Huawei FusionSolar Day Ireland Challenges & Solutions- Virtual Overview

Next week Huawei FusionSolar will host their first Irish Event. Huawei Ireland would be delighted to invite you all to attend and we hope you can take something useful from this event

The event will begin with a “Virtual Sites Visit” to key projects North & South of Ireland in 4k footage this promises to be an impressive overview as intro. Starting with a detailed look at 3 of 6 (112MW) key Utility scale projects deployed with Huawei Smart string solution in Northern Ireland. With support & interviews from Lightsource BPBayWa O&M Team & Greencoat Capital LLP. The solar journey will then go South of the Island to have a look at some key commercial projects in Ireland & a domestic home, Featuring projects from EnerpowerPV GenerationEnerglaze, to highlight all sectors to the industry and how all are taking steps to a sustainable solar future for Ireland

Speaking at the event will be ;

John Ging – Head of Operations Development and Compliance at EirGrid
Andrew Cupples – Future Operation Manager NIE
Ioannis Grammatikakis – Inaccess Senior Product Mngr
Hariram Subramanian – Huawei Fusion Solar CTO
Bouke van der Weert – Huawei Solar Solutions Mngr

One of the highlights of the event, will be a deep panel discussion, 6 key stakeholders, on their experiences on the Island previously with Utility Scale PV to bring some insights for the future ;

Jason Turner – Senior Electrical, Engineers Wirsol Energy,
Guy Atherton – Group Leader Engineering, BayWa,
Richard Morris – CEO, Zebotec GmbH,
Mark Evans – COO,Shannon Energies/Obton,
Rory Mullan – Dir, MullanGrid
Hariram Subramnian

The event will focus on the challenges faced previously & the lessons learned for rapid EPC & development of Solar PV in Ireland

For more info click here

Please see short add for the event below;

 

Look forward to seeing you at Huawei FusionSolar Day Ireland 2020 in a digital way.

Rule restricting number of solar panels is relaxed

Restrictions on the number of rooftop solar panels on houses and other properties are to be lifted to boost the amount of solar energy generated in communities.

New rules will also allow more schools and community buildings to install solar for their own energy needs.

The main outstanding issue is potential glint or glare from any increase in rooftop panels, and ensuring they do not pose a hazard to aircraft.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said it was working with the Department of Climate Action and the Irish Aviation Authority on guidelines.

“It is intended that work on this outstanding issue will be completed in the coming months,” the department said.

The move was prompted by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which runs the State’s energy efficiency grant schemes.

“SEAI has found through its interactions with homeowners, businesses and actors in the solar industry that rooftop planning requirements are consistently identified as a barrier to uptake,” briefing notes for Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan said.

Existing rules require planning permission for panels taking up more than 12 square metres, or 50pc of a house roof – whichever is smaller – and 50sqm or 50pc of the roof of a business or light industrial building.

The rules will increase the area that is exempt from planning permission. Despite the current restrictions, interest in installing solar has soared, necessitating a near doubling of the funding for solar panel grants for 2020.

SEAI got 140 applications a month at the start of last year but that rose to more than 300 by November, followed by a surge to 900 in December, when the deadline for the 2019 scheme approached.

Even with the disruption to construction caused by Covid-19 restrictions, there were a further 1,516 applications up to the end of July this year, averaging 216 a month. SEAI said the 2020 allocation of €3.5m had been increased to €6.5m to meet the demand.

The Future is Bright as Solar Surges in the RESS-1 Provisional Auction Results….

ISEA welcomes the provisional results published yesterday for successful solar PV, community and wind projects in the new Irish Government Renewable Electricity Subsidy Scheme (RESS).

This is the first of five RESS auctions to help Ireland meet and deliver its 70% renewable electricity target by 2030, with 63 solar projects totalling over 1,000MWdc (767.3 GWhrs ac) provisionally awarded a contact up to 16.5 years at an unindexed fixed price (€/MWhr). The solar farms will be connected to the grid network over the next couple of years and provide new construction jobs in a number of counties including Meath, Tipperary, Cork, Waterford and Wexford.

ISEA Chairman David Maguire stated ‘After a four year wait for solar farms to participate in Ireland’s renewable energy mix, yesterday’s RESS-1 provisional results were very positive for the solar industry, that will create new green jobs, support rural Ireland and meet 2030 renewable energy targets. ISEA looks forward to working with DCCAE/Eirgrid on the design of future RESS auctions, preferably technology specific that benefits consumers.’

Recently discovered molecule could significantly boost solar cell power

In the search for more efficient solar cells, researchers in Japan have found that a recently discovered molecule, important in a plant’s ability to photosynthesise sunlight, could also reap rewards for solar cells.

Among photosynthetic pigments, chlorophyll is the most crucial one as it captures light energy and converts photons into electrons as a source of energy. While there are different types of chlorophyll molecules, one called ‘Chl f’ has only recently been discovered, with little known of its location or how it functions.

Now, researchers led by Prof Tatsuya Tomo from the Tokyo University of Science have published a study revealing new details about this mystery, with a discovery that could potentially help to make solar cells more powerful.

What the scientists knew so far was that Chl f is ‘far-red shifted’, which means that this molecule absorbs far-red light from the lower end of the light spectrum. By studying the alga where the molecule was first discovered, it was shown to be located at the periphery of one of two photosystems (photosystem I). A photosystem is a special structure that mediates photosynthesis.

‘Never been seen before’

They also found that far-red light causes structural changes in the photosystem, which are accompanied by the synthesis of Chl f in the algae, leading them to conclude that Chl f causes these structural changes in photosystem I.

This was the first finding to explain how the molecule works.

“This indicates that Chl f functions to harvest the far-red light and enhance uphill energy transfer,” Tomo said. “We also found that the amino acid sequence of photosystem I was altered so as to accommodate the structure of Chl f.”

Speaking of the importance of this discovery, Tomo said it could allow us to better mimic the process of photosynthesis in an artificial system to capture solar energy.

“About half of the solar energy that falls on the Earth is visible light, and the other half is infrared light,” he said.

“Our research puts forth a mechanism that can use light on the lower energy spectrum, which has never been seen before. Our findings show how to improve the efficiency of energy transfer in photosynthesis and, by extension, also provide important insights into artificial photosynthesis.”

Breakthrough solar cell sets two world records for efficiency

Scientists at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have published findings to Nature Energy on a new solar cell concept with enormous potential. The six-junction cell achieved a solar conversion efficiency of 47.1pc under concentrated illumination, creating a new world record. A second record was also achieved with efficiency of 39.2pc under one-sun illumination.

To construct the device, researchers used so-called III-V materials, which have a wide range of light absorption properties. The name is derived from their position on the periodic table.

Each of the cells’ six photoactive layers – referred to as junctions – are designed to capture light from a specific part of the solar spectrum. In total, the device contains 140 layers of various III-V materials, each three times narrower than a human hair.

Due to their highly efficient nature and the cost associated with making them, III-V solar cells are most often used to power satellites. However, according to the paper’s co-author, Ryan France, this powerful cell design could be well-suited for use in concentrator photovoltaics.

Use a lot less semiconductor material

“One way to reduce cost is to reduce the required area,” he said. “And you can do that by using a mirror to capture the light and focus the light down to a point.

“Then you can get away with a hundredth or even a thousandth of the material, compared to a flat-plate silicon cell. You use a lot less semiconductor material by concentrating the light. An additional advantage is that the efficiency goes up as you concentrate the light.”

France added that it is “very achievable” to soon exceed 50pc efficiency. However, 100pc efficiency can never be reached due to the fundamental limits imposed by thermodynamics.

According to the lead author of the paper, John Geisz, in order to surpass 50pc efficiency the restrictive barriers inside the cell that impede the flow of current will need to be reduced.

Earlier this year, researchers in Japan found that a recently discovered molecule, important in a plant’s ability to photosynthesise sunlight, could also reap rewards for solar cells. The discovery could allow us to better mimic the process of photosynthesis in an artificial system to capture solar energy.

ESB and Harmony Solar agree €30m deal to build Irish solar farms

Ireland’s solar capacity is set to grow over the next decade, with a new project that aims to power 230,000 homes by 2030. ESB and Irish-owned company Harmony Solar have confirmed a deal, initially worth €30m, that will see the pair develop solar projects that can deliver 1,000MW of electricity.

Phase one of the development will see Harmony Solar’s existing planned sites of 300MW in Wexford and Kildare upgraded in capacity to 1,000MW.

“We already have an established position in the solar market in Ireland, with both ground-mounted and rooftop solar projects under development,” said Jim Dollard, executive director for ESB Generation and Trading.

“This agreement with Harmony Solar represents another significant milestone, bolstering the company’s solar portfolio and our wider ambition in developing renewable electricity generation projects of scale.”

Growth of solar

Chair of Wexford-based Harmony Solar, John McEneaney, added: “Irish-owned and with a shared organisational ethos and value system, ESB is now a strategic partner in bringing our current solar projects with planning permission to realisation, and ultimately in delivering on our commitments to our landowners.

“We are looking forward to working together and we are confident that this partnership will further add to our ability to deliver solar power to even more Irish homes in the future.”

While wind energy remains the dominant source of renewable electricity generation in Ireland, solar energy’s presence is set to grow significantly over the coming years.

In January, it was revealed that a partnership between Shannon Energy and Danish firm Obton would see the pair spend €300m to develop solar farms in Ireland. The farms are set to produce a total of 500MW of electricity using specially manufactured solar cells. Sites in Cork, Galway, Longford, Tipperary and Westmeath have all been selected as likely solar farm locations with a capacity of 150MW.

This article is more than 1 month old New renewable energy capacity hit record levels in 2019

Almost three-quarters of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 uses renewable energy, representing an all-time record. New data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) shows solar, wind and other green technologies now provide more than one-third of the world’s power, marking another record.

Fossil fuel power plants are in decline in Europe and the US, with more decommissioned than built in 2019. But the number of coal and gas plants grew in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In the Middle East, which owns half the world’s oil reserves, just 26% of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 was renewable.

The world has invested about $3tn in renewables over the past decade, according to Irena, but annual investments must double by 2030 to tackle the climate emergency.

“While the trajectory is positive, more is required to put global energy on a path with sustainable development and climate mitigation,” said Francesco La Camera, director general of Irena. “At this challenging time, we are reminded of the importance of building resilience into our economies.

La Camera said the huge spending planned by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic must support green initiatives rather than fossil fuels. “In responding to today’s crisis, governments may be tempted to focus on short-term solutions,” he said. “Yet distinctions between short-, medium- and long-term challenges may be deceptive. The pandemic shows that delayed action brings significant economic consequences.”

The global oil market is in turmoil, hit by collapsing demand due to Covid-19 lockdowns and a savage price war between Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US. La Camera said: “Renewable energy is a cost-effective source of new power that insulates power markets and consumers from volatility.” Solar and wind power are now the cheapest form of electricity in two-thirds of the world.

The Irena data shows the increase in new renewable energy capacity slowed slightly in 2019 – from 179GW to 176GW – but that new fossil fuel power also fell. The total green energy installed to date around the world grew by 7.6%, with the UK’s total rising 6.1%. The UK is now 11th in the world for installed renewables.

Brazillian solar PV sector to experience combined effect of falling economy and COVID-19, says GlobalData

Increasing import costs, fall in electricity consumption and indefinitely postponed auctions are likely to impact the momentum of the Brazillian solar PV sector, with the annual installed capacity expected to decline to 0.7GW in 2020 from 1.3 GW in 2019, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The weakening of the Brazilian economy due to the pandemic is causing an increase in import costs, which would impact the viability of projects that have secured financing. The slowing of the economy will make it difficult for the developers to close the financing deals and stall the market growth.

A big driver of the solar PV market in Brazil is the A-4 and A-6 auctions, which of late, have resulted in substantial PV capacities being contracted. The government’s strategy, before the COVID-19 outbreak, was to implement the A-4 public auction in the first half of 2020 and the A-6 auction in the second half and to repeat the same in 2021. With the outbreak of the pandemic, these auctions are to be held when normalcy is restored, which is hard to predict.

Somik Das, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Brazillian solar PV developers generally procure most of the PV components from China. With the outbreak of the pandemic, the delivery of the PV components is experiencing delays because of disruption in the global supply chain. Although the country has a domestic manufacturing industry, the manufactured panels are on average 20% more expensive than imports, due to the taxes and the lower production scale in comparison to China.

“Added to this, the Brazillian Real has experienced a significant drop against the USD going from 4.1 in December 2019 to 5.3 in April 2020. The depreciation of the local currency will make it difficult for project developers and owners to seek financing from international capital markets.”

The rise of solar

With much of the attention on the potential for wind, solar generation is also set to play a significant role in Ireland’s renewable energy revolution.

The Government has approved the inclusion of a solar category in RESS, subject to state aid approval, which would represent approximately 10pc of the overall auction.

According to data provided by Stephen Walsh, co-founder of PHR, a market intelligence company, there have been 334 planning applications submitted in Ireland for solar developments, with 263 granted. The research excluded domestic and small-scale commercial/industrial installations.

Elgin Energy, a solar energy developer, has plans to spend up to €400m developing solar farms in Ireland over the next five years.

Ronan Kilduff, managing director of Elgin Energy in Ireland, said that solar’s role in the Climate Action Plan would be to help balance the demand the energy system will face.

He believes that the first RESS auction will be for 3,000 gigawatt hours and, on that basis, solar will account for over 10pc.

Kilduff believes that Elgin will have around 80MW of capacity to bid into the auction, which could be worth up to €60m.

“We believe Eirgrid is looking for technology-specific because they don’t want to be taken up with just wind, as it can be harder to manage,” he said.

“If you think about the wind that is already deployed on the Irish system, they want a balanced portfolio approach where solar is more predictable.

“We produce power from sunrise to sunset. The wind portfolio comes on in the late evening and through the night, principally in winter. The value of the solar power curve is very reliable. [It peaks] when industry and the population are up using electricity.”

The future of solar energy in Ireland

Drawn from a range of sectors and government departments, Ireland’s National Mitigation Plan outlined a pathway towards decarbonisation for the first time. The document, published in 2017, highlighted a sharp decline in costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) globally, with increased levels of solar (rooftop and mounted) and microgeneration technologies offering further contributions to Ireland’s renewable energy portfolio.

The National Mitigation Plan also confirmed that the prices of such technology will see a continued global decline. Regardless of such a decline, it is generally accepted that the use of solar technology in Ireland is less efficient than, for example, in southern Europe, where solar penetration is stronger. Indeed, offshore wind has traditionally been the most cost-competitive renewable electricity technology in Ireland, accounting for 22.8 per cent of overall electricity generation in 2015.

Despite this, it is recognised that other energy sources, such as solar, can play an important role in Ireland’s future energy mix. The deployment of solar technology in Ireland is intended to diversify the country’s renewable generation portfolio over a 10-year period between 2020 and 2030, with a particular focus on cost efficiency and effectiveness. The convenience of solar PV, which can be deployed in roof-mounted or ground-mounted installations, has been highlighted as a means of empowering the Irish citizen to take control and ownership over energy production and consumption.

The benefits of solar PV to Ireland’s energy mix have been recognised by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), who considered the technology as part of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) which was published in July 2018. The new scheme will provide support to renewable energy projects in Ireland, whilst increasing energy security and sustainability. The Government’s objective of diversifying Ireland’s energy mix may play to the advantage of the solar sector at first auction, as it seeks to ramp up investment in nascent technologies.

Financial support is currently available for solar thermal heating technology through grants offered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large industry can both benefit from these grants. Similarly, households can also avail of grant support for solar thermal under the Better Energy Homes Scheme. Domestic solar thermal systems are designed to meet 50-60 per cent of a household’s hot water requirement across the year. The SEAI have approved 375,000 applications for the Better Energy Homes Scheme since its inception.

Supporting solar in Ireland

Support has also been offered by the SEAI in the form of a Residential Rooftop Solar PV Scheme, which was announced in August 2018. The scheme provides a contribution of up to €3,800 towards total installation costs, and has been highlighted as a measure which would bring more jobs to Ireland’s growing solar sector. The SEAI have argued that such a strategy will encourage self-consumption towards 100 per cent, whilst enhancing public understanding and uptake of solar.

Similarly, the Warmer Home Energy scheme offers a broad range of measures free to householders in need of energy efficiency upgrades, totalling to an average of €3,000. Some of the measures included in the scheme are attic and cavity wall insulation; draught proofing; lagging jackets and low energy light bulbs.

ESB Networks recorded over 500 applications for the installation of solar projects in the Republic of Ireland, according to a completed application list published in 2018. These installations would offer a combined total of over 4,000MW. It is estimated that 1,500MW is achievable by 2022, representing 5 per cent of Ireland’s electricity demand. The ISEA estimates that 2GW solar power could create over 7,000 jobs whilst meeting 7 per cent of the country’s electricity demand.

Aside from this economic contribution, such solar growth could greatly assist Ireland in meeting its EU target of generating 16 per cent of energy requirement from renewables by 2020. Current plans outline that this will be met by 40 per cent from renewable electricity, 12 per cent from renewable heat and 10 per cent from the renewable transport sector. Regardless of such measures, it is widely predicted that Ireland will fail in its 2020 objectives, with current projections lagging far behind at only 13.2 per cent.

Also increasingly the viability of green energy products in Ireland is the lifting of an EU ban on Chinese solar imports. David Maguire of the ISEA has argued that the move could bring down the cost of new Irish solar projects by 10 per cent, whilst encouraging greater supply and competition. The ending of solar import controls from China comes following a 2013 ban, after it was accused of selling solar technology at artificially low prices to shut down European competition.

Planning permission for solar farms has been sought in over 220 applications to local authorities since June 2015. Typical applications submitted to local authorities are from solar farms ranging in size from 20 to 30 acres and offer an average of 5MW of electrical energy. The majority of such applications were submitted with the expectation of a Government support mechanism which would make building more commercially viable. However, such a system has yet to be introduced.

New perspectives

Of particular importance to those considering new solar projects is the proximity of their proposed site to the local substation. Current Irish requirements necessitate a direct connection to the local grid network, unlike many examples across the United Kingdom and Germany where access is provided by a direct connection via an overhead line across sites.

Many factors can party explain the rapid deployment of solar PV across the world in recent years. These include the convenience of the panels, combined with an international push to embrace renewable energy sources. However, two major factors which explain the rise of solar include a drastic drop in module price from $70/watt in 1970 to $0.278/watt as of June 2018, as well as generous government subsidies. Advocates of this increasingly prominent renewable energy source argue that it will have a minimal impact upon the environment, whilst delivering significant benefits to the consumer and the Irish economy as a whole.

It is therefore clear that with the correct support, promotion and subsidisation, solar holds the potential to become one of the most economically viable renewable energy sources on the island of Ireland. This concept is supported by the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA), who argue that solar, as an energy source, has been traditionally overlooked, with greater focus placed on other sources such as wind.

Despite this fact, solar is now internationally recognised as an integral component of the renewable energy mix and may create a pathway through which Ireland could accelerate the rollout of renewable energy at an affordable cost, whilst also creating much needed employment opportunities in the country’s energy sector.

The benefits of solar energy extend far beyond the provision of clean, ‘green’ energy and electricity, according to ISEA. The organisation argues that the introduction of solar PV should be viewed within the broader context of Ireland’s energy mix, where the energy source can complement other renewable technologies such as tidal and wind. Indeed, advocates of solar PV agree that it significantly contributes to the creation of a diverse and secure supply of electricity, whilst generating income for farmers and supporting economic and social growth.

The substantial decline in the costs of solar PV technology have not only benefitted the consumer. Decreasing prices combined with increased interest have encouraged further innovation in the solar sector. Evidence suggests that applications for solar projects are rapidly expanding and range from solar panels in electric vehicles to solar walls in buildings. Beyond the benefits of innovation, the expansion of solar PV is also predicted to add further value to the economic, environmental and social policy objectives of the Irish Government.

The ISEA estimates that an annual subsidy of €30 million will be required to make the solar sector competitive in Ireland. This estimate supports the fact that Ireland is as geographically well-placed as Germany regarding the employment of solar energy. However, it is also generally recognised that solar energy brings with it certain complications which frequently apply to other renewable energy sources. Developing efficient storage systems has been highlighted as a major challenge that must be met to move this emerging technology forward. Indeed, the possibility of developing such a system has been greatly enhanced by the global decline in energy storage price.

Incentives for sustainability

Whilst the Irish Government acknowledges solar sector analysis which demonstrates that solar PV technology costs fell by 80 per cent from 2008 to 2013, former Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, argued for more time to confirm whether this decrease is indicative of a more complex underlying trend. Rather than incentivise the market by introducing a tariff that encourages exports into the national grid, the Irish Government has instead sought to imbed self-consumption as a central concept of its grant scheme.

December 2017 saw the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment announce Cabinet approval for the introduction of a Support Scheme for Renewable Heat. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) saw an allocation of €7 million from Budget 2018 to fund the initial stages of the scheme. The first applications opened in the summer of 2018, despite calls from the Irish Farmer’s Association to fast track its introduction so to allow for its implementation in the first quarter of 2018. RHI is presently exchequer-funded, and solar-thermal technology is eligible for support under the scheme. Budget 2019 has proposed further measures to support renewable projects, including a €500 million Climate Action Fund and a €500 million Disruptive Technologies Fund.

Solar PV takes its place as one of the most versatile technologies to have emerged in recent times. Indeed, its versatility has been recognised as a key driver for more widespread application of the technology in the future. Solar PV’s position as a renewable technology that can be integrated into the built environment make it an ideal contender for urban-based energy projects. Conversely, the non-intrusive nature of the technology also presents itself as suitable for deployment in large projects in rural areas.

The versatility of solar PV has led to a belief held by organisations such as the ISEA that it can act as an interim mitigation measure while the Government determines how to diversify its energy portfolio, whilst also serving as a long-term method of broadening Ireland’s energy mix.