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US Solar Module Imports Partially Recover After Tariffs Were Imposed

The United States imposed tariffs on imported silicon solar cells and modules in January 2018. Module imports decreased in the months following the tariffs’ announcement and effective date, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s monthly data of solar photovoltaic module shipments. US solar PV module imports, measured in the modules' capacity in kilowatts, increased in mid-2017, before the tariffs were announced, and then fell to less than 300,000 kilowatts in the months following the tariff’s effective date in February 2018.

Monthly US solar PV module imports averaged 644,000 kilowatts in the first four months of 2019, about 16% more than the average imports in the first four months of 2017, before the announcement of the trade case that ultimately led to the tariffs.

The US International Trade Commission began investigations on solar PV tariffs in May 2017 after two global solar manufacturers headquartered in the United States Suniva and SolarWorld petitioned the USITC for import relief through Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. The resulting safeguard tariffs are set to remain effective for four years, with a 30% duty in place for the first year.

The tariff rate is scheduled to decrease by five percentage points for each year the tariffs are in effect. The tariffs affect many types of PV modules, including crystalline silicon (c-Si), thin film, and concentrator types. The tariffs exempt the first 2.5 gigawatts of imported cells per year, as well as imports from certain developing nations.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Greenbacker Acquires 9.27 MW of Solar Energy Projects from BNRG Renewables Ltd.

Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company LLC announced that, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, it purchased the rights to a 9.27 MW portfolio of three solar projects (the "OR Solar Portfolio") from a subsidiary of BNRG Renewables Ltd. BNRG was advised by the principals of Javelin Capital. The OR Solar Portfolio consists of three to-be-constructed ~3 MW ground mount projects in Oregon and is contracted with an investment grade Oregon utility under power purchase agreements for 15 years. The OR Solar Portfolio is expected to reach commercial operation between November 2019 and January 2020. BNRG will oversee the delivery of the projects to the Company, who will be the owner and operator. E.S.S. LLC dba Evergreen Solar Services will act as the contractor and will work under BNRG's supervision to bring the OR Solar Portfolio online.

Mr Charles Wheeler, CEO of the Company said that "Greenbacker is thrilled to expand its footprint into Oregon and to continue to bring renewable energy to a growing number of markets across the US. We very much look forward to working with BNRG and ESS to bring all the projects on-line in the coming months."

BNRG Director Nick Holman added that "We are excited about entering into this partnership with Greenbacker and ESS to build out our third portfolio of projects in Oregon. We remain committed to developing projects in the US and are on track to reach our target of 250 MW of projects completed by 2021."

With the addition of the OR Solar Portfolio, Greenbacker will own approximately 410 MW of generating capacity (including assets that are to be constructed), comprising 62 MW of wind facilities, 336 MW of utility-scale and distributed solar facilities, and 12 MW of biomass facilities.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Entergy Louisiana to Buy Power from Capital Region Solar

Capital Region Solar, a 50-megawatt solar plant being built by DEPCOM Power in West Baton Rouge Parish, will add another source of renewable energy for Entergy Louisiana customers. Entergy Louisiana is purchasing the output from the solar farm under a 20-year agreement. Approximately 197,000 solar panels will be used to complete the facility on about 560 acres of land near Port Allen. Once complete in the second quarter of 2020, it will offset the equivalent of nearly 19,000 passenger vehicles’ emissions in one year.

Mr Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana said that “Louisiana is undergoing tremendous growth and we need to be ready to deliver low-cost, diverse energy sources to help sustain that growth. Our generating portfolio is among the cleanest in the nation and this solar plant is one part of our ongoing commitment to offering our customers clean, reliable and economic energy.”

The solar plant will generate approximately 350 jobs during construction and will bring approximately $6.4 million in tax revenue to the surrounding region over the next 30 years, according to DEPCOM Power.

DEPCOM Power will provide the engineering, construction and operations and maintenance services for the project. DEPCOM’s core values align with Entergy’s own sustainability goals, which include local workforce development and training and improving our communities. DEPCOM will seek to invest in the local community, working to hire local services and labor, with a special focus on hiring U.S. veterans, during construction of the facility.

Mr Johnnie Taul, president for DEPCOM Power said that “DEPCOM is proud to help serve Entergy Louisiana’s clean energy program, designing and building an economical, efficient, high energy output utility solar facility. In honor of the project, DEPCOM’s philanthropy organization, DEPCOM G.I.V.E.S, will also seek to provide impactful donations to local charities supporting the impoverished, veterans, education and community solar outreach needs.”

The power from the solar project will add to Entergy Louisiana’s approximately 190 megawatts of renewable resources, which includes run-of-river hydro, biomass and waste heat recovery. Entergy Louisiana’s portfolio also includes the state’s two largest sources of carbon-free energy – Waterford 3 and River Bend nuclear units. Together, the two units produce about 16% of the state’s energy and account for 92% of the state’s carbon-free energy.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Ralphs Completes Solar Power Installation in Los Angeles Area

Ralphs, a subsidiary of The Kroger Co announced the installation of a photovoltaic solar power array at its automated distribution center in Paramount, Calif., a 555,000-square-foot building that provides products to 190 Ralphs stores and 95 Food 4 Less stores throughout Southern California. This is the largest solar energy project to date for Kroger, featuring more than 7,000 solar panels to harness energy from the sun. The new installation has a 2 MW AC capacity and will generate 4.28 million kWh of clean power for the facility each year, representing approximately 50% of the facility’s total electricity needs.

Mr Mike Murphy, president at Ralphs said that “Ralphs is constantly exploring energy efficient technologies and renewable energy options that are respectful to our environment and the communities we serve. These sustainability investments demonstrate to our customers and other valued stakeholders our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen.”

The company’s supply chain team partnered with Affordable Solar on the installation with support from Southern California Edison and the City of Paramount.

The Ralphs distribution center solar installation in Paramount is one of three at Kroger’s supply chain facilities, with earlier installations completed at the Fred Meyer distribution center in Clackamas, Oregon and the Smith’s Food and Drug distribution center in Layton, Utah. Kroger has also installed solar power arrays at multiple stores. In 2018, Kroger’s wind and solar installations combined produced more than 14.59 million kWh of renewable power.

Ralphs is a model of innovation in the grocery industry, as the retailer has fully invested in the company’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan that aims to end hunger in local communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Tesla brengt zonnedakpannen volgend jaar naar Europa

De stroomopwekkende dakpannen van Tesla TSLA:$219,94+1,99% komen volgend jaar ook naar Europa. Dat heeft topman Elon Musk zondag op Twitter bekendgemaakt in reactie op een vraag van een twitteraar.

Tesla is vooral bekend vanwege zijn elektrische auto's, maar produceert onder de naam Solar Roof ook zonnepannen. Dit lijken gewone dakpannen, maar ze zijn van glas en wekken elektriciteit op. De pannen zijn in vier verschillende stijlen beschikbaar.

De onderneming maakte onlangs bekend zijn productie te hebben opgevoerd. Het bedrijf hoopt ongeveer duizend 'zonnedaken' per week te kunnen maken.

De energietak van Tesla is zeer klein ten opzichte van de afdeling die auto's produceert. Bovendien stagneert de omzetontwikkeling er. In het tweede kwartaal van 2019 bedroeg de omzet uit energie zo'n $368 mln, tegenover $374 een jaar eerder. In totaal boekte Tesla een kwartaalomzet van meer dan $6 mrd.
Tesla launches solar rental service

Tesla is launching a solar rental service a brand new way to get a solar panel system on your roof for as little as USD 50 per month without any long-term contract. SolarCity pioneered new models to sell solar power systems with no upfront cost by leasing them to homeowners and selling them the electricity it generates, like a regular electric utility. The model created impressive growth, but it required them to pay for the costly systems upfront on most installations, which weighed heavy on their financials.

When Tesla acquired SolarCity back in 2016, it gradually moved away from that model in order to make the company more sustainable, but it also destroyed its growth. Now they are going to try to go back to growth with a very aggressive new solar rental service. This is not like SolarCity’s leasing options or Power Purchase Agreements.

Tesla’s ‘Rent Solar’ program is a month-to-month agreement to use Tesla’s solar power to reduce your electric bill.

For as little as USD 50 per month, Tesla will come to your home and install a solar system.

There’s no long-term contract. As long as you pay the monthly fee, the system will generate solar power and it will reduce your electricity bills.

Here are the base fees and projected returns in the markets where the new Tesla solar rental program is available:

Voor cijfers, zie pdf.

Tesla’s “small” system is rated at 3.8 kW and produces an average of 9-12 kWh per day.

Homeowners can also directly purchase such a system for $9,500 before incentive, but now they have the option to pay nothing upfront and have the advantage of solar power for as little as $50 per month.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Suntech supplies PV modules to Floating Solar Power Plant in Germany

Suntech announced it has supplied all the PV modules for the largest floating solar power plant in Germany. This project marks the start of using new types of surface areas for more climate protection in the stone and earth industry in Germany and also significantly promotes the application of Suntech´s PV modules and technology. Germany’s largest floating photovoltaic plant has been built on an artificial lake, the Baggersee Maiwald in the municipality of Renchen near Achern. Only two percent of the lake area is covered by the PV modules, wherewith a total of 750 kWp of Suntech’s high-efficiency polycrystalline PV modules with IP68 waterproof rating, ensures the power plant can continuously deliver around 800,000 kWh of green electricity per year.

Armin Ossola and Erdgas Südwest, have realized this project together and set a new example for the energy transition with PV modules from Suntech. The gravel works operator Armin Ossola, can use around two-thirds of this electricity because the load profile of its large electricity-operated equipment is a good match for the production times of the photovoltaic power plant. The other third, produced at weekends, for example, is fed into the public grid and distributed directly by project partner Erdgas Südwest.

Mr Armin Ossola explained that “By using the green electricity I produce myself, I can significantly reduce my electricity costs and use the existing flooded gravel pit for more climate protection. This changeover will save around 560,000 kilograms of harmful CO2 per year. I have found a very competent partner in Erdgas Südwest, whom I worked with to develop the idea and make it a reality.”

As a trusted PV brand and reliable partner, Suntech is enjoying a good reputation in the German market, producing PV modules not only with better performance but also reliable quality. The successfully completed floating photovoltaic plant reinforces partnership with Erdgas Südwest and Ossola, and further strengthens Suntech´s position in the German PV market.

Mr Vincent Cao, Vice President of Suntech, said that “Since launching 19 years ago, Suntech has striven to deliver high-quality, reliable and cost-effective PV products. Suntech will keep on developing German market to wholeheartedly provide high cost performance for customers.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Yingli Supplies 110MW of Solar Panels in Spain

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Yingli Green Energy Europe, SL has supplied 110 MW of polycrystalline solar panels to Solaria Energía y Medio Ambiente SA. The panels will be installed in 3 projects with capacity of 50MW, 30MW and 30MW separately. As parts of the developments awarded to Solaria within the last large-scale auction held in Spain in July 2017, these projects are currently under construction in Castilla y León. Solaria has once again relied on one of the brands with the broadest experience and references in the Spanish territory.

Mr Dario López, CEO of Solaria said that “In Solaria we have a very ambitious plan to reach more than 3 GW of installed power in Spain by 2023. These projects are part of the first steps of this plan and in them we wanted to have a reference company in the sector such as Yingli.”

Mr Luis Contreras, the Managing Director of Yingli Europe said that “After several years of reduced growth, we are pleased to see the resurgence of PV sector in Spain. Yingli is confident that solar energy is unstoppable and wants to be part of these emblematic projects. To work with Solaria to improve the Spanish energy mix and contribute to bring clean energy for all is very motivating. With the European headquarters that consist of laboratory, training center and warehouse, Yingli can offer outstanding services that a manufacturer can offer in Europe.”

Atlas Renewable Energies has agreed to provide the Chilean unit of French energy giant Engie with 550 GWh annually for 15 years. The electricity will be supplied by the Sol del Desierto project Atlas is building in northern Chile.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
Zonneparkbedrijf verliest rechtszaak van boeren om gebruik van land

Zonneparkontwikkelaar Powerfield verliest het beslag dat het heeft laten leggen op de gronden van drie boeren in Dokkum, die niet langer zaken wilden doen met het bedrijf. Dat heeft de rechtbank van Leeuwarden afgelopen vrijdag bepaald, meldt energienieuwswebsite Energeia.

De boeren hebben voor het terrein van ruwweg 15 hectare inmiddels een overeenkomst gesloten met een andere ontwikkelaar die betere voorwaarden heeft geboden. Deze ontwikkeling mag van de rechter doorgang vinden. Een eerdere overeenkomst van de boeren en Powerfield is nietig verklaard. Powerfield was met Nuon al overeengekomen dat de laatste het zonnepark in de toekomst zou overnemen.

Exclusieve recht

Powerfield sloot begin 2017 een reserveringsovereenkomst met de drie boeren voor gebruik van het land voor een zonnepark. Deze overeenkomst met een looptijd van een jaar gaf Powerfield het exclusieve recht in de toekomst dit park op deze grond te ontwikkelen. Het bedrijf kon deze overeenkomst eenmalig met een jaar verlengen zonder heronderhandeling over de voorwaarden. Begin 2018 deelde Powerfield de boeren mee de overeenkomst inderdaad te willen verlengen waarmee de nieuwe einddatum 7 februari 2019 werd.

De problemen tussen boeren en Powerfield ontstonden bij de volgende verlenging van de reserveringsovereenkomst, want Powerfield was eind 2018 nog niet zover dat het de intentie wilde omzetten in een definitieve huurovereenkomst. Powerfield kon de reserveringsovereenkomst echter niet meer eenzijdig verlengen. Bij een tweede verlenging met een jaar hadden de boeren het recht de voorwaarden opnieuw ter discussie te stellen, schrijft Energeia.

Garantie voor verwijdering van panelen

De drie boeren stelden dan ook nieuwe eisen toen Powerfield ze eind 2018 liet weten dat het de overeenkomst wederom wilde verlengen per 7 februari 2019. De boeren hadden een externe adviseur in de arm genomen en vroegen onder meer om een indexering van hun vergoeding gedurende de 25 jaar dat het zonnepark zou worden geëxploiteerd. Ook wilden zij een garantie voor de verwijdering van de panelen na afloop.

Toen Powerfield niet naar tevredenheid van de boeren met nieuwe voorstellen over de brug kwam, maakten zij een einde aan de gesprekken. In mei van dit jaar schreven zij aan Powerfield dat er meer geïnteresseerden waren en dat het bedrijf ‘niet langer de meest aantrekkelijke partij’ was, blijkt uit de uitspraak van de rechtbank. De boeren hadden inmiddels een overeenkomst gesloten met een andere partij en vroegen Powerfield hen ‘met rust te laten’.

Beslag leggen

Powerfield was dat geenszins van plan. De boeren werden ‘gesommeerd’ de gesprekken met Powerfield voort te zetten. Toen zij dat niet deden liet Powerfield vervolgens in juni van dit jaar beslag leggen op de grond van de boeren.

Zodoende stonden beide partijen begin augustus in een kort geding tegenover elkaar voor de rechter. Powerfield eiste van de rechter dat deze de boeren zou verbieden met derden zaken te doen op straffe van een dwangsom. De boeren eisten als reactie juist de opheffing van het beslag op hun grond en de vrijheid om zaken te doen met een partner van eigen keuze.

Boeren geheel in het gelijk gesteld

De rechtbank oordeelde geheel ten faveure van de boeren. Doordat Powerfield aanvankelijk niet op de eisen van de boeren wilde ingaan bij heronderhandeling over de reserveringsovereenkomst had het bedrijf zelf deze onderhandelingen ‘ondergraven’.

Pas tijdens de rechtszitting maakte het bedrijf kenbaar op alle verzoeken van de boeren in te willen gaan maar ‘dat is te laat’, aldus de rechter. Het stond de boeren dus vrij om met een ander bedrijf in zee te gaan. Enige grondslag voor een beslag op de grond vervalt, aldus Energeia.
Ameren Missouri First Community Solar Facility Begins Serving Customers

Ameren Missouri announced that the Ameren Missouri Lambert Community Solar Center is now operational and serving customers and plans are in place to develop future Community Solar sites with a total capacity up to 10 times the size of the Lambert site. Mr Michael Moehn, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri said that “Opening the Ameren Missouri Lambert Community Solar Center is one of many steps we are taking toward bringing renewable energy to our customers. Expanding our popular Community Solar program by developing additional solar facilities gives even more of our customers the opportunity to benefit from renewable solar energy and moves Ameren Missouri closer to our goal of providing 100 megawatts of solar energy by 2027."

The Ameren Missouri Community Solar program allows eligible customers to participate in solar generation without installing or maintaining solar panels on their property. Through the program, customers can sign up to purchase 100-kilowatt-hour blocks of solar energy generated at Ameren Missouri’s Community Solar facility. The blocks are sold at a predetermined rate, so customers lock in the cost for energy from the solar-power block for the life of the subscription. The new facility is located on land owned by St. Louis Lambert International Airport just west of the airfield near Lindbergh and Missouri Bottom Road.

Customer response to the Ameren Missouri Community Solar program has been overwhelming. The program, which was launched in the fall of 2018, was fully subscribed in 55 days and the wait list continues to grow.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
China Brings Solar Home

China is the biggest manufacturer of solar photovoltaics, and with declining local costs coupled with potential pollution reduction and health co-benefits, domestic use of solar photovoltaics might surge even more dramatically in the very near future. For a while it looked like the world was comfortably settled into a bipolar order. The production pole was centred in and around China where many of the world’s goods and toys were made. The consumption pole, while increasingly scattered, still centred on the United States and Europe. This applied to solar photovoltaics as well, with the European Union particularly Germany catalysing massive uptake of household solar PV systems using significant subsidies. China was where most of these solar panels were being made. The manufacturing still continues to be concentrated in China, but now the consumption has shifted rapidly to China as well. In 2015, China had a total deployed solar capacity of 43 GW compared to more than 94 GW in the EU1. Last year China’s total deployed capacity of 175 GW dwarfed the EU’s 115 GW. China is now not only the world’s biggest producer of solar panels, but also of solar-generated electricity.

There are signs that the demand for solar PVs in China is far from fully expressed. Both the United States and Europe have been attractive markets for Chinese-produced solar cells. However, recent policy changes might incentivize producers to further target local Chinese markets. In the United States, the tariffs imposed on imports of solar panels in 2017 had a negative impact on solar system deployment and thousands of jobs were lost in the sector, mostly in installation3. Faced by rising stocks, China cut its own subsidies, leading solar panel producers to significantly reduce prices to offload large inventory internationally, despite tariffs4. Even then Chinese internal consumption and installations grew significantly through 2017 and 2018, showing greater viability of China as a competitive market2. Increased intensity in trade wars and US policy discouraging the uptake of solar PV (such as tariffs on panel imports) may by creating unsold inventory depress the prices of solar systems internally for China, further increasing local uptake. Removal or tapering down of subsidies in other markets in Europe may have a similar effect.

The low price of solar systems, as well as the low labour costs for installation, means that achieving cost parity with the grid may be easier in China than in Europe or the United States, where overall household solar system costs continue to be comparatively higher. An Analysis in this issue shows just that; Jinyue Yan and colleagues in Sweden and China estimate the costs for solar electricity derived from both household and grid-scale systems, in each prefecture or city in China. They find that in all of the 344 prefectures, household solar systems can now generate electricity at a cost equal to, or lower than, the local grid-supplied electricity. Grid-level solar electricity systems can also generate electricity at a cost lower than coal-generated electricity in more than 20% of the prefectures.

This grid parity is a critical milestone made even more remarkable by the fact that the solar electricity costs estimated by the researchers do not include subsidies. Doubtless these prices will continue to vary in the near future depending on national and international policy but the trend is downwards and continuing. Grid parity provides the economic incentive for domestic consumers to buy into solar home systems and signals a potentially massive uptake of the technology in households in the near future.

Future policy-making is also expected to benefit solar uptake in China, particularly because of solar co-benefits such as pollution reduction and consequent public health and urban liveability gains. Urban air pollution negatively affects the lives of tens of millions of Chinese city dwellers in particular and has emerged as one of the most important concerns facing the Chinese government in recent years.

In an Article in our July issue, Bart Sweerts and colleagues quantify the pollution reduction gains of solar energy uptake. They start with a recently compiled dataset of measured irradiance from 119 stations all over China between 1960 and 2015. Using irradiance data, they estimate solar energy potentials in 1960 and 2015 and find that the accumulated pollution due to coal power plant emissions during this period reduced solar energy production potential by close to 13%. Adopting solar PV thus creates a feedback loop where pollution reduction gains lead to greater solar energy production. Findings like this provide a clear signal to Chinese policymakers that mass-scale solar PV adoption reduces air pollution beside direct energy and climate gains.

With growing economic and social impetus, China might be on the brink of further exponential growth in solar PV deployment. It certainly has the industrial base to facilitate such an energy transition once the social and economic tipping points are reached. The scaling in production needed to meet the potentially rising demand is something that China has done in the past and is certainly capable of in the future. China is also a country that is reinventing itself physically faster than any other country in the world. Entire new cities appear to have emerged on the skyline in the past decade and while the pace of development may have slowed down recently there continues to be plenty of opportunity to build human habitats and energy systems in entirely new ways. A new world is afoot in China and it may be powered by solar energy.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
France’s Solar Road Dream May Be Over after Test Fails

The French government’s bold plan to pave 1,000km of highways with photovoltaic panels over five years seems unlikely to go ahead following the failure of a trial “solar road” in Normandy. The panels deteriorated quickly and failed to generate the amount of electricity hoped for. The kilometre-long test road was opened by former French environment minister Ségolène Royal near the small town of Tourouvre-au-Perche in the Orne on 22 December 2016. Now the road’s 2,800 sq m of solar panels have degraded, peeled away and splintered, and 100m of them have been removed after being declared too damaged to repair.

Le Monde reports that the solar panels were unable to withstand the wear and tear caused by tractors and thunderstorms, became covered by leaf mould, and created too much noise for local residents, which meant that the speed limit had to be reduced to 70 km/h.

In the first year, when the panels were relatively intact, they generated about half of the expected yield, amounting to 150,000kWh during the year. This fell to 78,000 in 2018 and 38,000 since January, according to figures from BDVP, the French association for the promotion of solar energy.

A statement by the Orne council said the money made from the sale of the electricity was expected to be EUR 10,500 a year, but in 2017 it received EUR 4,550, in 2018, EUR 3,100, and for the first quarter of EUR 1,450.

This grand projet seems to be over. Etienne Gaudin, the chief executive of Wattway, told Le Monde that “The Tourouvre model is not the one that we are going to market. Our system is not mature on long distance traffic … We are now focusing on small modules of 3, 6 or 9 sq m, enough to provide enough electricity for a CCTV camera, bus shelter lighting or an electric bicycle charging station. The price of the kWh is five to six times more expensive than the conventional panel, but glueing them to the ground at least solves the problem of theft.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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