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Solar investment outstrips all other power forms: IEA

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Solar investment outstrips all other power forms: IEA


Solar investment outstrips all other power forms: IEA

by AFP Staff Writers

Paris (AFP) June 6, 2024






More money is pouring into solar power than all other electricity sources combined, with investments set to reach half a trillion dollars this year, the world’s top energy research body said Thursday.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast in a report that global investment in clean energy this year will hit $2 trillion, twice the amount going to fossil fuels.

It said combined investment in renewable power and grids overtook the amount spent on fossil fuels for the first time in 2023.

“Clean energy investment is setting new records even in challenging economic conditions, highlighting the momentum behind the new global energy economy,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement accompanying the agency’s annual World Energy Investment report.

Companies and governments worldwide are raising spending on clean energy production to reduce the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels that are driving deadly climate change.

The report said improving supply chains and lower costs were driving up investment in forms of so-called clean energy, which include solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars and heat pumps, as well as nuclear power generation.

Combined investment in renewables and nuclear for electricity generation is now set to reach 10 times the amount going to fossil-fuel power, led by solar, with China investing the biggest share.

“More money is now going into solar PV (photovoltaic panels) than all other electricity generation technologies combined,” the report said.

Solar panel costs have decreased by 30 percent over the past two years and in 2024 “investment in solar PV is set to grow to $500 billion as falling module prices spur new investments.”

By comparison, global upstream oil and gas investment is expected to increase by seven percent in 2024 to reach $570 billion, following a similar rise in 2023.

The IEA warned however of “major imbalances and shortfalls in energy investment flows in many parts of the world” where clean energy projects remain prohibitively expensive.

Excluding renewable energy giant China, the $300 billion invested by emerging and developing economies remained “far below what is required to meet growing energy demand in many of these countries”.

“More must be done to ensure that investment reaches the places where it is needed most,” Birol said.

The IEA said that meeting medium-term global goals to reduce harmful carbon emissions would require investment in renewable power to be doubled worldwide by 2030.

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Sweeping review reveals impact of integrating AI into photovoltaics

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Sweeping review reveals impact of integrating AI into photovoltaics


Sweeping review reveals impact of integrating AI into photovoltaics

by Simon Mansfield

Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jun 13, 2024






Artificial intelligence is set to enhance photovoltaic systems by improving efficiency, reliability, and predictability of solar power generation.

In their paper published on May 8 in CAAI Artificial Intelligence Research, a research team from Chinese and Malaysian universities examined the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) technology on photovoltaic (PV) power generation systems and their applications globally.



“The overall message is an optimistic outlook on how AI can lead to more sustainable and efficient energy solutions,” said Xiaoyun Tian from Beijing University of Technology. “By improving the efficiency and deployment of renewable energy sources through AI, there is significant potential to reduce global carbon emissions and to make clean energy more accessible and reliable for a broader population.”



The team, which included researchers from Beijing University of Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hebei University, and the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, focused their review on key applications of AI in maximum power point tracking, power forecasting, and fault detection within PV systems.



The maximum power point (MPP) refers to the specific operating point where a PV cell or an entire PV array yields its peak power output under prevailing illumination conditions. Tracking and exploiting the point of maximum power by adjusting the operating point of the PV array to maximize output power is a critical issue in solar PV systems. Traditional methods have defects, resulting in reduced efficiency, hardware wear, and suboptimal performance during sudden weather changes.



The researchers reviewed publications showing how AI techniques can achieve high performance in solving the MPP tracking problem. They compiled methods that presented both single and hybrid AI methods to solve the tracking problem, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.



The team reviewed publications that presented AI algorithms applied in PV power forecasting and defect detection technologies. Power forecasting, which predicts the production of PV power over a certain period, is crucial for PV grid integration as the share of solar energy in the mix increases annually. Fault detection in PV systems can identify various types of failures, such as environmental changes, panel damage, and wiring failures. For large-scale PV systems, traditional manual inspection is almost impossible. AI algorithms can identify deviations from normal operating conditions that may indicate faults or anomalies proactively.



The research team compared AI-driven techniques, exploring and presenting advantages and disadvantages of each approach.



While integrating AI technology optimizes PV systems’ operational efficiency, new challenges continue to arise. These challenges are driven by issues such as revised standards for achieving carbon neutrality, interdisciplinary cooperation, and emerging smart grids.



The researchers highlighted some emerging challenges and the need for advanced solutions in AI, such as transfer learning, few-shot learning, and edge computing.



According to the paper’s authors, the next steps should focus on further research directed towards advancing AI techniques that target the unique challenges of PV systems; practical implementation of AI solutions into existing PV infrastructure on a wider scale; scaling up successful AI integration; developing supportive policy frameworks that encourage the use of AI in renewable energy; increasing awareness about the benefits of AI in enhancing PV system efficiencies; and ultimately aligning these technological advancements with global sustainability targets.



“AI-driven techniques are essential for the future development and widespread adoption of solar-energy technologies globally,” Tian said.



The research was supported by the National Key R and D Program of China and Fundamental Research Grant Scheme of Malaysia. The grants are part of the China-Malaysia Intergovernmental Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperative Program 2023.



Other contributors include Jiaming Hu, Kang Wang, and Dachuan Xu from Beijing University of Technology; Boon-Han Lim from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman; Feng Zhang from Hebei University; and Yong Zhang from Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Science.



Research Report:A Comprehensive Review of Artificial Intelligence Applications in Photovoltaic Systems


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New approaches for perovskite-based ferroelectric ceramics in energy storage

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New approaches for perovskite-based ferroelectric ceramics in energy storage


New approaches for perovskite-based ferroelectric ceramics in energy storage

by Simon Mansfield

Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jun 13, 2024






With the increasing impacts of climate change and resource depletion, dielectric capacitors are becoming key candidates for high-performance energy storage devices. However, various dielectric ceramics, such as paraelectrics, ferroelectrics, and antiferroelectrics, face challenges due to their low polarizability, low breakdown strength, and large hysteresis loss. Therefore, synthesizing novel perovskite-based materials that offer high energy density, efficiency, and low loss is essential for improving energy storage performance.

A team of material scientists led by Bingcheng Luo from the Department of Applied Physics at China Agricultural University recently reviewed the state of perovskite-based ferroelectric ceramics for energy storage. These capacitors are noted for their stability, high energy and power density, conversion efficiency, wide operating temperature range, environmental friendliness, and cost-effectiveness, setting them apart from traditional electrochemical capacitors and batteries.



“In this review, we outlined the recent development of perovskite-based ferroelectric energy storage ceramics from the perspective of combinatorial optimization for tailoring ferroelectric hysteresis loops and comprehensively discussed the properties arising from the different combinations of components. Also, we provided the future guidelines in this realm and therefore, the combinatorial optimization strategy in this review will open up a practical route towards the application of new high-performance ferroelectric energy storage devices,” said Bingcheng Luo, senior author of the review paper, professor in the Department of Applied Physics at China Agricultural University, who received his PhD in 2018 in Tsinghua University and then worked as Research Associate at University of Cambridge.



Dielectric materials can be categorized into four types based on their hysteresis loops: paraelectric (PE), ferroelectric (FE), relaxor ferroelectric (RFE), and antiferroelectric (AFE), each with unique properties.



The research team highlights advancements in the energy storage performance of lead-free ferroelectric ceramics. “We classify the perovskites-based ferroelectric ceramics into seven types for tailoring ferroelectric hysteresis loops from the perspective of combinatorial optimization and comprehensively discuss the properties arising from the different combinations of components. The concept of combinatorial optimization is to maximize breakdown strength and maximum saturation polarization while slenderizing electric hysteresis loop, which bolsters the energy storage performance of perovskites-based ferroelectric ceramics,” Bingcheng Luo said.



The seven types of combinatorial optimization of perovskite-based ferroelectric ceramics discussed in the review include FE vs. PE, FE vs. FE, FE vs. AFE, AFE vs. PE, RFE vs. PE, RFE vs. FE, and RFE vs. AFE combinations. Luo explained, “As an example of combinatorial optimization strategies, ferroelectrics have higher maximum saturation polarization, and paraelectrics have higher breakdown strength, and the combination of the two creates an RFE that has the advantages of both materials and with a narrower hysteresis loop, the long-range ferroelectric order will become polar nanodomains, which will increase the energy storage density and efficiency of ceramics.”



The concept of combinatorial optimization aims to maximize the complementary advantages of each component. Generally, polarization and breakdown strength are mutually exclusive in dielectric materials. Increasing the content of one component alone does not achieve high breakdown strength or polarization. It is necessary to find the optimal balance between these factors and tailor more optimized hysteresis loops to improve energy storage performance.



The team anticipates that their review of combinatorial optimization strategies will not only aid in the design of future high-performance passive devices but also provide guidance for the practical utilization of ferroelectric ceramics.



Research Report:Combinatorial optimization of perovskites-based ferroelectric ceramics for energy storage applications


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Redwire to Develop Solar Arrays for Thales Alenia Space’s New GEO Satellites

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Redwire to Develop Solar Arrays for Thales Alenia Space’s New GEO Satellites


Redwire to Develop Solar Arrays for Thales Alenia Space’s New GEO Satellites

by Clarence Oxford

Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jun 11, 2024






Redwire Corporation (NYSE: RDW) announced it will develop and deliver Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) wings for Thales Alenia Space’s Space Inspire satellites, the newest product line of geostationary (GEO) telecommunications satellites.

A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space is a prime manufacturer providing space solutions for telecommunications, Earth observation, exploration, and navigation. The cooperation between the two companies on this project began last year.



“Redwire is proud to be a trusted supplier for Thales Alenia Space’s innovative Space Inspire satellite solution that will provide unprecedented flexibility for the GEO telecommunications market,” said Mike Gold, Redwire’s Chief Growth Officer. “Leveraging unmatched innovation and a 100% on-orbit success rate, Redwire’s ROSA technology has become the power solution of choice for today’s most cutting-edge missions and platforms from LEO to GEO and beyond.”



The ROSA wings for the first Thales Alenia Space’s Space Inspire satellites will measure approximately 80 feet long and provide over 25 kW of power per spacecraft, making them among the most robust solar arrays ever used on a GEO satellite.



Redwire’s ROSA technology has a strong track record of reliability and successful on-orbit performance for various civil and commercial missions including the International Space Station, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, and the Maxar-built Power and Propulsion Element for the Artemis Lunar Gateway.



The development of Thales Alenia Space’s Space Inspire product line is supported by the French national space agency CNES.


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