Cloudbusting

Forecasting | Short-term PV forecasting offers a multitude of benefits, from trading on wholesale power markets to improved plant operation. Sara Verbruggen reports on some of new the technologies driving forward improvements in the accuracy of forecasting techniques.

Perovskite Solar Cells: A new paradigm in Photovoltaics

By Louis Huber; Dr. Alessandra Alberti; Dr. Ioannis Deretzis; Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nazeeruddin

Organic/inorganic lead halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have received global attention because of their excellent photovoltaic performance and ease of fabrication. PSC’s have reached over 24% power conversion efficiency demonstrating that the lead halide perovskites are the most promising class of materials for next-generation thin-film photovoltaics. The unprecedented increase in the device performance from 3.8% to 24% in less than 10 years is mostly due to compositional engineering of mixed cations, and anions, as well as improved processing protocols has made PSC the fastest development of a new material in the PV field. Though the efficiencies on Lab scale are staggering, the full potential of this burgeoning technology cannot be realized without addressing the following challenges: fighting the degradation of the material is the highest focus for the moment and has several fronts for improvements including within larger scale cells or modules. The other main challenge of the new class of material is the toxicity risks due to the presence of lead. The research community is actively working on the mitigation and reduction of the associated risks. The exceptional properties of this material combined alongside its inherent relative lower costs have already triggered the interests of industries and start-up worldwide while on a European regional level, EPKI for European Perovskite Initiative was formed gathering all the significant players in the field.

Unlocking solar’s new terawatt opportunity

By Ben Willis, Solar Media

Floating solar has caught the industry’s imagination in recent years, opening up potentially limitless new opportunities for PV installations in land-constrained parts of the world. Ben Willis reports on the work underway to address questions about the performance and reliability of water-based solar installations.

Using batteries to reduce the impact of grid maintenance

By Dieter Castelein

Batteries are increasingly widely used in grid balancing, but there are many more applications where a battery can play an important role. With electric grids requiring periodic maintenance, batteries can stand in for the grid during downtime in order to reduce the impact on industry and households, writes Dieter Castelein.

Flex and flexibility

By Liam Stoker, Solar Media

Power markets are evolving and beginning to value flexibility ahead of generation. As the UK’s networks companies move to embrace flexible generation assets, Liam Stoker spoke to some of the country’s leading providers to identify the hurdles and solutions to a more flexible power grid.

Blackouts and batteries: how storage saved the UK grid

By Liam Stoker, Solar Media

At 4:52pm on Friday 9 August 2019, the UK suffered its first wide-scale blackout in over a decade. More than 1.1 million consumers were plunged into the dark as rail lines screeched to a halt, traffic lights failed and even airports reported problems. Liam Stoker looks at the root causes, and how battery storage came to the rescue

Bifacial heterojunction PV modules: Highest energy yield available… and how to measure that

By Eric Gerritsen; Elias Garcia Goma; Guillaume Razongles; Stefan Roest; Lionel Sicot; Benjamin Commault; Aude Derrier; Yannick Veschetti

Recent technology advances and improved industrial processes have made silicon heterojunction one of the most attractive PV technologies, helped by its inherent bifaciality, which offers among the highest levels of bifacial gain available. Researchers from CEA-INES and Eternalsun Spire explore the performance stability and measurement of bifacial heterojunction modules under real life conditions, benchmarking them against PERC modules as the industry workhorse.

Benchmarking inverter performance and reliability with a new PVEL Scorecard

By Michael Mills-Price, PVEL; Jenya Meydbray, PVEL

Inverters are the leading source of corrective maintenance activity in PV power plants, yet independent testing to inform procurement decisions remains the exception rather than the norm. Michael Mills-Price and Jenya Meydbray of PVEL describe how a new inverter testing regime is seeking to set quality benchmarks for this increasingly critical part of the PV system.

Critical requirements for PV cabling in the emerging global market

By Mark Froggatt, Technical director, BASEC (the British Approvals Service for Cables)

Cable manufacturers are well placed to capitalise on solar’s rapid global growth. However, to successfully exploit this continuing development, it is important to understand where growth is focused, why it is focused in these areas and the environmental and legislative challenges that it creates, writes Mark Froggatt.

Project construction safety in utility-scale solar

By Matthew Skidmore, CEO of CS Energy

Construction trades are among the most dangerous, and solar is no exception. Matthew Skidmore of CS Energy explains why safety is paramount for solar project developers, project owners, financiers and EPCs.

Agrophotovoltaics: harvesting the sun for power and potatoes

By Boris Farnung; Stephan Schindele; Maximilian Trommsdorf

The question of whether to use valuable land for farming or solar power generation has been a subject of fierce debate in the green energy transition. But, as Boris Farnung, Maximilian Trommsdorff and Stephan Schindele of Fraunhofer ISE write, the two activities need not be in conflict with each other and, with a new generation of solar technologies, can in fact be mutually beneficial.

Corporate PPAs as a solution

By Andrew Hedges; Caileen Kateri Gamache; Lee Donovan

Complexity, pricing and regulatory hurdles remain key obstacles for the corporate PPA market to overcome. But as Andrew Hedges, Caileen Kateri Gamache and Lee Donovan of Norton Rose Fulbright write, ongoing procurement innovations and new players entering the market suggest this will be a crucial route market for solar for some time to come.

Growth of US merchant solar primed to accelerate in near term

By Jay Bartlett, Senior research associate at Resources for the Future

In the US and a number of other major solar markets, merchant solar projects are emerging to fill the gap left by declining subsidies. Jay Bartlett of Resources for the Future looks at the risks and opportunities for merchant PV as it finds its feet.

Digitalisation and its impact on the solar energy industry

By Dana Olson, DNV GL

Digital technologies have the potential to transform the solar industry as it continues to seek greater efficiencies and lower costs. But as Dana Olson writes, a lack of both digital skills and mindset within organisations are key barriers to realising the full benefits of the technologies now available.

Taiwan’s PV industry seeks transformation in hard times

By Carrie Xiao, Solar Media

For the past two years, Taiwan’s PV manufacturers have been weathering a heavy storm prompted by shifting global demand for their wares. But as Carrie Xiao reports, government efforts to stimulate a local end market for PV is proving to be a potential lifeline