Maximizing the potential of PV irrigation in Spain’s ‘Sea of Plastic’

Spanish researchers have developed an analytical model to optimize the operation of PV water pumping systems. They say simultaneously irrigating different parts of a farm could help minimize costs and maximize energy use. The model was tested on an olive farm divided into four zones in the Spanish province of Almería.

100% renewables means 95% less water consumption for conventional power generation

According to a new study by Finland’s LUT University, solar PV consumes between 2% and 15% of the water that coal and nuclear power plants use to produce just 1 MWh of output; for wind, this percentage ranges from 0.1% to 14%. Under the researchers’ best policy scenario, water consumption could be reduced by 75.1% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.

Coupling pumped hydro with renewables and other storage technologies

The combination of pumped hydro with other storage technologies can increase renewables penetration, improve operational safety and reduce maintenance costs at large-scale hydropower plants, according to new research. The study also focuses on techniques to determine the optimal size of renewables-based pumped hydro storage systems. Costs for hybrid solar-pumped hydro projects currently range from $0.098/kWh to $1.36/kWh.

Assessing metal leaching from PV modules dumped in landfill

An Indian Institute of Technology research team analyzed around 300 studies about PV panel waste containing carcinogenic metals. The researchers said solar module recycling is not economically profitable and policy support is necessary to avoid panels being dumped in landfill.

New metallization tech to reduce microcracks in solar cells

A U.S. research group has developed a metal-carbon-nanotube composite – MetZilla – which can be embedded in commercial, screen-printable silver pastes and is said to reduce the formation of hotspots in solar modules and to prolong panel lifespan. The composite metal contacts are also ‘self-healing’ as they are able to regain electrical continuity after cycles of complete electrical failure caused by extreme strain.

New material for radiative cooling of solar panels

Spanish researchers have discovered a material said to offer radiative cooling and self-cleaning of devices which undergo critical heating during operation, such as PV panels. The thermal emitter enabled the scientists to lower the daytime temperature of silicon wafers by 14 degrees Celsius.

Perovkiste solar cells need proteins

A U.S. research team has used protein bacteriorhodopsin to improve the efficiency of what it called ‘bioperovskite’ solar cells. The scientists used Förster Resonance Energy Transfer to predict the strength of long-range excitonic transport between the perovskite and protein layers.

Afghanistan kicks off tender for another 40 MW solar project

The facility will be developed under the World Bank’s Scaling Solar initiative on a public-private partnership basis in Herat province.

Solar-plus-storage can boost investor confidence

A British study has found co-location of solar and storage may accelerate the deployment of profitable merchant renewable energy projects in the United Kingdom. The report predicts installed solar capacity in the U.K. could increase from around 13 GW next year to 19 GW in 2030 and 32 GW in 2040.

Commercial solar at grid parity in China but a hard line is needed on soft costs

Deploying commercial and industrial PV in China without subsidy is already profitable in some areas, according to a new study, but prohibitive soft costs and cheap electricity are the main barriers for such installations in areas where grid parity remains out of reach.

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