Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Amid yet more uncertainty in the solar industry – fuelled by the recent policy shakeup in China and subsequent plunge in PV module prices – leading manufacturers know that the best course of action is taken with a steady hand and eyes fixed firmly on the horizon; a horizon shaped by PV innovation and quality. Right around the time that the world’s largest solar power exhibition, the SNEC show in Shanghai, was winding down at the end of May, Chinese officials were silently preparing to drop a bombshell that was soon sending shockwaves throughout the PV world. The country’s National Energy Administration (NEA), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Finance had prepared a new policy that stated, in no uncertain terms, that the government would not approve any more subsidized large-scale PV projects for the remainder of the year, effective June 1. The government bodies also confirmed a cut in the feed-in tariff (FIT), placed a cumulative annual cap on distributed generation (DG) installations at 10 GW (previously 19 GW) for the year, and introduced a new auction mandate for utility-scale projects. There was a lot to unwrap in this new policy. The kneejerk response among many solar

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There have been solar cells based on semiconductor technology since the middle of the 20th century, and photovoltaics (PV) have undergone continuous development since that time. Trends have always played a decisive role in the development of PV. An important trend is characterised by technology, market, materials and investors coming together at an opportune moment. Megatrends are indicative of especially strong changes that have a major impact on the development of technology and the market. Developments in photovoltaics Bell Labs made the first n-type silicon solar cell to generate electrical energy directly from sunlight as long ago as 1954. At that time, the semiconductor industry was in the very early stages of its development and material prices were still very high. After 1970, the semiconductor industry evolved rapidly, as a result of which suitable semiconductors became available. The first commercial solar cells were produced mainly using scrap wafers originating from the manufacture of integrated circuits. At the same time, research efforts were initiated with the goal of improving solar cell efficiency. The solar cell structures in use today were devised and first developed in the laboratory in a relatively short period of time. In some cases, however, it would take more than

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Infrastructure is not a short-term investment. Once installed, these critical systems have to remain useful for at least 20 years. Public utilities looking to invest in solar power and other renewable energy systems face pressure to ensure that these systems are cost-effective and meet the energy demand. As the cost of solar power has come down considerably, and more public utilities seek to incorporate it into their energy mix, infrastructure is where we will see the next phase of technological development. For investors, this presents a powerful opportunity to back the solutions that will transform the energy industry over the next decade. The next phase of investment In reality, energy generation only accounts for 35 percent of a utility’s costs, be that from solar power, wind power or natural gas. The bulk of utility costs come from operating and maintaining the underlying distribution infrastructure. Even the most efficient energy generation methods will result in excessive costs if the distribution infrastructure fails or functions incorrectly. For newer systems to be installed effectively on a large-scale, it is not enough to simply shoehorn them into old structures. The state of solar power today demonstrates this phenomenon. As it stands, solar photovoltaic (PV) hardware is more affordable

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Backsheets are the important components of a solar PV panel. It is essential that they are of high quality to avoid degradation, unnecessary maintenance, and replacements, which all add to the costs and in turn decrease the user’s profit margin. PES gets the latest from Bischof + Klein on their new generation backsheets using their improved manufacturing process. History of Bischof + Klein In 1922, the company entered the packaging industry with the production of paper sacks for the neighbouring lime and cement works. Small paper packaging items and newspaper printing extended the product range. 1950 saw an increase in the production of consumer packaging. At the beginning of the 60s, B+K was amongst the pioneers in plastic processing, and has been producing industrial packaging manufactured from plastic since 1963. From 1980 onwards, the consumer packaging range was extended with the expansion of plastic processing. This period also saw the establishment of a new division: Technical Films. Focus in the Technical Films division is placed on the production of surface protection films, technical laminates, films for lamination and backsheets. The B+K-GROUP manufactures its products using state-of-the art systems for mono/co-extrusion, gravure/HD-flexographic printing, solvent-based/solvent-free lamination and coating plus for extrusion lamination and coating. Highly-developed conversion

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Leonardo Botti, Global Head of Product Management ABB, reviews the impact of Blockchain and how digitalization can support the technology’s adoption. In 2009 a new disrupter finance model was launched- BitCoin. It heralded a new era in how currency and transactions were made and transferred globally. The emergence and rising popularity of this new cryptocurrency market reached a defining point in 2017 when the number of B2B enterprises adopting Bitcoin trebled and suddenly attracted the attention of global investors. But what does this decentralized digital currency have to do with the changing energy market? To answer this question we need to look at the technology that underpins BitCoin - ‘blockchain’. Blockchain is based on a peer-to-peer platform that has created new ways in which we can transact with one another. The underlying transaction model moves us away from a centralized architecture towards a more direct and decentralized system between peers. This reduces the need for a central server, authorization and authentication of transactions by one single authoritative body. For the energy market, it is presenting new opportunities for innovation within utilities and amongst homeowners. It is redefining how our energy is supplied and potentially creating a sustainable energy community. Role of the prosumer Energy transactions

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The renewables market, particularly wind, is a key sector for ALE. Building on experience in the power sector, we have used our knowledge and expertise to develop smarter solutions to the challenges created by the increasing heights of wind turbines and associated components. In relation to the on-shore wind enery market, ALE offers a bespoke Transport, Crane and Installation (TCI) package for the wind energy sector. The transportation phases of projects include route assessments, liaising with local authorities, providing specialist transportation equipment and facilitating the removal and replacement of any street furniture or structures that may obstruct the route. We own a fleet of specialised equipment that is specifically used for projects in this sector, such as ` blade trailers and low profile wind tower adapters. Our qualified electrical and mechanical installation teams have the knowledge and experience to provide the most efficient solution, on a project by project basis. We can also provide our clients with port handling services. This includes equipment inspection, damage assessment, storage facilities and loading or reloading of equipment to specialist transport. “We offer different types of cranes for the erection of wind turbine components. The LG1750 combines the benefits of a crawler crane, it is high

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S&P Global Ratings rated its first onshore wind project in 2003. Since then, the renewable energy sector has undergone tremendous expansion. In the past decade alone, its compound annual growth rate has totalled 20%, thanks largely to the rising awareness of how using fossil fuels for power generation contributes to climate change. In Latin America in particular, where most renewable capacity comes from large hydro plants, onshore wind power sources are playing an increasingly important role. Oaxaca, a region in Mexico, for example, is considered one of the best regions worldwide for onshore wind farms. Its geological formation creates a corridor with consistently strong winds. So, the favourable wind resource, in combination with lower operation and maintenance cost, resulted in the upside of the credit outlook in the region. A global outlook Last year alone, onshore wind added approximately 53 gigawatts (GW) to the global capacity grid – bringing the total to around 540 GW. This is partly due to higher capacity factors and falling prices throughout the wind turbine supply chain, both of which are fostering onshore wind power’s rapid development. However, the sector’s growth isn’t without serious challenges. Wind resource availability has often failed to live up to the initial estimations made

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The past ten years has seen a massive step change in the renewable energy sector. It is becoming one of the most innovative industries, continually evolving to deliver greater value to wind farm owners and to provide a future-proof solution for our global energy demands. With the demise of subsidy driven economics, the industry has focussed on becoming much more pro-active. Performance optimisation, continual data analysis and cost competitiveness are all essential in the effective management of renewable energy assets, and, at Natural Power, our cutting edge methods have been developed to ensure we match what the industry needs to keep pace. Early last year, we decided to take our ‘ControlCentre’ to the next level. To ensure we were positioned at the forefront of asset management, real time data provision and security requirements, this investment is designed to deliver the next decade of services to a market where our clients demand more flexibility; where interaction between generators, system and network operators becomes more sophisticated; and where intelligent management of assets brings higher returns. Located at our global headquarters in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland, we embarked on a market leading programme that included the design and build of a new control services

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The offshore industry is now recognising the potential of utilising hybrid power linked to innovative propulsion systems. However, the cost of adopting hybrid technology on retrofit projects and new vessels requires a viable business case to justify higher capital expenditure (CAPEX). Offshore maritime cannot afford to go ‘green’ for no reason; there simply is not the margin to add on another layer of costs. They need a viable business case or they need a compliance case. Which raises the burning question - how can the offshore sector finance hybrid marine power? Other transport sectors around the world are successfully utilising hybrid systems. Automotive manufacturers including Tesla and BMW are re-defining energy possibilities for land transport. The technology is transitioning from high performance automobiles to city busses and the future of aviation. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is rated 1 to 9. Component parts of maritime hybrid powertrains typically achieve TRL8. By definition this is, ‘actual system completed and qualified through test and demonstration’. But maritime needs to move up to TRL9, ‘actual system proven through successful mission operations’. Emissions Compliance versus Engineering Efficiency Dramatically reducing pollution in both water and air, particularly in ports and around people to maintain their health, is becoming the most significant driver for change

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For a long time we at PES have been saying that components in the wind industry are getting bigger and bigger and obviously this includes the tools of the trade. How much more increase can there be in size and how does this affect the weight? Huisman from the beginning Before looking at the developments in the wind industry, let’s take a closer look at Huisman, one of the manufacturers of offshore wind tools and cranes, and start at the beginning. Huisman, founded in 1929 and was originally a construction company for steel structures and derricks. In 1987 Huisman joined forces with engineering company ITREC to develop steel construction projects entirely under its own management. In 1983, during the early ITREC days, the mast crane concept was developed: a compact and innovative crane design for heavy offshore lifts: the Heavy Lift Mast Crane. Another important development from the early days is Active Heave compensation. Currently, this system is also delivered in an electric version, with frequency controlled motors. Unlike in the second half of the eighties, when everyone considered 300m water depth to be extremely deep, indeed nowadays, we consider this to be shallow water. With innovation being at the heart of the

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