Japan: Feed-in tariff scheme confirmed
The Japanese Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has introduced a rather generous feed-in tariff scheme for green electricity, starting from July 2012. At the same time, the government has given green light to restarting the first nuclear power stations that were all closed down in Japan after the Fukushima disaster. According to the scheme, e.g. operators of PV systems with rated power above 10 kW will receive 42 Yen per kWh (which is about 42 €-ct/kWh) – over a period of 20 years. Power from wind turbines with a rated power of 20 kW or more will be remunerated at 23.1 Yen/kWh. The remuneration period is also 20 years. Geothermal power plants with a nominal power of 15 MW or more will receive 27.3 Yen/kWh over a period of 15 years.
Costs for the feed-in tariff will be passed on to the customers of the electric power utilities. Depending on their utility – the Japanese electricity market is divided between ten main regional suppliers – households have to pay a monthly surcharge for the support of the electricity generation from renewable sources. The fees determined by the METI result in surcharge rates between 75 und 111 Yen per household – given a 300 kWh standard monthly electricity use. The current feed-in tariffs as well as the surcharge rates will be valid until the end of March 2013. The METI is in charge of readjusting the tariffs and rates for the period beyond. The Japanese FiT law was passed by the Parliament in September 2011. It authorizes the METI to determine details such as purchase prices for green electricity as well as purchase periods and surcharge rates. The current FiT scheme meets the recommendations of a third-party committee (the “Procurement Price Calculation Committee”) published at the end of April. The committee’s members were appointed by the ministry.*
According to Shuta Mano, senior researcher at the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, purchase prices and purchase periods settled by the government will help to kick start investments on renewable energies. “Yet, compared to other countries, the prices are too high, especially for PV and biomass. Those must be reviewed and adjusted to appropriate prices based on actual newly-installed capacities.” In his opinion, the current categories of the purchase prices are too rough and in the coming revision, the rules for priority access have to be guaranteed in order to promote a stable development of renewable energies. “The current rules are not clear enough to guarantee the priority access.”
* Members are: Kazuhiro Ueta, a professor at Kyoto University, expert in environmental economics, Hirotaka Yamauchi, professor on transport economics and social infrastructure at Hitotsubashi University, Kikuko Tatsumi, a board Member of the Nippon Association of Consumer Specialists, Kenji Yamaji, Director General of the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE), and Takeshi Wada, Chairman of the Japanese Association on the Environmental Studies
The Japanese feed-in tariffs as per 1 July 2012. (Source: Paul Gipe/wind-works.org)
Milan - Enfinity has always been particularly attentive to the environmental and social issues and the project of Sudin is a concrete manifestation of this sensitivity.
The interest of one of the major players in the world in the PV sector towards the inhabitants of South Sudan begins in 2010, when Enfinity Italy came into contact with the organization Sudin that was following and supporting several humanitarian projects in this part of the world.
Initially the support of Enfinity Italy was limited to several donations in favor of the realization of some of these projects, until, recently, the involvement has become more concrete: the realization of two solar rooftop systems on the dormitory and on the laboratory of the professional school Ireneo Dud vocational Training Center, in Bahrgel, County Cueibet, in Lakes State.
Enfinity Italy has decided, therefore, to participate actively by providing technical consultancy, supporting the association in the plants design (in order to meet the energy needs of the 80 students attending the school) and supplying all the necessary PV modules and components at discounted prices.
The seriousness of an all-volunteer association involved for years in high value social and humanitarian actions, is the guarantee that led Enfinity to work hard, and enthusiastically support a project like this in South Sudan.
Sudin was founded in August 2006 after the experience made by ICOP spa, a company located in Basiliano (UD), that, during the first months of 2006, on behalf of the Italian Civil Protection, realized the bridge “Ponte Italia” on the Payee river in Rumbek area in South Sudan. During the construction of the bridge they became aware of the total lack of people able to perform the most common jobs (masons, carpenters, mechanics, farmers, etc..), and on proposal of some missionaries working there, they launched a project for the construction of the first vocational training school in the region.
It is precisely for this training center that Enfinity has been involved in the realization of the two photovoltaic systems, with 180 modules Enfinity 235Wp.
These systems are stand-alone (off grid), and have a capacity of about 40 kWp: they will be able to provide almost all of the energy needed by the dormitory and the laboratory buildings of the Ireneo Dud Vocational Training Center, at the same time ensuring the responsible use of natural resources.
Niestetal / Frankfurt - During the second International Smart Energy Congress, SMA Solar Technology AG was awarded the 2013 Smart Energy Award in the energy information and communication technology category by Hesse's environment minister Lucia Puttrich. SMA received the award, recognized as the Hessian state award for intelligent energy, for its holistic energy management solution - SMA Smart Home. The awards ceremony was held on May 14 in Frankfurt am Main.
“Systems capable of intelligent and automatic energy management in the home are key to the success of the energy transition. With the SMA Smart Home we provide a holistic energy management system, which covers all important functions and can be operated efficiently using the cost advantage of self-consumed solar energy already available. Being awarded the Smart Energy Award 2013 is a great confirmation of this innovative accomplishment,” explains Tom Rudolph, head of the Solution Unit Energy Management at SMA.
SMA Smart Home – System Component for the Energy Transition
With the SMA Smart Home, private households can both become independent from rising electricity prices and can also reduce the load on the utility grid, as self-generated solar power is consumed directly in the home. The system is comprised of an intelligent and easy to use energy manager that uses local and plant-specific generation forecasts as well as a flexible battery storage system, which can also be retrofitted in existing systems:
The Sunny Boy PV inverter guarantees maximum PV module energy yields and converts the direct current into standard alternating current for household use with the highest level of efficiency. The PV inverter is not only responsible for converting energy. It also monitors the PV array and the status of the utility grid.
The Sunny Home Manager is the system's intelligent monitoring center. As the only solution on the market, it does not only make ad-hoc decisions based on instantaneous consumption and generation values; it creates an intelligent and continuously updated planning scheme, which takes both generation and consumption forecasts into account. The forecast data required for planning comes from various sources. The consumption forecast is based on a self-learning algorithm which constantly analyzes the consumption patterns in the household, according to a time frame of several weeks. The local generation forecast is created based on real-time generation data from approximately 30,000 PV systems in Germany that are connected to weather forecasts via complex calculation models. Additional input parameters include the state of charge of available storage batteries, user settings for operation of individual loads and the grid electricity price which fluctuates. The Sunny Home Manager generates optimized “timetables” based on this information – for the loads that are not constrained by time and for the battery system. Automatic load management is done via SMA radio-controlled sockets with Bluetooth communication or directly using the Miele@Home standard. Furthermore, the device is already prepared for operation according to the future EEBus communication standard for SMA Smart Home applications. In this way, compatible household appliances as well as heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems planned for the future can be integrated into the energy management system. The Sunny Home Manager can be configured using any online Internet browser – from any smartphone or PC, whether at home or on the move. The SMA radio-controlled sockets used to control appliances also function as repeaters, thus ensuring a reliable connection to the network in the house or apartment.
The Sunny Island off-grid inverter complements the SMA Smart Home with a system for the temporary storage of electrical energy. This leads not only to increased self-consumption in the home, but also to the receptiveness of the distribution grid to variable renewable power generation capacity, given the corresponding external triggers are present. When it comes to power, storage capacity and battery type, the storage system can be configured exactly according to the customer’s needs and can also be easily retrofitted.
Collaboration with Leading Manufacturers
As a further component of the SMA Smart Home, SMA will introduce, with the Sunny Boy Smart Energy, the SMA Integrated Storage System to the market in the second half of this year. The wall-mountable device combines a modern PV inverter with a lithium-ion battery. In addition, SMA cooperates with leading manufacturers in the fields of storage technology, smart metering, home appliances, electric mobility, heating and ventilation and air conditioning systems in order to ensure the highest quality standards in household energy management and to integrate further components into the energy management system.
The consortium composed of Alstom Grid and Keppel Verolme delivered the substation for the offshore wind farm Global Tech 1 in the North Sea on 8 May. The installation of the 9,000-tonne colossus was performed using suction bells, so no heavy installation vessels were required.
The steel construction of the platform was completed by Keppel Verolme in Rotterdam. The electrical equipment of Alstom Grid was installed directly at the Dutch shipyard. The substation was pulled as a buoyant, closed body from Rotterdam to the construction site by two tug boats within three days. At the final position, the support structure was lowered down onto the seabed. In a first step, the suction bells on the feet of the supporting structure sunk into the seabed under the weight of the platform. In a second step, vacuum pumps sucked the sea water out from the top of the cylinders, so that the resulting vacuum caused the seabed to wash up into the suction bells from below. In a third step, the substation was raised 20 meters above sea level and positioned on the substructure.
The platform concept is based on technologies that have already been successfully used in the oil and gas business. "The self-constructing platform is an interesting alternative to traditional topside and jacket structures, and could establish itself as a further standard in the offshore wind business," says Florian Zschoge, Project Manager at Alstom. He sees the concept as "state-of-the-art technology". Thomas Maetzel, Commercial Director of Global Tech 1 Offshore Wind GmbH, adds: "The substation is an important milestone in the construction of our wind farm. We are very proud that we were able to develop this new platform concept together with our partners Alstom Grid and Keppel Verolme, as well as successfully install it."
The wind park Global Tech 1, which is currently under construction, is located in the North Sea, about 180 km north-west from Bremerhaven and 138 km from Emden. It consists of 80 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 5 MW. The substation from Alstom connects the turbines via the connection point of the transmission grid operator to the power grid. After completion, the wind farm will be able to produce about 1.4 billion kWh of energy per year.
The Jülich Research Centre in Germany is evaluating the construction and operation of a large test stand for drive trains of wind turbines with gearboxes. The Centre for Wind Power Drives (CWD) of the RWTH Aachen is participating in a corresponding feasibility study and is interested in using the test rig later.
In addition to a demand and cost analysis, the study will primarily examine the technical feasibility. A realistic simulation of the forces that occur in a wind turbine in the power range of 10 to 20 MW requires a massive test facility. A motor that can generate the corresponding drive forces would weigh about 500 tonnes and have a power equivalent to 10,000 to 20,000 kW - and has yet to be developed. In addition, another motion unit would be necessary, which would also weigh more than 100 tonnes, that could simulate shearing and vibration forces on the drive shaft.
"We want to check whether a measuring station of this size can be installed on the Jülich campus, together with the numerous highly sensitive instruments," says Ghaleb Natour, Director of the Central Institute for Engineering, Electronics and Analytics (ZEA-1), which is carrying out the study. Not only must the noise emission be taken into account. Various Jülich research groups operate high-and ultra-high-resolution microscopes. Natour's team is using vibration measurements and computer simulations to study how the vibrations caused by such a large test stand spread in the environment.
The results of the study, which is receiving € 318,000 from EU and state funds, are expected by the end of the year.
A large pellet-fired heating plant was supplied by Metso to Tampereen Energiantuotanto Oy, in Finland. The plant is based on a technological solution that is the first of its kind in the country. It will bring new opportunities to gear the structure of Finnish district heat production towards the goals of sustainable development. Previously, peak load plants have been using fossil fuels because there was no other technology available.
The plant is mainly fired with wood pellets and its heat output is around 33 MW. The plant has replaced some of the capacity of the oil- and gas-fired boiler plants and has thus helped reduce the CO2emissions from the production of district heat.
Metso delivers a complete turn-key boiler plant solution and Metso DNA automation system. The new plant operates unmanned with remote monitoring from the main control room of the Lielahti power plant. By using the reliable automation technology, the operators are able to flexibly control the district heat production process and quickly respond to changes.
The technology used at the plant is based on the pellet fuel being pulverized in separate grinding mills and burned in a pulverized combustion boiler. The start-up and load control of the combustion process is remarkably high and the pulverized fuel allows for clean, energy efficient and flexible heat generation. Pulverized pellet combustion is new to Finland, but Metso has been using it in Sweden on a smaller scale.
San Jose - Talesun Solar USA, a global solar module manufacturer with the world's largest fully-automated manufacturing facility, and residential solar financing provider Sunnova today announced that Talesun will provide modules to Sunnova installers across the organizations large geographic footprint. The agreement was reached after Sunnova accepted Talesun into its rigorously vetted solar partner program.
"Sunnova's focus is providing care-free, low cost electricity for homeowners through our network of solar installer partners," said John Berger, CEO of Sunnova Energy Corporation. "Talesun is the perfect fit for us because they share our focus and provide a high quality, efficient panel at a competitive price. We are excited to offer Talesun modules to our solar installer partners."
The partnership between Sunnova and Talesun will deliver high quality and lower costs to residential solar customers thanks to both companies similar, streamlined approach to their business models. Sunnova, is working toward becoming the largest residential power provider in the United States by handling all of its processing online to offer customers simple, straightforward solutions. Talesun Solar's high tech, state-of-the-art solar manufacturing facility dramatically reduced costs while delivering consistently high and precise levels of quality in its modules.
"Our partnership with Sunnova will provide U.S. homeowners with the best combination of affordable and high-quality solar because both companies share a focus on smart, efficient processes," said Eric Ma, General Manager of Talesun USA. "We look forward to working with Sunnova as it expands and Talesun continues to invest in growing its market share in North America."
Madrid - SENER, an international engineering and technology group, was present in the first foundation stone ceremony of the solar thermal plant in Ouarzazate (Morocco), held last Friday May 10.
The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), an agency of the Government of Morocco, has selected a project led by the Saudi company ACWA Power, from which the Spanish companies TSK and Aries also form part, for the development of the first phase of the Ouarzazate CSP complex, in Morocco. In the group of companies involved in the project it can be found as EPC contractor (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) a 100 % Spanish consortium formed by SENER, ACCIONA and TSK. The consortium will be responsible for the construction and commissioning of the plant.
In the first foundation stone ceremony, that counted with the presence of the King of Morocco, His Majesty Mohamed VI, and with representatives from the political and business world, was present the deputy General Manager of SENER’s Strategic Business Unit of Power and Process, Borja Zárraga.
The thermosolar resort, located close to the city of Ouarzazate, at an emplacement that benefits from the magnificent solar and environmental conditions, will have an installed capacity of 160MW and will involve an investment of more than 500 million Euros. It is expected that the construction, which will start shortly, will be carried out in 28 months.
The technology the plant will be equipped with consist on the trough collector system SENERtrough®, designed and patented by SENER, and on energy storage system using molten salt to generate electricity in the absence of solar radiation.
To date, SENER has taken part in the construction of over twenty-five concentrated solar power plants, most of them as turnkey projects, in Spain, USA and India. These projects amount to more than 1,500 MWe of installed capacity and a saving of over one million tons of CO2. Some of these projects, already in operation, can be considered as true technological milestones.
Noteworthy in this field is the Gemasolar plant, located in Fuentes de Andalucía in the province of Seville (Spain) which, worldwide, is the first plant whose design combines a central tower receiver with a molten-salt thermal storage system. SENER has provided all the technological innovations and engineering needed for this plant, being also responsible for the management of the construction, commissioning and start of commercial operation.
The two major contributions of SENER in the field of thermal solar technology have been: first, thermal storage, both in plants with central tower receiver as in parabolic trough collector plants, which dramatically improves real-time management of power generation. Thanks to its storage capacity, these plants may continue to produce energy in the absence of solar radiation; and, secondly, the contribution to cost reduction by industrialized designs and processes.
Rocklin - After much anticipation, SMA is now taking orders for its new transformerless inverters designed specifically for the North American market. SMA’s Sunny Boy 3000TL-US/4000TL-US/5000TL-US inverters are an innovative residential solution featuring maximum energy production, flexible design, simple installation, and advanced communication and monitoring control. The inverter’s Secure Power Supply function is also an industry first, providing daytime power in the event of a grid outage.
The transformerless design of the new Sunny Boy ensures high efficiency and reduced weight, and a simplified DC wiring concept allows the DC disconnect to be used as a wire raceway, saving labor and material. It is tested to UL 1741 and 1699B standards and has integrated AFCI, meeting NEC 2011 690.11 arc fault requirements.
“The features available with this inverter are unlike any we’ve seen for the residential market,” said Henry Dziuba, president and general manager of SMA America and president of SMA Canada. “From easy installation to improved power production to extensive monitoring and control capabilities, this energy solution is taking residential inverters to a new level.”
One of the most notable characteristics of the Sunny Boy 3000TL-US/4000TL-US/5000TL-US is its Secure Power Supply functionality, a groundbreaking feature that addresses the needs of grid-tied system owners during power outages. Secure Power Supply makes it possible for the inverter to provide up to 1,500 W of daytime standby power in the event of a grid outage for charging laptops, cell phones and more, without the need of additional, costly batteries.
With leading CEC efficiencies, a wide input voltage and extended operating temperature ranges from -40 to 140 F, the TL-US series offers maximum power production under a variety of conditions. A higher total power output results from the inverter’s shade tolerate OptiTrac™ Global Peak maximum power point (MPP) tracking algorithm, and two MPP trackers to manage multiple orientations.
It also provides easy monitoring and control features, including an optional plug-and-play Webconnect data module for easy system monitoring and direct data transmission from Sunny Portal, and a large graphic display. Communications via Zigbee® is also available, laying the groundwork for integration with future home energy management systems.
The Sunny Boy 3000TL-US/4000TL-US/5000TL-US will be available through SMA’s new, recently announced North American distribution program. To locate an authorized SMA distributor, solar professionals can visit SMA America’s website and click “Where to Buy” to learn more about each distribution partner.
The conference covers the topics biomass and energy efficiency.
Contact: OÖ Energiesparverband, Phone 0043/732772014380, Fax 0043/732772014383, firstname.lastname@example.org