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Long time coming

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By Andy Colthorpe

First developed by NASA, flow batteries are a potential answer to storing solar – and wind – for eight to 10 hours, far beyond what is commonly achieved today with lithium-ion. In the first of a two-part special report, Andy Colthorpe learns what the flow battery industry faces in the fight for commercialisation.

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Welcome to the latest edition of PV Tech Power. Installed solar power capacity already rivals nuclear power and could well surpass it by the end of 2018. Rapid improvements in solar cell technology, module configuration, system design and financial innovation have been a big driver. Increasingly, we are seeing this mammoth legacy fleet continue to benefit from technical improvements ranging from intelligent monitoring to using machine learning and energy storage to predict when charging a battery offers a better return than feeding the grid. We’ll explore a range of activities covering hardware and software, from module to market, that are helping asset owners maximise the value of solar.

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