New Solar Cell Tech Promises Higher Efficiency, Lower Costs
This week's renewable energy update presents the latest significant shifts and advancements in the sector. Here are the key developments and news stories impacting the landscape of solar energy:
What Happened This Week in Solar News
Perovskite-Silicon Tandem Cells Set to Boost Efficiency, Face Market Challenges
In a significant development in solar technology, companies like Oxford PV and Hanwha Qcells are advancing the production of perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells, poised to enhance solar panel efficiency by at least 20% compared to traditional silicon cells. Oxford PV plans to release their panels in the next year, while Hanwha Qcells is setting up a production line for a 2024 launch.
Despite the potential efficiency gains, these new cells face challenges in stability and longevity, especially under environmental stress. This innovation arrives in a market still dominated by silicon, which has seen a significant drop in cost and increase in efficiency over the years.
The success of these tandem cells will depend on their ability to offer cost-effective and durable alternatives to the established silicon technology.
US Solar Capacity Surges in 2023, Outpacing Natural Gas and Other Energy Sources
In the first three quarters of 2023, solar capacity in the United States has seen remarkable growth, surpassing all other energy sources in terms of new electrical generation capacity.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) report, solar contributed 9,924 megawatts (MW), accounting for 42.4% of the total new US generating capacity. This represents a 32.8% increase compared to the previous year.
Solar's growth outperformed natural gas (8,962 MW) and was significantly higher than the new nuclear reactor in Georgia. Other renewable sources, including wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass, collectively contributed to over half of the new capacity added since January.
Solar's share of total installed US generating capacity is rapidly approaching that of wind and hydropower. FERC forecasts that solar will continue to dominate, with expected additions of 85,657 MW by September 2026, far exceeding projections for wind and natural gas.
Arizona to Pioneer America's First Solar Canal, Aiming for Renewable Energy and Water Conservation
Arizona is set to complete the first solar-covered canal in the United States within the next few years, marking a significant step in renewable energy projects. This initiative, resulting from an agreement between the Gila River Indian Community and the US Army Corps of Engineers, aims to supply clean energy while reducing water evaporation in the drought-prone state.
The project, inspired by a similar endeavor in Gujarat, India, involves installing solar photovoltaic shades over a 305-meter stretch of the 1-10 Level Top canal. These shades will capture sunlight and simultaneously act as a barrier against water evaporation. The water beneath the panels will also help maintain a more efficient operating temperature for the panels.
The first phase of the project is expected to generate about 1 MW of renewable energy, benefiting tribal farmers.
European Solar Companies Caution Against Potential EU Tariffs on Imported Solar Products
More than 400 companies in the European solar power sector have expressed concern over potential trade investigations that could lead to the European Union imposing tariffs on imported solar products.
These companies are urging policymakers to consider the negative impact such measures could have on the industry.
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