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The long read: Canal-top solar solutions

Climate change is exacerbating water scarcity in many parts of the world, and while renewable energy is a long-term solution, in many cases it is a short-term solution, too. One such case in the energy-water nexus is that of canal-top solar, which was pioneered in India a decade ago, when the first canal-top solar array was installed in Gujarat. And new findings from the University of California and the resulting Project Nexus are now shining attention on a symbiotic application: saving water, while generating solar energy, without occupying arable land.

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Terracotta solar tiles for historical buildings

Germany’s paXos, whose solar roof tiles were bought by Meyer Burger and unveiled last year, has shown off its new “Beaver Tail” terracotta solar tiles at Intersolar 2022.

The long read: Sky-scraping solar

As people have gradually migrated to the world’s cities, urban areas have migrated upward to scrape the sky. And yet, while one of the first principles of power generation is to generate as close as possible to the point of consumption, energy systems have long been designed to deliver electricity to major cities from distant hubs. But now, thanks to recent advances in solar panel energy density and building-integrated PV, vertical cities could soon be standing tall under their own power.

Invasion of Ukraine an inadvertent boost for green hydrogen

Rystad Energy has joined BloombergNEF with a significant forecast for gray and blue hydrogen off the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to the analysts, the impact of the war has sent prices of fossil fuel-tied forms of hydrogen production surging, leaving the gradual but consistent downward price trend of green hydrogen now looking remarkably competitive.

The long read: Is the coast clear for solar to head offshore?

There are literal oceans of space for floating PV (FPV), beyond the first applications on lakes, reservoirs and hydro-electric dams. For countries where land is at a premium, such as the Netherlands, Singapore, and Japan, offshore FPV is of particular interest. Of course, unlike a reservoir, the sea is rarely still. Thankfully FPV’s growth has also brought technological innovation and maturity with it, meaning the coast could now be clear for solar to head offshore.

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Solar farms prove to bee hives of economic activity

A new study from researchers at the universities of Lancaster and Reading in the UK has managed to quantify the economic boost provided by the symbiotic relationship between solar farms and honeybee hives.

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Co-located hubs key to battery industry competitiveness

A report from Australia’s Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre which analysed the development of battery hubs in the U.S., Germany and Japan, has found that co-location and cooperation between industry and government were key to their success. For Australia to play the same game, it will have to leverage its wealth of resources, and clean up its act along the way.

The long read: Drones for solar – how useful are they?

Drones have already established themselves in industries as disparate as warfare, wedding photography, and burrito delivery, and increasingly the solar sector is taking the high road, too. Combined with thermal imaging, drones have the potential to obviate expensive maintenance costs for large-scale solar plants, as well as C&I and growing niches like floating PV. But how useful are they, and what role does AI play in making the most of a bird’s eye view?

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Singapore’s 60 MW floating PV array up and running

There’s talking the talk, there’s walking the walk, and then there’s walking the walk on water. Earlier this year at US President Joe Biden’s Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the city-state would need to “innovate and use technology extensively” to overcome its resource scarcity. With one of the world’s largest floating PV arrays now in operation, it seems as if Singapore is floating in the right direction.

The long read: Floating solar up to standard

Floating PV is a growing market, especially in Asian countries with land pressures. However, like many promising niches, it is growing faster than the standards surrounding it. With installed floating PV capacity set to double in 2021, a raft of various and sometimes competing standards are being floated, but the question remains – what is truly the best way forward?