportunity to become a provider much like the Apple App Store. In the app buying process, Apple is a facilitator; it is an important part of the process, while letting other products, brands or companies maintain a direct relationship with the customer.
“That’s what we’re going to see with a bunch of other third-party products in the solar design software sector,” Grana said.
Users, for example, could buy — within HelioScope — imagery from a provider, such as EagleView Pictometry or Nearmap.
“When that transaction hits the user’s credit card, it will say Folsom Labs, but they will know it’s not Folsom Labs delivering the product — it will be Pictometry or Nearmap,” Grana said. “It’s totally transparent who is delivering the value, but we just facilitate that.”
The upside, according to Grana, is that Folsom Labs can provide third parties access to a long list of developers that they would never have access to otherwise — small and local companies with highly sophisticated operations.
Those third-party providers — imagery, weather data, financing — “have a direct feed to the top 100 solar developers, but for the 101-5,000, those are our people,” Grana said.
Taking a Niche Focus
While providers, such as Folsom Labs and Aurora, are working on the A-to-Z paradigm, others are focusing on one part of the solar PV design process. Energy Toolbase, for example, is deeply focused on utility rate and avoided-cost analysis.
HelioScope and Aurora also offer that same functionality. Energy Toolbase already interoperates with HelioScope, and according to Adeyemo, it also could interoperate with Aurora.
Depending on their needs, users can choose which system they prefer for those analyses.
“There’s no question that the software landscape is evolving pretty fast, and I think there’s room for multiple winners,” Energy Toolbase Chief Operating Office Adam Gerza said. “We’re just looking at this concept of stacking software because across our user base, it is incredible how different and unique all these various organizations are and which tools they choose to leverage.”
Gerza says Energy Toolbase differentiates its product by delivering analyses that are constantly evolving with the complexities of the financial piece of the design puzzle.
Proposal output. Credit: Energy Toolbase.
On the residential side, “you are seeing a lot more rate switching scenarios, where you have a customer with a unique load profile; maybe they’re on a flat rate and proposing to switch to a time-of-use rate; maybe they’re getting forced onto some set of net metering 2.0 assumptions; or maybe they are also looking at an option pairing energy storage with solar,” Gerza said. On the commercial side, he added, there are many more layered sets of use cases.
The company is taking its product to the next level by expanding its analyses functionality for energy storage.
“Users have been able to model energy storage in our tool for the last two-and-a-half years, but we’re pushing out some really significant game-changing new features,” Gerza said. “It’s the same approach we take on the solar side, only it’s a robust tool to do accurate objective and transparent analysis and optimization for storage projects.”
He added that the company’s guiding product philosophy is to be objective and unbiased.
“There are a lot of energy storage providers out there — Tesla, Stem, Sonnen, LG,” Gerza said. “When a sales person is trying to figure out the savings of any type of hardware, any type of battery chemistry, any type of solar technology, whatever their chosen production modeling tool is, we’re treating everything on an equal playing field and coming up with an objective, transparent savings answer.”
Gerza expects that in 18-24 months residential installers may need to look holistically at a project – potentially installing solar and storage, and maybe also some energy efficiency retrofits or demand-response opportunities — and figure out the best solution. Gerza says the company wants to focus on providing a best-in-class financial tool to handle the complexities of those choices.
Today’s Market Realities
With all the growth potential envisioned by companies in the solar design software space, Folsom Labs’ Grana provides some sobering statistics.
He said that in a recent survey, the company learned that most of the current marketshare is still in Excel, PowerPoint and Word.
“There’s still so much growth just in terms of converting people from basically using Google Earth, Microsoft Word and Excel to using software tools,” he said. “We’re talking 70-90 percent penetration for those products.”
Aurora’s Adeyemo believes that that user conversion is critical for the solar market.
“It’s imperative that people have some sort of software solution; simply because the demands are getting higher in terms of the level of accuracy, the level of precision and the level of efficiency you have to have with running a business in order to scale effectively,” Adeyemo said. “It’s a tough business.”

Major Utilities Buying More Wind as Economics Drive US Energy Transformation

Major Utilities Buying More Wind as Economics Drive US Energy Transformation

energy
Across the nation, smart business leaders are doubling down on wind power because new business realities are driving an energy marketplace that is more diversified and flexible.
Clean power sources, such as wind, solar and natural gas, are now customers' preferred energy choices. And this new energy mix is actually improving America's grid, adding resilience and reliability, along with more than half a million U.S. jobs, while saving U.S. energy customers and ratepayers billions of dollars in electricity costs.
Last Friday, we heard more good news. Reports on DOE's draft grid study confirm what major utilities have been saying with their wallets: "The power system is more reliable today" and "significantly higher levels of renewable energy can be integrated without any compromise of system reliability."

America's utility leaders are continuing to make that case in word and deed.
On June 12, Gerry Anderson, chairman & CEO of Detroit-based DTE, detailed plans for this leading Midwestern utility to add 6,000 MW of renewable power, including wind and solar, 3,500 MW of natural gas and also modernize its electric grid. As Anderson explained, it’s part of DTE’s transition away from coal generation that will be complete by 2040.
Image Left: DTE CEO Gerry Anderson
My former boss said DTE will ultimately generate 75 percent of its power from renewable energy and natural gas, in a plan he said will "deeply decarbonize DTE Energy... in a way that was affordable." He said that utilities' trend away from coal will continue "even with the current federal policy on climate. The Administration can't turn a 70-year-old coal plant into a 20-year-old coal plant. In the long term, electricity wins." [Emphasis added]
Anderson’s comments echoed those made just eight days earlier by Nick Akins, who heads American Electric Power (AEP), one of the nation's largest utilities.
Image Left: AEP CEO Nick Akins
Akins committed to "continuing on our path of moving to a clean energy economy," notwithstanding President Trump's announcement about withdrawing from the global climate pact.
Akins said AEP's plan in the next few years "certainly is driven by renewables... solar, wind power and then backed up by natural gas-fired generation." He cited dramatic changes to the economics, including "the lowering cost of renewables" and natural gas, as compared to coal-fired facilities, which are "much more costly."
'Economics Are Driving What's Happening in the Industry'
On July 6, Minnesota's Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy's plans for the largest wind energy expansion to date in the upper Midwest. It is part of Xcel's initiative to add 3,000 MW more wind, bringing its total to 10,000 MW.
"That's going to have us at 35 percent of our energy mix from wind," said Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke.
"Economics are driving what's happening in the industry,” Fowke said. By 2021, Xcel expects wind to be its largest energy source — not just in capacity, but in generation.
"What's even more amazing is the price. We're looking at [prices] in the low teens to low 20s [in dollars/MWh] — not starting prices, but levelized across the 25-year life of the project. That beats gas, even at today’s prices. I like to say we backed up the truck because the fuel of tomorrow was on sale today," he said.
Chris Brown speaks to Xcel CEO Ben Fowke at WINDPOWER
"Everybody benefits." Consumers get lower cost and Xcel earns a return for building wind projects.
To supplement wind as the grid’s largest energy source, Fowke said Xcel plans to add gas peaking plants and "baseload coal will probably be replaced with combined cycle [gas plants]." He expects this transition to continue whatever the policy environment in Washington, D.C.
Let’s be clear: None of these utility leaders are strangers to burning coal.
They're among the growing class of energy business CEOs making decisions on the basis of their shareholders and also ratepayers.
These utility leaders are all buying wind and solar power now because those energy sources are winning on price and integrating fine with the grid.
The growth of clean power as a mainstream player in America's energy mix is a business reality that won't be denied. The business leaders in America's power sector are pretty clear about what direction makes the most economic sense.
Those who take the time studying the status, security and evolving nature of the nation's power grid are wise to pay attention to those who actually buy electricity production and manage its business realities every day.
America is winning with wind energy.
Lead image: Wind turbines in South Plains, Texas. Credit: Vestas

Weltweit Photovoltaik-Ausschreibungen mit 17,4 Gigawatt geplant

Weltweit Photovoltaik-Ausschreibungen mit 17,4 Gigawatt geplant


GTM Research zufolge sind derzeit weltweit Photovoltaik-Ausschreibungen mit einer Gesamtleistung von rund 17,4 Gigawatt geplant. Die meisten davon – etwa 8,1 Gigawatt – sollen in der Region Europa umgesetzt werden, gefolgt von der Region Südasien, allen voran Indien, wo eine Ausschreibungsmenge mit einer Leistung von etwa fünf Gigawatt aussteht. Für ungefähr 9,6 Gigawatt der insgesamt geplanten 17,4 Gigawatt, sollen noch im dritten Quartal dieses Jahres Zuschläge vergeben werden.
Aktuell gibt es nach Angaben von GTM Ausschreibungsregelungen für Solarenergie-Projekte in 48 Ländern. Weitere 27 Länder diskutieren über die Einführung entsprechender Ausschreibungen oder haben bereits konkrete Pläne dafür.
In Ländern wie Deutschland, Japan und Großbritannien, in denen es schon seit längerem bedeutsame Photovoltaik-Märkte gibt, seien Ausschreibungen dazu genutzt worden, um die Märkte zu begrenzen, erklärt Ben Attia, Solaranalyst bei GTM Research. Gründe dafür seien zum Beispiel Budgetdefizite in Fördertöpfen, Marktsättigungen, Fragen der Netzstabilität oder zu hohe Kosten für Erneuerbare.
In ähnlicher Weise würden nun auch Wachstumsmärkte ohne oder mit nur geringer installierter Solarleistung versuchen, die Kosten für den Zubau von Erneuerbaren durch Ausschreibungsprogramme gering zu halten. Als Beispiele nennt Attia die Länder Indien und Mexiko, in denen Ausschreibungen zu einer Multi-Gigawatt-Pipeline mit geringen Kosten geführt hätten.
Für das Jahr 2017 prognostiziert GTM Research erstmals eine weltweite Nachfrage von mehr als 80 Gigawatt. Diese sei zum Teil auch den weltweiten Ausschreibungen zu verdanken. Das Marktwachstum im Vergleich zum Vorjahr werde mit vier Prozent allerdings verhältnismäßig gering ausfallen.

CPV-System erzeugt 54 Prozent mehr Strom als herkömmliche Photovoltaik

CPV-System erzeugt 54 Prozent mehr Strom als herkömmliche Photovoltaik


Die konzentrierende Photovoltaik (CPV) ist ein beliebtes Forschungsgebiet im Solar-Bereich, da die Technologie ein großes Potenzial für hohe Effizienz mit sich bringt. Wissenschaftler der Penn State University (Pennsylvania, USA) sehen bei heutigen CPV-System einen Nachteil darin, dass die in der Regel sehr groß sind, also einen hohen Flächenverbrauch haben, und außerdem dem Lauf der Sonne nachgeführt werden müssen.
„Wir versuchen, ein hocheffizientes CPV-System mit dem gleichen Formfaktor eines herkömmlichen Silizium-Solarmoduls zu entwickeln“, sagt Chris Giebink, Dozent für Elektrotechnik an der Penn State University. Ziel der jüngsten Experimente sei daher gewesen, die technische Realisierbarkeit eines solchen Systems zu demonstrieren.
Dafür haben die Forscher eine kleine Mehrschicht-Solarzelle mit einer Fläche von etwa 0,5 Quadratmillimetern in Glas eingebettet. Die Solarzelle wird dann zwischen zwei Mikrolinsen-Feldern gelagert, sodass die Zelle der Sonne im Tagesverlauf folgen kann. An einem Tag bewegt sie sich dabei laut den Wissenschaftlern nur ungefähr einen Zentimeter.
Das CPV-System in Betrieb kurz vor Sonnenuntergang.Foto: Giebink Lab
Das System wurde über zwei Sonnentage von der Morgen- bis zur Abenddämmerung getestet. Die eingebauten Linsen haben das Sonnenlicht dabei mehr als 600-fach konzentriert und auf die Mehrschicht-Solarzelle gelenkt. Daneben haben die Wissenschaftler zum Vergleich den Ertrag einer herkömmlichen Silizium-Solarzelle unter gleichen Bedingungen gemessen.
Den Forschern zufolge erreichte das CPV-System im Test einen Wirkungsgrad von 30 Prozent. Im Verlauf eines Tages erzeugte es zudem 54 Prozent mehr Strom als die Silizium-Vergleichszelle. Mit einem Kühlsystem, dass eine Erhitzung der CPV-Zelle verhindert, hätte das System nach Angaben der Forscher bis zu 73 Prozent mehr Strom als die Vergleichszelle erzeugen können.
Obwohl die CPV-Technologie schon seit mehreren Jahrzehnten existiert, werden solche Systeme bis heute kaum zur kommerziellen Stromerzeugung eingesetzt. Entscheidend ist bei der Technologie, dass sie starkes und direktes Sonnenlicht benötigt, um effizient betrieben werden zu können. Der Forscher Chris Giebink hält dafür Regionen wie den Südwesten der USA oder Australien für gut geeignet.
Giebink stellt zudem fest, dass die Vergrößerung des Test-Systems und die Gewährleistung einer langfristigen Zuverlässigkeit noch große Herausforderungen darstellen. Was das Potential der Technologie angeht ist er aber sehr optimistisch. Die höhere Effizienz des Systems könne überall nützlich werden, wo es wichtig ist, auf einer begrenzten Fläche möglichst viel Sonnenstrom zu erzeugen.

Britische Forscher ersetzen Blei durch Wismut in Perowskit-Zellen

Britische Forscher ersetzen Blei durch Wismut in Perowskit-Zellen


Forscher der Cambridge Universität haben eine Alternative für Blei in Perowskit-Zellen entdeckt. Bei Testversuchen zeigte das „grüne“ Element Wismut die gleichen außergewöhnlichen Eigenschaften wie das Schwermetall und ist darüber hinaus weniger umweltschädlich, wie die Wissenschaftler am Dienstag bekannt gaben. Eine andere Forschungsgruppe habe bei anschließdenden Experimenten bereits einen Wirkungsgrad von 22 Prozent bei Wismut-Perowskit-Solarzellen erreicht.
Die meisten Solaranlagen, ob Dach oder Freifläche, nutzen auf Silizium basierende Solarzellen. In der Photovoltaik-Industrie werde jedoch besonders reines Silizium benötigt, was die Produktion der Solarmodule äußerst energieintensiv mache. Aus diesem Grund beschäftigen sich Wissenschaftler schon längere Zeit damit, eine Alternative zu den Silizium-Solarzellen zu entwickeln. Nach Angaben der Universität drängen sich hybride Blei-Halogenid-Perowskit-Zellen in den Vordergrund, die bei Test einen Wirkungsgrad von bis zu 22 Prozent aufgezeigt haben sollen. Jedoch sei neben dem starken Leistungsabfall innerhalb weniger Tage, das umweltschädliche Schwermetall Blei ein großes Problem. Die Wissenschaftler hätten daher schon länger nach einem Ersatzmaterial geforscht, ohne die Leistung der Perowskit-Zellen zu mindern. „Wir wollten herausfinden, warum Blei-Halogenid-Perowskit-Solarzellen weniger anfällig für Defekte sind, als es bei anderen Materialien der Fall ist“, sagte Robert Hoye vom Cavendish Laboratory der Universität Cambridge. „Wenn uns das gelingt, dann können wir vielleicht die Eigenschaften mit ungiftigeren Materialien replizieren.“
In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) National Renewable Energy Laboratory und der Colorado School of Mines hätten die Wissenschaftler nun belegt, dass sich Wismut als Alternativmaterial für Perowskit-Solarzellen eignet. Das wegen seiner Umweltverträglichkeit als „grünes“ Element bezeichnete Schwermetall, werde heutzutage vor allem in der Kosmetik und Medizin verwendet. Der Universität zufolge nahmen die Wissenschaftler für ihre Tests Wismutoxyiodid, dass schon als mögliches Material für die Power-to-gas-Technology erprobt wurde. Jedoch sei das Metall hier im flüssigen Elektrolyt zu wenig widerstandsfähig gewesen und habe darüber hinaus eine zu geringe Effizienz aufgezeigt.
Die Forschungsergebnisse hätten nun bewiesen, dass Wismutoxyiodid in Perowskit-Zellen die gleiche geringe Anfälligkeit gegenüber Defekten wie Blei aufweise. Zusätzlich sei das „grüne“ Element an der Luft für mindestens 197 Tage stabil und somit deutlich länger als das umweltschädlichere Schwermetall. „Wismutoxyiodid verfügt über alle wichtigen physikalischen Eigenschaften für neue, hocheffiziente Lichtabsorber“, sagte Co-Autor, Professor Judith Driscoll, vom Institut für Materialwissenschaft und Metallurgie. Die Ergebnisse haben die Wissenschaftler in der aktuellen Ausgabe des Forschungsjournals „Advanced Materials“ veröffentlicht.

Großbritannien: Hive Energy baut 40-Megawatt-Park ohne jede Förderung

Großbritannien: Hive Energy baut 40-Megawatt-Park ohne jede Förderung



Hive Energy plant, sich mit Solarenergie zu umgeben – im wörtlichen Sinne. Der britische Entwickler von Erneuerbare-Energien-Projekten hat die Genehmigung für einen 40-Megawatt-Solarpark auf einer 72 Hektar großen landwirtschaftlichen Fläche bekommen, die das eigene Hauptquartier in der Nähe von Romsey, Süd-England, umgibt.
Das Besondere: Das Photovoltaik-Projekt soll laut Hive Energy vollständig ohne Subventionen entwickelt werden. Und es sei möglicherweise ein wegweisendes Projekt für den künftigen Photovoltaik-Markt in England, da die Preise für Solarenergie weiter fallen.
Grünes Licht bekam Hive Energy in dieser Woche vom Test Valley Borough Council, der dem Unternehmen eine 25-jährige Nutzungslizenz auf dem Gelände gewährt hat. Damit sind allerdings auch einige Bedingungen verknüpft. Dazu gehört, dass das Gelände nach Ablauf der 25 Jahre wieder in den ursprünglichen Zustand zurückversetzt werden muss.
Außerdem muss der Entwickler sicherstellen, dass der Einfluss des Solarparks auf den ökologischen Fußabdruck des Ackerlandes minimal ist. Dazu werde Hive Energy auf einen Biodiversitätsmanagementplan hinarbeiten, der Schafweide, Wildblumensaat und das Anpflanzen von neuen Bäumen und Hecken am Standort vorsieht. Hive Energy hat auch die britische Pferdegesellschaft konsultiert, um sicherzustellen, dass das Solarkraftwerk mit den Bedürfnissen der lokalen Reitgemeinschaft im Einklang steht.
Der Bau von großen Solarkraftwerken ist in Großbritannien im vergangenen Jahr fast zu einem völligen Stillstand geraten. Die konservative Regierung hatte das Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) für große Solarparks vorzeitig beendet. In folgenden Ausschreibungen wurden Windkraftanlagen begünstigt – zum Nachteil von Solarparks.

Mittwoch, 19. Juli 2017

Uruguay recibe crédito de 81 millones de dólares para mejorar integración de las renovables

Uruguay recibe crédito de 81 millones de dólares para mejorar integración de las renovables


La Corporación Interamericana de Inversiones (CII), miembro del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID), ha anunciado que ha aprobado una financiación de 81 millones de dólares para la construcción de una nueva línea de transmisión entre las ciudades de Melo y Tacuarembó, en Uruguay.
Según informa la entidad financiera, la nueva línea es necesaria para la integración proyectos que generan energía renovable para la red eléctrica del país, sin dar más detalles.
La financiación consta de un préstamo A de 56 millones de dólares y un préstamo B de 25 millones de dólares de BBVA a Difebal S.A., que es una unidad del operador de red italiano Terna.
“El financiamiento tiene una duración de 17 años y es clave para asegurar la confiabilidad actual y futura del sistema eléctrico nacional en Uruguay. Esta transacción destaca la importancia de la transmisión actualizada para la promoción de la expansión de las energías renovables en los mercados emergentes y subraya el compromiso de la CII de mitigar el cambio climático”, dijo la CII en su comunicado.
Uruguay llegó a tener una potencia fotovoltaica instalada de 88,4 megavatios a finales de 2016, según el Balance Energético Preliminar 2016 publicado recientemente por el Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Minería.
En Uruguay se lanzó un programa para instalar aproximadamente 200 megavatios fotovoltaicos hace cerca de cuatro años. Hasta la fecha, sin embargo, solo se ha completado una parte de esta potencia.

Inversor británico entra en el mercado solar mexicano con operación de 34,5 millones de dólares

Inversor británico entra en el mercado solar mexicano con operación de 34,5 millones de dólares


El sector fotovoltaico mexicano atrajo la semana pasada nuevas inversiones de la empresa británica InfraRed Capital Partners, que decidió adquirir una cuota del 50 por ciento en dos plantas solares por un importe de 34,5 millones de dólares.
Las instalaciones, denominadas Torreoncitos y Rancho el Trece, tienen una potencia respectiva de 36 megavatios y se ubican al norte de México.
Está previsto que la construcción de ambas plantas termine antes de finales de este año. InfraRed ha adquirido la mitad de los dos proyectos de la empresa española Bester Energy, mientras la mexicana Invex Infrastructura mantendrá la restante cuota del 50 por ciento.
Cuando los proyectos se completen, Ammper, un distribudor y comercializador de energía local, contratará la electricidad producida a clientes comerciales e industriales.
Además, otro fondo de propiedad de Invex Infrastructura ha adquirido una cuota del 25 por ciento en ocho proyectos adicionales desarrollados por Bester Energy. Estas plantas solares incluyen un grupo de tres proyectos en Ocampo y un grupo de cinco instalaciones en Ahumada. La potencia total de estos proyectos es 36 megavatios.

FERC Chair Nominee Could Set Direction on ‘Significant Issues’ for Renewables

FERC Chair Nominee Could Set Direction on ‘Significant Issues’ for Renewables

 
President Donald Trump’s nominee for Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would be able to set policy and direction for “several significant issues that will impact renewables, including on interconnection, frequency response and wholesale market rules,” according to Ruta Skučas, a partner at Pierce Atwood.
Trump yesterday announced he will nominate Kevin McIntyre to lead FERC. McIntyre is a partner with the law firm Jones Day and is the co-leader of the firm’s global energy practice.
In early February, former Chairman Norman Bay resigned his appointment. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur was appointed Acting Chairman.
Skučas said in an email that FERC has an open Notice of Proposed Rulemaking—Docket RM16-23, November 2016—on distributed energy resources and energy storage that “will likely be significant for renewables.”
“Also, the new Chairman will need to address the wholesale market and state policy issues that FERC began to openly consider at the May technical conference, which are often closely linked to state [renewable portfolio] standards and renewable policies,” she said.
Commissioner Colette Honorable resigned from FERC last month, leaving LaFleur as the only commissioner. In a June 30 letter, Honorable said that FERC has worked to improve its analysis of the wholesale energy markets.
“It is incumbent upon the regulator to understand and accommodate new technologies, economic realities, policies and much more,” she said. “The last few years have made clear that the energy sector is no longer on the cusp of profound change, but is indeed in the midst of it. … More electricity is being produced by renewable resources in the U.S. than ever before. Recently on June 14, wind and solar exceeded 10 percent of our total monthly electric generation in the U.S. This is indeed a new day for us, and we must take advantage of these opportunities in new and different ways.”
President Trump on June 29 announced he will nominate Richard Glick to be a member of FERC. Glick is General Counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Fresh Designs in Tracking, Racking and Mounting at Intersolar NA

Fresh Designs in Tracking, Racking and Mounting at Intersolar NA

intersolar
This year’s somewhat smaller, but seemingly more intense Intersolar North America trade show held in San Francisco this week featured a wide array of innovative solar tracking, racking and mounting solutions. While offerings by new and old players from around the world include many fresh design and feature developments, here are a few of the standouts:
Tracking Developments Eke Out Higher Yields
Among tracker manufacturers, Soltec launched its new SF7 single-axis tracker at Intersolar, featuring a zero-gap design along the central shaft, with opposing rows of panels abutting one another. The design feature permits the array to generate five percent more electricity than the standard decentralized tracker design now popular in market, said Jose Alfonso Teruel, the research and development manager for the Livermore, Calif.-based subsidiary of the Spanish company.
Lead image: Soltec has unveiled its latest tracker design. Credit: Soltec
Soltec also claims to have the lowest number of driven pile supports per MW in the industry, with spacing of around 20 feet, Teruel said. The SF7 enables improved yield through its TeamTrack asymmetric back-tracking control of individual arrays, with a tracking arc of 120 degrees. The company has reached annual sales of more than 1 GW in the Americas.
Array Technologies, the godfather of the U.S. tracking industry, announced that it has forged a strategic partnership with the high-profile Shoals Technologies Group for balance of system supply. The two companies displayed their products back-to-back at the show. The cooperation between Albuquerque-based Array and Portland, Tenn.-based Shoals will streamline the project engineering design, procurement and construction of projects, suggested Ron Corio, the founder of Array.
“We have no doubt that the collaborative effort of our two teams will result in a BOS solution that will offer efficiencies never before seen in the solar market,” said Shoals Founder Dean Solon. While Shoals is seen as a market leader in centralized options for BOS solutions, Array has installed over 12,000 miles of trackers, as the world leader in cumulative installs.
Sun Action Trackers also launched a new tracker design at the show; its DualTrack 24, a dual-axis tracker with patented real-time light sensing technology. The new design from the San Antonio-based company features a 4-panel-by-6 panel table, a slew drive, and a 60-degree inclination capability. The new design follows an announcement in March that the company was offering its PST-2AL model for residential applications, an untapped market for trackers.
Image: Sun Action trackers now feature Real Time sensing. Credit: Sun Action
“There is tremendous opportunity for this technology at sites with undulating terrain or steep slopes — like the project we now have being installed on the side of a mountain in Hawaii,” said Jonathan Bunting, the marketing and communications manager for the company. The magnesium alloy posts for the system are designed to withstand high corrosive atmospheres and are five to 10 times stronger than conventional galvanized steel, the company notes
Nextracker, a Flex company and the global leader in 2016 tracker sales, unveiled its new TrueCapture enhanced monitoring and positioning system at the show, claiming that the enhancement will offer an average of four percent greater yield. The system includes intelligent learning ability and offers self-adjusting tracker control for individual arrays. The added technology, an outgrowth of the company’s acquisition of BrightBox Technologies last year, continuously refines the tracking algorithm of each individual array in response to acquired insolation and weather condition data.
The weather sensor and monitoring components are mounted beside the solar panels on the array, along with the small self-powering module each array features. The cumulative refinements in this generation of the tracker compensate for traditional energy production losses from construction variability, terrain undulation and changing weather, pointed out Dan Shugar, founder of the company.
Image: Nextracker has enhanced its monitoring and positioning ability with TrueCapture. Credit: Nextracker
Solar FlexRack also demonstrated its newest generation single-axis tracker, the TDP 2.0, which offers up to 90 modules per array, greater rotational range to 60 degrees, and more granular programmable technology to mitigate inclement climatic conditions, noted Steve Daniel, the EVP of sales and marketing for the Youngstown, Ohio-based company. Solar FlexRack is a division of Northern States Steel.
The TDP 2.0 features a redesigned bearing assembly and a larger slew drive, which help combat high wind situations, supporting up to 50 pounds of snow per square foot.
“We are seeing a lot of installs in states like Montana and Minnesota, where there is pretty heavy snowfall,” Daniel said. The company now has about 50 MW of trackers installed following its 2015 release of the initial TDP design, and orders for 2017 have already doubled last year’s total, he noted.
Racking Manufacturers Enhance Integration
Solar racking options are still proliferating at Intersolar. Alion Energy, the Richmond, Calif.-based maverick inventor of continuously extruded concrete racking, touted its latest installation in Mexico at Intersolar, noting that the project is a test case for the technology in the country. The $14-million, 8-MW Jalisco Solar 1 project, located at Zacoalco de Torres, was completed in May for Guadalajara-based Fortius, in cooperation with Trina Solar and ABB, with 100 percent Mexican financing, a first for a project this size, the partners said. Fortius is now working to double the capacity of the plant.
The rocky, desert conditions at Jalisco play into the strength of the Alion design, which is being marketed in the Middle East now, according to Jesse Atkinson, the vice president of marketing and strategic development for the company. Alion is also supplying the Jalisco plant with its Rover robotic module cleaner, which uses 30 percent less water than some other cleaning systems.
TerraSmart, known for its formidable ground screw, debuted its TF2 Landscape Rack at Intersolar this year, featuring a landscape orientation that can accommodate a 6 foot-by-8 foot table configuration, supporting more modules per foundation, the company said. Despite the large size of the table, the array has been tested for snow loads up to 100 pounds per square foot.
The TF2 L rack requires 66 percent less hardware than the competition, the company claims. The new design also includes simplified hardware stacks for easy materials handling and fast installation through connection points. Together these features reduce installation time by 35 percent, the company claims. The TF2 L flexible design also requires less civil work on constrained sites, translating into additional BOS savings.
Mounting Systems Continue to Innovate
Solar mounting systems already seem highly integrated, but Intersolar leaves no rock unturned in this highly competitive market. Supporting solar trackers and other demanding stress designs, Stanley Engineered Solutions unveiled its new NeoBolt Lockbolt Fastener System. The fastener is installed like a standard rivet, but the non-break stem is specially designed for heavy-duty structural applications. The two piece NeoBolt fastener features a collar and a pin with fine concentric pitch-locking grooves that provide vibration resistance and fatigue performance.
Unlike traditional lockbolt fasteners, there is no pin break, so there is no wasted metal, no corrosion at a pin break surface, no installation shock, and no risk of pintails being dropped into the structure.
“Installers often juggle six different pieces to install a bolted fastener, but we can fasten with only two parts,” said Ryan Bostick, the San Jose sales manager for the Danbury, Conn.-based Engineered Solutions unit of Stanley Black & Decker.

Chilean court sides with developer after builder stops work at 531-MW Alto Maipo hydroelectric project

Chilean court sides with developer after builder stops work at 531-MW Alto Maipo hydroelectric project

 
A ruling by the 8th Civil Court of Santiago has favored utility AES Gener in a dispute with consortium Constructora Nuevo Maipo (CNM) regarding services associated with construction of the 531-MW Alto Maipo hydroelectric project.
CNM, which includes German construction group Hochtief AG and Italy's CMC Di Ravenna, was awarded a contract in November 2012 to build Alto Maipo on the condition that the group provide a US$76 million bid bond as part of the deal.
The court's ruling, however, allows AES Gener to keep the guarantee on the basis that CNM effectively ended its contract when it partially suspended construction at Alto Maipo in May.
According to the court, CNM's decision to stop work was based on safety concerns, but the company did not provide a plan to complete the project.
The court's ruling is not necessarily final, however, as AES and CNM will now face international arbitration, per terms of the 2012 contract, while CNM also maintains the ability to appeal the civil court's decision.
The $2 billion Alto Maipo complex includes two run-of-river facilities -- the 267-MW Las Lajas and 264-MW Alfalfal 2, both of which are located in the upper section of the Maipo River southeast of Santiago.
HydroWorld.com reported in February that Poyry had been awarded an engineering services contract for the project.

In New England, Cooperative Values Drive Solar Growth – Episode 41 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

In New England, Cooperative Values Drive Solar Growth – Episode 41 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

 
New England offers some of the nation’s biggest incentives for renewable energy generation, but high upfront costs and complicated financing mean many residents are still missing out on the opportunity to go solar. But one cooperative, with a series of pioneering programs, is beginning to change that.
Co-op Power, headquartered in Massachusetts, has steadily built up its credentials over the past decade. In a significant milestone, it mounted a $4.3 million community-based fundraising campaign for a biodiesel plant set to go online early next year. It has supported hundreds of rooftop solar installations, and fueled the region’s green job growth.
Leveraging its cooperative structure — underpinned by 500-plus member-owners who help set its strategy and back projects in Massachusetts and New York — the group plans to sharpen its focus on bringing more community solar projects to the grid, then delivering benefits more people in the communities it serves.
To date, Co-op Power has developed a series of innovative projects driving continued success in the marketplace. John Farrell, who leads ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative, explored the group’s past, present and future in a November 2016 conversation with Isaac Baker, a founding member of Co-op Power and its vice president of community solar.

Co-op Financing Benefits
A central barrier blocking community participation in new solar projects is federal securities rules. Designed to shield people from pyramid schemes, the rules either severely limit how solar projects can be advertised, or limit participation to accredited investors — generally speaking, high-net-worth individuals that make up just a fraction of the population. For years, the regulations have added complexity to project financing and held back development (for more on securities implications for community renewable energy, see our 2016 report).
But using its cooperative status, Co-op Power has cracked the door to a much bigger pool of prospective investors. A regulatory exemption for co-ops means the group can tap accredited and non-accredited investors — which is to say, pretty much anyone — to raise up to $1 million per year for its renewables projects.
These members contribute financially, but they also own the organization and help to set its strategy — and, sometimes, even lower its costs. Solar development carries “soft costs” tied to various parts of the process, like recruiting residents to buy panels in an array or identifying sites, that Co-op Power members mitigate where they can.
Often, members will enlist their neighbors in a project or relay ideas about locations that could accommodate a community solar installations. Members’ permitting and planning know-how — some sit on local planning committees — also helps Co-op Power navigate complex municipal development processes.
“We have a lot of insight into how to move effectively through those processes that you wouldn’t see with the standard for-profit developer,” Baker said.
Diversifying Solar Ownership
Co-op Power’s community focus was bolstered by a confirmation from the federal government last year that the tax credits that help finance such projects can be spread between multiple owners of a single array, rather than held by the developer alone.
The decision props up community-owned solar projects. Community solar has emerged as a popular way for anyone to go solar, regardless of whether they own a sunny rooftop. Still, in most cases, the projects are owned by for-profit companies, with participants relegated to the role of “subscribers,” sharing the output from the solar project. More accessible tax credits  open the door toCo-op Power’s “direct ownership” model.
Those who own panels see a bigger payoff from solar installations than those who lease a panel on their rooftop or subscribe to a community solar project owned by someone else. A study by the state of Massachusetts found direct ownership “drives a substantially higher economic benefit” for project investors.
Co-op Power’s platform means its members amplify their payoff.
“Residents are able to buy into a project by actually owning panels in one of these large ground-mounted or roof-mounted arrays that we’ve seen popping up around the state,” Baker said. “They can actually benefit from that tax credit directly against their income taxes, making the investment much more attractive and valuable for an individual customer.”
Without an opportunity for ordinary participants to receive tax credits, Co-op Power would need tax equity investors to round out financing. Those backers, including cash-rich Wall Street investors, put up a portion of upfront costs and in turn claim the tax credits themselves. They buy in to projects largely because tax credits provide steep returns with a quick turnaround. As much as half of the tax incentive benefit is re-routed to Wall Street, instead of local project owners.
With Co-op Power, more of the financial upside funnels directly to community members.
Especially in states like Massachusetts, with relatively hefty tax credits and incentives for renewable energy projects, finding ways to divert value toward communities is vital, Baker said. He pegged current state incentives for distributed solar projects at $0.28 per kilowatt-hour, not counting the value of the electricity produced on site.
“At the end of the day, those tax equity investors can enable some business models to work effectively, but ultimately when we’re able to distribute that value back to the consumer, we keep more of those dollars locally and in the project,” Baker said.
Expanding Solar Benefits
Co-op Power’s programming extends across income brackets, with some innovative ways for lower income residents to participate.
A loan program helps those earning 80% or more of the area median income purchase solar panels, but it’s often not a viable pathway for lower earners who may also have poor credit scores. Instead, the organization crafted an alternative arrangement that offers a no-money-down-option for those residents.
Through the program — which Baker describes as a sort of “reverse community solar” — Co-op Power uses individual home rooftops for solar installations. In turn, the homeowner receives 20 percent of the array’s generation applied as a credit to their electricity bills. Ideally, Co-op Power bundles a portfolio of dozens of houses, usually in urban areas, through virtual net metering.
The remaining 80 percent of rooftop-generated power feeds an “anchor institution” — any big energy user, such as a university, hospital or municipality. That buyer receives the aggregate output through a power purchase agreement, simplifying the financials enough to make solar work for households otherwise sidelined by low credit scores or underwriting challenges.
Despite Success, Barriers Remain
Even considering Co-op Power’s significant success in expanding ownership of renewable energy in New England, obstacles loom over solar growth prospects in Massachusetts and New York. Notably, a lack of cooperation from utilities bogs down projects’ development and ramps up their price tags.
Baker estimated that a project’s permitting process could rack up costs between $50,000 and $500,000. On top of that, before a utility signs off on interconnection, it typically requires the developer to pay for a third-party study on grid impact. The pricing for that starts around $10,000 but could balloon to as much as $30,000.
And even after all that, a utility can still say no. That risk complicates the prospect of attracting project financing.
It’s a problem that could be solved in part if utilities offered more transparent disclosure of suitable spots to install solar on the grid. That’s what California utilities must provide (as shown in a map from Southern California Edison), and it’s what Co-op Power is fighting to see in the states it serves.
“If the utility was more transparent about saying this is where smart solar development can and should happen on our grid, and actually turn that over to the public,” Baker said, “we would have a lot more ability to avoid a lot of cost and time in developing these projects.”
This is the 41st edition of Local Energy Rules, an ILSR podcast with Director of Energy Democracy John Farrell that shares powerful stories of successful local renewable energy and exposes the policy and practical barriers to its expansion. Other than his immediate family, the audience is primarily researchers, grassroots organizers, and grasstops policy wonks who want vivid examples of how local renewable energy can power local economies.
This article was originally published at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell or Karlee Weinmann on Twitter or get the Energy Democracy weekly update.
Photo Credit: Werner Kunz via Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Contract Wins and Acquisitions Further Growth of Global Offshore Wind Industry

Contract Wins and Acquisitions Further Growth of Global Offshore Wind Industry

 
The UK generates more electricity from offshore wind than any other country, meeting 5 percent of total national demand. That figure is likely to grow, with the sector predicted to be worth just under £3B [US $3.9B] to the UK economy by 2030.
DONG Energy’s 1.2-GW Hornsea Project One will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world once built and on Monday, July 17, international marine and engineering consultancy LOC Renewables announced that it will be carrying out marine warranty surveying (MWS) services on Hornsea Project One. The site, which will consist of 174 turbines installed off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea is scheduled for commissioning in 2020.
Working with contractor teams on site, LOC will review the procedures and technical designs for the transportation and installation for offshore substations and for array cables connecting turbines to the substations.
With Hornsea Project One being larger and further from shore than any UK wind farm to date, LOC said that its MWS service will provide assurance to the contractors, the developer, and their underwriters that the transportation and installation of all offshore substations and array cables will be conducted safely and effectively within the challenging operating conditions imposed by the project’s unique location.
“Developing the UK supply chain is key to bringing down the cost of offshore wind, and we have contracted many UK suppliers for Hornsea Project One,” added Duncan Clark, Senior Programme Director, at DONG Energy.
“As a UK-based leader in marine warranty surveying, with an international pedigree, LOC was the ideal choice to undertake this work for what will be the biggest wind farm in the world.”
In addition to those located in UK waters, LOC has provided services on more than two thirds of European offshore wind farms.
In related cabling news, UK-based offshore oil, gas and renewable company JDR Cables announced that it is being acquired by Poland-based TELE-FONIKA Kable (TFKable) subject to regulatory approval.
Both companies have a long history of collaboration, with TFKable being JDR’s important business partner providing water blocked power cores for its cable and umbilical systems. JDR’s highly technical subsea systems, used in the global offshore oil, gas and renewable industries, allow its customers to power and control their offshore operations, and will enhance the range of cable solutions TFKable can provide to its customers, said the companies.
JDR was recently selected by US Wind to provide cabling to U.S. offshore wind farms.
TFKable said it is planning to maintain JDR’s operations in current locations, “providing new opportunities for the local employees and business partners, and offering our customers innovative solutions,” according to Monika Cupiał-Zgryzek, Chief Executive Officer of TFKable.
David Currie, JDR’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: "This acquisition creates a strong platform for JDR to enhance its position in offshore energy cables and umbilicals. It demonstrates the value JDR’s leadership has created through targeted investment in subsea technology, services and manufacturing facilities, and the talent and expertise of our staff. This news marks the next exciting chapter of our business."

Die Herkunft darf keine Rolle spielen – allein die Qualität muss zählen!

Die Herkunft darf keine Rolle spielen – allein die Qualität muss zählen!


Die Herkunft, Hautfarbe, Abstammung darf die Beurteilung, Bewertung oder Behandlung nicht beeinflussen. Was für uns Menschen in einer aufgeklärten, demokratisch organisierten Gesellschaft als selbstverständlich, zumindest aber als unbedingt erstrebenswert angesehen wird, gilt bei Solarmodulen schon lange nicht mehr. Als wesentlich wichtiger als die Herkunft, sollten natürlich die inneren Werte erkannt und anerkannt werden. Auf Zellen und Module angewendet, müsste die Verarbeitungsqualität als oberstes Bewertungskriterium angewendet werden. Sie ist entscheidend für die spätere Energieausbeute und Langlebigkeit einer PV-Installation. Preis und Verfügbarkeit sind außerdem noch sehr wichtig für deren Wirtschaftlichkeit.
In der Realität ist die Herkunft leider sehr entscheidend für die Bewertung, sowohl bei uns Menschen – schauen wir auf die aktuelle Flüchtlingsproblematik – als auch bei Solarmodulen. Wir Europäer, aber auch Amerikaner, haben Angst, von ausländischen, billigen Arbeitskräften (oder billigen Modulen) überrannt zu werden, die unsere heimische Wirtschaft gefährden oder gar kaputt machen. Dabei gibt es reichlich Bedarf, sowohl an der einen, als auch an der anderen Ressource. Aber auf die Qualifizierung bzw. die Qualität wird selten geschaut, es ist immer die Herkunft und die scheinbar unbegrenzte Verfügbarkeit, die uns zurückschrecken lässt.
Der europäische Solarmarkt benötigt qualitativ hochwertige und dabei preiswerte Module in großen Mengen. Chinesische Hersteller könnten diesen Bedarf befriedigen. Trotzdem hindert die Europäische Union diese seit fast vier Jahren daran, den dringenden Modulbedarf zu decken. Die Entwicklung des Marktes, insbesondere der Wertschöpfungskette unterhalb der Hersteller, wird dadurch massiv ausgebremst. Zynischerweise wird bei internationalen Treffen der größten Wirtschaftsmächte regelmäßig vereinbart, Handelsbarrieren abzubauen und Protektionismus zu beenden. So geschehen kürzlich wieder beim G20-Gipfel in Hamburg. Aber es bleibt meistens bei warmen Worten – nichts Entscheidendes wird unternommen.
Natürlich müssen gleichzeitig Regeln aufgestellt werden, damit ein fairer Wettbewerb möglich ist und die lokalen Standards nicht leiden. Niemand in der EU ist glücklich mit qualitativ minderwertigen Modulen, selbst wenn sie zum Schleuderpreis verramscht werden. Gut, ein paar Player gibt es immer, die auch solche Ware kaufen, aber die wissen in der Regel, worauf sie sich einlassen. Alle größeren chinesischen Produzenten bewegen sich aber technisch auf einem sehr hohen Niveau. Sie können sehr gute Qualität produzieren, wenn man sie lässt, beziehungsweise es von ihnen verlangt. Und selbst wenn hohe Qualitätsanforderungen an deren Produkte gestellt werden, können diese aufgrund des hohen Automatisierungsgrads und von Skaleneffekten immer noch preisgünstiger angeboten werden, als die Produkte aus den wesentlich kleineren europäischen Fertigungen. Der Preisunterschied ist keinesfalls riesig, gleiche Qualität vorausgesetzt, aber bei größeren Projekten durchaus entscheidend.
Mit dem Argument des Preisdumpings und unfairen Wettbewerbs wurden jedoch hochprofessionelle Anbieter vom EU-Markt quasi ausgeschlossen und die Tore stattdessen für Produkte aus anderen Teilen Asiens mit oft ungeklärter Herkunft und Qualität geöffnet. Sehr schnell passten sich chinesische Konzerne den neuen Bedingungen an, mieteten sich in taiwanesischen, vietnamesischen oder malaysischen Produktionen ein und schraubten die Qualitätsanforderungen runter, um dem aufkommenden Preisdruck der neuen Player im Markt standzuhalten. Mittlerweile ist die Modulqualität im Markt beinahe auf einem niedrigeren Level als noch vor vier Jahren, die Probleme mit Ausfällen von Produkten jüngeren Herstellungsdatums häufen sich.
Insgesamt ist auch die Verfügbarkeit für Solarmodule jeglicher Bauart und Zelltechnologie im Moment schlecht, was zu einer allgemeinen Stagnation der bisher eher abwärts gerichteten Preisentwicklung führt. Einerseits fehlen hier die Mengen europäischer Hersteller, die den aktuell ansteigenden Bedarf, erst recht nach Ausscheiden von Solarworld als ernstzunehmendem Lieferanten, gar nicht alleine bedienen könnten. Andererseits wird es immer schwieriger, asiatische Module zu importieren, selbst wenn die Hersteller sich auf der „White List“ der Europäischen Kommission befinden. Kaum ein niederländischer Dienstleister bietet noch die Fiskalverzollung für taiwanesische oder malaysische Module an, da ihm das Haftungsrisiko zu groß ist und die Situation aktuell zu undurchsichtig. Will man solche Module in Europa einführen, gelingt dies oft nur noch über den kostspieligeren Umweg anderer Zolllager außerhalb der großen Häfen und Umschlagplätze. Diesem Unfug muss umgehend Einhalt geboten werden!
Das Ende der Erstellung und Veröffentlichung eines herkunftsbezogenen Preisindizes hatte ich ja bereits vor eineinhalb Jahren angekündigt (Marktkommentar Marktkommentar von Oktober 2015). Begründet hatte ich diesen Schritt mit der zunehmenden Schwierigkeit, die Herkunft einzelner Modulkontingente überhaupt zu bestimmen – daran hat sich prinzipiell nichts geändert. Zusätzlich ist die Vielfalt der Akteure seit damals nochmals deutlich zurückgegangen. Mit diesem Monat beende ich die Erhebung der nach regionaler Herkunft unterschiedenen Modulpreise offiziell und demonstrativ – getreu nach dem Motto und der Überschrift dieses Kommentars.
Übersicht der nach Technologie unterschiedenen Preispunkte im Juli 2017 (Stand 17.07.2017) inklusive der Veränderungen zum Vormonat:
ModulklassePreis (€/Wp)Veränderung
ggü. Vormonat
Beschreibung
High Efficiency0,51– 1,9 %Kristalline Module ab 280 Wp, mit Cello-, PERC-, HIT-, N-Type- oder Rückseitenkontakt-Zellen oder Kombinationen daraus
All Black0,50 0,0 %Modultypen mit schwarzer Rückseitenfolie, schwarzem Rahmen und einer Nennleistung  zwischen 200 Wp und 275 Wp
Mainstream0,41 0,0 %Module mit üblicherweise 60-Zellen, Standard-Alurahmen, weißer Rückseitenfolie und 250 bis 275 Wp, repräsentieren den Großteil der Module im Markt
Low Cost0,28+ 3,7 %Minderleistungsmodule, B-Ware, Insolvenzware, Gebrauchtmodule (kristallin), Produkte mit eingeschränkter oder ohne Garantie
(Die dargestellten Preise geben die durchschnittlichen Angebotspreise für verzollte Ware auf dem europäischen Spotmarkt wieder.)

Net Metering in den Niederlanden bis 2023 zugesichert

Net Metering in den Niederlanden bis 2023 zugesichert


Der niederländische Wirtschaftsminister Henk Kamp hat den 450.000 Eigenheimbesitzern mit Photovoltaik-Anlagen die Fortzahlung des Net Metering bis 2023 zugesichert. Die ursprüngliche Vereinbarung wäre 2020 ausgelaufen. In einem an das Parlament gerichteten Brief betont der Minister jedoch die Notwendigkeit einer Änderung des Vergütungssystems und schlägt Alternativen für die Zukunft vor.
Die Alternativvorschläge fußen dabei auf einer Studie des Energieforschungszentrums der Niederlande (ECN), die fünf verschiedene Szenarien für die Zukunft des Net Metering präsentiert. Jedes einzelne Szenario gebe dabei Auskunft über die möglichen Auswirkungen auf die Steuereinnahmen, die Nachhaltigkeit des Programms und auf die Anzahl der Neuinstallationen in den kommenden Jahren. Einer der Autoren des Berichts, Marc Londo, Professor an der Universität Utrecht sagte pv magazine, dass in allen Szenarien, die von der Studie vorgelegt wurden, der Eigenkonsum weiterhin zulässig ist. Die neue Regierung müsse sich nun für eine der fünf Möglichkeiten entscheiden.
Wirtschaftsminister Kamp sagt jedoch auch, dass es für die Zeit nach 2023 eine neue Regelung gefunden werden müsse, da die Anzahl von Photovoltaik-Anlagen stetig wachse. Zudem seien Solarmodule in den letzten Jahren signifikant preiswerter geworden, sodass auch die staatliche Subventionierung abnehmen müsse. Der Wirtschaftsminister überlässt die endgültige Entscheidung jedoch der kommenden Regierung.
In dem Brief an das Parlament habe Kamp nun zwei der fünf Möglichkeiten vorgeschlagen, die Kosten für die öffentliche Hand zu senken. Die erste richte sich an Energieunternehmen. Diese sollen durch einen vom Markt bestimmten niedrigeren Tarif für privat erzeugten Strom zahlen, der später eine Aufstockung durch einen staatlichen Zuschuss erhält. Die zweite Option sei eine einmalige Subvention für den Kauf einer Solaranlage. Seitens der niederländischen Energiewirtschaft werde ein Finanzierungsmodell bevorzugt, bei dem sich der Tarif an den Kosten der Photovoltaik-Anlage orientiert. Ziel sei es, die Vergütung so zu bemessen, dass sich die Solaranlage innerhalb von sieben Jahren amortisiert.