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.
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.
Module defects: The properties of module encapsulant materials are coming under closer scrutiny as their role in a number of common field failures becomes better understood. Juliane Berghold and Tsuyoshi Shioda report on new testing methods being developed to analyse the composition of encapsulants and improve the quality control of this crucial material.
As the solar industry continues to squeeze out cost reductions, 1,500V architecture is tipped to make its mark in 2017. John Parnell looks at the potential pitfalls and likely winners as utility-scale plants dial up the voltage.
Project Briefing: Middle East's largest PV plant lands in Jordan - Assessment of the local conditions, grid connection, components, O&M, finance involved with Inside First Solar’s 52MW Shams Ma’an plant.
Sandfire Resources, a mid-tier Australian mining company that operates the mine, called on developers to co-locate not only a solar power plant, but also a utility-scale energy storage system alongside its existing diesel power station. Showcasing the latest technological advances, the newly completed project in the Peak Hill Mineral Field has been hailed as one of the largest renewable energy systems installed at a mine anywhere in the world and certainly the largest in Australia.
Microinverters and power optimisers have become increasingly common features of smaller PV systems. Sara ver Bruggen reports on the technologies’ gradual transition into larger commercial and utility-scale applications.
With competition in the tracker marketplace becoming extremely fierce, rival companies are adding new features all the time aimed at minimising installation and operation costs, and enhancing durability. Here we profile some of the single-axis trackers currently available on the market and the innovative design features they offer.
The renewable energy market is currently booming, with large numbers of PV systems being installed throughout the world. However, a primary objective of any PV power system is to ensure that the system operates continuously and reliably. As Vicente Salas from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) explains, this aspect takes on special relevance in the case of utility-scale PV projects.
PV modules are subjected to various loads during installation handling. Research teams from the Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH) and Hanwha Q CELLS attended the installations of PV modules in order to develop various test sequences for quantifying the effects of handling loads on the modules. As a result of these observations, lab tests have been designed to evaluate the impact of module-handling loads on cell cracking in the modules. Some rules for module handling are subsequently proposed.
Inside Cestas, Europe's largest solar project.
Chile’s Atacama Desert has some of the best irradiance resources on the planet but also some of the harshest operation conditions. Scientists are working on a new type of bifacial glass-glass PV module, AtaMo, designed to make the best of the region’s resources while withstanding its rigours. Here they outline some promising preliminary results from the project.
Power oscillation | In the last few years the power rating of PV power plants has risen very quickly to values reaching several hundred megawatts. This means there are hundreds, or even thousands, of inverters operating in parallel in these plants. Furthermore, these large-scale PV power plants are often built far away from cities and are therefore connected to the grid via long transmission lines. This leads to weak grid conditions in the power plants, and these conditions give rise to the risk of electrical instabilities within the plant, or instabilities of the plant within the grid. Roland Singer of Fraunhofer ISE explains how these electrical instabilities can be detected and counteracted.
PV panel reflction | The increasing deployment of PV systems in dense urban areas has drawn attention to the issue of glare and the public discomfort arising from the sun’s reflection on the PV panels. Licheng Liu, Yong Sheng Khoo and Thomas Reindl of the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) and Julius Tan of Sunseap Energy discuss ways of fine-tuning system designs and alleviating visual discomfort, while not compromising on the energy yield of PV systems.
Covering a 1,295-hectare estate mostly of fallow farmland, the world’s largest solar plant sits in the Antelope Valley straddling two counties of California. The Solar Star project has been supplying its full 579MW of capacity to the grid since May this year and it will be announced as offi cially complete before the end of 2015. PV Tech Power explored the designs behind this mammoth installation near Rosamond, California, to investigate what key factors had to be considered when creating a solar plant that can supply electricity to more than a quarter of a million homes.