Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “solar”

Whooper Solar Panel

Dutch national research institute TNO and other parties are working on a new type of solar panel that promises to reduce the price of solar electricity. The innovation combines two technologies:

  • Heterojunction silicium solar cells
  • rear-contact module technology

The contacts are placed at the back of the cell, eliminating the need for soldering, reducing ohmic resistance and thus losses.

Efficiency increase 4%
Cost reduction per kWh: 3%

[] – TNO Realizes Innovative Mass Manufacturable Solar Module
[] – TNO’s Whooper solar panel extra efficient
[] – Heterojunction
[] – Rear Contact Solar Cells
[] – TNO ontwikkelt nieuw zonnepaneel Whooper
[] – 23% Efficiency metal wrap through silicon heterojunction

First Solar’s Module Manufacturing Process

Video 2016.

[] – First Solar

Longi Launches 540-Watt Hi-MO5 Panel

Chinese solar panel manufacturer Longi setting new standards:

Wafer: 182mm, M10.
Panel size 2,256 x 1,133 mm.

[] – Longi launches 540-Watt Hi-MO5 module
[] – LONGi lanceert zonnepaneel Hi-MO5 van 540 wattpiek

Lightyear, Tesla & Volkswagen to Cooperate on Solar Roofs

Putting solar panels on your roof of your home is all the rage these days. Then why not put them on the roof of your e-vehicle as well, as they already have a battery to store the yield? Pioneer and Dutch startup Lightyear has presented the “Lightyear One” (see video above) that does just that and apparently has attracted the attention of two major car manufacturers.

Under optimal solar conditions, a Lightyear One can drive ca. 35 miles/day or 12,775 miles annually on solar alone, without the need to plugin. That’s the average commuting distance in many developed countries.

[] – Lightyear in Helmond gaat met Tesla en Volkswagen zonnedak testen
[] – First Lightyear Research Vehicles hit the road
[deepresource] – Lightyear posts

Earlier this year, Lightyear announced a follow-up car that will be considerable cheaper than the initial model; think 50,000 euro. The first model will hit the markets next year at a price of ca. 150,000 euro.

[] – Lightyear belooft nu al komst volgend model

China Intends to Build Solar Power Station in Space by 2025

[] – Space-based solar power
[] – China werkt aan zonne-energiepark in ruimte
[] – China wants to build a power station in SPACE by 2030
[] – China Wants to Build the First Power Station in Space

Carbon Nanotubes Could Boost Solar Power

A heated solar panel has reduced efficiency, so cooling the panel could be worth-while, provided the cooling doesn’t cost more energy than it saves. Here is were carbon nano-tubes come in.

[] – Hydrogel helps make self-cooling solar panels

LightYear One – The Dutch Answer to Tesla

The LightYear One e-vehicle comes with batteries AND solar cells included. The car is special in that its roof consists of solar cells, that in ideal solar conditions, can add 12,000 annual miles to the car battery without having to plug in, providing the car with a range, larger than a Tesla.

Solar Panels on Facades

Solar panels have become so cheap that they have become economical, even if their orientation isn’t energy-optimal over a yearly cycle. For an extremely densely populated country like the Netherlands that is now a fact. For typical Dutch terraced houses, in many cases the roof provides a surface area to mount panels that can produce sufficient electricity to cover the household needs, with the grid as a buffer. For high-rise buildings, the roof is not sufficient, so the facade needs to come into play.


Solar panels can come in different colors these days and even with a bric-structure, enabling the panels to “blend-in” with environment.


Further price reduction of solar energy can be achieved if solar panels can become integrated elements of the building environment. That is, solar panels should become the roof or facade rather than be an add-on, a decoration. Solar panels need to become building elements, who “happen to possess” an active photo-voltaic layer.

An additional benefit of a facade-mounted solar panel is that they provide extra electricity during the dark period, when the sun is low, reducing the need for storage.

[source] Example of solar roof in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. No more expensive and superfluous roof tiles, just panels, covering the thermal insulation layer.

[] – Zonnepanelen niet alleen op daken maar ook op gevels

Coolblue Enters Benelux Solar Installation Market

Coolblue is a retailer for high-end electronic devices like computers, laptops, tablets, camera’s, televisions and much more. They combine a webshop with an outlet presence in Main Street. Now they decided to follow the example of IKEA and enter the mega-market of solar panel installation. The installed solar base in the Netherlands, currently at 6.9 GW and grew with 53% in 2019, is expected to almost triple in this decade:

That amounts to 20 GW peak in 2030, which boils down to 2 GW continuously on an average Dutch electricity consumption of 13 GW. There will be still a lot of work to do between 2030-2050.

[] – Coolblue stapt in zonnepanelen en zoekt duizend installateurs
[] – Coolblue

Putting your money where your mouth is: Coolblue distribution center in Tilburg has giant solar roof.

Autarco Komt met 375 Watt Paneel

De nederlandse zonnepanelenfabrikant Autarco heeft een 375 Watt paneel aangekondigd.

[] – Autarco introduceert nieuw zonnepaneel MHI van 375 wattpiek
[] – Autarco laat zonnepanelen voortaan in Polen produceren

Read more…

Largest Solar Roof in the Netherlands

48,040 solar panels.
12.6 hectare area.
18 MWp.
Location: Venlo Greenport.

[] – Grootste zonnedak van Nederland bijna klaar: 48.040e zonnepaneel Heylen Warehouses geplaatst

Italian Homeowners get Solar Panels for Free


Corona stimulation thingy, the Chinese government will love it.

In Italy, 72% or 19 million households own the home they are living in. In international comparison the average Italian mortgage is a ridiculously low 19k euro. The average Dutch mortgage in contrast is 210k. The real reason why Italy has a high public debt and the Dutch a low, is because the Dutch dutifully pay their taxes where Italians don’t. The latter prefer to illegally pay off their homes, have 3 times the wealth/household as compared to the Dutch (due to paid-off real estate) and next have the nerve to call for “European solidarity” and curse the Dutch and others for not helping lowering the Italians public debt. Even the pope denounced the Italians as tax dodgers. Bloomberg reports an Italian tax evasion rate of 30% and 108B euros in 2016 alone.

And now they are getting a solar system for free, adding to public debt, increasing “Italian need to be bailed-out” (by NW-Europe of course). Italy, the next Greece in the making. What Italy really needs is either go back to the Lira, so the government can print the money it needs at 10% inflation/year, like in the old shabby pre-euro days OR every household gets a 40k mortgage to compensate for the tax-dodging of the past. It is high time for rich Italy and a surplus nation, to become a serious country and get rid of its mafia image.

European solidarity yes, funding tax-dodgers no.

The Italian public debt is 2.1 trillion, the wealth of Italian households is 9.7 trillion. It is high time for the Italian people to show some solidarity with their own state and shift, say 1 trillion, from the households to the government via a national solidarity mortgage. The West-Germans did something similar to the East-Germans after reunification. Time for a European-wide anti-Italian shaming campaign.

Pay your f* taxes!

[] – Italian homeowners can now install PV systems for free
[] – Italian wealth

China is Building 60 GW Annual Output Solar Panel Factory

BEIJING, April 2, 2020 /CNW/ — GCL System Integration Technology Co., Ltd. (GCL-SI) (002506.SZ), a leading PV company in China, recently announced a plan to build a 60GW module factory in Hefei, capital of east China’sAnhui Province. According to the agreement it signed with the Government of Feidong County recently, GCL-SI will invest a total of 18 billion yuan in the project which will be built in four phases, each with a production capacity of 15GW, from 2020 to 2023. The first phase requires a total investment of 5 billion yuan and is expected to start operation this year. Upon completion of the project, GCL-SI will have the world’s largest module production capacity, said the company.

Note that the annual output of this factory would be larger than what Germany installed over 30 years! Oh and Michael Moore is an idiot.

[] – GCL-SI to build 60GW module factory in Hefei, east China
[] – GCL-SI building 60GW integrated solar module megacomplex in Hefei

Solar Enhanced Oil Recovery

The oil industry uses steam to extract oil from the ground and uses natural gas to produce that steam. In the desert however you can produce steam much cheaper than with natural gas, namely with concentrated solar power (CSP). Through this technology it becomes economical to extract more oil than was possible with natural gas. The US 2009 startup Glasspoint uses that technology in California and Oman. Characteristic for Glasspoint is that it builds a greenhouse around its CSP-mirrors to shield it from desert elements and allow for cheaper, less robust CSP-structures. Glasspoint claims to be able to produce steam 2-3 times cheaper than with conventional CSP.

Sadly, Glasspoint didn’t survive the Corona-induced oil price slump and went bust this month. Shell and Exxon were not willing to put more money into the operation.

[] – Glasspoint
[] – Glasspoint, a Shell-funded solar enhanced-oil-recovery startup, is in liquidation

Automated Solar Panel Production


Top 17 Solar Panel Manufacturers in Europe

Company HQ Production
SolarWorld Germany
Hanwha Q Cells Germany
REC Group Norway 8.7 GW total
Kioto Solar Austria 150 MW/year
Photowatt France 100 MW/year
Victron Energy Netherlands
Lorentz Germany
ATERSA Group Spain 344 MW/year
Megasol Energy Switzerland
Luxor Solar Germany 350 MW/year
Solarwatt Germany
IBC Solar Germany 3 GW total in 2016
Aleo Solar Germany 280 MW/year in 2015
Sunerg Solar Italy
Hanover Solar Germany 3.6 GW total
RECOM Austria
Selfa Poland

[] – Top 18 Solar Panel Manufacturers in Europe
[] – Industrial Strategy for Solar Key to Reigniting European Solar PV Manufacturing
[] – List of photovoltaics companies

Solar Panel Specific Yield

World map solar specific yield in kWh/kWp

For a given location, the annual yield for a given solar panel can be derived from its manufacturer provided peak-Watt number. In the Netherlands for instance the conversion factor is about 0.88, which means that if you have a panel of 300 pW, the yearly yield will be 300 x 0.88 = 264 kWh. The conversion factor is very location specific, see global map above, with major factors being latitude, cloud cover, temperature. Obviously there is a very strong correlation between that factor and the local annual irradiation, see map below. The best place on earth to install a solar panel is in the Andes mountains in Northern Chile, because of the high altitude and low temperatures. There, the yield of the same solar panel will be 6.4/2.4 = 2.7 times higher as in the Netherlands.

[source]World map solar irradiation

[] – Solar power by country
[globalsolaratlas] – Accurate specific solar yield data for your location

Largest EU Solar Park now Operational

Last month, Núñez de Balboa, with 500 MW the largest photo-voltaic plant in Europe, became operational.

Solar installation ranking Europe 2018:

Country GW
Germany 45.9
Italy 20.1
UK 13.1
France 9.4
Spain 7.0
Netherlands 4.2

[] – Europe’s largest solar park now online
[] – Núñez de Balboa, the biggest photovoltaic plant in Europe
[Google Maps] – Location Núñez de Balboa solar park


New Record Dutch Solar Electricity

May 6, 2020: 15%

[] – Martien Visser

Solaroad Update 2020

7 Solaroad projects to date

[] – Solaroad portfolio

It all began here in 2014, in Krommenie in the Netherlands:

Read more…

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