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solar power

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.

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

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

The in-depth study, which analyses hydrogen’s current state of play and offers guidance on its future development, is being launched by Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, alongside Mr Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, on the occasion of the meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan.

Hydrogen can help to tackle various critical energy challenges, including helping to store the variable output from renewables like solar PV and wind to better match demand. It offers ways to decarbonise a range of sectors (including long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel) where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions. It can also help to improve air quality and strengthen energy security.

A wide variety of fuels are able to produce hydrogen, including renewables, nuclear, natural gas, coal and oil. Hydrogen can be transported as a gas by pipelines or in liquid form by ships, much like liquefied natural gas (LNG). It can also be transformed into electricity and methane to power homes and feed industry, and into fuels for cars, trucks, ships and planes.

To build on this momentum, the IEA report offers seven key recommendations to help governments, companies and other stakeholders to scale up hydrogen projects around the world. These include four areas:

  • Making industrial ports the nerve centres for scaling up the use of clean hydrogen;
  • Building on existing infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines;
  • Expanding the use of hydrogen in transport by using it to power cars, trucks and buses that run on key routes;
  • Launching the hydrogen trade’s first international shipping routes.

 

The report notes that hydrogen still faces significant challenges. Producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy is costly at the moment, the development of hydrogen infrastructure is slow and holding back widespread adoption, and some regulations currently limit the development of a clean hydrogen industry.

Today, hydrogen is already being used on an industrial scale, but it is almost entirely supplied from natural gas and coal. Its production, mainly for the chemicals and refining industries, is responsible for 830 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined.

Reducing emissions from existing hydrogen production is a challenge but also represents an opportunity to increase the scale of clean hydrogen worldwide. One approach is to capture and store or utilise the CO2 from hydrogen production from fossil fuels. There are currently several industrial facilities around the world that use this process, and more are in the pipeline, but a much greater number is required to make a significant impact.

Another approach is for industries to secure greater supplies of hydrogen from clean electricity. In the past two decades, more than 200 projects have started operation to convert electricity and water into hydrogen to reduce emissions.

Expanding the use of clean hydrogen in other sectors – such as cars, trucks, steel and heating buildings – is another important challenge. There are currently around 11,200 hydrogen-powered cars on the road worldwide. Existing government targets call for that number to increase dramatically to 2.5M by 2030.

Policy makers need to make sure market conditions are well adapted for reaching such ambitious goals. The recent successes of solar PV, wind, batteries and electric vehicles have shown that policy and technology innovation have the power to build global clean energy industries.

Soltec, a leading company in the manufacture and supply of single-axis solar trackers, forecasts the sale of 3 GW for utility-scale solar plants this year that will close 2019 with a record of almost 10 GW and a turnover of some US$400m.

Since its foundation in 2004, this Spanish entity has significantly grown its sales year after year. Soltec invoiced almost US$200m in 2018, an amount that is expected to double in 2019, representing a growth of 121%.

Soltec has more than one hundred projects worldwide and is market leader in Brazil, Peru and Colombia. It is also continuing to consolidate its position in the solar power market with revolutionary products such as its SF7 solar tracker and the SP7 Bifacial whose design has been optimised to achieve a maximum yield from bifacial modules.

“This year to date, the trend in bifacial technology is the key to utility-scale PV projects. Eight out of every ten quote requests are for bifacial, confirming our company’s commitment to innovation and research in bifacial technology”, explains Eduardo de San Nicolás, product manager at Soltec.

With its strong commitment to innovation and the development of proprietary technologies, in 2018 Soltec inaugurated its Bifacial Tracker Evaluation Center (BiTEC), to study the performance of bifacial modules in different conditions including albedo, height, distance between modules and module temperature. The research also aims to establish the best tracker design for the implementation of bifacial modules.

With 15 years of experience in the sector and over 35 patents, Soltec is present across the five continents. The company already has offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, the US, India, Italy, Israel, Mexico and Peru. With a development-based business model, Soltec has become a European reference in the renewable energy sector while modelling its economic growth based on care for the environment.

The SOLTEC team

Soltec’s growth is linked to its workforce. The company current has a staff of around 1,500 personnel distributed across projects and subsidiaries worldwide. As part of its commitment to job creation and the search for talent, Soltec has recently launched the second edition of the Solteach study grant, a programme that sets out to give the best professionals the opportunity receive a first-hand training in renewables from one of the business references for the sector in Spain, which has achieved a spectacular growth in recent years.

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

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

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

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

Energy storage

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

Global leader in the provision of Operation & Maintenance Services

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

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

 

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

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

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

Other plants in Chile

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

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

The GoodWe inverters have been installed this year on a large 1MW project in the city of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. The purpose of this project is to provide clean electricity from solar to an approximate of 1000 new house units, involving as well thermal and water pumping. This installation is part of a large urban improvement project in one historical neighborhood of low income of the Argentinian capital.

Due to a proved record of successful installations all over the world, the GoodWe proposal, consistent on more than 100 pieces of DT inverters of 10kW (suitable for use on commercial) were selected as the best choice in a fierce competition by one of the most reputed Argentinian EPC companies. This project is now owned by the city government and it was partly funded by large international organizations that typically have an extremely demanding criteria for the selection of suppliers. According to Wood Mackenzie, last year GoodWe became the 7th largest PV inverter supplier in the world, making the company a powerful candidate for this kind of projects.

GoodWe has accumulated a rich experience in projects aimed at alleviating poverty in isolated communities of China, in which the company inverters help local dwellers generate the electricity they consume and have additional income from the sale of surplus to the grid. This Argentinian project is technically different but it has the common element that solar is also a practical tool for raising the living standards of the population and in the process, making urban spaces more livable.

The area of the installation is located at a historical part of Buenos Aires where the population used to live in crowded spaces. It was not rare to see in this region illegal plugging into the grid, creating a significant burden for the local government. Thanks to the better housing that is being constructed along with these brand new GoodWe solar installations, the situation is starting to improve, allowing the inhabitants of that neighborhood to generate a large portion of the electricity they need. This project is a sort of pilot program that has the potential to be replicated in other countries.

The GoodWe DT model is an inverter specially designed for use on commercial and industrial rooftops but it is deployable in residential projects. The majority of the DT models installed on this project are of 10kWs capacity and the reasons behind their selection in Argentina have to do with their low weight, which is 30% lighter than equivalent products from competitors, and the high efficiency they can reach. The customer has also reported been impressed by the GoodWe’s SEMS monitoring system that allows operators to see in an accurate manner the power generated by the system.

Another happy aspect of this project is the fact that it is based in Argentina, a country that has experienced a remarkable growth in the demand for solar energy over the past years, consolidating its ranking as the fourth largest PV market in Latin America. The energy industry of Argentina has undergone profound adjustments which have encompassed the approval of new regulations that incentivize the expansion of solar. For GoodWe, Argentina has become a strategic market and the company remains committed to preserve the trust gained and to keep expanding the brand across the vast Latin American region.

Source: GoodWe

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