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  • Module Cost Expected to Drop as China Unfolds Price War in Upstream Solar Sector
    Module Cost Expected to Drop as China Unfolds Price War in Upstream Solar Sector
    • January 13, 2023

    Module Cost Expected to Drop as China Unfolds Price War in Upstream Solar Sector Upstream Chinese solar suppliers are currently unfolding a ferocious price competition that has led to a drop in wafer prices, and is expected to lower Solar Module cost in 2023 that would facilitate Chinese and global solar development. The price decrement of solar material prices in the most recent weeks has brought down the cost of overall supply chain, where wafers had endured the largest drop as upstream Chinese solar business first lowered its wafer prices by 27%, followed by TLC Zhonghuan’s reduction of 25% in quotations. As pointed by the statement of CNIA, wafer prices, due to the drop of cost in key material multi polysilicon, are essentially likely to see a reduction as well. CNIA then further commented that solar wafer suppliers have lowered their utilization due to sluggish prices and excessive provision, where some have even dropped to 60-70% of their full load capacity. The Wednesday report of Daiwa Capital Markets pointed out that the wafer price war may inhibit the level of profitability for all suppliers, and may have decided to thin out the profit for its wafers in order to lower production cost. The latter has yet to provide any responses. With that being said, a price war could at least expedite China’s development in renewable energy, since the country’s zero COVID policy that has severed the supply chain this year has ascended the cost of multi polysilicon to the highest level over the past decade, which also ramped up prices of solar modules. This not only impacts the progress of Chinese and global solar plants, but also attracted the attention of the Chines government, and the declining prices may perhaps slightly improve the solar market in 2023. Despite rising solar cost and supply chain challenges, China had accomplished quite remarkably in solar installations throughout 2022 as the industry projects 65.7GW of new solar capacity in the first 11 months that is now heading towards a target of 85-100GW.

  • Falling Solar Panel Prices In China Will Impact Countries Around The World
    Falling Solar Panel Prices In China Will Impact Countries Around The World
    • January 07, 2023

    The cost of manufacturing a solar panel in China has plunged recently, thanks to lower prices for polysilicon.

  • Solar PV to Overtake Onshore Wind in Latin America From 2023
    Solar PV to Overtake Onshore Wind in Latin America From 2023
    • November 25, 2022

        Solar PV will become the most cost-competitive technology in Latin America from 2023, according to ELEMAC latest research report, ‘Latin America levelized cost of electricity (LCOE)’ which examines the power technology and generation landscape across the region to 2050. Solar will also displace onshore wind, currently the most attractive renewable energy source in Brazil, by 2025. ELEMAC, forecasts that solar will remain the lowest cost of energy of all technologies in Latin America until 2050, with US$14 per megawatt hour (MWh). Leila Garcia da Fonseca, Research Manager – Latin America Power & Renewables at Wood Mackenzie, said: “Power demand in Latin America is set to almost double by 2040 compared to 2021 levels – a higher growth rate than North America. Yet, despite the region already being a frontrunner for renewable power generation, questions remain about how Latin America will contribute to the global energy transition effort.” Average LCOE in Latin America, 2020-2050 (US$/MWh) ELEMAC’s latest report shows that exceptionally high capacity factors in Mexico will allow its solar market to achieve the lowest LCOE among all countries in the outlook, followed by Chile. Expected solar cost reductions are significant, with average capital investment falling by 55% from 2022 to 2050. This is mainly led by technology improvements, such as half cell solar panel,bifacial solar panels, monocrystalline solar panels, and HJT solar panels becoming the norm across the region in the mid-term. Offshore wind will be the most competitive in Brazil and Colombia, offering the two lowest LCOEs in the region, with US$ 79.7/MWh and US$ 57.3/MWh respectively by 2035. On-site electrolyzers preclude the need for transmission investment, which translates to an additional 13% in offshore wind LCOE reduction. However, offshore wind costs will drop 46% in the region and will not reach grid parity with other renewable technologies. “For onshore wind, current supply chain challenges and high inflation will cause a sharp increase in costs by 2024, followed by a slow recovery. Onshore wind LOCE in Latin America already falls below Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGT), except for Argentina,” Garcia da Fonseca said. After 2033, onshore wind remains cheaper than gas in all countries across the region until 2050. Off-grid applications for green hydrogen production is currently the main driver for offshore projects in Latin America, with the first projects expected to be online as early as 2032. Standalone storage has the highest cost reduction rate among all technologies, averaging 64% across countries in the region. The rapid cost reduction of solar and standalone energy storage will result in extremely attractive LCOE levels for hybrid projects in the region, with US$ 21.4/MWh anticipated by 2050. “We expect the attractiveness of conventional sources to lessen over time as ESG mandates grow. With limited opportunity for innovation, prospects for significa...

  • What Makes the Philippines the Most ‘Fundamentally Attractive’ Solar Market in SEA?
    What Makes the Philippines the Most ‘Fundamentally Attractive’ Solar Market in SEA?
    • November 18, 2022

    Power generation cost in the Philippines is double compared to its neighbouring countries, Solar Philippines CEO claims.   Solar Philippines may have engaged in international opportunities for solar development but will be more focused on expanding the solar sector of its home country—the most “fundamentally attractive” for the solar market in Southeast Asia, Solar Philippines CEO Leandro Leviste asserted. This is because the country’s power generation costs are even double compared to other countries, Leviste said at the Asian Power Summit. “It really behooves us to focus on saturating our home grid with solar energy and just branching out to other markets, once the power prices in the Philippines have been saturated with an influx of solar,” he added. In the pipeline Just in March, Solar Philippines, through its joint venture with Medco Energi, entered a 20-year power purchase agreement with Indonesia’s state utility PLN for a 50-megawatt solar project. The company has a 400-megawatt (MW) capacity operating or under construction. By the end of next year, Solar Philippines is planning to add 1 gigawatt (GW) to its capacity, around half of the expected 2GW additional solar for the whole market. The Philippines has over 1,000MW of solar capacity. Last December, Solar Philippines subsidiary, Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corporation, was listed at the Philippine Stock Exchange. The subsidiary, which has several Department of Energy (DOE) solar energy contracts, offtake agreements with local utilities, and joint venture agreements with other power companies, is planning to develop 10GW of solar projects which can start construction in the next few years. “This is a model of being a project developer that partners with other IPPs [independent power producers], because we won't be able to achieve these capacity targets by ourselves. We will not be able to persuade the industry, if, as a company, we're trying to do it all by ourselves,” Leviste said. “It's important to think that the mainstream power providers are convinced of solar themself, and hopefully this way, the whole Philippine power industry will support an accelerated renewable energy transition for this 10-gigawatt target that we've laid out,” he added. This will also contribute to the Philippine DOE target of having 35% of the country’s energy mix as renewables by 2030, 20GW of which will be solar. For Leviste, the government has already plenty of policies that will support the development of solar in the country to reach its 2030 target. One of which includes DOE-led auctions for solar development. “It's really the private sector that is lagging in terms of implementing the sufficient supply to meet the demand that has been set by these policies,” he said. Storage Leviste said that in the last two to three years, costs have become competitive in both the peaking capacity requirements in the country and with storage for some of the evening requirements. Demand is expected to rise but ...

  • U.S. Solar Capacity Has Grown 28,500% Since 2008
    U.S. Solar Capacity Has Grown 28,500% Since 2008
    • November 11, 2022

    The U.S. has plans to expand its solar energy market exponentially in support of its optimistic climate change policies. The country has already established several widescale solar projects, and with the introduction of the recent Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), renewable energy companies are being provided with the funding and tax cuts needed to encourage more rapid expansion of a variety of green energy projects. With a massive solar pipeline over the next few years, the U.S. will soon become a regional solar power hub.   The solar power capacity in the U.S. has grown from just 0.34 GW in 2008 to an estimated 97.2 gigawatts (GW) today, providing enough energy to power 18 million homes. However, at present, just 3 percent of the country’s electricity comes from solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), demonstrating the potential to expand the industry much further. With the cost of solar energy technology falling significantly in recent years – for example, PV panel prices have dropped by nearly 70 percent – investors are seeing lower set-up costs and a greater return on their investments. Solar power has become highly competitive with fossil fuel projects, particularly thanks to government incentives across several countries to establish renewable energy projects. The U.S. is a prime location for the expansion of the solar energy industry, with estimates suggesting that installing PV panels on around 22,000 square miles of land would provide enough electricity to power the entire United States. In addition, solar panels can be installed on rooftops to reduce land use. The U.S. solar energy industry has supported job creation countrywide, with solar jobs increasing by 167 percent within the last decade. There are now over 250,000 solar workers in the U.S., a figure which is expected to continue growing as more solar energy projects come into operation. The solar energy pipeline in the U.S. is impressive, with producers moving beyond regions with the highest sun intensity, as many of the best solar resources are already occupied by existing projects. Operators are now looking to develop projects in areas such as the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northeast. New technologies, such as tracking systems that follow the sun across the sky, are helping producers increase their solar energy output, even in less sunny regions. The solar energy industry is evolving with the times, in a shift from traditional solar power projects, most recent large solar projects have included applications for battery storage – this is true for 95 percent of the pipeline in California. One major solar project is catching the world’s attention, the $1.5 billion Mammoth solar farm planned for northern Indiana. The development is expected to be the largest in the U.S., with Indiana and Israeli-based Doral Renewables LLC investing in a solar farm 1,000 times the size of a football stadium, at around 13,000 acres. Mammoth is expected to be...

  • More Space Between Solar Panels Can Increase Efficiency – Study
    More Space Between Solar Panels Can Increase Efficiency – Study
    • November 03, 2022

    Latest analysis from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown that spacing solar panels further apart can increase efficiency and improve economics. More space between panels allows greater airflow, which in turn decreases the heat of the panel which can decrease efficiency. The findings were published in a paper, “Technoeconomic Analysis of Changing PV Array Convective Cooling Through Changing Array Spacing”. According to lead author and NREL researcher Matthew Prilliman, “…in reality, when you look at the layout of the system, like how the modules are spaced apart, what angle they’re at, how high they’re off the ground—that all affects airflow.” The paper states that the maximum power output of a module drops by 0.3% to 0.5% per degree increase in module temperature, with sunlight as the primary driver of module temperature. The analysis, which relied on NREL’s System Advisor Model, showed that a greater separation between solar module rows improves the performance of a PV system by allowing airflow to cool down the solar modules. According to NREL, the research could be particularly relevant for the field of agrivoltaics, where crops are planted alongside or below solar panels. “Increasing spacing could enable more varieties of crops and more types of agricultural equipment to be utilised in agrivoltaic systems,” said Jordan Macknick, who leads a different NREL research project focused on agrivoltaics. “That could potentially make these spaced-out solar systems more cost-effective and compatible with larger-scale agriculture.” Another advantage of spacing the panels further apart is that the amount of ground-reflected irradiance on a solar module increases and the modules are less likely to cast shade on each other. The researchers did not specify how far apart the panels should be because each PV system is different and depends upon local conditions. And although greater separation could carry greater costs as more land would be required, the team at NREL suggests the benefits ultimately outweigh the costs.  

  • China Now Has 30 Concentrated Solar Power Projects with Thermal Energy Storage Underway
    China Now Has 30 Concentrated Solar Power Projects with Thermal Energy Storage Underway
    • October 28, 2022

    The development of Concentrated Solar Power is entering into a fast track in 2022 here in China.  Within the Multi-Energy RE complexes combining with PV and/or Wind, CSP is playing a role as stabilizer and regulator, easing the power fluctuation and curtailment of PV and Wind, through its thermal energy storage.   By 2024 China is building 30 Concentrated Solar Power Projects as part of gigawatt-scale renewable energy complexes in each province, appropriately reflecting the urgency and scale needed for climate action CSP is a must in standard configurations in the newly announced around 30 “Wind/PV + CSP” Complexes located in Qinghai, Gansu, Jilin, Xinjiang and Tibet etc. Most of these projects had been started and tenders issued and floated in the market recently. According to the schedule of each complex project, the CSP part should be completed by the end of 2023 or mid 2024 at latest.  

  • Energy prices are soaring, threatening Europe's renewable energy supply chain
    Energy prices are soaring, threatening Europe's renewable energy supply chain
    • October 21, 2022

    Up to 25 per cent of Europe's battery and solar manufacturing could be shut down unless electricity prices quickly return to normal levels. Audun Martinsen, head of Energy services research at Rystad Energy, explained: "High electricity prices not only pose a significant threat to Europe's decarbonisation efforts, but they could also lead to increased dependence on overseas manufacturing." Record electricity prices across Europe are jeopardizing the continent's goal of building a credible low-carbon supply chain and achieving decarbonization, as solar and battery manufacturers face rising costs. Research by Rystad Energy suggests that 35 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV manufacturing and more than 2,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery manufacturing capacity could be shut down unless electricity prices quickly return to normal levels. These manufacturing processes are energy-intensive as operating costs rise, leading some operators to temporarily shut down or abandon production facilities. Unless prices recover soon, Europe's plans to reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels by increasing the installed capacity of renewable power and the use of electric vehicles (EVs) could spin out of control. Audun Martinsen is director of Energy services research at Rystad Energy. "High electricity prices not only pose a significant threat to Europe's decarbonisation efforts, they could also lead to increased reliance on overseas manufacturing, which governments are anxious to avoid," he said. Establishing a credible domestic low-carbon supply chain is essential if the continent is to stick to its goals, including REPowerEU, but at the moment the situation looks critical." Electricity prices in Europe have risen to unprecedented levels in recent weeks because of unexpected power outages at nuclear and hydroelectric plants, the onset of scorching summer weather and reduced deliveries of natural gas from Russia. The average daily spot electricity price in Germany, the European leader in solar and battery manufacturing capacity, is already more than €600 per MWH, while in France it is more than €700 per MWH. During peak hours, electricity prices in Europe have soared to 1,500 euros per megawatt hour, which is unaffordable for consumers, including the industrial sector. While prices have fallen sharply since hitting a record high in August, they are still between €300 and €400, many times higher than normal before the energy crisis. In recent years, Europeans have benefited from reliable and cost-effective electricity. Low-carbon manufacturers are also basing their production capacity on a stable electricity price of around €50 per megawatt hour. As manufacturers in other regions, such as Asia, enjoy lower tariffs on electricity inputs, European producers have become increasingly uncompetitive. The solar energy While Europe's solar manufacturing capacity is relatively small on a global scale, accounting for only 2% of total capacity, the closure or abandonment o...

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