Tags Posts tagged with "PV modules"

PV modules

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Solar module production capacities in the European Union (EU) decreased in 2016, while the output of EU factories dropped in a two-digit range, according to a survey by SolarPower Europe, the association of the European solar sector.

In 2016, module manufacturers had facilities in the EU with 6.7 GW annual production capacity, a 3% drop from 6.9 GW in 2015. Production output decreased by 16% in the same period to around 2.7 GW, from 3.2 GW in 2015. The utilization of the module factories in the EU continued to decline to 40% in 2016, from 46% the year before.


The survey also shows that cell manufacturing capacities remain much lower than module capacities in the EU at a constant level of around 1.8 GW in 2015-16. But even this small cell capacity is mostly used in-house.

Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at SolarPower Europe, stated, “Our survey shows that unfortunately many of the EU module production facilities are simply ghost capacities. There are several reasons for the consolidation of the EU’s solar module production sector, including the rather low demand for solar in Europe and local module factories being often too small to compete for standard solar applications. But a key factor making local EU-based module manufacturers life very hard today is the Minimum Import Price (MIP) for solar cells, which keeps low-cost Asian products the companies need at artificially high levels. If the European Commission really wants to see module manufacturing jobs in the future in the EU, it needs to abandon the MIP and measures now.”

Source: Solarpower Europe

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Enertis has been selected by Solarpack to carry out quality control at the manufacturing facilities of a supply of PV modules totalling more than 120 MW.

The total supply will be composed of more than 410.000 units that will be installed on PV plants to be located in Chile and India.


A rigorous audit procedure designed by Enertis and Solarpack will be applied in the inspections that will include the overseeing manufacturing, packaging and preparation process for the transportation of the modules. All this with the goal of mitigating the quality risks associated with the large number of units in Utility-Scale projects. This kind of quality control is essential to ensure optimum operation of the photovoltaic modules during their expected lifetime.

Source: Enertis

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According to GTM Research’s latest report, the U.S. PV Price Brief H2 2016, pricing for fixed-tilt ground-mount PV systems fell 17 percent in the past 6 months. Prices for residential PV systems fell 8.6 percent in the same time period. This new report breaks down U.S. residential, commercial and ground-mount PV pricing across 11 distinct hard and soft cost categories. Furthermore, it identifies areas for cost reductions and details pricing across five U.S. regions.

Due to a global supply and demand imbalance, pricing for modules has declined rapidly. From the first half of 2016 module pricing has fallen by 33.8% pushing down systems pricing for all market segments. As modules make up a greater portion of utility system price than residential or commercial, changes in the module market disproportionally impact overall utility systems pricing.


As such, the price drops in the utility market are the greatest – 17.4% for fixed-tilt and 14.9% for single-axis tracking. Modules are not the sole driver for the 17.4% and 14.9% change in fixed-tilt and tracking; aggressive market entrants in the inverter and racking markets are also pushing prices down rapidly.

Customer acquisition costs remain a pain point, but hardware cost fall rapidly. While customer acquisition costs grew by 10% in the second half of the year, overall systems still saw a 8.6% decrease in pricing. Various stakeholders have criticized the comparatively slower residential soft cost reduction- drops in hardware costs, will allow installers extra breathing room to address these costs on their own timeframe.

Almost all of the pricing change in the commercial market came from modules. In H2, of the $0.232/Wdc drop in systems pricing all but $0.014/Wdc came from modules. This speaks to the persistent challenge of soft costs in the commercial PV market.

Throughout each market segment, non-installation labor soft costs grow as a portion of total systems price. Due to rising residential customer acquisition costs, non-installation soft costs rise across all market segments. However, on average labor costs in each market segment has decreased by at least $0.01/Wdc from H1 to H2 2016.

Source: GTM Research

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Acciona Energía has begun the start-up phase of the ‘El Romero Solar’ photovoltaic solar plant, the biggest in Latin America with a maximum capacity of 246 MWp (196 MW rated power), just thirteen months after starting construction work. The company has also completed the assembly of the last sets of panels in the plant: 776,000 photovoltaic modules with a solar capture surface area of more than 1.5 million m2.

Located in the region of Atacama, Chile, the plant – 100% owned by Acciona – has already been connected to the Central Interconnected System (SIC) of that country, starting a process that will continue over the next weeks until the whole installation enters commercial service.


El Romero Solar is located in the municipality of Vallenar, around 645 km north of Santiago, with a surface area of 280 hectares in the Atacama Desert. It represents an investment of around 343 million dollars for Acciona. Once completed, it will produce around 500 GWh of clean energy per year, equivalent to the electricity demand of 240,000 Chilean homes, and avoid the emission of around 475,000 metric tons of CO2 from coal-fired power stations in the process.

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Tesla and Panasonic have entered into a non-binding letter of intent under which they will begin collaborating on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic cells and modules in Buffalo, New York. Under this agreement, which is contingent upon shareholders’ approval of Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla will use the cells and modules in a solar energy system that will work seamlessly with Powerwall and Powerpack, Tesla’s energy storage products. With the aid of installation, sales and financing capabilities from SolarCity, Tesla will bring an integrated sustainable energy solution to residential, commercial, and grid-scale customers.

The parties intend for Panasonic to begin PV cell and module production at the Buffalo facility in 2017. Tesla intends to provide a long-term purchase commitment for those cells from Panasonic.


The collaboration extends the established relationship between Tesla and Panasonic, which includes the production of electric vehicle and grid storage battery cells at Tesla’s Gigafactory.

The continued partnership between Tesla and Panasonic is an important step in creating fully-integrated energy products for businesses, home owners and utilities, and furthers Tesla’s mission toward a sustainable energy future.

Source: Tesla

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Over 400 European companies covering all EU Member States has sent a letter to European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, asking her to end the trade measures in place since 2012 on Chinese solar modules and cells.

The signatories to this letter believe that the minimum import price (MIP), anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on cells and modules from China should be removed immediately. The measures are having the unforeseen consequence of negatively impacting the entire European solar value chain to the detriment of jobs, investment and solar deployment in Europe. A policy that was designed to help the few has failed to do so, only serving to harm the very many right across the EU.


Despite the global boom in solar power, Europe today holds a worryingly small and shrinking percentage of the annual market. At a time when the European solar market has declined, the sector is in need of measures that will boost demand and not these trade measures which increase cost to its customers, consumers and energy bill payers.

The measures have had unforeseen consequences on the signatories companies, leading to job losses and reduced opportunity in the solar market due to increased costs. With module prices at an artificially high level, all these companies suffer from the dual impact of higher prices and the impact these prices have on demand. The European Commission and Member States need to end the measures now to accelerate the date by which this industry can grow sustainably without the need for support mechanisms.

The trade measures add to the cost of solar and are contributing to slowing down its deployment. The measures add 100,000 € of cost to installations in the region of 10 MW and above and around 1,000 € to household installations. With tenders for large scale solar being driven by price, the trade measures are ensuring that the potential of solar is not being fulfilled in Europe, contrary to the EUs wider renewable energy targets and goals.

Jochen Hauff, Board Director of SolarPower Europe representing BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH, one of the leaders of the initiative, stated ‘The volume of European companies opposed to the trade measures is staggering. Companies have signed from every EU Member State, from all segments of the value chain – including: steel, chemicals, engineering, developers, installers, power sales. European solar SMEs and large corporations are united in the belief that these trade duties must go, and now is the time for the Commission to act and remove them through the ongoing Expiry Review.’

Representing European manufacturing, Christian Westermeier, Board Director of SolarPower Europe, added ‘For European manufacturers in the solar value chain the measures have been ruinous and have led to the loss of thousands of jobs in manufacturing. The removal of these trade measures will stimulate growth in European manufacturing all along the solar value chain and support the process of regaining this lost European employment.’

Sebastian Berry, Board Director of SolarPower Europe, summed up the feeling of the European solar sector by saying ‘The trade measures have been in place for a long time, they have brought only decline to the European solar sector. As a leading European solar company we need the Commission to remove these measures to allow the sector to grow sustainably again. If Europe is serious about leading in renewables, then the solar sector must be allowed to grow again and the European Commission can support this with one easy action – removing the trade measures.’

The case represents the largest ever trade dispute between the EU and China and seriously impacts the possibility for Europe to reach its climate objectives. The Expiry Review into the trade duties placed on solar modules and cells originating in China is currently ongoing and due to be completed by March 2017.

Source: SolarPower Europe

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Recyclia expects to mange almost 100 tonnes of waste photovoltaic modules in 2016, through the Ecoasimelec Foundation. This represents almost 100% of all waste PV modules generated. Recyclia has becomes the leader in this emerging market, following a cooperation agreement entered into in 2013 with PV Cycle, the association which manages photovoltaic module recycling throughout Europe and represents over 90% of the manufacturers and importers.

Indeed, the leading manufacturers of photovoltaic modules are in the process of becoming members of Recyclia and the foundation now has the necessary infrastructure in place for the collection and recycling of this equipment. It currently has treatment plants in Seville, Valencia, Bilbao and Barcelona, and these facilities are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment.

According to Recyclia and PV Cycle figures, Spain is currently third in Europe in terms of PV module management capacity. Between 2010 and 2015, Spain managed over a thousand tonnes of this waste (1,037), behind only Germany (7,740) and Italy(2,077). The total figure for Europe was 13,881 t.

By the end of 2016, the total worldwide stream of waste photovoltaic modules will exceed 43,000 t, just over 0.1% of the total number of modules installed. Spain will have a total of 100,000 t of photovoltaic modules installed by the end of 2016. These units have a service life of between 20 and 25 years. The country will generate a total of 100 t of waste PV modules according to a report published this year by the  International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

According to the International Energy Agency, Spain was the 8th country in the world in terms of solar PV capacity, with a total of 5.44 GW, 2.43% of the 222 GW installed worldwide. With this capacity, our country produces 3% of total national electricity output at an estimated total of 65,000 facilities.

Current legislation

Recycling of photovoltaic modules became compulsory in Spain with the ratification of Royal Decree 110/2015, which transposes the 2012 Directive on the correct management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

The legislation includes solar photovoltaic modules for the first time and makes producers and importers responsible for the organisation and funding of collection and recycling at the end of their service life, in line with the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility. The producer is responsible for the treatment of panels that are replaced by others, in accordance with what is known in the electronic recycling sector as the “one for one” rule.

As in the case of other WEEE categories, the Royal Decree sets out the obligation to collect 45% of the average weight of photovoltaic modules placed on the market in the preceding three years, as and from 2016.

According to José Pérez, CEO at Recyclia, “as is the case with other electronic equipment, responsible management of solar PV modules, apart from being obligatory, also generates important socioeconomic and environmental benefits. In this regard, Spain has the necessary infrastructure to undertake this recycling, which, allied to Recyclia’s logistics model, places us amongst the most advanced countries in the world in terms of efficiency and responsibility”.

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Ingeteam has successfully completed the revamp work on the PV modules at the Toledo PV plant, managed by Gas Natural Fenosa Renovables and located in the municipality of La Puebla de Montalbán in Toledo. This was the first plant of this size to be constructed in Europe. Initially, it had a power output of 1 MW in standard conditions. However, the latest study conducted in August 2015 revealed that the effective power output had dropped by 37%.

Against this background, the management of Toledo PV requested the contractor, Ingeteam (the current plant operator and maintainer), to carry out revamp work at the plant in order to restore its power output to its original values.

The two-month operation consisted in dismounting the old PV panels (which are to be managed as electronic waste) and replacing them with 260W Jinko Smart Modules new ones. These high-efficiency modules feature an innovative technology that allows the system output to be increased by up to 20% in unfavourable mismatch conditions caused by shading, soiling, ageing, temperature gradients, etc.

As this is the first time that an operation of this type has been performed on a 1 MW plant, the success of this revamp work has allowed us to use actual, quantifiable measures, to determine that the service life of a PV plant is around 22 years. Therefore, by replacing the modules with more efficient ones, it is possible to extend the plant service life and return it to its original, full operating capacity. With this revamp, the plant will be able to produce up to 1,400 MWh per annum

The plant is directly connected to the distribution network of Unión Fenosa Distribución through a 15 kV medium voltage substation. Much of the power produced is used for irrigation and distribution to homes in the area.

Source: Ingeteam

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Origin Energy Limited (Origin) has entered into a landmark 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) which covers 100 per cent of the output from Fotowatio Renewable Ventures’ (FRV) recently commissioned 56 MW Moree Solar Farm.

Located in northern New South Wales 10km south of Moree, Moree Solar Farm comprises close to 223,000 tracking solar PV modules and is expected to produce approximately 145 GWh of energy annually – enough to supply around 24,000 Australian households. It is the first large Australian solar project to use a single-axis tracking system, with PV modules that follow the sun’s path from east to west to maximise the energy generated during the day.

Origin Chief Executive Officer, Energy Markets, Frank Calabria said, “Origin was the world’s first energy company to adopt all seven We Mean Business coalition commitments on climate change. And we’ll continue to lead on reducing emissions by entering into PPAs on large-scale renewable projects like Moree, as well as empowering our customers through our in-home solar and battery solutions. “Solar technology has improved dramatically over the past few years and the cost has come down as a result. There has never been a better time for Origin to pursue large-scale solar opportunities – and fulfil its aspiration to be one of Australia’s leading renewable energy companies.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Origin has contracted for 100 per cent of the electricity generated and 100 per cent of the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) created from Moree Solar Farm – meeting consumer demand for renewable energy and helping meet Origin’s obligations under the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target. Moree offers an ideal climate for solar generation, with the facility expected to have a minimal variation in annual output of around 5 per cent. FRV Chief Executive Officer Rafael Benjumea said, “This transaction represents a key step in achieving FRV’s strategy to develop and build renewable power generation assets across Australia and globally.

“The agreement is yet another Australian market first for FRV and demonstrates that stability is starting to return to the Australian renewable energy market,” said Mr Benjumea. Moree Solar Farm has been funded by FRV with the support of an Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) grant and debt on commercial terms from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The Moree PPA is Origin’s first ever Australian solar PPA and complements Origin’s nine existing offtake agreements with wind farms in south-eastern Australia, growing its renewable portfolio.

Origin continues to pursue developments in utility scale solar and was recently shortlisted for funding by ARENA for a development approved site in Darling Downs, Queensland.

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JinkoSolar has announced that it will supply METKA-EGN with 57.65 MW of PV solar modules for the largest solar PV plant in Puerto Rico. JinkoSolar will deliver the 57.65 MW of solar PV modules for the project located in the municipality of Isabela. The owner of the project is Oriana LLC, a subsidiary of Sonnedix USA Limited, and a member of the Sonnedix group of companies. JinkoSolar has collaborated with METKA-EGN on several different projects in various markets across the globe.

JinkoSolar has announced that it has supplied 76.86 kW of PV modules to Ad Astra Rocket Company, Costa Rica SRL.

Ad Astra Rocket Company, Costa Rica SRL, is currently generating 100% of its operating power requirement with solar PV energy. The milestone was achieved as the company`s new 76.86 kW solar PV array was formally connected to the facility and certified by representatives from Costa Rica`s electric power utility (ICE). Under normal operating conditions, the installed generating capacity of the PV array exceeds the laboratory`s requirement. This was fully anticipated, as the solar PV installation was also designed to supply additional energy needed during certain experiment campaigns, including operation of the plasma facility and the production of hydrogen.

The Ad Astra solar project was carried out under contract with Sibo Energy, a young Costa Rican private company, dedicated to the implementation of state-of-the-art commercial solar installations. The construction of the facility was initiated January 28, 2016 and took six weeks.

The facility, considered to be the largest ground mounted private solar installation in the country, features 252 solar panels of JinkoSolar high-efficiency Eagle module in seven modules with a peak generating capacity of 76.86 kW. The array operates under Costa Rica`s pilot program for distributed energy generation managed by ICE, where excess energy is fed to the grid for future use by Ad Astra in that same year.

SAJ Electric