PV News Brief 5 – 19 August, 2014
PV set to be cheapest energy by 2020, says solar developer
Companies mentioned: Solairedirect, Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association, ET Solar Energy Corp., ET Capital, Geenex, Earthlinks, Nanyang Technological University, the Young Men's Christian Association of Singapore, Rezeca Renewables, MyLaoHome Hotels & Villas Co, Trina Solar, Good Energy Group, Canadian Solar, Entropy Investment Management and Entropy Solar Integrators
PV News Brief 5 – 19 August, 2014
PV set to be cheapest energy by 2020, says solar developer
The cost of solar power has dropped considerably in recent years with certain markets expected to shine in terms of LCOE. Saudi Arabia is expected to be one of those markets, according to PV developer Solairedirect.
Solar power costs have fallen dramatically over the last five years, thanks to lower module prices, lower balance of system costs, and increased competition at the development and EPC level. Financing costs have also decreased as investors recognize the low-risk profile of solar assets. As a result, solar power is now cheaper than most alternative power sources.
"For systems with the right economies of scale – 10 megawatt and above - solar power can now be generated at between US$70 and US$100/MWh. That price is more than four times lower than in 2009," says Thierry Lepercq, founder and president of France-based Solairedirect, a developer of large photovoltaic (PV) power plants with low levelized cost of energy (LCOE).
According to PRNewswire, within this price range, Saudi Arabia could offer some of the lowest LCOE levels, according to Lepercq. "Today in Saudi Arabia, it is possible to reach a solar LCOE of between US$70/MWh in the higher irradiation/elevation areas in the western part of the kingdom, and around US$90/MWh in the Gulf area," he says.
With such competitive costs, the Saudi solar market has been growing steadily. Earlier this year, Solar Frontier completed the 1 MW CPV power plant at the Nofa Equestrian Resort, near Riyadh. And in the next few months, Saudi Aramco's KAPSARC II project that will extend their existing solar plant from 3.5 MW to 5.3 MW should also come online.
"Recent developments in Saudi Arabia, such as the interest of local investors in financing PV projects and the growing amount of traction that EPC companies are gaining, are a clear indication of the Kingdom's potential to evolve into a sustainable solar energy market," said Dr. Raed Bkayrat, Vice President for Saudi Arabia at First Solar.
"With access to all the critical elements - low-cost finance, land availability, high solar irradiance and locally-based, skilled resources - there is no reason why Saudi Arabia cannot achieve some of the lowest PV levelized costs of electricity in the region," said Dr. Bkayrat.
In addition, "the local PV manufacturing sector, already under development leveraging KSA's excellent industrial infrastructure, with region-specific PV R&D initiatives at local institutions (i.e. KAUST, KACST), would provide a further boost not only to additional cost decrease but also to increased human capital development in the Saudi solar sector" according to Imtiaz Mahtab, a board member of the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA).
Further cost reductions can be expected as all cost factors continue to improve, down to US$50-US$70/MWh by 2020, according to Lepercq. By then, solar PV power would be by far the cheapest energy in the world, said the press statement.
Partnership and vision at heart of North Carolina 20MW project
ET Solar Energy Corp., an energy solutions provider, has reported that its US subsidiary ET Capital, with Geenex, a solar energy developer, have closed financing and started construction on a 20MW AC - 30MW DC utility-scale project, which will be completed and connected to the grid this year in Halifax County North Carolina.
The system is being built on the former Halifax County Airport site, which was abandoned upon operation of the new Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport. Adjacent to the solar field, Geenex is building the solar centre of excellence, a modern education and operations centre, which will ensure the project, brings strong benefits to the community. The Centre will be a pathway to education, training, and employment in renewable energy, as well provide the infrastructure through which the solar industry can grow. Electricity generated by the nearly one hundred thousand modules (30MW DC) on over 220 acres will be sold to Dominion North Carolina Power under a 15-year power purchase agreement.
Dennis She, President and CEO of ET Solar, commented. "This type of scale, unheard of just a few short years ago, would not be possible without the support and dedication of a group of strong partners with a shared vision. We appreciate their efforts and look forward to working closely with Geenex to accomplish more projects in the future."
"The entire project is unique," said Georg Veit, CEO of Geenex. "It is developed with invaluable/strong support from the County, as part of an economic development agreement, meaning we are doing much more than just building a solar farm.
Geenex's vision doesn't end with one of the largest solar farms in the southeast but extends much further and shows that the industry will see much more from this young and energetic company. "
Yingli Solar donates 3KW off-grid power to Laos school
Yingli Solar, the largest vertically integrated PV module manufacturer in the world, has donated a 3KW off-grid solar power system to a school in Laos that had no prior access to electricity.
The project resulted from Yingli's collaboration with Earthlinks, an environmental club from Nanyang Technological University, the Young Men's Christian Association of Singapore, and Rezeca Renewables, a system integrator in Singapore. MyLaoHome Hotels & Villas Co. Ltd, a local community partner, also assisted with project coordination and logistics.
Located in Ban Lad Khammune, which is four hours from the city of Luang Prabang by boat, the school serves over 100 primary and secondary students from seven nearby villages. The official commissioning of the project took place in late June.
The off-grid solar energy system powers LED lighting for night classes, which the school implemented to meet increased demand as its student body grows. To improve students' learning environment, electric fans were installed that provide classrooms with much-needed ventilation in Laos' hot climate. The electricity produced by the system will also be used to power projectors, audio-visual systems, and related equipment to enhance the school's educational programme.
With guidance from Yingli Solar and Rezeca Renewables, twenty Earthlinks NTU student volunteers planned the wiring of the school, which provided them with a valuable opportunity to apply knowledge and skills gained in the classroom to solve practical, real-life problems. NTU Earthlinks volunteers also conducted an English language and Environmental Awareness Programme for the local students that used interactive activities such as drama, songs and games, and also installed the lights and fans at the school.
"We are honoured to be part of this initiative and to see that our products and services are contributing positively to the community," said Angie Koh, Business Development Director of Yingli Singapore.
"This project powerfully exemplifies how renewable, sustainable energy can improve the lives of rural communities, and is reflective of Yingli's larger efforts to improve the lives of people around the world with affordable green energy. By partnering with NGOs and environmental organizations, Yingli can make a more significant impact with its community work in South East Asia," said Koh.
Trina Solar acquires 49.9MW UK solar plant
Trina Solar, a China specialist in PV modules, solutions, and services, has acquired a 49.9 MW utility-scale ground-mounted power project in the UK from Good Energy Group. As a mature and fast growing PV market, the UK presents opportunities for Trina to continue to invest in the downstream business.
The solar PV power plant received planning consent in January 2014 and will use Trina Solar's PV modules. Construction will start in the third quarter of 2014 and the site is expected to be connected to the national grid before the end of the first quarter of 2015.
If connection occurs prior to the end of March 2015 it will be entitled to receive 1.4 Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) per megawatt-hour (MWh). Once operational, the project is expected to supply clean energy to more than 14,000 UK homes per year.
"This new project represents a new step forward for Trina Solar in the UK following the completion and grid-connection of our first two projects that totalled an installed capacity of 23.8 MWp. This new project will further strengthen our leading market position in the UK, as well as in Europe," said Mr. Jifan Gao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Trina Solar.
"As a mature and fast growing PV market, the UK presents opportunities for Trina to continue to invest in the downstream business. With a diversified downstream pipeline in China, Europe, Japan and Middle East, we are well positioned to realize our goal of 400 MW to 500 MW project developments this year."
Canadian Solar supplies 44 MW to North Carolina solar farms
Canadian Solar has completed a 44 MWp module sales agreement with affiliates of Entropy Investment Management and Entropy Solar Integrators. Entropy will construct seven solar farms in North Carolina in 2014 by using the Canadian Solar CS6X-P PV module series.
Over the next twenty years, the projects are anticipated to generate more than 1.1 Mio. kWh of solar energy. This is equivalent to taking the CO2 emission of more than 94,000 automobiles off the road or powering more than 130,000 homes.
Lewis Reynolds, Managing Partner of Entropy Investment Management, said that Entropy has a strong partnership with Canadian Solar with the latest deal marking the second major order for projects that will enter service this year.
“We are particularly pleased that we were able to consummate this deal at a fair price even after the imposition of new duties on solar products,” said Reynolds. “Continued commitment to the US market by low cost manufacturers such as Canadian Solar in spite of the challenges is encouraging and ultimately essential for the continued deployment of low cost solar energy in the United States," he said.