Latest Photovoltaic Developments: March 2024

· PV Industry News

Table of Contents

  1. REC Unveils 430W Heterojunction Solar Module
  2. Restrictions on Balcony PV Panels in Some European Countries
  3. France Reaches 20 GW Solar Milestone
  4. Global Solar PV Capacity Projections
  5. Brazil's Rapid Growth in Solar Energy
  6. Iliad Group Signs Solar PPAs Across Europe

 

REC Launches 430 W Heterojunction Solar Panel with 22.2% Efficiency

Singapore's REC, a leading manufacturer of PV modules, has unveiled its latest residential solar modules equipped with cutting-edge Alpha heterojunction technology. The production has already begun at REC's state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 facility in Singapore, with the first batch of shipments set to reach the US market by May 2024.

The new REC Alpha Pure-2 Series presents four different models, with capacities ranging from 400 W to 430 W and efficiencies varying between 20.6% and 22.2%. These panels incorporate 132 half-cut monocrystalline heterojunction solar cells and are designed to operate at a maximum system voltage of 1,000 V.

All models, with a uniform size of 2,237 mm by 1,246 mm by 30 mm and a weight of 21.7 kg, offer open-circuit voltages from 48.5 V to 49.3 V and short-circuit currents between 10.60 A and 10.81 A.

Designed to function in temperatures ranging from -40°C to 85°C, these modules feature a temperature coefficient of -0.24% per degree Celsius. They are equipped with 4 mm thick solar glass coated with an anti-reflective layer, an IP68-rated junction box, and an anodized aluminum frame.

REC backs these modules with a 20-year linear power output warranty and a 25-year product warranty. The Alpha Pure-2 Series is also eligible for the REC ProTrust warranty package, which includes up to 25 years of coverage for the product, performance, and labor, ensuring a minimum power output of 92% by the 25th year.

Competing in the market, Maysun Solar provides HJT solar modules that achieve a remarkable maximum efficiency of 22.87% and come with a 30-year warranty for both product and power. Maysun Solar's modules are designed to optimize energy output, offering superior performance in various conditions. Built for durability and long-term energy generation, these modules represent the forefront of solar technology, empowering consumers to tap into solar energy with the highest efficiency available for a greener future.

Regulations on Balcony Solar Panels in Select European Nations

Sweden

In 2022, Sweden's Electrical Safety Authority halted the utilization of plug-in solar panel units across the nation, citing significant safety risks. These devices were deemed not to meet safety standards.

Romania

Romania allows for the use of electrical systems up to 3200W (16 amps) through standard household outlets, enabling the connection of solar systems of equivalent capacity. However, the installation of solar panels on balconies requires the approval of both neighbors and tenants' associations. Although no municipal permit is necessary for ground installations, balcony-based solar installations might need a permit, especially in areas with historical or scenic preservation concerns. Therefore, it's recommended to consult local city hall guidelines after obtaining necessary approvals from neighbors and tenants' associations for balcony installations.

Summary: Romania does not impose restrictions on plug-and-play solar systems but mandates consent from neighbors and tenants' associations. For balcony installations, adherence to specific local regulations is advised.

Netherlands

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) currently allows the introduction of solar products with a maximum connection power of 600W at 230 VAC to avoid straining the electrical grid. Each properly grounded outlet may be connected to a small set of solar panels, not exceeding two panels with a rating of 600 Wp each. In homes with multiple outlets in the meter cupboard, each can support one or two solar panels. Owners must also register themselves on energieleveren.nl if they choose to install solar panels without professional assistance.

Summary: The Netherlands permits the use of plug-and-play solar systems with the stipulation of owner registration on energieleveren.nl.

France Achieves 20 GW Solar Capacity Landmark

The French Ministry of Ecological Transition has declared that France connected approximately 955 MW of new photovoltaic (PV) systems to its grid in the last quarter of 2023, culminating in a total PV capacity of 20.0 GW by December's end.

This milestone includes around 19.3 GW installed within mainland France, with additional installations spread across the country's overseas regions and Corsica.

The year 2023 saw France enhance its solar infrastructure by 3.2 GW, outperforming the additions of 2.68 GW in 2022 and 2.57 GW in 2021. Currently, there are solar projects with a combined capacity of 14 GW awaiting grid integration.

Moreover, the pipeline for grid-connected solar projects stands at approximately 22.4 GW, of which 5.8 GW have secured preliminary agreements for connection.

Significantly, the regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Grand Est were responsible for 48% of this year's new capacity, also holding over 53% of France's total connected solar power as of December 2023.

Global Solar Capacity Insights

The global solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity is expected to hit 655 GWdc this year, according to BloombergNEF’s 1Q 2024 Global PV Market Outlook, a jump from around 444 GWdc in 2023.

China is projected to lead the global scene in 2024 with an estimated 313.7 GWdc, accounting for 54.7% of the year's total solar PV capacity additions. The United States, India, Brazil, and Germany follow with 40.6 GWdc, 18.1 GWdc, 17 GWdc, and 16.5 GWdc, respectively.

European countries, including Spain, the Netherlands, and Italy, along with Japan and South Africa, are expected to significantly increase their solar PV capacity this year.

By 2030, Germany is forecasted to top European solar PV capacity with 215 GW, with Italy and Spain close behind. France, Poland, and the Netherlands are also anticipated to make notable contributions to the continent's solar capacity by the end of the decade.

The global solar industry saw a robust growth of 76.2% in 2023, with a total installed capacity increase from 252 GWdc in 2022. China led the growth, followed by the United States, Brazil, Germany, and India.

Brazil’s Solar Energy Boom

The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) reports that Brazil's renewable energy matrix is over 85% renewable, largely due to hydropower, with rapidly growing inputs from solar and wind. With more than 2.3 million rooftop PV systems installed and 90 million consumer units ready for solar, Brazil is experiencing a swift increase in solar adoption driven by favorable policies and accessible PV technology.

In 2023, Brazil's PV sector expanded by more than 1 GW per month, with rooftop systems making up 70% of the growth. The country's total PV capacity exceeded 37 GW, indicating a deployment rate of 60 watts per person per year, potentially doubling the capacity every two years.

Brazil’s Solar Energy Boom

Fueled by advantageous net metering policies, rising costs of traditional electricity, and ongoing reductions in the price of solar technology, photovoltaic (PV) systems have become Brazil's second-largest source of electricity generation. While hydropower remains at the forefront with approximately 110 GW of installed capacity, representing 49% of the total, solar PV has climbed to the second spot in 2023 with an installation of 37 GW, making up 17% of Brazil's total electricity generation capacity. This is followed by onshore wind energy, which contributes 29 GW or 13%. Furthermore, biomass energy, primarily derived from sugarcane bagasse and biogas, contributes an additional 17 GW or 8%, bringing the collective share of these renewable sources to more than 85% of the nation's total generation capacity of 225 GW.

price of solar technology

Solar PV and wind power have emerged as the most cost-effective technologies for power generation. In Brazil's regulated electricity market, the prices for solar PV in national energy auctions have seen a dramatic decrease, dropping from above $100/MWh in 2013 to just $32/MWh in 2022, with a temporary dip to slightly over $20/MWh in 2019.

Looking ahead, the anticipated electrification of transportation, heating, industry, and the production of green hydrogen are expected to significantly increase the demand for large-scale solar installations. With its well-developed energy market, vast solar and wind resources, and proximity to European export markets, Brazil is poised to become a leading producer of low-cost hydrogen and ammonia on the global stage.

Iliad Group Signs 90MW Solar PPAs Across Europe

In parallel, the iliad Group in Europe has made significant strides in renewable energy procurement, having recently finalized power purchase agreements (PPAs) for solar energy totaling 90MW. These agreements were made with Engie in France and Statkraft in Norway for solar projects located in France, Italy, and Poland, which together are estimated to produce 116.7GWh of electricity each year.

In France, iliad has entered into a 15-year PPA with Engie for a 25.6MW