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solar power

European electricity markets

Since April 1, prices in Europe have had certain stability. The rise in the CO2 emission price was offset by lower gas and coal prices and also by the slight decrease in electricity demand due to the better weather conditions in spring, with somewhat higher temperatures and more hours of sunshine in this 40-day period. The price fluctuations in this period are mainly due to variations in wind energy production, especially in Germany and Spain, which are the European leaders generating energy with this technology. In the case of Germany, prices could have been stable at 40 €/MWh but when there was a lot of wind they fell below this value, even reaching negative values on April 22 at 14 €/MWh. In the Spanish electricity market, fluctuations in wind energy production caused prices in the band between 40 €/MWh and 60 €/MWh. Also in this period of 40 days there were fluctuations in temperature and in solar energy production.


Electricity futures

The prices of European electricity futures for the third quarter of 2019 increased in most markets between 0.3% and 1.6% on Friday, May 10, compared to Friday of previous week. In the case of the OMIP market of Spain and Portugal, as well as the MTE market operated by GME, they remain unchanged, while the UK futures decreased in both the ICE and EEX markets.
In the case of futures for 2020, the increase was more widespread between 0.5% and 1.4%. Only the MTE market operated by GME remained unchanged and the UK’s ICE and EEX markets declined, as did the future for the third quarter of this year.

Wind and solar energy production

In the second week of May, the wind energy production had an increase in the main European markets except in Germany with a drop of 3.3%. The increase in France was 58%, in Portugal 99%, in Spain 36%, and in Italy 37%.
For the current week, the third of May, a decline in wind energy production is forecasted after the rise of the previous week. The most pronounced fall is expected in Italy and Portugal, somewhat less in Spain and France, and even a slight increase in Germany.

As for solar energy production, which includes photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies, during the second week of May fell by 4.3% in Germany, while in Spain the fall reached 20% with respect to the previous week. For its part, in Italy the previous week registered an increase of 5.3% in the solar energy production.
For the current week it is expected a decrease in solar energy production in Italy of about 20%, while in Germany and Spain the trend is expected to be bullish between 15% and 20%.

 

Source: AleaSoft

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SolarPower Europe has launched its Global Market Outlook 2019-2023, showing that solar power reached important milestones in 2018, with an even more optimistic picture forecast for the next five years, as SolarPower Europe forecasts 800 GW additions to 1.3 TW total installed capacity by 2023

A total of 102.4 GW of solar power went on the grid around the world last year. That’s still 4% more than the 98.5 GW installed in 2017 and this is in comparison to two very high-growth years: 2017 and 2016, which had growth rates of around 30% and 50% respectively. The main reason for last year’s slower solar market growth was the contraction of the Chinese market, which, at 44.4 GW, shrunk by 16% compared to its record 52.8 GW in 2017. While other leading solar markets also shrank (India, Japan) or stagnated (US) for various reasons, many new and emerging as well as re-emerging markets more than compensated for this slower growth period of the tier 1 group.

In 2018, 11 countries installed more than 1 GW of solar; that’s two more compared to the nine GW-scale solar markets in 2017. SolarPower Europe’s Medium Scenario estimates that the number will significantly increase to 16 countries in 2019.

Europe as a whole added 11.3 GW in 2018, a 21% increase over the 9.3 GW installed the year before mainly because of the EU’s binding national 2020 targets. In 2019, SolarPower Europe’s Medium Scenario sees demand surge by over 80% to 20.4 GW, and an 18% growth to 24.1 GW in 2020, which would be a new installation record, surpassing the 22.5 GW Europe added in 2011.

On a global level, in its Medium Scenario, SolarPower Europe anticipates that around 128 GW of new PV capacity will be installed in 2019, which would translate into a 25% market growth. This will lead to a cumulative installed capacity of 645 GW, which is about 4% higher than assumed in last year’s Global Market Outlook. The solar TW-level will most likely be exceeded in 2022. The 5-year Global Market Outlook expects that global solar power generation capacities will add nearly 800 GW and reach a total solar power generation capacity of 1.3 TW in 2023.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) an average of over 400 GW of renewables have to be installed per year until 2050 to keep temperature rise below 2 °C. In 2018, around 180 GW of renewable power capacity was installed.

Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe, said: “2018 was a unique year for the entire global solar industry, as we exceeded the magic installation mark of 100 GW per year for the first time, which led the solar power sector to grow to over 500 GW or 0.5 TW. Last year, we again saw strong cost improvements with solar becoming the lowest-cost power generation source in more and more regions. At the same time, new applications have quickly progressed, such as floating solar, while corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements have reached a double-digit GW-level, and a market for merchant solar has emerged in several countries.

Source: SolarPower EWurope

The PV installations in Brazil increased drastically in recent years with 371.9 MW capacity added in 2018, which nearly triples the installations for the previous year. The rooftop sector accounts for a significant share of the installed PV systems. The strong growth has contributed to increasing investments by solar companies from home and abroad.

Growatt, a leading Chinese inverter manufacturer has set up its Brazil Service Center in Mogi das Cruzes to expand its global presence. “Growatt has shipped over 20,000 inverter solutions to Brazil since entering the market in 2016. The business has been growing at a fast pace and now it’s time for localization after three years of development.” said Lisa Zhang, Growatt marketing director. Its service center is staffed with four local service engineers at the moment. “With our service center established in Brazil, we can provide faster and better service for local customers.

Growatt focuses on providing residential, commercial and industrial inverter solutions. Its 15-22k three-phase inverters and 8-10.5k single-phase inverters have been quite a success in the market. “Our inverters are becoming increasingly popular in Brazil. And we are launching our next generation residential inverter MIN2.5-6kTL-X for the Brazilian market very soon. This is the powerful future solution for residential PV system.

Many customers are attracted by its design at first glance. It has OLED display and touch button, which can last over three million clicks. It’s about 35% lighter than common inverters of previous generation because we use light and flame-retardant aerospace grade materials. It has powerful smart functions as well. By connecting it to our Online Smart Service(OSS) platform, customers can monitor, manage and maintain installed systems remotely. It saves time and money.” This next generation residential inverter is expected to gain its INMETRO certification in June according to Zhang.

Zhang has high expectations for this coming new inverter model and business growth this year. “Brazil has great solar potential and the market will continue to grow. We will continue to increase our investments and improve our service in Brazil and South America. With our leading advantages in residential and C&I inverter solutions, our goal is to take 20% market share of the rooftop sector in Brazil.

Source: Growatt

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The German solar PV industry dominated Germany’s latest solar and onshore wind tender, receiving contracts for the entire 210 MW awarded in the auction, which was heavily oversubscribed.

Germany’s Federal Network Agency, the Bundesnetzagentur, announced on April, 18 the results from this tender, revealing that it had awarded 210 MW of solar contracts to 18 solar power bids. The tender was originally for 200 MW but was significantly oversubscribed, with 719.5 MW of solar projects bidding for contracts. No onshore wind contracts were awarded.

Of the 210 MW of contracts awarded, 59 MW was awarded to both the states of Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg — each with five successful bids — another 48 MW to the state of Schleswig-Holstein with three bids, 33 MW to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with two bids, and 10 MW to the state of Hesse with another three bids.

The average awarded price was 0.0566 €/kWh, with a low bid price of 0.045 €/kWh and a high of 0.061 €/kWh. The prices were up slightly on the November 2018 preliminary rounds of 0.0527 €/kWh, but must also be understood in conjunction with the special tender for solar held last month, which awarded contracts at an average of 0.065 €/kWh.

A separate tender was also held for biomass plants, which awarded 27 MW in a severely undersubscribed auction.

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JinkoSolar, a reputable PV module manufacture in the world, today announced that according to media reports, Hanwha Q Cells this week filed actions against Jinko in the US ITC, US District Court of Delaware, and Germany’s regional Düsseldorf court. The actions follow the rapid growth of solar energy in the US and German markets where Jinko has been successful.

Based on Jinko’s preliminary analysis of Hanwha’s complaints and the asserted patents, the Company believes that the complaints are without technical or legal merit. Jinko, therefore, categorically refutes Hanwha’s allegations.

Jinko is working closely with its legal counsel and technical advisors to vigorously defend against the claims made by Hanwha. The company is considering all legal avenues available, including petitioning for the invalidity of Hanwha’s alleged patents. Jinko looks forward to prevailing in court. Jinko fully respects intellectual property rights and encourages healthy competition, but it will take legal action to defend itself, its clients, and its partners.

Jinko does not expect any disruption to its normal operations arising from this matter. JinkoSolar has been allocating substantial resources to R&D over many years, and has broken world records for cell efficiency. Jinko will strive to maintain its market leadership in solar module supply to the US and EU markets, providing its customers with high quality products and timely delivery.

Source: JinkoSolar

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    PV

    Growatt is one of the world’s top PV inverter brands. Established in 2010, Growatt started with a vision to lead in the PV inverter sector and contribute to clean energy. Growatt provides a broad range of solar energy solutions, including solar inverters from 750 W to 2.52 MW, energy storage solutions for on-grid and off-grid applications, smart energy solutions etc. Driven by the expertise of over 200 professional R&D engineers and continuous investment, Growatt has grown into a global leader with presence in over 100 countries. By 2017 Growatt has become one of the global TOP 10 PV inverter brands according to IHS Markit.

    www.ginverter.com

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    Solar PV has experienced exponential growth in recent years, with global installed capacity increasing ten-fold from 2010 to 2017 – annual capacity additions rose from less than 20 GW in 2010 to 40 GW in 2014 and a record-breaking 97 GW in 2017. At the same time, wind power has continued to expand, adding about 50 GW annually over the past five years.

    Together, solar PV and wind have the potential to transform electricity worldwide, with significant impacts on the operations of whole systems and the economics of all sources of electricity. But to what degree can we reasonably expect such exponential growth to continue?

    China is the engine of solar PV growth

    China has been the driving force behind the exponential growth of solar PV, accounting for 75% of global growth in solar PV deployment over the five years leading up to 2017 (though official data indicates that additions declined in China in 2018).

    China’s success in this sector has been thanks to a virtuous cycle of strong policy support and falling technology costs. For example, China’s 2020 targets for solar PV have been ratcheted up several times, rising from an initial target of 1.8 GW set in 2008, to 105 GW in the 13th Five-Year Plan set at the end of 2016. Recent discussions are looking to 210 GW or beyond.

    Support policies have also played a determining role in other world leaders of solar PV. In the United States, the extension of tax credits in late 2016 gave a significant boost to both solar PV and wind power markets, complementing state-level renewable energy goals that continue to evolve. In the European Union, the renewables target of 27% for 2030 set in 2016 was recently revised up to 32%. In India, implementation measures have been expanding, including in 2016 doubling the amount of land set aside for solar PV deployment.

    What would exponential growth mean for annual solar PV deployment?

    Driven in part by these strong policies, the solar PV market has grown dramatically, at a rate of 27% annually over the past five years. However continuing at this pace would mean a doubling of annual deployment every three years, passing 200 GW in 2020 and exceeding 2 100 GW in 2030. This would represent a massive scaling up that would go beyond any level of construction seen in the past, at more than 6-times the capacity of all technologies built in 2015. It would also require mobilising a dramatic level of investment.

    For now, policy has been the key driver in accelerating deployment, but maintaining this growth rate would far outpace established policy goals. For example, combining the policy ambitions of the US, EU, Japan, China and India would require only about 70 GW of solar PV per year. Even in the case where actions to mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution accelerate, as defined in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), solar PV deployment in these leading regions would rise to about 120 GW per year to 2030, a level well below what is implied by continued exponential growth.

    Falling costs will accelerate deployment, right?

    In addition to support policies, solar PV growth has been driven by impressive cost reductions, falling by about two-thirds over the past five years with all indications pointing to further reductions in the future. New utility-scale solar PV projects completed in 2017 had average levelised costs of electricity (LCOE) of just over $100 per megawatt-hour (MWh), based on standard financing over 20 years. Best-in-class projects with preferential financing can costs as much as 60% less today and recent auction bids indicate that next wave of leading projects could cost $30 per MWh or less.

    However, low costs do not guarantee accelerated deployment, as they are only part the story. In this light, to better assess the relative competitiveness of technologies WEO2018 included a new metric of competitiveness that has been developed over several years, called value-adjusted LCOE (or VALCOE).

    VALCOE builds on the foundation of LCOE that incorporates all cost elements, but also adds three categories of value in power systems: energy, flexibility and capacity. Combining these elements provides a stronger basis for comparisons between variable renewables like solar PV and dispatchable.

    From this perspective, hourly simulations of electricity demand, supply and electricity prices in China, India, the United States and European Union all point to a more complex picture for the competitiveness for several technologies, including solar PV.

    In India for example, the LCOE of new solar PV is projected to drop below that of coal-fired power plants by 2025. But the story is different using VALCOE. As the share of solar PV surpasses 10% in 2030, the value of daytime production drops and the value of flexibility increases. After 2030, even with further cost reductions, solar PV becomes less competitive.

    Ultimately, the ability of market forces to drive exponential growth will depend on the profitability of solar PV without government intervention. This calls for a healthy return on investment in the face of market risk, a challenging prospect for solar PV or any power generation technology today, as current market designs rarely monetise all the services provided. Exponential growth also calls for solar PV to outcompete not only alternatives for new investment but also the existing power plants based on costs and value.

    For example, recent deployment of onshore wind highlights that falling costs alone may not lead to ever-increasing deployment. In 2017, the LCOE of onshore wind power continued to decline to about $75 per MWh globally, some 30% lower than utility-scale solar PV. However, global capacity additions fell for the second year in a row to 44 GW in 2017, well below the record of 65 GW set in 2015.

    The future of solar PV, like so many parts of the energy system, will continue to depend largely on decisions made by governments. With pressing global and local environmental concerns, governments should look to ratchet up ambitions related to all low carbon options, including solar PV and wind power, but also nuclear, carbon capture utilisation and storage, hydro, bioenergy and renewables for heat and transport. Without this boost, the annual market for solar PV may stagnate or decline, an unfortunate fate that has happened to many other promising technologies.

    BrentBy Brent Wanner
    WEO Energy Analyst
    International Energy Agency

    Powertis, developer of large-scale PV projects in Europe and Latin America, will develop 2 GW of solar PV over the next three years between Brazil and Spain, 1 GW per country. Headquartered in Madrid and less than a year old, Powertis has secured power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 1 GW in Brazil. In addition, Powertis is entering into the Spanish market where offers turnkey services ranging from feasibility study to project financing.

    In less than 15 seconds, enough energy from the sun reaches the Earth to keep the world running using clean energy. For this reason, we are convinced that the future will be solar. At Powertis, we focus on large projects that use the latest technology, minimizes the cost of solar, and let us negotiate sophisticated bilateral contracts, with the ultimate goal of offering a guaranteed and sustainable return to our investors,” says Pablo Otín, CEO of Powertis.

    The construction of the first projects in Brazil will start in the first quarter of 2020 and the entire portfolio, which exceeds 1 GW, will be connected to the grid before December 2021. “Our main goal is to establish Powertis as the leading company in the bilateral market in Brazil”, states Otín. He also adds that this country, together with Spain, are two of the most active regions in the global PV market in bilateral PPAs. “We are taking advantage of these opportunities to showcase our team’s unique knowledge when it comes to contract and finance this type of projects.

    Source: Powertis

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    A combination of high electricity tariffs, falling PV prices and a lack of reliability in the grid is spurring sales of on-site solar to business customers in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the conclusion of a new report by research company BloombergNEF (BNEF), commissioned by responsAbility Investments AG, assessing the potential of commercial and industrial solar opportunities in the region.

    The report entitled “Solar for Businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa” finds that the commercial and industrial (C&I) solar sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is growing not because of regulatory support – as has been the case in many developed economies – but because of economics. On-site solar power is cheaper than the electricity tariffs paid by commercial or industrial clients in 7 out of 15 markets in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) studied by BNEF.

    While the market is still small, it has great potential. An immense energy deficit and crumbling infrastructure makes Sub-Saharan Africa fertile ground for solar. As of November 2018, developers built a record number of 74 MW serving business customers directly, offering them cheaper power than the grid. Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana installed 15 MW, 20 MW, and 7 MW respectively as of November 2018.

    BNEF_AFRICA

    According to the authors, the financial sector has yet to take on a major role in providing funding for C&I solar systems. So far, most business customers have bought systems for cash, without using third-party finance. There are, however, big opportunities for specialized financiers in the region to do more.

    responsAbility-managed funds have financed the off-grid solar sector in Sub-Saharan Africa for five years, focusing primarily on residential customers. The company expects solar to be increasingly deployed on C&I sites, where it often complements diesel power generation.

    Electricity outages are commonplace across most of Sub-Saharan Africa. When the grid is out, customers must either shoulder high opportunity costs from lost sales or manufacturing output, or resort to much costlier backup power, usually from diesel. This is where financing solar installations can contribute to climate change mitigation by replacing fossil fuel.

    responsAbility, in cooperation with the dedicated climate fund it manages, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), commissioned BNEF to identify and assess potential target markets for C&I solar in Sub-Saharan Africa. Following a desk-based regional study that identified three high-priority markets, BNEF conducted interviews with 36 stakeholders in those markets. Overall, stakeholders are optimistic about the future and BNEF expects 2019 to be a record year for the C&I industry.

    Source: BloombergNEF

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    aventron has signed with Solarpack Corporacion Tecnologica general contractor agreements for the turnkey construction of two PV plants in Spain with a capacity of 50 MW each. Both projects have already passed the required environmental impact assessments and the final building permits are expected at the beginning of 2019. The development partner is the Spanish company Synergia Energy Solutions SL.

    The two ground-mounted systems in the Toledo and Murcia regions are among the first major solar projects in Europe to be implemented and operated without subsidies or other direct government support instruments. Each individual park will cover an area of around 90 hectares and is expected to generate around 95 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The total amount of energy generated thus corresponds to the annual requirements of a city with around 55,000 inhabitants.

    aventron is currently in advanced negotiations on the power purchase agreements for the energy generated in the projects and is structuring the necessary external financing on this basis. Financial close and start of construction is expected in the second quarter of 2019.

    The two solar park projects Bargas and Algibicos are a milestone in the implementation of aventron’s growth strategy. On the one hand, aventron exceeds the short-term target of 500 MW for portfolio expansion earlier than planned and on the other hand, its solar production segment will be substantially strengthened. aventron’s next step is to achieve an installed capacity of 600 MW in its core areas of wind, water and sun by the end of 2020.

    Source: aventron

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