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.

The Global Energy Storage Opportunity

This special supplement on energy storage looks at a global market which has already come a long way and shows no sign of looking back. From residential to grid-scale, to microgrids and vehicle-to-grid, from safety to finance, we’ve condensed some of the biggest topics and themes into a handy collection which we hope will help illuminate and inform you all. Energy storage is growing into a cornerstone of the grid (and is arguably even more important off-grid); a vital component of decentralised, decarbonised and even digitalised future energy systems. Yet so many misconceptions and concerns remain and there is still so much work to be done in helping stakeholders gain a better understanding of what batteries – and other forms of energy storage – can do.

The risks and returns of African PV

By Danielle Ola , Solar Media - Reporter

Finance | Danielle Ola looks at some of considerations of investors looking to capitalise on the opportunities for solar in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Preventive O&M - Maximising PV plant availability

By Arnoud Klaren, Arnoud Klaren is Foresight’s senior portfolio manager and technical director for UK and Spain. He joined Foresight in 2011 from SolFocus, where he spent four years managing solar projects in Spain, Saudi Arabia and Greece based on concentrated PV technology. Prior to SolFocus he founded and managed ThinkSpectrally, a spin-off company of the University of Valencia in Spain, dedicated to quality assurance in PV manufacturing.

Asset management | As one of the biggest utility PV owners in the UK, Foresight has extensive experience of getting the most out of operational solar plants. Its technical director Arnoud Klaren draws on some of the lessons the company has learned from minimising the risks that affect solar projects over their lifetime.

The outlook for PV in 2017 - the true dawning of the solar age?

By Simon Currie, Simon Currie is the global head of energy at Norton Rose Fulbright. He advises clients across the world on strategy and the development, acquisition and financing of assets in the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors. He has worked on ground-breaking transactions in over 50 countries including privatisations and restructurings.; Rob Marsh , Rob Marsh is a partner and the co-chair of the renewable energy practice at Norton Rose Fulbright. He has advised sponsors, investors and lenders across diverse sectors including wind (offshore and onshore), solar (PV, rooftop and CSP), biomass, energy from waste, tidal, bio-fuels, energy storage and energy efficiency projects.

Business models | Solar is forecast to have another strong year of growth, but in spite rather than because of political support in many parts of the world. Simon Currie and Rob Marsh assess some of the commercial drivers for solar in 2017 and beyond as it finds itself increasingly at the mercy of market forces but arguably better placed to become a true global competitor.

Japan Update - Living by a new set of rules

By Andy Colthorpe, Solar Media - Reporter

Market update | Japan’s solar market has slowed considerably since the early days of its feed-in tariff. But as Andy Colthorpe reports, its fundamentals still look strong and there areplenty of promising policy drivers in the pipeline to keep demand buoyant.

Europe and China’s solar trade war - Dumping

Trade wars | The EU-China trade row appears to be entering its swansong but its impact has been eroded and overridden by global solar market dynamics. We look at the divisive policy’s future as it plays catch up.

Emerging Markets in Africa - Going Large in Sub-Saharan Africa

Utility PV | Despite enormous potential, Sub-Saharan Africa still has only a handful of operational large-scale PV power plants. Ben Willis reports on the ongoing efforts to help utility PV take root in a part of the world where it makes perhaps most sense but faces the biggest hurdles.

Clean energy can’t be Trumped

By Danielle Ola , Solar Media - Reporter

Policy | The new US president has wasted no time in following through on campaign pledges to row back on clean energy regulation and climate change policy. But as Danielle Ola reports, with the US solar industry in rude health, it should be well placed to weather theTrump storm.

East Asia solar special report - Top Runner

Technology | China’s Top Runner PV auctions are growing from a small base to potentially representing the majority of utility solar deployment by next year. Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Yvonne Liu speaks to John Parnell about the companies and technologies gunning to take advantage.

Adani overcomes biblical floodling to build a 648MW PV Plant

Set across a semi-arid stretch of land in far south India, the world’s second largest solar plant and India’s biggest to date is a pertinent symbol of India’s emergence as one of the most dominant renewable energy markets on the planet. Already under intense pressure to physically construct the entire project capacity in just eight months, heavyweight Indian infrastructure conglomerate Adani also had to withstand unseasonal and unprecedented extreme weather in late 2015.

Understanding snail trails on PV modules

By Sylke Meyer, Sylke Meyer is head of the research group “Silicon Wafers” at Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics CSP, Germany. ; Marko Turek, Marko Turek leads the team “Electrical characterisation of solar cells” at Fraunhofer CSP. ; Stephan Großer, Stephan Großer studied physics and received his Ph.D. in the field of surface science at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. ; Thomas Manke, Thomas Manke is the head of solar business at pi4 robotics in Berlin. ; Christian Hagendorf, Christian Hagendorf is head of the research group “Diagnostics of Solar Cells” at Fraunhofer CSP, Germany.

Module degradation | When the phenomenon of so-called snail trails first emerged over a decade ago, they prompted concerns of a major new problem afflicting PV modules. Sylke Meyer, Mark Turek, Thomas Manke, Stephan Großer and Christian Hagendorf, who have contributed extensively to understanding the science behind snail trails, review the latest thinking on the phenomenon and what it means for plant performance.

Storage systems for renewable energy under scrutiny

By Dr Matthias Vetter, Dr Matthias Vetter is head of the department of electrical energy storage at Fraunhofer ISE. He is an electrical engineer of 19 years’ experience, having undertaken his PhD thesis in the field of modelling and development of control strategies for fuel cell systems. Among other topics, his work focuses on autonomous systems and mini-grids, decentralised grid-connected PV battery systems, development of battery systems for stationary and automotive applications; Stephan Lux, Stephan Lux serves as head of the battery modules and systems team at the Fraunhofer ISE in Germany. He received his degree in communication technology from the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg in 1994 and his degree in electrical engineering from the University of Hagen in 2008.

Battery storage | Lithium-ion batteries are becoming a popular choice stationary storage systems but so far lack any consistent standards governing safety and performance. Matthias Vetter and Stephan Lux from Fraunhofer ISE report on two major research projects that could pave the way for new safety standards for li-ion batteries.

In pursuit of accurate irradiance measurements Part 2: Sensors and beyond

By Anton Driesse, Anton Driesse is a seasoned independent consultant to the photovoltaics industry. Through his company PV Performance Labs he helps clients in Europe and North America gain deeper insights into performance through measurement, data analysis and modelling. He maintains strong links to the research community through collaborative work, such as the PVSENSOR project he leads, and through activities with organisations such as IEEE, ASTM, IEA PVPS.; Joshua Stein, Joshua Stein is a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, and works in the area of PV and grid integration. He currently develops and validates models of solar irradiance, PV system performance, reliability, and PV interactions with the grid. Joshua leads the PV Performance Modeling Collaborative at Sandia and is a member of the IEA PVPS Task 13 Working Group on PV performance and reliability.

Resource assessment | Irradiance sensors are vital tools for protecting investment in valuable solar power plants and ensuring they perform optimally. In the second of two articles on a major study they are leading to better understand these diminutive components, Anton Driesse and Joshua Stein discuss how inaccuracies in irradiance measurement can be quantified and managed.

Designs on quality O&M

By Emanuele Tacchino, Emanuele Tacchino is a business development manager in the Western Europe and Middle East division of Alectris. He has over a decade of experience in solar PV project management, dealing with PV projects or plant transactions and involving the development, construction and operation of PV plants

O&M | Operations and maintenance has traditionally been thought of as something that happens after a PV power plant has been built and connected. But as Emanuele Tacchino writes, planning for the successful operation of a project, particularly a new PV market, begins long before construction.