The long read: Model progress

While it has often been referred to as “the future of PV” in recent years, discussions surrounding bifacial technology are now very much in the present. Modules are beginning to roll off production lines in significant numbers, and industry players are boasting of gigawatts of bifacial projects that are already installed or in the late stages of development. But it’s still early days for the technology, and there are questions to answer for it to achieve its full potential. pv magazine investigates the modeling and optimization of bifacial PV’s performance.

A new battery mix to prevent dendrites

Scientists at the United States Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered a root cause of dendrite formation, which can cause battery failure and even fires in lithium-ion technology. With this new knowledge, the group is now working on electrolyte recipes that eliminate dendrite growth entirely.

Danish researchers bring some color to rooftop PV

Scientists led by the Technical University of Denmark have begun a project to design solar cells that can be produced in different colors with minimal effect on performance, making them suitable for building-integrated and other applications with aesthetic considerations.

The long read: Both sides of the debate

Choosing the best material to cover the backside of a module has long been a contentious issue, and the rise of bifacial technology has brought further complexity to the debate. With transparent backsheet materials quickly making their way to market, the Intersolar Europe edition of the Quality Roundtable event series sought to bring some clarity to the rear side of modules, and illuminate some of the issues that can occur in the field – both with glass-glass and glass-backsheet modules.

IHS Markit: Trackers to account for a third of PV installations

New analysis predicts more than 150 GW of tracker capacity will be installed in the next five years – around a third of all ground mount projects up to 2024. Rapid growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and the better cost structures possible from combining trackers and bifacial modules are singled out as key trends.

The long read: Production ambitions

While China hosts the lion’s share of production capacity for solar modules, many other parts of the world harbor the ambition to build manufacturing industries of their own. Italy’s Ecoprogetti is building production lines all over the world in 2019, and pv magazine had the chance to catch up with the family-owned company’s CEO Laura Sartore, who sees India and the Middle East as the key markets for the PV production equipment business.

Nanowire mesh offers better cell performance and lower costs

A new method of creating an ordered mesh of nanowires, developed by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the United States, could lead to the creation of more efficient transparent electrode layers in solar cells – and the elimination of a rare material from the manufacturing process.

Stitching together the grid of the future

A vision of a decentralized, renewable-powered electricity grid is being brought a step closer by scientists at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Their project, Autonomous Energy Grids, aims to take an overarching look at the solutions that will power this grid of the future, and to fill any gaps that appear between them.

A close look at nature could lead to cheaper hydrogen

Scientists at the Australia National University have observed a key stage in the process of photosynthesis which could be copied to greatly increase the efficiency of sunlight-powered water splitting processes used to produce hydrogen.

The long read: Change to the cast

Few in the industry predicted the speed at which monocrystalline technology would develop, or the impressive cost reductions it would achieve by 2019. This has left producers of multicrystalline products facing rapidly shrinking market share and struggling to compete on a cost per watt basis. Many are now turning to cast mono processes, essentially creating a monocrystalline, or ‘mono-like’ silicon ingot in a multicrystalline furnace, to reach higher efficiencies and extend equipment lifetimes.

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