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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.

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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.

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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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Soltec launches the second edition of its Solteach educational programme. The leading company in the manufacture and supply of solar trackers, based in Molina de Segura (Murcia), is offering 20 spaces free of charge to engineers from all over Spain to be taken up by the best academic transcripts on conclusion of their studies and by professionals who would like to specialise in renewables in the PV energy sector.

You can register as from Wednesday, 15 May with applications accepted up until Sunday, 2 June. The course involves an intensive 80-hour course covering two weeks. During the first week the classes will be taught at the ENAE School of Business Administration (Murcia), with the second week taking place at Soltec’s offices. The training course also includes a visit to one of the company’s PV plants.

This programme seeks to give the brightest professionals the opportunity to come into contact with and receive training from the renewables company of reference in Murcia that has demonstrated the best growth in recent years and enjoys the largest market share in Latin America and the US. In addition, the trainee will benefit from training from our experienced team of engineers, with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge by taking part in our projects and thereby foster their entry into the job market.

During the training course, the teachers will assess every student and those achieving the best results will be recruited for a three-month apprenticeship. After this period, selected candidates could join the company’s staff.

Soltec is very committed to job creation and, thanks to this programme, we are looking to give an opportunity to the best professionals in the sector to receive training in renewable energy”, comments Raúl Morales, company CEO.

CLICK HERE more information and to apply for the course.

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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