Image credit: Daniel Roberts / Pixabay

Image credit: Daniel Roberts / Pixabay

This is the latest issue of PV Tech's COVID-19 tracker. See links ahead to browse our archives for all news and developments for January 2020 - 29 March 202030 March 2020- 5 April 2020 and 6 April 2020 - 12 April 2020.

Over its first few months of existence, the COVID-19 crisis has already wreaked major havoc across the world, and the solar industry has not been immune.

From hampered flows of raw materials for manufacturers to component delays for developers, both upstream and downstream PV players have already felt the weight of the pandemic as it continues its global trek, infecting hundreds of thousands and sparking talk of a worldwide recession.

Only time can confirm what the long-term implications will be from what remains a still-maturing crisis. For now, however, PV Tech will keep an eye on reports on the ground and sound out industry players to share here the latest news and developments as they come, starting with the most recent. 

If you have a COVID-19 statement to share or a story on how the pandemic is disrupting a solar business anywhere in the world, do get in touch at jrojo@solarmedia.co.uk or lstoker@solarmedia.co.uk.

Our sister titles Energy.Storage.News and Solar Power Portal have also launched similar trackers to map out COVID-19 impacts on the energy storage sector and the UK solar industry.  

Endesa donates €2.5 million to COVID-19 fight in Madrid and Barcelona

17 April 2020: Energy giant Endesa is to hand out €2.5 million to health authorities in Madrid and Barcelona to support the COVID-19 response in one of Europe’s worst hit countries.

The funding, equally split between the regions of Madrid and Catalonia, comes alongside a separate, new scheme to channel donations from Endesa staff to the Red Cross, the Food Bank in Catalonia and the Spanish National Research Council.

See here to read Endesa’s statement in full

UN-backed partnership to enlist solar to power African hospitals and labs

17 April 2020: Solar will be installed atop COVID-19 hospitals, laboratories and other medical facilities across the whole of Africa, under a new UN-backed initiative.

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Solarkiosk, a German firm specialised in emerging markets, have joined forces to provide solar-powered equipment, train medical staff and help set up early warning systems across the continent.

See here to read Solarkiosk’s statement in full

Ghana certifies solar-powered hand washer made by Kumasi resident

17 April 2020: The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has accredited an automated hand washer powered by solar, the creation of a Kumasi citizen.

According to local outlet The Business Executive, the device made by Mr Richard Kwarteng has been tested by Ghana for its safety and efficiency and is now ready for mass production.

See here to read the full story on The Business Executive

COVID-19 brings delays to solar-plus-storage venture in Mozambique

17 April 2020: A solar-plus-storage project by African developer Ncondezi Energy in Mozambique is to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Portuguese outlet Plataforma Media reports.

According to the publication, Ncondezi cited movement restrictions in Mozambique as one of the factors affecting the system contracted by a C&I client. It added, however, that if lockdown measures are lifted before late May the hybrid could be delivered in Q2 2020 as planned.

See here to read the Plataforma Media story in full

BlackRock: Appetite for ‘resilience’ bolsters case for energy investments

16 April 2020: The world’s largest asset manager has broken its own fundraising records through a new vehicle for both renewables and non-renewables, a milestone it says was possible thanks to the appetite for energy investments at a time of volatility.

BlackRock – the manager of US$6.4 trillion of assets across all strategies – recently announced the third fund of its Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Fund (GEPIF) series has closed with US$5.1 billion in commitments from investors, two years after fundraising began.

In a statement, BlackRock noted investors’ current appetite for “resilience” as they try and curb exposure to equity market shocks. “Investor demand for this fundraise reinforces our belief that infrastructure will play an increasingly important role in portfolio construction moving forward,” the firm said.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

COVID-19 fallout could see US shed 500,000 clean energy jobs, study warns

16 April 2020: New research has come to cast a fresh spotlight on the human cost of the COVID-19 crisis for the US clean energy industry, amid claims job losses could reach their hundreds of thousands.

A new review by organisations E2, ACORE, E4TheFuture and BW Research Partnership found that more than 106,000 US clean energy workers filed for unemployment benefits in March 2020 alone, fully obliterating the job gains the entire sector had seen throughout 2019.

According to the report authors, the March 2020 job losses may indicate the worst is yet to come. If policymakers take no further action to stem the flow, the US clean energy sector could shed over 500,000 workers in the coming months, or 15% of its nationwide headcount.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

US clean energy job losses in March 2020, per key state

US stateCaliforniaMichiganMassachusettsNorth CarolinaPennsylvania
Job losses in March 202019,949 (3.6%)5,446 (4.1%)5,611 (4.4%)6,800 (5.9%) 6,068 (6.2%)
Source: E2, ACORE, E4TheFuture and BW Research Partnership

UK community solar farms advance £195,000 for COVID-19 relief

16 April 2020: Six UK community-run solar farms have advanced £195,000 in community benefit funds, with the money set to support local residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As PV Tech’s sister title Solar Power Portal reports, the farms part of the Community Owned Renewable Energy Partners (CORE) have released funding ahead of schedule, with plans to leave each community energy group to decide how best to distribute the money locally.

See here to read the Solar Power Portal story in full

Australia’s rooftop solar boom set to ‘stall then accelerate’

16 April 2020: Experts sounded out by Australian outlets have predicted the solar industry will bounce back, despite the sales dips of 25% and beyond some firms are reporting as the COVID-19 crisis deepens.

In statements cited by the Brisbane Times, Ernst & Young energy leader Matt Rennie said. "The energy transition will not stop because of COVID-19. It will stall, and then accelerate." Rooftop solar and battery storage will remain a source of “independence and self-sufficiency”, he added.

See here to read the Brisbane Times story in full

Portuguese renewable reps launch ‘stay at home’ campaign

16 April 2020: Portuguese media have documented this week the launch by renewable energy association APREN of a campaign calling on citizens to stay home during the COVID-19 crisis.

As noted by outlet Dinheiro Vivo, the so-called ‘Stay at home, our energy comes to you!’ campaign is meant to stress the recommendations of Portugal’s health authorities, whilst reminding citizens that renewable production remains underway to ensure the “normal functioning of society.”

See here to read the Dinheiro Vivo story in full and here for PV Tech's coverage of COVID-19's impacts on Portugal's solar ambitions

Experts: Pandemic to cause largest annual CO2 fall in world’s history

16 April 2020: The world’s descent into widespread COVID-19 shutdowns may bring about this year the largest annual CO2 emission cuts the planet has ever seen, according to Carbon Brief.

The publication examined datasets for three-quarters of global emissions – China, the US, the EU carbon market, India’s power sector and global oil players – and concluded CO2 output across all could drop by 2,000 MtCO2.

“As a result, the coronavirus crisis could trigger the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions in 2020, more than during any previous economic crisis or period of war,” Carbon Brief wrote, adding however that this would not “come close” to bringing the 1.5C global temperature limit within reach.

See here to read the Carbon Brief story and access the charts in full

Even if the 2,000 MtCO2 annual cuts come to pass, they would still fall short of the nearly 2,800 MtCO2 required this year to limit global warming to 1.5C, Carbon Brief said. Graph source: Carbon Brief

Even if the 2,000 MtCO2 annual cuts come to pass, they would still fall short of the nearly 2,800 MtCO2 required this year to limit global warming to 1.5C, Carbon Brief said. Graph source: Carbon Brief

Spanish solar operators preparing list of asks for government

16 April 2020: Spanish solar association UNEF is drawing up a list of “exceptional” measures it plans on putting forward, a call on the government to assist the green energy sector at a time of crisis.

Speaking to outlet EnergyNews, UNEF general director José Donoso said the trade body will urge the government to arrange energy auctions and slash VAT for residential solar installs, among other proposals.

Donoso had already issued similar calls at a SolarPower Europe webinar late last week, saying: “We’re asking the government to organise auctions as soon as possible. We need auctions with real prices to give confidence to investors so that we can continue the transition.”

See here for the EnergyNews interview and follow the links ahead to read PV Tech’s coverage of the SolarPower Europe webinar and Spain’s outlook after the lifting of the temporary construction ban

UK’s CfD auction to go ahead as planned despite COVID-19 disruption

16 April 2020: The UK has pressed ahead with prior plans for a Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction after industry called for the tender to stay in place, PV Tech’s sister title Current± reports.

There had been concerns the CfD consultation underway would be pushed back due to the COVID-19 crisis. At the end of last week, the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed the auction would move forward as planned.

The department said it would not extend the current consultation beyond the 22 May deadline, explaining that various stakeholders it had approached had “stressed the importance of maintaining the delivery of AR4 [allocation round 4] in 2021.”

See here to read the full story on PV Tech’s sister title Current±

Solar scores generation records across the globe as lockdowns alter market dynamics

16 April 2020: Quarantine measures and national lockdowns related to the COVID-19 outbreak have set the scene for a swathe of generation records by solar and broader renewables, according to the latest figures.

The roll-out of lockdown plans to contain the pandemic – now thought to have passed the two-million global case mark – has been found to trigger changes to energy market dynamics, including generation profile, consumption patterns and power prices.

Coupled with sunny weather, solar’s status as an “essential service” has allowed the technology to shine across key energy markets worldwide. In what was PV Tech’s top story yesterday, we compiled some of the most recent records in Germany, Spain, the UK and Australia.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

At 1.74TWh, the power generated by solar between 6 and 12 April 2020 (both days inclusive) surpassed that of wind (1.28TWh), nuclear (1.23TWh) and brown coal (1.09TWh), according to Fraunhofer ISE. Image credit: Fraunhofer ISE.

At 1.74TWh, the power generated by solar between 6 and 12 April 2020 (both days inclusive) surpassed that of wind (1.28TWh), nuclear (1.23TWh) and brown coal (1.09TWh), according to Fraunhofer ISE. Image credit: Fraunhofer ISE.

Solar powers four hospitals in Nigeria as part of emergency programme

16 April 2020: Various COVID-19 hospitals in Nigeria are already tapping into solar as part of a programme by the country’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA), outlet The Nation reports.

According to the publication, two completed solar hybrid mini grids had already been delivered by REA in Abuja and Lagos as of Wednesday 15 April 2020, with a further two set to be provided to health centres in the Ogun state on Thursday.

See here to read The Nation’s story in full

Canadian energy player Boralex donates US$150,000 to COVID-19 relief

16 April 2020: Canada-based renewable energy developer Boralex is to hand out US$150,000 to organisations battling the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, France and the US.

The firm – active in solar, wind and other segments – recently said it will donate the money to food banks in Quebec, mental health workers in Ontario, Alzheimer centre staff in France and a regional food bank in New York, among others.

See here to read Boralex’ statement in full

British Gas furloughs 3,800 staff members ‘to protect jobs and business’

16 April 2020: British Gas has become the latest UK supplier to furlough its staff as the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown continues, according to PV Tech’s sister title Current±.

Last week, the firm announced 3,800 of its staff members will be put on the national job retention scheme, which will use government funds to grant them 80% of their pay, up to £2,500 a month.

See here to read the full story on PV Tech’s sister title Current±

JA Solar flags 'extended' production cycles amid guidance of Q1 2020 profit hit

15 April 2020: ‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member JA Solar has guided first quarter 2020 net profitability to take a hit from COVID-19.

The SMSL issued net profit guidance to be in a range of RMB 250 million to RMB 350 million (US$35.4 million to US$42.5 million) for the first quarter of 2020, compared to a net profit of over RMB 550 million (US$78.7 million) in the fourth quarter of 2019.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

JA Solar noted that its production and logistics cycles had been “extended” over the reporting period due to the impact of COVID-19. Graph credit: Solar Media

JA Solar noted that its production and logistics cycles had been “extended” over the reporting period due to the impact of COVID-19. Graph credit: Solar Media

Polish coal giant doubles down on 2.5GW solar push despite business retrenchment

15 April 2020: The owner of a double-digit-gigawatt portfolio of coal-fired power will press ahead with a shift to renewables even as it shuts down its non-essential business over the COVID-19 crisis.

Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), the largest utility in its home country of Poland, said in recent days it will shutter projects “outside of its core business” in a bid to shore up its finances, at a time when pandemic-driven shutdowns are hitting power use worldwide.

PGE’s statement did not spell out the areas it would cull as part of its “rationalisation” drive. The state-run firm made clear, however, that it will continue to implement its decade-long wind and solar growth programmes, set in motion prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The firm wants to take its offshore wind fleet to an installed capacity of 2.5GW by 2030 – it is aiming to become a national leader on this front – and intends to amass an identically-sized 2.5GW solar PV portfolio by the same year. It will also refocus on district heating and waste-to-energy projects.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

Spending billions on green energy ‘worked during the last crisis’, US told

15 April 2020: US experts and campaigners interviewed for a recent Los Angeles Times piece have drawn parallels between the current COVID-19 emergency and the financial crash of the late 2000s, pointing at the way the country bankrolled green energy as it recovered from the latter crisis.

Carol Browner, energy and climate advisor of former president Barack Obama, said the stimulus plans drawn up back then tried to factor in the long-term picture for communities. “If we hadn’t done what we did for the wind and solar industry, they probably would not have made it,” she said.

See here to read the Los Angeles Times piece in full

UK delays sixth carbon budget to factor in impacts from pandemic

15 April 2020: The UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is to delay its advice to the government over the country’s sixth carbon budget, PV Tech’s sister title Current± reports.

Yesterday (14 April 2020), the CCC announced its recommendations will be pushed back from the prior September date to December, to provide it with more time to account for COVID-19’s impacts on the UK’s emission-curbing efforts so far.

See here to read the full story on PV Tech’s sister title Current±

Solar Media events go digital to keep industry debate alive in uncertain times

Solar Media’s new Digital Summits series has been launched to provide critical market insights, intelligence and networking opportunities to maintain our industries’ momentum. Running throughout May and June, the Digital Summits will deliver the full live event experience to your own home.

1. Energy Storage Digital Series: 11-15 May. See here for more information on how to take part.

2. Large Scale Solar Digital Series: 18-22 May. See here for more information on how to take part.

3. Solar & Storage Finance Digital Series: 1-5 June. See here for more information on how to take part.

4. EnTech Digital Series: 15-19 June. See here for more information on how to take part.

5. Everything EV Digital Series: 6-10 July. See here for more information on how to take part.

IRENA pushes council and committee meetings back until November

15 April 2020: The widespread delays seen with green energy events as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak have extended to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is now postponing its own key governance meetings by some five months.

This week, the global body said the Council and Committee meetings it was looking to host at Abu Dhabi on 1-3 June 2020 will be rescheduled to early November, with plans to keep the United Arab Emirates capital as the location.

The announcement comes a week after IRENA published its annual update on renewable growth, showing solar dominated again in a year when green energy accounted for 72% of all energy additions.

See here to read IRENA’s statement in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of IRENA’s update on renewable growth in 2019

Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power to build 100-bed mobile hospital

15 April 2020: Saudi energy player ACWA Power will deploy a 100-bed medical facility set to exclusively service COVID-19 patients, under a newly-signed agreement.

The deal with construction specialist THABAT will see ACWA co-deliver a hospital “fully resourced with the medical equipment and supplies needed to treat COVID-19 cases”, the firm said in a statement this week.

The announcement follows news last week of ACWA’s shortlisting for the Jeddah PV IPP (300 MW), Rabigh PV IPP (300 MW) and Qurrayat PV IPP (200 MW) solar projects, all part of the 1.47GW second round of Saudi Arabia’s renewable tender.

See here to read ACWA’s statement and here for PV Tech’s coverage of bidders and tariffs for the Saudi Arabia’s round-two 1.47GW tender

EDP to offer COVID-19 relief to communities around North American PV, wind plants

15 April 2020: EDP Renewables North America has set aside US$300,000 to help mitigate COVID-19 impacts for citizens based near its green energy plants in the region.

In a new statement, the firm said the funds will be handed out to non-profits working with over 50 communities living near its solar and wind projects, at various stages of development in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Having reportedly consulted residents and non-profit staff, EDP Renewables said most of the aid will be earmarked for food banks and other “organizations that provide economic security for families affected by COVID-19.”

See here to read EDP’s statement in full

““While nobody knows for sure how long COVID-19 will be in the communities where EDPR NA has projects, we do know that the economic impact of the pandemic is already being felt and will likely persist for months as the ramifications of social distancing ripple through our economy”—Miguel Prado, EDPR NA CEO

Solar shines the brightest in Australia’s renewably-powered Easter Saturday

15 April 2020: Solar segments covered together nearly a third of all electricity used last Saturday in Australia’s Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports.

The five states served by the National Electricity Market reached a collective renewable share of 50.7% on Easter Saturday, with rooftop solar (22%) followed by wind (17.1%) and large-scale solar (9.4%). At 37.2%, however, black coal remained the dominating source on an individual basis.

See here to read ABC’s story in full

Solar PPA frontrunner predicts ‘significant’ performance hit from COVID-19

15 April 2020: A firm behind one of Germany’s first solar power purchase agreements (PPA) expects its performance to be “significantly lower” this year on account of the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this week, Swiss energy trader Axpo shared the prediction after looking into accounts so far and finding that the pandemic has already triggered a CHF390 million (US$404 million) hit on its finances, set to mainly affect its funds for the decommissioning of nuclear assets.

The talk of COVID-19 impacts comes less than a year after Axpo became the PPA offtaker for a 1.5MW zero-subsidy PV project in Bavaria. The scheme, the joint work of investor SEAC and developer and EPC specialist MaxSolar, has been billed as one of the first of its kind in Germany.

See here to read Axpo’s statement and here for PV Tech’s coverage of the subsidy-free solar PPA deal last July

Ecuador eases bidding deadlines for 200MW solar project tender

15 April 2020: Ecuador will give industry players more time to table bids under a scheme to tender large solar and wind projects in the country.

The Latin American country’s government cited the COVID-19 crisis as it said the winners of the contract for the 200MW El Aromo solar project in the Manabí Province will be revealed on 17 September 2020, five months after the initial deadline of 15 April.

The tender for what is Ecuador’s first ever large-scale solar project drew interest from the start, with 45 foreign firms attending the public presentation last July. At the time, Ecuador pegged El Aromo’s overall costs at US$200 million.

As PV Tech documented last November, Neoen, Solarpack, Total Eren and EDP are amongst the eight firms already pre-selected to compete for the 200MW solar contract. Under the new timetable, other bidders will have until 30 July 2020 to table technical and economic bids.

See here to read Ecuador’s statement and here for PV Tech’s coverage of the shortlisting of bidders last November.

The initially shortlisted eight for Ecuador's 200MW solar project

Neoen S.A.SolarpackteamConsorcio Cobra Zero-E AromoChina Harbour Engineering Ltd.
Consorcio Al Faisal-CRBC-GCLTotal Eren S.A.China Huadian Hong Kong Company Limited EDP Renovaveis S.A
Source: Ecuador's government

Chile picks interim head of power market watchdog to ensure swift decision-making

15 April 2020: The outgoing head of Chile’s power market watchdog will remain in his post temporarily to ensure continuity at the time of COVID-19 crisis, the government has said.

This week, the country’s Energy Minister Juan Carlos Jobet signed off on the “exceptional” reappointment of Luis Ávila Bravo – the head of agency SEC from April 2011 to April 2020 – to his post for the time being, until a replacement is chosen via a public process.

The Ministry said the move is necessary to ensure “continuity and efficiency” in the decisions made against the COVID-19 crisis, particularly concerning the security and quality of the electricity and fuel supply, an “essential service” for citizens at this time.

See here to read Chile government’s statement in full

Solar joins 11 governments in European alliance for a Green Recovery

14 April 2020: European solar representatives have rallied behind a push supported by governments from all over the continent to ensure a green comeback from COVID-19.

Supported by PV body SolarPower Europe, the European alliance for a Green Recovery launched today has been endorsed by 37 CEOs, 79 MEPs and ministers from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Austria and Luxembourg.

The campaign for Europe to embrace green principles as it invests to bounce back from the pandemic comes as solar players report impacts across the continent. As a recent webinar heard, there are concerns subsidy-free ventures could be hit by the plunge of power prices.

See here to read the full list of alliance supporters and here for PV Tech’s coverage so far of COVID-19’s impacts on European solar

Spanish solar back in play as temporary construction freeze is lifted

14 April 2020: Construction of solar plants in what is seen as one of Europe’s most promising markets has now resumed, following the lifting of lockdown measures that brought work to a halt for over a week.

Sources approached by PV Tech this week confirmed that as of Monday 13 April 2020, the installation of solar new-builds is again allowed and underway in Spain, bringing an end to the 10-day standstill mandated by a decree in late March.

One operator set to benefit from the lifting of the installation ban is Spanish EPC Solarpack. Contacted by PV Tech last week, the firm with headquarters in the Basque Country had said its plan was to resume work this week, once the decree’s 10-day window expired.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

“We have adapted to the new situation, adopting remote working worldwide for all office-based staff and those on the ground whose function allows for it: development, engineering, purchases, asset management and support units,” Javier Arellano, Solarpack’s head of investor relations.

Azure experiences ‘minor curtailment’ during Indian lockdown

14 April 2020: Indian solar developer Azure Power has experienced minor curtailment of the electricity generated from its PV power plants during the pan-India lockdown enforced since 25 March, which has now been extended to 3 May.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

Red-tape trim and energy communities: Italian solar’s recipe for COVID-19 recovery

14 April 2020: Pandemic-stricken Italy could create over a hundred thousand jobs through targeted changes to green energy legislation at little or no cost, two trade bodies have claimed.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

COVID-19 and European solar: Enel and Solarcentury on what comes next

14 April 2020: A SolarPower Europe webinar has opened a window into how some of the continent’s top PV developers have grappled with the crisis and their optimism around solar’s future.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

According to Solarcentury, using local labour

According to Solarcentury, using local labour "really helped" with continuing the construction of a solar plant in the Netherlands, pictured above. Image credit: Solarcentury

Saudi solar tender moves to virtual meetings and longer RFP timeframes

14 April 2020: Saudi Arabia is to adapt its green energy tender scheme to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, to ensure the awarding of 1.2GW of new solar can go forward without issue.

The country recently said the third round of its NREP tender scheme – set to contract PV projects of 700MW, 300MW and others – will use virtual meetings and extend RFP deadlines by two months to accommodate for the delays the pandemic is causing.

See here to read Saudi Arabia’s statement and here for PV Tech’s coverage of the launch of the 1.2GW round-three tender in January

European solar fears power price plunge may dampen subsidy-free prospects

14 April 2020: The crash of power prices seen as Europe locks down over the COVID-19 crisis could dampen investor enthusiasm for subsidy-free solar, a SolarPower Europe webinar heard last week.

See here to read PV Tech story in full

“The banks will be more conservative given the impact of these low [power] prices ... The financial conditions will be worse, and this is the aspect from COVID-19 that can impact most significantly the future of utility-scale plants”—José Donoso, general director of Spanish PV body UNEF.

Italy set to reappoint Eni, Enel bosses following COVID-19 delays - Reuters

14 April 2020: Italy is set to retain the current heads of state-owned energy groups Eni and Enel after the pandemic caused a postponement of the nominations, Reuters reports.

Citing an anonymously-speaking "senior government official", the news service claimed CEOs Claudio Descalzi (Eni) and Francesco Starace (Enel) are all but confirmed to stay for a third term.

See here for Reuters' full story and here for PV Tech’s coverage so far of COVID-19’s impacts on Enel’s renewable work

Malaysian lawmaker assembles PV-powered buggy car during lockdown

14 April 2020: A Malaysian senator and rural electrification advocate has built a buggy vehicle powered by solar whilst quarantined over the COVID-19 emergency, outlet CNA reports.

Adrian Banie Lasimbang, who heads up rural green power firm CREATE, told the publication he had “always planned for a solar buggy, but kept putting it off” given his work driving the roll-out of small hydro projects around Malaysia.

See here to read CNAs story in full

The builder of the PV-powered buggy said he had decided to

The builder of the PV-powered buggy said he had decided to "put the concept to work" after Malaysia acted to restrict movement due to the COVID-19 crisis. Image credit: Adrian Banie Lasimbang

Portugal fast-tracks 30MW of renewable self-consumption in temporary reprieve

14 April 2020: Portugal’s government has moved to slash red tape for a sizeable batch of renewable self-consumption projects, granting a reprieve while the country fights the COVID-19 crisis.

Up to 30MW of these projects were awaiting conventional licensing but will now be awarded a provisional certificate that temporarily exempts them from certain obligations, under a new order signed by Environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes.

The transitory reprieve – concerning 220 self-consumption schemes, with project capacity below the 1MW mark – will lift after Portugal’s state of emergency is revoked, requiring applicants to then secure exploration certificates and pay certification fees if they have not already done so.

See here for Portugal’s press release and here for PV Tech’s interview with the government over the delays to solar auctions.

Austrian solar joins push for green, PV-friendly COVID-19 comeback

14 April 2020: Austrian solar representatives have called for the country to double down on renewable investment as it seeks to protect its economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In calls that echo those seen Europe-wide, trade body Photovoltaic Austria recently said sustainable investments must remain the “priority” for the government, which is bound by previously set targets to deliver a fully renewable electricity system by 2030.

Targeted investments in renewable energy will help make Austria’s economy “more crisis-proof”, said Photovoltaic Austria CEO Herbert Paierl as the association shared figures suggesting that boosting solar in line with the 2030 target will alone require 200,000 new jobs.

See here to read Photovoltaic Austria’s statement in full

Czech solar reps fund medical gear purchases for hospitals and nursing homes

14 April 2020: Czech solar body Solární Asociace is spearheading industry efforts to sponsor the acquisition of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis.

In a recent statement, the association said members including Jufa, Decci, Energy21, Photon Energy, Easywatt and Divalia have helped fund masks and respiratory devices for hospitals and nursing homes, as well as lunches for medical staff and firefighters.

See here to read Solární Asociace’s statement in full

PV Tech’s resource library

PV Tech has a wealth of in-depth articles and resources to keep you engaged in the solar sector throughout any period of isolation. Every volume of PV Tech Power, our downstream solar PV-focused journal, can be downloaded entirely for free here. We also have a collection of webinars conducted over the last four years which can be viewed on demand here, and an exhaustive list of technical papers from both our own in-house editorial team and esteemed industry professionals, which can be accessed here.

‘Climate change remains fundamental’: EBRD backs Polish solar with new loan

14 April 2020: A development financier is to support Polish solar by sponsoring a foreign player with projects in the country, amid claims climate change remains a front-of-mind issue despite COVID-19.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will lend 40 million Polish złoty (around US$10 million) to Estonia-based Enefit Green, who wants to expand into Polish solar by deploying a 19.2MW pipeline.

“The world is rightfully focused on the massive health and economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the EBRD’s Head of Energy EMEA Harry Boyd-Carpenter. “But climate change remains a fundamental challenge, especially in Poland with its historic reliance on coal for most of its electricity.”

See here to read the EBRD’s statement in full and here for PV Tech’s earlier coverage on the state-of-play of Polish solar

Chile official: 'Essential' that renewable projects continue in time of crisis

14 April 2020: The construction of green energy plants remains a core activity as Chile seeks to underpin its electricity supply in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, a top official has said.

Speaking to local outlet El Sur de Concepción, Energy Subsecretary Francisco Javier López discussed the key role renewables can play in regions such as Biobío, where he said a US$841 million pipeline – three wind projects, coupled with one PV project – lies under construction.

According to López, it is “essential” these projects go ahead as despite the lower energy use Chile is seeing amid the pandemic, the country is also poised to witness a rise of energy demand in the future, as well as renewables.

See here to read El Sur de Concepción's story in full

‘O sol não para’: Brazilian PV reps launch video to highlight industry contribution

14 April 2020: Brazilian solar association ABSOLAR has released a video seeking to highlight the industry’s contribution as the country combats the COVID-19 outbreak.

See here to watch the video in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of COVID-19’s impacts on Brazilian solar to date

Tags: covid-19, coronavirus, pv tech covid-19 tracker, solar, solar pv, solar supply chain, supply chain disruption, geopolitics

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