Category: Tech Talk

A Growing Market: Trends in the remote solar monitoring space

The performance of solar plants is a function of multiple components su­ch as panels, inverters and transformers. These devices are subject to malfunctions and failure due to environmental and systemic factors. In order to effectively and timely manage inefficiencies in the solar power system, remote solar monitoring sy­stems are being dep­lo­yed.

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Technology Edge: Using robots and drones for efficient solar O&M

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and computer vision (CV) are gradually occupying room in the renewable energy generation space. The deployment of these modern te­chnologies alongside ro­bots and drones plays a significant role in the operations and maintenance (O&M) of renewable energy par­ks. With the help of these advanced automated technologies, the landscape of field inspections and monitoring of renewable energy projects is changing for good.

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Increasing Innovation: Emerging trends in wind turbine drivetrains and towers

A range of wind turbine drivetrains with various costs, techno­logies, physical features, efficiencies, deg­rees of reliability and materials currently exist in the market. Another crucial component of a wind energy system is the turbine tower. The material, height and size of turbine towers are key determinants of the power outcomes and economic returns of wind energy projects.

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Technology Trends in Solar PV Module Industry

The solar industry’s continued ability to drive down costs while improving performance is a primary reason solar accounted for the largest share of new US electricity generation capacity in 2021. This trend is best exemplified by continual changes to module designs and cell technologies. This year, RETC is closely monitoring another technology trend that is quickly gaining market traction and acceptance, the rise of next-generation n-type PV cells with passivating contacts.

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Grid Resilience: Specialised transformers needed for renewable energy integration

The installed capacity of variable renewable energy (VRE) such as solar and wind power is es­timated to rise significantly on a global level as countries move towards achieving their net zero targets. Co­rrespondingly, the exponential capacity growth will necessitate the development of transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure such as reactors, transformers, substations, etc., to a similar degree. Transformers are critical components in solar energy production and distribution.

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Getting Bigger: Innovations in wind turbine rotors and blades

Wind energy technology has undergone a sea change over the years. The turbine capacities have shifted from kW to MW with improved efficiency parameters. The technology is constantly evolving towards improved reliability, increased capacity factors, and reduced associated fixed and variable costs. Modern wind turbines incorporate longer and lighter rotor blades, taller turbine towers, more reliable drivetrains and performance optimising control systems.

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Spurring Growth: Changing PV market dynamics and technology advances

Several developments have occurred in the PV market. These include the entry of new players, increase in wafer sizes to increase in the power output of modules and commercialisation of new technologies. Technologies such as heterojunc­­t­i­on, bifacial modules and perovskite cells are being increasingly explored. However, in 2020, silicon-wafer based PV technol­ogy accounted for 95 per cent of the total production, with monocrystalline technology accounting for 84 per cent of the total crystalline-silicon production.

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Multi-Purpose Interconnectors for offshore wind development in the UK

As the UK strives towards its ambitious target of 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, large-scale investment will be required in the offshore wind industry. It is increasingly clear that point-to-point connections between offshore wind farms and the grid will not be efficient for an expansion of this magnitude. Multi-purpose interconnectors combine the transmission of offshore power with cross-border interconnection between the power grids of nearby countries.

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Technology Roadmap: Anticipated trends in the c-Si PV industry

The c-Si module market shift to mono-Si continued in parallel with the implementation of innumerable module products deploying more and more M10, and M12 wafer formats together with bifacial module technology. Efficiency improvements in PERC technology and the deployment of large wafers in large modules resulted in higher average module efficiencies.

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Crucial Components: Overview of the solar cables and connectors market

Cables and connectors form a crucial supporting network in the solar power generation set-up. Since such systems comprise a large number of electrical connections, they are also vulnerab­le to energy losses at contact points. To limit these losses, long-lasting and secure cable connections with low contact resistance are required. Meanwhile, connecto­rs are needed to facilitate and ease the installation process.

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Phasing the Heat: Challenges and implications of a coal phase-down in ASEAN

The ASEAN region homes the youngest coal power plants in the world. Partial or complete shutdown will give financial challenge to the plant owners/ investors and the utility companies who signed construction and operation contracts. The energy security and reliability of the power system would be a huge challenge for the countries and the region. Shutting a large portion of coal power generation down would require large-scale deployment of renewables to be able to supply the energy that is not served by putting coal plants offline.

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EU-SysFlex Project: Suggests new solutions to address flexibility issues 

The recently concluded EU-SysFlex project aims to address system operation and flexibility challenges associated with EU’s goal of integrating 50 per cent renewables by 2030. Based on demonstrations and trials, the final roadmap contains eight key recommendations or findings, i.e., technical scarcities, required flexibility, financial gaps, market evolution, new operating tools, TSO-DSO coordination, aggregation of decentralised resources, and data management.

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Carbon Capture in the Southeast Asian Market

In recent years, Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) discussions have gained traction in Southeast Asia (SEA). With the technology-intensive nature of CCUS, several countries could provide reference points for the CCUS potential in Asia: China, Japan, and South Korea. All three countries have a long history of technology leadership and energy investments in the region. Their experiences with CCUS can provide a glimpse into the future path of CCUS in SEA.

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Technology trends in forecasting renewable energy generation

Renewable energy forecasting is critical for integrating variable renewa­b­le energy resources like wind and so­lar power into the grid. Wind and solar power are heavily dependent on weather conditions, and thus their energy generation pa­tt­erns are quite erratic. This creates problems not only for grid operators who must account for these frequent fluctuations in their load management schedul­es, but also for power generators who ha­ve to pay hefty charges for deviation from scheduled energy generation.

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What is Hydrogen and How Does it Fit into a Decarbonized Future?

Hydrogen provides a way to decarbonize industrial processes that rely on certain chemical feedstocks or agents. Hydrogen can be used in steel and aluminum production — where its chemical reactivity also helps reduce ore into more useable forms — instead of the currently used coking coal or natural gas. In these industrial processes, hydrogen will be consumed directly as a chemical feedstock in the production process or burned to provide the necessary heat for operation.

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Increasing Wind Turbine Waste Will Challenge Nascent Recycling Of Wind Turbine Blades

Wind turbine waste from decommissioning parts will increase in the coming decade as wind turbines installed in the early 2000s reach their end-of-life. By the end of 2010, global wind power capacity reached 180GW, more than 10 times that of end-2000. As much as an increase in wind power means well to reduce carbon emissions from the energy sector, markets globally will soon have to deal with wind turbines that have reached their end-of-life.

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Automation Era: Digital solutions set to transform the wind sector

Digitalisation presents several advantages to wind energy systems in terms of improved safety, greater reliability and accuracy in data collection, spee­dy dissemination of data, lower operatio­nal cos­ts and greater flexibility in undertaking ma­in­tenance activities. The development of digital technologies for operation and ma­in­tenance (O&M) has given rise to new business models in the energy sector due to redu­ced dependence on hu­man interventions.

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Finding the right battery technology for long-duration storage

The emergence of iron-based chemistries to solve some of the cost issues of RFBs is expected to improve their commercial feasibility, allowing them to compete with lithium-ion for around half of the stationary storage market by 2030, according to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Stor­age Grand Challenge Market Report 2020. Currently, the preferred electrolyte for flow- batteries is vanadium due to its stability.

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Technology trends in the solar inverter space

While central inverters have traditionally been used to convert the direct current (DC) generated by solar power plants, string inverters are now being increasingly dep­loyed across the world. Central inverters differ from string inverters in their ba­sic design. While a central inverter is centrally connected to all solar power mo­dule arrays, a string inverter is a smaller inverter connected to and controlling only a single array or string of solar modules.

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Big data: The energy revolution in US no one is talking about

The big data revolution is already changing many industries in America. Recently, New York began testing how much value it can create by expanding energy data access. In doing so, New York may be leading a long-anticipated revolution in how utilities, developers, and customers can access, use, and monetize data to unlock more value. As the New York data access proceeding evolves, it serves as an industry case study for regulators, developers, and utilities around the country. 

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