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photovoltaic energy

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Soltec, a leading company in the manufacture and supply of solar trackers, already has a track record of close to 8 GW. The Spanish company has been expanding its business into countries worldwide with projects of up to 500 MW.

Its expertise and commitment to innovation are the two main axes driving this company that has become a reference in the PV energy market. Its almost 8 GW in solar projects positions Soltec in third place in the world in terms of solar trackers, according to the PV market study published by Wood Mackenzie.

In addition to projects in countries such as Australia, Italy and Thailand, Soltec is also the leader in Latin American countries such as Brazil and enjoys a major presence in other nations including Chile and Mexico.

In its commitment to supplying the highest quality products that carry the Soltec seal of distinction, this Murcia-based company now boasts offices in twenty countries as well as factories in Spain and Brazil. These manufacturing centres make the tracking units for which the company is known. The manufacturing processes continue to be improved day after day to achieve enhanced quality and performance for clients.

The solar trackers are made and subjected to in-depth examinations to guarantee quality in every process, as well as in Soltec’s end product. Whether at the PV plant or during manufacturing, Soltec experts have all the resources readily available to respond to any incident that may occur, for both prevention and urgent response.

Solhub is the point from where the manufactured product is packaged and distributed to every project, no matter their location in the world, thanks to a first-class logistics team and standardised processes that benefit from exhaustive product checking.

The quality of its products and delivery, in addition to the commitment of its team, has resulting in a significant increase in sales year after year, since its foundation in 2004 to positioning itself as one of the companies with the highest market share in the global PV sector. Soltec already has an extensive track record in utility-scale projects and a wide portfolio of international clients.

In 2017, company was listed on the Financial Times FT1000, ranked first among solar companies and fourth among all 31 energy companies including in this listing.

In addition to its exponential growth with projects around the world, Soltec has also grown as regards its workforce. Its team comprises over 1,500 professionals in projects and subsidiaries worldwide.

Foto cortesía de/Photo courtesy of: Toyota

At Digital Solar & Storage 2019, SolarPower Europe launched a new report on solar mobility, thought to be the first of its kind, which explores the potential of clean mobility solutions and solar power. The report documents various solar mobility business models, illustrating the experience of European and global pioneers with detailed case studies. Three solar mobility models are highlighted: (1) solar-powered mobility, (2) solar smart charging, and (3) vehicle-integrated PV, all of which can lead to vast carbon reductions in the transport sector.

Decarbonising the transport sector, responsible for one quarter of European CO2 emissions, is a crucial step in achieving the European Union’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Electrification, direct and indirect, appears clearly as the fastest and most cost-efficient technological solution to decarbonise transport. EV battery costs have achieved important cost reduction in the past years, with prices decreasing by 85% between 2010 and 2018, allowing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of small and medium electric vehicles to be the same as conventional vehicles by 2024. Technology improvements and investments in fuel cells and electrolysis technologies have enabled a reduction in vehicle and fuel costs that could support the future cost-competitiveness of indirect electrification for certain segments of transport.

The electrification of transport makes even more sense when done in parallel with the deployment of renewables in the EU electricity mix. Without significant additons of renewable capacities in Europe, the full potential of electrification to reduce CO2 emissions in transport cannot be harvested. A study from the Paul Scherrer Institute shows that electric vehicles charging on fossil fuel-based electricity (e.g gas or coal) do not lead to an optimum reduction in CO2 emissions compared with conventional gasoline and diesel cars, while the CO2 emissions decrease by 50% with electric vehicles driving on CO2 -free electricity. The electrification of transport must therefore be thought of in synergy with the deployment of renewables in the power mix.

Solar energy is the ideal candidate to fuel green, electric mobility. As an illustration, in light road transport only, a typical rooftop, 5-kW PV module can easily produce the daily amount of electricity needed for the average commute of an electric vehicle, even though the adequacy of the PV system will depend on its geographical location and on time variations, including seasonal.

Solar energy is also a cost-competitive fuel for transport. It has achieved important cost reductions in the past years. The LCOE has reached €0.04/kWh worldwide and keeps decreasing, as a result of decreasing manufacturing costs and increasing cell performance. The deployment of solar can therefore support a cost-efficient energy transition with limited public support. Furthermore, in many countries, direct sourcing of solar energy is already cheaper than grid electricity.

Solar installations are modular and can adapt perfectly to the energy needs of the end-consumer or various means of transportation. Small solar installations can therefore fit well in urban landscapes, on rooftops, parking lots, rail infrastructure, etc. and can be installed as close as possible to the consumption point, be it a charging point or a refuelling station, thereby reducing reliance on the power grid.

Looking at the physics, solar is complementary to electric mobility, particularly in certain use cases like day charging at work places or combined with battery capacity at home. Solar has a predictable generation curve and produces electricity during the day. This PV generation curve matches well with the time at which the majority of electric vehicles are parked and can be charged, for instance at workplaces or public parking – a match that can be optimised with smart charging devices. Solar generation also matches perfectly the load curve of trains, trams or metros that run and consume energy during the day, making them good candidates for solar consumption.

Finally, recent surveys show that solar is the most popular source of energy and can support the public acceptance for sustainable transport policies. In Europe, solar has the highest level of support among citizens. Solar empowers consumers to invest into their own energy transition and gives them a sense of independence. As a result, one can easily observe the mutually reinforced dynamic between solar energy and electromobility: a recent survey by EuPD Research on electric-mobility has shown that for 77% of the respondents, the main reason to purchase an electric car was to charge it using their own solar energy, making it the most important motivator for purchase.

The synergies between solar and clean mobility can unlock significant benefits to accelerate the European energy and transport transition. The solar industry must therefore be imaginative and forward-looking to exploit these synergies and offer solutions to consumers that wish to drive on solar energy.

The benefits of solar mobility are vast, and include significant improvements in air quality for European citizens, as well as the reduction of noise pollution. Smart mobility strategies that rely on the increasing deployment of solar energy can lead to a more affordable and reliable solar electricity supply. This has the effect of optimising grid integration of future vehicles, unlocking new flexibility sources, and ultimately creating new business models for solar prosumers, EV owners, and charging station operators. Further, solar mobility and all of its related technologies can help Europe lead the global energy transition.

This aim of the report – the first of its kind developed by SolarPower Europe’s Solar Mobility Taskforce – is to look at existing and promising business cases of solar mobility and draw a first benchmark of renewable mobility models. It features existing case studies and pioneering projects.

Source: SolarPower Europe

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and a leading global developer of renewable utility-scale projects, has announced the financial close for Potrero Solar (296 MW dc), the Company’s second solar farm in Mexico.

FRV reached financial close last March with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (Bancomext), and it is expected that the plant which began construction in late May, will be completed by mid- 2020.

Potrero Solar is FRV’s first project in Mexico to be financed before having any of its products (energy, CELs or capacity) committed in the tender schemes, and one of the largest merchant PV projects worldwide. It is also one of the world’s largest PV projects to use bifacial technology. Once operational, the plant will trade the electricity generated as well as the associated clean energy certificates at the country’s energy market.

With an approximate area of 700 ha, Potrero Solar will be located in Lagos de Moreno, in the state of Jalisco, and will use bifacial PV modules, a new technology that has the ability to capture both direct sunlight from both the front and reflected light from the rear side.

The solar power farm will generate around 700 GWh of clean energy each year, enough to supply around 350,000 average Mexican homes and reduce the emission of 345,000 T/year of CO2. In addition, Potrero, which will be built by a consortium formed by multinationals Power China and Prodiel under an EPC contract, will boost the economic development of the local community including the potential of around 1,500 jobs during its construction phase.

Fernando Salinas, Managing Director of FRV Mexico and Central America, highlights: “Mexico is a country that offers numerous opportunities for both FRV and international investors, due to its favorable market and weather conditions for renewable energy projects. Potrero’s financial close marks a milestone as the largest bifacial plant in the world and FRV’s first fully merchant project in Mexico. By carrying out this flagship project that will lead the way for other large-scale bifacial PV plants and that is also one of the largest PV merchant projects worldwide, FRV demonstrates its leadership once again and its ability to be a spearhead in the wider renewable energy industry.”

Bancomext assures that “Potrero Solar has all the features a financial institution looks for during a transaction: an experienced, highly professional sponsor, high-quality technology, an EPC provider with a well-proven track-record and a solid financial structure. With this project, Bancomext reaffirms its leading position in the Mexican market, supporting renewable energies under the ‘spot market price’ scheme and fostering job creation in the country during the construction and operation phases.”

Fady Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, said: “At Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, we are delighted to move forward to the next phase of the Potrero project. Potrero confirms FRV’s positioning as one of the leaders in the global renewable energy sector and further reinforces our long-term commitment to Mexico’s drive for clean energy. Mexico is a strong and promising market for FRV and Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, and we look forward to seeing Potrero spearhead the development of the sector in the country and further afield.”

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Acciona has created a hub in its El Romero Solar plant (Atacama, Chile) to test new photovoltaic technologies that will improve the efficiency and performance of solar energy facilities.
The hub will focus on the mechanical and energy capacity of double-sided crystalline, split-cell and thin-film cadmium telluride (CdTe) technologies, all of them in the development phase, with the intention of shaping PV energy’s evolution. The solar modules have been produced by JA Solar and First Solar, and a variety of solar trackers will be used, manufactured by STI Nordland and Soltec.

The innovation center, in which two of the three tracker zones have already been installed, will have a power generation facility with a total capacity of 492 kWp (180 kW rated) consisting of 1,280 modules in three series of trackers connected to nine inverters. These will be assisted by other equipment to measure and monitor parameters such as incident and reflected solar radiation, ambient temperature or the production temperature of each kind of module, among others.

Unlike conventional solar modules, which only have photovoltaic cells on one side, the double-sided modules have cells on both sides of the panel to capture reflected solar radiation and increase output per surface unit occupied.

In split-cell modules each cell is divided into two parts. This reduces energy losses and improves the durability of the panel.

Finally, the thin-film modules are made from semi-conductive materials as alternatives to conventional crystalline silicon –such as cadmium telluride- that reduce both manufacturing costs and their carbon footprint during their working life.

Advanced technologies

Advanced technologies in photovoltaic solar are one of the main strategic approaches that guide Acciona’s innovation activities in the field of clean energies. One of the most innovative projects to date is the hybridization of organic photovoltaic panels in a wind turbine tower to power a turbine in the Breña wind farm (Albacete, Spain).

El Romero Solar is one of the biggest photovoltaic plants owned and operated by Acciona, with a capacity of 246 MWp. Located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, an area with some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, it produces energy equivalent to the consumption of around 240,000 Chilean households. Part of its capacity will be used to supply Google’s data center in the country.

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LONGi Solar, a subsidiary of LONGi Green Energy Technology Co., Ltd, has achieved AA-Rating status, in the first quarterly release of PV-Tech’s new PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings. LONGi Solar is one of only four PV module suppliers that qualifies within the top-performing rating category of AA across the sector.

The PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings system is the solar industry’s first qualified tool that allows investors to understand and benchmark PV module suppliers; the analysis tracks a wide range of manufacturing and financial performance metrics, combining these to generate an overall bankability score between 0 and 10. Companies are then graded across nine risk categories from AAA-Rated (most bankable) to C-Rated (high risk).

The ratings system evaluates the investment risk (or financiability) rating for all PV module manufacturers, which combined with manufacturing capacity and financial health scores. At present, no company has been rated AAA and the Top 4 companies are all rated AA.PV-Tech and the PV ModuleTech event brand are recognized as the most credible, independent third-party research bodies covering the solar photovoltaic (PV) segment; specifically related to solar PV module suppliers.

“LONGi has always insisted on technological innovation and continuously increased R&D investment in the past years” said by Zhong Baoshen, Chairman of LONGi: “We always pay attention to the sustainable development of LONGi and maintain the financial stability and healthy. In the future, LONGi will continue to devote itself to providing customers with more reliable products and services.”

According to head of research at PV-Tech, Dr. Finlay Colville: “LONGi Solar has moved rapidly from being a CCC-Rated supplier in 2014 to one of the most bankable module suppliers featuring in the top-performing AA-rated category today. The company is on a trajectory to reach AAA-Rated status within the next 12 months, reflecting strong financial and manufacturing operations.”

Africa’s first 100% solar-powered desalination plant has produced 10 ML of fresh drinking water—with help from Danfoss APP pumps and iSave energy-recovery technology.

Developed by Mascara Renewable Water and Turnkey Water Solutions, the OSMOSUN® unit at Witsand—in South Africa’s Southern Cape—is powered solely by photovoltaics (PVs) producing 73kWh/day.

Taking water from the sea, the plant provides people in the historically drought-prone region with up to 100,000 L of safe, drinkable water per day.

The seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) conversion process uses a highly efficient Danfoss APP pump to force water through a desalination membrane under high pressure. The water’s kinetic energy then drives the iSave 21 Plus energy recovery device.

Specifically developed for SWRO applications, the Danfoss iSave 21 Plus recovers kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost and returns it to the plant. The APP pump’s simple construction also makes it compact—with very little maintenance required—ideal for remote sites. What’s more, it’s oil free, so the risk of unplanned downtime is significantly reduced and there’s zero potential for water contamination.

Mascara’s OSMOSUN® system is already proven in other parts of the world (we have a more detailed story about its PV-powered SWRO plant in Abu Dhabi). At full capacity, it can produce approximately 300,000 L/day, using 400 m2 of PV panels.

Source: Danfoss

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Soltec is offering 9 places on its Solteach On-Site programme, covering the design, installation and maintenance of PV installations. Based in Molina de Segura (Murcia), the leading company in the manufacture and supply of single-axis solar trackers, is offering professionals in telecommunications, electronics and electricity the most comprehensive training programme in the renewables sector.

The registration period is now open and applications are accepted up until 10 September. The 115-hour course, which starts on 30 September and runs for one month, includes 35 hours of theory and 80 hours of practical training. The training will take place at the offices of FREMM, the Regional Federation of Metal Companies of Murcia.

Soltec will offer the top performing students on the course an extendable internship contract with the option of a permanent contract of employment at the company. The students selected for the internship will start working at one of Soltec’s newly-commissioned plants before joining the department and in a position that best suits their profile and the needs of the company.

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This programme sets out to give brightest professionals the opportunity to come into contact with and receive training from the renewables company of reference in Murcia that has demonstrated the best growth in recent years. The best students, whose profile meets the needs of the company, will have the chance to take up Soltec’s offer of a contract of employment.

At Soltec, we are very committed to job creation and quality training and, as such, we would like to give the best professionals in the sector the opportunity to receive training in renewable energy thanks to this comprehensive programme dedicated to PV installations”, comments Raúl Morales, company CEO.

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Ingeteam has supplied 2 GW of power for solar PV plants throughout the world during the first half of 2019. This means that the company’s technology will be capable of supplying renewable energy to more than 400,000 homes once commissioned. In total, the Spanish company has reached a cumulative power of 14.5 GW throughout the world, which could satisfy the energy demand of about 3 M homes. In 2019, the key markets in which the company has grown its solar business are the Middle East region, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Chile and France.

Ingeteam closed 2018 with a new record of 3.85 GW supplied, for solar PV installations worldwide. So far this year, Ingeteam has already exceeded half this figure and the company is expected to pass the barrier of 4 GW in 2019.

The Ingeteam Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of technological solutions for PV plants, control, monitoring and automation systems as well as energy storage systems. In this regard, this year Ingeteam has been entrusted with the supply, commissioning and provision of services for the largest solar PV project in Europe, now being built in the region of Murcia, Spain. The company was awarded the contract for the Mula project, which will achieve an installed power capacity of 500 MWp, to become the largest plant in Spain and Europe.

It is estimated that, by the end of 2019, the plant could be operating through the connection point at the El Palmar substation, a strategic hub for the power transmission grid in the region of Murcia.

Energy storage

Energy storage is a key sector for Ingeteam, where the company is positioning itself for the considerable development expected in the short and medium term for systems of this type, both at a residential level and also on a large scale. In fact, Ingeteam is marketing its battery converters for both segments and, in 2018, the company supplied this equipment primarily for hybrid systems that combine PV generation with energy storage. Sales in this sector were principally made to countries such as the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, India, Poland and the French overseas departments.

Global leader in the provision of Operation & Maintenance Services

Furthermore, the company has achieved a new annual record for maintained power, exceeding 15 GW of renewable power across the globe, of which 6.1 GW correspond to solar power in more than 550 PV plants. This means that, at present, Ingeteam’s operation and maintenance division is strengthening its position as a global leader in the provision of O&M services at energy generation plants.

Acciona has begun construction work on the 64-MWp Usya photovoltaic plant, the third owned by the company in Chile. Acciona is currently constructing almost 400 MW in Chile in two wind farms and two photovoltaic plants, which will enter service in late 2019/early 2020.

 

The Usya plant, located in the municipality of Calama (Antofagasta region), will have a maximum capacity of 64 peak megawatts (MWp) -51 MW rated capacity- and an estimated annual emission-free energy generation of 146 GWh, equivalent to the electricity demand of around 70,000 Chilean households.

The new photovoltaic plant will be equipped with 187,200 modules mounted on fixed structures, which will be installed on a surface area of 105 hectares. The plant is expected to enter service in mid-2020.

Around 400 people will work in the project during the period of highest construction activity. After it enters service, the new plant will avoid the emission of around 141,000 T of CO2 to the atmosphere from coal-fired power stations.

Other plants in Chile

Acciona is currently building three other renewable energy facilities under its ownership in Chile, two wind farms in La Araucanía totalling 267 MW and a 62-MWp photovoltaic plant in Atacama, which will join the 291 MW already in service in the country.

The company’s construction effort will lead to a total of almost 700 MW of renewable capacity under its ownership in Chile by 2020, with an investment of around 1,000 M.

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With a volume of more than 4 GW of capacity shipped in 2018 and more than 12 GW of total capacity installed all over the world, in 2018 GoodWe became the 7th largest supplier of PV inverters on a global scale. That is according to a recently released report by Wood Mackenzie and titled Global Solar PV inverter market: Market shares and shipment trends 2019.

This is not the first time that according to an authoritative international institution GoodWe makes it to the list of the largest suppliers of PV inverters (IHS and Bloomberg on previous years have also identified the company a major supplier).

According to the report: in 2018, the GoodWe shipments of PV inverters reached 4% of the global market share. In two large solar markets, Europe and Asia-Pacific, GoodWe maintained an outstanding performance: last year, GoodWe supplied 3% of the inverters acquired by the European market, which made the company the top 10 largest supplier of this continent. In Asia-Pacific, GoodWe reached a 5% of the market share, making othe company the 4th largest supplier, which is remarkable given the volumes involved and the size of the national markets of this region, that include the largest world markets of China and India and the sophisticated market of Australia.

The year of 2018 was very challenging for the Chinese solar industry, but GoodWe still managed to expand in the global market and the inclusion of our company on the Wood Mackenzie top ten list bears witness to those efforts. It is also worth mentioning that the more than 4 GW volume shipped by GoodWe last year was 35 times more than what we shipped in 2012 and more than double of what we shipped in 2016. The Wood Mackenzie report fully illustrates that despite the challenges of last year, GoodWe has managed to maintain a remarkable high rate of annual growth that since 2012 has averaged 100%.

Across the world the solar industry is experiencing a fresh wave of growth and the demand has continued to expand and diversify. The quality expectation of consumers around the world has become more complex and the inverter suppliers are forced to innovate and deliver value to meet the rising demand and excel amid fierce competition. GoodWe’s competitors are formidable companies and being part again of the big leagues is not a small feat in these times of rapid evolution.

The continuation of GoodWe on the selected group of the world top largest PV inverter suppliers rests on several factors. Three of them stand out: GoodWe has understood that service is of critical importance to win customers trust and satisfaction and as such it has set up local service teams in Europe, Latin America, India, Australia, Korea and other markets. The expansion seen over the past year of the GoodWe businesses across the world is just a reflection of those efforts. Another factor is that GoodWe is distinguished by its capacity to react quickly to the customer demand, something that has been allowing the company to improve its products over significantly short periods of time. Last but not least, it is worth mentioning the wide and expanding portfolio of GoodWe products that allow the company to cater to different market segments and within these, meet the quality expectations of different kinds of customers.

Source: GoodWe

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