EGEB: Suniva tariff followup, slow German solar, quantum dots, more

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Big giveaway of my main takeaway of the solar tariff yesterday – If you’re buying higher efficiency – more $$ – panels this ruling affects you. Get moving, maybe. After clearing my head and reading everyone else’s thoughts on the case I found I like this one – ITC Issues Recommended Remedies in Section 201 Solar Trade Case – a bit more than others because of heavy details it went into. If you’re going to read something on the topic – I’d suggest giving the Electrek’s Take in my article two minutes, and then if you want harder details visit the GTM article linked to here.

Germany added 117 MW of new solar in September – BNA expects less than 2 GW of growth in Germany’s solar sector for 2017. The country’s cumulative PV capacity is now approaching 42.5 GW. I pay attention to how Germany installs solar to get a feel for how growth might occur in more advanced markets. Germany has had an annual goal of about 2.5GW of solar power installed annually, and it has missed this goal since at least 2015. For a long while, Germany was the world’s leader in solar power installed. It is only in the last one to three years where they’ve fallen to fourth in total capacity. The three countries ahead of them – Japan, USA and China – all have significantly larger populations. Right now we’re seeing volumes increase again as prices come down and energy storage grows…but still slow so far.

Innergex to Acquire Alterra Power in a Deal Valued at $857 Million – The deal will add eight operating projects (net 364 MW), three projects under construction (net 118 MW), three prospective projects at an advanced stage (net 686 MW), other U.S. PTC-qualified prospective projects (net 490 MW), and an extensive pipeline of prospective projects in preliminary stages or in progress (net 4,350 MW) to Innergex’s portfolio. If you had the foresight (and access to millions) to start developing renewable projects and holding onto them, along with building out large development pipelines – right now you’re making a lot of money selling to big time investors looking to own your cash flow for the long game. Cool to watch the renewable energy get hundreds of millions on a regular basis. Growing up.

NREL, University of Washington scientists elevate quantum dot solar cell world record – Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) established a new world efficiency record for quantum dot solar cells, at 13.4 percent. “This voltage, coupled with the material’s bandgap, makes them an ideal candidate for the top layer in a multijunction solar cell. The top cell must be highly efficient but transparent at longer wavelengths to allow that portion of sunlight to reach lower layers. Tandem cells can deliver a higher efficiency than conventional silicon solar panels that dominate today’s solar market. Later in the article it also mentions quantum dots as being best for a top layer above standard perovskite solar cells. I’m not sure the exact benefit of quantum dot technology – it seems  complementary technology that is highly efficient in a smaller area, but very spread out and less efficiency broadly, but with that its fairly transparent. Interesting that this technology is being developed in the pervoskite family by NREL.

Jump in shipping costs could hit Australia solar and wind projects – Articles notes that a AU$600/shipping container price increase is being pushed via a shipping cartel. Roughly, a 40′ shipping container can handle 600 72-cell solar panels. That’ll give you 220,000W per container – meaning about USD$0.002/W. But then add about two to three times that amount because those are just the solar panels – inverters and racking are chunky as well. So less than a penny per watt is my first guess at the cost of this shipping markup. For projects being installed at or below $1/W – this is a about a 1% price increase. Might seem small, but it’s a lot of cash when you’re applying it many gigawatts of installation volume.

Intevac hit by delays in shipping major ‘ENERGi’ solar ion implant tool orderSpecialist semiconductor and PV equipment supplier Intevac has reported delays in supplying a 12 unit order for its ‘ENERGi’ solar ion implant tool to a customer in China planning to ramp N-type mono IBC (Interdigitated Back Contact) solar cells and modules. The company had previously said that the US$23 million order booked in March, 2017 was to support 1GW of new high-efficiency N-type mono IBC cell production with cells also being bifacial and all 12 tools would be delivered in 2017. The Tesla Gigafactory in Buffalo also suggested that tool delivery was part of its slowdown problems. Also interesting to see that components to a 1GW manufacturing line costs about $23M. I’ve not got three tool manufacturers on my radar now – Meyer Burger, Amtech and Intevac.

Featured image is of yet another a good-looking solar system from the ‘Hit me with your SunShot’ program. A solar array at the Memorial Union at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Alan Chin.

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