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  • The Inflation Reduction Act: Opportunities and challenges for Solar Energy Development
    The Inflation Reduction Act: Opportunities and challenges for Solar Energy Development
    • September 29, 2022

    The Inflation Reduction Act: Opportunities and challenges for Solar Energy Development Since the successful signing of the Inflation Reduction Act on August 16th, a spate of corporate announcements have seemed to signal a changing world. But we still have a lot of work to do to build a strong supply chain and further boost domestic manufacturing, and companies need to get the maximum tax credit under the law.   Honda Motor and LG Energy Solution said on Aug. 29 that they would spend $4.4 billion to build an lithium batter factory. This is in line with commitments by Tesla and Panasonic to build $4 billion electric car battery plants in Oklahoma and Kansas, respectively.   Importantly, the court invalidated the then-Obama administration's Clean Power Plan as regulatory overreach. The act has now amended that ruling. In addition, the act now defines greenhouse gases as an industrial pollutant, in line with the court's requirement that Congress express a clear desire to craft a "net zero" solution.   However, the bill also raises the bar for clean tech industries: in order to get the maximum tax credit in the industry, products must be made in the US and a larger share of raw materials from the US or its free-trade agreement partners. With new plants being built in Ohio and Georgia, panel makers are scrambling to find qualified sources of aluminum and zinc.   In its federal submission to the White House Working group (IWG) on Mining reform, the National Mining Association expressed concern: "Despite its mineral wealth, the United States still faces severe mineral supply chain challenges. Our dependence on imports has grown over the decades; At the same time, this dependence has become a crisis due to the spread of the pandemic, frequent wars and the electrification of our economy."   It takes seven years to build a mine and refinery, and two years to build a battery plant. That's a decade in which America could build a whole new industry. The new law gives a big boost to domestic hydrogen production and further incentives for blue hydrogen (obtained from fossil fuels combined with carbon capture) and green hydrogen (obtained by breaking down water from renewable sources). The production tax credit scales according to the amount of life-cycle carbon emitted per kilogram of hydrogen. Blue hydrogen producers, which capture most of the carbon emissions, will benefit from a lower tier, while green hydrogen producers will see their credit increase to $3 per kilogram if they meet wage requirements. Following the lead of many state-level solar system projects, the Inflation Reduction Act focuses on community benefits while providing additional financial incentives for solar projects under 5 megawatts. North American renewable energy giant EDPR NA distributed solar power generation company community director Adam vejvoda Woda (Adam), according to expand solar investment tax credit will spur investment in low-income communit...

  • Solar Energy is Crucial for Asean to Achieve
    Solar Energy is Crucial for Asean to Achieve "Net Zero" Emissions
    • September 23, 2022

    A new Energy Transition report from the International Renewable Energy Agency once again highlights solar's dominance in net-zero countries.   Based on its 2016 country analysis, the National Renewable Energy Agency has repositioned the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to map the bloc's road map to "net zero" emissions by the middle of the century.   The report, which I co-authored with the ASEAN Center for Energy, an intergovernmental regional body, argues that solar Energy will still be the main force of ASEAN's electricity generation by the middle of the century, even in a worst-case scenario where environmental protection is rolled back.   In terms of the need for an energy transition to address climate change, ASEAN countries need to spend $156 billion over 10 years to generate 241 gigawatts of solar power, according to the report. At an additional cost of $1.08 trillion, 2.1 megawatts of solar power could be generated by 2050, bringing the share of electricity generated from renewables to 90 percent. Or spend $1.25 trillion to generate 2.4 terawatts of electricity in ASEAN countries and clean up the grid 100 percent.   Irena said $968bn would have to be spent on grid upgrades, storage facilities, electric vehicles (EVs) and their charging infrastructure to drive the solar change, with an additional $8.77tn or $9.1tn depending on whether the region retained 10 per cent of fossil fuels (mainly natural gas) in its energy mix.   Taking into account the full costs of the region's energy transition, including other renewables, operating and maintenance costs, and many other investment costs, the total bill for the 90% clean power portfolio will reach US $28.1 trillion by 2050, and the renewable grid will cost US $29.4 trillion.   That figure may be daunting, but on current energy plans for the region, it will peak at $28.3tn in 28 years, says Irena. Thus, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam would have to contribute between 64 and 73 gigawatts of PV per year to achieve "net zero" emissions. From this year, Indonesia will have to contribute 24.2 gigawatts of PV annually, Vietnam 17.9 gigawatts and Thailand 11.2 gigawatts; Brunei only contributes 70 megawatts a year.   Vietnam has the lowest average cost of solar power at US $0.046 / KWH, while the rest of ASEAN averages between US $0.05 / KWH and US $0.075 / KWH, Irena said. The report also notes that the Philippines and Indonesia are archipelagic countries where microgrids and independent clean power systems will be responsible for some of the power work, meaning stronger legislation and incentives are needed to boost their development.   The report estimates that Asean members will need about 11m tonnes of green hydrogen by 2050 for heavy industry and transport fuels, as well as offsetting all solar and grid-scale batteries.   The region's hydrogen energy strateg...

  • Rooftop solar reaches 72 per cent of demand in world’s biggest isolated grid
    Rooftop solar reaches 72 per cent of demand in world’s biggest isolated grid
    • September 16, 2022

    The increasing influence of rooftop solar on the Western Australia grid – the world’s biggest isolated grid – has been demonstrated once again over the weekend as the technology reached 71 per cent of grid demand on Saturday and then bettered that with 72 per cent on Sunday.   Spring is the season for renewable energy records, particularly solar, because the sunshine is relatively good and demand is relatively low because temperatures have not jumped high enough to encourage air conditioning units to be switched on. And demand on weekends is usually lower than the weekday.   The new records appear to have beaten the previous benchmark set exactly a year earlier on September 10, 2021, when AEMO’s data shows that the peak of 69 per cent penetration was reached.   AEMO said in a later tweet that the rooftop solar output sent the state’s minimum operational demand to a new record on both days, first on Saturday (759MW), and then on Sunday (742 MW), although its figure differed from its dashboard data, and said 70 per cent of the State’s electricity needs were being provided by rooftop solar.. (It later explained the disparity between the two numbers on its data dashboard as the result of “averaging” and other data adjustments).   One curiosity was about the share of large scale solar, which is shown as zero, even though AEMO data elsewhere shows the state’s largest solar farm at Merredin generating at the time.   The other big solar farm in the WA grid, Greenough River, was not producing as it appears to have been curtailed while rooftop solar pushed the market price below zero.   The management of rooftop solar is the biggest challenge for the market operator, network suppliers and government authorities – principally because WA has not connections to another state and the main grid still has no utility scale storage, although the first big battery at Kwinana has now begun construction.   One of its main programs has been what is called “project symphony”, which is designed to orchestrate and demand and output from distributed sources, including encouraging loads to be switched on when the amount of rooftop solar pushes grid demand down to levels that the market operator says are difficult to manage.   The W.A. government has brought forward the closure of the last of the state-owned coal generators and has vowed to spend $4 billion on renewables, storage and the network upgrades that will be needed.   Last Friday, the state regulator announced it had given provisional approval of a $1 billion increase in the proposed network spending on the grid by Western Power, noting it was well above the $8 billion requested but was now inflated by increased costs and supply constraints.   The state government has also flagged growing interest from customers – both large and small – to increase their use of zero emissions power, and it is seeking feedback to inform the next version of its green energy trans...

  • Chicago Announces Plan to Power City With 100% Renewable Energy
    Chicago Announces Plan to Power City With 100% Renewable Energy
    • September 09, 2022

    Chicago’s public buildings could all be powered by renewable energy under a plan announced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Aug. 8. The mayor, along with Illinois Gov JB Pritzker, on Monday said the city has an agreement with Chicago utility Constellation Energy, along with Massachusetts-based Swift Current Energy, a renewable energy developer. The two spoke at a news conference at the Chicago Urban League. The deal would make Chicago one of the world’s largest cities to commit to using 100% renewable energy. “I am incredibly proud to advance this commitment to transitioning all city operations to 100% renewable energy by 2025,” Lightfoot said. “The signing of this agreement demonstrates that the City of Chicago is leading by example and driving high-impact climate action, building the clean energy workforce of the future and equitably distributing meaningful benefits to foster the local clean energy economy for all.” Climate Action Plan Construction of projects related to the plan is set to begin by year-end. Lightfoot touted the plan’s job creation potential in addition to how it would reduce the city’s carbon footprint. “The 2022 climate action plan deepens our city’s longstanding commitment to climate action, and sets a goal of reducing emissions in Chicago by 62% by 2040,” Lightfoot said. The mayor’s office said the agreement with Constellation will support the purchase of renewable energy for all city facilities and operations by 2025. An initial five-year energy supply agreement is expected to begin in January 2023. “We are providing a clean energy solution that will help the City of Chicago,” said Jim McHugh, chief commercial officer for Constellation Energy. Large Solar Farm Project Lightfoot’s office said the agreement also will enable a supply of renewable energy for major organizations across Illinois. The city in 2025 will begin partly powering large facilities such as the city’s airports and other buildings with renewable energy from solar power, which will be generated from a Swift Current Energy solar farm—the 593-MW Double Black Diamond project—in Sangamon and Morgan counties in downstate Illinois. The groups on Monday said construction and operation of the solar farm is expected to create hundreds of jobs, and would be among the state’s largest solar projects to date. “We are thrilled to have the City of Chicago as a key customer for the Double Black Diamond Solar project,” said Matt Birchby, co-founder and president of Swift Current Energy, in a statement. “Double Black Diamond Solar has the capacity to create significant benefits for the State of Illinois. We commend the City of Chicago for their leadership in securing 100% clean, renewable energy for all city buildings and operations and Sangamon and Morgan counties for hosting this project.” “Double Black Diamond makes Sangamon County a leading generator of clean solar power,” said Andy Van Meter, Sangamon County board chairman, in a statement. “We are pleased to host an infrastru...

  • Bolt, Orion-E to Build Solar Plants in Brazil for About $630 Mln
    Bolt, Orion-E to Build Solar Plants in Brazil for About $630 Mln
    • August 29, 2022

    An employee works among solar panels of Bemol Solar plant outside Manaus, Amazonas state, Brazil August 23, 2021. Picture taken August 23, 2021. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly Energy infrastructure company Orion-E has reached an agreement with energy trader Bolt to build solar photovoltaic plants in Brazil with a combined capacity of 500 megawatts (MW), a company executive said on Tuesday. The solar venture is expected to cost around 3.2 billion reais ($627.49 million) in investments and will be located in several Brazilian states, including Minas Gerais, Hugo Albuquerque, Orion-E's chief communications officer, told Reuters in an interview. Orion-E, a relatively new player and owned by private-equity backed Domus Holdings, already has a portfolio of 1.2 GW wind and solar projects of different sizes either completed or under development, said Albuquerque. The projects will involve small-scale production and are expected to be ready operationally within the next 24 months. Under the agreement, Orion-E will develop the projects, while Bolt will sell the energy to consumers. ($1 = 5.0997 reais)

  • The Inflation Reduction Act: Opportunities and challenges for Solar Energy Development
    The Inflation Reduction Act: Opportunities and challenges for Solar Energy Development
    • September 29, 2022

    The Inflation Reduction Act: Opportunities and challenges for Solar Energy Development

  • Iberdrola Starts up ‘Francisco Pizarro’, the Largest Photovoltaic Plant in Europe
    Iberdrola Starts up ‘Francisco Pizarro’, the Largest Photovoltaic Plant in Europe
    • August 08, 2022

    • The plant will produce enough clean energy to power more than 334,000 homes and prevent the emission of 150,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. • With an installed capacity of 590 MW and an investment of 300 million euros, its construction has generated more than 1,500 jobs. • This renewable installation is the Iberdrola group’s largest photovoltaic plant in the world with nearly 1.5 million photovoltaic modules. Iberdrola has put into operation the ‘Francisco Pizarro’ project in Extremadura, the largest photovoltaic plant in Europe and the largest facility of this type operated by the group in the world. Located between the municipalities of Torrecillas de la Tiesta and Aldeacentenera (Cáceres), the plant has an installed capacity of 590 megawatts (MW). Francisco Pizarro’ is made up of around 1.5 million photovoltaic modules that will generate enough clean energy to supply more than 334,000 homes – more than the populations of Badajoz, Cáceres, Plasencia and Don Benito combined – and will prevent the emission of 150,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere per year. The project, which has involved an investment of more than 300 million euros, has generated more than 1,500 jobs during peak construction periods, 60% of which were filled by local workers. Iberdrola has guaranteed the viability of this project by signing long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with leading companies in different sectors. Thus, the company will supply 100% renewable electricity from this plant to Danone, Bayer and PepsiCo to cover the energy needs of their centres in Spain. These contracts bring stability to investments and have become an optimal tool for managing the electricity supply of large customers committed to accelerating the energy transition to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to clean and sustainable consumption. Coexistence with the environment and cultural heritage The ‘Francisco Pizarro’ photovoltaic plant is an example of the coexistence of new renewable developments with environmental and cultural heritage. During the execution of the project, Iberdrola has guaranteed at all times the preservation of the natural environment and the archaeological remains discovered thanks to the previous prospecting work. Specifically, some twenty rock formations with rock art, mainly prehistoric, and three archaeological sites dating from the Ancient and Medieval periods were located. Following the discovery, all the necessary measures were taken for the control, excavation and safeguarding of these remains by the company. In terms of environmental protection, specific measures were taken to improve forest fauna habitats, such as the creation of a controlled reproduction centre for rabbit breeding, the installation of nesting boxes and the establishment of bird feeding protection areas. Iberdrola also participated in the Spanish Ornithological Society’s (SEO) campaign to monitor steppe birds in Extremadura, identifying and protecting a breeding area for these birds, ...

  • Intersect Power Orders 2.4 GW of First Solar’s Modules
    Intersect Power Orders 2.4 GW of First Solar’s Modules
    • June 27, 2022

    US-headquartered First Solar has announced that it has entered into an agreement to supply 2.4 GWDC of its high-performance, advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules to Intersect Power. The modules are scheduled to be delivered from 2024 to 2026, making Intersect Power, which previously placed orders for a total of 4.1 GWDC in 2019 and 2021, one of the world’s largest buyers and operators of First Solar’s responsibly-produced module technology, with approximately 6.4 GWDC expected to be deployed by 2027. The modules will be deployed in Intersect Power’s solar, storage, and green hydrogen projects coming online across the US in 2025 through 2027. A large proportion of the modules are expected to be produced in First Solar’s Northwest Ohio manufacturing complex, US.   “Intersect Power’s ongoing relationship with First Solar has been critical in rapidly scaling our business to meet our vision and reliably delivering our customers value and performance to support their decarbonisation goals,” said Sheldon Kimber, Chief Executive Officer, Intersect Power. “We look forward to bringing this large scale portfolio to operation and creating good-paying, American jobs in both construction and manufacturing with First Solar’s domestically-produced modules.”   Designed and developed at its R&D centres in California, US, and Ohio, First Solar’s responsibly produced advanced thin film PV modules are perform highly in terms of quality, durability, reliability, design, and environmental performance. The modules have a carbon footprint that is 2.5 times lower and a water footprint that is three times lower than the average crystalline silicon solar panel made with cells produced in China. First Solar also operates an advanced high-value recycling programme, which recovers approximately 90% of Cadmium Telluride (CadTel) semiconductor material which can be used to manufacture new modules, as well as other materials including aluminium, glass, and laminates. The company currently operates commercial recycling facilities in the US, Germany, Malaysia, and Vietnam.   “Intersect Power sets an important example by maximising the impact of its investments on the US economy without compromising on competitiveness,” said Georges Antoun, Chief Commercial Officer, First Solar. “By powering its growth with American solar, Intersect Power is directly supporting US manufacturing and jobs, and enabling a durable domestic supply chain. It is also demonstrating the ability of American solar technology not just to compete, but to help drive our country’s transition to a sustainable energy future.”   First Solar is investing US$680 million in expanding America’s domestic PV solar manufacturing capacity by 3.3 GW annually, by building its third US manufacturing facility in Lake Township, Ohio. The new facility is expected to be commissioned in 1H23, and when fully operational will scale the company’s Northwest Ohio footprint to a total annual capacity ...

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