Longi unwraps reasons behind green hydrogen shift

Longi’s green power and green hydrogen plans will provide much-needed decarbonisation opportunities to heavy industries such as metals manufacturing. Image: Pixabay

In recent years, Longi has turned its attention to green hydrogen. Li Zhenguo, company founder and CEO, speaks with Vincent Shaw in Shanghai about the strategic shift and how coupling this technology with solar PV will be key to achieving carbon neutrality.

From pv magazine 05/2022

How does Longi view the relationship between hydrogen, solar and storage?

Longi firmly believes that green power and green hydrogen is the best solution to achieving carbon neutrality. Solar power (green electricity) fundamentally reduces carbon emissions in hydrogen production. And as an extended application of solar energy, hydrogen production can bring hundreds of gigawatt-level increments. In addition, green hydrogen is a new type of energy storage that can address intermittency issues. This is what we call the “green electricity – green hydrogen – green electricity” cycle.

Low-cost solar power is critical to the development of hydrogen. It takes around 50 kWh to produce 1 kg of hydrogen by electrolysis. If the cost of PV electricity drops to US$3.33 cents per kilowatt-hour, the total power cost for 1 kilogram of hydrogen will drop to around US$1.67. If the cost of PV electricity drops to 1.67 cents per kilowatt-hour, the total power cost for 1 kilogram of hydrogen would be around US$0.83, which means the cost of green hydrogen from electrolysis is even lower than the current cost of hydrogen produced from coal (grey hydrogen).

The world currently consumes about 80 million tons of hydrogen every year, and most of it is grey. For green hydrogen to account for 15% of consumption, it requires about 450 GW of PV installations to support it. That is why we say solar and hydrogen production are inextricably linked in terms of scale and cost.

As a solar company, entering the hydrogen industry requires a strategic change. How have you approached this?

In 2018, Longi began to conduct strategic research into the hydrogen value chain. On March 31, 2021, we established Longi Hydrogen Energy Technology Co., Ltd., and our first hydrogen energy equipment manufacturing plant in Wuxi, China. The first 1,000 Nm³/h alkaline water electrolyser was officially launched in October 2021, and so far, several more have been delivered to our customers and put into production. The production capacity of the Wuxi plant will reach 1.5 GW by the end of 2022 and is expected to reach 5 GW to 10 GW by 2025. The “green power and green hydrogen” solution fully covers synthetic methanol, synthetic ammonia, steel smelting, petroleum refining, and other industries that are in urgent need of decarbonisation. As a renewable energy industry leader, we will continue investing in R&D to increase efficiency and reduce the cost of both solar PV and hydrogen production. In addition, we have developed a five-year development strategy for the hydrogen business and are committed to accelerating the global transition to clean energy.

What are Longi’s strategic hydrogen plans?

Longi has launched its alkaline water electrolyser, which marks a significant milestone, and represents a key step towards becoming a world-leading hydrogen technology company. Our electrolyser can provide a hydrogen output of 1,000 Nm³/h and we have already provided a 4000 Nm³/h hydrogen production system for the world’s largest green hydrogen project. The service life of the equipment exceeds 200,000 hours. The distributed I/O control system realises automatic and unattended operation. We will continue to invest in R&D and innovation and push for the development of products based on our technical abilities.

What is the biggest challenge for the development of hydrogen and how can it be resolved?

Like other green energies, the development of green hydrogen is highly dependent on policy. Interest rates and carbon prices play critical roles in the cost of green hydrogen. We have made a simple calculation: If the technical cost is considered, the cost of green hydrogen is around US$1.17 to US$1.33 per kg, which is very close to or even lower than that of grey hydrogen. This calculation is very sensitive to interest rates. If the local interest is 5%, the cost of green hydrogen will grow to around US$3.33. Therefore, green hydrogen is financially competitive in countries with low-interest rates, like Europe and Japan; but there are still cost difficulties in China.

The second constraint is the carbon price. Compared to grey hydrogen, green hydrogen saves around 20 kg of carbon dioxide emissions per kilogram of hydrogen. Based on the present carbon price in Europe, which means an extra income of about US$1.33, it makes green hydrogen more cost competitive. Therefore, green hydrogen has an absolute economic advantage in regions such as the European Union with low-interest rates and high carbon prices. However, in China, the current carbon price from Shanghai Carbon Exchange is only around US$8.33 per metric ton, which means a compensation rate of around US$0.17/kg for green hydrogen. This is far from enough for the development of China’s green hydrogen.

What are the trends in green hydrogen pricing?

It is possible to realise US$0.25 per cubic meter on the production side. The cost rise in the PV industry in the past two years is temporary. I believe the cost of solar will continue to decline, and eventually, in many places, PV power will reach 3.33 cents or even lower per kilowatt-hour. In that case, the power cost for water electrolysis would be around US$0.15 per cubic meter, thus allowing hydrogen to achieve US$0.25 per cubic meter.

What are the main applications for green hydrogen?

We see a variety of industries that need hydrogen, and especially green hydrogen. For example, in petroleum refining, hydrogen is used as a feedstock, reagent, and energy source. Hydrotreating is one of the key links in the refining process, involving processes such as hydrogenation, hydrodesulfurisation, hydrodenitrogenation, and hydrodemetallisation. Gasoline and diesel hydrogenation, wax oil hydrogenation, and hydrocracking units also require a lot of hydrogen consumption. The global oil refining industry consumes 38 million tons of hydrogen every year, accounting for 33% of the global hydrogen demand. The International Energy Agency estimates that demand for hydrogen in the refining industry will continue to grow. Meanwhile, tighter standards for air pollutants will lead to an extra 7% increase in hydrogen use in refining.

Author: Vincent Shaw

Harvard, Cambridge scientists improve durabiliy of redox flow batteries with anthraquinone

Anthraquinone (C14H8O) is an aromatic organic compound. Image: Ben Mills and Jynto, Wikimedia Commons

A research team has used a molecule known as 2,6-dihydroxy-anthraquinone (DHAQ) to improve the durability of organic aqueous redox flow batteries. They claim the molecule enables a net lifetime that is 17 times longer than past research has shown.

From pv magazine

Scientists from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University claim to have considerably increased the duration of organic aqueous redox flow batteries. They used a molecule known as 2,6-dihydroxy-anthraquinone (DHAQ) – or more simply, anthraquinone – to avoid the decomposition of chemically unstable redox-active species, which is the main factor affecting the storage capacity of these storage devices.

“Organic aqueous redox flow batteries promise to significantly lower the costs of electricity storage from intermittent energy sources, but the instability of the organic molecules has hindered their commercialization,” said researcher Michael Aziz. “Now, we have a truly practical solution to extend the lifetime of these molecules, which is an enormous step to making these batteries competitive.”

DHAQ decomposes slowly over time, regardless of how many times battery cycles have been performed. When it is in contact with the air, after a cycle, this molecule absorbs oxygen and turns back into its original status. For this reason, the researchers refer to the molecule as a “zombie quinone,” as it is kind of returning to life after being dead.

“But regularly exposing a battery’s electrolyte to air isn’t exactly practical, as it drives the two sides of the battery out of balance – both sides of the battery can no longer be fully charged at the same time,” they said.

Through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), the academics discovered that the battery’s active materials can be recomposed via deep discharge. This occurs in a battery when it has been discharged at its full capacity.

“Usually, in running batteries, you want to avoid draining the battery completely because it tends to degrade its components,” said researcher Yan Jing. “But we’ve found that this extreme discharge where we actually reverse the polarity can recompose these molecules – which was a surprise.”

They said redox flow batteries developed via this approach could offer a net lifetime that is 17 times longer than previous research has shown.

“Getting to a single-digit percentage of loss per year is really enabling for widespread commercialization because it’s not a major financial burden to top off your tanks by a few percent each year,” said Aziz, adding that the proposed approach was applied with success to a range of organic molecules.

They described their findings in “In situ electrochemical recomposition of decomposed redox-active species in aqueous organic flow batteries,” which was recently published in Nature Chemistry.

“Now, utilizing 2,6-dihydroxy-anthraquinone (DHAQ) without further structural modification, we demonstrate that the regeneration of the original molecule after decomposition represents a viable route to achieve low-cost, long-lifetime aqueous organic redox flow batteries,” they said.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

Hydrogen generation from organic waste, non-recyclable plastic

The oH2 system is installed in a 20-foot standard container. The plants are cascadable. Image: H2 Industries

US-based H2 Industries plans to produce hydrogen from organic waste and non-recyclable plastic. pv magazine recently spoke with its executive president, Michael Stusch, about the main technologies behind the project.

From pv magazine

New York-based H2-Industries has announced a plan to produce 300,000 tons of hydrogen per year in Egypt, out of up to 4 million tons of organic waste and non-recyclable plastic.

The company said its Suez Canal Project is the first of its kind in the world. It explained that hydrogen production at the planned facility could achieve a levelized cost of hydrogen (LCOH) that is almost half of other existing green hydrogen production technologies, and also lower than that of gray hydrogen.

“We are currently in discussion for similar projects in 30 countries from South America, Europe, the Middle East to all areas in Africa,” H2 Industries Executive Chairman Michael Stusch told pv magazine, noting that preliminary approvals for the project in Egypt have already been secured.

H2-Industries uses a liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology, which it considers to be the cheapest, safest, and most reliable transportation method. Its system is based on integrated thermolysis plant units based on pre-assembled scalable modules in standard container frames, which are designed to produce hydrogen from non-recyclable plastic waste such as hydrocarbons like polyethylene, biogenic residues from agriculture, forestry, food waste, and sewage sludge.

“Thermolysis is not waste combustion, but rather a high-temperature conversion process without oxygen or air to produce hydrogen,” Stusch explained. “The thermolysis units decompose waste at temperatures of around 900 C and close to ambient pressure in the presence of steam reforming. The integrated process splits and regroups the feedstock molecules into a hydrogen-rich gas mixture and, finally, the hydrogen is purified from this mixture.”

Stusch claimed that waste-to-hydrogen is a game-changer. “A change in paradigms takes a little longer, but we are convinced it will have the bigger impact,” he said.

The technology will jump-start when the first production plants show that hydrogen from organic waste and non-recyclable plastic will be cheaper than green hydrogen, he said, noting that this may also require a supportive regulatory framework. In addition, he noted that Europe’s waste sectors are over-regulated, which poses a range of challenges.

“Nevertheless, we are in touch with potential partners in various European regions. Countries with underdeveloped waste sectors often are very open to our technology,” said Stusch.

In late April, H2 Industries unveiled plans to develop a $1.4 billion waste-to-hydrogen plant in conjunction with PV solar power plants and baseload capacity in Oman.

Core criticism

Not everybody is in favor of using waste-to-hydrogen technology. Canadian expert Martin said that municipal solid waste (MSW) contains some energy but that any fuel that you make out of it has to be considered fossil fuel.

“Once you take into account the energy needed to dry it, the net energy in excess of the energy required for drying, is of fossil origin,” he told pv magazine, adding that it is better to bury non-recyclable plastics. “They cease to degrade. They do not release their fossil CO2 content for thousands of years.”

According to Martin, there is a growing interest in technology, especially in countries running out of landfill space. “They should therefore focus on better waste segregation, waste reduction, and recycling. Switching from landfilling to air-filling is not a good tradeoff.”

He also argued that wet organic content should be removed at the source and fed to anaerobic digesters to make biogas. “It needs not to be converted to hydrogen, wasting at least 30% of its energy content in the process.”

Author: Sergio Matalucci

China’s massive hydro energy storage goals may be getting bigger

China has been eyeing a major pumped hydro build-out since at least last year. Image: Pixabay

From Bloomberg

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) – China’s biggest dam builder says the country is launching an even-larger-than-expected campaign to build hydro energy storage to complement renewable power.

The nation will start construction on more than 200 pumped hydro stations with a combined capacity of 270GW by 2025, Mr Ding Yanzhang, chairman of Power Construction Corp of China, the country’s largest builder of such projects, said in a Monday (June 13) commentary in the Communist Party-run People’s Daily.

That’s more than the capacity of all the power plants in Japan, and would be enough to meet about 23 per cent of China’s peak demand.

It would also be a massive increase from what China proposed just three months ago in its 14th five-year plan for energy development, when officials said the country wanted to have 62GW of pumped hydro in operation and another 60GW under construction by 2025.

PowerChina did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment, and the National Energy Administration (NEA) did not answer calls to its Beijing office.

Hydro storage technology dates back more than a century.

Water is pumped into an uphill reservoir using electricity when demand is low, and then generates power when needed by letting gravity carry the water downhill through turbines.

It can be paired with China’s rapidly growing fleet of solar panels and wind turbines to generate electricity when the sun isn’t shining and breezes aren’t blowing.

China has been eyeing a major pumped hydro build-out since at least last year. In August, a draft NEA document identified the potential for 680GW of pumped hydro in the country, and mooted a possible goal of starting construction of 180 gigawatts by 2025.

The final version of the plan released in September toned down the scale, but still called for 120GW of capacity operating by 2030.

The entire world had 158GW of hydro storage at the end of 2019. China is also ramping up plans to deploy newer forms of energy storage such as batteries, with the country’s largest grid saying it hopes to have 100GW of such capacity available by 2030.

Transgrid builds high-voltage interconnector to link Australian states

Image: AER

Transgrid, the transmission network owner in the Australian state of New South Wales, has started building its section of the AUD 2.3 billion ($1.64 billion) Project EnergyConnect. The high-voltage electricity transmission interconnector will link power grids across three states, unlocking gigawatts of planned renewables.

From pv magazine Australia

Transgrid has confirmed that work has begun on the New South Wales section of the 900-kilometer Project EnergyConnect, which will link the grids of New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria, while supporting the development of new wind, solar and energy storage projects.

Project EnergyConnect, a joint venture between Transgrid and South Australian network operator ElectraNet, will link Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, to Robertstown, South Australia. It will also include an additional “spur” link in northwestern Victoria. The interconnector will provide 800 MW of nominal transfer capacity in both directions and is expected to unlock about 5.3 GW of new renewable energy projects.

The project is a critical link in the National Electricity Market (NEM), with proponents claiming it will enhance power system security. Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said the project “will help deliver the grid of the future.” He also said the project, Australia’s biggest electricity interconnector to date, will increase wholesale electricity competition and help drive down electricity prices.

ElectraNet Interim Chief Executive Rainer Korte said the project will improve energy security in all states, while accelerating the transition to a grid based around wind, solar and storage.

EnergyConnect is a landmark project of national significance that will enable more renewable energy and improve the affordability, reliability, and security of electricity supply,” he said.

Project EnergyConnect will involve the installation of more than 9,000 kilometers of cabling, and the erection of 1,500 new transmission towers, using more than 30,000 tons of steel. Construction of the eastern portion of the project is expected to start in 2023, with the full project set for completion by 2024.

Author: David Carroll

The Hydrogen Stream: World’s first hydrogen-powered towboat

Image: Hermann Barthel

Shipbuilder Hermann Barthel has developed the world’s first push boat to combine battery-electric propulsion with hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Iberdrola and Fertiberia, meanwhile, have commissioned Europe’s largest green hydrogen production plant.

From pv magazine

Hermann Barthel has unveiled Elektra, the world’s first towboat to feature hydrogen power and fuel cell technology. It built the push boat at a shipyard in Derben, Germany, over a period of almost two years. “The entire project is a blueprint for climate and environmentally friendly inland navigation and a true pioneering achievement, not only technically but also in regulatory terms,” said German Minister for Transport Volker Wissing.

Washington State University researchers have used an ethanol and water mixture in a novel conversion system with an anode and a cathode to produce pure compressed hydrogen. The process could reduce the cost of hydrogen transport. “Hydrogen could be made on site at fueling stations, so only the ethanol solution would have to be transported,” the researchers said. They put a small amount of electricity into the ethanol and water mixture with a catalyst, electrochemically producing pure compressed hydrogen. The project, funded by the Gas Technology Institute and the US Department of Energy’s RAPID Manufacturing Institute, was recently described in Applied Catalysis A

Iberdrola has commissioned Europe’s largest green hydrogen production plant in Puertollano, Spain. It developed the project, which produces green hydrogen with a 20 MW electrolyzer, for Fertiberia. It includes a 100 MW solar array and four fully integrated 40-foot battery containers, as part of a 1.25 MW/5 MWh battery system supplied by Ingeteam.

UK Energy Storage (UKEn), a subsidiary of UK Oil & Gas, has signed a lease agreement with Portland Port Ltd. for two sites at the former Royal Navy port in Dorset, England. It aims to develop an integrated energy hub centered on hydrogen-ready gas storage and future green hydrogen-generating capabilities. The project builds upon an unrealized Portland Gas Storage plan for an underground salt cavern storage facility.

The Port of Tallinn in Estonia and Poland’s Port of Gdynia Authority have signed a letter of intent to cooperate on hydrogen management. Gdynia wants to establish a hub to produce and store renewable hydrogen. It also aims to use hydrogen-based fuels to propel vessels. “Hydrogen will help Port of Tallinn create new value chains and economic opportunities and in doing so reach carbon neutrality,” said Valdo Kalm, CEO of the Port of Tallinn. 

Renewable Energy Hub Flevoland is now set to supply 1 GW of sustainable energy to the Netherlands by 2030, as GIGA-Storage, EQUANS, Circul8 Energy, Smartgrid Flevoland, Solarvation, ACRRES and Wageningen University & Research have agreed to teamed up on its development. The hub will combine wind, solar, batteries and hydrogen. “In this way, power can be continuously supplied to the grid, even when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing,” said the provincial authorities in Flevoland, which aims to become the Dutch testing ground for storage solutions.

Corstyrene inaugurated its first two hydrogen stations on May 19 in Aléria, Corsica. The expanded polystyrene specialist has teamed up with green hydrogen producer Atawey to install an electrolyzer that will produce up to 1 ton of green hydrogen per year, powered by 100 kWp of solar shading systems.

Author: Sergio Matalucci

APsytems reveals 3-phase microinverter for high-power PV modules

Image: APsytems

APsytems has developed a new 97%-efficient microinverter with a power output of up to 2,000 VA. It says it is particularly suitable for PV systems with high-power solar modules.

From pv magazine

China-based inverter manufacturer APsystems has launched a three-phase microinverter for residential and commercial PV projects, with a power output of up to 2,000 VA.

“Our microinverter is equipped with reactive power control that makes it interactive with power grids,” Olivier Jacques, president global for APsystems, told pv magazine. “This helps better manage photovoltaic power hikes in the grid while offering a robust and compelling solution for small and medium commercial solar across the world.”

The QT2 microinverter has an efficiency rating of 97% and a nominal maximum power point tracker (MPPT) efficiency of 99.5%. The nominal output voltage is between 400 V and 438 V, and the adjustable output voltage ranges from 277 V to 478 V.

Wiring schematic. Image: APsystems

The manufacturer said this is applicable to any type of three-phase network in the world, including 208 V and 380 V grids in the United States and 400 V in Europe. The recommended PV module voltage range is between 400 W and 670 W, and the maximum input voltage is 60 V.

The microinverter measures 359 mm x 242 mm x 46 mm and weighs 6 kg. It features an IP67 enclosure rating and a cooling system based on natural convection. It also offers Encrypted Zigbee wireless features for faster communication speed and better system security.

“The new platform architecture, built from the ground up by the power electronics design experts comprising APsystems’ engineering and R&D teams, employs the latest breakthroughs in power inversion circuitry, semiconductor device technology, high-speed communication and intelligent control,” saids Jacques.

The product comes with a 10-year product warranty, but that can be expanded to 20 years on request in Europe and 25 years in the United States. The company said the components are encapsulated with silicon.

“This reduces stress on the electronics, facilitates thermal dissipation, and improves waterproof properties,” Jacques explained. “The QT2 has been engineered for safety and ties directly to the low-voltage PV module and connects to the public power grid via standard AC voltages, enhancing human and building protection, making sure safety is no more a concern in solar projects. It is well known that building-integrated solar projects involving human protection issues, high voltage DC running on the roof can create problems causing arc-fault risks which may lead to fire hazards.”

The company will start selling the inverter in Europe and the United States this summer. It will release it throughout the rest of the world by the end of this year.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

Novel way to turn semi-finished thin-film solar modules into colored BIPV panels

From left to right: Maximilian Götz-Köhler, Nils Neugebohrn, and Norbert Osterthun. Image: DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems

German scientists have developed a way to cut semi-fabricates into desired shapes and then apply a conductive oxide-metal-oxide electrode with the preferred color. They can structure the elements into modules via the backend interconnection process.

From pv magazine

A group of scientists in Germany has come up with a new way to refine conventional thin-film panels into building-integrated (BIPV) products. They claim that their approach can reduce production costs, while ensuring supply chain flexibility.

“This approach can not only reduce costs, but also opens up the possibility of separating the production process into the manufacture of semi-finished PV products and their refinement into colored BIPV modules,” they said. “For example, semi-finished PV panels could be produced in Asia and the refinement can be done locally in Europe.”

The proposed technique consists of cutting the semi-fabricates into desired shapes and then applying a conductive oxide-metal-oxide (OMO) electrode with the requested color. The elements are then structured into modules via the backend interconnection process.

“All materials and methods, including sputtered aluminum oxide and silver layers, are widely available in the industry and are part of other products which are mass-produced, like climate glass for windows,” researcher Nils Neugebohrn told pv magazine.

The group developed a prototype to cut or separate thin-film PV semi-fabricates into custom shapes and sizes. They used OMO electrodes measuring 30 cm × 30 cm, based on aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO), and applied them onto semi-finished 30 cm × 30 cm copper, indium, gallium and selenide (CIGS) circuits. The pre-lamination modules have an efficiency of up to 19%.

“The modules were structured with P1 and P2 lines and had a reduced AZO front contact thickness of only 200 nm,” the group explained. “The front contact was not removed completely in order to keep the optimized and stable absorber/buffer/front contact interfaces and to avoid degradation of the samples during transport.”

The proposed manufacturing process, after the deposition of the OMO electrode, also requires P3 structuring, edge deletion, and a lamination technique developed by German CIGS specialist Avancis. For the backend interconnection process, the scientists used amorphous silicon thin-film solar cells and transparent conductive oxide (TCO) coated glass, supplied by Japanese manufacturer Asahi Glass.

“An amorphous p-i-n silicon layer stack (a-Si:H) with a total thickness of about 300 nm was deposited by Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD) on top of the front contact TCO,” the group said.

The researchers said they were able to produce colored modules in red, green and blue with 1% absolute less efficiency than a reference module.

“Further optimization of these processes to increase the efficiency of the prepared modules may be necessary for commercial adaption, however, technical feasibility has been demonstrated,” they said. “The largest loss is found for the open-circuit voltage. Here the cell stripes show on average a loss of 21 mV compared with the reference cells. The origin of this loss is not clear yet.”

They explained their project in “Flexible design of building integrated thin-film photovoltaics,” which was recently published in Progress in Photovoltaics.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

Smarter E products at a glance

Image: pv magazine

pv magazine summarizes the products we covered at the recent Smarter E exhibition, in the first of a series of reports on all of the new releases from the annual trade fair in Munich, Germany.

South Korea’s Hanwha Q Cells presented new solar modules based on n-type Q.antum Neo solar cells with passivating contacts. It will offer a 400 W solar panel with a power conversion efficiency of 22.3% and a white frame, as well as a black 395 W PV module with an efficiency of 22%.

Shenzhen Kstar Science and Technology (Kstar) launched a new residential hybrid storage system at Smarter E. The platform features its own PV inverter tech and lithium-ion storage solutions from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL).

Chinese inverter and energy storage manufacturer FoxESS unveiled an all-in-one storage system that only requires single-person installation. It features a high-efficiency hybrid inverter paired with the Energy Cube, its modular high-voltage battery solution. 

Chinese PV module maker Trina Solar presented three new solar modules based on G12 wafers last week. The three new rooftop solar products come from its Vertex line. They are based on its next-generation 210 Ultra product technology platform, with innovative 210 rectangular silicon wafer (G12R) cell technology and components design.

Chinese solar module manufacturer JinkoSolar presented a new battery for residential applications. The JKS-BXXX37-CS storage system is a floor-standing outdoor solution that can also be used in off-grid and hybrid setups.

Spain’s Gamesa Electric launched a new central inverter solution with an output of 4,700 kVA. It said that the Proteus PV inverter is an upgrade over the Gamesa Electric 3X series.

Weco, an Italian battery manufacturer, introduced a low-voltage storage system. The new 5k3XP battery can be connected to low- or high-voltage inverters, thanks to a double circuit and an integrated battery management system that works without the need to add components.

Norway-based PV module manufacturer REC launched a residential heterojunction solar module based on 12G wafers and gapless technology. The REC Alpha Pure-R Series is available in three versions, with power ratings ranging from 410 W to 430 W, and efficiencies of 21.2% to 22.3%.

Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery provider Pylontech unveiled a new residential battery with an energy density of 126 kWh. The Pelio battery has a storage capacity of 5.12 kWh and is stackable in a 20-device configuration to reach a capacity of 102.4 kWh.

Chinese panel maker Jetion Solar, a unit of China National Building Materials (CNBM), launched a heterojunction double-glass bifacial solar modules series based on n-type monocrystalline G12 wafers. The JT SZk(B) is a 110-cell panel and is available in five versions, with power outputs ranging from 570 W to 590 W. The product line’s power conversion efficiency ranges between 21.8% and 22.6%.

Chinese inverter manufacturer Solis presented a new off-grid inverter. The S5-EO1P(4-5)K-48 line is designed for areas without power grids and locations with frequent power outages. It boasts a peak efficiency of 96.7% and features an AC charger and a built-in MPPT solar charge controller.

French PV module manufacturer Voltec Solar presented a solar panel based on bifacial half-cut monocrystalline PERC bifacial cells for applications in agrivoltaic projects. The new product measures 2,005 mm x 1,042 mm x 35 mm and weighs 23 kg.

Storage system provider BYD introduced its Battery-Box product series. The new C&I battery system comes in capacities ranging from 30 kWh to 90 kWh, and up to 64 units can be connected in parallel for a total capacity of 5.76 MWh.

Israeli robotic cleaning specialist Ecoppia presented a new solar module cleaning solution. The Ecoppia H4 robot is a fully autonomous water-free cleaning tool that uses microfibers and controlled airflow to channel dust particles downwards from the module surface.

German electrical equipment provider AEG launched a shingled solar module for residential and commercial installations. The AS-M3207-S solar panel is available in three versions, with power outputs of 430 W, 435 W, and 440 W. Power conversion efficiencies range from 20.7% to 21.1%.

Winaico Deutschland, the German unit of Taiwanese solar module manufacturer Win Win Precision Technology Co, Ltd (Winaico), showcased a 410 W solar module for the European market. The WST-MGX-P1 Gemini module is based on monocrystalline half-cells and has a power conversion efficiency of 20.93%.

German PV inverter manufacturer Katek Memmingen GmbH presented a new three-phase inverter for applications in residential solar projects. The StecaGrid Hybrid 10023_3 hybrid inverter has a nominal power of 10 kW, an efficiency of 98.1%, and a European efficiency rating of 97.9%.

German battery producer Varta unveiled a new residential battery. The Varta.wall product features a die-cast aluminum housing and requires an installation depth of only 10 centimeters. The manufacturer claims that it is one of the best space-saving storage systems on the market.

Norwegian startup Over Easy Solar AS launched a vertical PV system for rooftop applications. The system is based on heterojunction solar cell technology, with an efficiency of 22% and a bifaciality of up to 90%. Its temperature coefficient is -0.26 C.

Author: Emiliano Bellini

Global solar demand to reach 190 GW this year, says IEA

Image: IEA

The International Energy Agency expects solar, wind power, and other renewable energy technologies to achieve triple-digit global growth this year, with new PV additions set to reach almost 200 GW.

From pv magazine Australia

A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests that new renewable energy capacity additions will exceed 300 GW globally this year for the first time, with mounting concerns about climate change and energy security driving an 8% increase, after new installations reached almost 295 GW in 2021.

The IEA said that despite persistent pandemic-induced supply chain challenges, construction delays, and record-level raw material and commodity prices, renewable capacity additions increased by a record 6% globally in 2021.

In its latest Renewable Energy Market report, the IEA suggests new capacity for generating electricity from solar, wind and other renewables will grow to a record high in 2022, rising by more than 8% compared with last year, up by nearly 320 GW with China, Latin America and the European Union leading the way.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said the Russian invasion of Ukraine has added new urgency to accelerate clean energy transitions with governments increasingly looking to take advantage of renewables’ energy security and climate benefits.

“Energy market developments in recent months, especially in Europe, have proven once again the essential role of renewables in improving energy security, in addition to their well-established effectiveness at reducing emissions,” he said. “Cutting red tape, accelerating permitting and providing the right incentives for faster deployment of renewables are some of the most important actions governments can take to address today’s energy security and market challenges, while keeping alive the possibility of reaching our international climate goals.”

Solar is forecast to account for 60% of the increase in global renewable capacity this year with the IEA predicting the commissioning of 190GW, a 25% gain from last year. The Paris-based body said utility-scale projects account for almost two-thirds of overall PV expansion in 2022, mostly driven by a strong policy environment in China and the EU driving faster deployment.

China accounted for 46% of worldwide renewable capacity additions in 2021 and is expected to largely maintain its market share of deployment in 2022-2023, with the commissioning of more than 140 GW on average per year, driven mostly by large-scale solar PV deployment.

The growth in renewables comes despite elevated commodity and freight prices. The IEA said prices for many raw materials and freight costs have been on an increasing trend since the beginning of 2021. By March 2022, the price of PV-grade polysilicon more than quadrupled, steel increased by 50%, copper rose by 70%, aluminium doubled and freight costs rose almost five-fold.

“Compared with 2020, we estimate that the overall investment costs of new utility-scale PV and onshore wind plants are from 15% to 25% higher in 2022,” the IEA said. “Surging freight costs are the biggest contributor to overall price increases for onshore wind. For solar PV, the impact is more evenly divided among elevated prices for freight, polysilicon and metals.”

While predicting solar PV costs will remain higher in 2022 and 2023 than pre-pandemic levels, the IEA said the technology’s price competitiveness had actually improved due to much sharper increases in natural gas and coal prices.

“Although costs for new solar PV and wind installations have increased, reversing a decade-long cost reduction trend, natural gas, oil, and coal prices have risen much faster, therefore actually further improving the competitiveness of renewable electricity,” it said.

While the outlook for new renewable energy capacity additions looks strong for 2022, the IEA cautioned that based on current policies “renewable power’s global growth is set to lose momentum next year.”

While solar PV is forecast to break another record in 2023, reaching almost 200GW, this is offset by an expected 40% decline in hydropower expansion and “little change” in wind additions.

“In the absence of stronger policies, the amount of renewable power capacity added worldwide is expected to plateau in 2023,” it said. “Ultimately, the forecast of renewable markets for 2023 and beyond will depend on whether new and stronger policies will be introduced and implemented in the next six months.”

Author: David Carroll