PV Tech’s COVID-19 tracker: 11 May - 17 May

By PV Tech
Image credit: CDC / Unsplash

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, 6 April 2020 – 12 April 202013 April 2020 – 19 April 202020 April 2020 – 26 April 202027 April 2020 – 3 May 2020 and 4 May 2020 – 10 May 2020.  

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Pandemic brings delays to Greece’s oil major-backed top solar project

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15 May 2020: Greece’s reportedly largest solar project to date is being temporarily stalled by the COVID-19 crisis, according to the financial results of the oil major who bought it earlier this year.

In its recent Q1 2020 update, Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) said the pandemic is “creating some delays” with the closing of its acquisition of the 204.3MWp Kozani PV project in Western Macedonia, which the oil major is buying from German developer juwi.

The project – set to be built by former owner juwi, who will also stay behind as the O&M contractor for a 10-plus-10 year period – was targeting commercial operation in late 2021 but COVID-19 disruption has seen this postponed to Q1 2022, HELPE said.

See here for HELPE’s Q1 statement and here for PV Tech’s coverage of the 204.3MWp Kozani PV project

New blow to US clean energy as March-April job losses reach 594,300 mark

15 May 2020: US clean energy operators have ramped up calls for federal help against the COVID-19 crisis after a new review found job losses in April were “a lot worse than expected”.

E2, ACORE, E4TheFuture and BW Research Partnership had warned in mid-April that US clean energy firms could shed a cumulative 500,000 jobs “in the coming months”. This week, their update confirmed that the threshold was not only reached, but amply exceeded, in a matter of weeks.

If 147,139 US clean energy workers filed for unemployment benefits in March 2020, some 447,200 followed suit in April 2020, according to the review. The cumulative figure of 594,300 means the sector – employing 3.4 million at the end of 2019 – has lost twice the jobs it had gained since 2017.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

Hardest-hit US states for clean energy job losses, March-April 2020

  1. California: 27,583 job losses (March 2020), 77,860 (April 2020), 105,443 (Two-month total)
  2. Texas: 5,965 job losses (March 2020), 25,227 (April 2020), 31,192 (Two-month total)
  3. Michigan: 7,867 job losses (March 2020), 22,284 (April 2020), 30,150 (Two-month total)
  4. Florida: 3,963 job losses (March 2020), 25,915 (April 2020), 29,878 (Two-month total)
  5. Georgia: 1,909 job losses (March 2020), 25,251 (April 2020), 27,161 (Two-month total)

Source: E2, ACORE, E4TheFuture and BW Research Partnership

Fresh setback for Mexican renewables as government mulls permit freezing – reports

15 May 2020: Mexican renewable plant operators grappling with the country’s recent ban on grid linking tests may be facing another blow, with the government reported to be considering freezing permitting for the industry.

According to El Financiero, Mexico’s Energy Ministry is preparing draft measures that would paralyse the licensing of new solar and wind plants proposed in congested zones, to ensure deployment is “orderly” and does not impair grid stability at the time of COVID-19.

Should it materialise, the move looks set to pile further pressure on green energy operators forced to a standstill by the ban on grid linking tests, enacted in recent weeks. According to industry figures, the measure has put a 5GW-plus, US$6.42 billion, 30,000-job pipeline of solar and wind at risk.

See here to read El Financiero’s story in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of Mexican solar news

Governments talk renewables-powered recovery at new IRENA virtual meet series

15 May 2020: Representatives of 10 governments gathered this week for a virtual roundtable convened to discuss the role green energy can play in the global COVID-19 comeback.

IRENA ambassadors from Uganda, Uruguay, Japan, Denmark, Peru, Tonga, Germany, Italy, Zimbabwe and France all contributed to the online discussion arranged by the global agency, who said all were “unified” in their support to the campaign for a renewables-powered pandemic recovery.

See here to read IRENA’s statement in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of the global agency’s plans for a renewables-powered pandemic recovery

The 10-country roundtable saw governments discuss IRENA's findings that betting on green energy could add US$98trn to global GDP by 2050. Image credit: IRENA

Post-COVID green energy boom will require shift to ‘climate-smart’ mining – World Bank

14 May 2020: Climate-smart principles must steer the global search for the minerals and metals required by the green energy boom to ensure the process remains sustainable, according to the World Bank.

In a new report, the global body concluded that sourcing graphite, lithium and others for renewables in enough volumes – 3 billion tonnes – to keep global heating within 2°C by 2050 would carry emissions equal to only 6% of the footprint of fossil fuels.

However low, the climate impacts should not be overlooked by green energy advocates, the World Bank said. Those calling for a renewably-powered COVID-19 recovery should note that the pandemic is, in turn, disrupting the very mining supply chain the makes the green energy shift possible, the report said.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

Mexico’s COVID-19 renewable clampdown puts Neoen’s ultra-competitive PV plant in limbo

14 May 2020: Operators are starting to feel the impacts of Mexico’s recent decision to block renewable project connections, with a major solar project paralysed weeks after coming online.

In recent days, Neoen revealed it is set to lose millions every month after its 375MWp El Llano solar PV installation was put on hold by power market operator CENACE, which moved earlier in May to block the compulsory grid tests for all renewable plants nationwide.

CENACE’s clampdown – justified on the basis of Mexico’s need for grid stability as it combats COVID-19 – has put on ice a 5GW-plus, US$6.42 billion, 30,000-job pipeline of solar and wind plants, according to estimates released by Mexico associations for PV (Asolmex) and wind (Amdee).

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

The Mexican renewable pipeline affected by CENACE's crackdown

  • Already finished PV and wind plants: 28 plants, 3.2GW
  • PV and wind plants under construction: 16 plants, 2.06GW
  • CO2 savings Mexico may miss: 714,945 tonnes per month
  • Jobs at risk: 29,517
  • Direct investment at risk: US$6.42 billion        
  • Number of states affected: 18

Source: Mexican associations for PV (Asolmex) and wind power (Amdee)

UK embedded generation rewarded for flexibility as coal-free run goes on

14 May 2020: The UK’s ESO National Grid turned down embedded generation using a new management service last weekend, but did not resort to emergency disconnection powers granted at short notice.

The ESO’s new turn-down protocol came as low demand and high renewable generation fuelled a month-long spell without coal generation on the UK’s grid. The milestone, achieved in a month of COVID-19 lockdown measures, marks a historic first for the country since the industrial revolution.

See here to read the PV Tech story and here for the analysis of the UK’s new coal-free milestone, as initially published on sister title Current±

Solar on the rise as Japan joins list of zero-power-price markets

14 May 2020: Weather patterns and the COVID-driven economic slowdown have combined to push Japan’s power prices to “effectively zero”, Reuters reports.

According to the outlet, the day-ahead prices of JPY0.01/kWh (US$0.0001/kWh) seen as early as February went on to being recorded for “several hours” in April, even in the midst of normal business hours.

Experts sounded out by Reuters noted that the plunge of power demand comes against a backdrop of rising solar generation, a surge concentrated around western Japan and set to continue as summer draws nearer.

See here to read the Reuters story in full

Spanish solar asks for role in post-pandemic economic future of coal heartlands

14 May 2020: Solar PV should be a centrepiece of the post-COVID-19 economic comeback of Spain’s coal regions, industry association UNEF has said as the government prepares a plan for recovery.

At a recent UNEF webinar, various speakers underscored the job creation potential of solar across Castilla y León, Galicia and the rest of Spain’s so-called ‘just transition’ zones, where a coal-reliant economy is most vulnerable to a shift to green energies.

Speaking on behalf of Spain’s Environment Ministry, Laura Martín Murillo said a plan is being drawn up to ensure the regions at the heart of the energy progress in the past retain a core role going forward. In these areas, the state will foster investment in downstream renewables but also on the manufacturing end, Martín Murillo said.

See here to read UNEF’s statement and here for PV Tech’s broader coverage of Spanish solar in the COVID-19 era

“We’re working on a new package so that the areas which were a core part of the country’s energy development remain so … We’re going to foster investment in renewable generation but also industry, the manufacturing of equipment”—Laura Martín Murillo, Spain’s Environment Ministry

Experts: 2020 ‘pivotal’ for renewables as countries plot post-COVID course

14 May 2020: Renewables are heading towards a “rocky” period in the nearest term but could emerge from the COVID-19 crisis “stronger than ever” if properly supported, experts have said.  

Interviewed by Yale E360, various specialists said the drawing-up of recovery plans currently taking place worldwide makes 2020 a “pivotal” year for renewables, as well as the world’s broader ambitions to keep global heating in check.

See here to read the full story on Yale E360

Joju Solar working on getting new projects ‘shovel-ready’ to help outlast lockdown

14 May 2020: UK developer Joju Solar is “very confident” it will make it through the lockdown period despite furloughing staff as it takes a cautious approach to opening up.

Speaking to PV Tech’s sister title Solar Power Portal, Joju’s technical director Chris Jardine said that the priority for the company is ensuring its staff have “got some money coming in and are secure in their lives while all this blows over”.

See here to read the full story on PV Tech’s sister title Solar Power Portal

Mexican solar player IEnova hands out food donations to California Gulf communities

14 May 2020: Mexican energy firm IEnova delivered this week a batch of food donations to households grappling with the COVID-19 crisis in Ahome, to the northwest by the Gulf of California.

IEnova – a Sempra Energy-owned group currently working on a 376MW solar pipeline – recently started handing out the 1,000-plus food shipments for the communities at Puerto de Topolobampo and others, in an initiative set to benefit more than 5,000 residents.

See here to read IEnova’s statement and here for PV Tech’s coverage of IEnova’s IFC-backed 376MW solar pipeline in Mexico

IEnova's food donations were delivered with the help of charities Valores Topolobampo AC and Cáritas Sinaloa. Image credit: IEnova on Twitter

Looming subsidy cut-off adds to troubles of pandemic-hit German solar

13 May 2020: A growing German solar is now nearing the market size at which new subsidies will be cut off, with analysts warning it could compound the impacts from the COVID-19 crisis.

In a recently emailed update, consultancy Wood Mackenzie noted that Europe’s largest solar market is “fast approaching” the 52GW installed capacity threshold, which under current law would see subsidies frozen for new solar projects.

The government of chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to scrap the 52GW subsidy cap last year but as repeatedly noted by PV body BSW Solar, the move has yet to become hard law. Such “lack of resolution” will add to the effects of lockdown measures and delays, Wood Mackenzie said.

See here to read PV Tech’s broader coverage of German solar in the COVID-19 era

Tesla in reported talks for Texas relocation amid frustration over California’s lockdown

13 May 2020: Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has approached the Texas government to discuss the potential relocation to the state of some of the firm’s operations, Reuters reports.

In statements echoed by the outlet, Texas governor Greg Abbott confirmed this week Musk and him had talked about the possibility of a move. The conversation followed reports that Tesla’s CEO is unhappy about the continued lockdown restrictions in California, where the firm is headquartered.

“I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Elon Musk and he’s genuinely interested in Texas and genuinely frustrated with California,” governor Abbott is quoted by Reuters as having told CBS. “We’ve just got to wait and see how things play out.”

See here to read the Reuters story in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of Tesla’s solar operations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

Trump taps into 690MW solar hybrid to help economy against ‘invisible enemy’

13 May 2020: The administration of US president Donald Trump has waved through what is being described as the largest solar project ever seen in the country, a hybrid part of the ‘America First’ agenda.

On Monday this week, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the approval of the US$1 billion Gemini Solar Project in Nevada, a complex set to mix 690MW of solar PV with a 380 MW / 1,400MWh storage battery component.

The venture – the joint work of developer Arevia Power and investor Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners – could create thousands of jobs and will help America’s economy combat the so-called “invisible enemy” of COVID-19, DOI secretary David L. Bernhardt said.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

The Gemini Solar Project in numbers

690MW 380 MW / 1,400MWh 7,100 acres of federal land US$1 billion
500-700 (peaks of 900) An additional 1,100 US$712.5 million More than US$3 million per year
Source: DOI, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners

ENGIE’s green energy pipeline ‘largely unaffected’ as group stays profitable

13 May 2020: ENGIE’s green energy work has largely escaped from COVID-19’s fallout so far, with the utlity's renewables unit performing strongly and expected to report “low impacts” going forward.

New results out Tuesday show the French group remained money-making last quarter even if current operating income dipped between Q1 2019 (€2 billion/US$2.16 billion) and Q1 2020 (€1.9 billion/US$2.05 billion). Revenues saw a minor year-on-year dip, while EBITDA stayed similar.

ENGIE's renewables unit recorded a 17.2% jump in organic current operating income, where Thermal and most other units saw drops. The green energy boon was, the firm said, driven by buoyant hydro power output in France and the commissioning of wind and solar worldwide.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

Innogy takeover boosts E.On’s sales in financially sound Q1 2020

13 May 2020: E.On has seen a sharp increase in its sales and earnings thanks to last year’s takeover of innogy, including its UK based supplier npower, our sister title Current± reports.

The firm’s Q1 results show that overall sales rose to €17.7 billion from €9.1 billion in the same period in 2019. The inclusion of innogy in the Energy Networks segment helped boost sales from €2.2 billion to €4.7 billion, while the Customer Solutions segment from €7.5 billion to roughly €14.4 billion.

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

Scatec Solar witnessing project completion delays of ‘up to five months’

13 May 2020: Scatec Solar has said its sites under construction could be delayed by up to five months as a result of various pandemic-related constraints.

Reporting its Q1 2020 results late last week, the Norwegian solar developer said that while it had yet to experience any impact on its fleet of operating assets, the projects it had still to complete had experienced days in commissioning.

Chief executive Raymond Carlsen said “slower project development activities” were now becoming evident, with the company’s results estimating current delays at between two to five months for those under construction.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

“We have so far not experienced any impact of COVID-19 on our operating assets; however, some deferred commissioning of new solar plants and slower project development activities are becoming evident”—Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar.

Asia’s COVID-19 recovery policies may delay coal downfall – Reuters

13 May 2020: Asian policymakers’ efforts to prop up economies battered by the COVID-19 crisis may prolong the life of the coal segment across the continent, experts have told Reuters.

The pandemic recovery efforts of China and others may create a “temptation” to pour state money into coal power and lock in a “high cost” technology that will “undermine global climate targets”, Matt Gray, co-head of power and utilities at think tank Carbon Tracker, told the news outlet recently

See here to read the Reuters article in full

Brazil joins global list of countries witnessing solar-infused April

13 May 2020: Official stats show Brazil has joined the list of countries experiencing a surge of PV power as lockdown measures kicked in nationwide, helped along by the onset of the dry season. 

In figures reported by Canal Energia and circulated by Brazilian PV body ABSOLAR, new records from state body CCEE indicate that solar generation averaged at 680MW in the country in April, a 41% year-on-year jump. At 4.3GW, Brazil’s wind generation too was up last month, a 17.2% rise.

See here to read ABSOLAR’s statement in full and here for PV Tech’s more recent coverage on COVID-19’s impacts on Brazil’s solar auctioning efforts

SimpliPhi supplies battery storage to COVID-19 ‘pop-up’ clinic at US-Mexico border camp

13 May 2020: A solar-plus-storage microgrid is powering a mobile intensive care unit (ICU) treating COVID-19 patients at a migrant camp on the border between Texas and Mexico, our sister title Energy-Storage.News reports.

US manufacturer SimpliPhi energy has supplied its ‘PHI’ brand 3.8kWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery storage systems to the ‘pop-up’ ICU, which has capacity to treat 20 patients at the Matamaros Migrant Camp, which is home to around 3,000 asylum seekers.

See here to read the full story and see more pictures on PV Tech’s sister title Energy-Storage.News

Simplihi Energy PHI battery storage systems at the Matamaros camp being readied for installation. Image credit: Footprint Project

US solar offered potential lifeline as Treasury hints at safe-harbor reprieve

12 May 2020: US solar firms grappling with the double pincer of COVID-19 disruption and the phase-out of tax credits might see some relief on the latter front, following the intervention of lawmakers.

In a letter dated 7 May, the US Treasury responded positively to senators calling for an extension of the so-called safe-harboring deadlines of investment tax credits (ITC) and production tax credit (PTC), the respective tax incentive schemes for US solar and wind projects.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

Buoyant renewables help Acciona clinch year-on-year quarterly profit rise

12 May 2020: Acciona boosted net profit by 6.9% to €78 million in Q1 2020 compared to the same quarter last year, with the latest results linking the jump to green energy assets.

Last week, the Spanish utility giant – which already saw year-on-year profit rises throughout 2019 – linked the upbeat Q1 2020 performance to the commissioning of 126MW of green energy assets throughout the quarter, as well as accounting changes reflecting projects’ longer lifespan.

See here to read Acciona’s statement in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of Acciona’s earlier solar moves

Solid Q1, slower Q2: SunPower, Vivint updates suggest pandemic hit yet to come

12 May 2020: Some of the US’ top solar players appear to have largely weathered COVID-19’s impacts in Q1 2020 but are now expecting a setback in Q2 2020, judging by the recent flurry of financial updates.

The latest results of SunPower and Vivint Solar showed both scored relatively strong installation numbers in Q1 2020 but are now bracing for a deceleration in the second quarter, coinciding with the US’ rise to become the country worst-hit by COVID-19.

See here to read PV Tech’s in-depth coverage of Q1 performance and Q2 expectations of SunPower Corp. and Vivint Solar

SunPower’s performance in recent quarters

Q1 2019 Q2 2019 Q3 2019 Q4 2019 Q1 2020 Q2 2020 (guidance)
MW recognised 461MW 616MW 586MW 707MW 538MW 340-400MW
MW shipped by SPT unit 448MW 637MW 677MW 792MW 580MW
Source: SunPower Corp.

Experts hail Philippines’ shift to renewables to build system security

12 May 2020: Think tank IEEFA has welcomed the move by the Philippines’ Central Bank to support the energy transition and renewables, in a bid to bolster system security against shocks such as COVID-19.

The Bank’s new Sustainable Finance Framework will help trigger a shift the Philippines needs after the pandemic exposed the country’s “ill-prepared supply chains, lack of digitization, and inability to retain critical functionality in events of low probability but serious consequences”, the IEEFA said.

See here to read the IEEFA’s briefing note in full  

Argentinian solar bidders ‘give up’ amid backdrop of economic uncertainty

12 May 2020: Argentina’s latest green energy tender has not managed to assign contracts after the two solar bidders opted to pull out in light of the country’s situation, Energía Estratégica reports.

In recent days, the news outlet said the solar projects of San Luís Hive III (99.4MW) and Parque Solar Cristian (80MW) withdrew from the MATER tender, arranged by state-run market operator CAMMESA, citing uncertainty around Argentina’s pandemic-hit economy.

See here to read the Energía Estratégica story in full

PV-powered hydrogen catamaran sails through COVID-19 isolation in transatlantic journey

12 May 2020: A catamaran energised by hydrogen fuel cells, PV and wind recently concluded its first transatlantic crossing while steering clear of ports to comply with COVID-19 distancing measures.

In a voyage supported by global agency IRENA, the five-strong crew of the Energy Observer sailed from France’s Brittany to Africa’s Cape Verde Islands and Martinique in the Caribbean, a 5,000-nautical-mile journey powered by seawater-to-hydrogen fuel, PV panels and wind turbines.

See here to read the Robb Report story in full and here for more information on the Energy Observer catamaran

Illinois solar boom at risk from pandemic, legislative bottlenecks

12 May 2020: The solar momentum reached by the US state of Illinois pre-COVID-19 could falter as the pandemic’s impacts mix with delays around new incentives, commentators have warned.

Recently interviewed by outlet Energy News Network, developers and experts said that stay-at-home measures, the stalling of legislation, the looming economic recession and other headwinds could derail the boom Illinois had sparked with its 2017 Future Energy Jobs Act.

See here to read the Energy News Network story in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of COVID-19’s impacts on the broader US renewable sector

Solar joins wind and geothermal as lockdown-era Chile sees green energy boost

12 May 2020: Power generation from Chilean renewables was up 15% in April 2020 versus the same month last year as the country navigated quarantine restrictions, according to Revista Electricidad.

In a dynamic that – as reported by PV Tech – is repeating across energy markets worldwide, green energy output reached a 18.9% share of Chile’s power mix last month, with geothermal, wind and PV generation increasing year-on-year by a respective 47.9%, 25.1% and 22.4%.

See here to read the Revista Electricidad story in full

Pandemic-wary US solar steps up community relief efforts

12 May 2020: US solar association the SEIA placed the spotlight earlier this week on the various initiatives of industry players contributing to the COVID-19 recovery nationwide.

A new post from the trade body listed some of the the community relief efforts by solar operators, from EDP Renewables North America’s US$300,000 aid pledge to Vivint Solar’s PPE donations, PanelClaw's support to local restaurants and Suntuity Solar’s delivery programme.

See here to read SEIA’s statement in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of the latest US solar news

EDP Renewables previously donated US$10,000 to Virginia's Remington Volunteer Fire Department in 2019. Image credit: EDP Renewables

Sunrun dips again into losses as digital push helps weather tricky Q1 2020

11 May 2020: Sunrun managed to boost revenues in Q1 2020 despite the COVID-19 outbreak but became loss-making once more, amidst a belief that a move to online sales mitigated the hit.

New financial results show the residential installer recorded Q1 2020 revenues of US$210.7 million – up 8% on Q1 2019 figures – but dipped into the red in the quarter just gone, with net losses ($28 million) reversing positive net income in Q3 2019 (US$29 million) and Q4 2019 (US$12.5 million).

The Q1 2020 financial update follows Sunrun’s publication in early April of its solar roll-out figures for the quarter. The firm, seen as the top US residential installer after passing rival Tesla in early 2018, said last month it had deployed 97.4MW of solar systems between January and March 2020.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

Net income, solar installs of Sunrun in 2019 and Q1 2020

Quarter Q1 2019 Q2 2019 Q3 2019 Q4 2019 Q1 2020
Solar installs 86.2MW 102.7MW 107.2MW 116.6MW 97.4MW
Net income -US$13.86 million -US$1.29 million US$28.9 million US$12.5 million -US$27.95 million
Source: Sunrun

Israel bets on 2GW of solar as part of pandemic comeback

11 May 2020: Israel has joined the list of nations setting their sights on renewables as a driver of economic recovery, with plans now laid out for a major solar pipeline.

In recent days, the Middle Eastern state outlined a roadmap to make energy and water infrastructure a centrepiece of the comeback from COVID-19, which at the time of writing has sparked 16,000-plus reported virus cases and 248 deaths nationwide.

The plan from Energy minister Dr Yuval Steinitz would have Israel invest to deploy a 2GW solar fleet in the coming years, coupled with funding for the streamlining of permits for wind projects, grid upgrades, energy efficiency schemes, alternative transport fuels and other areas.

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

Statkraft sees £141m loss in Q1 as power prices fall throughout Europe

11 May 2020: System price drops in the UK and across Europe drove down Nordic energy giant Statkraft’s earnings in Q1 2020, our sister title Current± reports.

In figures released in recent days, the Swedish firm posted nearly £141 million in losses compared to last year. Across its operations, its underlying EBIT fell to £324 million (NOK 4.1 billion), a drop of £213 million (NOK 2.7 billion) compared to the same period in 2019.

The downturn was driven by a significant drop in power demand and electricity prices across the Nordic region, the company said.

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

SolarEdge monitoring ‘every order’ to ensure growth after record Q1 2020

11 May 2020: SolarEdge Technologies scored a revenue record in Q1 2020 thanks to growth worldwide and is now keeping a close watch on customers’ financial health, to make sure every order will be paid for.

In recent days. the inverter maker shared results showing profitability held in a quarter when COVID-19 expanded all across its key markets, with US$42.2 million posted in GAAP net income compared to US$19 million in Q1 2019 and US$52.8 million in Q4 2019.

SolarEdge used the update to share new guidance, predicting US$305-335 million revenues for Q2 2020. Quizzed by analysts over the dynamics that will push the firm towards the upper or lower end of the range, CFO Ronen Faier said the group is looking at “every order” to ensure it does not “provide credit to customers that we are a little bit afraid that we will not be able to collect.”

See here to read the PV Tech story in full

SolarEdge's total PV inverter shipments topped 1.840MW in Q1 2020, another record for the company. Image credit: Solar Media

Pandemic brings delays to LatAm green energy enthusiast Mainstream

11 May 2020: A US$1.7 billion solar and wind pipeline in the works in Chile might need more time to reach the finish line amid impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, local media outlets report.

According to Diario Financiero, developer Mainstream has asked power regulator CNE to push back the deadlines for a 1.3GW green energy fleet it wants to deploy in the country, following delays with component supplies and financing. The projects must start supplying in 2021.

See here to read Diario Financiero’s story and here for PV Tech’s earlier coverage of the solar highlights of Mainstream’s 1.3GW renewable push

World Bank unit acts to shelter Actis’ renewables plants in South Africa from risks

11 May 2020: The World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) has stepped in to protect a slew of South African renewable projects from operational risks.

The guarantees provided by MIGA will offer the assets in question – two solar projects and a further two wind projects, the work of Actis-owned BioTherm – “protection against the risks of Transfer and Inconvertibility, Expropriation, Breach of Contract, and War & Civil disturbance for up to 15 years.”

Boasting a capacity of 288MW all in all, the four new plants are set to go live this year and supply state-run utility monopoly Eskom via 20-year PPAs. MIGA’s intervention comes amid a push by South African renewables to ensure the sector can resume activity after weeks of government-ordered paralysis for project construction.

See here to read MIGA’s statement and here for PV Tech’s latest coverage of COVID-19’s impacts on South African renewables

Spanish solar operators call for self-consumption redtape rollback

11 May 2020: Self-consumption players could help fuel the post-pandemic economic recovery in Spain if permitting obstacles are brought down, solar association UNEF has argued.

In a new proposal aimed at Spain’s regions, UNEF said having to apply for building permits is creating a wait of up to eight months for self-consumption projects, compounding the hit from Spain’s severe – if already winding down – COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Noting that most European countries do not demand building permits from self-consumption developers, UNEF general director José Donoso said “a more agile permitting process is now, more than ever, key to reactivating the ecosystem of self-consumption players.”

See here to read UNEF’s statement and here for PV Tech’s coverage of Spanish solar news in the COVID-19 era

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.

Italian solar in fresh call for help as survey shows one-in-five fears bankruptcy

11 May 2020: Italian solar representatives have ramped up their campaign for “quick and effective” government support to the sector, with confidence slipping as the COVID-19 crisis wears on.

Italia Solare president Paolo Rocco Viscontini urged for a “streamlining of bureaucracy” after the trade body’s latest survey of 500 PV operators showed one in five companies fears closure or bankruptcy, with 72% expecting job losses of up to 25%.

As documented by PV Tech weeks ago, Italia Solare already put forward in April a raft of proposals for legislative reform – help with permitting, payment delays and power dispatching – it believes would allow solar to assist with Italy’s economic comeback.

See here to read Italia Solare’s new statement in full and here for PV Tech’s coverage of the latest Italian solar news

Indian solar poised for ‘surprising’ boost as coal peak draws nearer – analysts

11 May 2020: Lockdown measures could speed up India’s coal-to-renewables transition as the pandemic looks set to bring the fossil fuel’s peak nearer in time, analysts have said.

In comments reported by Climate Home, Tim Buckley of think tank IEEFA said the country – the world’s second largest coal consumer – could “really surprise the global community” with a rapid shift to increasingly cheap solar, provided the right policies are put in place.

See here to read Climate Home’s story and here for PV Tech’s latest analysis of Indian solar in the COVID-19 era

27 June 2024
9am BST
FREE WEBINAR -This special webinar will take a deep dive into the latest PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings pyramid, capturing the relative bankability status of the top 70-80 PV module suppliers globally. In addition to revealing the latest ranking of global PV module suppliers, PV Tech’s Head of Research, Finlay Colville, will show the depth of analysis and commentary included within the report for module suppliers. A key output from the webinar will be to learn which PV module suppliers have moved up the rankings pyramid in recent years and why this growth has been achieved. Conversely, some of the companies that have fallen down the rankings will be discussed, in particular those suffering from market-share losses and financial problems.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

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