Daily News-Wrap Up: The TOPCon vs. MonoPERC Conundrum for Module Makers

Large lithium deposits discovered in Rajasthan

May 10, 2023


Solar module technology has been evolving so rapidly that Indian manufacturers, relying on importing the production lines mainly from China, are caught between the fear of falling behind the technology curve or being saddled with a bad investment. The manufacturer’s dilemma is whether to upgrade from the widely used passivated emitter and rear contact technology to a more advanced and efficient tunnel oxide passivated contact solar cell.

Months after the Geological Survey of India announced the discovery of lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir, officials in the Rajasthan government said that they have discovered lithium in the state. Citing officials, the news agency IANS reported that the lithium deposits found in Rajasthan are so vast that they can end China’s monopoly and make India self-sufficient in green energy.

The Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission has proposed certain amendments to ease procedures for developing renewable projects for captive use by allowing banking annually, making it attractive for end-users. The amendments deal with transmission and wheeling charges, captive generating projects, banking of energy, green energy tariff, and green certificates. The stakeholders can submit their suggestions until May 26, 2023.

The Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission has approved a reduced additional surcharge of ₹0.39 (~$0.0047)/kWh for open access consumers who avail power from any source other than the distribution companies of the state. This is a 72% drop from the additional surcharge of ₹1.38 (~$0.017)/kWh applicable from October 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023.

Energy industry trade association Energy UK has warned that the upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction will not be sufficient to meet the UK Government’s 2030 target of 50 GW offshore wind capacity. There is only 27 GW in operation or receipt of a CfD contract, so future offshore wind developments will almost exclusively have to come through the program. This means the forthcoming auctions must deliver another 23 GW. The Energy UK analysis, however, shows that the program will fall short of achieving this.

U.S.-based energy firm NextEra Energy announced that it would focus solely on growing its renewable energy portfolio and sell off its STX Midstream and Meade natural gas pipeline assets in 2023 and 2025. The company aims to use the excess proceeds to buy out its convertible equity portfolio financings. It is also looking to capitalize on the low-cost nature of renewables.

YES BANK will provide term loans of up to ₹30 million (~$365 million) with a six-year tenure and six-month moratorium for micro, small, and medium enterprises manufacturers to install ground-mounted or rooftop solar systems for their own electricity consumption. For the YES KIRAN program, the bank has partnered with original equipment manufacturers and solar solution companies.

UK-headquartered Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure’s net loss narrowed to $11 million for the first quarter of the financial year 2023 compared with $12 million year-over-year (YoY) due to lower operating expenses. The company’s revenue for the January-March period dipped 2% YoY to $242.5 million.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public input on two programs with a cumulative investment of $4 billion in technologies to reduce climate pollutants at ports and protect the health of the people living and working near ports, schools, and other truck routes. The two programs –“The Clean Ports Program” and “The Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program” — will use $3 billion and $1 billion, respectively, from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are studying the use of semi-transparent photovoltaics with precisely adjustable absorption properties, which would increase the overall efficiency of solar panels. The project establishes that by combining new materials with targeted component design, the absorption of incident light in precisely defined spectral ranges can be achieved with a semi-transparent solar cell.