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BayWa r.e., together with its Dutch partner GroenLeven, has successfully built its third floating solar plant in a record time of only six weeks. The Sekdoorn project in the Netherlands near the city of Zwolle has a total capacity of 14.5 MWp. This will enable almost 4,000 households to be supplied with solar power.

Due to the cutting-edge, self-designed system, the installation of almost 40.000 PV modules was done in the short time span. After the completion of the 2 MWp Weperpolder project and the larger Tynaarlo plant with a capacity of 8.4 MWp, Sekdoorn is already the third floating solar plant BayWa r.e. and its partner GroenLeven have realized in the Netherlands. BayWa r.e. is planning the construction of further floating PV projects in the country with a total output of around 100 MWp.

Floating solar plants provide a wide range of options for using economically exploited bodies of water – such as reservoirs, fish farming waters or lakes on former open-cast lignite mines – in two different ways.

In a current study, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Research has quantified the potential for floating PV installations on decommissioned coal mining lakes at 15 GW in Germany alone. A study of the World Bank Group identified a potential for Europe of 20 GW if only 1% of the surface of man-made freshwater reservoirs will be used.

There are already support schemes in place for such installations in the Netherlands as well as in France. In Germany to date this has only been discussed on the sidelines, involving their possible integration within the announced innovation tenders for renewables and storage.

The basis for these floating installations is the mounting system developed by BayWa r.e. in partnership with Zimmermann PV-Stahlbau GmbH, which meets the highest quality requirements.

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

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Europe has set a target that 32% of its energy should come from renewables by 2030, up from 17.5% today. Corporates are and can play an even bigger role in meeting this target. Thousands of key corporate buyers – including from the steel, aluminium, ICT, and chemicals industries – and clean energy suppliers, are meeting in Amsterdam at the RE-Source 2019 event – for a two-day conference to discuss how to accelerate efforts to source more renewable energy.

The last weeks have seen an abundance of significant solar and wind sourcing agreements from major corporates around the world. Google announced its largest corporate renewable purchase in history, including nearly 800 MW of new renewable energy in Europe. Amazon recently unveiled plans to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.

The Airports Council International (ACI Europe) also announced at the event a new partnership with the RE-Source Platform to accelerate the clean energy transition of the airport industry and help it achieve its 2050 net zero commitment. In addition, the RE-Source Platform received a €500,000 grant from Google.org to fund further the development of new renewable energy purchasing models, provide training and resources for consumers, and enable more widespread access to clean power.

Corporate sourcing of renewables has risen rapidly in Europe, with 7.5 GW of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) deals signed over the past five years, and 1.6 GW worth of deals in 2019 alone. More European countries are engaging in PPA deals: 13 countries have inked PPAs in 2019 so far. Commercial and industrial on-site corporate sourcing accounted for 3.4 GW in 2018 and is expected to grow considerably in the next decade.

Industrial and commercial consumers account for more than half of Europe’s energy consumption today. Powering these corporate consumers with renewable energy could deliver both significant reductions in CO2 emissions and make European industries more competitive due to the rapidly falling cost of renewables.

According to a recent study from the European Commission, if EU-based corporate buyers committed to sourcing renewable electricity to meet 30% of their total electricity demand by 2030, the EU renewable energy sector would generate more than €750bn in gross added value and over 220,000 new jobs.

Governments can play their part in facilitating more companies to source renewables, by removing administrative hurdles for corporate renewable PPAs, and on-site and direct investments in renewable energy generation that exist throughout Europe. Under the new Renewable Energy Directive, European governments now have the duty to remove these barriers. Currently, only two of the draft National Energy and Climate Plans for 2030 even mention PPAs and none comply with the agreed legislation.

The energy transition requires more than 10 times solar and 5 times wind power in combination with other technology measures to limit global warming to well below 2°C and meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, according to DNV GL’s latest Energy Transition Outlook: Power Supply and Use report. The report finds that the energy transition is gathering pace more quickly than previously thought but the rate is still too slow to limit global temperatures rising by well below 2°C as set out in the Paris Agreement.

At the projected pace, DNV GL’s forecast indicates a world that is most likely to be 2.4°C warmer at the end of this century than in the immediate pre-industrial period. The technology already exists to curb emissions enough to hit the climate target. What is needed to ensure this happens are far-reaching policy decisions.

DNV GL recommends that the following technology measures are put in place to help close the emissions gap, the difference between the forecasted rate at which our energy system is decarbonizing and the pace we need to reach, to limit global warming to well below 2°C as set out by the Paris Agreement.

This combination of measures includes:

  1. Grow solar power by more than ten times to 5 TW and wind by 5 times to 3TW by 2030, which would meet 50% of the global electricity use per year.
  2. 50-fold increase in production of batteries for the 50 M electric vehicles needed per year by 2030, alongside investments in new technology to store excess electric energy and solutions that allow our electricity grids to cope with the growing influx of solar and wind power.
  3. Create new infrastructure for charging electric vehicles on a large scale.
  4. More than 1.5 MM$ of annual investment needed for the expansion and reinforcement of power grids by 2030, including ultra-high-voltage transmission networks and extensive demand-response solutions to balance variable wind and solar power.
  5. Increase global energy efficiency improvements by 3.5% per year within the next decade.
  6. Green hydrogen to heat buildings and industry, fuel transport and make use of excess renewable energy in the power grid.
  7. For the heavy industry sector: increased electrification of manufacturing processes, including electrical heating. Onsite renewable sources combined with storage solutions.
  8. Heat-pump technologies and improved insulation.
  9. Massive rail expansion both for city commuting and long-distance passenger and cargo transport.
  10. Rapid and wide deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage installations.

The staggering pace of the energy transition continues. DNV GL’s report forecasts that by 2050 power generation from solar photovoltaic and wind energy will be 36,000 terawatt hours per year, more than 20 times today’s output. Greater China and India will have the largest share of solar energy by mid-century, with a 40% share of global installed PV capacity in China, followed by the Indian Subcontinent at 17%.

Globally, renewable energy will provide almost 80% of the world’s electricity by 2050 according to the report. The electrification will see increasing use of heat pumps, electric arc furnaces and an electric vehicle revolution, with 50% of all new cars sold in 2032 being electric vehicles.

Despite this rapid pace, the energy transition is not fast enough. DNV GL’s forecast indicates that, alarmingly, for a 1.5°C warming limit, the remaining carbon budget will be exhausted as early as 2028, with an overshoot of 770 Gt CO2 in 2050.

The report also demonstrates that the energy transition is affordable, the world will spend an ever-smaller share of GDP on energy. Global expenditure on energy is currently 3.6% of GDP but that will fall to 1.9% by 2050. This is due to the plunging costs of renewables and other efficiencies, allowing for greater investment to accelerate the transition.

DNV GL appeals to all 197 countries that signed the Paris Agreement to raise and realize increased ambitions for their updated Nationally Determined Contributions by 2020. In a snapshot of the first NDCs submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat, 75% currently refer to renewable energy, and 58% to energy efficiency. DNV GL calls on political leaders that both these percentages need to be 100% in the second NDCs.

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Today, 75% of Europeans live in urban areas and this is expected to rise. Already we are facing an increasing amount of challenges in our cities related to poor air quality, energy poverty, and highly inefficient buildings. The building stock accounts for 49% of Europe’s energy demand and 36% of CO2 emissions at EU level – we need to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and invest significantly in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings if Europe is to become carbon-neutral.

Against this backdrop, SolarPower Europe has launched the Solar4Buildings campaign –calling for solar on all new and renovated buildings in the EU to help limit climate change.

In the EU, more than 90% of roofs go unused, when they could help mitigate climate change by having solar installed on them. Installing solar on all new buildings and those undergoing renovations makes perfect sense as it could reduce buildings’ CO2 emissions significantly whilst producing clean electricity.

What’s more, Europe’s rooftops have huge solar potential. According to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, rooftops in the EU can produce 680 TWh of solar power annually – which is equal to one quarter of the current electricity consumption in the EU.

Solar is one of the most affordable energy sources today. The price of solar panels has dropped by more than 96% since 2000 and is expected to fall even further. By installing solar, European households can also save money on their electricity bills and have access to reliable and clean energy – that makes for a greener future. In Germany, a typical four-person family household with an average annual electricity consumption of 3,600 kWh could save more than €500 each year, if equipped with an average size rooftop system.

Despite these facts, buildings are still regularly being constructed without solar. Now it is time to install solar on all these roofs – on residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings.

SolarPower Europe will present the Solar4Buildings campaign to the new European Commission starting in November and as part of its input to President-elect Ursula von der Leyen’s ‘Green Deal’.

Help support the campaign by signing the petition calling for EU legislation to have solar on all new and renovated buildings in the European Union!

Source: SolarPower Europe

Installed capacity of renewable power in Colombia is expected to rise from 2% in 2018 to 14% in 2025, with a further rise to 21% by 2030. Renewable capacity in the country is slated to increase fivefold to reach 5.9 GW at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.4%. This growth can be attributed to new government policies facilitating funds for renewable energy projects, energy efficiency measures and announcement of renewable energy auctions in 2018, says GlobalData.

However, GlobalData’s latest report, “Colombia Power Market Outlook to 2030, Update 2019 – Market Trends, Regulations and Competitive Landscape, also reveals that the country’s coal-based capacity will increase by 43% between 2018 and 2030 to reach 2.4GW while gas-based power will contribute 14% of total capacity.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects will handle the demand side management in the near future. The country’s onshore wind capacity is expected to increase from 19.5 MW in 2018 to 3.4 GW in 2030, representing the country’s largest growth among its renewable sources. PV capacity is expected to reach 1.7 GW in 2030 from 172.6 MW in 2019 at 23% CAGR, while the biopower segment will see growth of 7% CAGR to reach 719 MW. To date, Colombia does not have any installed geothermal capacity but it is expected to have 50 MW installed by 2024, leading to 115 MW capacity in 2030 growing at 15% CAGR.”

Colombia’s Generation and Transmission Expansion Plan 2015-2029 is expected to accommodate high volumes of renewable energy in the near future. The anticipated grid expansion and modernization of 4.2GW to 6.7GW, which is aimed to support 1GW coal and 1.5 GW hydro, will involve huge investment in grid infrastructure industry. This, in turn, is likely to open up new markets for energy storage and energy efficiency systems to enable steady supply of power when adequate renewable energy is unavailable.

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Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions (“MIDIS”), on behalf of its European and Asian insurance company clients, today announced a new transaction in the Spanish renewables sector, with a 38 M€ debt investment in a portfolio of solar farms.

The portfolio is owned and managed by Q-Energy, a leading European investor and asset manager in the renewable energy sector. Comprised of six operational PV plants in south-eastern Spain, the portfolio totals 13.6MWp in installed capacity. MIDIS refinanced the portfolio’s existing debt with 21-year, amortising, floating rate, senior secured bonds, and structured an orphan interest rate swap facility to support the transaction, provided by Goldman Sachs International.

MIDIS continues to explore opportunities in the Spanish renewables market, seeking to match long-dated liabilities with investments that generate stable, long-term cash flows. In the last twelve months, MIDIS has deployed over 150 M€ into the Spanish solar sector to help meet the evolving demand through a combination of separately managed accounts and its Macquarie Global Infrastructure Debt Fund strategy.

MIDIS and Q-Energy completed the transaction on a bilateral basis, with Banco Sabadell and Santander acting as arrangers. Goldman Sachs International provided the interest rate hedging to the issuer.

Since 2012, MIDIS has invested 2.100 M€ of infrastructure debt across more than 30 renewable energy projects with total installed capacity of approximately 6.8GW.

Source: Macquarie

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Silicon wafer accounts for 30%-40% of the cost of a solar module. Larger wafer size increase the area exposed to light, increasing power and reducing cost. So that, since 2H-2018, the industry has continued to develop larger size wafers, leading to various specifications.

LONGi Solar has launched recently a press release stressesing the need for consistency in standards for PV wafers size. As the press release states, according to Professor Shen Wenzhong, Director, Solar Energy Research Institute of Shanghai Jiaotong University: “The 166 mm wafer has reached the allowable limit of production equipment which is difficult to overcome. This would be the upper limit of the standard for a considerable period.”

Li Zhenguo, President of LONGi Group considers that these different wafer sizes will lead to a mismatch in processes and standards in the supply chain, according to. “If manufacturers cannot reach an agreement on a size standard, it will restrict the development of the whole industry.” said.

Shen Wenzhong also said: “Existing crystal drawing and slicing equipment are compatible with 166 mm size silicon wafer. Production equipment for cell and module needs to be modified, though the costs are lower and easier to achieve. Calculated by “flux”, cell and module production line using 166 mm wafer will increase capacity by 13% as compared with the 156 mm size”.

The order books for LONGi’s Hi-MO4 modules using M6 monocrystalline silicon wafers, 166 mm, have exceeded 2 GW, so that large-scale production will commence the third quarter of 2019.

By the end of 2020, LONGi will upgrade its existing cell and module lines and transform them for production with 166 mm wafer. New lines – such as the 5 GW monocrystalline cell line in Yinchuan – will be designed for the 166 mm size from the start.

LONGi announced the price of its M6 monocrystalline silicon wafer in May-2019 at 3.47 RMB/piece, which is only a small 0.4 RMB premium compared to its M2 wafer. According to LONGi, the compatibility of wafer production lines with M6 would ensure large-scale supply in 2019, thereby reducing the price differential to less than 0.2 RMB.

Source: LONGi

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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Global solar PV installations will reach a new high of 114.5 GW in 2019, up 17.5% on 2018, according to a new research from Wood Mackenzie. As noted in ‘Global solar PV market outlook update: Q2 2019’, the market is now back on a strong growth trajectory after a slowdown in 2018. Annual installations are expected to rise to around 125 GW per year by the early 2020s.

Global growth will continue despite a gradual slow-down in China, the world’s largest PV market. The Chinese market peaked at 53 GW in 2017, driven by generous feed-in tariffs. A move towards more competitive procurement of solar PV will lead to more sustainable annual additions of 30-40 GW.

Global PV market continues to diversify rapidly. Countries installing between 1-5 GW annually will be the market’s growth engine. In 2018, there were seven such markets. By 2022, there will be 19 – with new names including Saudi Arabia, France and Taiwan.

Auctions will remain the driver of growth in many global PV markets. Wood Mackenzie expects to see 90 GW of solar PV projects awarded contracts through auctions in 2019, up from 81 GW in 2018.

In India, auction activity is starting to recover after a slow-down caused by land and transmission constraints. In the U.S., announcements of new state utility IRPs, in Florida for example, are good news for the solar PV market. The European market will grow strongly as policy markets look to deliver on 2020 and 2030 renewable energy targets. In Latin America, Brazil looks to be the most exciting market of the moment, with both auctioned PPAs with distributors and free market contracts with large consumers on offer. In the Middle East, all eyes are on the upcoming 1.5 GW auction in Saudi Arabia, which is set to be extremely competitive.

China’s first solar PV auction produced staggering results

China recently announced the results of its first solar PV auction. A staggering 22.8 GW of projects awarded contracts in China’s inaugural auction. This is by far the world’s largest completed auction, with the next largest being the award of 3.9 GW of solar PV in Spain during July 2017. Awarded projects are intended to be connected by the end of 2019, facing tariff cuts for any delays.

Brazil overtakes Mexico for world’s lowest-priced solar PV contract

In June’s A-4 auction, Enerlife/Lightsource BP was awarded a contract for the 163 MW Milagres project for just 17.3 $/MWh, lower than the 18.93 $/MWh awarded in 2017 to Neon’s Pachamama PV project in Mexico.

Source: Wood Mackenzie

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