Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Offshore power cables are the Achilles heel of the offshore wind industry. Without them, no energy is delivered to the main land. Unfortunately, these cables are often damaged by external reasons, most by collision with anchors or fishing nets. The Belgian start-up company, Marlinks, has a solution and PES wanted to know more. Motivation for burying the cable The most effective way of protecting these cables is by burying them in the sea bottom. However, the sea bottom is not static, but a moving landscape. Therefore, it is crucial for a cable owner to know what the depth of burial (DoB) of the power cable is. Especially the range between 0 (uncovered cable) and 1m DoB (minimum DoB for power cables in many areas) is critical. As the current monitoring techniques are expensive and require the mobilization of survey vessels, Marlinks has developed a technique to continuously calculate the burial depth based on the temperature of the cable, measured with a DTS (Distributed temperature sensing) DTS measuring The DTS technology offers the possibility of measuring the ambient temperature at which fibre glass is exposed, with some notable advantages compared to traditional temperature measurements. The temperature measurements take place along the entire length of the

Read More

Since the beginning of this year, US states together, have committed to over 8,000MW of offshore wind by 2030. And now, these long-term commitments by states have started to materialize in near term actual projects. PES brings you the latest update from GustoMSC. Building a long-term industry on near term projects In May this year Vineyard Wind was awarded an 800MW project by the state of Massachusetts followed by two further awards of 400MW by Rhode Island and 200MW by Connecticut to Deepwater Wind. Increasingly these developments provide justification to invest in dedicated and efficient installation solutions both for a long-term efficient US offshore wind industry and to provide short term solutions to install these first projects. GustoMSC, a design and engineering company of mobile offshore units and equipment, has designed the vast majority of offshore wind turbine installation jack-ups and vessels operating to date. Since 2010, these jack-ups with integrated jacking systems and cranes have installed over 4,000 turbines and foundations. Past developments GustoMSC has long been aiming to support developments in the US offshore wind market with its expertise. Two years ago, GustoMSC participated in a study, led by the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA), aimed at understanding what

Read More

India has been witnessing an unprecedented surge in the installation of solar plants since the announcement of the National Solar Mission in 2010. With more than 25GW of installed capacity as on August 2018, the country is chasing the ambitious target of 100 GW Solar PV installations by the year 2022. With increasing installations on land and rooftops, the emerging focus area is to put the untapped vast area of waterbodies to good use. India has 91 major reservoirs with more than 75% of these reservoirs located in the sunny Southern, Western and Central regions. Installation of solar PV plants on water bodies like lakes, man-made and natural reservoirs, industrial ponds and fish farms could be attractive due to the following reasons: 1. The scarcity of large land areas for installation which, in some cases has led to cultivable lands being sacrificed for installation of solar plants. 2. Increasing price trend of land. 3. Optimal use of evacuation infrastructure, e.g.: near hydel projects. 4. Reuse options for abandoned areas like mines, quarries etc. 5. Conservation of water by reduced evaporation. 6. Limiting algae growth through reduced sunlight penetration into water. 7. Improved generation from PV plants due to lower module temperatures. 8. Possible maintenance cost reduction of plants e.g.

Read More

The role foundations play in the deployment of larger, heavier, more powerful wind turbines, in deeper waters and further from shore, has perhaps not received the attention it deserves. But it is crucial in driving down offshore wind’s levelised cost of energy to the point where it can compete with fossil fuel and nuclear sources. Technology and costs compared Fixed foundations, whether monopile, jacket or gravity base designs, now support towers and turbines that weigh well over 1,000 tonnes and have a tip height of more than 200 metres. The foundations need to be able to do this, in high winds and heavy seas, for at least the 25 years of the turbine’s anticipated operating life. Monitoring the structural integrity of the foundations, especially in the critical areas of greatest strain – just above and below the seabed – requires high expertise and state of the art test and measurement technology. This is a field where industry development has outstripped design standards. There is no easy guide for offshore developers. In this report, technology leader HBM Test and Measurement compares resistive and fiber-optical gauge systems for offshore wind foundations. To help design verification, or as a system to provide long-term assurance that the foundations

Read More

The history of the global PV industry is one that is defined by innovation. And now, more than ever, the continuing growth and sustained health of the solar sector is further enabling companies to invest in R&D. From tech start-ups to global electronics companies, new components that deliver marginal improvements or game-changing solutions, the efficiency and performance of PV systems across the world continues to be advanced by technological innovation. One characteristic that unites innovators across the solar industry is the unwavering focus on optimizing solar PV systems, always looking to deliver higher yields, reduce O&M costs and increase the ROI for system owners. So, it’s perhaps unsurprising that in recent years there has been a significant increase in the use of module-level power electronics (MLPE), such as power optimizers or microinverters. As the name suggests, MLPE place power electronics on the modules of the PV system, with the aim of isolating individual panels in order to improve overall system performance. The introduction of MLPE marks a shift from the conventional PV system design, where the inverter would be responsible for handling so many of the functions and processes that a PV plant is required to carry out. The proliferation of

Read More

With bifacial PV devices a large gain in solar power generation in the range of 10%-20% can be achieved in the field. Despite this, selling bifacial devices at higher prices is still a difficult task. With peak-performance of solar cells and modules at standard testing conditions being the price meter, true bifacial testing is a key step to achieve bifacial pricing in the future of PV. We present deeper insight into bifacial testing and analyse the economic impact of different approaches. Large-scale production of bifacial solar cells and modules has become possible mainly by three developments over the last few years – dielectric passivation layers on both sides of the solar cells, thinner glass for solar modules and alternatively transparent backsheets. Offering a major increase in electricity generation at a comparably low increase in costs for device manufacturing, bifaciality has become one of the largest industry trends in photovoltaics in the recent years. Bifacial devices achieve a gain in power generation of 10% – 20% compared to monofacial references [1-5], depending on system design, albedo of the systems’ location as well as the bifaciality coefficient of the modules. This gain, which corresponds to 2% – 4% higher solar cell efficiency, is

Read More

High purity argon (greater than 99.999%) is used as a shield gas in the production of silicon ingots, to be fabricated into wafers for solar cells and micro-electronic devices. The argon is used to control the impurity levels present during the manufacturing process to an acceptable level. In response to rising costs, the trend in the solar industry has been to reduce the argon purge flows to a minimum, typically about 30slm; however, this cost reduction comes at the expense of wafer purity which can result in lower performance solar cells. Ultra-High purity wafers for use in micro-electronic applications typically utilise two to three times as much argon as for the solar PV application, so rising argon costs are an even more critical issue in this sector. The current trend in the Solar PV wafer market is to move to higher purity high performance and/or n-type doped wafers, to maximise the efficiency of the resulting solar cells and generate added value. This requires argon purge gas flows to increase up to about 70-90slm. The supply of high purity argon is primarily a by-product of the air separation process generating oxygen used in steel making. This means, at best the, supply of high purity

Read More

Solar panel manufacturers strive to minimize cost and maximise efficiency of their modules. Their success is confirmed by the substantial decrease in $/Wp factor for the modules. In 2006, crystalline silicon based module prices were approximately 5.2$/Wp. By 2017, this had dropped to 0.42$/Wp, over an order of magnitude decrease in ten years. There has also been a massive relocation of the cell and module manufacturing industry. In 2006, China and Taiwan produced ~7% of the world production of solar modules as expressed as MWp. At that time, over 40% of production was in Japan, and over 30% in Europe. By 2017, China and Taiwan dominated module manufacturing, with over 70% of the world production, ~60% of that being in China alone. Both Japan and Europe had dropped to less than 5%. It is important to stress that $/Wp values are dominated by availability and cost of capital, land prices, environmental regulatory restrictions, and production scale – these parameters contribute to operating costs more than labor. Module efficiency contributes to the $/Wp performance indicator. The table provides absolute and relative module efficiencies. The best heterojunction modules are 50% more efficient than those modules based on thin films. The Chinese government has been very actively

Read More

Ron Corio is the founder of Array Technologies, pioneers of solar tracking technology. Array Technologies built its first tracker for bifacial modules in 2009 and has been studying bifacial modules coupled with utility scale trackers at a test-site for the last year, and recently launched a new partnership with a national laboratory in New Mexico. At Intersolar North America 2018, Array explained that it will continue to push its study of the convergence of bifacial and tracking technologies; namely how these studies will help to better identify and interpret the multitude of factors which go into predicting the energy output of future plants combining these two technologies. Innovation has driven the growth and development of the PV industry. With that innovation has come increased reliability, bankability, optimized energy yields, and higher efficiencies – making solar more and more appealing to stakeholders. One of the most promising innovations is the emergence of bifacial PV cell and module technology. By producing electricity from both the front and backside of a solar module, PV project owners and developers can profit from increased energy yields from the diffused light hitting the backside of the module. When coupled with an optimized and reliable PV tracking system, bifacial

Read More