German Solar breaks three records

German solar breaks three records in two weeks


Update: The country’s remarkable PV performance demonstrates the need for electricity storage solutions, says Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI). Germany is nevertheless poised to miss this year’s target for added PV capacity.

On June 9, German solar power production peaked at a record 23.1 GW, equal to 50.6% of total electricity demand.

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According to a recent analysis from the Fraunhofer ISE solar energy research institute, photovoltaic systems generated a record 24.24 GW between 1 and 2 pm on June 6 and a total of 1.26 terawatt hours over the entire week, likewise setting a new high.

On June 9, a national holiday in Germany, solar power production peaked at 23.1 GW, equal to 50.6% of total electricity demand, setting another milestone.

“German solar demonstrated just what it is capable of in the first two weeks of June,” said Tobias Rothacher, expert for renewable energies at Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) — the German Economic Affairs and Energy Ministry’s foreign trade and investment promotion agency.

“The large amounts of solar electricity being generated demonstrate clearly that Germany will need more energy storage capacity in the future,” Rothacher said. “Already, the more than 1.4 million photovoltaic systems are producing a surplus, especially on sunny days around midday.”

Rothacher added that from now on, every new solar system that is installed in Germany increases the need for electricity storage solutions. He points out that the cost of storage systems is forecast to drop in the coming years “and this means that storage is not only becoming more necessary — it is becoming more attractive from a financial point of view as well.”

Indeed, GTAI recently predicted that sales of solar power storage systems in Germany are set to skyrocket.

Experts from GTAI will be at Energy Storage China from June 23-24 in Beijing to advise international investors about relevant opportunities in the German market.

Despite the strong performance, the German photovoltaic market continues to fall sharply after a slump in 2013, however. Following a decline in the construction new installations from 7,500 to 3,300 MW last year, the federal government will likely miss this year’s targets.

Germany’s PV market shrank further by around 45% this spring, the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) said on Thursday. According to unpublished figures from the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), newly installed PV capacity in Germany from January through the end of May reached just 818 MW. If the trend continues, the federal government will miss its official target range of between 2.5 GW and 3.5 GW this year for the first time, BSW-Solar said, adding that Germany would likely not even reach the lower-end figure of 2,500 MW.

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Brazil 2014, Greenest World Cup in football’s history

Despite the controversies of this year’s World Cup there is an element Brazil can be proud of: This is the greenest World Cup in football’s history. And the main reason behind its green credentials is solar PV.

Overall, of the tournament’s 12 venues, only three are currently equipped with solar photovoltaic installations, although a further two stadiums are soon going to install PV systems. After the installation of these systems, the stadium will be the first in the world to be self-sufficient in energy production and also able to use the surplus energy in other parts of the city.

Liana Mascarenhas, who works for the company that operates the Fonte Nova Arena in the city of Salvador, told pv magazine that after the World Cup, Salvador’s stadium “will install 500 kW of solar PV, capable of generating 750 megawatt hours per year and equivalent to the average consumption of 3,000 Brazilians.” The project, Mascarenhas said, will require an investment of around BRL 5.5 million ($2.5 million) and will use flexible panels installed on the compression ring of the roof. “The installation of the solar plant will reduce energy consumption in the arena by 10%,” Mascarenhas added.


Will future World Cups become more “green”?

Simon Trace, chairman of the British non-governmental organization Practical Action pointed out that “on the one hand, the organizers and FIFA are to be congratulated for making a considerable financial investment and making this the greenest World Cup in history. However, it is also an indictment of the investment in renewable energy in the developing world that there are 10 competing countries that do not even produce as much solar energy as a single World Cup stadium.”

Trace’s comment refers to Brasilia’s stadium, which once completed will boast a 2.5 MW PV system. Practical Action said that “Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Iran, Ivory Coast and Uruguay all produce less solar power than the 2.5 MW solar capability of the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia.”

Others though have argued that although Brazil’s World Cup is an improvement compared to past tournaments green-wise, the outcome is far from impressive. Solar PV in total has spread widely since the 2010 World Cup, but for a tournament accused of over-spending and which reached a total budget of some $11.5 billion, 5.9 MW of solar power is rather little, critics argue.


Warren Buffet aiming to double his investment in the renewable energy sector

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. already committed $15 billion to build solar and wind power. Warren Buffett (chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.) recently expressed that, as far as he’s concerned, there’s another $15 billion ready to be invested in the renewable energy sector.

While utilities don’t offer the returns of businesses that Buffett favored earlier in his career, he stated he likes the industry since it provides opportunities for reinvestment and further acquisitions. In 2000 Buffett bought control of an energy holding company in lowa and he helped the company’s expansion by inlaying money. Buffett renamed the company to Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Unlike other utility-holding companies, Berkshire Hathaway Energy retains all of its earnings. This probably will also be the case in the future. By estimate the unit could reinvest about $30 billion into its business in the next decade. Berkshire has been able to invest so much cash into renewable energy because it can use tax credits to offset profit at other business units.

Investments in the renewable energy sector are important since the U.S. tries to decrease its reliance on fossil-fuel generation.

While spending $30 billion on renewable-energy projects would have been unheard of two decades ago at Berkshire, Buffett is signaling that the returns are attractive, said Jeff Matthews, a shareholder and author of books about the company. “If he says it, he means it,” said Matthews. “The whole complexion of the company has changed.”


GE Plans to Invest $1 Billion Annual on Solar, Wind Farms

General Electric Co.’s (GE) Energy Financial Services unit plans to invest more than $1 billion a year on renewable-power projects.

That will build upon the $10 billion that GE has already invested in 17 gigawatts of mostly wind and solar plants since forming the unit in 2006, said EFS Chief Executive Officer David Nason. Those plants help avert 26 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions annually, the equivalent of 5.6 million cars.

Renewable power is EFS’s fastest-growing energy market, and investing in power plants is also a way to spur sales of equipment from Stamford, Connecticut-based GE, Nason said.

“We see renewable energy providing very significant returns going forward,” Nason said today in an interview in New York. “We have a robust pipeline in the U.S. for the next couple of years.” He wouldn’t say what kind of returns the investments typically generate.

GE also is considering buying solar and wind power projects in countries including Japan, Ireland and Chile, and prefers to invest in projects that use GE equipment such as wind turbines and inverters.

GE owns a stake in the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight solar farm that First Solar Corp. is building inSouthern California at a cost of more than $2 billion. The plant is expected to be complete next year and more than 375 megawatts of panels are already producing power.

GE also bought 50 megawatts of projects in Ontario from First Solar last year and is in talks to buy more, said Kevin Walsh, the company’s head of power and renewable energy.

“There is a very active dialog with First Solar,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Martin in New York

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at Will Wade

Sunrock Investments acquires a 1 MWp solar PV-project

Sunrock Investments ( has acquired an operational solar project in Ozieri, Italy. With 1 MWp of installed capacity, this 20,000 square meter project is a great addition to the Sunrock portfolio. Sunrock is striving to expand their portfolio to at least 15 MW of operational solar assets in 2014.

The Ozieri project is expected to produce a minimum of 1,480 kWh/kWp per year, resulting in savings of 1,150 tons of carbon dioxide.

Since the start of Sunrock Investments in April 2013 the company has acquired 4.5 MW. The latest acquisition being the first Italian project that is added to the Sunrock portfolio, next to their existing portfolio of 3.5 MW in Belgium.

Managing director of Sunrock Investments Willem le Conge Kleyn commented: “This is a great addition to our rapidly expanding portfolio. This is our first deal in Italy under the Sunrock flag, which represents a great start for this year. Our partner firm in Italy – Cautha – is also very excited about the first jointly acquired project. Cautha is strategic partner of Sunrock, with a track-record of over 30MW of solar project developments in Italy.

Solar energy can become as cheap as coal

The goal of Frank van Mierlo’s company 1366 Technologies is to “create clean solar-energy for the same price as dirty coals”. Recently, 1366 Technologies has developed a technique that, drastically lowers the total cost of production of solar wafers.
Van Mierlo is cooperating with his business partner, scientist professor Ely Sachs. They have received over $100 mln debt and equity financing. A large part of the financing was awarded by the U.S. government, the remainder by private financiers. The private financers involved in financing 1366 Technologies can be split up into two groups: large investing firms like North Bridge and Polaris and four (unknown) future customers of 1366 Technologies.
Almost two-third of the total financing has already been spent on developing the technology. This isn’t considered to be an issue, since there are plans to issue shares of 1366 Technologies on the stock exchange market by the end of 2016.

The core principle of van Mierlo’s and Sachs’ technology is that they directly melt the semi-finished product from pure silicon instead of sawing a block. This reduces wafer production costs by over 50%. Hereby drastically lowering the costs of solar PV modules. A breakthrough that could lead to solar energy production prices below these of coal.



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Goldman Sachs enthusiastically decides to invest 40 billion in renewables

Goldman Sachs Inc. has announced it plans to invest $40 billion over the next decade in the renewable energy sector. The renewables sector has been one of the bank’s most profitable ones since it started investing in it after 2001.

The bank does not focus on one specific type of renewable, the target applies to investments in solar, wind, hydropower, biofuels, biomass conversion, energy storage, energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, efficient materials and LED. The bank sees a growing demand for renewables in the coming decades, although the markets are tough. “Obviously we recognize this is not the easiest of times in the clean energy market but nevertheless the underlying thesis as to why cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy need to scale up still holds true,” according to Mr. Park, head of environmental markets from Goldman Sachs.



Sunrock Investments does not claim any ownership on this article. The content featured in each article belongs to the original author/publisher and Sunrock Investments is merely sharing information with no claim whatsoever. We provide such information with no intention to make profit under the provisions of ‘fair use’ for research and informational purposes. If we intended to use such information for other reasons aside from ‘fair use’, we would request permission from the owner.
Furthermore, if you are the author or publisher of an article posted on Stech Solar Europe’s website and you would like to have your article removed, please inform us and we will remove your article immediately.

Graph of the Day: China’s future generation mix

China – already the world’s second largest electricity market, largest carbon dioxide emitter, and consumer of half the world’s coal – is on course to more than double its power market in size by 2030. But with increased awareness of environmental pollution, a potential price on carbon emissions and increasingly competitive renewable energy alternatives, how will it meet the challenge?

As part of its latest report, The Future of China’s Power Sector: From centralised and coal powered to distributed and renewable?, Bloomberg New Energy Finance attempts to answer this question by modelling the outlook according to four different scenarios – Traditional Territory, New Normal (BNEF’s base case), Barrier Busting, and Barrier Busting plus carbon price. The result, below, is today’s graph of the day.