Solar tenders, auctions slowing down in India: Report

While solar installations in India have picked up speed, tenders and auctions have been slowing down over the past couple of quarters, according to a Mercom Capital report. About 1.9 GW of solar power was tendered in Q1 2017 (1 GW of this was a retender) compared to 3.4 GW in Q4 last year. There was 1.3 GW of solar projects auctioned in Q1 2017 compared to 255 MW in Q4 2016. The slowdown in activity has been disconcerting to developers and manufacturers who have been gearing up for more activity based on India’s solar installation goal of 100 GW by 2022.

As per the target set by the government, India needs to instal 18 GW of solar power every year till 2022. If the government wants to meet its solar installation goals, the pace of tenders and auctions must pick up quickly. Companies, who have invested hundreds of millions to expand to meet the demand and build projects, are anxiously waiting for the activity to pick up.

 

According to the report, “Some of the reasons for decline in tender and auction activity include poor financial condition of distribution companies (DISCOMs), transmission issues, weaker power demand and increases in captive generation by commercial and industrial companies. DISCOMs that are continuing to struggle financially are not taking on new generation that is more expensive than coal, which is leading to curtailment of solar and wind projects as well as payment delays to developers.”

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against India’s domestic content requirement (DCR) has resulted in continuous cancellations and postponements of planned DCR tenders.

“In some states, weak power demand is removing the urgency to speed up the pace of solar tenders and auctions. Increases in captive generation by industrial customers have compounded the situation since they are requiring less power generation from DISCOMs,” the report adds.

The recent record low bid of Rs 3.30 (approximately $0.494)/kWh at the REWA solar park auction is playing a big role in the slowdown of auction activity as government agencies and states are stalling to renegotiate PPAs that are more expensive than the bids received at REWA.

For DISCOMs, coal is still the cheapest option available.  According to Mercom’s December Solar Quarterly Report, DISCOMs have resorted to sporadic curtailment from some solar projects in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu because cheaper power is available on the power exchanges. Even when there is demand, several states have complained that the DISCOMs are resorting to power cuts instead of buying power on the exchanges to save on costs.

Several other developers told Mercom that as of now Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Maharashtra are the problem states. According to Mercom’s Solar Project Tracker, tendering activity has declined in these states with most of the old tenders being continually extended.

 

“We hope this is a short-term issue which, once resolved, will see tariffs get down to realistic levels and there will be a big spurt in activity. However, if some of these pressing issues are not resolved quickly, growth will stall,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. “There needs to be a policy mechanism put in place to avoid the stop and start in tender activity every time there is an outlier in terms of a low bid. However, if states revise their tenders to include all of the positive aspects of the REWA tender, it can be a win-win for all,” he added.

View original post on Business Today: http://www.businesstoday.in/

India plans Renewable Energy Management Centres for Green Corridors

Existing control centres, known as state load dispatch centres (SLDCs) currently lack renewable energy forecasting systems. Flickr: Tapas GaneshExisting control centres, known as state load dispatch centres (SLDCs) currently lack renewable energy forecasting systems. Flickr: Tapas Ganesh

As part of India’s Green Energy Corridor scheme, the Ministry of Power has proposed setting up a host of Renewable Energy Management Centres (REMCs) across the country to help integrate renewables as their penetration increases. The centres will cost around INR4.09 billion (US$63.5 million).

With a 160GW target of solar and wind by 2022, the ministry is concerned about grid stability and security. It noted that seven states will account for 104GW (65%) of this capacity including: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

The newly proposed REMCs would therefore be separated into the Southern, Western and Northern regions across the seven major resource rich states and various projects of the Green Energy Corridor scheme.

Existing control centres, known as state load dispatch centres (SLDCs) currently lack renewable energy forecasting systems, scheduling, monitoring and reserve management abilities.

To alleviate this problem, India aims to emulate state-of-the-art renewables forecasting and monitoring systems already successfully operating in countries like Spain, Germany, US, Denmark, Belgium and Australia.

The REMCs’ functions include:

  • Forecast renewable energy generation at state and regional levels
  • Schedule renewable generation with real time tracking and SCADA systems
  • Coordinate with the relevant load dispatch centre

Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) has already worked on similar control centre projects and has therefore been assigned the implementation role. On completion, PGCIL will hand the REMCs over to the states.

The projects are to be implemented within 15 months of award and commissioned progressively through 2018/19.

PGCIL recently entered in to a loan agreement of up to US$500 million with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) partly for one of its Green Energy Corridor projects.

View original post on: https://www.pv-tech.org/news/india-plans-renewable-energy-management-centres-for-green-corridors

PM Narendra Modi may step in to resolve wrangling on NITI Aayog’s proposed National Energy Policy

ঘোষণা নীতি আয়োগ-এর

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to intervene to resolve an inter-ministerial wrangling over NITI Aayog‘s proposed National Energy Policy to roll out the long-overdue power sector reforms.

Different stakeholder ministries, including those of power, coal, and new and renewable energy, have failed to come to a consensus on some points of the proposed policies, including freeing coal from price control, despite several rounds of consultations, said a senior government official who is aware of the deliberations on the matter.

“National Energy Policy is pending with PMO (prime minister’s office),” the official told ET. “The top office is now planning to convene a high-level meeting of all concerned ministers and secretaries to be chaired by the PM himself to suggest way forward to the policy,” the official said.

The first draft of the policy, framed by the Aayog after intense consultations over last one and a half year, was ready for seeking public comments by March. But that has been held back after concerned ministries raised objections with the PMO over certain proposals.

PM Narendra Modi may step in to resolve wrangling on NITI Aayog's proposed National Energy Policy



Coal ministry, for example, expressed reservations over the proposal to free up the commodity from any price control. Such a move would divest the ministry of its power to control coal prices and help maximise profit for Coal India.

However, NITI Aayog has largely stood by its reforms agenda. National Energy Policy has proposed comprehensive reforms to free sectors such as coal, electricity and fertilisers from subsidies and price controls, helping to produce more power by making electricity generation projects commercially viable for private companies.

The policy has outlined the need and measures to improve financial condition of power distribution companies (discoms), which are bogged down by debt, to make the sector profitable in the medium to long term.

Key suggestions being considered include overhauling the entire structural and functional capacity of discoms so that they operate more professionally.

In India, electricity and fertiliser sectors are heavily subsidised. The government feels there is a need to bring down subsides in such sectors and, hence, a clear roadmap for lowering subsidies and aligning their prices to that of the market has been laid out.

But this proposal hasn’t gone down well with concerned ministries.

National Energy Policy is aimed at curbing imports by increasing production of renewable energy in the country fivefold to 300 billion units by 2019 and tripling coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes. Coal imports are envisaged to come down by 10% by 2022 and by 50% by 2030.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had earlier told ET that differences are obvious as the policy proposes far reaching reforms to transform the power sector. “Wherever there are differences, we’ll pose them before the Prime Minister and let him take a call,” he had said earlier. Prime Minister is the chairman of the Aayog.

National Energy Policy will replace Integrated Energy Policy of the UPA regime that envisioned a roadmap for sustainable growth with energy security over a reasonable period of time.

Is solar sector truly achieving grid parity?

Amplus Energy Solutions won projects across ten states in the bids conducted by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for rooftop solar power. The tariff offered for projects in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Chandigarh was the lowest in history—Rs 3 per unit of electricity. And in six other states, tariff rates between Rs 5 and 6 per unit were offered.

The bidding comes at a point where grid parity of renewable energy is being hailed as a turning point of electricity scenario in India. Grid parity is a situation when generating electricity from alternative sources of energy like renewables costs more or less the same as conventional sources.

This means renewable energy sources can generate electricity at the rate similar or equal to thermal power generation. Unfortunately, the Rs 3-per-unit-tariff is certainly not a step in that direction. The price can be achieved because the government is offering subsidies worth 70 percent of the capital cost, ranging from Rs 38,500 to Rs 52,500 in the capital expenditure model.

There is a direct infusion of subsidy for every kilowatt (kW) in the rooftop solar sector. But even the solar sector, in general, has witnessed tariff rates fall to an all time low. This is because of reverse bidding rather aggressive reverse bidding in central and state solar project auctions that has yielded tariff offer of around Rs 4.34 per unit in January by Fortum Finnsurya Energy, a Finland-based company operating out of Rajasthan.

It was beaten less than a month ago by tenders worth 750 MW of solar at Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan which benchmarked by the tariff at Rs 3.93 per unit of power generation. Again, this low benchmark cost is for a 750 MW that would receive viability gap funding (VGF) of 30 per cent. VGF is a capital subsidy to bridge the gap between the project cost dictated by the prevailing electricity rate and the price quoted by a developer. Can we deem this achievement as grid parity when the realisation of a low tariff is under the capital subsidy provided by the government when most of these projects have not seen a financial closure because banks do not consider these projects financially viable?

Not just direct capital subsidy

Apart from the capital subsidy for rooftop and VGF for larger solar projects, the government offers a tax benefit called accelerated depreciation (AD) to all the projects that are not entitled to a direct capital subsidy. AD is the depreciation of fixed assets at a fast rate early in their useful lives. This AD is tax rebate that the project enjoys for the first few years of operation.

This form of incentive is provided by the government to increase investment in any particular sector. One of the primary reasons for the development of wind sector in India is AD. Seventy percent of the 28,279.40 MW installed wind power is based on AD. The impact of AD was felt when the government discontinued the rebate in 2012, and the entire sector saw stagnation. By intense lobbying, it was reintroduced for the development of wind sector, and now the capacity installed has bounced back.

Subsidised grid parity versus unsubsidised grid parity

India has set a target to achieve 175 gigawatts (GW) renewable energy capacity by 2022. Out of this, 100 GW has been allocated to solar and 60 GW to wind. This ambition was raised in July 2015 when India announced its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions to United Nations to show the strides it is willing to make to reduce carbon emissions. To meet these targets and for the development of and to attract investment in wind and solar sectors in India, there have been various forms of subsidies and tax incentives available.

The question is with subsidies and other incentives involved, can the achievement of low tariffs be termed as achieving grid parity? Should India wait for a little for the sector to be deemed competitive when thermal power produces cheaper electricity without the backing up of subsidies? When banks do not consider most of these projects economically viable to fund, and they haven’t generated and supplied electricity at this rate, how can this be an achievement for the sector?

However, India still has 237 million people who do not have access to electricity. We need to provide these people with reliable and affordable power as soon as possible. And if we have decided that renewable energy is the future of electricity, then we need to accept that today renewable energy is a little more expensive than thermal power without subsidies. We have to pay more for this clean energy and people with better paying capacity would have to share a bigger portion of this burden.

 

View original post on: http://www.millenniumpost.in/NewsContent.aspx?NID=347247

The colossal African solar farm that could power Europe

The minibus crosses the vast plateau on a newly paved road. Cracked fields stretch away towards the Moroccan desert to the south. Yet the barren landscape is no longer quite as desolate as it once was. This year it became home to one of the world’s biggest solar power plants.

Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 sq m (15m sq ft) of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields. The massive complex sits on a sun-blasted site at the foot of the High Atlas mountains, 10km (6 miles) from Ouarzazate – a city nicknamed the door to the desert. With around 330 days of sunshine a year, it’s an ideal location.

As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe. This is a plant that could help define Africa’s – and the world’s – energy future.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Hundreds of curved mirrors, each as big as a bus, are ranked in rows covering 1,400,000 square metres of desert, an area the size of 200 football fields (Credit: Getty Images)

Of course, on the day I visit the sky is covered in clouds. “No electricity will be produced today,“ says Rachid Bayed at the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), which is responsible for implementing the flagship project.

An occasional off day is not a concern, however. After many years of false starts, solar power is coming of age as countries in the sun finally embrace their most abundant source of clean energy. The Moroccan site is one of several across Africa and similar plants are being built in the Middle East – in Jordan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The falling cost of solar power has made it a viable alternative to oil even in the most oil-rich parts of the world.

As well as meeting domestic needs, Morocco hopes one day to export solar energy to Europe.

Noor 1, the first phase of the Moroccan plant, has already surpassed expectations in terms of the amount of energy it has produced. It is an encouraging result in line with Morocco’s goal to reduce its fossil fuel bill by focusing on renewables while still meeting growing energy needs that are increasing by about 7% per year. Morocco’s stable government and economy has helped it secure funding: the European Union contributed 60% of the cost for the Ouarzazate project, for example.

(Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont)

With around 330 days of sunshine a year, the region around Ouarzazate – a city nicknamed the door to the desert – is an ideal location (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont)

The country plans to generate 14% of its energy from solar by 2020 and by adding other renewable sources like wind and water into the mix, it is aiming to produce 52% of its own energy by 2030. This puts Morocco more or less in line with countries like the UK, which wants to generate 30% of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade, and the US, where President Obama set a target of 20% by 2030. (Trump has threatened to dump renewables, but his actions may not have a huge impact. Many policies are controlled by individual states and big companies have already started to switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives.)

Due to the lack sun on the day I visit, the hundreds of mirrors stand still and silent. The team keeps a close eye on weather forecasts to predict output for the following day, allowing other sources of energy to take over when it is overcast.

The reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the sun like a giant field of sunflowers

But normally the reflectors can be heard as they move together to follow the Sun like a giant field of sunflowers. The mirrors focus the Sun’s energy onto a synthetic oil that flows through a network of pipes. Reaching temperatures up to 350C (662F), the hot oil is used to produce high-pressure water vapour that drives a turbine-powered generator. “It’s the same classic process used with fossil fuels, except that we are using the Sun’s heat as the source,” says Bayed.

The plant keeps generating energy after sunset, when electricity demands peak. Some of the day’s energy is stored in reservoirs of superhot molten salts made of sodium and potassium nitrates, which keeps production going for up to three hours. In the next phase of the plant, production will continue for up to eight hours after sunset.

(Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont)

Once fully operational, the solar plant will only require about 50 to 100 employees (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont)

As well as boosting Morocco’s power production, the Ouarzazate project is helping the local economy. Around 2,000 workers were hired during the initial two years of construction, many of them Moroccan. Roads built to provide access to the plant have also connected nearby villages, helping children get to school. Water brought in for the site has been piped beyond the complex, hooking up 33 villages to the water grid.

Water brought in for the site has been piped beyond the complex, hooking up 33 villages to the water grid

Masen has also helped farmers in the area by teaching them sustainable practices. Heading towards the mountains, I visit the Berber village of Asseghmou, 30 miles (48 kilometres) north of Ouarzazate, where a small farm has now changed the way it raises ewes. Most farmers here rely on their intuition alone but they are being introduced to more reliable techniques -such as simply separating animals in their pens – which are improving yields. Masen also provided 25 farms with sheep for breeding purposes. “I now have better food security,” says Chaoui, who runs a local farm. And his almond tree is thriving thanks to cultivation tips.

Even so, some locals have concerns. Abdellatif, who lives in the city of Zagora about 75 miles (120 kilometres) further south, where there are high rates of unemployment, thinks that the plant should focus on creating permanent jobs. He has friends who were hired to work there but they were only on contract for a few months. Once fully operational, the station will only require about 50 to 100 employees so the job boom may end. “The components of the plant are manufactured abroad but it would be better to produce them locally to generate ongoing work for residents,” he says.

(Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont)

The solar plant draws a massive amount of water from the local El Mansour Eddahbi dam. Water scarcity has been a problem in the semi-desert region (Credit: Sandrine Ceurstemont)

A bigger issue is that the solar plant draws a massive amount of water for cleaning and cooling from the local El Mansour Eddahbi dam. In recent years, water scarcity has been a problem in the semi-desert region and there are water cuts. Agricultural land further south in the Draa valley depends on water from the dam, which is occasionally released into the otherwise-dry river. But Mustapha Sellam, the site manager, claims that the water used by the complex amounts to 0.5% of the dam’s supply, which is negligible compared to its capacity.

Still, the plant’s consumption is enough to make a difference to struggling farmers. So the plant is making improvements to reduce the amount of water it uses. Instead of relying on water to clean the mirrors, pressurised air is used. And whereas Noor 1 uses water to cool the steam produced by the generators, so that it can be turned back into water and reused to produce more electricity, a dry cooling system that uses air will be installed.

The success of plants in places like Morocco and South Africa will encourage other African countries to turn to solar power

These new sections of the plant are currently being built. Noor 2 will be similar to the first phase, but Noor 3 will experiment with a different design. Instead of ranks of mirrors it will capture and store the Sun’s energy with a single large tower, which is thought to be more efficient.

Seven thousand flat mirrors surrounding the tower will all track and reflect the sun’s rays towards a receiver at the top, requiring much less space than existing arrangement of mirrors. Molten salts filling the interior of the tower will capture and store heat directly, doing away with the need for hot oil.

Similar systems are already used in South Africa, Spain and a few sites in the US, such as California’s Mojave desert and Nevada. But at 86ft (26m) tall, Ouarzazate’s recently erected structure is the highest of its kind in the world.

(Credit: Getty Images)

Africa’s sunshine could eventually make the continent a supplier of energy to the rest of the world (Credit: Getty Images)

Other plants in Morocco are already underway. Next year construction will begin at two sites in the south-west, near Laayoune and Boujdour, with plants near Tata and Midelt to follow.

The success of these plants in Morocco – and those in South Africa – may encourage other African countries to turn to solar power. South Africa is already one of the world’s top 10 producers of solar power and Rwanda is home to east Africa’s first solar plant, which opened in 2014. Large plants are being planned for Ghana and Uganda.

Africa’s sunshine could eventually make the continent a supplier of energy to the rest of the world. Sellam has high hopes for Noor. “Our main goal is to become energy-independent but if one day we are producing a surplus we could supply other countries too,” he says. Imagine recharging your electric car in Berlin with electricity produced in Morocco.

With the clouds set to lift in Ouarzazate, Africa is busy planning for a sunny day.

View original post on:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161129-the-colossal-african-solar-farm-that-could-power-europe

How clean is solar power?

A new paper may have the answer

THAT solar panels do not emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide when they are generating electricity is without question. This is why they are beloved of many who worry about the climate-altering potential of such gases. Sceptics, though, observe that a lot of energy is needed to make a solar panel in the first place. In particular, melting and purifying the silicon that these panels employ to capture and transduce sunlight needs a lot of heat. Silicon’s melting point, 1,414°C, is only 124°C less than that of iron.

Silicon is melted in electric furnaces and, at the moment, most electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. That does emit carbon dioxide. So, when a new solar panel is put to work it starts with a “carbon debt” that, from a greenhouse-gas-saving point of view, has to be paid back before that panel becomes part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. Observing this, some sceptics have gone so far as to suggest that if the motive for installing solar panels is environmental (which is often, though not always, the case), they are pretty-much useless.

Wilfried van Sark, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and his colleagues have therefore tried to put some numbers into the argument. As they report in Nature Communications, they have calculated the energy required to make all of the solar panels installed around the world between 1975 and 2015, and the carbon-dioxide emissions associated with producing that energy. They also looked at the energy these panels have produced since their installation and the corresponding amount of carbon dioxide they have prevented from being spewed into the atmosphere. Others have done life-cycle assessments for solar power in the past. None, though, has accounted for the fact that the process of making the panels has become more efficient over the course of time. Dr Van Sark’s study factors this in.

Panel games

To estimate the number of solar panels installed around the world, Dr Van Sark and his team used data from the International Energy Agency, an autonomous intergovernmental body. They gleaned information on the amount of energy required to make panels from dozens of published studies. Exactly how much carbon dioxide was emitted during the manufacture of a panel will depend on where it was made, as well as when. How much emitted gas it has saved will depend on where it is installed. A panel made in China, for example, costs nearly double the greenhouse-gas emissions of one made in Europe. That is because China relies more on fossil fuels for generating power. Conversely, the environmental benefits of installing solar panels will be greater in China than in Europe, as the clean power they produce replaces electricity that would otherwise be generated largely by burning coal or gas.

Once the team accounted for all this, they found that solar panels made today are responsible, on average, for around 20 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour of energy they produce over their lifetime (estimated as 30 years, regardless of when a panel was manufactured). That is down from 400-500 grams in 1975. Likewise, the amount of time needed for a solar panel to produce as much energy as was involved in its creation has fallen from about 20 years to two years or less. As more panels are made, the manufacturing process becomes more efficient. The team found that for every doubling of the world’s solar capacity, the energy required to make a panel fell by around 12% and associated carbon-dioxide emissions by 17-24%.

The consequence of all this number-crunching is not as clear-cut as environmentalists might hope. Depending on the numbers fed into the model, global break-even could have come as early as 1997, or might still not have arrived. But if it has not, then under even the most pessimistic assumptions possible it will do so in 2018. After that, solar energy’s environmental credentials really will be spotless.

View the original pos on: 
http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21711301-new-paper-may-have-answer-how-clean-solar-power?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/howcleanissolarpower

US targets solar at $30/MWh; UK slashes cost outlook

istock-484623447_hxdyl.jpg

The U.S. solar boom has cut system costs faster than expected. (Image credit: hxdyl)

US DOE targets solar costs of $30 per MWh by 2030

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sunshot initiative aims to lower the cost of utility-scale solar power to $30 per MWh by 2030 as costs are already approaching the target of $60/MWh it set for 2020, the DOE announced November 14.

“In just five years the SunShot Initiative and the U.S. solar industry have achieved more than 90% of the established 2020 goal to reduce the cost of utility-scale solar PV electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour [$60/MWh]. Utility-scale solar electricity costs now average $0.07 per kilowatt-hour,” it said.

If projects can achieve the Sunshot program’s targets this could “more than double the projected amount of nationwide electricity demand that could be met by solar in 2030 and beyond,” the DOE said.

The DoE announced $65 million of new funding initiatives to accelerate cost reductions.

This will include $25 million towards improving PV module and system design, including hardware and software solutions which will speed up installations and interconnection of PV systems, it said. Some $30 million will be provided to bring new products and solutions to market and a further $10 million will be available for projects which improve the forecasting of solar irradiance and power generation.

                                US SunShot Initiative progress and targets

Source: DOE.

US implements new land leasing rules to boost development

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has introduced new land leasing regulation and financial incentives to support renewable energy development in areas with the highest generation potential and fewest resource conflicts.

“The rule’s competitive leasing provisions will help renewable energy development flourish on the 700,000 acres of public lands that have been identified in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah,” BLM said in documentation published November 10.

The new regulation introduces competitive bidding and streamlines review processes for land leasing to encourage development within designated leasing areas (DLAs). The new rules also allow the BLM to implement competitive processes outside of designated leasing areas.

The regulation aims to ensure transparency and predictability in rents and fees by giving developers the option of selecting fixed-rate adjustments instead of market-based adjustments, BLM said.

Fees have been updated in line with market conditions “which will bring down near-term costs for solar projects,” it said.

The federal Climate Action Plan calls on the Department of the Interior to permit 20 GW of renewable power capacity by 2020. The Interior has so far approved 60 utility-scale renewable energy projects for a capacity of 15.5 GW.

The BLM regulations will become effective 30 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

UK slashes 2020 PV cost forecast to 67 pounds/MWh ($83/MWh)

The levelized cost of energy of U.K. utility scale solar plants is forecast to drop from 80 pounds per MWh ($98.8/MWh) in 2016 to 67 pounds/MWh ($83/MWh) in 2020, according to a new report published by the U.K. government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The cost prediction for 2020 is some 25 pounds/MWh lower than predictions made by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in 2013.

“This reflects unanticipated cost reductions and technological improvements for these technologies, reduction in hurdle rates, and/or this progress occurring faster than previously estimated (for example due to accelerated global and domestic deployment),” BEIS said in its report, published November 9.

The BEIS expects utility-scale PV costs to drop to 63 pounds/MWh by 2025 and 60 pounds/MWh by 2030.

                      Levelized cost estimates for 2020 (pounds/MWh) 

Source: BEIS.

GTM Research raises global installation forecast

GTM Research has raised its global PV installations forecast for 2017 to 69 GW, representing a year-on-year decline of 7% compared with 10% in previous estimates, Greentech media reported November 16.

Global demand is expected to hit a record 74 GW this year and the latest estimates for 2017 take into account a slump in module prices, shifting pipeline estimates for utility-scale solar and rising demand in India, GTM Research said.

Analysts at GTM Research currently forecast global installations to rebound to 74 GW in 2018 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% between 2016 and 2021.

China cumulative solar capacity was 44 GW at the end of 2015 and the country is forecast to install a further 26 GW in 2016.

Germany had 38 GW of solar capacity at the end of 2015 and remains in second place behind China but Japan and U.S. lie in third and fourth place respectively and are expected to soon overtake Germany.

View original post on:

http://analysis.pv-insider.com/us-targets-solar-30mwh-uk-slashes-cost-outlook?utm_campaign=PVI+23NOV16+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua&elqTrackId=4c7b402f4f154edfac21de21ffb7a985&elq=ee346751476c4dea930aec3c73bc5dc5&elqaid=23718&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=10695

Solar-Panel Roads to Be Built Across Four Continents Next Year

Solar-Panel Roads to Be Built Across Four Continents Next Year

Electric avenues that can transmit the sun’s energy onto power grids may be coming to a city near you.

A subsidiary of Bouygues SA has designed rugged solar panels, capable of withstand the weight of an 18-wheeler truck, that they’re now building into road surfaces. After nearly five years of research and laboratory tests, they’re constructing 100 outdoor test sites and plan to commercialize the technology in early 2018.

“We wanted to find a second life for a road,” said Philippe Harelle, the chief technology officer at Colas SA’s Wattway unit, owned by the French engineering group Bouygues. “Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.”

As solar costs plummet, panels are being increasingly integrated into everyday materials. Last month Tesla Motors Inc. surprised investors by unveiling roof shingles that double as solar panels. Other companies are integrating photovoltaics into building facades. Wattway joins groups including Sweden’s Scania and Solar Roadways in the U.S. seeking to integrate panels onto pavement.

To resist the weight of traffic, Wattway layers several types of plastics to create a clear and durable casing. The solar panel underneath is an ordinary model, similar to panels on rooftops. The electrical wiring is embedded in the road and the contraption is topped by an anti-slip surface made from crushed glass.
A kilometer-sized testing site began construction last month in the French village of Tourouvre in Normandy. The 2,800 square meters of solar panels are expected to generate 280 kilowatt-hours at peak, enough to power all the public lighting in a town of 5,000 for a year, according to the company.
The electricity generated by this stretch of solar road will feed directly into the grid. Another test site is being used to charge electric vehicles. A third will power a small hydrogen production plant. Wattway has also installed its panels to light electronic billboards and is working on links to street lights.

The next two sites will be in Calgary in Canada and in the U.S. state of Georgia. Wattway also plans to build them in Africa, Japan and throughout the European Union.

“We need to test for all kinds of different traffic and climate conditions,” Harelle said. “I want to find the limits of it. We think that maybe it will not be able to withstand a snow plow.”

The potential fragility joins cost as a potential hurdle.
“We’re seeing solar get integrated in a number of things, from windows in buildings to rooftops of cars, made possible by the falling cost of panels,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Pietro Radoia said. “On roads, I don’t think that it will really take off unless there’s a shortage of land sometime in the future.”’

One square meter of the solar-panel road material currently costs between 2,000 ($2,126) and 2,500 euros, which includes monitoring, data collection and installation costs. Wattway aims to bring the price down to be competitive with ordinary solar farms by 2020.

View original post on:

http://www.eqmagpro.com/solar-panel-roads-to-be-built-across-four-continents-next-year/?utm_source=EQ+Int’l+Magazine+New+Emailer+List&utm_campaign=9d9a9b14d3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_11_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_94f201c47e-9d9a9b14d3-248515957&ct=t(Solar_EXIM_BAnks_etc_11_24_2016)&mc_cid=9d9a9b14d3&mc_eid=0f185f0361

NTPC awards the contract for Asia’s first integrated solar thermal power plant: Thermax and FRENELL to execute the project

NTPC awards the contract for Asia’s first integrated solar thermal power plant: Thermax and FRENELL to execute the project

Thermax, an Indian energy and environment company and FRENELL, a German concentrated solar power company, (through its wholly owned subsidiary Novatec Solar Espana, S.L) have been awarded by India’s state owned utility NTPC, to execute Asia’s first integrated solar thermal power plant at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, India. The project involves the integration of a concentrated solar field into the Dadri coal fired power station. The ground breaking ceremony was celebrated on Friday, 4th of November 2016. The completion of the project is scheduled for September 2017.

The solar field will use FRENELL’s proprietary concentrated solar power (CSP) technology which is based on flat mirror Fresnel collector principle. On a surface of 33,000m2, the solar field will feed annually 14 gigawatt hours of solar thermal energy into the water-steam cycle of a 210 MW unit of the power station. The mirrors concentrate the sunlight on absorber tubes and heat the fluid up to 250°C which are the parameters required for the power station unit. The heat generated from the solar field will heat the feed water supplied to the steam generator, allowing for lower coal consumption and thereby reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

In a competitive tender process among three international EPC companies, the Fresnel technology won out over parabolic trough and solar tower technology and the contract has been awarded to the consortium of Thermax and FRENELL. Thermax will be acting as the EPC contractor to NTPC and is responsible for design, engineering, procurement and supply of the entire solar thermal plant and balance- of- plant equipment as well as for the integration of the solar field into the coal fired power station. FRENELL will deliver its CSP technology as subcontractor and will execute the turnkey manufacturing and construction of the solar field.

“This project is of high strategic importance for India as it introduces a new option for power generating companies to improve the efficiency of their coal fired power stations. This solution will also contribute to the national target of at least 3% solar share of total power generation by 2022,” says M.S. Unnikrishnan, CEO of Thermax. “Compared to green field CSP plants, this is a cost efficient application as the existing thermal power station infrastructure can be used. The total market potential of this solution in India is estimated to be 1,700 MW and Thermax is prepared to continue the lead in offering such integrated solutions,” he adds.

“We are very proud to have been selected by NTPC to deliver our CSP technology to this flagship project,” says Martin Selig, CEO of FRENELL. “We share Thermax’s view that there is a significant market potential for CSP brown field solutions in India. In order to further increase our cost advantage over competitors in future CSP tenders, we are planning to localize our solar field component manufacturing and supply chain in India. The required temperature for this project is 250°C. Our solar field is designed for up to 550°C. We are keen to show case in future projects our high temperature solution which is also capable to store high temperature energy for solar power generation during night time,” he adds.

View original post on:

30.2 Percent Efficiency – New Record for Silicon-based Multi-junction Solar Cell

30.2 Percent Efficiency – New Record for Silicon-based Multi-junction Solar Cell

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with the Austrian company EV Group (EVG) have successfully manufactured a silicon-based multi-junction solar cell with two contacts and an efficiency exceeding the theoretical limit of silicon solar cells. For this achievement, the researchers used a “direct wafer bonding” process to transfer a few micrometers of III-V semiconductor material to silicon, a well-known process in the microelectronics industry. After plasma activation, the subcell surfaces are bonded together in vacuum by applying pressure. The atoms on the surface of the III-V subcell form bonds with the silicon atoms, creating a monolithic device. The efficiency achieved by the researchers presents a first-time result for this type of fully integrated silicon-based multi-junction solar cell. The complexity of its inner structure is not evident from its outer appearance: the cell has a simple front and rear contact just as a conventional silicon solar cell and therefore can be integrated into photovoltaic modules in the same manner.

“We are working on methods to surpass the theoretical limits of silicon solar cells,” says Dr. Frank Dimroth, department head at Fraunhofer ISE. “It is our long-standing experience with silicon and III-V technologies that has enabled us to reach this milestone today.” A conversion efficiency of 30.2 percent for the III-V / Si multi-junction solar cell of 4 cm² was measured at Fraunhofer ISE’s calibration laboratory. In comparison, the highest efficiency measured to date for a pure silicon solar cell is 26.3 percent, and the theoretical efficiency limit is 29.4 percent. The III-V / Si multi-junction solar cell consists of a sequence of subcells stacked on top of each other. So-called “tunnel diodes” internally connect the three subcells made of gallium-indium-phosphide (GaInP), gallium-arsenide (GaAs) and silicon (Si), which span the absorption range of the sun’s spectrum. The GaInP top cell absorbs radiation between 300 and 670 nm.

The middle GaAs subcell absorbs radiation between 500 and 890 nm and the bottom Si subcell between 650 and 1180 nm, respectively. The III-V layers are first epitaxially deposited on a GaAs substrate and then bonded to a silicon solar cell structure. Subsequently the GaAs substrate is removed, and a front and rear contact as well as an antireflection coating are applied. “Key to the success was to find a manufacturing process for silicon solar cells that produces a smooth and highly doped surface which is suitable for wafer bonding as well as accounts for the different needs of silicon and the applied III-V semiconductors,” explains Dr. Jan Benick, team leader at Fraunhofer ISE. “In developing the process, we relied on our decades of research experience in the development of highest efficiency silicon solar cells.” Institute Director Prof. Eicke Weber expresses his delight:

“I am pleased that Fraunhofer ISE has so convincingly succeeded in breaking through the glass ceiling of 30 percent efficiency with its fully integrated silicon-based solar cell with two contacts. With this achievement, we have opened the door for further efficiency improvements for cells based on the long-proven silicon material.” “The III-V / Si multi-junction solar cell is an impressive demonstration of the possibilities of our ComBond® cluster for resistance-free bonding of different semiconductors without the use of adhesives,” says Markus Wimplinger, Corporate Technology Development and IP Director at EV Group. “Since 2012, we have been working closely with Fraunhofer ISE on this development and today are proud of our team’s excellent achievements.” The direct wafer-bonding process is already used in the microelectronics industry to manufacture computer chips.

On the way to the industrial manufacturing of III-V / Si multi-junction solar cells, the costs of the III-V epitaxy and the connecting technology with silicon must be reduced. There are still great challenges to overcome in this area, which the Fraunhofer ISE researchers intend to solve through future investigations. Fraunhofer ISE’s new Center for High Efficiency Solar Cells, presently being constructed in Freiburg, will provide them with the perfect setting for developing next-generation III-V and silicon solar cell technologies. The ultimate objective is to make high efficiency solar PV modules with efficiencies of over 30 percent possible in the future.

Project Sponsorship
The young researcher Dr. Romain Cariou carried out research on this project at Fraunhofer ISE with the support of a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship. Funding was provided by the EU project HISTORIC. The work at EVG was supported by the Austrian Ministry for Technology.

 

View original post on:

http://www.eqmagpro.com/30-2-percent-efficiency-new-record-for-silicon-based-multi-junction-solar-cell/?utm_source=EQ+Int%27l+Magazine+New+Emailer+List&utm_campaign=f933c46d45-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_11_10&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_94f201c47e-f933c46d45-248496629&ct=t(30_2_Efficiency_New_Record_for_Silicon_b11_10_2016)&mc_cid=f933c46d45&mc_eid=0b9eedfb8b