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solar collectors

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The Energy Division of Acciona has developed a pioneering solution at global level in the field of hybridization between wind and photovoltaic power. It consists of covering a wind turbine tower with flexible organic panels to produce energy for the internal electricity consumption of the turbine. The innovative project will allow the study of the performance of the organic panels -an emerging photovoltaic technology- and their application to improve wind turbine efficiency.

The system has been installed in one of the turbines of the Breña Wind Farm (Albacete, Spain), which ACCIONA owns and operates. The turbine is an AW77/1500 of Nordex-Acciona Windpower technology, mounted on an 80-metre-high steel tower (hub height).

Installed on the tower are 120 solar panels facing southeast-southwest to capture the maximum of the sun’s rays throughout the day. They are distributed at eight different heights, occupying around 50 metres of the tower’s surface area. The photovoltaic modules, with an overall capacity of 9.36 kWp, are of Heliatek technology (HeliaSol 308-5986 model). They are only 1 mm thick, and each one has a surface area of 5,986 x 308 mm.

In contrast to the conventional technology used in the manufacture of photovoltaic models based on silicon, these organic panels use carbon as raw material and are characterized by their structural flexibility, which makes them adaptable to very different surfaces. Other key features are lower maintenance costs, less energy consumption during manufacture, easier logistics and the complete recycling of the materials used, although their efficiency is still below that of silicon modules.

The hybridization project in Breña means the optimization of the use of space for renewable energy production and it will enable us to test the efficiency of organic photovoltaics, a technology that we believe has one of the best improvement curves in terms of technological efficiency. That is why we have decided to pilot it”, says Belén Linares, Energy Innovation Director in Acciona.

Optimizing generation

The immediate application of the Breña project is to produce part of the energy that the internal systems of the wind turbine need. When the turbine is running, some of the energy generated is used to power the auxiliary systems. In shutdown mode, certain systems need to continue functioning so they are fed from the grid, which means that the wind turbine is registering a net consumption of energy.

The new photovoltaic system with panels on the tower will be able to cover, completely or partially, the energy demand related to the operation of the wind turbine when there is solar radiation, or even -in a possible later phase of the project- when the sun is not shining. This would be done through a battery storage system, leading to an improvement in the net production sent to the grid.

The organic panels are connected to two inverters that convert DC into AC for later connection to the grid which supplies the electrical equipment of the wind turbine.

The entire system is monitored with a view to evaluating it under real conditions, both from the point of view of energy production and degradation of the solar modules. Conceptually, it is a very innovative design in relation to previous experiences in wind power-photovoltaic hybridization, based on panels installed on the ground.

The idea is part of a wide-ranging innovation project driven by Acciona to study a number of emerging photovoltaic technologies, with the aim of pioneering the adoption of more efficient solutions in each case and consolidating its leadership as a PV developer. The company currently has over 1,200 MWp in operation or under construction in different parts of the world.

Source: Acciona

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TSO, The South Oracle, arrives to the end of 2018 with good news: the homologation by DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) of its ultralight flexible solar panels. Therefore, it has become the first company offering a flexible panel within the Emirate of Dubai, where an ambitious project is being developed since last October.

Not in vain, Etihad ESCO, the public company created by DEWA to promote energy efficiency in this Emirates region, has deposited its trust on TSO’s expertise for the design of the solar photovoltaic power plant which will feed solar power to the Museum of the Future. This power plant will be integrated on the marquees of the Emirates Towers’ parking lot.

The Museum of the Future, currently under construction, will be unique in the world due to its design and innovation, which will set a turning point in the history of architecture, and which, thanks to TSO, will be provided with an instantaneous self-consumption solar power plant.

DEWA has already issued the necessary permits to begin, within the next days, the installation works of this innovative solar power plant integrated in the Emirates Towers’ parking lot marquees, area where the Museum of the Future is located. With no visual impact, the solar plant will generate 282 MWh yearly and avoid some 170 Tn of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to about 9,400 trees.

Source: TSO

The hotel sector is one of the most intensive as regards energy consumption. The vast majority of hotels were constructed during an era in which energy did not represent a significant cost and as a result their design did not place much importance on efficiency and sustainability criteria. The increase in the cost of energy (both electricity and fossil fuels such as gas and diesel) has resulted in the gradual introduction of solutions to improve the energy efficiency of hotel installations. One such solution currently available is hybrid solar panel technology that simultaneously generates heat and electricity and whose features perfectly adapt to the needs of hotel installations.

There are three steps to achieving reduced operating costs. The first step consists of reducing the energy demand of the building; the second comprises the self-generation of energy by integrating renewable energy sources; and the third step is to ensure that the energy demanded (which is not covered by renewables), is supplied by the most efficient installations possible. These three steps must be applied in the above order, given that the lower the demand, the fewer the number of installations to be undertaken.

This article describes the case of a 4-star, 400-room hotel in the Balearics that has integrated this innovative solar technology: hybrid solar panels. This technology simultaneously generates electricity and hot water from a single panel, producing more energy from the same available space. Greater energy savings translate into an increased economic saving, which is the key to the cost-effective solution offered by this technology, as this case study shows. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2018

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JinkoSolar has signed a 2,750 MW solar panel supply deal with NextEra Energy. The deal is the largest single solar panel supply deal in history. NextEra Energy operates approximately 47,000 MW of net generating capacity and employs approximately 14,000 people in 33 states through Canada and the United States. NextraEra Enegy is a global leader in renewable energy and have plans to own 7,000 MW of solar and wind generation capacity between 2017 and 2020.

JinkoSolar provides a combination of state-of-the-art solar technology, high quality products, localized service, and supreme project bankability. The joining of two major renewable companies not only has further enhanced the position of both parties in the solar industry, but, in the long run, will lead to lower cost of production and, subsequently, greater customer demand for stable and reasonable energy prices. The partnership between the two leaders of the industry enables highly visible synergies and creates win-win situation, enabling the continued sustainable growth of both parties.

As NextEra Energy continues to invest heavily in new solar projects across the country, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to buy cost-effective, reliable solar panels made here in America. JinkoSolar shares our commitment to delivering affordable clean energy solutions” said Jim Robo, NextEra Energy’s chairman and CEO.

To us, this partnership with NextEra is not about the large quantity of the order. Rather, what we’re value more in this arrangement is the long term relationship we will established with an important partner. JinkoSolar’s products and technologies have withstand the test of time. The company has also realized continued growth. After becoming the world’s largest solar module manufacturer with 6.65 GW of modules shipments in 2016, we continued to grow in 2017 by achieving a growth rate of 47% and shipping over 9.7 GW of modules. Considering that the US is one of our most important markets, the company highly values the development of long-term strategic partnerships in the US. This partnership with NextEra is built upon a mutually shared vision and management belief in sustainable development. The high bankability of the JinkoSolar products, superior JinkoSolar service, and esteem industry reputation was a foundational catalyst to this partnership” said JinkoSolar CEO Mr. Kangping Chen when ask to describe the significance and reasons behind the deal.

Source: JinkoSolar

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    Jinko Solar is currently the world’s leading manufacturer of PV modules by volume of sales, in addition to heading the Tier 1 list of the best manufacturers. Founded in 2006, listed on the New York Stock Market since 2010. It is a vertically integrated company, in other words, it has a production capacity for every manufacturing stage of the panels, allowing it to achieve better control over costs and production, always guaranteeing that the highest quality product is available on the market. With eight factories, located in four countries worldwide (China, Malaysia, Portugal and South Africa), the company has an annual capacity of 8 GW in addition to a presence in 35 countries around the world. Jinko Solar not only manufactures its PV modules applying the highest quality standards, but also has one of the most important R&D departments in the industry, which allows it to remain at the forefront as regards technological innovation. Currently, Jinko Solar benefits from a strong presence in Latin America with sales offices in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama and has the highest market share of the region.

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    The White House has announced that President Trump has issued a tariff on imported solar cells and modules. This will include a tariff of 30 percent in the first year, 25 percent in the second year, 20 percent in the third year, and 15 percent in the fourth year. Additionally, the first 2.5 GW of imported solar cells will be exempt from the safeguard tariff in each of those four years.

    U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, made the recommendations to the President based on consultations with the interagency Trade Policy Committee (TPC) in response to findings by the independent, bipartisan U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that increased foreign imports of solar cells and modules are a substantial cause of serious injury to domestic manufacturers.

    The administration’s fact sheet is centered on China, although it is not the only country affected as Section 201 trade cases are intended to apply globally.

    According to the fact sheet, from 2012 to 2016, the volume of solar generation capacity installed annually in the US more than tripled, spurred on by artificially low-priced solar cells and modules from China.

    China’s industrial planning has included a focus on increasing Chinese capacity and production of solar cells and modules, using state incentives, subsidies, and tariffs to dominate the global supply chain:

    • China issued the Renewable Energy Law in 2005 to promote renewable energy including solar, followed by capacity targets in 2007. The State Council listed renewable energy as one of seven strategic emerging industries eligible for special incentives and loans in 2010.
    • China has provided subsidies and financing to its solar companies; has encouraged the development of geographic industrial clusters and components of the supply chain; and has conditioned support on increasing efficiency, R&D expenditures, and manufacturing scale.
    • Following these state-directed initiatives, China’s share of global solar cell production skyrocketed from 7 percent in 2005 to 61 percent in 2012. China now dominates global supply chain capacity, accounting for nearly 70 percent of total planned global capacity expansions announced in the first half of 2017. China produces 60 percent of the world’s solar cells and 71 percent of solar modules.

    During this time, U.S. manufacturers have sought relief against unfair trade practices:

    • In 2011, Commerce found that China had subsidized its producers, and that those producers were selling their goods in the United States for less than their fair market value, all to the detriment of U.S. manufacturers. The United States imposed antidumping and countervailing duties in 2012, but Chinese producers evaded the duties through loopholes and relocating production to Taiwan.
    • In 2013, domestic producers filed new petitions to address these loopholes and the shift in sourcing. Chinese producers responded by moving production abroad, primarily to Malaysia, as well as Singapore, Germany, and Korea.

    From 2012 to 2016, imports grew by approximately 500 percent, and prices dropped precipitously. Prices for solar cells and modules fell by 60 percent, to a point where most U.S. producers ceased domestic production, moved their facilities to other countries, or declared bankruptcy.

    By 2017, the U.S. solar industry had almost disappeared, with 25 companies closing since 2012. Only two producers of both solar cells and modules, and eight firms that produced modules using imported cells, remained viable. In 2017, one of the two remaining U.S. producers of solar cells and modules declared bankruptcy and ceased production.

    On May 17, 2017, based on a petition from Suniva and later joined by SolarWorld, the ITC instituted an investigation under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 to determine whether increased imports were a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic industry.

    With all this considerations in mind, the ITC determined that increased solar cell and module imports are a substantial cause of serious injury to the US domestic industry. Although the Commissioners could not agree on a single remedy to recommend, most of them favored an increase in duties with a carve-out for a specified quantity of imported cells.

    Following the investigation and recommendations of the ITC, an interagency team led by USTR sought via Federal Register Notices on October 25, 2017 and November 14, 2017 the views of all participants in the solar industry and conducted a public hearing on December 6, 2017.

    After consultation with the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), USTR recommended and the President chose to take action by applying the additional duties mentioned previuosly

    Like solar PV panels a decade earlier, battery electricity storage systems offer enormous deployment and cost-reduction potential, according to a new report published by IRENA. By 2030, total installed costs could fall between 50% and 60% (and battery cell costs by even more, up to 66 per cent), driven by optimisation of manufacturing facilities, combined with better combinations and reduced use of materials. Lower installed costs, longer lifetimes, increased numbers of cycles and improved performance will further drive down the cost of stored electricity services.The report, Electricity Storage and Renewables: Costs and Markets to 2030, also found that global storage capacity could triple if countries double the share of renewables in the energy system.

    The report, which is focused on stationary applications, highlights that while pumped-hydro systems currently dominate total installed power storage capacity, with 96% of the installed electricity storage power globally, economies of scale and technology breakthroughs will support the accelerated development and adoption of alternative storage technologies, such as Li-ion batteries and flow batteries. Battery storage in stationary applications looks set to grow from only 2 GW worldwide in 2017 to around 175 GW, rivalling pumped-hydro storage, projected to reach 235 GW in 2030.

    Stationary electricity storage can directly drive rapid decarbonisation in other key segments of energy use, such as in the transport sector where the viability of battery storage for electric vehicles is improving fast. At the end of 2016, the cost of Li-ion batteries had fallen by as much as 73 per cent for transport applications from 2010.

    While Li-ion batteries in stationary applications have a higher installed cost than those used in EVs, in Germany, small-scale Li-ion battery systems have also seen their total installed costs fall by 60 per cent between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2017.

    The growth of lithium-ion battery use in electric vehicles and across the transport sector over the next 10 to 15 years is an important synergy that will help drive down battery costs for stationary storage applications. The trend towards electrified mobility will also open up opportunities for electric vehicles to provide vehicle-to-grid services, helping feed a virtuous circle of renewable energy and storage integration.

    By 2030, the calendar life of Li-ion batteries could also increase by approximately 50 per cent, while the number of full cycles possible could potentially increase by as much as 90 per cent. Other battery storage technologies also offer large cost reduction potential. High temperature “sodium sulphur” batteries could see their costs decline by up to 60%, while the total installed cost of flow batteries could potentially fall by two-thirds by 2030. Although they are subject to higher up-front costs compared to other technologies, flow batteries often exceed 10,000 full cycles, balancing the costs with very high lifetime energy throughputs.

    Source: IRENA

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    The European Commission has set out a proposal for a new mechanism for controlling the price of solar panels and cells imported to the European Union from China. The products’ prices had previously been governed by a minimum import price (MIP) system that the European Commission acknowledges had failed. The new system was intended to address that failure.

    Commenting on the new proposal, Dr Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe, stated “This proposal from DG Trade looks to divorce the price of solar panels from reality. The European Commission clearly states that market prices recorded in Q1 2017 will only be reached in the EU in September 2018. This implies a full time lag of 1,5 years for European companies to benefit from the true market price of solar. What is even worse, is that the MIP level proposed for July 2018 is still well above today’s world market prices in $/W. This is not the way to bring the energy transition in a cost effective manner to the citizens of Europe.


    James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe added “The European Commission is trying to miss another opportunity to bring solar prices in Europe closer to global market prices with this proposal. It is positive that they recognise a difference in price between multi-and mono crystalline panels and cells in the new proposal, but this progress is entirely undone by keeping the prices of these products artificially high by not basing the new system on an active market index.

    The new proposal includes a price schedule that will control the prices of panels and cells on the European market over the next 14 months or so, describing by how much and when prices will drop. Dr Christian Westermeier commented “This does not help the solar sector in Europe. Companies might wait a month or two for the new lower price to come into effect before realising a project. The Commission proposal could really slow all investment in solar in Europe, as companies could be tempted to keep waiting until the end of the measures before making an investment. It is difficult to understand the Commission’s decision to disregard market prices.

    Parties with an interest in the case have until 2nd August to make their comments on the proposed new system to the European Commission.

    Source: SolarPower Europe

    On March 23, at exactly 11:19 in the morning, the combined output of California’s copious solar panels and wind farms briefly supplied 49.2 percent of the state’s power demand for the first time. The record was a good omen for America’s most populous state, which is striving to use renewables for half of its electricity consumption by 2030.

    But this laudable goal comes with a few hurdles. Customers want their electricity always on, but the wind can weaken and, even in California, the sun hides behind a cloud. “It’s not always possible to meet the full demand with renewables in the mix,” says Selma Kivran, a general manager for aeroderivatives at GE Power Services. “You need something else to fill the gap.”


    In the absence of grid-scale batteries to bridge supply gaps (batteries remain expensive and limited in use) natural-gas-burning turbines can quickly ramp up and pick up the slack when renewables drop off. But even the fastest machines take several minutes to reach full power, forcing operators to run them at minimum load to keep them ready, burn gas and put more wear on the machines. “This is inefficient combustion that needs extra fuel, costs money and generates unnecessary greenhouse emissions,” Kivran says. “It’s not the ideal, and not the only possible solution.”

    That’s why Kivran and her colleagues at GE Energy Connections decided to bring peakers and batteries together and wrap them in a single, efficient package with sophisticated power management software. With this hybrid system, the gas turbine can be turned off, and the battery will respond instantly.

    Southern California Edison (SCE) is deploying the solution — the first of its kind in the world — at two sites near Los Angeles. “The battery is quick and clean, and the gas turbine is giving you the power you need. It’s reliable power because it’s always there, and you also get the environmental benefits,” says Mirko Molinari, general manager for digital grid at Grid Solutions from GE Energy Connections.

    Under the hood of GE’s California grid-scale hybrid, there’s the company’s LM6000 gas turbine — a nimble peaker with jet engine technology at its core that can reach 50 MW in just 5 minutes — and a 10 MW battery assembled from lithium-ion cells that lasts up to 30 minutes. When a wind farm output drops, the battery can kick in immediately and give the turbine the time to start up without cutting off from the grid.

    GE engineers developed software that allows the utility to manage in the most optimal way how fast the battery discharges and how quickly the turbine needs to ramp up from full stop. “Anybody can put a battery next to a turbine,” Molinari says. “The magic is in integrating the controls.”

    The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) already has software that is always listening to what’s happening on the grid. When it detects that the power line frequency is dropping, it will send a signal to the battery-turbine hybrid to get ready and also the utility’s central control room. It will keep the amount of power racing through the lines the same even after the renewable source drops off.

    Besides fighting dips in renewables production, the solution could be also useful in fighting the dreaded California duck — the nickname for the duck-like curve that describes the sharp difference between power supply and demand after the sun sets and the state’s plentiful solar panels stop producing electricity. “This solution is scalable,” Kivran says. “We’ve optimized the energy storage to meet desired cost proforma, but given its design is modular, there is no reason why we could not go to 100 MW or more.”

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    EDF Solar, a company based in Pontevedra (Galicia) whose shareholders are 100% Spanish, continues to support self-consumption as the axis of the new energy model. The company is well established in the industrial sector, where it undertook the first industrial self-consumption installation in Spain in 2011 and continues to gain market share. EDF Solar specialists have implemented over 90% of the self-consumption installations in Galicia, achieving a market share of almost 60% at national level. More than 450 projects, with a combined capacity of 20 MW, are testament to the work of this company that has recently concluded three new industrial self-consumption projects. EDF Solar has installed a total of 90,000 solar panels to date.

    EDF Solar offers an integrated engineering service at a very competitive price that covers performance of the feasibility study and the engineering project in addition to the project’s maintenance and technical assessment. With a project payback period of less than 5-6 years, which also includes the construction, installation, development, operation and maintenance, a saving of up to 60% can be achieved on the daytime electricity consumption of the client. EDF Solar’s legal department and in-house quality control laboratory complete a 360º offer that covers from the materials used to the operation of each installation.


    During 2016, the company successfully concluded projects with capacities of 700 kW, 500 kW, 300 kW, 200 kW and 100 kW, amounting to around 80 installations in sectors including: fishing, timber, food, service stations, packaging, oil, shopping centres and farms, achieving a total installed capacity of 7 MW. During the last financial year, the company executed Spain’s largest industrial self-consumption project with a capacity of 700 kW at the timber company Maderas Gómez (Ourense) that will produce 1 GWh every year, covering around 40% of the client’s electricity consumption.
    Read more…

    Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2017

    SAJ Electric