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Friday, December 1, 2023

Emissions, aerosols negatively affect PV productivity, say Australian engineers

December 01, 2023 0

A study by engineers at Australia's University of New South Wales (UNSW) shows that aerosols and greenhouse gas emissions reduce the productivity of PV installations, with variations across regions.

From pv magazine Australia

Researchers from the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering have mapped PV productivity across future emissions scenarios in various parts of the world, with a focus on maximizing potential and minimizing costs in warmer climates.

Greenhouse gases affect climate change and global temperatures, but the study identifies additional impacts of aerosols on global horizontal irradiance (GHI). The study assessed the role of aerosols and cloud cover, along with temperature, solar radiation, and wind speed.

In addition to applying different emissions models over different world regions, the research also investigated the difference between mono-crystalline silicon (mono-Si) and thin-film modules to find out which would be more beneficial under different future climate scenarios. This is significant, of course, since mono-Si modules are dominant in the market but thin-film modules are more resilient to warmer climates, highlighting the importance of improving thermal management in PV modules. In Australia, for example, PV reductions were shown to be significant for mono-Si but not for thin film.

The study’s models reflecting different emission-level scenarios made such differences clear across global regions. The study found that, with increasing climate change, solar resources increased in West and Central Europe, South America, and Central North America. In contrast, global horizontal irradiance (GHI) reductions were predicted in northeast Africa, the Tibetan plateau and South Asia.

Image: University of New South Wales, Renewable Energy, Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0

To continue reading, please visit our pv magazine Australia website.



from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/9adEYqz

M10 solar cell prices dive to new record low

December 01, 2023 0

In a new weekly update for pv magazine, OPIS, a Dow Jones company, provides a quick look at the main price trends in the global PV industry.

The FOB China prices of both PERC and TOPCon Mono M10 cells, the mainstream size of solar cells in the current solar market, continued their downward trajectory and were assessed at $0.0550 per W and $0.0616/W this week, respectively. This marks their lowest prices ever, according to OPIS data, amid falling prices of the entire supply chain and weak demand in China and its key export market.

Cell prices were negatively impacted by the ongoing price decline of the supply chain in China. Prices for China polysilicon and Mono PERC M10 wafers both decreased this week by 4.07% and 0.40%, respectively. The price of Mono PERC modules is approximately CNY1.011 ($0.14)/W, which is extremely close to the industry's psychologically low value of CNY1/W, while the prices of TOPCon modules are slightly higher at CNY1.077/W.

OPIS learnt from its market survey that cell manufacturers are making every effort to lower production costs as they are experiencing losses. One of the approaches is to buy wafers of reduced quality. According to a cell supplier, the Mono PERC M10 wafers with reduced quality are available on the China market for CNY1.7/pc while good quality wafers are still priced between CNY2.2/pc and CNY2.3/pc. This may resonate with a few downstream users who have been worried about the impact that this competition to cut production costs may have on module quality for 2024.

Another strategy for cell manufacturers to cut production costs is to outsource their production to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). OPIS has learnt from the marketplace that a major cell manufacturer has an extremely high operating rate, as it has won numerous contracts from other cell companies that have outsourced their cell production.

According to OPIS’ market survey, manufacturers who outsource cell production benefit from the low cost brought by the high operating rates of OEMs, and could provide Mono PERC M10 cells at lower than CNY0.43/W in the China market. Those who continue to produce at low operating rates in their own production facilities are still offering it at around CNY0.45/W.

Sentiment in China remains bearish. According to the National Energy Administration, China deployed 13.62 gigawatts (GW) of solar in October, which presents a month-to-month decrease of 13.69%. This is the third straight month that China's newly installed solar capacity has declined.

China’s key export markets continue to offer little sunshine. A state-owned cell manufacturing enterprise claims that sales of its cells have been hindered since the second half of the year, especially in the cell export market. Purchasing Chinese cells has become a rare occurrence for their Southeast Asian consumers, although formerly they did so regularly.

“The module producers cannot use Chinese cells if they want to ship their products to the US market; the local Southeast Asian market has a very limited solar capacity to digest Chinese cells and modules,” this supplier explained.

Looking ahead, the industry anticipates that the price of Mono PERC M10 cells will continue to decrease, with industry discussions suggesting that it may drop to approximately CNY0.4/W very soon in the Chinese domestic market. This indicates that the sentiment in the cell market will remain subdued.

OPIS, a Dow Jones company, provides energy prices, news, data, and analysis on gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, LPG/NGL, coal, metals, and chemicals, as well as renewable fuels and environmental commodities. It acquired pricing data assets from Singapore Solar Exchange in 2022 and now publishes the OPIS APAC Solar Weekly Report.



from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/t6EKMo7

New Zeland’s largest utility-scale solar project starts generating power

December 01, 2023 0

Lodestone Energy has started generating electricity at its solar plant in Kaitaia, New Zealand – the nation's largest solar array and first utility-scale PV installation to date.

From pv magazine Australia

Renewables developer Lodestone Energy has started generating energy at its 39.4 MW solar project in Kaitaia, on New Zealand's North Island. The developer, which started work in late 2022 and broke ground in April 2023, expects the project to generate 55 GWh of power per year.

Besides the Kaitaia Solar Farm, Lodestone’s phase-one capital program includes solar projects at Edgecumbe, Waiotahe, Whitianga and Dargaville. While Kaitaia is the first of Lodestone’s solar farms to start generating, Edgecumbe is expected to be commissioned early in 2024 and Waiotahe late in the same year.

“This project ushers in a new era for energy in New Zealand. Kaitaia is the first solar farm at this scale and is a key step in helping New Zealand deliver on its climate goals,” said Gary Holden, managing director of Lodestone Energy. “It is also crucially important to our customers who have contracted with us to meet their own sustainable energy objectives.”

The Kaitaia installation is an agrivoltaic project, so agricultural activity can continue in and around the solar installations and even be enhanced by the solar facility. The project is surrounded by regeneration efforts with tree planting, among other elements.

With more than 61,000 solar panels installed at the North Island plant, the farm’s 55 GWh of power annually will flow to residential and commercial energy consumers, including all of the stores in New Zealand’s Warehouse Group, which is signed up to Lodestone’s phase 1 portfolio.

Lodestone Energy is New Zealand’s first utility-scale solar generation company and is wholly New Zealand-owned. About 80% of New Zealand’s electricity is from renewable sources, most of which is hydro generation, and less than 1% is generated by solar power. This looks set to change as the field of solar energy slowly ramps up in Aotearoa.

This week, The New Zealand Herald reported that a smaller solar farm has also started generating power.  The Te Ihi o te Rā solar facility has just started generating power in Gisborne’s airport district on the mid-east coast of the north island. The solar farm produces enough power for 1,000 homes, with about 7,300 MW of electricity produced annually.



from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/3Imo2Tt

NYSERDA Opens Expedited Renewable Solicitations for Large-Scale Projects 

December 01, 2023 0

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced the launch of expedited renewable energy solicitations as part of the state’s plan to bolster its large-scale renewable industry. 

The solicitations, initially announced by New York governor Kathy Hochul earlier this month, are open to all project developers. As part of these solicitations, NYSERDA included provisions from the latest rounds of renewable energy procurements such as inflation indexing and agricultural land preservation. This was done in order to maintain policy objectives introduced in prior solicitations.

“These expedited solicitations will continue to build upon our momentum toward achieving a zero-emissions electric grid,” says Doreen M. Harris, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “We welcome into this competitive process all developers who are committed and eager to participate in New York’s energy transition, and we look forward to working together to deliver significant economic, public health, and grid reliability benefits to New York State.”

NYSERDA is streamlining these expedited solicitations by selectively removing certain bid requirements that historically required substantial efforts to develop, but provided nominal value in bid evaluations. 

Final proposals for both offshore wind and land-based projects are due in January. These expedited solicitations support progress toward achieving New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals to obtain 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and develop 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035.

The post NYSERDA Opens Expedited Renewable Solicitations for Large-Scale Projects  appeared first on Solar Industry.



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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Solar irradiance modeling method for east-west oriented vertical PV

November 30, 2023 0

A Finnish-Norwegian research group has investigated model chains for horizontal-to-vertical solar irradiance conversion in east-west oriented vertical PV systems located at high latitudes. They have found that accuracy and bias of the model chains are different for the east and west sides of solar array.

An international research team led by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has developed a new methodology to identify the most effective model chains to estimate solar irradiance in east-west oriented vertical bifacial photovoltaics at high latitudes.

The scientists explained that previous studies focused on the validation of a specific step of a given model chain, and said their work, by contrast, considered the whole model chain and the impact of the combination of different models on the accuracy of the final results.

“This study aims to contribute to filling up the literature gap in solar irradiance modeling considering high-latitude locations and irradiation on eastwards and westwards vertically oriented PV surfaces,” they explained. “By reviewing the state-of-the-art decomposition and transposition models, 29 decomposition and 25 transposition models are chosen for detailed evaluation through model chains.”

The group tested its approach on an east-west oriented vertical bifacial PV system located in Turku, Finland. It implemented the modeling in six steps consisting of data acquisition, review of existing solar decomposition and transposition models, implementation of the models’ library, initialization of the model chains, experimental validation, and inter-model chain comparison.

The academics considered 725 possible combinations of the decomposition and transposition models for both sides of the PV installation.

The performance of these models was then compared to that of benchmark models used to estimate the solar irradiance on inclined surfaces. They also created a dataset with the data required to initialize the model chains considering solar zenith and azimuth angles, air mass, and angle of light incidence, as well as to validate their results.

Through its analysis, the research team came to the conclusion that identifying a single model chain that can perform the best, regardless of the system orientation, is a difficult task at high latitudes. “Model chains optimally operating for the East side of the panel achieve a different level of accuracy when modeling solar irradiance impinging on the West side,” it added.

The researchers recommended using two different model chains for the front and rear sides of the vertical PV system.

“Models from the families of Yang and Perez should be preferred for the solar decomposition stage when assessing the West side of the system,” they said referring to models adopted in previous literature. “Erbs models and Perez family of models should be preferred for the solar decomposition stage when assessing the East side of the system.”

They also added that the so-called Hay and Steven transposition models should be preferred for the west and east sides of the system, respectively.

They introduced the new methodology in the study “Validation of model chains for global tilted irradiance on east-west vertical bifacial photovoltaics at high latitudes,” published in Renewable Energy. The research group includes scientists from the University of Turku and the Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) in Finland.

“To enhance the accuracy of the results from solar analysis, there is a need for a metamodel-based approach that can apply different model chains according to a parameter, such as the angle of incidence or the geometry of the investigated surface,” they concluded.

Other scientists from the University of Turku in Finland have recently created a new method to calculate performance loss rate (PLR) in vertical bifacial PV systems. This metric is commonly used by project developers to assess the expected power output of a PV system over its installed life.

The same research group unveiled in July a methodological workflow to boost electricity yield in bifacial vertical PV systems that are connected to low-voltage (LV) grids located at high latitudes and have different panel locations, orientations, and technologies.



from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/kjxAs5L

Lobbyists call for more front-of-meter solar in California

November 30, 2023 0

California should put front-of-the-meter distributed solar on an equal footing with transmission-connected utility-scale solar and behind-the-meter solar, say several US advocacy groups.

From pv magazine USA

Six advocacy groups have challenged California's process to evaluate pathways to 100% clean electricity by 2045 for failing to maximize cost-effective front-of-the-meter distributed generation.

The groups propose an approach they call the “Max DG Pathway,” which would maximize cost-effective solar on the built environment, including warehouses, shopping malls, schools, parking lots, irrigation canals and highway rights-of-way. They have said that several studies have evaluated the technical potential to deploy solar on such sites.

The groups backing the proposal include The Climate Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition, and Vote Solar. They submitted comments to three state agencies that are evaluating pathways to achieve the state’s clean electricity goal.

On sites in the built environment with suitable solar exposure, a “small-to-medium-size” utility-scale solar array could be deployed, probably with co-located storage, the groups say. Each solar array on the built environment would have its own front-of-the-meter (FTM) utility interconnection, even if it is physically located on the premises of an end-use customer.

The sizes of these arrays “would generally be appropriate for distribution-system interconnections,” the groups said. The solar developer could earn revenues through a power-purchase agreement with a load-serving entity, or through some other business model.

Maximizing cost-effective FTM solar and storage, the groups said, could supply a substantial amount of renewable electricity without triggering land-use concerns or other sources of public opposition, while reducing the costs of transmission upgrades and providing valuable local benefits.

Those local benefits include resilience benefits from incorporating FTM solar plus storage as grid-forming resources in community microgrids, the groups said. The resources could be developed under local, municipal or tribal ownership models “that help build community wealth and advance energy justice.”

To continue reading, please visit our pv magazine USA website.



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Sol Systems Announces New CTO

November 30, 2023 0

Sol Systems has announced the addition of its new CTO, Scott Day. 

Day previously spent 11 years as the CTO for music tech company SoundExchange. Prior to SoundExchange, Day led the technology team behind The Motley Fool. He will focus on scaling Sol Systems’  technology and customer offerings. 

“We are excited to have Scott expand our IT infrastructure and capabilities across our businesses,” says Yuri Horwitz, Sol Systems’ CEO. “His unique experience better positions Sol as a renewable energy leader, enables our business to expand into new corporate offerings and gives us the opportunity to better service our customers.”

Sol Systems is currently developing more than 2 GW of new solar projects across the U.S.

The post Sol Systems Announces New CTO appeared first on Solar Industry.



from Solar Industry https://ift.tt/0RvyiJH

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

LG launches residential air-to-water propane heat pump

November 29, 2023 0

The new product utlizes propane refrigerant with a lower global warming potential and has a seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) of over 5. According to the manufacturer, it can achieve a flow temperature of 75 C and 100% heating output at outside temperatures of -15 C.

South Korean electronics manufacturer LG has launched this week a new version of its Therma V R290 Monobloc residential heat pump.

Our brand new Therma V R290 Monobloc air-to-water heat pump (AWHP) has been radically redesigned to help you install and maintain with speed, flexibility and simplicity,” the manufacturer said in a statement. “It is engineered to operate at peak capacity and efficiency, even in the harshest climatic conditions, with temperatures plummeting as low as -15 C.”

The new product utilizes propane (R290) as a refrigerant and has a global warming potential of 3. According to the manufacturer, it can achieve a flow temperature of 75 C and 100% heating output even at extremely low outside temperatures of -15 C, with the operating range reaching down to -28 C.
LG is offering the heat pump in four versions with nominal capacities of 9 kW, 12 kW, 14 kW and 16 kW. Its seasonal coefficient of performance (SCOP) is reportedly over 5.
The manufacturer said the heat pump can also be integrated with energy storage systems (ESS) to maximize the use of residential PV systems.
“Surplus energy can be stored in the ESS battery and diverted to the AWHP’s integrated water tank during the daytime, when solar energy production is at its peak,” it explained. “In the evening, when energy consumption is typically high, the ESS utilizes the stored energy to provide hot water and to power home appliances, boosting energy efficiency and energy self-reliance.”


from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/jdq4axP

New solar installations to hit 413 GW this year, says BloombergNEF

November 29, 2023 0

BloombergNEF says historically low module prices will drive the global solar industry to record installations in 2023.

From pv magazine USA

BloombergNEF has released its updated solar market outlook for 2023, projecting that 413 GW of module capacity will be installed this year. This capacity will mostly be driven by China’s contribution of 240 GW, along with strong growth in many other global regions.

The quarterly update was provided via Bloomberg’s podcast “Switched On” in the episode, “Solar supply glut crushes margins but buildout booming.”

If the world does install 413 GW of solar, we will have witnessed a growth of over 58% from the 260 GW installed in 2022, which itself marked an almost 42% increase from the 183 GW installed in 2021. During this two year period, the world will have experienced 125% growth, indicating that a doubling of deployed annual capacity occurred in around one and a half years.

This capacity growth will be driven by several factors. Foremost is China, which has driven the price of solar modules toward $0.10/W.

To continue reading, please visit our pv magazine USA website.



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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Toyo Solar inaugurates 4 GW TOPCon solar cell factory in Vietnam

November 28, 2023 0

Toyo Solar, a subsidiary of Vsun Solar, commissioned a 4 GW TOPCon cell factory, completing the first phase of an 8 GW manufacturing facility in Vietnam.

Toyo Solar, a subsidiary of Vietnamese solar manufacturer Vsun Solar completed the construction of a 4 GW TOPCon cell factory in the Hoà Phú Industrial Zone in the Bắc Giang province, in the northeast part of Vietnam.

The company said the facility represents the first phase of a project to build a cell factory with a total capacity of 8 GW. The $200 million facility is expected to reach completion in 2024.

Toyo Solar claims its TOPCon cells have a power conversion efficiency of 24.3% with a cell-to-module power retention ratio of over 99.8%.

Vsun is a unit of Japan-based electrical equipment company Fuji Solar Co Ltd and was founded in 2015. It currently also operates another cell and module factory in Vietnam's Bắc Giang province.



from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/4EAkFBh

Waaree Supplies Acciona Energia’s U.S. Projects With PV Modules

November 28, 2023 0

Waaree Energies has supplied 850 MW solar PV modules so far for projects in the U.S. being developed by Acciona Energia as part of an ongoing partnership. 

Waaree delivered its monocrystalline passivated emitter and rear cell panels to four Acciona Energia projects: 56 MW in Fort Bend, Texas; 129 MW in High Point, Ill.; 288 MW in Union, Ohio and 375 MW in Texas’ Red Tailed Hawk Solar projects. With these deliveries, Waaree has supplied more than 4 GW of solar modules to U.S. customers this year.   

The companies also entered a three-year agreement in which Waaree will supply another 1.5 GW of solar modules to Acciona for additional U.S. projects through 2026. Under the deal terms, Waaree Energies will supply Acciona with a total delivery of 2.34 GW of its N-type TOPCON modules, says the company.

“We are delighted to be a trusted partner to Acciona Energia. With successful deliveries of solar PV modules for projects such as High Point, Fort Bend, Union and Red Tailed Hawk, Waaree Energies Limited has established itself as one of the reliable solar modules suppliers operating in the U.S. market,” says Waaree’s Sunil Rathi.

“We are thrilled to announce the successful completion of a significant milestone in our partnership with Waaree Energies,” adds Rafael Mateo Alcalá, CEO of Acciona Energía. 

“This collaboration has been pivotal in achieving the supply of 850 MW solar PV modules for Acciona Energia’s major projects in the United States. Waaree’s commitment to excellence is evident in the delivery of its high-performance. This achievement not only underscores the strength of our collaboration but also reinforces our dedication to advancing sustainable energy solutions.”

The post Waaree Supplies Acciona Energia’s U.S. Projects With PV Modules appeared first on Solar Industry.



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Monday, November 27, 2023

China’s State Grid commissions 1.2 GW pumped hydro project

November 27, 2023 0

State Grid Corp. of China has commissioned a 1.2 GW pumped hydro project, featuring three 300 MW turbines.

State Grid Corp. of China, the nation's largest state-owned grid operator and power utility, has inaugurated the Fukang pumped-storage power station in northwest China's Xinjiang region.

The plant features three 300 MW turbines and has a total capacity of 1.2 GW, the company said in a press release, noting that the facility is the first of its kind in northwestern China. It said the turbines will be put into operation one after another in early 2024. Construction began in October 2020.

“The Fukang pumped-storage power station can significantly improve Xinjiang's power grid regulation capacity and energy supply,” State Grid said. “It can ensure the stable delivery of large-scale new energy, and generate an additional 2.6 billion kWh of new energy annually.”

In January 2022, the company commissioned China's largest pumped hydro project – the 3.6 GW Fengning Pumped Storage Power Station in Hebei province. The construction of the $1.87 billion project, which was implemented in two 1.8 GW phases, was started by engineering company China Gezhouba in 2014.

According to the National Energy Administration, China is targeting 62 GW of operational pumped-hydro facilities by 2025 and 120 GW by 2030.



from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/i8UVgXW

AmpIn Energy to build 1.3 GW solar cell, module factory in India

November 27, 2023 0

AmpIn Energy Transition says it plans to invest $372 million to set up more than 600 MW of renewable energy projects and an integrated 1.3 GW solar cell and module factory in eastern India.

From pv magazine India

AmpIn Energy Transition, formerly Amp Energy India, has announced plans to invest $372 million in solar generation and manufacturing in eastern India.

They are investing in establishing over 600 MW of renewable energy projects in various states and a 1.3 GW integrated solar cells and modules manufacturing facility in the state of Odisha.

In October, AmpIn Energy Transition announced a partnership with Jupiter International to set up a 1.3 GW per year solar cell and module factory under the government’s production-linked incentives (PLI) scheme. The modules produced through the alliance will be used by AmpIn and supplied to third-party developers in India.

AmpIn said it plans significant renewable-energy investments in West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh.

The company purportedly has the largest solar open-access portfolio in eastern India, at 200 MWp. It said it also has the largest utility power purchase agreement (PPA) with CESC for a 250 MWp wind-solar hybrid project, and the largest behind-the-meter industrial solar project of 10.5 MW.

“Time has come for the Eastern region which is the home of coal to embrace renewable energy. Our investment in the region marks a significant milestone in our mission to drive the transition to renewables in the region,” said AmpIn Energy Transition CEO Pinaki Bhattacharyya. “The integrated solar cell and module manufacturing capacity that we are establishing in the region, would strengthen the push to renewables.”



from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/kBNVRnq

Australian startup begins work on agrivoltaic project with thermal storage

November 27, 2023 0

Graphite Energy, a thermal storage company, is building a facility in Australia to demonstrate how renewable energy and agriculture can co-exist through agrivoltaic and greenhouse systems.

From pv magazine Australia

Startup Graphite Energy has started building the first stage of a renewable agriculture facility in central New South Wales. The AUD 29 million ($19.0 million) facility is a collaboration between Graphite Energy and Cygnus AG.

Graphite Energy does not appear to have been on the scene for very long, but it says it has developed a proprietary thermal energy storage system for the decarbonization of industrial and manufacturing operations. It is not clear yet how this technology will work within the facility, but presumably it will store solar energy.

Graphite Energy said the facility includes 5 MW of solar to be combined with “multiple forms of integrated energy storage,” as well as batteries, thermal energy storage for heating, cooling and drying, and hydrogen for diesel substitution.

The project aims to be a replicable pilot for Australia and abroad to demonstrate how renewable energy and agriculture can coexist, “using industry advancements to enable renewable energy sources without forgoing farmland,” said Graphite Energy.



from pv magazine International https://ift.tt/UaM1Yp8

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Weekend Read: BESS lessons learned

November 25, 2023 0

Taking a rigorous approach to inspection is crucial across the energy storage supply chain. Chi Zhang and George Touloupas, of Clean Energy Associates (CEA), explore common manufacturing defects in battery energy storage systems (BESS') and how quality-assurance regimes can detect them.

From pv magazine 11/23

CEA started developing energy storage services in 2015, at a relatively early stage in the storage industry. The company foresaw the growth potential of stationary energy storage as a critical enabler of the renewable energy transition and a valuable asset for grid operators.

In the last eight years we have seen battery cells scaling from below 100 Ah to today’s 300-plus Ah; systems transforming from 12-meter, walk-in containers to today’s highly integrated, energy-dense modular cabinets; and the advent of liquid-cooled systems necessitated by big cells.

Battery suppliers have created specialized cell formats and chemistries for the stationary BESS sector, versus using electric vehicle cells in grid storage systems, as in the early days. We have also witnessed the transition of BESS' from a nickel, cobalt, and manganese (NCM) battery cell chemistry – mainly supplied by South Korean and Japanese manufacturers – to lithium ferrous phosphate (LFP) devices, exclusively supplied by Chinese manufacturers. Other storage technologies, such as flow batteries, have yet to make a breakthrough and take a slice of the market from lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).

Rapid change

Overall, the industry is very different from a few years ago. This has brought significant challenges, exacerbated by a high growth rate. LIB chemistries have inherent limitations and violating them can lead to excessive degradation that almost invariably results in uncontrolled thermal runaway.

Manufacturing defects, as well as electrical, thermal, or mechanical abuses, can push battery cells into thermal runaway. In the best-case scenario, safety systems will prevent propagation of a fire, leading to the incapacitation of only part of a system. A worst-case scenario could see several containers burn, resulting in lengthy system downtime. Moreover, the complexity found in various subsystems creates additional points of failure that can lead to cell abuse and thermal runaway. A battery fire is the nightmare scenario that any BESS owner or operator wants to avoid at all costs, as it leads to significant reputational and financial damage and lengthy operational disruption.

CEA has been focusing on efficiently identifying the manufacturing risks associated with all levels of an energy storage system, through our quality assurance services. This work includes identifying risks across cell, module, rack, and containerized systems.

Quality in numbers

Since 2018, CEA’s team of engineers has been conducting quality assurance inspections across more than 26 GWh of lithium-ion energy storage projects deployed worldwide. Our quality assurance inspections are performed before production, at pre-production factory audits; during production, through in-line production monitoring; and after production via pre-shipment inspection and factory acceptance testing. More than 1,300 findings have been identified during CEA’s oversight at 52 factories globally. In this context, a finding is an issue identified during inspection that indicates deviation from standard best practice, process deviations, or product specifications.

Most industry newcomers overly focus on cell quality and don’t pay close enough attention to integration issues as cells are packaged into modules, racks, and containers. System level issues account for 47% of those identified, compared to 30% at the cell level and 23% at the module level. A battery cell’s complex manufacturing process, and high-performance sensitivity with respect to the robustness of the quality control system, make it the single-most risk-prone component within a BESS. But there are so many other components included in a containerized system that most risks come from the non-cell portions of the BESS. The large number of system-level findings is due to inadequate quality control of highly manual integration processes, the complex nature of energy storage systems, and system vulnerability to underlying problems originating from upstream components such as balance-of-plant (BOP) items and batteries. As the last step of the BESS manufacturing process, system integration can amplify underlying issues at sub-system levels and is vulnerable to additional quality and performance risks at the interfaces between sub-systems.

 

System-level problems

In integration factories, energy storage systems are built with many moving parts, a fact reflected by the large number of CEA findings on system enclosures – amounting to 45% of the total system-level findings (see chart to the left). However, the majority (84%) of the enclosure findings are minor and pose relatively low risk to system performance and safety. Enclosure inspection comprises visual inspection of appearance, strength and rigidity, wiring and cabling, grounding mechanism, and ingress performance.

The supporting components and system that form the BOP for a BESS consists of a fire detection and suppression system, a power distribution set-up and a thermal management system. A BESS is inherently vulnerable to defects originating from all upstream components and this is attested by the large number of direct findings in the BOP. The findings in sub-systems are typically caused by sub-component defects and bad practice during system integration. Representative findings include liquid coolant leakage due to deformed flange plates, malfunctioning gas sensors, ventilation failure due to incorrect installation, and live conductor exposure within AC/DC distribution.

Performance test findings contribute only 4% to the total number of system-level findings as capacity and round-trip efficiency (RTE) tests are procedurally straightforward and have explicit pass and fail criteria. In the worst cases, where a system fails both capacity and RTE tests, only two findings will be recorded. However, performance test findings indicate high risk as they are directly linked to system performance guarantees, and the root causes of any failed test usually point to a larger and deeper problem upstream.

Baseline performance tests are crucial to identifying system deficiencies, confirming contractually-promised metrics, and offering one last opportunity to rectify quality and performance issues. Between the two performance tests, a higher percentage of major and critical issues are found during the RTE test, which measures DC system cycling efficiency, excluding auxiliary loads. This is the most challenging test that shows how efficiently batteries have been assembled electrically. Capacity tests are at a more fundamental level and the risk of capacity shortfalls are usually hedged by an implicit rule in battery cell design – that is, to oversize capacity by around 5% at the cell level.

Underachieving system efficiency and capacity is often due to either batteries or BOP systems. The more common findings include underachieving capacity and RTE, resulting from abnormally large temperature and voltage variations among cells within a battery module; charging or discharging failure due to wiring issues in a battery rack’s high voltage boxes; and thermal runaway initiated in one of the battery modules by internal short circuiting.

Cells and modules

Battery-related findings are identified at cell and module factories during the manufacturing and integration processes of the respective components.

The cell is where the electrochemical reactions take place at a nanoscale. Rigorous process control is required to avoid internal short circuiting caused by quality issues. The lengthy manufacturing process and high sensitivity to the storage, packaging, and shipping conditions of battery cells leads to a larger number of findings, compared with battery modules.

The overall cell manufacturing process can be divided into three stages: electrode manufacturing, cell assembly, and cell finishing. Cell assembly processes contain a larger number of findings with higher severity due to their close causal relationship with internal short circuiting. As battery cells evolve to 300 Ah, or even higher capacity levels, it is expected the associated risks will be aggravated due to higher requirements for burr size and foreign particle control during the cell assembly processes.

Similar to the system integration process, battery modules involve highly manual production processes including cell installation, interconnection welding, enclosing, and end of line testing. Cell installation and interconnection welding are responsible for 86% of all battery module-related findings.

Battery cell installation starts with polarity verification, with the cells then placed into brackets that have thermal insulation layers applied in between. Interconnection welding connects cells electrically into the designed configuration. The large number of findings in these two areas is mainly due to imprecision in material handling and welding quality control. Regarding the interconnection welding process, the majority of such findings are major and are caused by poorly defined welding procedures and sloppy operations.

Reducing risk

The rapid pace of battery technology advancement means new risks are being introduced across the supply chain. Accordingly, a multi-stage quality control approach should start from risk assessment at the early stages of the procurement process.

The assessment should identify specific risks associated with project design and use cases, which should inform battery requirements. During production, quality assurance should be executed under close scrutiny to ensure all previously identified risks are covered.

One key takeaway from our 26-plus GWh quality assurance track record is that sometimes even perfect system test results cannot guarantee ongoing performance and reliability once systems are put into operation. Any given energy storage system is only as good as the pass criteria outlined in the supplier’s quality control checklist. We have seen performance test failures due to testing equipment limitations, round-trip efficiency targets that are set too low and do not conform to performance guarantees, temperature and voltage variations that are not monitored and analyzed, untested battery management system control functions, and more. Some of these problems can be addressed in the early procurement stage by conducting a gap analysis of a supplier’s quality assurance and testing protocols.

Ensuring the reliability and performance of BESS' requires a continual process of reassessment. There should be frequent updates to quality-inspection best practice, risk tracking, and prioritization and development of mitigation approaches. The prize for buyers adhering to a multi-stage quality assurance approach is a safe battery system that performs as expected.

About the authors: George Touloupas is the senior director of technology and quality for solar and storage at CEA. He has more than 12 years' experience in technical consulting for PV manufacturing, project development, and solar and energy storage projects.

Chi Zhang is a senior engineer at CEA. His research focuses on energy storage and green hydrogen.



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Friday, November 24, 2023

India’s solar installations hit 8.5 GW in first 9 months of 2023

November 24, 2023 0

India installed 8.5 GW of solar capacity from January to September 2023, down 25% year on year, with a projected total of 11 GW for the 12 months to the end of December.

From pv magazine India

India installed about 8.5 GW of solar capacity in the first nine months of 2023, which is about 25% less than the PV installations during the same period in 2022, according to a new report by JMK Research.

The 8.5 GW of capacity additions included 5.06 GW of utility-scale solar, 3 GW of rooftop solar, and 0.4 GW of off-grid solar. Utility-scale solar installations in the January-September period fell 84% to 5.06 GW, from 9.3 GW installed during the same period in 2022. Rooftop solar installations, on the other hand, rose to 3 GW.

In the wind segment, 2.28 GW of new capacity was added from January to September 2023. This is 123% higher than the 1.02 GW capacity installed in the first nine months of 2022, according to JMK Research.

Adani holds the top spot in cumulative solar and wind installations as of Sept. 30, 2023, boasting 8.3 GW of operational capacity and 20.4 GW in pipeline projects. The third quarter saw additions of 0.85 GW of utility-scale solar capacity and 0.7 GW of rooftop solar.

To continue reading, please visit our pv magazine India website. 



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Dutch startup offers film that enhances efficiency of specialty PV modules

November 24, 2023 0

Mito Solar, a Dutch developer of lightweight PV modules, has developed a laminate film to boost the power generation capacity of specialty solar panels, such as those installed on solar racing cars and boats. The company claims the film may improve a module's power conversion efficiency by up to 1%.

Netherlands-based Mito Solar, a developer of high-end custom solar modules, has launched Skylar, a film that is applied atop finished modules as a power conversion efficiency booster. The product was onboard several of the top Challenger class finalists in this year's Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

“It was field proven in five of the top six finalist racing cars at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia this year. They were using a variety of PV cell technologies,” Jules van Haaren, Mito Solar co-founder, told pv magazine.

For example, the Skylar film was used in the Oxford PV silicon-perovskite tandem PV panel onboard the Top Dutch Solar Racing race car. It was also paired with panels based on Maxeon Sunpower cells onboard the Belgian Innoptus Solar Team car and the Solar Team Twente entry from the Netherlands, along with Meyer Burger heterojunction modules aboard Brunel Solar Team’s entry.

“Despite the robust module encapsulation, our foil was still able to contribute to a higher power conversion efficiency,” said van Haaren.

Under standard testing on a range of cell technologies laminated with 200 mn to 400 mn encapsulants, an increase in absolute efficiency of about 1% can be achieved, according to the company. It evaluated the film with a variety of cell types achieving similar results, including multi-junction Azur Space 3G30C cells, single-junction Alta Devices thin-film cells, and the aforementioned Maxeon Sunpower cells.

Supporting angles of up to 90 degrees, Skylar purportedly reduces reflection losses, while capturing light reflected from inside the module.

It is suited for challenging irradiance conditions and mobile-integrated PV applications. But it is not suited for residential or ground-mounted applications, stressed van Haaren who explained that while the film can be modified to cope better with water and dust, it is not meant for use in residential or mainstream PV markets due to its textured surface which can potentially trap dust.

The solar racing world is where Skylar has first adopters, but it may find its next application on PV panels installed onboard drones and long-endurance aircraft operating at high altitudes. “These are applications where performance and weight really matter. With our technology they can, for example, have a higher payload,” said Van Haaren.

In addition to Skylar and waterproofing films, four-year-old Mito Solar produces a range of standard and flexible modules, typically based on Maxeon Sunpower cells, that it customizes for its transportation and leisure industry customers.

Brunel Solar Team
Brunel Solar Team Image source: Mito Solar

Mito Solar

 



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Solar wafer prices marginally rise, supported by currency exchange rate

November 24, 2023 0

In a new weekly update for pv magazine, OPIS, a Dow Jones company, provides a quick look at the main price trends in the global PV industry.

The price of wafers this week notched upward slightly as a result of the US dollar's weakening relative to the Chinese yuan.

FOB China prices of Mono PERC M10 wafer increased by 0.68%, or $0.002 per piece (pc), to $0.295/pc this week, while Mono PERC G12 prices increased by 0.49%, or $0.002/pc, to $0.412/pc.

Currency fluctuations aside, the dynamics underlying China’s domestic market remained the same, leading to a continuation of the flat trend in the EXW wafer prices in the China domestic market for the second week running. The prices of Mono PERC M10 and G12 wafers remained stable at about CNY2.38 ($0.33)/pc and CNY3.32/pc, respectively.

Recently, low operating rates resulted in greater manufacturing costs for wafer producers, according to an integrated manufacturer. Now that wafer inventories have somewhat dropped, wafer makers are keen to increase their operating rates, the source continued.

There have been recent talks about wafer producers raising their operating rates and buying polysilicon at a faster rate due to the industry-wide sentiment that the price of polysilicon is about to bottom out. However, OPIS learnt from its market survey that the operating rates at wafer companies did not significantly grow, as production costs would decrease but losses would accumulate with unsold wafers.

According to a cell supplier, the consumption of inventories of good-quality wafers has slowed as some cell producers have been buying wafers of reduced quality. This may resonate with a few downstream users who have been worried about the impact that this cost war may have on module quality for 2024.

There are no profitable wafer companies currently, and some small-size wafer factories in China have closed, according to a market observer. Some wafer businesses are looking for chances to establish manufacturing facilities overseas in order to survive, the source continued.

Another source from upstream concurred, stating that wafer manufacturers would find it challenging to turn a profit in the near future. As a result, this source does not anticipate a notable increase in the operating rates of wafer companies, since more production entails higher losses.

Looking ahead, the industry expectation points to stable wafer prices, in equilibrium between weak demand and steady polysilicon and crucible cost.

OPIS, a Dow Jones company, provides energy prices, news, data, and analysis on gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, LPG/NGL, coal, metals, and chemicals, as well as renewable fuels and environmental commodities. It acquired pricing data assets from Singapore Solar Exchange in 2022 and now publishes the OPIS APAC Solar Weekly Report.



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Thursday, November 23, 2023

Soltec introduces hail defense algorithm for solar trackers

November 23, 2023 0

Hail losses in the United States exceeded $1 billion in 2021.

From pv magazine USA

Soltec, a Spain-based solar tracking solution provider, has released a new hail defense algorithm to mitigate damage to solar facilities.

Hailstorms, often unpredictable in nature and destructive to solar panels, pose a challenge to solar infrastructure. In 2021, hail-related losses exceeded $1 billion across the United States.

A pv magazine USA webinar session revealed that hail-risk mitigation is a common problem in “Hail Alley,” a broad region encompassing around six states from the Dakotas to Texas, which often experience five or more days each year of catastrophic hail. Climate change has created patterns of irregularity as extreme weather increasingly crops up in regions bordering hail-prone regions.

Soltec’s research reveals that the risk of module damage due to hail impact is most often due to the direct and perpendicular strike of hailstones to the front glass of the module.

The company introduced its Hail Algorithm, combining prediction and detection to direct the panels to angle at a stowed position, protecting them from direct impacts on the face of the module. Stowed solar panels are angled steeply when a hail event is predicted or detected, leading to lowered risk of damage.



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DIF Capital Partners to acquire 60% stake in Dutch solar developer Novar

November 23, 2023 0

Dutch fund manager DIF Capital Partners has signed an agreement to purchase a majority of Dutch solar project developer Novar for an undisclosed sum.

Dutch investment fund Capital Partners will purchase a 60% share of the Dutch developer of solar, Novar, the companies announced earlier this week.

The transaction, dependent on regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023. The financial terms of the transaction were not revealed.

DIF Capital Partners said in a press release that it will provide growth capital to support Novar’s utility-scale solar, rooftop solar and battery energy storage systems (BESS) portfolio, “among others.”

Novar owns and operates 440 MW of utility-scale PV, rooftop solar and storage projects, with 15 GW more in development, according to the press release.

One of these projects includes what is claimed to be the largest private grid project in the Netherlands, which will provide grid connection for several large-scale solar and storage projects, and the first Dutch solar thermal and green hydrogen projects, the companies said in the announcement.



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