The long read: Storage … ready?

The story of residential rooftop solar is one of liberation. Confronted with high module prices, early PV adopters experienced significantly longer payback periods – it was not unheard of for homeowners to be making monthly finance payments higher than their utility bills. But consumers were motivated, seeking independence from the stranglehold that electricity providers had on them with ever-increasing utility rates.

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The long read: A highly promising cobalt-free battery for electric vehicles

We increasingly need safe, affordable, and powerful batteries as we move to greener technologies. Battery-powered electric cars, for example, have much higher safety standards than our phones, and for such vehicles to travel long distances, lighter batteries with higher energy density and rapid-charging capabilities would make a world of difference. Majid Rasool, a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, discusses a potential solution.

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The long read: Independently evaluating battery quality

Companies investing in battery energy storage have historically relied on trust in the major brands supplying the batteries and complete systems. However, with the absence of international manufacturing quality standards, increasing price pressure on major brands, and the proliferation of low-cost manufacturers, buyers and investors are being forced to address quality risks with batteries. Ian Gregory and Benjamin Sternkopf of PI Berlin discuss the need for independent quality assessment in energy storage.

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The long read: Advanced lead batteries for microgrids

With demand for cleaner forms of energy and a greater need for flexibility and reliability in the power supply, the role of battery energy storage is critical. Innovation in battery technology is essential to match demand growth and the shift in technical requirements. Predictions of 400,000 MWh of battery storage required by 2025 means that all battery technologies will play a role in contributing to a clean energy future.

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The long read: Bangladesh’s renewables pioneer dreams of a ‘solar nation’

Dipal C Barua started installing rooftop solar systems in Bangladesh when the PV industry itself was in its infancy, with his company Grameen Shakti. Now heading up the Bright Green Energy Foundation, Barua installs small residential systems, streetlights, and irrigation pumps throughout rural Bangladesh under various government programs.

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The long read: PV + e-mobility = economic development

Mobility in rural Kenya is currently flooded with unsustainable CO2-emitting motorcycles that pose a threat to the environment and public health. But the electric tricycle is an environmentally friendly alternative, and Solar E-cycles – a homegrown Kenyan startup – believes a leasing model could unlock a ton of three-wheeled potential.

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The long read: Scientists at Argonne develop new kind of thermal battery

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new kind of thermal battery that can greatly increase the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness of many industrial processes and shows great promise for use in the solar industry. Liz Thompson reports that Argonne’s Thermal Energy Storage System (TESS) can rapidly capture and store surplus heat so that it can be used as needed. With its pioneering modular design and material advancements resulting in greater efficiency, TESS is a big step forward in thermal battery technology.

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The long read: Scientists at Argonne develop new kind of thermal battery

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new kind of thermal battery that can greatly increase the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness of many industrial processes and shows great promise for use in the solar industry. Liz Thompson reports that Argonne’s Thermal Energy Storage System (TESS) can rapidly capture and store surplus heat so that it can be used as needed. With its pioneering modular design and material advancements resulting in greater efficiency, TESS is a big step forward in thermal battery technology.

The long read: Criteria and implications for gallium-doping

As a remedy for light-induced degradation (LID) in crystalline silicon cells, gallium-doped wafers are showing considerable promise. With reports that ingot growth productivity can rival that of boron doping, it seems that gallium doping may now be able to meet the cost, integration and performance criteria that have informed solar manufacturing technology adoption, writes Alex Barrows, senior research analyst at U.K.-based consultancy Exawatt.

The long read: Cheaper, safer EV batteries to bolster grid

Electric vehicles can transition from liabilities to assets if steps are taken by battery manufacturers, the auto industry, and policymakers, argues Milan Rosina, a principal analyst in the power electronics and batteries division of Yole Développement.

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