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Solar News, #2

28.09.2017 — 0

What’s going on in the industry. Learn it from Solar DAO’s dedicated digest.

New Investments into Solar and Alternative Energy

Reuters reports that** Innology will spend up to $1.4 billion on investments into e-mobility, photovoltaic solar energy, and glass fibre networks by 2019.** This plan was publicly declared in the company’s statement on Thursday.

Innogy SE operates as an European energy company. The Company plans, builds, and manages plants to generate power and extract energy from renewable sources, as well as retails electricity and gas. Innogy SE also manages power lines and gas lines around the world. Having been carved out from parent RWE (which still holds a 76.8% stake) and separately listed on the stock exchange last year, Innogy now focuses on gas and power networks, renewables and energy retail. RWE still holds a 76.8 percent stake.

**Innology’s stock market quote, Bloomberg Markets: **https://www.bloomberg.com/quote/IGY:GR

The planned investment is a part of a more long-term investment strategy, under which Innology is going to spend 6.5–7 billion euros in 2017–2019, and strengthen its portfolio via acquisitions and divestments.

Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is going to broaden its engagement in alternative energy by investing $1 billion in electric cars production. The company is already converting gas-powered car production capacity to electric car production capacity in Europe. Electrek.com reports that Daimler is looking forward to the US. On September 21, the German auto-giant confirmed that is plans to invest $1 billion to build Mercedes-Benz electric cars and its batteries in the US.

Solar Energy Scales Up

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is to increase its capacity by another 700 MW, according to Digitaltrends. Commissioned in 2013, this solar park is the largest solar energy facility in the world, or, more specifically, the largest solar panels network localized in a single space. Named after the sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and the ruler of Dubai, the solar park is spread over a total area of 77 square kilometers, being located in about 50 km from the city of Dubai.

The additional structures will create an opportunity of generating 5000 MW by 2030, when the construction works will be finished. By then, the mega solar park will be twice as large in terms of its total area, with the highest in the world 260 meters solar tower located at the centre of it. Adding further solar capacity will also allow for annual reduction of carbon emissions by 6.5 million tons. The construction tender was won by a consortium between Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and China’s Shanghai Electric.

As the scale of solar energy production increases, the performance factor of solar panels is also growing.** The Cambridge University scholars have recently found a way of increasing the efficiency of perovskite solar panels up to the improbable 30%**, while the efficiency of standard silicon panels is usually at 20%.

Science Daily describes the mechanism behind such gains of efficiency: they can be achieved by moving the electrons at an ultrafast rate that would enable the creation of the “hot carrier” cells. These are solar cells that can generate electricity more efficiently by virtue of the added kinetic energy of the moving electrons. This energy is highest just for a brief moment when the electrons are created.

Meanwhile,** in China plans are published to increase the capacity of its solar plants by 8–10 GW** and establish facilities for a mass production of monocrystalline high performance solar panels that are largely used in the space industry. China is aiming at a significant reduction of the cost of these panels, and make them a mass consumption commodity.

Monocrystalline is more efficient than polycrystalline silicon panels: the former can operate at a maximum of 26.7% efficiency, while the efficiency of the latter does not go above 21.9%. Chinese producers will be able to produce at a reduced price, according to Reuters. The Chinese solar panels made of monosilicon are already cost competitive with polysilicon ones, with the latter costing $0.225 per W, and the former — $0.319 per W. At the moment, China is the country with the most heavily polluted air, producing 70% of its electricity from coal. On the other hand, 80% of global production of the solar modules are produced in China, and this figure is likely to grow in the future.

Radiant Futures

By 2050, 80% of the world’s electricity will be produced by renewable generation.Cleantechnica usefully summarizes the findings of the latest research report by DNV GL. Thus, according to it, the demand for electricity will be 140% higher than now by 2050, making it the most demanded energy source in the world. Natural gas will occupy the second place, while coal and oil will be used much less than they are now.

Moreover, the authors of the report are rather realistic in how they evaluate the opportunities for collective action upon climate change. Their assessment is that by 2041 the humanity will not find a way of coordinated action, and the Earth’s temperature will increase by 2.5° globally (as compared with the pre-industrial age). There is no single way to tackling the climate change problem, rather, the approach must be comprehensive and constructive, including global and local level actors.

The authors of the report also emphasize the three global trends. First, the demand for energy will cease rising in 2030 and will by 430 exajoules, that is, 7% above the level of 2015. This will be achieved by increasing consumer energy efficiency, reduction in the use of the fossil fuels, and slowing of the growth of the global population and improvements in productivity. Second, electricity consumption will rise by 140% of its current level. Third, the growth of renewables, in which the major energy companies will be compelled to invest.

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