La Renaissance Solaire

By Liam Stoker

France | With Europe in search of another PV poster child, an Emmanuel Macron-led France looks all but set to truly embrace the solar revolution. But will it learn from the mistakes of other boom markets that have preceded it?

Mexico: ‘The place to be’

By Danielle Ola

Market update | Mexico as yet has only a small installed base of solar PV. But with widely lauded market reforms beginning to take effect, and a succession of highly competitive tenders under its belt, this is a market whose time is about to come. Danielle Ola reports

Taking PV design software to the next level

System design | As PV projects get bigger and more complex, plant design programs are rising to the challenge. Sara Verbruggen looks at how some of the latest innovations in design software are helping developers win the competitiveness game

Emerging market briefing

By Tom Kenning

Tom Kenning looks at the latest trends from some of the world’s most promising emerging PV markets. This issue features Turkey, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia

Project Briefing - Iran’s first large-scale solar projects

With United Nations sanctions lifted on Iran in spring 2016, the solar industry was just one of many that pondered the risks of entering this previously restricted market. Just a year later and the Middle Eastern giant can already boast its first two large-scale solar plants, with the project rights developed by local firm Aftab Mad Rah Abrisham, but delivered and wholly funded by German PV specialist Athos Solar.

Storage triumphs at Aliso Canyon

Grid storage | A natural gas leak in California in 2015 raised the prospect of widespread power outages in Los Angeles until a rapid procurement of large-scale storage projects saved the day. Danielle Ola reports on how storage’s stock has risen since this unexpected opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities in bolstering grid networks.

Light-induced degradation newly addressed – predicting long-term yield loss

By Dr. Marko Turek, Dr. Marko Turek studied physics at the Dresden University and received his PhD in the field of condensed matter theory at the University of Regensburg. At Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics (CSP) he leads the team for the electrical characterisation of solar cells.

Module degradation | Light-induced degradation has long been recognised for its negative effects on the performance of crystalline silicon solar cells. Researchers from Fraunhofer CSP explain how with the advent of advanced materials and cell technologies such as PERC, new tests and standards are required to minimise the impact of the phenomenon on plant reliability.

Solar torrent in post- Abbott Australia

Utility-scale PV | Since the fall of former prime minister Tony Abbott two years ago, the prospects for large-scale solar in Australia have enjoyed a dramatic turnaround. Tom Kenning reports on the changing fortunes of the industry and how storage looks set to become a key partner technology for utility solar.

Understanding the energy yield of PV modules

By Markus Schweiger, Markus Schweiger received the diploma in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Munich and is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in photovoltaics at the RWTH Aachen University. Since 2009 he has been working as a scientist and project engineer in the Solar Innovation Department at TÜV Rheinland.; Werner Herrmann, Werner Herrmann studied physics at the Technical University of Aachen and holds a PhD in PV power characterisation with solar simulators. Since 1988 he has been working at TÜV Rheinland, and has gained more than 20 years’ experience in developing standards for the PV industry.; Christos Monokroussos, Christos Monokroussos is a technical expert for TÜV Rheinland, where his activities focus on R&D, characterisation of solar cells and PV modules, quality control of measurement systems, standardisation progress and PV module reliability.; Uwe Rau, Uwe Rau studied physics at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and at Claude Bernard University Lyon, France. He received his diploma in 1987 and his Ph.D. in 1991 in physics from the University of Tübingen, and also earned his habilitation degree in experimental physics in 2002 from the University of Oldenburg, Germany. Since 2007 he has been the director of the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at Forschungszentrum Jülich, and is a professor at RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Module yield | Varying climatic conditions across markets and the individual characteristics of PV technologies undermine accurate predictions of module energy yield using conventional methods. Markus Schweiger, Werner Herrmann, Christos Monokroussos and Uwe Rau describe how a calculation of module performance ratio can be used to accurately assess the efficiency of different PV module technologies in different climates and thus the likely return on investment from a project.

Corporate PPAs providing the answer in an increasingly unsubsidised sector

By Daniel Kaufman, Daniel Kaufman is a senior associate at the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. Based in Dubai, he has a particular focus on the construction and engineering aspects of project finance transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors, with significant experience advising clients on their projects in Africa.

Business models | Corporate PPAs offer environmentally minded businesses a means of reducing their carbon footprint and renewable energy developers a new route to market in the face of declining subsidies. Daniel Kaufman offers some insights to buyers and sellers looking to navigate the many complexities of this new market.

The business models powering solar’s next phase in Europe

By Sonia Dunlop, Is a policy adviser at SolarPower Europe, where she is responsible for finance, digitalisation and state-aid issues. She is leading the association’s work on the EU-funded PV Financing project, which is looking at the best solar business models and sources of financing going forwards across Europe. She previously worked as the communications and public affairs manager at the UK’s Solar Trade Association and on EU renewable energy policy in the European Parliament in Brussels.; Bernd Engel, Is leader of the SolarPower Europe Digitalisation Task Force, SMA Solar Technology senior vice president responsible for technology and grid integration and professor of sustainable energy system components at Technische Universität Braunschweig. He previously worked at Alstom and at the technical un

Europe | With the decline of solar subsidies in Europe, the industry is under pressure to find new routes to market. SolarPower Europe policy adviser Sonia Dunlop looks at some of the innovative new business models being developed to help ensure solar has a sustainable future

The ‘PV System Doctor’ – smart diagnosis for photovoltaic systems

By Dr Mridul Sakhuja, Dr Mridul Sakhuja received his PhD in electrical and computer engineering from National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2014. Since then, he has been working as a research fellow at SERIS.; Zhang Yin, Zhang Yin received his master degree in electrical and computer engineering from NUS. Since 2016, he has been working as a research associate SERIS. His research focus is development of PV system fault detection by imaging analysis.; Dr Lim Fang Jeng, Dr Lim Fang Jeng received his PhD in electrical and computer engineering from NUS in 2015. Since then he has been working as a research fellow at SERIS, NUS. His research focus is on the design and development of high performing PV systems including smart monitoring systems, cross-climatic PV systems and system failure diagnostic techniques.; Parvathy K. Krishnakumari, Parvathy K. Krishnakumari received her M. Tech degree in energy management and climate technology from Jain University, India in 2014. Since 2015 she has been working as a research assistant at SERIS. Her research focus is on data visualisation and modelling of PV data.; Tan Congyi, Tan Congyi received his B. Eng. degree in electrical engineering from NUS in 2014. Since 2015 he has been working as a senior engineer at SERIS. His research focus is on development of testing and commissioning methodologies for PV systems.; Dr Stephen Tay, Dr Stephen Tay received his PhD in materials engineering from Imperial College London in 2015. He joined SERIS after that and is now head of the institute’s National Solarisation Centre.; Monika Bieri, Monika Bieri received her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) diploma in 2003, followed by the executive programme in advanced studies in renewable energy management from the University of St. Gallen in 2013. She has 14 years of experience as a financial analyst. Since 2014, she has been working with SERIS.; Dr Zhao Lu, Dr Zhao Lu received his PhD in electrical and electronics engineering (photovoltaics) from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium in 2011. Since 2014, he has been working as a senior research fellow and then as head of the photovoltaic systems technology group at SERIS; James Ha, James Ha received his bachelor degree in photovoltaics and solar energy from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 2004. Since then he has worked with TUV Rheinland in multiple locations.; Eddy Blokken, Eddy Blokken received his master degree in industrial management from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium in 1993. Since then he has worked as business development manager in multiple locations.; Dr Thomas Reindl, Dr Thomas Reindl is the deputy CEO of SERIS and principal research fellow at NUS. He started with PV in 1992 at the SIEMENS Corporate R&D Labs. After holding several management positions at SIEMENS and running one of the leading German PV systems integration companies as chief operating officer, he joined SERIS in 2010 and became director of the Solar Energy Systems cluster.

O&M | Every photon and electron lost in a PV system represents unrealised revenue. The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore has developed a holistic diagnosis package – the PV System Doctor – to identify and cure underperforming PV power plants in real time. The team behind the service explains how it helps maintain a healthy PV system and ensure expected returns – or even surpass them

Understanding the energy yield of PV modules

By Markus Schweiger, TÜV Rheinland; Werner Herrmann, TÜV Rheinland; Christos Monokroussos, TÜV Rheinland; Uwe Rau, The Institute for Energy and Climate Research

Varying climatic conditions across markets and the individual characteristics of PV technologies undermine accurate predictions of module energy yield using conventional methods. Markus Schweiger, Werner Herrmann, Christos Monokroussos and Uwe Rau describe how a calculation of module performance ratio can be used to accurately assess the efficiency of different PV module technologies in different climates and thus the likely return on investment from a project

Potential induced degradation (PID): a test campaign at module level

By J. Carolus, Hasselt University and imec vzw; M. Daenen, Hasselt University and imec vzw

Potential induced degradation (PID) of photovoltaic (PV) modules gets a lot of attention since 2010 when Solon published their findings about a degradation mechanism in their PV modules caused by high potential differences. When multiple PV modules are connected in series, a potential difference up to 1000 V or at some places even 1500 V is created between the cell and the grounded frame. This electrical field causes a leakage current and ion diffusion. PID is a multi-level degradation with causes and solutions at cell, module and system level. A test campaign was conducted within the frame of a feasibility study for pidbull, a curing technology for PID developed by pidbull nv. 80 PV modules were characterized whereof 49 PV modules were stressed and cured for PID. The selected set of PV modules was composed of 49 different module types of 33 brands. The test was done according to the foil-method, as described by the standard in progress IEC 62804. However, to apply higher stressing and curing rates, the modules were tested with an aluminium foil inside a climate chamber for 96 hours. After the stress test, only 22% of the tested modules passed the 5% loss criteria as described by IEC 62804. In other words, 78% out of a set of today's most installed PV modules in Flanders are PID sensitive. Remarkable is that only 16 out of the 49 PV modules have less than 20% PID after the stress test. Additionally, a linear trend for PID reversibility was shown for modules with a stress level of less than 85%. The modules which lost more than 85% due to PID showed a lower recovery rate or in worst case didn’t recover at all.