Even though monkeys were allegedly wreaking havoc on India’s solar rooftop systems last year, 2016 was remarkable for the Indian PV sector. With solar taking 1% the nation’s electricity share and India set to become the world’s third largest market in 2017 , Bloomberg New Energy Finance has proclaimed that ‘solar is king of Indian renewables’. Add the completion of the world’s largest solar plant to these accolades and you have a good indicator of the South Asian giant’s ambitions. Even India’s biggest oil, steel and mining companies are getting on board the solar rush.
Despite US solar rapidly transitioning from an alternative energy source into a leading energy solution in recent years, barriers in regulation, communication and technology still prevent the industry from taking off into the mainstream arena, according to a panel of experts at Solar Power International (SPI) 2016.
Growing 43% year over year in 2016, the US solar industry is taking off at a pace no one could have foreseen. Naysayers may cite the industry’s slow start, hampered by high upfront costs and initial niche appeal as reasons why solar still will not experience a consumer boom. But panellists at the opening session of the 13th annual Solar Power International convention made it clear just how solar energy could exceed expectations and is poised for not only growth, but mainstream acceptance.
This year saw Ghana not only install the largest solar project in East and West Africa, but also a major 30MW module manufacturing facility near its capital, Accra, in what is a major milestone for the upstream solar sector across Africa. PV Tech visited the plant to understand some of developer 3SIL's thinking behind location and business.
Remote schools in West Africa can suffer from high levels of dropouts, a lack of enthusiasm and low rates of literacy and numeracy, but solar technology is now offering a chance to reinvigorate some of the lowest performing schools. PV Tech visited a school that is benefiting from such solar and software installations in the Greater Accra region of Ghana.
Midway across southern Ghana, near the historic port fishing town of Winneba, lies East and West Africa’s largest solar PV plant. Ghana suffers a severe energy deficit with only around 70% of the population having access to electricity, so it was welcome news that the project was connected to the grid at the end of last week. PV Tech visited the new project, built by China-based power firm BXC Ghana, just ahead of the Solar and Off-grid Renewables West Africa 2016 conference in Accra, Ghana.
A key theme of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue conference last week was how Germany’s Energiewende (‘energy transition’) has not only proven how to foster an explosion of renewable generation capacity through support schemes, but also how to integrate those renewables. Grid operators from Germany and Denmark discussed questions of feasibility, past, present and future.