Solar Latest News Round-Up Issue 54

 

This issue covers:

Healthy project pipeline for future global solar

The global solar PV pipeline now exceeds 200 GW, according to new figures released by market research consultants IHS.

In the latest edition of its Solar Deal Tracker, it is reported that the global solar PV pipeline has now exceeded 200 GW, thanks in large part to the extension of the US Investment Tax Credit. The US leads with the most amount of projects in its PV pipeline, and together with China and Brazil, make up 110 GW, or half of the current global PV pipeline.

“A large share of the planned projects is still immature, with developers scouting for tenders and other opportunities to sign power-purchase agreements,” said Josefin Berg Senior Analyst for IHS Technology. “The previous panic to complete project phases ahead of schedule has reverted to a development pipeline responding to demand and contract fulfilment.”

The US had a bumper 2015, unsurprisingly, given most investors and developers assumed that the US Congress would not extend the valuable Investment Tax Credit. According to IHS, 16 GW of new projects entered the US solar PV pipeline in 2015, while at the same time, 10 GW of tracked projects exited the pipeline, i.e., were installed or entered construction.

On the flipside, the UK has seen its pipeline of pre-construction projects decrease by more than 4 GW in 2015 as many developers await the expiration of the Renewables Obligation Certificates scheme in April. Full report is here

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Installers guide to solar PV energy storage

The UK’s BRE National Solar Centre has published a series of new guides on solar storage systems, one of which has been aimed specifically at installers.

The guide has been published to help installers select and fit battery storage systems so they operate properly with domestic solar installations, with storage set to become an increasingly viable investment for consumers.

The publication, ‘Batteries with Solar Power - A Technical Guide to the use of Energy Storage with Grid-Connected Solar Photovoltaic Systems’ includes information on the technical requirements of domestic or small commercial battery systems.

It includes guidance on different battery types, DC and AC coupling, appropriate sizing and design requirements as well as information on charging profiles and maintenance.

Jonny Williams, director at BRE National Solar Centre, said: “These guides explain how the systems work and how to choose the right system for the right application. Ultimately battery storage for PV will help people and businesses get the best return on their investments so making the right decisions is crucial.” Copies of the installer’s guide are available from www.brebookshop.com

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Positive outlook for solar PV in USA is confirmed

The guide outlook for solar in the USA was also reflected in a new study by Bloomberg Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

With investment in solar on the rise, the report says that cumulative solar PV capacity in the USA has now reached 28 GW, of which 7.3 GW was installed in 2015, as part of overall growth in renewable power generation of 16GW.

Overall, cumulative renewable capacity is said to stand at 221 GW, with hydro and pumped storage representing the lion’s share at 102 GW, with wind in second place and solar in third.

However, solar PV holds the record for the fastest growing renewable energy type, averaging 60% growth annually since 2008. Of its overall capacity, 17 GW comes from utility-scale projects and 11 GW from distributed systems. This year it is forecast that a further 16GW of solar will be installed.

For a full review of the report visit here

 

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India breaks through the 5GW solar PV mark

The installed capacity of solar power in India has crossed 5 GW milestone. With newly installed capacity of nearly 1.4GW in the last financial year, the country’s cumulative installed capacity is now 5.13 GW – and more projects are in development.

Rajasthan state leads the way with 1,264 MW of installed solar power, followed by Gujarat (1024 MW), Madhya Pradesh (679 MW), Tamil Nadu (419 MW), Maharashtra (379 MW) and Andhra Pradesh (357 MW).

The Indian Government has set the ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar power by the year 2021-22 under its National Solar Mission. It is envisaged this will be achieved by the addition of a further 60 GW of ground mounted grid-connected solar power and 40 GW through roof-top grid installations.

The country’s Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has a number of schemes and financial support projects in progress to meet its objectives, with the aim of adding a further 2GW this year and 12GW next year. The full report is here

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UK large scale solar to be excluded from CfDs

It has been reported in the UK that there are no plans for large-scale solar to be handed future contracts under the government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism.

The announcement came from energy secretary Amber Rudd, who noted that, subject to planning permission, the industry had said that solar could be developed without the need for subsidies.

“We don’t have plans at the moment for a large-scale solar contract. What we have found is that large-scale ground-mounted solar have confirmed to us that they do not need any subsidy and that they can continue, subject to planning permission, because costs of fallen to such a great degree they can continue without any form of contract,” the secretary of state said.

Solar Power Portal reported that the confirmation will come as a significant blow for large-scale projects left stranded by the premature closure of the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme and developers with any interest in the CfD process, which was originally designed to replace the RO.

The government has previously stated its intent to launch a possible three CfD rounds over the course of this parliament but it has not been made clear which technologies would be able to apply.

At the same time as the latest news, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) also appeared to have upgraded its 2020 solar forecast again, this time to 13GW.

This would appear to be a significant upgrade on the previous forecast of 12GW, issued just three months ago and would mean that DECC’s solar forecasts for 2020 have increased by more than 36% in the space of six months.