Rapid rise of module technology lowering capex for utility PV

November 2019

Rapid rise of module technology lowering capex for utility PV


Article: Aussie renewables boom will kill coal-fired generation earlier than predicted


RenewableCube: Up to date, detailed, and comprehensive database of solar, wind and storage assets in Australia, India and SE Asia

Renewable product updatesIn October 2019, 28 Australian assets developed by 20 companies were added to the RenewableCube, accounting for 7147 MW of capacity. Of the 28 new projects, nine are solar, 16 are storage and three wind. Data for a further 62 projects, representing 26000 MW, was updated.   

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Module technology shifting rapidly in Australia

The majority of Australian solar farms utilize PV modules with silicon solar cells, a technology that has evolved rapidly over just a few short years. The crux of this change is the development of the type of solar wafer used (mono- or multi-crystalline) and the advancement of cell design (Al-BSF vs PERC). The impact of these advances is increased power output from same or similar-size modules. The flow-on effect is significant for developers, who require less trackers, piles, cabling, land and installation time to build their assets. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years. Developers are currently being quoted modules in the 390-400 Wp range, with most manufacturers showcasing modules of 430 Wp and above at the All Energy conference.


Curtailment hits Vietnam after commissioning bonanza

Vietnam has added 4.4 gigawatts (GWac) of PV capacity in 2019, more than 42% of which has come from just two provinces – Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan. Out of the country’s 63 provinces and cities, these two regions blew the competition out of the water thanks to their excellent wind and solar resources. Yet despite this huge accomplishment, obstacles remain. Securely integrating gigawatts of PV into the grid is challenging, and Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has introduced substantial curtailments to the commissioned capacity of solar plants in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan, reportedly throttling up to 64% of capacity. The sheer speed of development and substantial size of new renewable projects this year has put a squeeze on the Vietnamese transmission network, but relief is expected in the coming years through infrastructure upgrades, which will ensure the continued growth of the renewable industry in the country. 

5 GW hydrogen export project proposed in Western Australia

A third renewable export project has been proposed by Hydrogen Renewables Australia (HRA) consisting of  up to 5 GWac of wind and PV at Murchison House Station near Kalbarri in Western Australia. The project aims to produce green hydrogen in a staged approach. First is a pilot phase providing hydrogen for transport, the second stage will blend hydrogen with natural gas in the Dampier-Bunbury pipeline, while the third stage would be a large expansion to produce hydrogen for Asian markets. This project takes the total proposed pipeline of renewable export projects in Australia to 30 GWac.