Posted Mar 10, 2014, 5:27 PM
constructum omnia ubique
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: lodged against an abutment
Indian state signs MoU for 7.5 GW of new PV capacity
04. March 2014 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Ian Clover
The state of Jammu and Kashmir pen MoU with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India.
Senior officials from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India's MNRE for the implementation of 7.5 GW worth of solar power projects.
During a high-level meeting chaired by MNRE Union minister Farooq Abdullah, the MoU agreement gave the green light for a planned 5 GW capacity solar project in Ladakh and a proposed 2.5 GW project in Kargil.
The MoU was the result of a committed continuance of Indian government support for state-led initiatives, said Abdullah, who waxed lyrical on the solar potential of both regions mentioned in the draft.
Ladakh, said the minister, could quite easily add 30 GW of solar PV capacity, with this MoU the first step on a long path towards a clean and green future. The region is located in India's Himalayas and enjoys stable levels of high irradiance and an abundance of available land.
California’s Solar Demands Reshape Grid’s Energy Load
By Jason Ridge
Featured, Green Living
March 10, 2014
Renewables are beginning to make real changes to the energy grid, especially in California where solar power – in particular – has become more widely adopted. The state currently leads the US in solar energy production, and in 2012, 983 MW of grid connected PV capacity were added in the state. Growth in renewables, especially from solar, is predicted to continue affecting the use of traditional energy sources.
In the past, California has enacted several programs designed to increase the use of renewables, particularly solar (e.g. the California Solar Initiative, which expired in 2013). More recently the state passed a relatively flexible energy storage mandate, which requires utilities to acquire 1325 MW of energy storage devices by 2020.
Why include storage in renewable energy mandates? The idea of utilities using energy storage during the day (when prices from traditional energy options are higher) is relatively new and only makes sense in a renewable energy context. Thanks to solar, it’s anticipated that demand for energy from traditional sources has started to decrease during mid-afternoon when solar power is peaking. But sunset brings with it a new ramp up in power requirements just as solar generation is ramping down. This creates a spike that has been, to date, mainly responded to by bringing more generator turbine capacity online. The new model, that includes battery storage, will allow the turbines to run all day and store the excess energy created in batteries. These batteries in turn, will discharge their stored power in the early evening hours to smooth the surge in power requirements as consumers return from work and turn on air conditioners, lights, televisions, etc. This is the reverse of the way batteries have been used in the past, especially in states like California where the power demand from consumers has been steadily increasing. Southern California’s major population center around Los Angeles comprises a huge draw on power around sunset, as does the Bay Area, California’s second-largest population center. Utilities that incorporate renewables will require energy storage in order to continue to run their turbines during the day and store energy for use at sunset to smooth spikes. These ‘spikes’ are created by an increase in power usage at the intersection of a decrease in renewable power supply.
Sun setting on European solar
10. March 2014 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Investor news, Markets & Trends | By: Max Hall
The latest EPIA figures paint a grim picture of the European solar market. But outside the volatile German and Italian markets, installations in Europe stabilized at 6 GW last year.
The rapidly waning influence of European markets on the global solar industry has been illustrated by the latest figures produced by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).
At the organization's ninth market workshop in Brussels on Thursday, the EPIA revealed Europe's share of the world's newly installed solar capacity last year was just 28%, down from 59% in 2012, as the continent was overtaken by Asia as the world's leading region for solar.
With China – with 11.3 GW of new solar – and Japan (6.9 GW) driving the Asian powerhouse, the EPIA's figures showed the amount of solar installed in former world number one Germany fell 57% to 3.3 GW thanks to planned regulatory changes with Italy's contraction even more startling – a 70% decline to 1.1 to 1.4 GW.
Those falls came despite another record year for solar with at least 37 GW added worldwide to reach a cumulative 136,7 GW, up 35% on 2012.
Canadian Solar hits go on new Ontario fab
By Ben Willis - 10 March 2014, 12:09
In News, Fab & Facilities, PV Modules
PV producer Canadian Solar has officially opened the doors of a new module factory in London, Ontario.
The facility will produce modules for Samsung Renewable Energy, which has a 300MW PV pipeline in the province.
The fab, which began operations last November, will produce Canadian Solar modules for Samsung projects including the 100MW Grand Renewable Energy Park and the 100MW Sol-Luce Kingston Solar PV project.
Samsung has signed a CA$5 million ‘green energy investment agreement’ with the Ontario government, which will eventually see 300MW of PV built and create up to 9,000 jobs.
“The London manufacturing facility will produce modules and medium voltage power stations to support the build out of Samsung's solar project pipeline and create green jobs in the Province of Ontario market,” said Shawn Qu, Canadian Solar’s chairman and chief executive.
Ontario is looking to phase out coal-fired power generation by the end of this year.
HCPV cell efficiencies to exceed 45% by 2017, says IHS
By Andy Colthorpe - 10 March 2014, 12:07
In News, Power Generation, Market Watch
High-concentration PV (HCPV) systems will reach cell efficiencies exceeding 45% by 2017, while the world’s biggest regional markets for HCPV will be in the United States and central America, according to a new report by analysis firm IHS.
IHS also predicts that the competitive landscape for CPV will “liven up” over the next five years, with the market still in the early phases of growth. In a release to accompany the report, 'CPV on the edge of breakthrough', IHS says “HCPV is gradually becoming attractive in several regions of the world".
In addition to the US and Central America, the company has predicted that the HCPV market in South America will show “enormous growth”, while the Middle East and Africa will show the “greatest increase” of all regional markets. Excluding South Africa, the Middle East and Africa region will see installations boom from 1.8MW in 2012 to 155MW by 2017, with demand mainly expected to be driven by Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
South America meanwhile, will begin installing HCPV generation capacity by the end of this year, before installations surge to 560MW by the end of 2017.
China is expected to become increasingly important as a supplier of modules, but IHS also predicts the south west region of the Asian country could host “prime” HCPV locations.
Cell efficiencies for HCPV systems are currently at around 40% to 42%. IHS expects this figure to exceed 45% by 2017. According to IHS this will lead the efficiencies of commercial systems to increase by around 5% to 40%. At 40% to 42% cell efficiency, current commercial system efficiencies are at around 35%.
[ Florian Aigenr | Press Release 21/2014 ]
Atomically Thin Solar Cells
Ultrathin layers made of Tungsten and Selenium have been created at the Vienna University of Technology. Experiments show that they may be used as flexible, semi-transparent solar cells.
It does not get any thinner than this: The novel material graphene consists of only one atomic layer of carbon atoms and exhibits very special electronic properties. As it turns out, there are other materials too, which can open up intriguing new technological possibilities if they are arranged in just one or very few atomic layers. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have now succeeded for the first time in creating a diode made of tungsten diselenide. Experiments show that this material may be used to create ultrathin flexible solar cells. Even flexible displays could become possible.
Thin Layers are Different
At least since the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded in 2010 for creating graphene, the “two dimensional crystals" made of carbon atoms have been regarded as one of the most promising materials in electronics. In 2013, graphene research was chosen by the EU as a flagship-project, with a funding of one billion euros. Graphene can sustain extreme mechanical strain and it has great opto-electronic properties. With graphene as a light detector, optical signals can be transformed into electric pulses on extremely short timescales.
For one very similar application, however, graphene is not well suited for building solar cells. “The electronic states in graphene are not very practical for creating photovoltaics”, says Thomas Mueller. Therefore, he and his team started to look for other materials, which, similarly to graphene, can arranged in ultrathin layers, but have even better electronic properties.
The material of choice was tungsten diselenide: It consists of one layer of tungsten atoms, which are connected by selenium atoms above and below the tungsten plane. The material absorbs light, much like graphene, but in tungsten diselenide, this light can be used to create electrical power.
The World’s Thinnest Solar Cells
The layer is so thin that 95% of the light just passes through – but a tenth of the remaining five percent, which are absorbed by the material, are converted into electrical power. Therefore, the internal efficiency is quite high. A larger portion of the incident light can be used if several of the ultrathin layers are stacked on top of each other – but sometimes the high transparency can be a useful side effect. “We are envisioning solar cell layers on glass facades, which let part of the light into the building while at the same time creating electricity”, says Thomas Mueller.
Today, standard solar cells are mostly made of silicon, they are rather bulky and inflexible. Organic materials are also used for opto-electronic applications, but they age rather quickly. “A big advantage of two-dimensional structures of single atomic layers is their crystallinity. Crystal structures lend stability”, says Thomas Mueller.
Hawaii schools to install 100 MW of solar PV on microgrids
The Department of Education in the U.S. state of Hawaii has partnered with Chevron Energy Solutions (San Francisco, California, U.S.) to launch a five-year sustainability program. This will include the installation of roughly 100 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV) and 25 MW of wind to power microgrids at schools.
The multifaceted program will also feature “aggressive” energy efficiency measures and demand response. DOE does not expect the program to be run into utility Hawaiian Electric Companies' (HECO, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.) limits on PV generation due to the use of microgrids.
“Ka Hei is a comprehensive program that goes well beyond a traditional facilities improvement project but rather, focuses on driving broad-based impacts and results for the Department of Education and the communities which it serves,” notes Chevron Energy Solutions Regional Manager Brian Kaleoha.
The program will support goals set by the state in 2008 to achieve 70% clean energy by 2030.
India solar: MNRE to support 17,500 solar water pumps, 68,000 small PV systems, PV lighting systems
India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has approved INR 299 crore (USD 48 million) to subsidize the installation of 17,500 solar water pumps in the nation to support irrigation for agriculture.
The total project cost is estimated at INR 997 crore (USD 160 million), and is limited to states that are willing to contribute at least 15% of project costs.
MNRE names eight participating states including Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. MNRE will review the program in six months.
MNRE funds small PV/PV lighting program
MNRE has also committed to funding a program to subsidize the installation of 68,000 solar photovoltaic lights and small solar photovoltaic (PV) systems through various state-owned and cooperative banks under the nation's National Solar Mission (NSM).
The total cost of installing these 68,000 systems is estimated at INR 367 crore (USD 60 million), and MNRE expects to pay out up to INR 150 crore (USD 24 million) in subsidies.
The program will provide a 40% subsidiary for PV systems up to 300 watts with batteries, and 30% for PV systems up to 1 kW. The banks will provide loans for the remaining 60% of the cost at normal interest rates.
UK energy markets ‘need reform’ to unblock path for storage
By Andy Colthorpe | 10 March 2014, 6:06 Updated: 10 March 2014, 10:02
It will only be possible to unlock the potential of energy storage in the UK if the regulation of energy markets is reconfigured to reward its value, a top academic at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has said.
Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the institute, spoke at a seminar on energy storage technologies at the Ecobuild show in London on Thursday. During his talk Fox pointed out that in his view, energy storage could help Britain meet renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.
Fox also said that while current initiatives including pilot deployment programmes by government agencies such as the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) were to be welcomed, government support at present did “not meet the required ambitions". In addition to energy market reforms, Fox advocated direct government support mechanisms such as subsidies or grants for energy storage projects and research.
Speaking to PV Tech, Fox said that the lack of clear business models is a “major challenge to moving forward” with the use of energy storage in the UK.
“The way the UK energy markets are configured at the moment, energy storage isn’t rewarded for the value that it could potentially bring to the market. So we need the development of business models that enable energy storage providers and operators to essentially make money out of energy storage within the energy system,” Fox said.
“That’s all about market reform and the requirements are different in electricity, heat and transport but fundamentally it comes back to the issue that these areas are regulated by governments. The markets need to be reconfigured to allow storage to enter the market place.”
When asked by Solar Power Portal which was most important, Fox claimed that three levels of support are essential – two financial, one regulatory.
“Firstly, with technologies that are in early stages of development there needs to be an intervention by governments to enable those technologies to be demonstrated at commercial scale – that’s a direct funding, grants, awards-type of funding from DECC, or from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) or whoever but someone needs to take responsibility for enabling commercial-scale demonstrations to take place.
“Secondly once those technologies are being demonstrated at the commercial level, they clearly need an entry into market and as with all clean technologies in their initial phases for early adoption and market entry, they need some form of government incentivisation. Just like wind and solar have benefitted from feed-in tariffs (FiTs) and Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and will benefit from Contracts for Difference (CfDs). We need a similar specific mechanism to enable energy storage to get started both at the utility level but also at the local community level.
“The third thing is – beyond that [early adoption stage] – clearly we need to make sure the market is configured in such a way that once those technologies are adopted on a critical mass level, then market forces can take over and they can do business in the marketplace.”
Schadenfreude about RWE? Think you would have done better?
March 10, 2014 - Author: Craig Morris
RWE has posted its first loss since World War II. Everyone – not only proponents of renewables – now claims that the firm’s management failed to see how renewables would affect its bottom line. That’s true, but even if they had, what should they have done? More importantly, what should they do now?
German economics daily Handelsblatt says RWE’s predicament is not its current CEO’s fault (Peter Terium), but the fault of the previous one, Jürgen Großmann, who left the firm a “dinosaur.” Der Spiegel, which complains about everything, disagrees, saying that Terium’s “strategy is complaining.” (Talk about a crow calling a raven black…)
So what exactly should the firm have done? Let’s play a little game – it’s 2000 (the year in which the German government adopted its Renewable Energy Act and the nuclear phaseout), and you are the CEO of RWE. I’m going to be the chairman of the supervisory board and tell you whether your ideas are good or bad.
The new feed-in tariffs (like the old ones) are available to everyone, so RWE can take advantage of them. You would like to invest in renewables. I’m not so sure. The return is estimated at 5-7 percent. Our capital is limited, and we are generally not happy getting less than 10 percent. Why settle for half as much?
Furthermore, we are entering the era of liberalized markets. Power firms used to sit down with the government and negotiate prices to prevent customers from being gouged – but in return, our profits were practically guaranteed. (How else do you think we managed to post a profit every single year for seven decades?) These feed-in tariffs, however, do not guarantee anything. We might get five percent, or we might lose money.
And have you thought about how renewables are going to hurt our current assets? The more we invest in solar, the more peak demand at noon time will be wiped out, which will affect our gas turbines. And wind power is produced wildly day and night. If we get too much of this (laughter in the board room), it will start cutting into the medium load and possibly even the baseload at times of low demand, such as at night – then, our coal and nuclear plants are also affected.
The board agrees not to invest in renewables (and you justifiably leave the room in a sweat, aware that we have our eye on you now…).
Fast-forward to 2005. Since last year, feed-in tariffs have been offered without limits for photovoltaics, but still only a few hundred MW a year is being installed. The wind market peaked in 2002 and has slumped noticeably since. You still think we should take renewables more seriously, but we inform you of some more urgent problems that need addressing.
Emissions trading just got started, and we are awash in cash; the allowances were handed out for free, and we have a lot of liquidity to invest. However, by 2016 most coal plants in Europe will have to close because of new emissions standards. You timidly suggest that wind, PV, and biomass could replace some of that capacity, but board members only roll their eyes and say new coal plants that fulfill these new standards should be built. Your next suggestion does make us think, however – the carbon price could go up over the next few decades, making these investments in new coal risky.
You sure got the board’s attention! But after a lengthy discussion, it is agreed that the nuclear phaseout and the new emissions standards for coal plants will simply remove too much baseload power, so investments should be made in new baseload capacity.
Fast-forward to February 2011. The economic crisis means that all bets are off. The price of carbon is headed down. Wind turbines continue to be installed at a rate of just under 2 GW per year, but solar just exploded – in 2010, around 7.5 GW was installed. Even the German Environmental Ministry has been caught with its pants down. In its “Leitstudie” (essentially, the master plan for the Energiewende, which is updated every year) of 2008 (PDF in German), they expected 7.7 GW of PV to be installed by the end of 2010 cumulatively (see Tabelle 5). By 2050, the BMU believed Germany would have 29.0 GW of photovoltaics installed (which we had in 2012).
We’ll stop this game now; I hope I’ve made my point – there is a certain logic to the conventional utility business model, and those expressing schadenfreude about RWE would hardly have navigated the firm better. We would have all failed in two ways.
First, investing in renewables was never in the interest of energy corporations. The reason why Germany succeeded in ramping up renewables is because they understood this and came up with a policy that would allow others to make these investments – citizens, energy co-ops, municipals, etc.
Second, no one expected PV to grow this fast. The sudden boom of PV has been much more disruptive than the more gradual growth of wind and biomass. I didn’t see this coming, Peter Terium didn’t, and the German Environmental Ministry didn’t. I’d wager that none of the people complaining about RWE’s shortsightedness can paste in a link in the comments below demonstrating that they knew we would be where we are today five years ago.
What should RWE do? I don’t know, and I don’t see too many good suggestions out there elsewhere – but go ahead, put yours in the comments below. Maybe we need to be open to the idea that large power corporations were needed for central-station power plants, but that their role in a renewable future will be much smaller. At the moment, even the proposal to have them leverage their size to set up an enabling infrastructure – such as charging stations for electric cars – seems unlikely. The firms don’t even have the liquidity anymore.
Last edited by amor de cosmos; Mar 10, 2014 at 6:09 PM.